A couple of weeks ago I was in conversation with a middle aged man who was fighting depression. He was looking for someone to talk to, open up too and just pour out all his mind to. He was tired of life and tired of everything. Life to him has lost colour or flavour, nothing appeared interesting, exciting or fun. He didn't see anything great in his future, all that he loved, wanted, worked for and struggled for now seemed useless and pointless. His job, marriage, children, assets, properties, friendships and relationships appeared needless. He had lost his essence and the need to keep on living. Even religion to him now appeared powerless and ineffective. He just wanted to be by himself and shut out everything and everyone. He was depressed.
In the course of pouring out his mind and as I paid rapt attention to all he had to say without interrupting; just occasional nods to show I'm following, something remarkable struck me. Every single story and experience he shared with me about how he came to this sad state in his life had to do 100 percent with his relationships. The casual factors of his depression included and were exclusive to his parents, his siblings, his in-laws, his children, his business partners, his wife, his friends and investors. There was no single mention of any stranger as also responsible for his crisis.
Now, these are all people with whom, once upon a time he had exciting, interesting and quality relationships. These are people he love, valued, respected, wanted and enjoyed their company.
A major human limitation is the inability to correctly predict the future. No man can correctly tell you what will happen to you within the next hour. Mankind in the desperation to know and control tomorrow has in fact made consultations with divinity and mysticism even with that, control isn't guaranteed. In this life, no one knows tomorrow, no one can absolutely manipulate tomorrow.
Our dreams, ambition and aspirations for the future are all a matter of hope, not certainty. So we work, plan, strategize and pray hoping our expectations from the future shall be met, at times things turn out in our favour but at other times things turn out different.
Not knowing tomorrow is a critical reason for mankind's dependence and relying on God. We pray to God to bring to pass all our hopes and aspirations, we pray our dreams come true, we wish for a bright, fulfilling and rewarding future. We all want a happier tomorrow than today, incidentally the power of tomorrow does not lie with us.
As impossible as it is to tell accurately and with precision the details of how your tomorrow will unfold, and as the control of your future is beyond you as mere human, there are however, some rules, some principles, some ordinances and habits that can to a degree help influence and shape the quality of your future and make your future almost predictable.
In this life, the law of sowing and reaping is rife and real.
I've been working on a project for a while now and a couple of months ago I contracted a part of the job to a man I believed was a professional. He came highly recommended from someone I trust, so I thought it wise to engage him.
During our pre activation meetings when I was briefing him on the job I wanted him to do and how I wanted him to go about it, he came across as responsible, honest and sincere. As I kept taking him through the designs; sharing visuals with him and ideas on concepts and adaptations – also asking if he could do it precisely, his response always had this religious undertone. Do you understand? "yes sir by God's grace." was his response. "Can you do this and that?" "I can do all things sir, through Him who strengthens me"
"Can you meet the deadline?" all things are possible sir, he replied. Most of our conversations at these meetings had strong religious undertone and remarks in his response. Without prejudice, I'm usually weary of people who at the slightest opportunity want to display religiosity, it makes me suspicious. You know, these days it's very easy to learn the language of religion even if you're not religious because religion has become very popular and entertaining especially in Nigeria. "Christianese", the religious language of Christians was what this man kept speaking throughout our business meeting.
Eventually I gave him the job and subsequently in retrospect I wish I never did. He messed up the job completely; wasted time, wasted money and wasted materials. He was always full of excuses and covered up all his faults, failures, incompetence and bad decisions speaking religious language.
Very common with many people in the workplace is the situation of holding some colleagues prisoners in their minds. Many of us are today not very happy with one or two of our colleagues because they have wronged us terribly in some ways. Some colleagues are in fact even now doing terrible things to us and we are not very happy with them. We can't stand, We don't wish them well, and in extreme cases we sometimes pray and wish something evil will befall them.
Offence is very common in the work place and in fact it's a natural part of the corporate world. The work environment is competitive in nature, we all try to outdo one another so as to benefit the elevations that will quickly move us to the top in leadership. We want to become powerful, prosperous and relevant within the business, hence the competitive consciousness of all employees.
This ambition can however become intense and negative to the point where wickedness, betrayal, set up, deceit, gossip, slander and dirty politics become dominant within the business. Of course with all these in place, offence would be frequent and widespread. Your colleagues will offend you, betray you, lie against you, speak ill of you to the boss; try to make you look pretty bad so they can look a better candidate for a promotion and a reward.
Frankly speaking, many of your colleagues may have nothing personal against you, I mean outside of work they can be nice, sweet, loving, generous, kind and caring as individuals, but as long as you work within the same organisation and you're in competition for rapid progress, you'll see the worst of them.
As glaring as it is, many times we still do not see the true essence of our actualities, our lives and our purposes. Though occasionally, we sit still in our alone moments, when we really come to ourselves, not overwhelmed by the pressures of life and we think deep, trying to find a meaning and a reason for our being and in such moments, many of us are not really pleased with our discoveries vis a vis our accomplishments.
