Sunday, 20 May 2018

OF RECKONING AND ACCOUNTABILITY 3: Judgement



“l believe the day of reckoning is here on earth but my experience of life shows it may not be for everyone. Some do get away with it here on earth. As to getting this judgement somewhere else am not too sure. Yes that may be the position of the scriptures and a very difficult position to verify.” Akin Uwaifor
It is understandable for some to hold this position, but judging from the philosophy of justice, the concept of retribution, judgement and reckoning is as old as the dawn of man’s realization of his position in the scheme of things. Our concept of moral values are intricately dependent on this core concept of justice and judgement. All the religions of the world have this common thread that runs through their belief systems; that is, the idea of accountability for actions of man. We must reap whatever we sow: It has become an immutable fact of human life. Without the concept of reckoning, the powerful will ride roughshod over the weak and the world will have no regard for the concept of right and wrong or what is acceptable conduct and behaviour. Society will be devoid of rules of human engagement and there will be no respite for the weak and powerless. It would be a situation of ‘dog eat dog’, of anything goes and ‘no one can question me’. The whole essence of morality would become none existent and the world will be in a Hobbesian state of nature, where life would ‘be nasty, brutish and short’. 
Oskar Ernst Bernhardt said: “You who are yearning for understanding, do not let yourselves be deceived. Each one of you in his thoughts and works has heaped up a heavy burden of wrong-doing for which each one of you must individually atone, for no part of it can be laid on the shoulders of another. Such is the law, otherwise Divine justice would be but an empty word, and without Divine justice all would crumble to ruins.” 
The realm of Day of Reckoning and Resurrection is more of a spiritual proposition than physical. It is this that explains why some of the wicked seem to be getting away with their iniquities while on earth.  It is often said that the hypocrites could be rich and wealthy, have many children and live a good life; but their end is never good. That end is usually in the Hereafter. In the non-Abrahamic religions, they talk of ‘karma’. Our conducts are to a large extent regulated, modified and subject to the possibility of the truth in that future state referred to as the day of reckoning. Our whole belief system has as its bedrock the possibility of that day when we will be held to account for our actions and inactions while on this part of the divide. This is the more reason why people want to be on the right side of morality.
“There is no partition between this life and life in the next world. All is an immense entirety. Like an extraordinarily ingenious, never failing mechanism, the whole mighty Creation, visible and invisible to us, interacts on itself. Uniform laws bear the whole, permeating it and connecting it like strands of nerves, in constant action and reaction.” Abdrushin:5 Responsibility.
Even the laws of physics recognise this simple principle of action and reaction which according to Newton’s 3rd lawFor every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is inescapable. If you sow good, you will reap good, if you sow evil, you will surely reap evil. Those who sow the wind must for sure reap the whirlwind. 
Our evil men are therefore warned again. There will be no escape from the judgement and the attendant punishment. “God's justice remains austere and severe in His eternal laws. What a man sows, that will he reap: Divine justice does not allow that one farthing be remitted”.
In some cases, those who are seemingly wealthy from perpetrating evil could look as if they have escaped, but their names in the end are obliterated from the annals of history. Both they and their offspring’s are never remembered; as if they never existed. Why labour, for all the fruits of our work to be destroyed at the close of day. This brings to mind the story of the People of the Garden in the Quran:
 Indeed we have tested them just as We tested the People of the Garden when they vowed they would gather its fruit at dawn. (Quran 68:17)
“The separation of spirit from matter, the perfectly natural consequence of the working of the law, is the so-called Day of Judgment — a day that will bring great disturbances, convulsions and upheavals. Everyone will easily understand that this disintegration cannot take place in one earth-day, for it is written: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8
Those who have ears, let them listen now!
Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend

