The Power of Association

Once, a boy fell into bad company. He mixed with bad boys and wasted his time. It hurt his father. He tried his best to set him right but to no use.
One day, the father thought of a plan. He bought some fresh apples from the bazaar. He brought one rotten apple also. He said to his son, “Put these apples in the Jide.” The boy did so.

The next day, the father asked him to bring the apples. The boy was sad to see the apples. They were all rotten the father said, “One rotten apple has spoiled all the good ones. Bad friends are like bad apples. They will spoil you.” These words of his father worked magic as Jide soon understood the impact of a negative company.

Association in psychology refers to a mental connection between concepts, events, or mental states that usually stems from specific experiences.
The power of association is very powerful. It has to do with the type of people around you and how their beliefs, vision, goals, ideas, behaviours, and thoughts affect you as an individual. It affects your thinking, habits, the way you speak, and what you do. To achieve your goals and dreams, you need to surround yourself with successful friends and mentors.

There is a beautiful explanation by Swami Vivekananda on Association, “The raindrop from the sky: If it is caught in hands, it is pure enough for drinking. If it falls in a gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used even for washing the feet. If it falls on a lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl and finally, if it falls on an oyster, it becomes a pearl. The drop is the same, but its existence and worth depend on whom it is associated with.

Your friends that you hang out with, along with the other people that you spend time with have a tremendous impact on you and your life. The opportunities that are available to you, the choices that you make, even the amount of money in your bank account are all greatly affected by the people around you. It’s been said that you are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with.

Right from childhood, we are monitored by our parents/guardians and they would tell us the kind of friends to and not to keep. They tell us who and who not to be associated with because they know how powerful association can be; the saying that bad company corrupts good manners.

You become your conversations. You will think like your associations, and your life will look a lot like the lives of the people you spend most of your time with.

Who are you spending your time with?

Do you spend your time with the talkers or doers? The motivated or indifferent?

Who you become in the next 2 to 5 years is going to be directly related to the people that you associate with. If you associate with lazy people, average people, people that believe in mediocrity, more than likely that’s where you’re going to end up in the next 2 to 5 years.
According to Colin Powell, “The Power of Association is too real: The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity

Pay careful attention to who your closest associations are because it’s an indication of the direction your life is heading.
• Associations can be the people you sit and fellowship with.
• Associations can be developed by the kind of books you read.
• Associations can develop by what you watch on TV, by who you follow on social media, the internet, the kind of movies and entertainment you expose yourself to. The places you go to.

The power of association can work on the negative side or the positive side. It can work for you or it can work against you. Don’t be deceived into thinking that associating with the wrong crowd or will not affect you because personalities, words, and traits do rub off naturally.

When double checking things that impede your success, consider double-checking the friendships you keep, the kind of information you digest, what you watch and what your circle is about. If you spend time with

You must consistently ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me saying? What have they got me reading? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming?
Then you ask yourself: is that okay?
Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.

It’s important to find friends and mentors who are more successful than you are. Especially, those who have achieved what you want to achieve or living the life you hope to live.

Surrounding yourself with these people will elevate your level of thinking, habits, and overall lifestyle.
These people will support you when you need help and motivate you not to give up. Be intentional about who you spend your time with. There’s a quote that says “a rising tide lifts all boats”. In this case, if the people around you are successful and achieving great things, you will too.

To change your circle of friends, you need to know what you want. Getting clear on what you want keeps you moving towards it. And it stops you from making decisions you might later regret in every area of your life even in your friendships and relationships.
What are your goals? Which type of people do you need to be associated with to help make you achieve success? What do you need to spend the most time doing for you to achieve what you want? When you gain this clarity, you can figure the kind of relationships to keep or not to keep.

Secondly, work on yourself. Being the best version of yourself is important for your mental health. If you are always depressed or indifferent, the chances are you will attract people that might not be the best influence in your life. So start by changing your outlook on life and take small steps. If you want to be associated with the motivated and goal-getters, you need to stay, motivated and be a goal-getter yourself. When you start working on yourself, you will be more present in your life which will improve your new and existing friendships and make you a better person.

Also, stay connected. It’s not enough to simply know people who could elevate you to that next level. You have to make yourself visible, reach out, communicate and hang out with these awesome individuals. Whatever it takes except stalking them and bothering them, of course!

If you desire a successful life, you need to be picky and intentional about the kind of people you associate with because bad company corrupts everything. Even the biggest visions.

Happy new month!

The Implications of Clarity of Purpose

Two friends decided to change businesses since the previous ones did not survive a recession. They did not have so much –just some funds with the dreams and hopes of succeeding. Stephen had researched and wanted to go into real estate investments. He knew the pros and cons. He had been able to identify his financial Stage, chosen his real estate investing Strategy, picked a target market, and decided his investment property criteria. He had knowledge of virtually everything he needed to accelerate the ladder of real estate. Joel, on the other hand, had heard folks talk about the lucrativeness of importation, and it piqued his interest to set out on that path. Although he had discovered his line of interest, he seemed to exhaust time on dreams and hopes of succeeding rather than take action in its regard.

