No Pressure, No Diamond!

Whether you have plans for your life or not, you’d feel the need to satisfy the basic need for food, clothing and shelter, and by the time these basic needs are met, there is a natural push to meet higher needs.

It is the quest to satisfy our long chain of wants and needs that we put pressure on ourselves. Growing up, I thought I would have everything I wanted in life at 25. I wanted to own an estate in my name, have at least 4 luxury cars, tour some parts of the world and be married with 2 kids. For a fact, my inability to satisfy these desires kept me pressured as I continued to undermine my small wins.

Pressure in manageable doses can energize and motivate you to perform and achieve. Too much of it, however, can tip the balance the other way. The trick is to make pressure work for you, and not against you. The key is to find the “sweet spot” between having too little and too much of it.

 As humans, we make plans on how life should go but it could end up sailing us to its shore.  Simply put, we could have the best plans in the world, have the finest dreams and even the best execution scheme and things wouldn’t go as planned and then are tempted to mount pressure on ourselves, compare our lives to others and live the rest of our lives thinking about the “what could have been”

Rather than applying this unhealthy pressure, we could get motivated into trying something new or exploring other options!

Philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, “No pressure, no diamonds,“ suggesting that a situation where a person is under pressure could give them a chance to demonstrate their potential.

All pressure is self-inflicted. It’s what you make of it or how you let it rub off on you. – Sebastian Coe

Internal pressures stem from pushing yourself too hard, or from worrying about your ability to meet other’s expectations of you and those that you have of yourself. We set goals for ourselves and give them timelines and we struggle to meet up, but we forget to understand that we are not in competition when it comes to the journey of life. As long as you are making progress, you are also winning. 

Most times External pressures come from the people around you, for example, you might be pressured to work in a certain way, or you are given a hefty workload that exceeds your capacity. Sometimes we feel overburdened by others’ expectations of us, or disappointed with the progress we have made on a task.

Health issues, financial difficulties, family responsibilities, bereavements, or a dangerous workplace can all weigh heavily and affect how we behave. In extreme cases, we may even feel pressured to take risks, or to act against our values.

Have you ever worked on a project with a tight-but-achievable deadline, where your knowledge and skill were vital for a successful result you became pressured? Chances are, you would perform averagely at best. There’s a subtle relationship between pressure and performance. When people experience the right amount of pressure, they often perform brilliantly. However, if there’s too much or too little pressure, performance can suffer.

How to Thrive With Pressure

A sensible lifestyle is central to coping with pressure, so exercise regularly. Maintain a healthy diet, and get plenty of sleep. These steps may not be enough on their own, so responding proactively to pressure can help you to manage its negative impact on you. Here are some strategies to help.

  • Stay on Top: Pressure is a positive force when you’re in command of the situation. Always start on time. Most times you Lose your sense of control when you are running out of time., and you can quickly feel overwhelmed and anxious.
  • Developing self-confidence in yourself gives a feeling of internal control and can boost your ability to monitor and deal with rising pressure because you believe that you are responsible for your success and that you can have a positive influence on the situation you’re in. 
  • Manage Your Response: With a positive mindset, pressured situations can be opportunities to shine, learn and develop. Use them as your motivation to succeed.  Always learn how to restrategize, and always believe there must be another option if the current isn’t working out. Such a mindset can help you to turn negative situations around so that they work in your favour. Always have it in mind that every problem has a solution.
  • Be Organized and focused. Prioritizing your tasks gives you control of your workload and enables you to directly manage it when the pressure starts to build. 
  • Believe in yourself. Pressure often stems from doubting your abilities. Try to appreciate your qualities and work on your self-belief.
  • Ask for Help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel under too much pressure. You can ask your boss, your colleagues, friends, family, or whoever is in your support network.
  • Forfeit every unnecessary and unhealthy competition or task. Such as trying to appear in trendy luxury items. This triggers the pressure to meet up with its financial cost and so on.