REFLECTIONS ON RAMADAN FAST 1



Ramadhan is the [month] in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear [Signs] for guidance and judgment [Between right and wrong]. So every one of you who is present [at his home] during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period [Should be made up] by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. [He wants you] to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.  (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:185)
Muslims welcome the holy month of Ramadan with simple and minimal decoration as the holy month does not stand as a celebration but as a time for religious and divine reflection. It is a time for spiritual stocktaking and moral revival. It is a time of rejuvenation of religious and moral piety and reaffirmation of faith. Even the diehard and titular Moslems undergo a behavioral and attitudinal change during this month. The mosques are filled to capacity and the whole community assumes an atmosphere of religiosity: A time when even the confirmed sinners seek the benevolence of Allah; a time when evil and vile men seek atonement for their iniquities. Such is the month of Ramadan. Perchance, our leaders will take advantage of the promise of forgiveness from Allah to turn a new leaf and do the needful in making our life better and seek the path of righteousness. We have suffered enough as a people and this suffering does not need to continue. With the resources with which we have been endowed, there is enough for everyone to bask in the prosperity of our God-given provisions. But when a few conspire to deny the majority their rightful share of the commonwealth, they sentence the people into penury, want, misery and poverty. Ramadan is therefore, an opportunity for sober reflection and a chance for meaningful and positive change. 
Those who have perfected the ignoble art of cheating their fellowmen and converting the common patrimony into personal wealth have an opportunity to rethink and change. If only we know that the end is nearer than we think. 
Abu Huraira narrated that Allah's Messenger, said: "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained." [Bukhari] Fasting in Ramadan is therefore a shield from Hell; fasting subdues sinful desires and reduces their severity: It is these desires and lusts that lead to Hell Fire.
The Quran talks about the reward of fasting and there are verses which general meaning infers that those who obey Allah will be saved from Hell, and fasting is a form of obeying Allah. The Ahadith of our beloved Prophet Mohammad, are clear in this regard; Abu Said al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the Hell Fire seventy years further away from his face." [Bukhari and Muslim]  Abu Said al-Khudri also relates that the Messenger of Allah said: "Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire"[Ahmad, Sahih]
`Uthman Ibn Abil-`Aas relates that the Messenger of Allah said : "Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allah, Allah places between him and the Fire a trench like that between heavens and the earth". [at-Tirmithi and at-Tabarani, sahih]
Ramadan (/ˌræməˈdɑːn/; Arabic: رمضان‎ Ramaḍān, IPA: [ramaˈdˤaːn]; also romanized as Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (Sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran. The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. ... This is considered as the holiest season in the Islamic year and commemorates the time when the Quran is said to have been revealed to Prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan is considered to be one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During the month of Ramadan, adult Muslims fast from dusk until dawn, unless they are ill, pregnant, or diabetic, breastfeeding, or traveling.
There is also a verse in the Quran (Quran 2:185) that prescribes fasting for all Muslims who are mature and healthy enough to fast for the full day. So Muslims fast as an act of worship, a chance to get closer to God and a way to become more compassionate to those in need. May Allah accept our Fast as acts of Ibadah; Amin.
Barka Juma’at and a Happy weekend

Milestones: Alhamdullillah, our sister, Hon. Justice Kudirat Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and amiable wife of our brother AbdulFatah Akintota kekere-Ekun, marked her 60th Birthday with prayer and thanksgiving. May Allah continue to Guide and protect her.
On Tuesday, May 8, our daughter, Assia Atinuke Jose was a year older. We thank Allah who has preserved her, this far and we beseech Him to continue doing so. 
And next Tuesday, May 15, our son Ismail Jose will also be a year older. May Allah preserve him.
On Sunday, 13th May, another grandson of our father and son of our brother Abu; Ayyūb Jose will graduate from the university in far away, USA. Allah has been merciful.
Still on Sunday, our brother Enitan Ogunjobi (a grandson of our grandfather Brimoh Jose) will be giving  his daughter Olutosin away in marriage. May Allah bless the union.
Allah has indeed been merciful. Alhamdulillah!