Stephen, having only a few amounts of money to invest, knew he needed to get some more funds to add to what he already had, so he thought of selling a car that was not so beneficial to him. He was not sure if his friend needed a car but he was bent on selling that car to anyone to achieve his own purpose of investing, so he took up his cell phone and to call his first potential customer –his friend. After the backs and forth, Joel soon started buying the idea of the car since he had always wanted another car anyway. He thought it was a good opportunity to buy a car from his friend at a cheaper rate compared to the market rate. “You know what friend; I will buy your car. I have always wanted another car anyway”He would eventually pay for it with the little funds he had saved from his previous business.

With this, Stephen was able to get the total amount of the money he needed to invest in order to make more money while Joel got a car he was not sure he needed, dreams of becoming wealthy through importations of merchandise he hadn’t figured out, and hopes of succeeding.

Who do you think is the main of purpose in this story? The one who sold a car he didn’t need to invest into something that will generate him more money to buy more cars or the one who bought a car he did not necessarily need with this saved funds, but at a cheaper rate than he would have gotten it in the car-market?

When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, any wind is the right wind.” — Seneca

Stephen and Joel may have had the same hunger for wealth and success, but the level of clarity of Stephen was distinct from that of Joel. whilst one woke up with an intention to succeed, the other woke with the dreams and hopes of succeeding. Because Joel did not have that clarity of purpose, he unintentionally became the prey of Stephen’s purpose. A lack of clarity of purpose and intentionality is one reason people move in circles for the most part of their lives without results. Unless you have clarity about the importance of the result you want to achieve, you won’t have the intention to take action.

Even if you have goals, they are very haphazard. One goal contradicts the other. You’re all over the place with no sense of direction at all. A life without clarity of purpose is as meaningless as this. Success starts with clarity of purpose. Without knowing exactly what you want, there is no way you can get it.

Imagine if you want to travel overseas, but you have yet to decide on which country to visit, can you buy a flight ticket or formulate your itinerary? Do you know how much to spend and where to stay? How do you plan to get there and what are the attractions you are going to visit?A lack of purpose means a lack of goals. It means nothing is leading you to an imaginary final destination. You literally have nowhere to go, you find it absolutely torturous to be on the way, and you don’t even like the route. A lack of purpose is just as bad as a lack of clarity of purpose.

People who are not clear about their purpose may have an idea of what they want to do with their lives, but they are not quite certain. And, because they are not certain about the steps to take to actualize their purpose, they are vulnerable and can easily become prey to people who have a sound idea of what they want to achieve. When you are clear about the context of the outcome you want, your why, you then start thinking about the action steps needed, the what. If you are clear on the purpose and importance of the result you want, and the action steps you need to undertake to achieve the outcome, you then think about how to do it.We all want to achieve a result in the easiest and simplest way possible.

When you have that mindset you become more intentional about your time. There will only be specific activities, relationships, teamwork, and collaboration that help you achieve the result you want. Focus on maximizing those and saying no to everything else. This creates better boundaries, helps you become more present, and makes you more intentional about where to invest your time.Without purpose clarity as a person, business, or organization, you will barely be able to decide between priority and severity.

Hence, waste resources placing urgency on things that are non-critical but priority and ignore those that are both critical and priority. Understanding the priority and severity matrix will help you get clear on tasks you should be doing and others that you can buy some more time to achieve. Decide what you want. Decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priority and get to work.

To achieve clarity of purpose, you need to define the success you really want. Ask yourself “What has to happen in order for me to feel successful?” when you have answered that, map out the step you need to take and things that will be critical to help you attain them. Then focus on achieving them. When you have attained this level of clarity, you begin to live each day of your life with intentions. These intentions will guide you so much as not to fall prey to other people’s purpose. It is easy to be swept away by life as we hurtle around the sun year after year. If we don’t assert ourselves and design our lives around what is important to us, we will let ourselves get swept away.

“Theree is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”Napoleon Hill

Jack of All Trades or Master of One?

There lived a fox and a cat near a forest. Both were very close friends. They occasionally met each other and discussed their life and activities.
One day both were sitting together and were talking about the art of self-preservation. The fox asked the cat “My friend! How many techniques have you mastered to save yourself at the time of danger?”

The cat answered “My brother! I know only one technique—the art of climbing up a tree when I sense some approaching danger.”

The fox said in a deprecating manner “Ah! You know only one technique. Your life is miserable. You do not know any other technique besides climbing up a tree?”

The cat asked “My friend! How many techniques, really, do you know?”