In conclusion,  Diamonds are formed because carbon is set under extreme pressure on the earth. Without pressure, it would just be carbon or maybe it would turn into graphite. This implies that certain outcomes cannot result without adversity or pressure in this context. However, we should be careful not to over-pressurize ourselves and maintain a certain level of balance.

Please understand that excessive pressure can trigger the psychological, physical, emotional, and behavioural problems associated with stress. So, being able to deal with it effectively is an essential skill. You need to be in charge and consciously respond positively to pressure.

Have you ever felt pressured? How did you handle it? Do you think pressure is necessary for growth? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments.

What Does Success Mean To You?

I was in an informal meeting with an acquaintance and she said, “once I have my dream job, car and mansion, I will term myself successful”.

I asked a group of friends what success means to them and these were their responses.

“Success to me is when I can afford everything I NEED (not want) and in the long run, make money while I sleep. That’s when I know I am successful.” Mr S

“Right now I think the only thing impeding my success is my marital status. Once I marry a good man with healthy kids, I think I have lived well” Ms B

Another one said, “ Personally, having my own multinational restaurant someday and owning a foundation where I am able to give  back to society will mean me successful”

Until the time I conceived this topic to write about, I hadn’t thought about what success means to me. Or maybe I had thought about it, but it wasn’t something I had registered at heart. I know I want to be successful. I work every day to be successful but until now, I didn’t know what it was I had to achieve for me to be deemed successful enough for me. I had no KPIs and it struck me to think that I hadn’t put any indicators to measure my success in the long run.

What does success mean to you?

Success for someone might be having a baby, touring the world, eating a particular meal, getting married to their soulmates, or changing the world.

Success is something that you have to define for yourself, and no one can do it for you. Success could mean a sense of giving back to the world and making a difference. It could mean a sense of accomplishment and career progression. It could mean being able to do the things you love.

I was at a conference where a lady I admired for a long time was a part of the panelist. This lady has achieved everything that I wanted for myself and did so gracefully. She has a flourishing career, she was influential on every platform and had followers and mentees, she was well travelled, and studied in one of the most prestigious universities. She was married with kids and pretty much had everything together. At the conference, someone asked this well-lived woman if she considered herself successful and she would respond in the negative.

I could never get over that response. But soon, I realized that I measured her success based on my definition of what success should be for me, and not necessarily what success meant to her.

There’s this misconception we have that every rich person is successful. We generally qualify success by the number of cars a person possesses or how many empires they control or even something as vague as the number of followers they have on Instagram or the number of designer clothes they own. Being rich is different from being successful. There are lots of rich people who feel they haven’t attained success, yet on the other side of the coin, there are average earners who live in the fulfilment of success. Being rich is owning lots of assets. Being successful is being able to live your life your own way.

I read in an article that in Indian society, a girl is called successful if she gets a good husband and family.

Success to some means freedom. For someone else across the room, success can also change its form from time to time. It could be getting a higher degree today, and owning a property tomorrow.

Success has been established to be a subjective term. For some, cracking a competitive exam is a success; for others getting a fat-paying job in a multinational may be a success criterion.

Are you so interested in being listed on Guinness World Records or Wikipedia before you deem yourself successful? Do you think you have to fall into the upper class, own your own business, and become a genius by any means to be called successful?

By establishing clearly what you define as success, you will start making decisions that support your vision. It will help you see the things you are doing and are working on, instead of seeing all that you’re not doing or don’t have. It helps you take charge of your life and it will make you feel good about yourself when you have ticked off goals from your lists.

Defining success helps you accurately measure and reward yourself accordingly without putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to reach an unrealistic goal. How you define success can determine how hard you’re willing to work to meet goals.

 If you know what success means to you, there’s a high probability that you are only committed to the things that matter to you.

Ultimately, your definition of success is important as it influences your motivation and drive.

According to Barack Obama, success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.

