Right decisions

…the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day…
– Proverbs 4:18

The constancy and direction of change

This proverb captures the concept of change – positive and desirable change.
In the equation of life, change is a constant. The crucial thing in our lives, however, is not the constancy of change, but it’s direction. By this I mean that change will always occur in our lives, regardless of our wishes; but in what direction will that change occur?
Change can either be positive or negative, desirable or undesirable.
When change is positive and desirable, we think and speak in terms of SUCCESS.
When change is negative and undesirable, we refer to it as retrogression or deterioration.

What kind of changes are taking place in your life?
Do you like the direction of things in your life right now?

It’s interesting to note that the only kind of changes that occur without effort or force, are undesirable changes! For instance, what would happen if you were to leave your house without tending? Would the lawns and flowers become automatically trimmed and beautifuly laid out? Would the rooms be ‘naturally’ clean and sweetly scented and disinfected? I doubt so. I think we know what would happen!

What of your ‘natural’ looks, if you were to leave yourself without deliberate attention? I believe you get my point – positive and desirable changes are created by deliberate efforts.

Positive changes are the results of right decisions and actions.

Observe from our reference proverb, that positive changes – ‘shineth more and more unto the perfect day’ – results from right decisions and actions – ‘the path of the just.’

The fact of life is that desirable and positive changes demand right, determined, and persistent actions. To see the kind of progress that will thrill your heart, you’ll need some measure of forcefulness and aggressiveness in making and pursuing the right decisions.

Are you making progress? Are you approaching your goals? At what rate?
Check yourself, your direction, and your speed.

‘…path of the just…’ symbolizes a sequence of right steps, in other words, a sequence of right decisions and actions. To make progress then, you must be consistent in making the right decisions.
If you will consistently make the right decisions in life, if you will consistently choose rightly in the midst of life’s confusing alternatives, you will experience progress, and enjoy success.

How to make the right decisions on important matters

Any decision that requires a huge commitment of time, money, and other resources, and which consequences will determine your happiness and position on the long term, is an important decision.
Below are some important guidelines to help you avoid wrong decisions and hence insure yourself against unnecessary suffering.

#1. Don’t make decisions on important matters if you feel pressured

Pressure can come from people, circumstances around you, needs, ambitions, and so on.
Never never make decisions on important matters if you feel pressured.
This might mean a little slowing down, but isn’t this wiser than being hasty and missing the way?
Yes people might think that you are stupid, or that you don’t care. So be it.
Learn to use phrases like, “I’ll think about it…,” “give me sometime,” “Let me pray,” etc. to buy time.

#2. Don’t make decisions on important matters when you are so sad

Sadness lowers your emotional altitude. It narrows your perspectives and shrinks your horizon.
If you make decisions on important matters such as your relationships, finances, career, and so on, when you are sad, chances are that you will later regret those decisions.
Many relationships have been fatally damaged, and many lives marred beyond repairs, because of decisions made during sadness.
If you are in a state of sadness, gloom, melancholy, and so on, and you have a critical decision to make, postpone that decision, if you can, until you are out of the sad state.
Fight the sadness first. Then you can make high quality and right decisions.
Study my post on sadness and master the weapons for overcoming sadness.

Never never make decisions on important matters when you are sad. Wait until the excitement, enthusiasm, and zeal returns!

#3. Don’t make important decisions when you are very angry

Tomorrow’s realities will be determined by the decisions you make today.
The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your decisions.
Qualitative decisions lead to a qualitative life. Mediocre decisions lead to a mediocre existence.
Life will present you with multiple options, and you will be required to make choices, to make decisions. The path you choose determines the quality of life you live and where you end up.
To make the right decisions, you must operate out of a sound mind. This is not possible when you are upset or angry. An angry man is temporarily insane, which is to say that his mind is unsound.

“…be angry, but sin not…” – Ephesians 4:26

Another way to read this verse is this:”WHEN YOU ARE ANGRY, DO NOTHING”
You might not avoid anger, but you can avoid speaking or acting in anger.
You can avoid making decisions on important matters when you are angry, for your good and that of others.

A foolish man gives full expression to his anger in words and deeds.The angry man will make a lot of erroneous and faulty decisions and will ultimately ruin his life.
In the context of qualitative decision making, anger is poisonous, destructive, and detrimental. It does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
The path of anger is not the path of the just. So it does not result in progress but in deterioration.

Never never make decisions on important matters when you are angry.

Whenever you are in a state of anger, postpone important decisions. Better still, do nothing.
Most of the problems in your life, most of your failures – lack of money, broken relationships, and so on – can be traced to decisions made in anger.
Move out of the immediate cause of that anger.
Give yourself a reasonable minimum time of non-action on the issue at hand. Then fill up that time with inspiring sounds and words; expose your mind to positive presence and environments. When your mind and emotions are calm and settled, you can then consider the options at hand, and make better decisions.

In order to experience a life of good success and positive progress, you must strive to make the right decisions in important areas of your life.

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Have you ever felt like giving up lately?

Have you ever felt like giving up lately?
Are you feeling like giving up right now?
Have you given up already?

Don’t give up on yourself!

Ours is a tough world. It’s very trying and challenging.
More often than not the battle gets so tough, the storm so strong, and the night so dark it will take super human strength to make it through to the next day.
Everyone goes through storms – ups, and downs, mountains, and valleys. Many break down under the pressure and quit. Others simply abandon it all and run.
Yet some people somehow manage to hold on. They refuse to quit and eventually emerge as winners.

How are you reacting to the pressures of life?
Do you feel like abandoning the fort and fleeing into sadness, and self pity? Or do you hold on and win?

I wrote this post with one message in mind, and that is this, don’t give up on yourself !

A lot of things can act on you to force you to give up.
Let’s examine a few of them.

#1 Your personal moral failures

Perhaps, each time you look into your personal life, you see so much moral failings. Consequently, you feel so rotten, so useless, and so worthless.
Do you find it hard to lift up your face before God and other people who appear holier than you?
Because of my responsibilities as a Christian Pastor, I understand these feelings too well. I meet all kinds of people during my counseling sessions and many have told me, “Pastor, I feel useless, and worthless. I feel so dirty.”

A lot of the people that come to me for counseling have been under torture from extreme feelings of guilt

It’s ok to feel guilty. So protect your privilege to feel guilty and maintain a tender conscience.
Do not become hardened in immorality. Don’t justify your moral failings.

I do not intend in anyway to justify wrong actions but rather to tell you that in spite of your failures, you can still make it, if you don’t give up on yourself .

Let your guilt work for you.
Let it drive you to cry, to confess, and to make restitutions.
But don’t allow feelings of guilt drive you to quit on yourself.
Peter and Judas both betrayed Jesus. Judas gave up and hanged. Peter held on and became the chief of the Apostles. King David held on after his moral failures, and together with Bathsheba fathered the wise king Solomon and our Savior Jesus Christ.

In spite of your weaknesses, you can still make it.
If God can make murderers like Moses, and blasphemers like St. Paul, into great men, He can raise you and use you if you don’t give up on yourself.

#2 How other people treat you

Do you feel like the people around you don’t care about you?
Are you concerned that nobody seems to be interested in how you are feeling and faring?
This is a selfish world. We all have felt the insensitivities of this world at one time or the other.
Besides, everyone is going through their own stuff, so much that they often fail to notice us.

Are you feeling betrayed by those you once trusted?
You might even right now be going through rejection and heartbreak.
What do you do?
If you cave in and wallow in self pity, the world will trample on you and life just goes on.

So pick yourself up!
Step out of your shell!
Dare to move on!
Don’t give up on yourself!

Even if it’s only for your own sake, move on. Don’t give up.
If no one cares or loves you, love yourself, accept the love of God, and move on!