The fox replied “It is a long story. Please wait. I will bring my notebook, in which I have written down all the techniques that I learned from different teachers at different times, to save myself in different situations.” The fox brought a big thick notebook and opened it with a lot of pride. It said, “I can run when the problem comes.” Opening another page, “I can hide in a bush.” he continued, “I can enter into a hole and protect myself.” Opening every page, the fox was narrating different techniques with vanity and pride.

While both were talking, a dog came running towards them from a little distance. The cat exclaimed, “My brother! Be careful; a dog is coming!” Warned by the cat, our poor fox kept turning the pages of his notebook while thinking what would be the best technique to save his life. The cat called out “Brother! I do not know many techniques. I only know one technique, and that is to climb up the tree. The dog cannot come there.”

The cat dashed up the tree. Despite his so-called intelligence, the foolish fox was not able to decide what to do. The dog was getting very near and the fox was in trouble, while the cat was saying “mew! mew!” from the treetop.

As the famous figure of speech goes, ‘Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None’, it basically is referred to the type of people who have dabbled themselves in many skills but somehow failed to achieve expertise in anyone. The phrase was originated in the form of just ‘jack of all trades’ by Robert Greene in 1592 to dismiss William Shakespeare, who was an actor turned into scriptwriter. It was used randomly as a form of praise by the 17th century until the term ‘master of none’ was attached to it.

Many people will argue that it is more advantageous to be a jack of all trades; having many skills while others will conservatively choose to be a master of one. Judging by the story of the cat and fox, the narrative encourages us to disregard versatility and focus on being an expert at one thing. Although this used to be the widely accepted narrative, times have changed and today’s competitive world seems to have become extra favourable to people with diverse skills.

Versatility is an extra string to a player’s bowAles Oxlade Chamberlain

For the master of one, his expertise is precious. The requirement to perform extremely well and possess expertise in a particular skill has been conventionally extremely important for almost every industry in every category, so they have a huge advantage as the quality of their work is topnotch and flawless. When a company is recruiting a master of one, they do not need to waste time on training or polishing the staff.
They know pretty much everything they need to about their job.

On the other hand, generalists – our Jacks – have a never-ending curiosity and a real desire to expand their skills and talents. They’re curious and love to learn – a valued asset to many organizations. Jacks are adept at learning and have developed methods of consuming knowledge that allow them to become quickly adept at many skills.
For a jack of all trade, they have diverse skills and can handle different tasks a little independently. In reality, these generalists are versatile and proficient in several key skills, given their diverse abilities.

They are those people who are conversant –to an extent- with copywriting, digital marketing, accounting, catering, graphic designing, public relations, finance, and administration, etc. For these people, they can easily switch jobs especially when a particular industry begins to suffer or they get downsized.

The expansive knowledge base of these generalists –jacks- makes them flexible and adaptable for multi-tasking and taking on a wide range of situations they are exposed to. They might not be experts in the field, but they can definitely contribute a lot to resolving specific matters.

Being generalists, these individuals are adept at learning quickly. They can go through multiple learning opportunities at varying levels of complexities and frequency. This can be beneficial to organizations in the long run as these candidates are always ready to learn new things as opposed to a person who has built themselves to be fixated on a particular skill.

A leader is always considered to have a lot of experience. A leader who knows almost every aspect of a business will definitely have an edge over someone who rose through ranks doing only one job. In such a situation, a jack of all trades fits pretty well in leadership roles because a person having several skills can effectively establish authority over other employees.

On choosing whether to be a jack of all trades or master of one, for some – the answer depends on what’s important to you as a person. Todd, an agency owner, gave this wise consideration, “A Jack of all trades gives you greater security and flexibility. Being a specialist gives you greater esteem, pay, and a higher ceiling. Pick your poison.”

That said, you need to understand that as you grow in your career, you must acquire new skills to be able to deliver on your job. And, this will most likely mean acquiring new skills -versatility

We can choose to either be a jack of all trades or be a master of one. But in today’s world –in order not to be left behind- one is at a more competitive edge when they are a master of many trades and master of one.

Jamie, the owner of a video production studio, says “Be a master at one craft, but know how to do others jobs. For example, a good film director knows the duties of other departments. Makes for a better director when they know how other jobs are done.”

The Requisite To Success

There was a business executive who was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.
Suddenly an old man appeared before him. “I can see that something is troubling you,” he said.

After listening to the executive’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.”
He asked the man his name, wrote out a cheque, and pushed it into his hand saying, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.”

Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world!

“I can erase my money worries in an instant!” he realized. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed cheque in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought.

With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.

Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed cheque. At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.
“I’m so glad I caught him!” she cried. “I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he’s John D. Rockefeller.” And she led the old man away by the arm.

The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he’d been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him.

Suddenly, he realized that it wasn’t the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after.

