Frankly Speaking Blog
The feedback and implications are everywhere. Most people are struggling to make ends meet, times are indeed hard for many people and even aggressive service providers and big business players in the market are now taking the chill pill and considering more soothing approach to doing business so as not to lose their customers and clients in this season.
The flaccid nature of our economy today has generated aggressive implications that is so rife and intense such that the hitherto, very comfortable people and homes are reviewing budgets and lifestyle downwards.
This experience is making many of us rethink our priorities, identify the essentials, moderate our appetite for the unnecessary and curtail wastage.
And you know what? Even through this season, good habits and lessons are being learnt by those who desire to. There is a good side to the recession I tell you.
I've practically lost count of friends, contacts and associates whom today have suffered a job loss or a salary cut.
Losing your employment at a time when the prices of goods and services are escalating in an unprecedented fashion can be scary and mentally paralysing.
It's quiet unfortunate that many of us as a result of disappointments, setbacks and past failures have relinquished the charge of our lives to the society, environment, friends and family or providence.
Hitherto, you probably had great expectations in life, made attempts at some exciting feats, pursued some goals and ambitions and failed. Some of us failed some important exams, were not particularly exceptional in academics, some failed in relationships, marriage, health and total wellbeing. Some of us had habits and behaviours that embarrassed us, we suffered reproach and rejection. Some of us were weak in mind and body. Some of us suffered immense poverty, deprivation and lack. Some were victims of verbal and physical abuse, injustice, discrimination and pain. Some have been vandalised and violated by criminals, bullies and oppressors. Some betrayed by loved ones including siblings and parents. Some cheated, abused and disappointed by role models, mentors and even religious leaders. Some of us have hurt ourselves; disappointed ourselves, and today find it difficult forgiving ourselves. Some of us find it difficult to recover from the demise of a loved one, a broken relationship, separation or divorce. Some of us are still living with the hurt of a sickly child, infidelity and infertility. Hence we are totally down and out and have stopped fighting and hoping for a life of peace, joy, happiness, fulfilment and great success. We have a perfect facade of happiness and peace but deep on the inside we experience heavy sadness, turmoil and depression. Our lives aren't particularly cool and our calm and peaceful demeanour is nothing short in similarity to a grave yard peace.
But may I say to you this morning that your life is yours. Your life - is yours. Hence what you make of it is your call.
There are too many people who are very hardworking, intelligent, up and doing, connected and well positioned to enjoy major and frequent positive transformations in their lives but unfortunately, it is not happening.
There are even some who assume where they are at currently is a great achievement not knowing they have much more than what it takes to climb unto higher levels in life and be greater and become more glorious.
Truth is, too many of us have buried or underutilised our potentials hence, our world is deprived of all we truly have the capacity to do and accomplish.
We have many managers still working as messengers, many bank owners still working as branch managers, many media house owners still working as news presenters and on air personalities, many world class entrepreneurs still working as employees, many great people still functioning as mediocre, small timers and fringe players in the scheme of life.
These people are not very well respected, revered, appreciated, valued or honoured, despite the fact they have everything it takes to be the most valuable and respected person in their communities, their nation and even the world. These are brilliant, intelligent, hardworking, well informed, exposed and outgoing people living less than glowing lives, why, they simply lack the will to do.
It is one thing to have great dreams, to have the advantage, to have the potential and even the opportunity, it's another thing to take advantage of all these and make great dream come true.
Many of us have great dreams, and oh yes, we have all it takes to make these dreams happen, we just won't do all we need to do to make it happen.
Many of us are quite docile and laid back about our destinies, purposes and life journeys. We know what we want, we know what to do, we know how to do it and we know we have the capacity to do it, we just won't bring ourselves to doing it.
As mankind our emotions are very powerful. Our emotions basically are expressed through the way we feel towards different things and situations. We are somethings happy, sometimes glad, sometimes sad; sometimes miserable, we get angry sometimes and some other times indifferent. At every point in time in our life, we are exhibiting one or more of the many emotions we're capable of expressing as human beings.
Our emotions, most times determine our actions. Many of us act most of the time based on what we feel. Our good deed or bad deeds are all informed and influenced by how we feel at that point in time. This implies our emotions play a critical role in the unfolding of our lives every day.