#3 Unfairly comparing yourself with others

As foolish as this is, we just can’t help doing it.
Everyone does it at one point or the other; some more or less than others.
The single lady compares herself with the others – course mates, roommates, age mates, siblings, friends -who’ve gotten married and are having a ‘great time’. She feels she’s not getting any younger and nobody seems to be looking at her. The few relationships she’s involved in don’t seem to be headed towards marriage. She panics and probably sinks into sadness.
I understand that too well. Yes, I know that you want to have your own husband, experience the thrill of loving and being loved, and the joy of carrying and nursing your own children.
Yet, my message to you is, don’t give in to panic or depression. You don’t necessarily need to get married to live a life of relevance and happiness. Don’t give up on yourself simply because no one seems to value you enough to want to get married to you.

Hold on to your faith that the One who created male and female has one for you!
In the meantime, throw yourself into the service of God and humanity.
Launch into a labor of love!
Focus on discovering and developing your potentials and purpose; focus on making yourself a blessing to this generation.
You are an asset to your world.
Regardless of what anyone might think of you, I’d love to inform you that you are a gift to this world !

You must not give in to a feeling of hopelessness and inferiority.
Do not look at yourself through the lens of your current situation in life, where you are right now.
Look at yourself through the lens of your hopes, your dreams, and the world you desire to live in.
Believe in your ability to make it and in God’s grace and favor to come through for you.

Sometimes, the fact of your own failure to meet with certain ideals – projected by people who look up to you – could pressure you to give up! Sometimes I wish I could project the image of a perfect, all knowing leader. Unfortunately, try as much as I would, I still can’t!
Such posture often embarrasses me.
The truth is that I’ve made more mistakes than I can dare to remember. The scores of my wrongs far outweigh those of my rights! Yet my God goes on with me. He insists on using me to day to create positive impact in thousands of lives around the world.
Our Creator is more interested in sincere and humble people, than He is in those who are ‘perfect.’
So, if you don’t give up on yourself, if you don’t quit, you will eventually win.

#5 Your personal responsibilities, goals, ambitions, and projects

Do you feel so inadequate, and so incompetent to deal with daily responsibilities and challenges?
Does the thought of your unfulfilled goals, unrealized dreams, thwarted ambitions, and uncompleted projects make you begin to feel sad, and you want to quit and run away from it all?
Never forget this: there’s enough power in you to see you through!

No matter how you feel, don’t give up.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Brighter days are ahead of you.
If you don’t quit, you’ll live to see God’s intervention in the affairs of your life; you’ll live to see the tide turn in your favor.
Put the next leg forward.
Move on.
Hold on.
Don’t give up on yourself!

God bless you.

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Keep The Dream Alive!

When we were kids, we had fantastic dreams.

It was so easy to dream then because we didn’t ‘know’ enough to think that anything was impossible. We believed we could fly and that money could fall from the sky to meet our every needs.

Whatever happened to those dreams.

Have you ever at any point dreamt of a life that is better than what you have now?

If I may ask, what happened to those dreams?

What happened to the big dreams you had sometime ago?

What happened to that belief that you could do anything?

I recall the story of a blind man sitting at the gate of the temple in ancient Jerusalem and begging for alms from those who came to worship. The blind man in the story could not imagine any other option or alternative other than a life of lameness and begging. He probably didn’t dare to dream of a reality where he wouldn’t have to beg, where he could be walking on his two legs. All he could dare to expect was trickles of coin and left-overs from other people’s charities.

Probably because that’s what the society had conditioned him to expect as a result of his lameness.

When the two disciples of Jesus, Peter and John who were passing, said “Look on us,” they were offering him a possibility…a life he couldn’t bring himself to dream of.

In the solitude of his heart, I can imagine that he’d often thought, “I wish I could walk,” and most likely, he dared not believe it, hope for it, expect it…he dared not.

Dare to dream big.

Don’t see the world as it is…see it as it should be…as you can make it.

Of course, there will be stumbling blocks along the way, and you are bound to make lots of mistakes. But don’t ever give up no matter what happens. Keep the dream alive!

If you don’t stop dreaming…if you don’t stop taking conscious and courageous steps towards your dream, God will soon make a way for you to fulfill that dream.

Enlarge your dreams!

Envision great things for yourself!

Dare to embrace all of the possibilities of God, and of life!
Small thinking is as bad as negative thinking.

Small thinking inevitably leads to small living.

Never allow your circumstances, your experiences, your background, and your environment to place limits on your expectations.

Maybe someone has infected you with a negative attitude.

Could it be that somewhere along life’s journey, you allowed yourself to become ‘programmed’ for mediocrity? Or, probably, you’ve never been taught that you can be powerful beyond measure. Could it be that along the way, you succumbed to a conditioning to go with the crowd, to be just one more head in the pool of humanity?

One of life’s tragedies is that there will always be people who will try to keep us from rising to our ultimate heights by infecting us with their fears and doubts.

Yet, there are other options and there are choices.

Are you in a place where you are just marking time and trying to survive?

Are you trying to play it safe and maintain the status quo?

I’ve written this post to challenge you…to put a new option on the table!

Anything is possible, if you can dare to believe!

It’s up to you!
Dare to believe!

It’s up to you.

How far can you see? What is the length, breath, height, and depth of your imaginations, your dreams, and your expectations?

Anything is possible, if you can dare to believe!

It’s entirely up to you.
Dare to step out!

You really can realize your loftiest dreams- if only you can dare act by faith!

And exactly here is your major challenge.

Walking by faith demands that you move out of your comfort zone – where you feel safe and secure with what you know even if it’s a miserable situation. You need courage to step out and pursue your deepest dreams.

Work with the secrets of those who have done the ‘impossible’.

Change your thought from “What if I fail?” to “What if I succeed? Then what?”

Would that scare you? It shouldn’t!

When you dare to believe, and step out of your comfort zone, you provoke God to come to your aid even when you are failing in the process.

Don’t stay in your cocoon of fear and timidity wishing and praying that things were different.

Dare to step out in faith and dare to believe.

Great men had to act in spite of their fears;

What would you do?

What would you do if you had all the money in the world this very moment?

What would you do if you knew it was impossible to fail?

Take a moment and think of it.

Then, step out of your little boat and do it!!

Dare to do something you’ve been afraid to do!

Dare to do something you couldn’t do before!

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Victims of an illusion

I had just woken from a brief nap that I took in between my duties and was staring absent mindedly on the TV set.

immigrants2

A documentary on illegal border crossing by Mexicans and other Latin Americans into the USA was being aired by BBC. As I watched, I thought of others like it that I’ve seen in recent times…hundreds of West Africans drowning off the coast of Malta trying to move into Spain and Italy…people living in the forests of eastern Germany from year to year dreaming of moving into European cities to get their hands on the so called western wealth.

During this period, I pondered on one overriding thought – do these people actually believe that by moving from their countries into western Europe, or the USA, they would instantly succeed in life? As though moving from Africa to USA automatically translated into a metamorphosis from poverty to riches!illegal border crossing

Then my thoughts moved on to my recent encounter with a young Nigerian graduate. He told me over the internet that he’d already spent one year in Morocco. He’s waiting for his chance to cross over illegally into Italy, or Spain! In the meantime, this Banking and Finance graduate from a Nigerian University is roaming the streets of Morocco, begging for living!

I think the situation is rather tragic.

It was at this point that I appreciated the fact that these people lacked an understanding of the fundamental principles of success and wealth creation. Millions of them have now ended up as modern day slaves in European and American capitalistic prison yards. Statistical evidence points to the shocking reality that less than 5% of them have the financial capacity to return to their homelands. The rest are victims of an illusion – an illusion that was fed and fueled by ignorance, mental indolence, and sheer irresponsibility.

I hope that my thoughts on this blog will challenge the illusion (among Africans) that western countries equals paradise on earth.
successJump

I pray that my work here will empower my readers to take greater responsibility over their own lives, master the underlying principles of the universe, and translate their dreams into realities.