The story highlights how much we can accomplish with self-confidence. This executive had in losing everything, lost his self-confidence which automatically plunged him into the state of inaction. He was not able to do much to salvage the situation until a man had resuscitated his confidence and strength with a fake half a million dollar cheque. And, from that moment, he became unstoppable.

One of the bitter truths about lack of self-confidence is that it leads to inaction. It leads to holding back, shyness, and often, missed opportunities.

The most successful people in the world today do not attribute their successes to a lack of confidence or timidity. If Mark Zuckerberg for instance had lacked self-confidence, he wouldn’t have ever manifested the idea of Facebook. His self-confidence was a genuine trust in himself and his abilities, and because of that level of self-confidence, the world was able to trust him. You need to be certain about your abilities, qualities, and judgment. If you are uncertain, it’s difficult to convince anyone to be certain about you. Before anyone can believe in you, you need to first believe in yourself!

A lot of times, we are capable of accomplishing so much more than we imagine but our inability to believe in ourselves shrinks us to the state of passivity so that we just accept things however they come without any deliberate effort to make anything happen. Many people are walking aimlessly or have died with life-changing ideas they were never confident enough to execute.

In an actual sense, sometimes, failure and rejection are not necessary because of a lack of skills, knowledge, or abilities. On the contrary, it is a lack of self-confidence. When you are sitting in a room full of people and cannot look them in the eyes when you talk; when you instantly begin to stutter or swallow saliva every 2seconds whilst introducing your new product to a prospective sponsor, the chances you will ever get that partnership signed is invisible, and no it is not because your product is not good enough.

Being confident about your strengths helps you draw courage and resolution when the going gets tough in life. It helps you to keep things in perspective and back yourself when everyone else says that the task ahead is nearly impossible to complete in the stipulated time. Self-confidence is to believe in yourself; feeling comfortable in your true self. It is indeed the most attractive personal brand attitude you can ever possess.

To build your self-confidence, you need to first identify those things that make you lack confidence, and then improve on them. it could be your lack of skills, unhealthy weight, or lack of eloquence. Whatever it is, identify and seek ways to improve on them.

Secondly, surround yourself with confident people. Avelo Roy said, “If you hang around 5 confident people you will be the 6th. If you hang around 5 intelligent people you will be the 6th. If you hang around 5 millionaires you will be the 6th”. The bottom line is to be selective of people in your circle. Surround yourself with self-confident people so that it can easily rub off on you.

Also, never lose count of your past accomplishments. Make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished in your life. When you’re low in confidence, this list will help you rebuild your confidence.

Everyone knows that self-confidence is important, but very few know the degree of its importance. To succeed, we need to build a commendable level of self-confidence, without which, success becomes a mirage because confidence comes naturally with success, but success comes only to those who are confident.

Importance of Preparedness

There were two farmers, Hank and Joe, who lived on adjacent properties. They were in the middle of a long drought that had left their land parched, making it almost impossible to grow crops. One day Joe looked over his fence and saw Hank working on building a new dam. “What are you doing that for? There’s no water.” Joe said. “The rain’s coming,” replied Hank. Joe looked up at the cloudless sky, shrugged his shoulders, and walked away. A couple of weeks later, Joe looked over the fence again and saw Hank working on a new irrigation system. “What’s the point of doing that? There’s still no water.” Joe shouted. “The rain’s coming,” replied Hank. “That’s what you said last time,” Joe muttered under his breath as he turned around and walked away.

A few weeks later, large black clouds started to fill the sky and then the rain finally fell, breaking the drought with a massive downfall that had the potential to change the future for all of the farmers in the region. Hank looked out from his farmhouse as his new dam and irrigation system filled with precious water, ensuring that he would benefit from the rain for a long time in the future. Joe was relieved to see the rain, but he was unprepared and his property soon dried up again. A few months later, Joe looked over his fence at Hank’s luscious farm with envy. “Why is he so lucky?” he asked himself. Hank looked back at his neighbor’s dust bowl of a farm with pity. “Why is he so foolish?” he asked himself.

The difference between being reactive and proactive is preparation. To prepare is to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity. It is a management principle whereby people get ready for a successful experience. A proceeding or readiness for a future event as a goal and an acceptable accomplished final outcome. How good are you at being prepared? Are you extremely self-disciplined and ready for every contingency or are you more of a go with the flow type and consider being prepared as a useless concept? Those who are proactive about their possibilities know that they can create opportunities for themselves, and in that process, prime themselves for success. If you feel there is not enough opportunity knocking, ask yourself if you are preparing for it as much as you are talking about it.