As people, we've lost great friends, great relationships, great opportunities and advantages based on our emotions, actions and reactions. And we've gained great people, privileges and advantages based on how we expressed our emotions to certain people and in certain circumstances.
The terms "self-control" or "maturity" simply implies the ability not to act according to how we feel but the right way. It simply means we shouldn't let the way we feel determine the things we do. This is because over time, it's become apparent many things done out of emotions have negative and unpalatable repercussions and regret, hence, the counsel to control ourselves, control our emotions and not let our feelings get the better side of us.
One of the many lessons I've learnt that has helped me in managing people and my relationships rather well thus far, is the ability to listen not just to what people say but what they are not saying as well. In many discussions bothering on relationships, when people opt to become sentimental and subjective, they really don't tell the truth about their reasons for hurt or disappointments and why they are mad at you, they most times look for an excuse or fathom a story to justify their negative dispositions towards you.
Let me make this clearer, dear friend, many times close people are actually angry at you and are unhappy with you because you are successful and doing well in life. They will never disclose this to you because they will appear awful and they know, so they start looking for faults in every way possible to make it look like it's your fault, you're the problem, you're the bad guy and their upset should be admissible.
They at times shockingly claim you're proud, arrogant, selfish, greedy, condescending or disrespectful. When in truth your continuous back to back success that appears pretty easy and seamless compared to their own experience is their real pain and upset. Of course no sane person will look you in the eye and say to you they're mad at you and fighting you because you're doing well in life. Such a one will be termed a witch or a warlock especially in our society. However, this reality my friend is the basis for many relationship crisis and problems in our lives and our society at large.
A main reason many of us and even our society at large remain regressive and inconsequential is because too many of us suffer from inferiority complex. Inferiority complex is a lack of self-worth; a doubt and uncertainty about self, and feelings of not measuring up to someone else or desired standards.
Many of us have experienced losses in our lives in time past. We've lost very precious things, people, relationships and opportunities. Many of us can even now begin to remember that good friend that we lost, relationships that we lost, marriages that we lost, jobs that we lost, businesses that we lost, positions that we lost and good feelings we can't connect with any longer.
Many of us, by the reason of some tough things we went through have lost our confidence, our pride, our self-esteem and our happiness. Many of us have lost many valuable things in time past in our lives.
Dear friend, truth is, your ability to obtain and retain most things in your life is not about luck or good fortune but personality. If you really think about it, most of the things you gained and lost in your life must have been a matter of coincidence and happenstance. Those things just came into your life; you were just at the right place at the right time with the right people when you obtained. You really didn't deliberately pursue and obtain. These things, these people, these opportunities came and left just as they came. Not all, most.
The reason many of what you had and lost left your life is simply because you perhaps lacked the capacity to retain them. You perhaps, lacked the required wisdom, maturity, knowledge and skills to retain all those good things you obtained but eventually lost.
Retaining the good things in your life is not a matter of struggle, hard effort or desperation.
I was in conversation recently with someone who was delighted to make my acquaintance. According to her, she's been listening to me for many years now on radio and it was a delight to finally meet me in person. She talked about so many things and made reference many episodes of this talk show that challenged her, inspired her and gave her pointers in the right direction.
She then said and I quote "Mr. Afolabi, most of what you say are very true and realistic, but I must confess they're not easy to practice, you know as human beings we are weak so the will to really do most of what you say is not there". End of quote. I smiled. I knew precisely what she meant, the problem was beyond the will, it was actually the techniques required to translate what has been learnt into behaviours and normal practice. It's not a problem of will, it's a problem of application techniques.
I quite agree there are many of us who have read books, heard many teachings, messages and information capable of turning our lives around for greatness, but till now, no changes, in fact things appear to be getting worse. The knowledge is there, the understanding is there but the ability to practice what we know and sustain performance is the problem.
Incidentally what you know is nothing if you can't put them to use. It is what you do that transforms your life not what you know.
As older kids, teenagers and young adults, we had dreams of very brilliant, bright and successful future. We nursed dreams about our lifestyles, life qualities, family lives, achievements, accomplishments and even riches.