-- 
Babatunde Jose iPhone 7

REFLECTIONS ON RAMADAN 2



O you who believe! Guard your own souls: If you follow right guidance, no harm can come to you from those who stray. The goal of you all is to Allah.
It is He who will show you the truth of all that you do.
The Quran 5:105
A deep reflection on the institution of Fast reveals the various ways in which fasting helps in the mending of habits and development of character and God consciousness. With the onset of Ramadan, it behoves each fasting person to open a page from the book of muhasabah (critical self-evaluation) and to reflect on what is being achieved through the month. What benefits are derived, which behaviors are adjusted, what good practices are adopted, which bad habits are being relinquished? How does the prayers and fasting of Ramadan influence attitudes and perspectives; how is it improving relationships with families, friends and neighbors; how much has it increased consciousness of responsibility towards the destitute; how is it impacting on the body, the heart, the mind and the soul. If there is a genuine effort towards the spiritualization of one's being, the moralization of consciousness, empathy in attitude and goodness in conduct; then perchance a concerted effort is being made of treading on the pathway towards the objective of fasting - the attainment of taqwa (piety). Truly, the month of Ramadan is a season for spiritual stocktaking.
In a world, increasingly amoral, perception is considered reality. How one appears to the world has overtaken the substance of who we really are. Taqwa is in reality character development coupled with God-consciousness. Character is not only the face in the mirror, but the real person behind the face. The pursuance of piety begins by making our reputation a reflection of our character. Reputation may be reflected in what people write about you on your tombstone, character is what angels report about you to Allah; and that is the most important.
Ramadan is an ideal training period for filtering out bad habits and developing virtuous character. It is therefore, a good time for our leaders to turn a new leaf, lest ‘we the people’ decide to chase them out like Oliver Cromwell did the ‘Long Parliament’ in 1653. Cromwell’s speech aptly reflects the character of our leaders today: “It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money. Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you has not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? Ye sordid prostitutes; have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; . . ..”  If only they would change in the spirit of Ramadan!
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Your practice of faith will not be correct unless your actions are correct, and your actions will not be considered correct unless your heart is correct.” Ramadan is therefore a period for spiritual rejuvenation as it offers the opportunity for a unique expression of worship.
From ethical and moral perspectives, we should contemplate the higher purpose and the deeper meaning of our lives, trying to live meaningfully; balancing our physicality with our spirituality.
While Fasting, we are far more aware of the hunger of the poor and the suffering of the oppressed and are therefore instructed to be more generous this month. This promotes attentiveness to social responsibility, interest in the welfare of society and inspires a continued spirit of generosity.  The Qur'an refers to the fasting ones as sa'ihin/spiritual wayfarers. So, the journey of Ramadan motivates each person to perpetuate the positive spirit being imbibed and to continue on the spiritual journey towards fulfilment and excellence.
It is easy to talk about the world’s problem of hunger. We can feel sorry that millions of people go to bed hungry each day. But not until one can actually feel it in one’s own body is the impact truly there. Compassion based on empathy is much stronger and more consistent than compassion based on pity. This feeling must lead to action. Fasting is never an end in itself; that’s why it has so many different outcomes. But all the other outcomes are of no real moral value if compassion is not enlarged and extended through fasting. It is therefore in the interest of our fasting leaders and those not fasting to shed the toga of iniquity, selfishness and corruption and for once think of the poor masses who are not only defenseless but also hungry. It is only by doing this that the fast can have spiritual reward and meaning. As the prophet Isaiah said, “The kind of fasting I want is this: remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor” (Isaiah 58:3-7)
May Allah accept our fast, Amee.
Ramadan Kareem and Barka Jumuah


ALHAMDULILLAH: It is with utmost joy and thanks to Allah that we announce the graduation of the last two children of our late sister, Muyiba Modupe Shoaga; yesterday Ahmed and Tayo Shoaga both graduated from the university in New Jersey. It is the culmination of a life of struggle and sacrifice. Allah has been merciful and all praise are due to Him. Shukra lilahi!  

