Too often, however, we’re told the exact opposite. Hustling is a celebrated state of being in our modern culture. Hustle, hustle, and get things done – get to the top of the ladder as fast as possible! And while hustling can help you fail forward at a faster pace, too many of us spend the vast majority of our lives climbing the ladder of success only reach the top and discover that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. This happens primarily because we’re always hustling around and rushing so fast that we’re utterly exhausted when it comes time to make some of life’s most important decisions. So we end up selecting the ladder that’s closest and easiest to climb, which also happens the one we don’t really need or want to climb. Ultimately, many of us eventually realize that it’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t. Do you best to take this to heart right now. There’s absolutely no reason to be in such a mad rush that you end up at the top of the wrong ladder – pursuing someone else’s agenda instead of your own. Dedicate time every day to focus inward – mindfulness rituals, mantras, journaling, prayer, gratitude reflection, etc. – and bring clarity to your daily circumstances and decisions. By doing so you will undoubtedly open your mind to important ideas and opportunities you simply can’t comprehend in the midst of mindless hustle. Just this morning, for example, I took a break from hustling and spent 30 minutes journaling about the recent events in my life that I’m grateful for, and some recent events that are still troubling me. As I was wrapping up, the idea for the email you’re reading now came to me, which was a pleasant surprise since I hadn’t yet decided what I was going to write about and share with you today. I also unearthed some incredibly healthy insights regarding an important relationship that I had been neglecting, which motivated me to immediately send out a text message to someone I care about who I’ve been meaning to reconnect with for nearly six months. We now have a brunch date scheduled for next Sunday. So, as you can tell, your time spent focusing inward and finding clarity doesn’t just help you – your mind is powerful and your thoughts create ripples in the world around you. When you bring clarity into your life, you bring the best of yourself into everything you do – you tend to treat yourself and others better, communicate more constructively, do things for the right reasons, and ultimately improve the world you’re living in. This is why praying, or just meditating on some positive mantras, on a daily basis can actually make a real-world difference in your life. The bottom line is that a slower pace and a heightened level of your conscious awareness – THINKING BETTER – instantly elevates you in countless ways. And then interesting things begin happening – good things that are outside of your immediate purview – good things you haven’t even thought of yet. And that’s why we made THINKING BETTER the foundation of our only in-person event of 2017 (you should get an HD recording of the event).
By the year 2050, world population that now stands at 7.5 Billion would have risen exponentially; Nigeria would then become the 6th most populous country in the world, with Lagos being one of the largest cities in the world. The challenge? Put in bluntly apocalyptic terms, the planet must produce “more food in the next four decades than all farmers in history have harvested over the past 8,000 years,” said a foremost scientist. That is because, by 2050 the Earth will be home to as many as 10 billion people. Therefore, if massive increases in agricultural yield are not achieved, matched by massive decreases in the use of water and fossil fuels, a billion or more people may face starvation. Hunger could be the 21st century’s most urgent problem: The most affected would be the African continent, particularly Nigerians.
How would we feed our teeming population, with the current spate of food insecurity, state sponsored stealing festivals and lack of attention to developments in the world around us; coupled with a lackadaisical and ‘devil may care’ attitude to planning for development. By the year 2050, Lagos is projected to have a population of 32.6 Million; and by the turn of the century its population will rise to 88.3 million, making Lagos the biggest city in the world. Other Nigerian cities that would experience exponential population increase are Kano 24.5M, Ibadan 20.5M, Abuja 16.28M, Kaduna 11.45M, Benin 9.66M, Port Harcourt 8.15M, Ogbomosho 7.64M, Maiduguri and Zaria with 7.16 and 7.13 million respectively. The question therefore arise: What will they eat? How will we feed them?
There is no doubt efforts are being made to develop our agricultural production; but food production is most crucial. Presently we rank 1st in the world in the production of Cassava, Yam and Sheanut; 2nd in cashew and Okra; 3rd in Sorghum and peanuts (groundnuts); 4th in Cocoa, Ginger, Pawpaw and goat. Only few of these commodities can feed our people. Hence, we need to do more: We need to produce more cereals (millet, wheat, maize and rice), tubers and other food crops. To do more, we need a leadership that is not only focused and capable of leading us to the Promised Land; we also need a leadership that will stop stealing our commonwealth and channel our resources to the production of goods and services that would engender a bountiful harvest for our farmers. Allah said:
It is He Who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others: That He may try you in the gifts He hath given you: For thy Lord is quick in punishment: Yet He is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Quran 6:165)
We have once been leaders in the production of many produce, (Rubber, palm oil, palm kernel, cotton etc., but as a result of our cursed leadership, we abandoned our paradise and started chasing the oil. Now, we know better. Nigeria has the third largest area harvested for tomatoes, but the lowest yield among the top 25 producers: Even then, most of the yield is destroyed as a result of poor preservation and pitiable transportation to consumers.