“…How to be used in the greater service to life. Ask this question, and the answer will be returned and rewarded to you with fulfilment, which is the major definition of success, to me.” Oprah Winfrey

Other world-famous people have distinctively defined what success means to them. Warren Buffet, an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist said in an interview that he measures his success by how many people love him. And, when Mark Cuban – American billionaire entrepreneur, television personality, and media proprietor – was asked to define success, he said,

“To me, the definition of success is waking up in the morning with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to be a great day. I was happy and felt like I was successful when I was poor, living with six guys in a three-bedroom apartment, sleeping on the floor.”

Success means different things to different people. There is no one way to define it. However, it is great you defined yours today because, in order to even achieve success, you must first define it.

We hope you enjoyed reading from us today. Do you agree with the opinion to define success to achieve it? Let us know what success means to you in the comment section.

Love and light!

THE CONCEPT OF PAYING IT FORWARD

How often have you heard the phrase, “pay it forward”? Do you understand what it means? Have you ever been that person who was intentional about paying forward a kind gesture or a privilege you enjoyed from someone in the past?

When have you been the recipient of kindness from a stranger? When have you done something generous for someone you didn’t know? Have you ever, because of some kind gesture you received from someone, replicated such a gesture to someone else?

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” — Maya Angelou

The simplest way to define “pay it forward” is that when someone does something for you, instead of paying that person back directly, you pass it on to another person instead. For example, someone helps you with your task at work seeing that you have an increasing lineup of deliverables, in turn, you help another colleague who needs assistance with their tasks.

There is a Pay It Forward Day. This day is a worldwide celebration of kindness that takes place every year on April 28. It is not associated with any organization or foundation. The event took inspiration from Hyde’s book and Blake Beattie’s initial Pay It Forward Day in 2007. It started in Australia and has spread to more than 85 countries. It only lasts 24 hours but inspires communities to promote kindness acts throughout the year.

One morning in December of 2012, at the drive-through window of a Tim Hortons coffee shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a customer paid for her order and then picked up the tab for the stranger in the car behind her in line. Then that customer paid the bill for the following customer in line — and so on, for the next 226 customers, in a three-hour sequence of spontaneous generosity.

In recent years, social scientists have conducted experiments demonstrating that the effect of a single act of kindness can in fact ripple through a social network, setting off chains of generosity that reach far beyond the original act. When we are kind, we inspire others to be kind, and it creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards. Just as a pebble creates waves when it is dropped in a pond, acts of kindness ripple outwards, touching others’ lives and inspiring kindness everywhere the wave goes. I read that one of the largest kidney chains started when in yoga class, a woman named Kathy Hart heard about a 7-year-old boy who needed a kidney transplant. Although she was incompatible with the boy, she donated her kidney to anyone in need. This chain connects people who need kidneys along with their willing, but mismatched donors to other incompatible pairs to find kidneys for all recipients involved. This chain included 70 people in 35 transplants at 25 hospitals in 15 states. These special donors must be willing to give up their kidney for a stranger for it to work, but this act will literally save lives.

The concept of paying it forward supports the idea that once you receive kindness, you must be willing to give just about the same amount of kindness to someone else who needs it. Sometimes when people come to our aid or support us with a need, they may not be needing us to return the Favour to them as they may not require anything from us especially when we are certain there’s barely anything our little gestures can do for them. Rather than try to reciprocate, we could simply pay it forward. By helping others, you can significantly alter the course of history. You’ll not only make someone else feel better, but you’ll also start a domino effect.

The entire world might change if you spread kindness to three strangers, who in return spread it to three other strangers and the chain of kindness continues.

I have realized that as much as people claim to be generous and disperse kindness, the majority of people are only nice to people they can benefit something from. They are strategically nice or kinder to a particular class of people with the hopes of a favour to be returned in the near future. When last did you show kindness to someone who may never be able to repay you? When last did you help someone who may never see you again to return the Favour? These questions practically explain the concept of paying it forward.

The pay-it-forward concept tells us that we can make a difference in the lives of others and it glorifies random acts of kindness. It tells us that when someone is kind to us, it’s a good idea to repay mankind several times over by doing good things for others. Ultimately, the person paying it forward grows as much as the person receiving the act of kindness.