Many of us occasionally switch on the self-assessment mode when something shocking or tragic happens like the sudden death of a loved one a relative or a familiar person. We also at times think about our lives when it's a new year or a birthday. We also reconsider our lives when someone we know and underrate accomplishes something noble, phenomenal and praise worthy. We admire them and then begin to measure our lives against theirs and many times we don't like what we realise.
Obviously, a natural tendency for human beings is to socialise. We are communal in nature, we mix, relate and interrelate with one another, we are not designed or wired to be independent, exclusive and private; we are not designed for loneliness. Hence we want to do things with other people all the time.
It's another working day and you're not looking forward to it. You're probably unhappy, depressed and distressed. You feel so down and reluctant and the last place you'll really want to be is at the office. Maybe It's really not about work, oh no, work may still be fun and interesting. Maybe you love your job and you're working where you want. Your company may also be a successful establishment and the pay might be pretty good. You've risen through the ranks and without a doubt everyone knows you're very good at what you do.
In fact you're looking very good for another promotion and your performance is speaking well for you. The organization does need you and would do anything to keep you, you're comfortable with your salary and your perks and frequent bonuses are enviable. Looking at you, you're obviously a depiction of the so called upwardly mobile in career – doing well, looking well and delivering again and again.
So what's the issue? Why the distress? Why are you unhappy? Simple - you're probably having people problems. Other members of the organization don't like you, can't stand you and can't wait for your down fall.
You see, in many organizations, outstanding employees are not usually loved by other employees. This is because they make other employees look ordinary. Outstanding employees make difficult tasks look easy and make the extra mile the standard. They have a way of making every other employee look lazy, laid back and bland. Top management keep making them the point of reference for real effectiveness and performance and would keep rewarding them and appreciating them.
It's quite common, it's in fact the way everyone, well; most organisations and people go about it these days, much less individuals.
In as much as it's true that power is critical in business and career, it is still not as important as performance. This is because power has its limits, everyone's power is limited to a department, a territory, a duration or a tenure, but performance is continuous, in fact it's expected to keep improving, it never expires or runs out of fashion.
Within industries today, immediately a new person is appointed into a position of power, almost everyone connected or relevant to that office begin to investigate and check on the person; the profile, preference and personality of this new power broker.
They want to know him, they research his history; they're interested in his temperament, his character, his experience, his competence, his integrity and pleasures.
Is he corruptible? Does he have a weakness for the opposite gender, or for money? Is he biased on grounds of religion, ethnicity, race or even gender? Is he hardworking or indolent? The gist begin to spread, everyone is asking, wanting to know simply because they want to know how to relate and deal with this new power broker.
Today many of us appear helpless in dealing with issues of life, we grumble and mumble and complain about everyone and everything. We are overwhelmed by so many questions on our minds; so many things we wonder about and can't stop bothering about why they are so.
Prominent amongst our many worries are people. This of course is understandable because you can't control people; you can hardly make people do what you want them to do, hence your frustration, disappointment and in fact at times pain when people in your life, people you love, people you adore act in ways contrary to your desire and expectations.
Some of the many questions on our minds could include, why can't my husband be faithful and honest in this marriage, why can't my wife be more supportive, understanding and sensitive, why can't my children behave appropriately, why can't my parents be more selfless and reasonable in their dealings with me.
Some will also question, why can't my boss be humble, open minded and respectful, why can't my subordinates be more responsible and committed, when will my colleagues stop playing this cheap politics, when will I be recommended for that overdue promotion?
For how long will I keep tolerating this marriage with this lazy and broke husband? For how long will I keep tolerating this nagging and complaining wife? For how long will I keep tolerating this extravagant spouse, for how long will I keep enduring this stingy husband?
A Potential is having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future. I want you to take a good look at yourself this morning, just think of you and consider how far you have grown and developed over the years. Remember, if you can, the cute and lovely you as a kid of five years old, how you used to jump and play and run around the whole place and get excited and attracted to so many kiddie stuff like toys, cartoon movies and just playing and having fun with other little kids your age.
Then with time you evolved, became older and more mature. You became a teenager and other things began to interest you, began to attract you and occupy you. You also changed in appearance. You became bigger, more masculine or feminine in appearance, your body changed and your adulthood began to emerge. Then at last you became a full grown adult. And of course, teenage stuff was no longer that exciting or attractive; your thinking, priorities, interest, activities and perspectives in life changed considerably, and you began to behave differently from when you were a teenager – from when you were a child.
Dear friend, do you realise how you are today in physical appearance was not acquired from the outside? You always had it on your inside. Your adult body features were not acquired from the environment, the market place or the hospital, you had it all along on the inside of you even as a child. You didn't buy your beard, or buy your natural hips, backside, boobs or your husky voice; your height or your matured looks, you always had these features in you right from when you were a little child.
For many of us, almost 90% of our problems today are money related. If you have enough money today my friend, most of your challenges would be resolved. In fact a survey we conducted late last year confirmed more than 80% of Lagosians would resign from their current employment, if they suddenly become very rich.
Many of us, wake up every morning and diligently rush to work not really because we enjoy what we do or are passionate about what we do, we daily go to work and invest several hours working because we want to secure our monthly income; salaries and allowances.