People often talk about how they are waiting for their big break or that if they were just given the opportunity, they would take it and run with it. But would they really? That would mean that they have to be prepared when the opportunity presents itself, and unfortunately, the majority are simply not.The reason people fail is not that there are no opportunities. Rather, they are barely prepared for opportunities when it finally comes. Imagine desiring a promotion yet not taking the time to upskill and acquaint yourself with the necessary knowledge for that desired position. When that opportunity finally comes, how do you excel? What level of preparedness will the CEO see in you enough to promote you?It is easy to imagine a dream job, but how prepared will you be for that job if the opportunity finally comes? When there are no immediate job prospects due to the economy are you still building your network, keeping your resume up-to-date and increasing your level of expertise, or just talking about getting a dream job?

One advantage of Preparation is that you can manage problems more quickly and more efficiently because you will already have the solutions at hand ready to be implemented. Athletes do it. Sports teams do it. Airline pilots do it. Professional speakers do it. Musicians do it. Event planners do it. Successful people do it.

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax” ~ Abraham Lincoln.

Preparedness enhances self-discipline, enhances strategic thinking, develops resilience and increases flexibility. More importantly, it helps us achieve success. Life presents us with limited windows of opportunity. These windows may never come again. Many are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. There are windows that will swing open, and if you’re not ready at that moment, you have to bite the bullet and accept it as a missed opportunity. It is important that no matter how skilled, talented or knowledgeable you are in your respective field, you must spend time every day preparing. Prepare for the next step, the next goal, the next big moment when it arises — because you never know when it will come. I have found that the biggest regrets come from individuals who had a window of opportunity that they weren’t prepared for. Whether it was the job interview that they tried to wing, or the endorsement that they lost. There is nothing worse than the feeling of your dreams being close enough to touch and them slipping through your fingertips, never to return. “I will prepare and some day my chance will come”

Preparation takes time, discipline, thought, effort, research, organization, and even some meditation. It’s an investment in yourself, your product, and your business, and those who are prepared are noticed. If you want to create possibilities, prime yourself for success, and capitalize on the opportunity, you must simply begin to prepare. Take a moment to consider how you go about your daily life. Are you missing out on some wonderful opportunities because you are not preparing yourself sufficiently?

Don’t let the moment pass leaving you wondering why others are so lucky!

Shifting Your Perception

There are two types of people in this world: those who view the glass as half-full, and those who see the glass as half-empty. This phenomenon is called perception, and our perceptions profoundly impact how we experience life.

There were two brothers in a small village in the Eastern Cape. The twin brothers grew up knowing nothing else but poverty. Their father was an alcoholic and their mother a domestic worker. They grew up with very little.
On their way home one day, their parents were involved in a bus accident and died instantly. The brothers’ condition became even worse. At age 17 they separated. Years and years later a family member decided to find them for a family reunion.

One of the brothers was a wealthy engineer owning a construction company. He had a wife and three beautiful kids. The other was an alcoholic with no sense of direction for his life.
The family member asked the engineer, “How did your life turn out like this?”
“What did you expect with a childhood like mine?” he answered.
She moved on to the other brother with the same question.
“What did you expect with a childhood like mine?” was his answer.

From this story, we can conclude that men are not disturbed by the things that happened but by their perception of the things that happened.

Perception means gathering or receiving. It is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. Perception molds, shapes, and influences our experience of our personal reality. Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things.

In other words, we believe what we perceive to be accurate, and we create our own realities based on those perceptions.

You must have heard people say your perception is your reality. This is because our perception is based on our mind-constructed model of the world, such that life reflects our held beliefs and opinions. Your perceptions influence all areas of life. The totality of your perceptions— regarding yourself, your life, life in general, others, and so on—creates and impacts your personal reality and ultimately your experience of life. Specifically, your perceptions affect the quality of your experience of life. So, if you perceive things in a positive light, you’ll experience a happier existence, and if your perception of life is negative, it means that for the most part of your life, you will be dealing with lots of negativity.

Past experiences also have the power to influence our perceptions. Suppose you are raised in a poor family with little material possessions to account for. Your constant concern for money leads you to adopt a scarcity mentality. Over time, you develop negative beliefs related to money, since your past was replete with evidence of money being in short supply, but if you were born and raised in a wealthy home, raised in a wealthy family living in an affluent neighborhood: equipped with maids, butlers and a chauffeur, Prosperity, abundance and wealth would be common to your experience given your relationship to wealth. You expect money to be readily available since reality dictates its abundant supply.

How we perceive the world around us directly influences everything we do. Whether we frame a challenge as positive or negative can directly manipulate and influence the outcome of that challenge. If we see ourselves as someone who has little willpower, we’ll likely have a self-fulfilling prophecy and suffer in the willpower department. And it goes beyond how we see ourselves, but also how we perceive objects, other people, and how they perceive us.

How do you perceive rejection, failure, and setbacks?

To some rejection is bad luck, setbacks are spiritual or an omen that you are on the wrong path, and then to some, failure is the end of that goal, dream, and ambition whilst to others, it means another opportunity to try again and again until they achieve success. Ultimately, how we perceive the world and life’s events is what we will get out of it at the end of the day.