My command at midnight



In December 1992 I traveled from Lagos to Katsina State for the first time. It turned out to be the longest journey I have undertaken within Nigeria. At this time Katsina didn’t have a functional commercial airport; so we landed at Kano International airport, and I made the rest of the journey by road – a two-odd hour trip. It was a business trip. The Alhaji Saidu Barda government was planning an elaborate water scheme for the state, so my contacts in government invited tender from my company. I finally settled down in my Katsina Motel room at well past 10:00p.m.
By 8a.m. the next morning, the Special Adviser to the Governor on water resources already had a driver waiting at the Motel’s reception. The lingua franca was strictly Hausa language for the common folk; any attempt to breach the existing order was robustly checked with “ba turenchi!”. With improvised sign language and a limited number of Hausa words I managed to stumble through with that stratum of Katsina society. My visit was partly coordinated by an assistant director in the state ministry of health, one Dr. Aminu Safana - rings a bell? Yes; he later joined national politics after a stint with the Afri Projects Consortium. Cerebral and thorough-going, Safana could have risen to any heights in Nigerian politics, but most tragically, he mysteriously slumped and died while holding forth on a controversial matter on the floor of the green chamber – it was a big loss to the nation. (May his gentle soul find bliss in Abraham’s bosom)
Katsina’s weather swings like a pendulum during the harmattan season. The temperature gradients at this time were such that heaters are employed at night , while air-conditioning is used during day time. Not the best of places to be in December; I thus looked to deploying my return ticket. I had earlier impressed on my hosts that my maiden visit couldn’t last longer than three days since I had a crucial appointment to catch in Lagos. So after three frenzied days I was set to return whence I had come. Ever the generous host, Safana promptly assigned a driver to take me to the Kano airport. We arrived the precincts of the airport at a little past 4p.m.; only to be informed that the last flight of the day departed less than an hour previously. “When does the last flight depart Kaduna?” I impulsively enquired from our informer. “About 7PM,” he responded. “Kaduna airport straight,” I called out to the dutiful driver, snatching a glance at my watch; if we are lucky we could be in Kaduna at a little past 6p.m., I quietly comforted myself.
As the driver manoeuvred the sedan through the outskirts of the ancient city of Kano, the reality of missing my 10a.m. appointment in Lagos started taunting me; an appointment with the Chief of Naval Staff is not one to be treated capriciously, I kept reminding myself. I simply must make the appointment, “Insha’ Allah”, repeating a refrain I had quickly learned during my 3-day visit. The Kano/Kaduna segment wasn’t as hitch-free as the Katsina/Kano had been, what with the many failed portions of the road and the heavy traffic between the two principal northern cities. Much to my anguish we arrived Kaduna airport at about 15 minutes past 7p.m. – of course you guessed the report thereof: the last flight was already airborne. With the barest communications between us we left the airport; pulled up at the next petroleum-products station; recharged our tank; quickly refreshed and headed for Lagos through the Jebba corridor. It was well past dusk and the single-lane road was pitch-dark. I instinctively spent considerable time trying to figure out the visual acuity of my indulgent driver, and somehow re-assured myself he could handle his present challenge. I finally settled down to the marathon journey south, consigning our fate to God.
The journey proceeded reasonably well until some three-odd hours later when we suddenly came to a halt. It was some 20 minutes until midnight. Ideas naturally quickly ran riots in my head: Robbery activity? Police check point? Road mishap? etc. Time inexorably raced. After 30-odd minutes that felt like eternity, we still hadn’t moved an inch! And no vehicles were coming in the opposite direction – the indicators are all too familiar. We have a completely blocked road to contend with, I concluded; looking with intensity into the pitch-darkness to master our immediate surroundings. Frustrated drivers and passengers milled about the endless line of stationary vehicles, letting out their worst fear – passing the night on the highway. The thought jolted me; that is not an option for me, I thought, at once opening the door and stepping into the dark night. “Let me check the front,” I said to the driver.
As I made my way through the utter disorderly maze, my white caftan sharply stood out like a sore thumb. In a like manner, the present hot and humid weather sharply contrasted the expected chilling temperatures in far away Katsina. A “petro tanker” had fallen across the road, I heard some one informing a small group. I persisted in the meandering, twisting this way and turning that way movement, oozing with profuse perspiration. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I experienced firsthand the meaning of the retort, “devil in the detail!”
It literally took forever to finally get a glimpse of the head of the endless line. My adrenaline hit an all time high on sighting “the devil”, as it were.  A huge petroleum-products articulated vehicle lay awkwardly on its side, filling up virtually the entire width of the road. Another articulated vehicle, apparently south-bound, filled up the remaining space. A sea of heads came into view. This must replicate the very picture of hell, I thought with my eye fixed on the big challenge. “Who is the driver of this bloody trailer!” I bellowed, lashing out at the south-bound vehicle with my clenched fist in sheer helplessness. It was a magical touch. The multitude suddenly woke up; “Where is the foolish driver!!!” “Where is the foolish driver!!!” the crowd shouted with hundreds of blows landing on the offending vehicle. A man was soon sheepishly dragged towards the vehicle; “Sorry sir; sorry sir…”, he kept muttering, timidly gesturing to me. “I give you one minute to move this bloody trailer out of here; or…” Multiple voices drowned the rest of my threat. Engine revved; gears clanked into position and the behemoth heaved forward, then backwards; repeated the manoeuvre a couple of times more, with the drivers among the crowd closely directing the troubled man behind the wheel to adroitly manoeuvre the articulated vehicle through the dangerously sloppy strait.
 One wrong move, I later realized, would have toppled the behemoth into the side ditch. That was the reason the driver fearfully abandoned his vehicle in the first place – the available space could just about accommodate cars and other light vehicles. I was quickly surrounded by eager assistants once the strait was cleared. “Okay! only cars; jeeps; and light buses, okay?!”  “Yes sir!!!” “Ten from Kaduna; ten from Jebba!” “Yes sir!!!” As I gestured the men quickly took positions, and soon after the kilometres-long lines on both sides of the road slowly came back to live, after over six hours of utter gridlock. When my vehicle came up I waved the driver on. Few minutes after, I effusively thanked the men, and took my leave of them. We safely arrived in Lagos well past dawn; and I am pleased to inform that I made my appointment.  
My Command at Midnight experience taught me three enduring lessons: 1) The multitude always looks to a leader for direction, lest its uncoordinated action results in chaos; 2) Any sane person can effortlessly lead a multitude, provided such persons are transparently selfless towards the collective interest; and 3) A mystical bond as soon forms between such leaders and their followers. Therefore, as Nigeria approaches the 2019 general elections, the electorate must constantly bear in mind that the key to unlocking the fortunes of our potentially great country lay in a leadership that is transparently anchored on the collective good of the citizenry, irrespective of tribe, region or religion.