We dreamt about certain kind of cars, beautiful houses in classy neighbourhoods, travels and vacations to exotic spots, and a very fancy lifestyle in general.
Never did we dream, anticipate or plan for a future of insufficiency, financial struggle, deprivation, constraints and limitation, we wanted a limitless experience in life. We wanted to dream and bring all our dreams to pass.
Many of us hardly planed for a regular life or an average income, as young people we never planned to be broke, restricted or helpless. We dreamt so big and our dreams got us excited and made us smile.
Even now, speaking to many young people about their future, most of what you'll hear are great things they want to do, own and accomplish. All great and magnificent stuff; noting small, nothing minor, nothing regular.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to think back with me today, what was that great dream you had about your future finance, business, family, assets and your lifestyle. Are you living the life? If not, why not?
I don't suppose I need to express in detail or emphasise strongly the realities of how our socio-economic life is, in today's Nigeria.
The rising cost of goods and services, creepy inflation and exchange rate, tough government choices and options, balancing national interests and social welfare, tough negotiations and politicking, many Nigerians feeling the intense pressure of the economic crisis.
The media, the market and everyday commercial activities carried out keep reminding and reiterating the realities of our situation. When will this end, when will things get better is everyone's new song. Many of us are praying, hoping, believing and trusting that something unusual will happen, something not short of a miracle could happen and there would be instant relief and respite for all.
For many, our cash flow channels are being stifled, the avenues for revenue truncated, costs escalating in crazy fashions and we're left helpless, intimidated and clueless. We sure, need a miracle we believe.
Many of us have become afraid and perplexed, the future looks bleak and scary, if something doesn't happen soon, we might be doomed or so, we think.
Ladies and gentlemen, as negative as all these sound and appear, as awry as our situations may feel, I assure you, there is still something you can do, something within your power to control that will bring to you respite and freedom despite current situation and conditions.
David became frustrated after he realised how difficult it would be to correct an error he committed much earlier in his marriage. David is married to a very beautiful lady whom he met at his younger sister's birthday party five years ago. He was extremely captivated by the unique and uncommon beauty of this girl. Apart from her beauty, she was also very polished and refined. She comes from a rich background and born to very exposed and high profile parents. Well-travelled and classy.
He couldn't believe his luck when this girl said yes to his advances a few months after the encounter. They began to date, became really close and eventually got married. David didn't come from her kind of background nor experienced her kind of upbringing. His parents were average civil servants and right from his childhood, he's learnt to work very hard, endure hard times and solve his own problems.
Somewhere in his mind, he's always felt lucky about the kind of woman he married and felt underserving of her to a degree. He's often asked her why, of all the great and exposed guys in her life, she settled for him as a life partner. She would smile back at him and with a curl smile respond singing that's the way love goes.
About six months into the marriage, David's wife couldn't cope with combining the pressure of employment and the crisis of her first pregnancy. She was very weak, sick and troubled by the condition. David suggested she resigns and relax till after the baby is born, she concurred.
I'm a proponent of the act of personal review. Anything that is deserving of growth and improvement must be subject to reviews. An enterprise for instance is measured in growth through regular and periodic reviews. Performance is checked, accounts are audited, corrections and amendments are made when and where necessary. This is a logical approach to ensuring the enterprise keeps doing well and consistently repositioned for good growth.
As humans we also have the capacity for growth, improvement and better performance. We function in purpose and have a reason for existing. Regular checks and audits of our lives and performance is necessary if we really want to do well and live a great and fulfilling life.
Dear friend, can you describe your experience and achievements in life right now as great? From a rating of one to ten; one being the lowest, how would you score yourself?
To be able to appraise and score your life performance correctly, there must be a benchmark, a pre-set standard. There must be a target, you must have a clear picture of what you want and where you want to be; how close are you now to your dream destination? That's how to fairly score yourself.
Many of us live very busy lives. We are actually very busy. We have so much to do that a day appears not to be enough. From dawn to dusk we are up and about doing one thing or the other, chasing one thing or the other. We can be busy with formal and serious affairs and we can also be busy at pleasurable and entertaining matters. It doesn't really matter which one of both is keeping us occupied, we are just a crew of busy people. It'll amaze you how someone can labour and work tirelessly towards organising a party and this same person will stay awake all night preparing for exams or a presentation or project at work. For pleasure, leisure, adventure or progress in life, most of us are very busy.
The delusion of a busy life is the assumption or suggestion that you're working very hard in life, so you should automatically have something to show for it. Unfortunately, being busy is not the same as being productive so you can be very busy and still have nothing much to show. It's possible to be busy but still broke, backward and regressive.
This confusion is the reason many become paranoid and begin to believe they have spiritual problems hence consult spiritualists to help them tackle the spirit of backwardness and the spirit of the snail. The reality is, many are busy, hardworking and diligent but not productive. Unfortunately, life does not truly reward hard work, life pays only for productivity. It's what is produced - the product, that money is exchanged for, not the labour or activity.
One subject many of us are reluctant to discuss is what our future holds. We naturally love to bask in the experiences of today, we want to take pleasure in today and do all what will make gratifying the activities of our today. Many are hardly mindful of the future, anytime someone or something raises the question or reminder about the future, we mentally just wish to switch off.
Perhaps, we don't really like discussing the future because we are anxious about what it portends. We are uneasy about uncertainties, unwanted outcomes and disappointing eventualities so, we'd rather not think or talk about it. It's scary.
Ladies and gentlemen, the avoidance of tomorrow as a matter to ponder in your mind does not nullify its certainty. Being sceptical in planning and fortifying your future wouldn't push it further away from you. Wisdom hence, is that decision to brace up in courage and critically think about your future and how you can make it superior to your present.
Many of us like to subscribe to philosophies that suggests we are powerless against tomorrow. We like it when it's said that no one knows tomorrow and no one can do anything about the future. We eagerly embrace such theories as it sits well within our wish zone. But the truth is, mankind to a large extent shapes the future. Our collective activities as humans determine the consequences and possibilities of the future. What I do, what you do, what we all do actually shapes the future to a very large extent.
Sometimes one can get emotional when people chose to just talk to you and open up to you on their very personal issues, pain and frustrations without any inhibition, reservation or embarrassment.
When a man is tired of life, tired of living and nothing really matters anymore, the whole idea of being a man, being strong, comporting oneself and putting up a good front can just fall apart like a pack of cards. When a man believes there's nothing more to lose, nothing really matters to such a one anymore.
As this man shared his experience of pain and regret with me a few month ago in my live class, I couldn't help but feel very sorry for him. He looked very tired, his eyes were weak and bloodshot, he had not shaved for a couple of days, his countenance was that of permanent worry, his eye bags confirmed he hadn't been sleeping well, his expensive shirt was rough and had stains on them, it was obvious he had lost some considerable weight and every now and again as he spoke, he would sigh and his voice will get croaky and he would suppress the urge to cry.
I noticed also he would tighten his lips and shake his head vigorously but firmly every now and again and hiss; he would clench both hands together tightly in a fist, release them and let them drop loosely by his side then he'd adjust himself again and his sitting position. He was restless, worried and very anxious.
He's not a poor man, he looked very okay judging by the price of the shirt he wore, his shoes and wrist watch. He looked financially comfortable. I took all these in very quickly and began to pay attention to what he had to say; wondering what the problem was with this, good looking, but very distressed man who appeared to be in his early fifties.
Essential to your rapid growth and success in life are the kind of people you have in and around your life. You cannot succeed alone no matter how you try. The most respected and admired spiritual leaders in human history had to choose disciples and strong supporters for them to effectively fulfil purpose and destiny. Life has been designed for us to work with people and succeed with people no matter how imperfect human beings are.
Positing not to collaborate with anybody to achieve maximum success in life or any venture is a fallacy. It is impossible to make it alone in life. You need people.
More important than having people in your life is having the right people. All the people you have in your life today can be categorised as either assets or liabilities. Some people are really good supporters and helpers, some are just mere weights and burdens in your life.
The nature and function of the kind of people you allow or permit into your life will determine if you'll succeed or struggle through life.
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