As she knelt before the altar, her prayers carried a level of desperation indicating that indeed, she needed divine intervention. “Take it from me oh Lord. It has done enough damage in my life. I don’t want it anymore.” Impressed by her fervency, the pastor moved closer to her. As he got closer, he observed that she was holding a pack of cigarettes and lifting it up before the altar. Convinced that she actually needed intervention, the pastor said, “Madam, kindly hand over the pack to me”.
“No I won’t.”, she shot back, “The cigarettes are mine. Why do you want to take them away?” And she promptly went back to praying, frantically repeating the same words that she had been saying before the pastor approached her!
Far too many people want change without putting their skin into the game. Life only rewards your actions, not your intentions. You are where you are today because of the choices you made, the decisions and the actions you took or refused to take. Until you admit that and choose to change the narrative, you remain stuck in the rut. The logic is simple. The paradigms and actions that got you to where you are cannot take you beyond where you are. To change outcomes, change inputs.
Admit the error of your current strategy for living. Take responsibility for the actions you took. You chose the dysfunctional relationship even when the red lights were flashing. You were not married to him but he was always hitting you after every argument but you made excuses for him. He was always arriving home at the end of each day drunk. She was always disrespecting you in front of your friends. She never showed gratitude for any of the gifts you gave her while you were courting. Yet you went ahead and got married. Apart from the external events, you ignored the gut feelings that gnawed at you with the hint that this would be a regrettable relationship. You ate yourself out of shape. You took the decision to stay on a job that was draining to your joy, energy and potential. You believed the gossip that made you lose a valuable relationship. You chose to do things by yourself when you could have asked for help. You agreed to sleep with a man without protection even when you were not married to him. You asked for the disease that you may live with for the rest of your life or the pregnancy that turned you to a single mum without support.
You want a change in outcomes? Quit complaining. In the words of Lou Holtz, one of America’s greatest basketball coaches, “the man who complains about the way the ball bounces, is likely to be the one who dropped it”! Every time you complain about a particular status quo, you are indirectly admitting that there is a better, more desirable alternative that you are benchmarking it with and which you prefer but are not willing to take the responsibility to create. So you live in the mental delusion of your El Dorado while you complain about what doesn’t match it. People only complain about what they have the capacity to control but usually choose not to. You complain about your job because you know that there is a better job somewhere that you could get if you applied yourself to making yourself more valuable than where you currently are. You could live in a nicer house than the one you are currently stuck in. You could move to a better neighbourhood. But these things place a demand for change on you.
Why don’t we go after our real desire? Change involves risks. And risks are not things we readily desire to take! We hug our comfort zones so tightly that we find it difficult to let go of the present in preference for the future we desire. However, to make the change, you must take the required risk. You may need to walk away from that frustrating job even when you are not sure you might get another immediately.
It is not enough to stop complaining. You must stop hanging around those who habitually do! More often than not we usually complain to people who are as powerless as us to change the situation. Like a man who goes to work and complains to his boss about his wife and then returns home to complain to his wife about his boss. Why? It is safer and perhaps entails less risk! The man in question does not have the courage to make his wife change and cannot stand up to his boss to make the work environment less toxic.
Instead of always complaining about events, places and people, what questions do you need to ask yourself or necessary others to make a change? Is there something you can do about it? Never forget one fact. The world does not owe you anything beyond the reality you help it to create! Unless you are helping to create happiness in the world with and for others, the world owes you nothing. Whatever you get from the universe without your ACTIVE contribution and collaboration is nothing but benevolence, an outcome over which you are absolutely not in control!
Be specific about the changes you need to make in order to create the appropriate responses to the events of your life. You want a happy home? How about being more respectful and considerate towards your spouse? How about not comparing your children to other children you believe are smarter than them? Whatever is not going right in your life and outcomes is nothing but an alert system that is telling you that all is not well. Don’t ignore the feedback encoded in your circumstances. Life is like an echo chamber that is constantly giving you a feedback. Low grades in school signify that your input to study is deficient. A lacklustre marriage is a pointer to the fact that the heart of one or both parties is not fully committed to making things work. If anything is working, it is because someone is working it!
Manage your self-talk. Stop beating yourself up with self-defeating expressions that only position you squarely and perpetually in victim mode. Words are powerful and they actually help us create a significant portion of our realities and outcomes. If your words signify that you cannot achieve a particular thing, your heart will convince you that you cannot and all your actions will follow suit! Speaking the right words, you can bring down a giant. Conversely, with the wrong words, you can be meat for one!
Your current results are your testimonials. They don’t usually lie. If you want to know in what area of your life things are not working, check the results you are currently getting in that area.
If you don’t like what you are seeing, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, take responsibility for the outcomes you desire and say to yourself, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me”!
Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!
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