No act of kindness is too small, especially if you are giving it to people who need it. The idea to pay it forward can work anywhere and in every situation. You can pay it forward at your job, at your church, at the park or while you are at your routine morning jogging. When someone shows you kindness, don’t stop the chain. Think of what or how you would have coped through that situation had you gotten help when you did. Then, think about other people who are stuck in a situation that you can easily help them through. You will influence more people through your actions than your words, and one person at a time, we can make the world a better place.

We hope that this article encourages you to indulge in random acts of kindness. We hope that you remember to pay it forward and continue a chain of generosity. Have you ever paid an act of kindness forward?

We’d love to read from you in the comments.

DEALING WITH CHANGE

Just as the earth rotates around its axis, revolving around the sun, triggering day and night and different seasons and weather which inversely impacts human daily activities, so is life dynamic. There is nothing constant in life. Even the earth on which we live our daily lives changes its position to give us time and seasons. No wonder it is said that there is nothing constant in life except change. Therefore, whatever we do in life, we must expect and be open to change whether Favourable or unfavourable.

Human biological formation and growth is itself dynamic. The sperm and ova come together to form a zygote, transport itself to the womb, forms a baby, comes out of the womb and the growth or changes continue till death. human life and its environment have to deal with change. Therefore change has been a major part of human existence.

We experience transitions in work and relationships, changes in our physical and mental health, or a loss of a loved one. Many people spend a great deal of effort trying to avoid change especially when it seems inconvenient or unfavourable to us. Most times, it forces itself on us.

On the other hand, we may long for change hoping for it to be favourable.We keep adapting to changes every minute of our lives unknowingly. Imagine sleeping late at night very weak in very cold and rainy weather. Within a twinkle of an eye, your alarm blares reminding you that you have to wake up and prepare for work, you inconveniently struggle to rise from your bed and so on. None of these is convenient but you adapt because the world moves on and doesn’t wait for you even in your inconveniences. Therefore is it a necessity and mandatory that you deal with whatever changes; negative or positive because life must continue.

POSITIVE CHANGE: when we talk about positive changes, it does not necessarily mean that they will be favourable or convenient. It is positive probably because it was what we desired. For instance, most secondary school graduates would desire the good news of being offered admission into a higher institution of learning. A very laudable transition but would take lots of inconveniences to scale through it. You study day and night, you attend lectures even at your inconvenience and this is you dealing with this positive change of being in an institution of higher learning. You have to inconvenience yourself to scale through.

Positive change can either comfort you or discomfort you. There is lot of good news that demands more inconvenience to handle.

NEGATIVE CHANGE: Just like the case of a positive change, not all negative changes are unfavourable. An example is a broken relationship that leads one into a relationship that is perfect and happy ever after. The death of a loved one or dismissal from work opens more prosperous opportunities. Some negative changes can help one leap into areas of growth, nevertheless, the negative changes have to be dealt with as humans.

Ultimately, change requires adjustments. Sometimes these can be small things like finding a new way to do something or adding a new step to some of your daily routines. In other cases, you might find that change introduces significant disruptions to the way you live your life. This can create stress or feelings of anxiety and depression in some cases.This doesn’t mean change is always bad because even good changes you are excited about can be stress-inducing. Things might not have been perfect before, but you may have been comfortable in your previous state of equilibrium. You had a routine. You knew what to expect, so you weren’t thrown off by surprises or unexpected challenges.

As change happens, your routines are disrupted. You suddenly have to adapt as you are pushed further and further out of your comfort zone.

Finally, whether change happens unexpectedly or not, you have to keep an eye on the future and prepare yourself mentally. The way you think about change plays a major role in determining how well you deal with it. Being closed-minded can undermine your ability to focus on the positive side. When negative thoughts bog you down, it becomes more challenging to have faith in your coping abilities. You can’t always control change, you can manage how you respond to those changes.

Developing a positive mindset is a great way to promote resilience. Make lemonade out of a lemon.

Happy new month Brilliant people. We wish you the best of the new month!