Everything can change when we look at things differently. When you change your perception, you will realize that maybe that task wasn’t as difficult as you thought or that boss doesn’t hate you as you assumed or that failure wasn’t to make you give up.

The first step to shifting our negative perception is to identify past experiences that have shaped a negative perception you have and discard those beliefs. It could be your belief that all men are misogynists because you grew up with an abusive father who beat up his wife. Identifying these experiences will free you of its influence. Once you have an experience in mind, identify the limiting beliefs that experience shaped for you and change those beliefs to more positive ones. Constructive perceptions, the tendency to see the good in people, things, or situations, or to view compassionately, spring from positive beliefs. For instance, if you believe the world is an unsafe place, and that love is an illusion, you will likely view people with suspicion, irrespective of their good intention. So, you need to challenge and discard your irrational thoughts and beliefs, for you to change your perceptions for the better.

Secondly, always choose the positive sides of situations. If you look on the bright side, you try to be cheerful about a bad situation by thinking of some advantages that could result from it or thinking that it is not as bad as it could have been. With this mindset, you will not easily perceive failure as the end of the world, rather as an opportunity to do better. Choosing to see the negatives of situations will only help you build negative perceptions from that experience that will linger.

Also, don’t be too quick to form a belief. Sometimes, we jump the gun thinking our mere perception of things is the actual truth. We need to realize that all we have is our perception and not the absolute truth so asking questions like is this really true? Can I look at this another way? Or is there something here that I’m perhaps not seeing? Are all great ways to shift perspectives.

Embracing Networking In 2021

Ever heard the popular quote by Tim Sanders that says your network is your net worth? That is arguable the truest thing you ever heard in your lifetime.

Some people hate it, some people love it, but at least we can all agree: Networking is one of the most important success skills.

“All of the jobs he has gotten have been through friends.” – Jamal’s mother

Jamal is an 18-year-old junior in high school who was interested in finding employment for the summer and weekends. He has a combination of health-related, sensory, and learning disabilities. He began searching for a job on his own by applying at local businesses. Although Jamal sometimes had difficulty filling out the applications, he was able to turn to his mother for help with the hard parts. However, when he put out the applications, he was never called back for a job.

Since he was unsuccessful with the typical application process, Jamal decided to ask friends about job opportunities. Jamal is fortunate in that he has a large, close-knit family and a wide circle of friends. Through the youth group at his church, Jamal was able to meet many people. He became friends with a man who owned a campground, and Jamal began calling him to ask if he needed help with the maintenance there. This led to a permanent part-time job where Jamal worked at the campground on weekends. To make some extra money, Jamal also asked his brother, who is a roofer, if he could come to work with him and help out on the job. This led to another job opportunity and more employment experience.

Jamal was also introduced to a new field through a personal contact who became a mentor to him. Jamal knew that he would like a career that involved helping people but had not considered firefighting until he talked with another friend that he met through his church. His friend was a firefighter, and Jamal thought that his job sounded exciting and that he would like to do that in the future. Although Jamal thinks it will be difficult to pursue that career because of the classes, testing, and paperwork that he will need to go through, his friend (and mentor) will help him to prepare for the necessary training by tutoring him and helping him learn the material.
Jamal’s story shows several advantages of networking.

Another success story that illustrates the power of networking is that of Eloqua and Oracle.

Eloqua, a marketing automation and intelligence platform was sold to Oracle for $871 million back in 2012. A lot of people already know that. But what they may not know is why the whole deal went through so seamlessly; and that was precise because Paul Teshima, one of the founding team had built strong, shared relationships with the people at Oracle. Eloqua was purchased for more than 200 percent of its estimated public market value — for a $400 million-plus increase in shareholder net worth.

Every year, more evidence comes out on the success people have using networking to grow and promote their businesses. For a fact, last year I realized that most career advancement stories I heard happened mostly through networking.
In this era, it is so much about who you know and who knows you and less about what you know—and that’s exactly why being a powerful networker is so important.

Networking isn’t merely the exchange of information with others — and it’s certainly not about begging for favors. Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet, whether you’re waiting to order your morning coffee, participating in an intramural sports league, or attending a work conference. Identifying the places you will meet the kind of people you need and who may need your services or product is a step in the right direction.

Networking, when done skillfully, will not only open the door to plum job opportunities but can also help land new clients and tap talent for future hiring. When you invest in your relationships — professional and personal — it can pay you back in dividends throughout your career. It will help you develop and improve your skillset, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.

That said, let us not misconstrue networking as an avenue to take from or use people to our advantage. Many people think that as soon as you’ve made a connection with someone and offered a minuscule bit of value, you can immediately get value from them by asking for a favor, connection, etc. One of the biggest networking mistakes people make is jumping the gun when asking for a favor. One cardinal key to successful networking is to give before you can get.

This year, one beneficial thing you can do for yourself and your career is to build a strong chain of a valuable network. To do this, it is advisable to start networking before you need it. Seasoned networkers can smell the stench of desperation from across the room. People can sense when someone is only out to help himself. Tip-offs ranging from a panicked look in the eyes to a portfolio brimming with resumes will send them running in the other direction. On the other hand, by networking when you have no ulterior motive, you can begin to build relationships and a reputation for being generous rather than self-serving.

Secondly, pay it forward. Look for opportunities to provide value to those in your network before you ask for help. The more you invest in your relationships, the more you’ll learn about your new connections and the easier it will be to offer assistance.

Also, follow up. It’s a simple task, yet many professionals neglect this. The time you invested in speaking with someone new won’t benefit your career development if you fail to follow up afterward. While you don’t need to send a long, heartfelt message immediately after meeting someone new, you should send a LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message sooner rather than later.

There is no better time than now to start building your network. Thankfully, We’ve entered a new era, one in which shifting cultural values and the explosion of digital technology enable us to network in vastly more efficient, more focused, and more enjoyable ways.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” Robert Kiyosaki.

Starting Off 2021

To most people, starting off a new year is like starting a new life. The previous year might have been so tough that they want to leave it all behind to start afresh the New Year. To others, the New Year is just a continuum. It might be hard to believe, but 2021 is just a few hours away, which means you’re probably contemplating how to start the New Year fresh. The majority of people start off the year making New Year’s resolutions which mostly include losing weight, sticking to a healthier diet, exercising regularly, making better financial choices, quitting smoking, and spending more time with family. While all are great adjustments to make, you are likely to only keep these resolutions going for two weeks, or at most two months.

According to Women’s Day, 80% of New Year’s resolutions actually fail by February. Millions of people in the world make New Year’s resolutions each year but only a small fraction of them manage to keep them because they set unrealistic goals and have unrealistic expectations. A goal is unrealistic when the goal is something that requires more energy, skills, talents, and time than you have available in order to achieve it. Another unrealistic goal may be one that is not in alignment with your own greatest gifts and talents. When people launch their resolution on January 1st, they are making a change based on a calendar date, not necessarily when are truly prepared to change their lives. This is another real reason most resolutions fail.Although New Year resolutions have a higher propensity to fail, you better stick with it if it works for you.For the lot who will probably brush off their New Year resolutions in the first two weeks of following through, you may need to consider other ways to start the year fresh and clean.

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution that you will eventually break, start the New Year by committing to small things that can give you an instant feeling of fulfillment and success. Start off the year by doing a yearly review. Take stock of where you’ve been and all of the accomplishments you’ve made in the last year. In a typical yearly review, you should answer these types of questions; What went well for me last year? What didn’t go well for me last year? What accomplishments did I have? How did I improve my life? How did I improve my relationships?What did I remove from my life that is now making me happier? What do I wish I had taken more time for?

Keep track of these questions and your responses in a journal that you can refer back to in the future: your answers year over year will be very enlightening. Ask these types of questions about all the important areas of your life, such as family, relationships, finances, career, home, etc. These questions will help you appreciate all you’ve accomplished in the previous year, and you can use this information to start the New Year off right and set better goals for the next year.Secondly, update your attitude. This means starting the year with an attitude of gratitude and including a positive affirmation in your daily routine.

Like I said in a previous article, gratitude is a heart-centered approach to being at peace with yourself and with all you have. When you practice this feeling of gratitude, it attracts even more things into your life for which to be grateful.Positive affirmations refer to a simple, short sentence that you can use as a reminder throughout your day. Using positive affirmations can boost your self-esteem over time, which is helpful when starting off a new year. To work with positive affirmations, find a phrase that works for you, like “I am worthy,” or “I am capable of challenges.” Tell yourself this first thing in the morning and throughout your day as you start to doubt. Tailor your affirmation to your particular life and circumstance.

The list of positive affirmations for 2021 includes;• My heart and soul are at peace throughout 2021.• My mission for this year is to stay strong and bold.• I am ready to see things differently in 2021.• 2021 is the year of unlimited possibilities for me.• I choose love, respect, and kindness throughout 2021.• I am loved, worthy, I am enough, and I am worthy.• I choose to think positive thoughts in 2021.Also, set realistic goals for the year. Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.Set goals that you are able and willing to work toward. While you should always set goals that will challenge you to be better, it’s important to take a realistic approach. For example, if you don’t have any experience with long-distance running, perhaps it wouldn’t be wise to set a goal to complete a triathlon. That doesn’t mean you won’t complete a triathlon in the future! Try setting a goal to run a 5K first, and then build up to more intense competition.Remember what we need are positive, realistic goals and the willingness to work. Hard work and practical goals! Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

Wishing every one of you a prosperous and fulfilled 2021.