Afam Nkemdiche is an engineering consultant; May, 2018                                                    

How education stifles our creativity



                          By Bayo Ogunmupe
    Our natural creativity is stifled from the time we are born. Dr George Land dropped this bombshell when he told his audience about the shocking result of a creativity test developed by the US national Aeronautic And Space Administration (NASA) but subsequently used to test school children. The NASA had contacted Dr Land and Beth Jarman to develop a special test that would measure the creative potential of NASA's rocket scientists and engineers. The test turned out to successful but the scientists were left with a few questions: where does creativity come from? Are some people born with it or does it come from our experience?
    The scientists then gave the test to 1,600 children between the ages 4 and 5. What they found was shocking. A full 98 percent of the children were born creative. This is a test that looks at the ability to come up with new, different and innovative to problem solving. Ninety eight percent of these children fell in the genius category of imagination. The story does not end there. The scientists were so astonished that they decided to make it a long and extensive research extending it to five years later when the children were ten years old.
    The result? Only 30 percent of the children now fell in the genius category of imagination. When the kids were tested at 15 years the figure had dropped to 12 percent! What about us adults? How many of us are still in contact with our creative genius afters years of education and experience? Sadly only 2 percent. And for those who question the consistency of these results- or think they may be isolated incidents, these results have been replicated more than a million times, reports by Michael Michalko whose book Creative Thinkering first alerted me of the shocking implication: that the school system, our education, robs us of our creative genius.
    "The reasons for this are not too difficult to apprehend; school, as we call it, is an institution that serves the wants of the ruling class, not the common people. "In order for the elite to maintain their lavish lifestyles of overt luxury - they understand that children must be dumbed down and brainwashed to accept the unending exploitation and the incessant war," in the society, writes Michalko. But how therefore can we recuperate our creativity?
    However, Dr George Land says we have the ability to be at 98 percent if we want to. From what they found from the brains research, there are two kinds of thinking that take place in the brain. Both use different parts of the brain with varying kind of paradigm in the sense of how it forms something in our minds. One is called divergent- that's imagination used for generating new possibilities. The other is called convergent thinking , it is used in making judgment, when you're making a decision, you're testing something , you're criticizing someone.
    So, divergent thinking works like an accelerator and convergent thinking puts a break on our thinking. "We found that what happens to these children, as we educate them to think, and criticize mostly," says Land. Teaching children only to criticize and decipher error is what we must stop doing. When we look inside the brain we find neurons fighting each other because we're constantly judging, criticizing and censoring," said Land. When we operate under fear we use a smaller part of the brain but when we think creatively we put total brain to use.
      What was found as panacea to creative thinking was putting the brain into exercise daily like dreaming about your solution. By giving yourself a time lag about finding solution to the issues at stake you arrive at a just and accurate solution to your problem. As an adult, you become more creative by attending creative problem solving institutes and reading books on creativity. Above all we found that creativity can be learned. Which is why you should not fret if your ward isn't doing well in school. Education as we practise it today stifles creativity. Great inventors like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark  Zuckerberg never finished school, they taught themselves to think and invent.