Allah's Messenger SAW said, "If any ruler having the authority to rule Muslim subjects dies while he is deceiving them, Allah will forbid Paradise for him." Leadership is a great quality and every great nation’s success besides other factors owes its credit to the leader who led it to glory. Every human endeavor needs a unifying and driving force for success and that driving force is ultimately traced to good leadership.
Leadership is considered as a trust and a responsibility. A leader is required to meet his obligations to Allah, the Supreme Power as well as to discharge his duties towards His people or his followers to the best of his ability. It’s sad today that we cannot boast of a handful of leaders who meet the requirements of good leadership. Unfortunately for them: The Ruler who does not rule justly will be in chains on the Day of Judgement.
We have failed to emulate and learn from the ways of successful countries who have been able to cross the Rubicon from hunger and want, to overabundance and food sufficiency. Rather than embrace new ways of doing things especially in the field of agriculture, we are here resorting to the old Egyptian ‘shadoof’ system of irrigation. With abundant arable land mass and virgin forest, we have failed to make a sharp and decisive return to the land; even in the face of endangered petroleum resource which will soon become an obsolete source of fuel for future vehicles. We are paying only lip service to the idea of a return to the land. Yet, time is running against us. Fortunately, with some efforts, we can grow more food enough to feed ourselves with much left over for export. It demands will and determination. Very soon the oil which we all rely on and troop to Abuja every month to collect rent, will become a resource of the past as its use as a combustion agent will soon end. Cassava and yam do not grow overnight, neither does maize nor cocoyam. The time to embark on massive production is NOW!
We therefore come to the question; where do we go from here? Heaven helps only those who help themselves.
Why are some prayers answered and others ignored? This is the topic of this column today. As you pray, be very aware your intentions are behind your prayers. If it is a fear based reason you are praying, you must recognise and pray for only things that you cannot fulfill externally. For example, if you believe you lack happiness and are praying for an object or situation to give you happiness, this prayer cannot be answered. At times, prayers are blocked or delayed because God Almighty is withholding due a universal block because the focus of the prayer has taken a detour from love.
Your prayer is equal to demanding that 2 plus 2 equals 3; not taking the natural process. No matter how long you beg God, making sacrifices and fasting, 2 plus 2 can never equal 3. Praying for happiness, fulfillment or peace can only succeed spiritually. As you can see from the arithmetic, your prayer cannot be answered because they do not comply with the natural order of nature. The same lack of results occurs when you outline how you wish your prayers to be answered.
For instance, if you desire a new home; you may pray to win a lottery to pay for it. This idea of handing God a script of how you expect everything to work out, cannot work. The fear in this scenario manifests as a lack of trust in God's infinite wisdom to take care of the details. You are afraid that you won't get help with your housing needs unless you give God ideas on how to fulfill this prayer. The path of love in praying for yourself is filled with gratitude and faith in the Almighty providing for your earthly needs. It is a thing of joy to know that Jehovah is moving you somewhere wonderful, where your services will bring blessings for others.
With love based prayer, you have absolute faith in God's wisdom to take care of all the details. Since God's mind is merged with yours, you immediately receive guidance if your actions are needed. For example, you may have a hunch to drive down a certain street; as you follow this guidance-voila!- you find a wonderful house in your price range. Besides, assuming you are divinely guided to be a healer. Perhaps you have already given to some friends. You experience great joy and fulfillment whenever you are engaged in healing work. This is a love based vocation.
However, if you doubt your abilities for healing, you have veered off the path of love. You may unconsciously be looking for external ways to validate your healing abilities; such as personally deciding because of insecurity, that you need to own a healing centre; publish books on healing; hold a degree or receive some mundane validation before you are able to practise healing, the profession God had ordained you to practice. Such prayers are not answered like a genie granting your wish - because they are preposterous to the Almighty.
The only type of prayer, that God hears, is a love based intention, where you joyfully intend to share your joy, light, healing energy and other assets with others. Now opening a healing centre, publishing a book on healing and earning a degree on healing are only fear based paths; if you desire them because of fear. In contrast, if you are joyfully guided towards these endeavours, this is your love based path. Even with a love based path, you may still experience insecurity and self doubt. The answer is to handle these fears internally, listening to your inner voice, your intuition and taking measures to calm yourself or externally by deciding to have an accomplishment prop up your ego.