The magic ingredient of life

A childhood fantasy

cfest 4I grew up in the rural regions of south eastern Nigeria…a little village called Odumara.
That was a long time ago.

I remember one morning…I was just 5 years old then and I was going somewhere to get firewood or something and I saw this white man, or ‘onye ocha’ as we called them. He was, I think, one of the engineers constructing a major road that passed through the village. He was probably taking a sight seeing stroll through the village path. He called out to me, “Hey! Little boy!” When I reached him, he rubbed his hand on my head and started asking me lots of questions. I really couldn’t understand much of what he was saying then because, as I said, I was still a mere village boy then. One thing I remembered I understood and never forgot at that time was that that man was an engineer. At that point I wanted to just grow up instantly, enter the university and study to be an engineer! So somehow, engineering became the ultimate career, the ultimate course and, I grew up wanting to be an engineer.

Well, when the time came for me to get into the university, several forces came into play. My dad and my uncles insisted that I study to become a medical doctor. Actually when I bought the university entrance application form, my father filled it by himself just to ensure that I got into the medical faculty! One of my uncles promised to build a hospital for me when I graduated. They wanted me to be the first medical doctor in my clan. However, deep down within me, I didn’t want to be a medical doctor. I wanted to be an engineer. It was a childhood fantasy.

Career Confusion

At this time, I had gotten ‘born-again’ . I was very zealous for the gospel. So I was moving around the town preaching the gospel under the power of God. My pastor was thrilled with my results. He called me one day and said to me, “You need to go to a bible school and study to be a pastor.”

So I now had three career paths laid out before me: I wanted to study to be an engineer; my dad wanted me to study to be a medical doctor; and now my pastor wanted me to study to be a pastor!
Amidst it all, my father who had become aware of my dilemma decided that we go to another pastor for counsel. This other pastor was more educated than my pastor and we felt he would be able to offer us better advice. He listened to us carefully and at the end he said, “I think you should study Mass Communication.” Well, needless to say that I got out of that counseling session more confused!

My choice?

Anyway, my father’s wish finally prevailed at that time. I got admission into the University of Nigeria to study medicine. However, thanks to one of his friends, my dad got talked out of his insistence that I study medicine. He allowed me to pursue the career of ‘my choice’ – engineering. So I eventually entered the university a year later. I was excited. I had arrived. I was ready to roll.

Well, I never graduated.
I dropped out of that course in my third year to become an evangelist.
I eventually started a Church which I’m still pastoring.

During the week of my thirtieth birthday, I decided to take out time to reflect on my life, review my goals, my dreams, and my priorities. One question I asked myself during that week was, “What are your regrets so far?” I thought over that question for hours. I examined it from many dimensions because I wanted it to be as accurate as possible.
Well, I was shocked at what I discovered. My number one regret was that I should have followed the advice of the second pastor who advised me to study mass communication! That was because over the years that had passed, I had discovered myself and realized that neither medicine, nor engineering had anything to do with my divine design and divine assignment. I was grateful to God then that I had dropped out of school!

I’ve found my place in lifePersonal 003

You know, if I had continued along any of the previous tracks, medicine or engineering, I would have lived a very frustrating life. Yes, I could have made a decent pay check, but then, life is not all about money. The magic ingredient of life and which I believe adds to longevity is adding value to other peoples lives by doing what you are passionate about.
I’m so glad today that I’ve found my place in life, that I’m at the core of my expertise, at the centre of my calling.
I’m now communicating God’s presence, wisdom, and favor to masses. I do that now through various means like this blog, my website, my radio broadcast, my weekly live audience talk shows, my books, magazines, audio teachings , and lots more. I’m so happy and excited about my work because I get to reach tens of thousands daily through these media.
Yet I still get scared when I think of what might have happened to me if I had let that childhood fantasy, or parental pressure force me into a path of vocation for which I lacked the passion and ability.

Introspection

What is your place in life?
Have you discovered your true vocation?
Could it be that right now some childhood fantasy is keeping you from functioning at the centre of your calling?
Is anything keeping you from your life’s true vocation?

Move Beyond Self Imposed Limitations!

This is a fairly long post. You may consider bookmarking it, or printing it out for a more reflective study in your quiet and more relaxed moments.
Thanks.

The Experiment

Bottled
An experiment was conducted by a sixth grade teacher in the presence of his students. He placed small flies in a large bottle. Then he placed a very transparent glass screen on the top of the jar. So the flies could see the open sky and the regions beyond the lid of the bottle, but not know about the screen.

During the school year they would watch the flies fly up to the top of the jar. Of course, they would hit the screen and fall back. This went on from week to week and month to month and because of the very short lifespan of the flies, generation after generation was born in that bottle. Generation after generation experienced the limitation of the lid.
But, during the last week of the year the teacher removed the screen. The flies would then fly up to where they were even with the rim of the jar (where the screen had previously been), and fall back even though the screen had been removed!

These flies were of a very low form of life, and they are not ordinarily thought of as being very teachable, yet in less than a year, it was obvious that they had become conditioned by the limiting space they were confined to.
Although this experiment was conducted during only one school year, the flies went through many generations within that one year because of their very short life-spans. And in those few generations, succeeding generations had observed their fathers and mothers and had determined that it was impossible for them to go above the top of that jar.

However, during the last two weeks of that year a few flies would reach the rim of the jar and crawl around it. Then one or two might fly away. But the rest would simply stay below the rim, at a level they were accustomed to. The flies that flew beyond the top of the jar knew there was something higher, something beyond the top of the jar. And they simply refused to accept the limitations communicated to them by the failures of preceding generations.

The Point
This experiment clearly illustrates the plight of humanity today. Human beings, ever since the fall of Adam, have become enslaved within the confines of the natural senses; within the limiting mentality and world-view of human experiences.
Could it be that we have become like those flies trapped in that bottle and have come to believe that there is no escape from the various realities we face today?

Continue reading “Move Beyond Self Imposed Limitations!”

Your Personal Success Formula

“To be nobody but yourself – in a world which is doing its best night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
– EE Cummings.

Not all tools and success formulas will work for you

He was a little boy, but he was smart, and he was bold. He was intelligent and courageous enough to reject something that worked for a more experienced person, simply because he knew it wouldn’t work for him. I’m referring to biblical David who refused to fight the giant Goliath with the weapons of his king, Saul.
Hear him:

“I cannot go in these…because I’m not used to them.” So he took them off. 1 Samuel 17:39b

No wise man would attempt to re-invent the wheel. It’s a veritable element of wisdom to build on the experience and wisdom of others. The experience of other more accomplished individuals is an invaluable asset for your own success in life. Only fools stumble through life wasting time and energy trying to learn and do things from their own experience.
Yet, you need to have the willingness, boldness, and mental acuity to embrace the fact that not all tools and success formulas will work for you.

David had his own personal success weapons with which he had already killed a lion and a bear in the wilderness, and with which he eventually killed the giant Goliath. He had fine-tuned these skills, and tools in the wilderness – a place of silence, solitude, and self discovery. He had taken advantage of his time in the wilderness to tune in to himself…to discover his own uniqueness and personal success formula. He became so established in the awareness of his own individual uniqueness that neither family nor national expressions of the status quo could intimidate him.
Consequently he was able to bring a new dimension of divinity into reality.

Don’t be cowed by successful personalities and their accomplishments

Successful people have successful personalities. Successful personalities exude intimidating aura. This is why it’s so easy to live in their shadows. It takes a great deal of courage and self awareness to retain your uniqueness in the face of an obviously very accomplished and highly celebrated person.
Furthermore, successful people are often very generous individuals. They want you to succeed too. This is why they share their stories, their experiences, and their formulas. But what they are often blinded to by their enthusiasm to help others is the fact that their formulas will not work for everybody!
You must appreciate this blindness so that you don’t lose yourself in their enthusiasm to help you.