How to change your living habits



                              By Bayo Ogunmupe
      It might look a crazy notion for you to change your way of life, your lifestyle or living habits. But this is possible. Most of us can't even change one habit or even stick to one New Year's resolution, let alone making a change like turning your whole life around. This will be very difficult but it is worth treading some steps to bring about a new you. This researcher promises to bring out a new you in four weeks. By adhering to these steps you won't recognise yourself again in one month. This plan is divided into four sections,  one for each week and each week has three tasks.
    In week one, you are to purify your mind and body. "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." That quotation from an American revolutionary leader, Benjamin Franklin epitomizes what is meant by purifying your mind and body. You rise early to do whatever you want to do; because early starters always win. By rising as early as 6 a.m, a time of peace and quiet when you sort out your thoughts while everyone else is still sleeping. However, the mere fact that you are reluctant to get out of bed indicates that you don't really want to change your life.
    Improving your nutrition is your next step. Medicine is not healthcare, food is healthcare. Medicine is sick care. This means to maintain optimum health you have to eat nutritious food. For a healthy diet, ditch junk food, alcohol, the sodas and potato chips. Drinking plenty of water won't kill you. Then, take up a sport. To power some life into a tired body you need to shake that body itself. Choose whichever method seems right for you. But make this sport a regular part of your new lifestyle. Good character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.
    For the second week, put your private life in order. Clean up your household by removing unnecessary clutter which befuddles your life. Get rid of everything you don't use. What do you keep? Keep only such stuff you are using, things and gadgets which make you happy. It is liberating throwing away all those valentine cards from people that are not on the same page with you anymore. Sort out your personal business; fulfill your obligations, pay your bills, visit your grandparents. Unfinished business has a way of dragging you down and eating away at finance and energy.
    Sort out your social life by getting rid of relationships that don't serve you. Break contact with people who bring you down or sap your energy. Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds. In order to do this, give yourself the permission to be unpleasant if that is what it takes to be free from toxic relations. But for whatever it is worth maintain good relations with your parents. For your plans goals and dreams, getting things clear in your head is a priority. You've got to push aside the static to really hear the music. Write down, then carry out your plans.
    Plan you day to day activities ahead to enable you get things accomplished. Daily schedule things you want to accomplish by writing them down. In writing, list your implausible dreams and those dreams that are achievable too. What today seems impossible may very well become reality in years to come. Plan things on a daily basis. The night before, write a plan for the next day. By writing down what you want to do the next day, makes you more productive, wastes less time and brings you closer to your goals in a shorter time.
    Finally, expands your horizons. The mind which opens to a new idea never returns to its original size. Try and actually live differently from others. Take different forms of transport to work; take different routes home, eat lunch with different people. Eat in an eatery you've never been to before. Wear something you would never have worn before. Everyday ask yourself: how can I do this differently now? Try always to get out of your comfort zone. if you can't swim, learn to swim. Thereafter, take a break. Spend time with yourself alone. Reflect on your past with resolve to do better, in solitude.

Grit determines your success in life



                              By Bayo Ogunmupe
    Research has revealed the most important factor in academic and professional success we largely all ignore. What is the secret of success? This isn't an easy question to answer. But why do some people succeed in almost everything they do? Do they possess some hidden secret that most of us don't know? Actually, yes they do. According to Angela Lee Duckworth, who for 10 years studied the most common predictors of academic and professional success, success doesn't have much to do with intelligence or talent.
    In fact, the  research clearly proved that talent  doesn't really amount to anything. Rather, the most successful people possess one trait that we largely all ignore: grit. It is the ability to pursue an idea to the end. Successful people persevere at whatever is the object of their pursuit. They pursue their objective to the hilt, eventually succeeding in attaining their goals. Here are five ways to strengthen your grit. One focus on your self talk. 
    Whenever you give your best effort to an objective, if even you didn't succeed, give yourself a pat in the back. Always speak of yourself positively, as being smart, rather than a mere pushover. A deprecating attitude teaches us to adopt a fixed mindset- the belief that our talents are largely innate and can't be improved. It is more fruitful to praise yourself when you bounce back from failure and push through tough times.
    Two, surround yourself with people who persevere, people who are motivated, passionate, people who are positive and optimistic that they can beat the odds. Values drive behavior, principles govern consequences. If you do not go after what you want, you will never have it. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place. Three, adopt flexible thinking patterns in your goal setting principles. Being flexible in your actions allows resilience and grit to blossom. Flexible people don't see problems. They see opportunities for growth.
    Four, set tiny goals that align with your purpose. We found that people with a sense of purpose are happier. However, your purpose can be abstract and difficult to define. Five, build time into your day for reflection. When you give yourself time to think back on a day's work in a non-judgmental way, you can see your accomplishments and what actions you need to take tomorrow to keep moving forward. It will help you state passionate, motivated and ready to take on the world.
    Grit is the power of passion and perseverance. It is our ability to stay motivated and passionate through failures and hiccups. You must focus on and live the life you really want. We fail because we never focus or concentrate our attention on what we want. We allow distractions to overcome us. To fight distraction, you must manage your time thoroughly, stop multitasking by giving your all and focus to your goal. Pursue your passion before anything else. Doing what is right may not be easy, but you will certainly reap what you sow. There is a reward to them that remain courageous, so stay faithful.