The path of love and answered prayer is centred internally. It is the road of fear that always looks for external solutions. The higher vibration of love is always harmonious, like beauty, melody and love. A love based prayer is one along the lines of asking Allah for assignments providing healing services. You have faith that God knows exactly who could be matched with your healing and the best place for healing to occur. You also have no concerns about financial remuneration for your healing work because you know that as long as you walk through the doors God opens for you, all of your earthly needs are met. The lower pathways of fear and insecurity can never connect with God. The pathways of fear and insecurity delivers emptiness and loneliness.
Everybody wants more of the right things done. But how does Stoicism fit into this? The word productivity seems new and sleek; and Stoicism is old, ancient. Facebook and email may be recent but people have always wasted time and their lives throughout history. But smart people have been thinking of how to stop wasting their time and maximizing their time. Most productivity advice is focused on work.
Following such advice feels like you are turning to a machine. No one wants to become the transformer machine. A more pragmatic approach to getting your jobs done is very useful, because sometimes you don't get your duties done early enough. You want to have fun hanging out with friends, much of which get shoved off the calendar by the work schedule.
As we shall see, the productivity beliefs of the Stoics are actually backed by modern science. They advise: protect your time like your money. This correlates with the old saying, time is money. If people come to you all day asking for N500. You will tell them to get lost, But people do come up to you all day in person, by email, by text messages or call preying on your time. And you just hand it over to them.
However, the great Stoic philosopher, Seneca rebukes every time you offer up an hour of your day without thinking it through. No person hands out his money to passersby, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives. We're tightfisted with property and money, yet we think too little of wasting time, the only thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.
Moreover, research has shown that your mood drastically affects how much you accomplish. You procrastinate the most when you are in a bad mood, and think you can improve it with something funny. So procrastination is a mood management technique, albeit like eating or taking drugs, a shortsighted drive. But we're most prone to it when we think it will actually help. Never manage your mood by procrastinating.
As yourself what beliefs underlie your feelings and question them. Are you afraid of the task? Does the task have a knife pointed at you? Perhaps you are afraid you will do a lousy job of it. However, you are going to do an even worse job if you do not get started. Change your beliefs and you change your feelings. Change your feelings and you get more done. Better do an important task first than doing an urgent one. You usually know what's important; but often you do something else, that is right in front of you or screaming for your attention.
Often, less than wisdom, you do what's easy or urgent, not what matters the most. The Stoics say, it is essential for you to remember that the attention you give to any action should be in due proportion to its worth; for then you wont tire and give up; if you are not buying yourself with lesser things beyond what should be allowed. Since the vast majority of our words and actions are unnecessary, corralling them will create an abundance of leisure and tranquility.
As a result we shouldn't forget at each moment to ask, is this one necessary? Even here, productivity gurus like Peter Drucker and Tim Fernss agree that doing something well does not make it important. This is one of the problems of time management and productivity advice. A vast majority of things people do quickly should not be done at all; because they are unimportant.
Another ritual the Stoics recommend is focus on effort, not the outcome. The Stoics think you don't have control over anything but your own choices. And if you have no control over something you shouldn't worry about it. Worrying over things you cannot control is wasted time and energy. Always worry about things you have control over, never on other things. Always focus on the effort, not the outcome. Heavens alone know the importance of our efforts.
This title was taken from the best selling book of my friend, Tom Butler-Bowdon. The book is titled: Why it's never too late to be great. There are three main freedoms linked to achieving greatness in life. They are, one, bravery: fear holds us back. It prevents us from becoming the person we were destined to be. The key to freeing yourself from fear is knowledge. Knowledge dispels fear. If we have the right kind of knowledge, we can change our outlook from fear, to one of fearlessness.
You can improve your karma through helping others. Another key to rising from your limitations of our ever changing environment is physically leaving your environment; since we may be redeemed from service rather than striving to become environment compliant or carrying the negative state of mind. Note that fearlessness should never be confused with foolishness or foolhardiness. There is nothing fearful about taking good care of yourself or taking necessary steps and precautions about your safety and well-beig. Bravery could in fact hardly be more different from being foolhardy- being, as it is, a key step on the path of wisdom.
Two, love is much more than the emotion which many people think of as love. It is described by the angels as the natural energy, greater than the mind. Moreover, it is the state of man's whole being. We cannot experience this kind of love as ordinary mortals; this is love at its highest sense- until we have a degree of bravery, and as this love grows; it will in turn spur us onwards to ever greater degrees of bravery; gaining greater courage to help others.