We know from elementary maths that every formula has at least three basic elements – constants, variables, and outcomes. It is no different in the case of formulas for success in any arena of life.
Today there are so many tips, keys, and formulas out there on practically everything! There are success formulas for marriage, web traffic, wealth creation, blah…blah…blah. Ensure that you understand the fact that these formulas have features that are constant, and those that are variables.

Certain features of the formula for success in any field are constants, while others are variables. Develop your intuitive ability to discern these nuances and distinctions.

Will Guy Kawasaki’s personal success formula work for all micro-bloggers? I don’t think so.
Will Steve Pavlina’s personal success formula work for all bloggers? Nah, nah, nah.
Will Warren Buffet’s personal success formula work for all investors? No.
Will Bill Gates personal success formula work for all entrepreneurs? Of course not!
Will Billy Graham’s personal success formula work for all evangelists? Not at all.
Will Yonghi Cho’s personal success formula work for all church pastors? Definitely not.

You = You + Unique

Don’t try to be another Warren Buffet…or Steve Pavlina…or anybody else for that matter.
That would amount to a waste of who you are!
Be bold and go for you!
Aim at being you!
You =[You +Unique!]

Take a deep breath..look inwards..discover your own uniqueness; be bold,then do only what works for you and then discard all other prescriptions!

You have your own unique formula.
Don’t try to be someone else.
Don’t waste the person you are.
Be bold and be the best you.

Arise and guard your uniqueness!
Do not be intimidated by the edited story lines of ‘successful’ people.
You can only make it by being you!

I believe that certain features of their success formulas are universal constants that apply to everyone in their respective fields. But there are aspects of their success formulas that are unique, and personal to them. In this case, it would be a mistake for you as, say a church pastor, to try to succeed by duplicating Yonghi Cho’s personal success formula for mega-church growth. It will not work for you simply because, you are not David Yonghi Cho!

I love the way Saddleback’s Pastor, Rick Warren frames it, “Your uniqueness is a scientific fact of life. When God made you, he broke the mold. There never has been, and never will be, anybody exactly like you.”

Discover your personal success formula and guard your uniqueness

Whoever you are, and whatever be the career path that you’ve chosen, I dare you to discover yourself, discover your personal success formula, and by all means, and with all your might, guard your uniqueness.

“Knowing yourself is the most difficult task any of us faces. But until you truly know yourself, strengths, weaknesses, know what you want to do and why you want to do it, you cannot succeed in any but the most superficial sense of the word.” ~ Warren Bennis

Life is full of bullies. You cannot defeat the various giants and bullies of your life with another man’s tools regardless of how accomplished they may be.
Like David, you must discover your personal success formula and apply it in life’s tough challenges.
This demands answers to introspective questions such as those I’ve already dealt with in other posts on this site, like:

What is the greatest challenge you are faced with in your bid to be no one else but you?
Who is your number one obstacle?

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Be Free from Market Manipulations!

“…a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” – Jesus Christ

luxurybusA pathetic sight

I live in Nigeria and travel quite often within the country as a result of my ministerial duties and responsibilities. Sometime ago, I was traveling by bus from the nation’s commercial capital city of Lagos to Nsukka, the home of the University of Nigeria. Nsukka is in the southeastern part of Nigeria, …a 6hrs journey by bus from Lagos.
If you are traveling through Nigeria by any of the luxury buses, it’s more likely than not that you will experience the nuisance of in-bus hawkers. These are salesmen hawking anything from books to drugs.
During that trip, a salesman was advertising something he referred to as a ‘tongue cleaner’. It was, he said, used by the white men, the men and women in Aso Rock[our own version of white house! lol…], the rich and the enlightened people. In other words, he implied, if you want to ‘belong’, just buy the product! And guess what he was selling? A well packaged plastic spoon in a beautiful sachet! nigeria 1
People began to rush the product.
It was indeed a pathetic sight.
I say pathetic because right before me, I saw men and women buying what they didn’t need just so they’ll belong to a certain ‘class’.

Market manipulations

The other day, I read a piece on market ting tips where the writer made a comment that one way to sell a product is to create a need for it even where there’s none! How horrifying…how manipulative.
So all around us, smart and fast thinking guys are devising ingenious means of making you acquire stuff that you don’t really need.
This is nothing short of sheer wickedness.
Can you imagine the volume of debt that individuals and families now have to cope with as a result of these market manipulations?
The mere thought of it is mind boggling.

How liberated are you from these market manipulations?

I’m very concerned at the extent of slavery and emotional torture to which millions of people are subjected as a result of the pressure to acquire things that they don’t need but which they believe they need, thanks to unscrupulous advertising.

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The complexity and artificiality of modern living, including the high pressured state of our world today, results from myriads of so called necessities manufactured by smart guys who have programmed the system to exploit the ignorance and greed of people…and may I also add, their indiscipline.

How much are you worth…? Lol

What is even worse is that people are now being rated today by what they have!
I hear and read statements like ‘he’s worth a billion dollars.’ Individual worth today is based on such silly considerations as the kind of car you drive, the make of your cell phone or the cost of your shoe!
I think it’s a real mess to evaluate a man’s worth primarily on the basis of material possessions. But that’s the reality of the perverted system in which we live today.

We live in a world with often warped values.
As I gaze into the Holy Scriptures and ponder over sacred and prophetic writings, all I can see is the sad fact that this world will continue it’s crazy plunge into confusion, anarchy and destruction.
But, my friend, must you be a part of the madness, the depression, the stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, and tension associated with the present times?

You need to know that you have a choice.
You can step out and be free.
You can refuse to conform to the negative patterns of the world.
Yes, you can refuse to bow to all of the manipulative strategies and pressure tactics of this materialistic age.

Bear this in mind, you are not free as long as your sense of worth comes from external things and the approval of others.

Make the choice today to be free from market manipulations.

Find and Pursue Your Own Success

success 1My personal opinion about success is that only two persons can ascertain whether or not you are successful. Those two are:

  • Your own personal God, &
  • You.

Two aspects of success

Unfortunately for those who would want to propose otherwise, there’s no universally standardized yardstick for measuring success. Success is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. It’s a highly relative concept and absolutely subjective.
However, there are features of success that are universal and there are those that vary as infinitely as there are distinct personalities. It’s just as we see in the human body; though no two people have the same genetic design as shown by the science of genetics, yet every properly developed human body shares certain common features like a head, a nose, heart, and so on. In the same way, some aspects of the concept of success are constant to all perspectives and experiences, whereas others are variables.
It is always important to distinguish between these two aspects of success.

Personal perspectives and experiences of success

Each individual has a personal perspective and experience of success.
For the single girl at 35, success might mean getting married to her dream man.
For the student battling with his degree exams, it might mean academic distinction.
The African woman who’s been married for 12 years without any child might define success in terms of carrying her own child in her arms. African woman and child
The person diagnosed of AIDS, or terminal cancer would most likely perceive success as health and freedom from pain.
For some, it might mean a certain level of income, whereas for others it may be having a multi-billion dollar global business empire.

Obviously, it’s very difficult to peg success down to any particular definition.

Universal experiences of success

Success is an internal experience. So regardless of your own personal perspective of it, it will always manifest the following personal experiences:

  • inner joy, peace, and tranquility
  • a sense of relevance
  • a deep and enduring feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.

But it is also an objective experience with external ramifications. So again, regardless of your own personal perspective of it, it will always create the following effects:

  • harmony with the guiding principles and laws of the universe
  • elevation of the quality of life of other people
  • elevation of the quality of your own life.

Find and pursue your own success

Yes, provided it does not violate the guiding principles and laws of life, as long as it does not hurt your fellow human beings, and as long as it does not hurt you, pursue that which fills you with happiness and fulfillment and which adds the greatest value to your life and that of others! That is your own success.

success 2So what is it that releases joy in your heart?

  • Is it being part of another person’s success story?
  • Is it helping others experience justice?
  • Is it seeing the world around you neater and better organized?
  • Is it meeting the needs of others?
  • Is it seeing that those are suffering experience relief and comfort?
  • Is it bringing more melody and sweetness into the world through lovely songs and sounds?

Go for it!

What is it that floods you with a sense of relevance?

  • Is it communicating helping information to others?
  • Is it seeing people converted from bad into good behavior?
  • Is it seeing the productivity of other people enhanced and accelerated?

Go for it!

What creates that deep and enduring reality of satisfaction and fulfillment within you?

  • Is it seeing smiles on other people’s faces as a result of your efforts?
  • Is it seeing more money accumulated and made available for the needs of the less privileged?
  • Is it helping others find direction and meaning in their lives?

Go for it!

What adds the greatest value to the lives of other people?
What elevates the quality of your own life?
Go for it!

A word of caution

Be careful, though, not to let the attitude of others bother you if what satisfies and fulfills you does not meet their particular definition of success.
Discover yourself.
Find and pursue your own success.

Now tell us, what is your own success?

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The Cure for Poverty

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I live in Africa where I come face to face on a daily basis with the tragic reality of unnecessary and avoidable poverty and suffering.

From my own personal experience of poverty, and my near minute by minute encounters with it in my immediate and extended environments, I can assure you that poverty is evil.

Poverty is evil

I have watched in utter horror as poverty stripped people of their dignity, self-esteem, and confidence. I have seen it wear down multitudes of men and women with with worries and anxieties. The negative pressure of poverty has pushed young girls into prostitution, young men into armed and unarmed robbery, and degraded previously responsible people into liars and cheaters. The statistics of millions of children dying from hunger and preventable diseases as a direct consequence of poverty is heart breaking. I observe daily how poverty makes people aggressive, desperate, narrow minded, bitter, cynical, resentful, and negative.
And probably, none of the afore mentioned ills is more unfortunate than the fact that poverty restricts people’s options and choices in life thereby making them victims and slaves to external forces and circumstances.

Povert 1

Poverty is a universal human phenomenon, but it’s effects seem more pronounced in certain societies than in others. A day in this country, a day on this continent is enough to convince you that poverty is an evil that must be eradicated from this planet!

Poverty is an artificial phenomenon

The most shocking aspect of poverty for me, is the realization that poverty is an alien phenomenon. It’s not natural. It’s artificial. Take one reflective look at the planet and you easily come to terms with the extravagant abundance of creation. From the abundance of sunlight to that of mineral resources in the earth, you realize that whereas people might be poor, the planet is not poor! The universe is in fact teeming and saturated with abundance of resources and provisions. This goes to show that the Creator never meant for man to be poor.

For this reason, I’m of the firm conviction that poverty is an unnatural and alien phenomenon. It is strange to the Creator’s design.

poverty 2Poverty is the compound effect of man’s accumulated mistakes, errors of thought and judgment, speech and deeds, passed down from generation to generation.
It is not something to be ashamed of if you found yourself in it due to circumstances which predated you or which are beyond your control. But it is an evil that you must strive to eradicate from your life and posterity.
I do not know that we’ll be able to eliminate poverty entirely from the human race. But I do know that you can eradicate it from your personal life, and that you should strive to do so.

Poverty is spiritual

My vocation as a Christian Pastor confers on me the sacred duty of extracting essential life principles from the Holy Scriptures and then communicating them to my flock with the aim of inspiring them into positive metamorphic experiences.
The more I search the Scriptures for clues and keys to transform people from poverty the more convinced I am that:

  • Poverty is more of a spiritual condition, than an economic one.
  • The solution for poverty is much deeper than mere financial aid. It’s beyond cash.

I believe that governments and corporate institutions have critical roles to play towards the eradication of poverty. I do not, however, address myself to them. I deliberately address myself rather to the individual sufferer because I’m a firm believer in the concept of personal responsibility.

The cure for poverty is not money!

Poverty is much deeper than the absence of cash. As a matter of fact, the chronic lack of money is just one of the various manifestations of poverty. Poverty is essentially the inability to realize the fullness of one’s potentials in time and space. Poverty is a spiritual phenomenon that operates primarily through the mind in the form of a poverty mentality. Here it regulates thoughts, ideas, and decisions. Finally it manifests as poverty enhancing and entrenching actions and habits, thereby creating the tragic results we see around the world today.

For obvious reasons, the African experience of poverty is my primary frame of reference. People here have become conditioned to believe that the cure for poverty is cash, and I can imagine that this is also true of other societies.
This mindset is flawed.
The cure for poverty is not money!

The cure for poverty lies in the liberalizing of the soul through life-transforming and energizing spiritual enlightenment. I have always challenged and continue to challenge my fellow Africans, and people of all societies plagued by poverty, to go beyond cash in their search for lasting solutions to poverty. What we need in Africa and the rest of the world where people are suffering, is not more financial aid from rich donor countries, but rather a greater capacity for self-determination; a greater level of personal responsibility.

This greater capacity can only happen as each individual is inspired to expand their personal spiritual and mental awareness of their full rights and privileges as off springs of divinity.
This understanding is an underlying force behind my founding of the Success Academy Nigeria where young African men and women are challenged to develop a crystal clear awareness of the broadest range of life’s choices and options.

poverty 3

What do you think?

Are you touched by the plight of the world’s poor?
Do you believe that poverty can be eradicated from the world?
What do you think the individual and families caught in this vicious net can do to change their conditions?
Please share your thoughts.
Thank you.

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The Core of Your Personal Success

Core of ExpertiseThere are things that you have the ability to do.
Call this your Circle of AbilitiesCircle A
Then there are things you have interests in.
Call this your Circle of Interests. Circle I

Let region A envelope those things for which you have the ability to do, but lack the interest and passion for.
Let region I envelope those things for which you have the interest and passion for, but lack the requisite ability to perform.
Finally, let region AI represent the area of intersection – that is, those things for which you have both the ability and interest for.

Continue reading “The Core of Your Personal Success”

Enjoy Giving!

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“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
-Jesus Christ [Acts of the Apostles 20:35]

Giving is clearly more powerful than receiving.
Impact and influence come from giving, not owning.

Shift from the paradigm that reckons divine blessings solely in terms of what you receive, to one that sees them in terms of what you give.

In these times of tough economic challenges, it is tempting and convenient to shift into a self-preservatory mode. But, is that really a safe strategy? Remember that the best defense is normally a good offense. In other words, rather than shrinking into a shell of selfishness and fear, stick out your neck and, as I pointed out in a previous article, look for ways to help those less fortunate than yourself.

The size of your life is actually determined by the size of your gifts to your follow men. The moment you stop adding value to the lives of others, you are actually committing some form of self destruction. Selfishness is destructive.

Become more excited at giving, than at receiving.
Move to the point where you derive pleasure from helping others.
God’s plan for you is to be blessing, not a beggar.

It does not matter how much or how little you have, attitude is what counts.
Enjoy giving!

You do not need to go far to find opportunities for helping others. Such opportunities abound all around you. mother penguin

  • In your own house family
  • In your neighborhood
  • In your place of work
  • In your school
  • In the bus or train station
  • Inside the airplane
  • In the church
  • In your club, recreation centre, or park
  • In the supermarket, or shopping mall.

Keep looking for even the smallest opportunity to help others. Even a mere smile could go a long way in helping someone get through another day!

God has blessed you.
Now go ahead and be a blessing.
Enjoy giving!

Are You Prepared for a Global Economic Recession?

The big question in everyone’s mind today is, “Are we headed for a global economic recession?”

At the individual level, however, a more significant question is “Are you prepared for a global economic recession?”
Your personal answer to that question is what counts at this time.

So, what are you doing to insulate yourself, and your family against a possible global economic recession?

“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
-Proverbs 22:3

While it is okay to hold the governments of the nations accountable for their stewardship of this world’s resources, we must take responsibility over our own personal decisions with regards to the economic challenges of our times. How are you going to respond? In spite of what happens in the global economy, what will be your own personal experience and that of those who are directly dependent on you?

I’m aware that whether or not we are already in a recession is still open to argument; for some personal reasons, I think we’ve not yet hit the nerve centre of the recession. But I can assure you that there’s a bleak future for the global economy and a lot of suffering still lies ahead.
Are you able to see the danger ahead?
Are you going to pro-act or would you wait till the storm descends before you begin to react?

This is not the time to ‘wish’ that things would just change and that the ominous cloud of global economic recession will just go away.
This is not the time to whine and complain and point accusing fingers on the governments of your nation – blaming this person and that person for the economic woes that are now threatening to drown millions, and possibly billions of people.
This is not the time for panic either.
I believe that this is time for a decisive action at the individual level.

If you are a father, or single mother, or in whatever position of responsibility, you owe it to those that are dependent on you to make the right decisions; make decisions that are firmly rooted in accurate and prudent judgment of the future.
Suffering is ahead. But it is avoidable. It is better and even cheaper to prevent suffering, than to cure it.
So, regardless of whether or not you’ve already started to feel the pangs of an economic drought in your own sphere, you must still take firm steps to turn the tide in your favor and insulate yourself and your loved ones.

What can you do?

You can protect yourself from any economic calamity that could befall mankind at anytime from now.
You must begin right away to take insulatory measures to protect yourself from a possible rapid downward spiral of the global economy.

Don’t let anyone fool you, it’s not certain that government policies will turn the tide, because these are at the very root of the problem. The policies of global economies are predicated on greed and selfishness and so may not be able withstand the onslaught of the consequences of our arrogance and abuse.

The way out lies with you!
At the core of the prescription for escape is your personal decision to pull back from all excessive materialism.
You must arrest the waywardness of your affections and desires.

Then see how you can apply the following recommendations in your own personal life.

  1. Simplify your life.
  2. Develop your power to create wealth – that is, become more entrepreneuring.
    Tap into the power and potentials of an indispensable technical skill within you.
    Cultivate solid financial skills.
    Develop good and qualitative relational skills.
  3. Lay up for yourself treasures in heavenly places.
    The true measure of your wealth is not how much you have, but how much you freely give away.
    The only way to protect the little that you have is by sharing it.
    Regardless of your socio-economic status, there are those that are less fortunate than you. Join projects that are aimed at alleviating their suffering. Whatever you give comes back to you in multiplied measures.

Help others

Do you have other suggestions as to how the average person can cope with these trying times?
We need all the help that we can get. So share your thoughts below…and may God bless you.

The Easy Way To Abundance and Wealth

Selfishness is easy. It’s basic to human nature. It doesn’t require any efforts to be selfish, just look at any little baby as they grow, and you’ll see my point. It comes naturally to them!
But when you think of selflessness, the opposite of selfishness, you think of courage; you think of self esteem; you think of self awareness – because it takes these to be selfless.

Selfless sharing is the not so easy way to abundance and wealth…lol.

The person operating at a lower consciousness of being thinks that selfless sharing is a weakness, yet it is the highest expression of love; and love is the greatest of all forces operating in the universe. The more empowered you become in your innermost being, the more selfless you get. Then you begin to touch others and then you begin to bring healing both to individuals and to the human family. It is this positive impact of selfless sharing on others that attracts abundance and wealth to you.
Whatever you make happen for others, you attract to yourself.

Whereas it’s only natural to be selfish, selfless sharing is challenging, but empowering.
Selfless sharing connects you to the ultimate force in the universe – that force is love.

Selfishness is a sign of infanthood – immaturity.
It is a mask for low self esteem, fear, and insecurity.
It is a form of primitivity.
The selfish man is afraid of losing the little or much that he has, and this is exactly why what he has diminishes in value.

“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”
-Proverbs 11:25

This is simply another way to say that selfless sharing is the way to abundance and wealth.
Selfless sharing makes the earth a pleasant paradise.

Think about blog traffic building, for instance; how do you increase traffic to your blog? Is it by spamming every other site, blog, and social media with your URL and links? Of course not. Anyone with a significant traffic to their blog would easily agree that massive traffic is a mere result of selfless sharing.
When you are willing to part with what you have with the sole intention of adding positive value to the life of others, you are rewarded with more abundance and more wealth than you can handle.

My experience as a blogger is that I really don’t have to bother much about traffic. I enjoy the various social media and forums I’m active on. For instance, I enjoy the community over there at StumbleUpon. Yes, I do get hundreds of visitors from there daily, but that’s not my primary motivation for participating in that community. I just love to share my favorite discoveries and sites with others! In fact, most of the times that I’m browsing and doing online research, I’m thinking, “I need to share this…I need to share that..with my friends over at StumbleUpon.” I want to create the highest quality of value that I can for those that stumble upon my blog and those that subscribe to it.
Result? Hundreds of visits from those who are empowered by my collections.
What if all I cared about was for reciprocate stumbling? Then I’ll simply be diminishing my capacity to positively impact others. I’d be petty and selfish and ultimately shrink the sphere of my influence, thereby repelling, rather than attracting abundance and wealth.
Similarly, my aim at twitter is to transmit positive, inspiring, and life changing thoughts. I also want to stimulate life empowering discussions there. This is why I get a lot of testimonies, replies, and direct messages telling me the impact my tweets are having on twitters.
Result? Hundreds of page views and ad clicks from twitters.

The most important aspect of abundance and wealth is not what you have, it is what you selflessly share.
Everything you have is meant to be shared selflessly in one form or the other.
Regardless of what you think of your socio-economic status, you have a lot to share.
You can share your good thoughts.
You can share your life transforming and empowering experiences.
You can share your pains and your joys.
You can share your time and energy.
You can share your knowledge, skills, and abilities.
You can share your material resources.

The essence of relationships is selfless sharing.
When your connecting with others is strictly motivated by selfless sharing, you’ve attained the peak of freedom and wealth.

I’ve discovered that the more I make the tough decision to think solely in terms of selfless sharing, the more inner joy and sense of fulfillment I get. It’s not about the absolutely inevitable consequence of abundance and wealth; it’s about the thrill and sense of empowerment that I feel deep inside me.

Have you ever experienced the feeling of empowerment as a direct result of selfless sharing? Please selflessly share it with us in the comment section.

Unconditional Love

We should always love others with unconditional love.
Right or wrong?
What do you think?

Should I swallow any junk from any person all in the name of of unconditional love? Isn’t it a form of weakness?
What do you think?

Isn’t it a form of subtle manipulation to expect me to show unconditional love to a cheating wife…an abusive husband…an unruly child…an inconsiderate boss…an irritating colleague…a class bully…an uncaring and selfish spouse?

What happens to my right to happiness if I must show unconditional love to others in spite of how they treat me?

I think that a whole lot of rubbish and abuses are condoned in human interactions all in the name of unconditional love.
What do you think?

She Touched Me

The pain was terrible, the agony unbearable.
I strutted along looking for relief from it all to no avail.
My right ribs were sticking out of my rib cage and piercing through my skin.
The pain was simply excruciating and unimaginable.

I went to a gathering of some people who were having church.
I sat in pain and listened to the songs.
They were beautiful songs.

Then I listened to the sermon.
It was a wonderful teaching, full of principles and wise sayings, exquisitely composed and dexterously delivered.
But I was still in pains.

So I went out on the streets.
They were advertising a very good hospital.
I went there and the medical personnel bound my chest with a white bandage.
That brought some relief from the pain, but it was momentary.

So I moved on and found an old man on a truck selling some herbs.
I applied it to my chest.
I even drank some portion concocted by him.
But the pains continued.
By now it was getting rather fiery and intense.

I sat by the road and wept in despair.
“Who will free me from this agony?” I cried.

Suddenly…!
“Sally, wake up. It’s time for lunch” It was the voice of my wife as she touched me and woke me up.
“What!” I shouted, “So I had been dreaming!”
I turned to her and said, “You came at the right time. Thanks for waking me up. I was really having a bad dream and I’m happy to wake up.”
She was puzzled, but I was really serious.

Listen.
Someone around you now is passing through an emotional nightmare, a financial hell, physical pain and agony.
You can be the one that wakes them up from it just by touching them!
You can turn their suffering and pain into a mere dream?

I’m so glad she touched me and woke me from my pain.

What are you very good at?

What are you very good at?

This is a very important question because it helps you discover yourself .

I actually stumbled into this awareness.

As a pastor of a small Church in the University town of Nsukka, in South Eastern Nigeria, I felt like the congregation was bored with my Sunday sermons.
The reason for that was rooted in my own experience of boredom during Sunday sermons as a Junior Seminary student. I was so tormented by the boredom of Sunday sermons that I actually resorted to reading novels during Sunday sermons!

When I eventually found myself in the ‘undesirable’ position of pastoring my first church at the age of 23, I vowed never to bore any congregation with my sermons.
However, each Sunday, as I gazed into the faces of the people listening to me, I felt like I saw boredom! So I wanted to change everything. I wanted to make the services more interesting and exciting.

My first instinct was to reduce the sermon time to 25 minutes per service mainly because I felt that I was not very good at preaching. I also thought that the 45 minutes I was using was too much. I preferred an increase in the time allocated to music. Actually, I felt I was more of a pianist and singer, than a preacher. So my plan was to reduce the sermon time to 25 minutes and then increase the music and variety show times during each service.
The plan seemed good.

But another thought came.
Why not ask for the opinion of the congregation? Ask them what they wanted in the service.
This also made sense to me.
So we decided to create a questionnaire designed to survey the attitude of the members towards the various elements of the Sunday service.

The questionnaire contained one primary question, among others, which was this:
Which is your most interesting aspect of the Sunday worship service?
We asked the people to limit their answers to 5 items and to list them in a descending order of preference.

I didn’t think the questionnaire was going to alter my plan in any way. In fact, I needed it just to confirm what I felt I already knew.
The result, however, was shocking.

Over 90 people returned their questionnaires and the result was something like this:

  • Members who listed ‘Pastor’s preaching’ between no 1 & 3 = 85%!
  • Members who listed ‘Pastor’s preaching’ among their 5 most preferred aspects of the service = 100%!

I was literarily shocked by the result of the survey. All the questionnaires were filled anonymously and all the members had over two weeks to fill and submit their questionnaires. So I was sure that the answers submitted were accurate reflections of how the members perceived my work.

I was not just shocked, I had a revelation!
It was self discovery – a revelation of what I was good at.
Up until that time, I never even imagined that I was good at preaching. The thought that anyone could actually enjoy my sermons never crossed my mind.
Actually, as a direct consequence of that survey, we increased my preaching time to 1hr each Sunday and saw the attendance of the church increase by over 40% in a matter of weeks!

I was good at talking, teaching, and preaching; and I didn’t even know it.

What are you very good at?

Like I pointed out, the answer to this question helps you discover yourself.
Now, do not for one moment think that the answer to that question is obvious, because often times it isn’t.
As a matter of fact, if you are very good at something, you probably won’t know. This is because it’ll most likely be something that you do absent mindedly. It’s such a part of you and you are so good at it that you do it automatically without any conscious thought or effort, and you do it so well.

But do you know that what you are very good at will:

  • Attract more people to you? After all, is this not what they’ll probably admire the most about you?
  • Attract more resources and favors to you? Whatever attracts people to you will attract what people have!

In other words, what you are very good at has the potential to make you richer, wealthier, more successful, faster and easier.

Do you know what it is?
What are you very good at?

If you know, good.
If you don’t, do what I did. In fact, do what you do every morning – looking at yourself in the mirror.
Just that this time, that mirror might be other people that are around you, who know you intimately and who associate, relate, or work with you:

  • Your family members – spouse, siblings, and so on.
  • Your colleagues in the office.
  • Your course mates and classmates.
  • Your group members in the Church.
  • And so on, and so forth.

Simply ask them, “What do you like the most about me? What is it about me that most attracts you to me?”

You might be as shocked as I was with what you find out.
Better still, it might be a revelation that creates dynamic life adjustments that takes you to a whole new level of success and achievements.
Take the time today to discover yourself by knowing what you are very good at.

So, if I may ask, what are you very good at?

How to Cure Your Sadness

Have you ever been sad? I mean, real, deep, and persistent sadness – the kind you can almost touch?

I’ve had to endure sadness for the major part of my life. A greater measure of it was due to the discomfort associated with my 17-year ordeal with asthma. I hate to be sad because sadness is so demoralizing and energy sapping. My response to it up until now has always been to fight it until it gets out.
Recently, however, it visited again as usual. But this time, instead of trying to push it out, I decided to accommodate it, so as to study and understand it. So it stayed and festered for days and weeks, and I endured it, studied it and wrote about it. I choose to observe it at a very close range with the intention of learning:

  • The true meaning of sadness
  • The causes of sadness
  • The cure for sadness

I didn’t learn enough, of course, to make me an expert on sadness!
But I sure did learn enough to feel confident that any other time it happens to show up, I’ll be more than capable to deal with it constructively, creatively, and effectively.

The True Meaning of Sadness

Sadness is an emotional experience.
The emotion is a reactive component of the soul. It’s responsive. In other words, it’s always a resultant effect of some stimuli – external or internal.
Since sadness is an emotional experience, it’s a reaction of the soul to some form of internal or external stimulus. Sadness, hence is also a soulish experience.

In her article, Beyond Sadness, Nancy Schimelpfening writes, “Sadness is a part of being human, a natural reaction to painful circumstances. All of us will experience sadness at some point in our lives.”

There’s nothing strange about sadness. It’s a normal human emotional experience.
But it’s a deep experience, in the sense that it’s an experience of the soul.

Sadness Stimuli

Remember that sadness is the reaction of your soul to some form of internal or external stimuli.

Here are some of those stimuli:

  • A focus of the mind on negatives. This focus can be conscious. In this sense, you are thinking of negative things that have happened to you – loss of a loved one, loss of love, rejection, pain, and so on. But this focus can also be subconscious, and this in no way diminishes its impact. This second dimension of the mental focus is why sometimes someone says, “I don’t know why I’m so sad.” It is possible for your subconscious soul to focus on a negative incident that is stored away somewhere in the deep recesses of your memory.
    Sadness is the resultant effect of the negative focus of the subconscious mind. Whenever your heart is oriented towards the negatives in your life, a heavy and dark cloud descends on your heart and begins to press against it. You feel this in the form of sadness.
    You are not always aware of the shift in orientation because it happens subtly. This is why the bible encourages us to guard our hearts with all diligence because from it are the issues of life.
    This gradual re-orientation often happens without any effort on your part!
  • A disconnection from the soul’s designer . Whenever you act in a way that is contrary to the fundamental principles underlying your soul’s basic design, your soul reacts with sadness. In an excerpt from ‘A Biography of Fear’, Jonathan Bitz writes that “Melancholy is awareness, of our distance from God, meaning, and purpose?” In more practical terms, any time you break a moral code of the universe, deep inner feelings of sadness occur.
  • Loss of time control. Any individual soul is extremely happy whenever dominion, mastery, or control is gained with respect to time management. The soul reacts with sadness whenever it senses or perceives a loss of control with respect to time management.
  • Lack of mental companionship. This is a form of inner loneliness that also creates the feeling of sadness. This is normally experienced in the area of one’s responsibilities. Each time you feel the load of work and there’s no one to help share this burden constructively, the sense of being ‘alone’ might trigger off the feeling of sadness.
  • Frustrated expectations. Sadness also occurs when your inner speed is higher than your external speed. In other words, when your expectations do not match your realities.
  • Change. According to Mental Health, “Sadness can result from a change that you didn’t expect, or it can signal the need for a change in your life.Change is usually stressful, but it is necessary for growth.”
  • Tiredness. Physical exhaustion from overwork can also trigger off the feeling of sadness.
  • Fatigue. Mental exhaustion from excessive mental strain can also cause sadness.
  • Poor nutrition. Inadequate nourishment for your body can stimulate the emotional experience of sadness.
  • Lack of a definite life’s purpose. The happiest people on earth are those who have something to look forward to. They have goals and missions that are clearly defined and which give them a sense of relevance. This is something that keeps them constantly excited and motivated. The absence of such goals and missions creates the experience of sadness in the human soul.
  • Sad people! Yes, sadness is contagious! The more you associate with sad and depressed souls, the more your own soul is infected and contaminated with their sadness. I’ve often felt this as a pastor. Lots of times, after counselling with people who have deep emotional needs, I experience sadness for hours immediately after the counselling session.

This definitely is not an exhaustive list. Please, feel free to add your comments on this subject; let us know, from your own experiences, other causes of sadness. And, if you are experiencing sadness, what do you think is responsible for yours? Are any of the causes among those in my brief list above?

Sadness is dangerous

Sadness is a normal human emotional experience. But it is also a dangerous human emotional experience!
At the least, it predisposes the human soul to addictions. Many people plunge headlong into dangerous addictions as a result of their misguided efforts to eliminate sadness.
In an excerpt on Sadness, therapist and author Thayer White who has over 23 years experience as both therapist and client in the areas of therapy and self-growth writes that, “unless you are able to feel sadness (and its relatives: sobbing, grief and tears), you will forever be avoiding sadness. Avoidance makes you prone to addictive behavior, psychosomatic symptoms, high levels of anxiety and acting-out skewed behavior.”
During my recent prolonged studious engagement with sadness, I narrowly escaped addiction to alcoholism!

Addictions are not the only consequences of sadness. Sadness can negatively impact almost every aspect of our lives if not adequately handled.

  • It could lead to withdrawal, thereby impacting negatively on your relationships and crippling your productivity.
  • It could diminish your energy level and slow down your rate of accomplishments.
  • It could evolve into depression, if not managed properly.

Curing Sadness

Can sadness be cured?
I doubt it could.
I personally believe that sadness is an emotional experience akin to pain. Pain is a sign of life. A normal human being should feel pain in response to pain-causing stimuli, else there is cause for concern. Similarly, sadness, which is a normal emotional response, is a sign of healthy life. Hence I do not think it can be ‘cured’.
I also relate sadness to sweating. Sweating occurs under certain environmental conditions. It is normal. It is to be expected once those conditions exist. Such is the experience of sadness. Under certain conditions, like the stimuli we listed above, sadness should be expected to occur.
So I do not think that sadness can be ‘cured.’ But I do think that it can be resolved. By that I mean that it can be creatively managed any and everytime it shows up.

If you or a dear one is experiencing sadness, I believe the following constructive steps will help.

  1. Know that sadness is normal. You do have every right to feel sad under sadness stimuli.
  2. Try to find out why you are sad.
  3. Take out time to rest.
  4. Take adequate nourishment for your body.
  5. Meditate on positive and inspiring material.
  6. Interact and fellowship with positive and inspiring people.
  7. Take time to discover your life’s purpose.
  8. Recreate your mind through vacations, sight seeing and so on.

Do you have any other ideas on how sadness can be creatively managed?
Do you have personal experiences related to sadness?
Please comment below.

Do You Have An Addiction?

Do you have an addiction?

“…the term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual’s health, mental state or social life.” – Wikipedia

When we come across the term addiction, we often think in terms of drugs, alcoholism, or probably sex. Yet, the fact is that addiction has a broad application to all kinds of psychological dependence that lead to self destructive behaviors.

Does everyone have addictions?
Not necessarily.

Does everyone with addictions know that they have addictions?
Not really. In fact, most people with addictions don’t know that they have one. This is because the activities in which they are addictively engaged may be ‘productive’ or ‘positive’.
Yet, any activity in which you are engaged in a recurring manner, and which has harmful consequences to your health, mental state or social life, is an addiction, regardless of how ‘productive’ or ‘positive’ the activity may be.

As you can see, the definitive element of addictions is the fact that they have harmful consequences to:

  • your health,
  • mental state or
  • social life.

Do you have an addiction?
Do a personal check right away. Is there a specific activity, or a set of activities, that you are engaged in to the detriment of your health, mental state or social life? You might be blinded by the positive effects of that activity – probably you are making money from it or whatever: but if it’s hurting your health, mental state, or social life, its an addiction.

I’ve been thinking about addictions lately.
I believe that addictions happen when there’s a need in the human soul for meaning and joy beyond what is offered in the material dimension. We don’t always understand the nature of this need, but it’s always there and shows up at unexpected moments in our lives.
This need has an interesting identity – it’s called eternity!
Because you are an ‘eternity’ being, there’s a space in your heart called eternity. This space can only be filled by the Creator of the universe – God.
Any time you sense this need, and you attempt to fill it with any thing or activity, that thing or activity rapidly translates into an addiction.

Any addiction is bad.
Addictions create neurosis.
Addictions set up the human soul for depression, and frustration.
Addictions cripple interpersonal relationships.
Addictions are destructive to health and peace of mind.
In fact, addictions are dangerous.

Do you have an addiction?
Do you have a recurring compulsion to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to your health, mental state or social life.

Check that recurring compulsion to:

  • be with a certain individual at the expense of other important relationships – such as your marriage and so on?
  • pursue your career and professional activities at the expense of your health, mental state or social and family life?
  • take any form of food substance – alcohol, food, drugs, and so on – regardless of the harmful impact on your life?
  • pursue entertainment to the detriment of your family life and vital relationships?

Just take out time and think along the above lines. Do you have a compulsion to:

  • ……………………………….despite harmful consequences to your health, mental state or social life?
    (Fill out the space above with any such activity in your own life.)

My purpose in writing this post is to challenge you to check your life for the possible existence of addictions. I’ll post a sequel to this on how to eliminate addictions.

For the moment, however, is there any in your life? Please share with us in the comment spaces below.
Thanks.

Why is it easier to think negatively?

In the article, “Conquering Your Internal Critic So You Can Sing Your Own Song” posted on http://www.inspiremetoday.com , Jack N. Singer, Ph.D. Professional Psychologist, renowned Speaker and Consultant, references Dr. Shad Helmstetter’s fascinating statistic;
“By the time the average youngster reaches the age of eighteen, he or she has been told something negative or something critical by parents, teachers and other authority figures an average of 148,000 times!. During the same eighteen year time frame, this individual has only heard a few thousand positive comments. It is no wonder, therefore that with this ratio of 148,000 to 3,000 most of us are programmed to think negatively, to fear taking risks, and to be internally critical of ourselves each and every day.”

My personal experience as a Pastor and counselor confirms the above statistics.
For instance, I was having a chat with my wife recently and I asked her, “If I were to give you 100k now, what would you do with it?”
She paused for just a second and then in less than 3 minutes, I heard a list that would actually consume three times that amount! And the fascinating thing was that it would all be within an hour.
Then I asked her, “can you give me just 5 ideas on how I can make that kind of money in 24 hours?”

I guess you could imagine the rest…she paused for over 5 minutes; I actually never got an answer on that one.
So I told her, “Have you realized that it was easier for your mind to come out with ideas on how to consume 100k, than on how to create it?”
It was quite a learning experience for us. It actually left me thinking about why it’s easier to think destructively than creatively.

Is it just due to critical words by parents, teachers and other authority figures as we were growing up? Are there other factors that contribute to this condition?

In your own opinion, why do you think its easier for the human mind to think in negative terms than in positive terms?
We’d appreciate your comments.
Thanks.