Happy New Year people of Hope.
2014 in one word = Responsibility. Far from marriage, it was a roller-coaster call of duty from air/highway travels to hands-on Agriculture & business executive to Govt MDA’s partnership & Public speaking. Here’s #5takeaways from 2014 into 2015.
1. On Fear, Courage and Good fortune
My first speaking engagement was in 2014 and it was to a high-powered audience comprising; DG of NAFDAC, Commandant of the Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Center & Directors from CBN, NAFDAC & NEXIM among other senior staffs. I was so intimidated and even asked to be excused from the speakers list. After much encouragement, I ended up speaking for 10mins. If I didn’t take that first step in fear, I may not have reached my current comfort level in public speaking. Fear hinders our ability to take advantage of opportunities & right to eat from the good of the land. It takes more courage to live than to die. While feeding our flock one evening, I reserved some extra feed on the ground between my legs. A moment later, some of them started to approach it. I stood still. Two feet away, about 3 out of the 5 who made the move had dropped off. Of course it was not a trap, it was just a test to determine who sees the opportunity & was courageous enough to take it Inspite of fear. At the end, just one of the remaining two made it. The other, for fear of the unknown, gave up. Takeaway: There’s no courage without fear, fortune favors the brave. Never give up!
2. On Meditation and Knowledge
If ‘self-government’ were an institution, its seat of power will be ‘Meditation’. To do what is set before us or experience what life throws on your path without complaining demands self-governance. Meditation, to me, is the art of seeing the distance and choosing to take pleasure in the journey. Meditation has helped me appreciate the length of the path I’ve chosen & has become an avenue for continuous transformation into a more dynamic version of myself every day. The ride’s been bumpy: from employee shocks to emergencies to loss of faith, vexation, self-doubt & lack of knowledge on what to do next. We can complain all we want about life or we can embrace it all as it comes. Pain is for the living and all these things & feelings must be felt as part of a divine plan. My takeaway? The fruit of meditation is determined by the seed we plant through reading. Alas, he who doesn’t read holds no advantage over he who can’t read. Oscar Wilde puts it best “what you read when you don’t have to, determines who you are when you can’t help it”.
3. On Self-reliance and Teamwork
In business execution, I’ve learnt it doesn’t matter if you own a company or you are an employee; Self-reliance and initiative puts you in a different class. Last year, our company signed a multi-million naira deal with NAFDAC to train its staff nationwide on agriculture as an alternate income stream. I remember the apprehension & overcrowded work schedule the team faced preparing for that inaugural edition in Lagos. Working with a team of thorough professionals made the work light. Looking back, I’m glad I learnt all I could from that exposure because two weeks to the Abuja edition, on grounds of irreconcilable differences, over 80% of the team had left! With the stakes much higher because we are Lagos based, the situation was troubling. Overlooking small details would cost the company. A rookie (myself) was handed the planning & coordination of the Abuja training. The process of working late nights, sending e-correspondences to guests, getting course souvenirs ready, transporting, protocol mgmt, food etc taught me an important lesson: to train like a team player but never forget to develop self-reliance.
4. On Habits & Growth
On the farm one evening, I spotted an aggressive she-goat with a habit of chasing weaker goats from feeding during chow-time. I seized and tied her down. The following morning when I let her roam free again, I noticed something. Though now free, she kept dragging her hind leg as though the resistance was still there. Sometimes in life, we meet with certain resistances and encounter certain addictions. Life is constant transformation and some habits formed years or months ago may be outdated and no longer apply to who we want to be. T.D Jakes said “you can’t be who you want to be and who you used to be at the same time.” For the purpose of growth, we may need to drop some habits & recognise our tendency of returning to them not as ‘addictions’ but an attachment to a past that ended the moment we gave it up. The withdrawal effect or drag we feel is a default pain of nature and it heals itself with time, just as it did in the she-goat. I gave up some habits in 2014 one of them being casual sex. February next month marks my one year celibacy. My takeaway is this; habits’ matters. Freedom from self limiting habits and boundaries within is essential for God to enlarge our territory. God wants us to grow.
5. On Hope, Challenges and 2015
Hope is a glow in the dark candle. The darker the environment, the more luminous it becomes. However, sometimes, when situations are really dim or dark, our instincts drives us to panic. Sadly, the light of hope is not designed to illuminate our next step: that’s the role of faith and intuition. Hope is designed to get us moving in the dark, even when we fall or make mistakes, towards a light only seen in the distance. Hope brings us to the knowledge that the sea is large and our boat is so small. On this journey, the aim is to realise how vast and infinite God is so that we can grow a Godly reference for Him. As for challenges, they are like wood to a fire: It can either douse or arouse enthusiasm. Just as a very large wood can put-out a weak fire or become fuel to an intense one. My takeaway here is; Depending on the intensity of our passion for what we do, we can convert challenges to advantages and rise higher through them. In 2015, I hope to continue experiencing life & to meet whatever comes of good or evil with a gallant spirit, high hearted happiness and continued humility.