The third freedom is service. Service is described as love in action. If we have real, deep and genuine love for others, we will want to help them. And if we really want to help others, we will get the opportunity to do so. Service also requires bravery; of course, service is indeed the best possible application of bravery. And the more service you perform, the better your karma will be; which will in turn make you braver still. Also it will give you greater understanding of, and mastery of the wonderful power of love.
These three freedoms lead to the fourth, the freedom of enlightenment. They empower you to attain your heart's desire at any stage of your earthly existence. These freedoms empowered Donald Trump at 70 years, to become the oldest and richest person to ever become the president of the United States of America. "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind," Romans 12:2. Sometimes we try to excuse our negativity by saying, "It was just a thought, it didn't mean anything."
But thoughts matter. Thought is the seed of action. A wrong thought left to roam around your mind can take root and grow into what the Bible calls a "stronghold." And when a thought becomes that strong, it begins to control your outlook, your attitude, your mindset and your actions. Where the mind goes, the man follows. You are never too old to be great. So never allow yourself to think negatively, for as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Negative thinking prepares you for defeat. Devote yourself to a calling. Donald Trump, 47th world greatest prosperity thinker in the world thought politicians mismanaged America. He believed politicians deliberately caused poverty in America so as to make themselves indispensable. So instead of voting money for charity, he used his money to fight poverty by going into politics. William Wilberforce did the same thing. He devoted himself seeing slavery eradicated in Britain. So discover and follow your calling. It is never too late to be great.
Creative thinking skills are vital to your success in life. The average manager spends more than 50 percent of his time solving problems. Without creative thinking skills you will be relegated to poverty in life. But creativity is a skill you can learn from book reading, the Creative Problem Solving Institute, a yearly seminar of the State University of New York at Buffalo and its International Centre for Studies in Creativity. In addition, there is a direct relationship between the quantity of new ideas you generate in your work and the level of success that you achieve. An insight can be sufficient to change the direction of your career or your company.
Indeed, everything you ever will be comes as a result of the way you use your mind. An improvement in the quality of your thinking will improve the quality of your life. Creativity is the natural characteristic of positive people with high self esteem. There are three factors that determine your creativity. The first is your past experiences. Here, you generate ideas to foster personal or family progress.
The second factor that determines your creativity is your current situation in life. The third factor is your self image. Do you see yourself as being highly creative? Many studies indicate that 95 percent of people demonstrate the potential to perform at high levels of creativity. The work of Howard Gardner at Harvard University confirm that there are several different ways of thinking and that each person is a potential genius in at least one area. This means the key to unlocking your creativity is to begin thinking of yourself as a highly creative person.
The way to increase your creativity is to imagine that you are already a creative genius. Imagine that you are so creative that there is no problem in the world that you cannot solve. Creativity is like pouring yourself a cup of coffee with sugar in it. You then put the cup to your lips; but the coffee still tasting plain and unsweetened. The obvious answer is to stir the coffee in the cup and mix the sugar so that it permeates throughout the drink.
Your creativity is very much the same. It needs to be stirred up so that it dissolves and the sugar spreads inside the cup of coffee. The factor that stirs up creativity in you is as follows. An intensely desired goal, the greater the clarity of what you really want, the more positive and excited you are about achieving that goal, the more creative you will be. The more you want something, the likely it is that you will find creative ways to accomplish it. A most powerful way to trigger creativity is for you to test your assumptions continually.
In a 2013 study of the chief executives of the 500 fastest growing companies, the researchers discovered that the predominant quality of the executives was an incredible level of optimism regarding their companies and products. This attitude of optimism can be developed in two ways, one, by thinking and talking about your desires and how to get them most of the time. These optimists see their world as being full of opportunities and are always asking how to achieve those goals.
Two, optimists look for the good in every person or situation. They believe that within any problem there is a solution. They never use the word problem. Instead, they neutralize its negativity by calling the difficulty a situation or challenge. Where a problem conjures up fear and loss, the word situation is neutral.
The best word of all is opportunity. When you begin to look for the opportunity in a problem, you will be astonished at how many opportunities you would have missed if you were bogged down in what initially appeared to be a problem. To be able to solve problems creatively, resolve today to become a complete optimist. Think and talk only about the things you want and how to get them. Look for the good in every situation. Seek the valuable lesson in every difficulty and continually feed your mind with positive mental proteins in the form of books, audios and conversations. That is how to acquire the skills of creative problem solving.