Many of us today work very hard purely for monetary reward. We are not really passionate about achieving anything great, outstanding or phenomenal, we just want to do enough to impress our bosses, employers and retain our employment. We don't go the extra mile, attempt to improve what we do or where we work, we just want to get the money.
Over and over again many make career decisions and employment moves based on an opportunity to make more money. Many keep changing jobs based on that desire to increase how much they earn. Dramatically, some employers today knowing this fact, hence, have become deceitful; making remuneration promises they cannot keep, and salary packages they cannot sustain, consequently after a few months, they begin to owe salaries or cut salaries.
No one exists and succeeds in isolation. It is contrary to human nature. In fact isolation is a form of punishment, hence imprisonment is quite a part of our human system to address misconduct and vile behaviours in our society. Isolation is not good for humans, to destroy any man's confidence, guts and gusto, isolate him.
It is tough to have any reason and motivation for living when you're all alone in this world. It is repugnant to our human nature.
That is why it is natural and essential for us to exist in family and societal formats. To have villages, communities, states, countries and nations. We are wired to do things together as mankind.
Critical as this is to mankind, it can be very demanding, stressful and at times destructive relating with other humans. Human beings are the most difficult creatures to deal with on earth.
Their intelligence, power and ability to choose makes it pretty tough dealing and relating easily with people. Hence as important as it is to relate with other humans, you must employ the needed wisdom, intelligence and tact required for successful and fruitful interactions.
Are you a team leader or an entrepreneur? How is your team doing in this season? Are they the same way they used to be or they're better than they were? How well is your team growing? Let's talk about that this morning – leading your team.
Leadership, I believe is the single most important thing in the success or failure of a team or business. For an organisation to work efficiently, teams are required and people are expected to work in and with teams and of course, these teams need to be led, hence, a leader must be appointed for the teams.
However, no matter the talent, capacity, ability and knowledge of individual members of a team, if there is a problem with leadership, the team is not likely to perform so well. Leadership is critical to the success of any team.
In business organisations, many leaders today became leaders based on their competence on the job, knowledge of the job, passion, commitment, loyalty, experience and their ability to deliver satisfactorily on tasks, not actually on their ability to lead people. They were made leaders because they did their jobs well and added value to the business, it was a form of reward, not because they had great relationship and leadership capacities.
As soon as they are appointed, many of these kind of leaders soon begin to realise leadership is not as easy as they thought. They give instructions, directions, advice and tasks to the team and members of the team either refuse to carry out the tasks, decide to do it their own way, do a very bad job or even completely ignore the team leader's instruction.
What is fear? Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of hurt, danger or pain.
Hmmm, fear is an emotion, fear is an emotion. How exactly do emotions come about? Your emotions - that is the way you feel about something is a product of your mind-set and your memory.
The way you see a matter, the way you see a person, the way you see a situation, your interpretation of anything; how you think it should be and how you think it could be can actually trigger off all sorts of emotions, including fear. Your various emotions is a product of your judgements.
Dear friend no human is born with any form of emotion including fear. Emotions are produced based on expectations, perceptions and mind sets and these are a function of your judgement.
Every baby was taught judgement by its environment, experience and those who raised it. Some times when a toddler keeps attempting to touch a lantern or candle for instance, at times the care giver may allow that baby touch it and hurt, and from that experience the baby would learn to be afraid of fire. Dear friend, fear is learnt.
What we go through; the good, the bad, the ugly and the nasty shape our judgements of every matter based on how we feel during and after the experience. Consequently, the memory of that bad, ugly and nasty experience seem to threating us anytime we feel their might be a repeat of that experience. This threatening memory is what we call fear.
Leadership is not exclusively about positions of power and authority, leadership is much more about influence. It is your ability to connect with others and secure their buy in regarding your vision, conviction or advocacy in life. It is about drawing attention of the people that matter or those involved to something important, useful and relevant.
Many people today don't realise they are leaders as they usually suppose leadership is in positions and appointments. Many don't think they can influence anyone or anything. Many primarily see themselves as subjugates, on lookers or supporters of anything they see or identify with. Many don't really know everyone is a leader.
You see, all humans are born as kings, you are not created by the almighty to just exist and pass through this world without impact or influence. You are on an assignment, you are here to achieve a purpose and deliver a good to humanity.
The almighty definitely does not waste resources, hence he wouldn't waste his time and creativity investing so much into you for nothing. You are not on this earth to exist, eat, procreate and die off one day. If that's all there is to you, I'm afraid other creatures can do that as well. There is therefore a superior purpose to your being human than eating, existing, surviving and procreating.
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.
Many just call me up crying and lamenting, they list all the essential responsibilities and carter on their plate and can't help but wonder how they'd cope and not end up in disgrace. Truth be told it can be daunting and very painful.
From Christ Society International Outreach under:
From Frankly Speaking With Muyiwa Afolabi under:
From Frankly Speaking With Muyiwa Afolabi under:
From Frankly Speaking With Muyiwa Afolabi under:
From Frankly Speaking With Muyiwa Afolabi under: