Grieving over yesterday’s losses does not accelerate tomorrow’s gains. Today is the tomorrow you spoke about yesterday. At the beginning of every year, we love to hear prophetic declarations that label the year with epithets like “Year of abundance”, “Year of double glory”, etc. As desirable as these descriptions are for the purpose of birthing hope in people, there is no magic in any year. What makes the difference and puts the thrill or the drag in any year has nothing to do with the events in the calendar. It is in the grace of God in the challenges you face, your responses to them, how you evolve in the course of confronting those challenges, the priorities you set for your life, the goals you set and pursue, the things you are legitimately entitled to but which you have to give up just so you can accomplish your goals. It is about the quality and relevance of the relationships that you cultivated, the opportunities you lost or embraced and your resourcefulness with the time and the resources that you are given.
Live by a code of honour. Nobody is unimportant or inferior to you. Tables turn. The pauper today may be the king tomorrow. Today’s prisoner can be tomorrow’s President. Ask Joseph. Ask Olusegun Obasanjo, a two-term Nigerian President who came out of jail only to become Nigeria’s number one citizen. Imagine a warder who was wicked to him while he was in prison coming face to face with him as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. How would that warder feel?
Embrace the Extra-Mile Principle. Always give life your best shot. The room for improvement always has space for more. While it is a good thing to be inspired and motivated by the achievements of people ahead of you, you are your number one competitor. Make excellence and distinction your goal, not competition. Learn to do small things in a great way. The hallmark of true greatness is not in doing big things but in doing small things in a remarkable way. Many star actors today started their acting careers with supporting roles. But because they gave an award-winning performance in that innocuous, one-liner or one-scene appearance, they were considered for a major role and with that opportunity came their big break!
Fortune favours the bold. Stop waiting for your ship to come meet you in the harbor. You sometimes need to dive in the water and swim to meet it! You must never allow the wind of life to just make you flow in its direction. You will very often need to swim against the tide.
God gave you two ears and one mouth for good reason. You must learn to listen twice as much as you speak. God and the universe have a lot to teach you. A “hearing heart and an understanding mind” like Solomon asked God for can only come through a listening ear. Pay genuine attention to people when you are in conversation with them. Some people don’t know when to keep a distance from their phone. When anyone is talking to you about the core issues bothering their hearts or when you are in conversation with a superior or a mentor, that is not the time to be checking your social media pages or even answering the phone, unless it is an unavoidable emergency! When your phone keeps distracting you in a conversation, it is usually a sign that you are disconnected and uninterested. Listen to understand, not just to respond. One of the key components of Emotional Intelligence is the skill of listening. Nobody has the monopoly on wisdom. When you listen, even if you hardly say a word, you are telling the other party that they matter; and that earns you their respect.
Life is an echo chamber. What you don’t want back, don’t send out! Whether we realize it or not, we all live in cycles of seed and harvest. The harvest faithfully replicates and multiplies the seed sown. Jesus made that very clear in Luke 6:37-38 when, while speaking about the import of being charitable towards others in mercy, forgiveness, love and benevolence, He said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” It couldn’t have been better said. If you don’t like the output, change the input! If the fruit doesn’t look like your expected harvest, change the seed! Treat people like nobles and they will in turn treat you like royalty!
Every problem in life is a perspective problem. While some see the glass as half-empty, some can only see it as half-full. Pessimism and optimism are not a reflection of the problem but a reflection of the perspective of the one confronted with the problem. Perspective is determined by the quality of information available and appropriated about life and its conundrums. While the king and the entire army of Israel saw Goliath as an intimidating giant and ran away from him for forty days in a row, an itinerant shepherd boy, David looked at the same person and called him an uncircumcised Philistine! They saw trouble. David saw a trophy! Malcom Gladwell has brilliantly explored the thematic dimensions of this biblical story in relation to the corporate environment in his classic book titled “David and Goliath”.
Give quality time and effort as well as resources to be mentored. Make deliberate investments in your personal development. Great mentors are hard to find. When you do find the ones relevant to your destination, treasure the relationship and never abuse it.
Invest in profit-yielding ventures, but investigate before investing. Unless you are simply interested in earning passive income by placing money in a venture to be run by others whose expertise you can trust in that field, do not put money in a venture you know nothing or are not willing to learn anything about.
No matter what you feel that you have you done for anyone, it is safer for you and your sanity not to expect that anyone owes you anything. One of the greatest sources of frustration is the entitlement mentality that makes a person believe that everyone around them is under obligation to make them happy by doing what they expect simply because they did a good turn. When they don’t get what they expect, they become cry-babies and sour lemons, raining on everybody’s parade. Hear it again, nobody, not even your parents, owes you anything. You should therefore be grateful for whatever anybody does for you at any time.
Be generous but not profligate. The pathway to true happiness and the beauty of living is not so much in what people do for us or what we do for ourselves. It is in our capacity to make life meaningful for others.
Victory is hollow when we are the only one on the parade!
Your 2021 is blessed.
Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!
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