Leading Right, Nigeria is a book in two volumes by Philip Ejiofor. Published just this year by The Exclusive Edge magazine, Ogudu, Lagos. Leading Right explores the challenges and solutions of leadership and governance in Nigeria. The book is autobiographical, being the collation of Ejiofor's thirty years experience i Nigeria's corporate governance; reaching into government, business, teaching and as an observer of the debilitating socio-economic condition of the Nigerian people.
Leading Right is a compelling review of Nigeria's vision and delusion in the past 56 years of our independence. It contains thought provoking nuggets of leadership principles and practices. Written in simple and clear language, the book explains what it takes to make leadership an interesting skill to be embraced by aspiring Nigerians. The book shows why our people are dying needlessly within Nigeria as a result of the poor handling of our armaments. It blamed insecurity on the embezzlement of military budgets by the top echelons of the military and the politicians.
Accordingly, Ejiofor resonates the Tel Aviv District judge in Israel, Justice David Rozen who said: "Bribery by its nature, does not limit itself, but spread out, erodes and causes the collapse of public institutions and the rule of law." Based on this premise, Ejiofor argues that the idea of giving corrupt public officials a soft landing on accountability was tantamount to encouraging corruption in the country. The combined pagination of the two volumes of Leading Right is 906 pages, they have 26 chapters; 49 pages of appendix, 26 pages of references and 18 pages of index.
The author dedicated the book to groups of people among them Nigerians at home and those in the Diaspora who have suffered from corruption and poor leadership, the twin evils that have bedeviled Nigeria since 1960. Another cluster Ejiofor mentioned are the disgruntled Nigerians who continued to die without realizing their dreams. He also hailed those who have died from poorly conceived infrastructure owing to ineptitude and lack of foresight by the leaders.
The last group that earned Ejiofor's dedication are the men and women who failed to emerge from subsistence economy because the elite has stolen or appropriated to itself the socio-economic good of the country. However, the author remembered the politicians, the public officials and entrepreneurs who have acted in good faith but whose services were sabotaged by political jobbers at the corridors of power.
This book is modeled after the Nigerian Constitution. The first five chapters discussed the vision and the ideals of the nation. It covered service delivery, leadership principles, political party ideologies and federalism. Chapter six was devoted to explaining the executive arm of his dreams. But in Nigeria the executive power remains nebulous and poorly defined. In the United States executive authority is laid bare by the Executive Powers Act. There the executive is immutable in moments of crisis or war.
Chapter seven covered the legislature. Except otherwise omitted, every appointment, policy option and military adventure must be approved by the senate, which epitomizes the equality of the federating states of the union. In the Nigerian Constitution, the legislature comes first, which signifies it as first among the three arms of government. As usual the judiciary is treated last. He chronicled the vicissitudes of the judiciary with citizens habitually having to buy judgments detailing other character deficiencies of the Nigerian elite.
Surprisingly, Ejiofor treats the civil service ahead of the media: the Fourth Estate of the Realm. Here, with her poor leadership competencies, Nigeria is viewed as lost in the storm of global competitiveness where nations slug it out in the interest of their citizens. He characterizes Nigeria's greatest drawback as the inability of our leaders to escape from primordial attachments hinged on ethnic and religious bigotry. The Fulani through Ahmadu Bello having plans to dominate by dipping the Quran to the sea of Atlantic Ocean. On the hand, the Igbo, through Nnamdi Azikiwe avowed the domination of the lazy tribes of the Sahel.
Accordingly, where some leaders would have succeeded, they faltered because sycophants within their social milieu hoodwinked them into taking parochial decisions. In the opinion of Ejiofor, one of several reasons Nigeria has been stuck in this political quagmire is because, aware of their own injustice, past Nigerian leaders archived history as a course of study in school,preventing new generation of Nigerians from knowing the challenges of their nation.
This lack of historical knowledge prevented citizens from discerning the quality of political leaders put forward by political leaders. The author amplified his exegesis by quoting John Maxwell in his book: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success; thus:"Mistakes (history) are messages that give us feedback about life. Interruptions that should cause us to reflect and think; signposts that direct us to the right path; keys that we can use to unlock the next door of opportunity; explorations that let us journey where we have never been before."
Those are the advantages of the study of history which previous leaders denied us. Leading Right closed the conversation with his analysis of non-governmental organizations. Just like the judiciary citizens and non governmental organizations were made to undermine the enthronement of a great Nigerian nation. Ikechukwu Philip Ejiofor had his first degree in History and Political Science from the Onafemi Awolowo University. He gained his master's in Public Administration from the University of Lagos while he is now pursuing his doctorate in public policy Walden University, Minnesota in the United States. I commend the book onto your perusal for knowledge and wisdom. It is a must read for all.