Thank you for reading our articles all through 2020.

What Are You Thankful For In 2020?

2020 was probably not the 2020 you had anticipated in 2019. Well, at least it wasn’t for me.
This year has been full of surprises for everyone. From the killings of 19 people and burning of homes and other buildings by unidentified gunmen in Tawari, Kogi State, to the march Chad and Nigeria massacre where about 70 soldiers were ambushed and killed by Boko Haram in Borno state and then to the coronavirus pandemic, the Endsars protest that claimed lives of peaceful protesters and policemen, and then the present nightmare of the naira depreciation.

There is no doubt that this has been a tough year.
Quite frankly, it is hard to find any reason to be thankful for 2020. Not after the year has been ruled the worst year ever. Not after people lost loved ones to the coronavirus and lost jobs because of the global economic meltdown caused by the pandemic.

Also, in a society that’s governed by the haves versus the have-nots, where money is all-powerful and helps epitomize the alluring facets of life like freedom, security, and power, it’s easy to be ungrateful. When you’re working tirelessly to no avail, unable to get ahead in life, especially after enduring the heartache of failure or financial turmoil, it’s simple to get disillusioned and it’s easy to not be grateful.
For these reasons and other unmentioned, gratitude is almost impossible.

A lot of people have asserted that the only thing they achieved this year was “breathing” or surviving the year. But isn’t that alone a worthy reason to be grateful?

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which read, “I am blind, please help.”

There were only a few coins in the hat – spare change from folks as they hurried past.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. Then he put the sign back in the boy’s hand so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.

That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign returned to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”

The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”
I wrote, “Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.”

Both signs spoke the truth. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind, while the second sign conveyed to everyone walking by how grateful they should be to see.

If you are able to read this, it’s because you have the gift of sight. These are the little things we often take for granted that we must always remember to be thankful for.

Other things we take for granted include the roof over our heads, the food on our plates, or the clothes on our backs. It’s there and we always expect those things to be there. But for many people in the world, it’s not there. They lack the basic necessities in life. Food, water, and shelter, along with many other things.

The year may have been a disaster and we may have been stuck in some financial crisis, but we have the gift of life, health, and whatnot. We have the most valuable gifts that money cannot buy. We have the gift that encourages us to keep striving –the gift of life.

Gratitude is a habit. It’s a way of looking at the world and all the good things in it with a feeling of appreciation, regardless of whether or not your current situation is to your liking. A thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.

With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or God.

Whatever realm of thought you’re living in, the importance of gratitude cannot be underestimated. There are specific reasons why gratitude can change your life, and if you listen to them and truly hear the message beyond the words, there are some incredible things that will begin to happen for you over time. Gratitude is a heart-centered approach to being at peace with yourself and with all you have. When you practice this feeling of gratitude, it attracts even more things into your life for which to be grateful.

One of the reasons why gratitude can change your life is because it shifts your focus. You see, life is all about focus. Whatever we focus on, we move towards. When we live in a state of lack and negativity, we see more of that. It’s easy to see something in a negative light when you’re focused on that. It’s easy to see all the problems and dilemmas surrounding a situation when your thinking is habitually geared towards that.

Gratitude makes you a happier person because each day, you are intentionally counting your blessings and not your losses. It can transform your life by strengthening and enhancing your faith. Whatever faith or religion you believe in, whether it’s God, Allah, Buddha, or even that spiritual oneness that binds us to each other for all you agnostics out there, gratitude can strengthen and enhance your faith and belief in whatever school of thought you subscribe to.

Look around you and ask yourself what you are thankful for in 2020. For me, I am grateful for the gift of life with which greater heights can be achieved. I am grateful for my sound health and the gift of family and friends that add spark to my life.

What are the things you are thankful for in 2020?

Remember that the best way to end the year is with a heart full of gratitude.

Knowing When To Give Up

With over a thousand quotes on Google telling you not to give up, myriads of motivational speakers in your timeline pressuring you never to give up on that ambition, down to electric billboards, placards and posters you’d find on the streets with the bold inscription, “Never give up”, you’d almost think the act of “giving up” is a mutiny.

More times than I can remember, our culture romanticizes perseverance, and for good reason: Perseverance is a great quality. A lot of amazing things in our world would never have been invented, and a lot of great people would never have found success, if they hadn’t kept getting up every time they got knocked down.
But, sometimes giving up is exactly what we should do. We’re taught to persevere, no matter what, but sometimes that perseverance — that unwillingness or inability to let go — keeps us from moving forward, from finding happiness, from adapting to the curve balls that life throws our way. We will all face many different life situations that demand that we choose to keep trying or give up: professional goals, artistic dreams, romantic relationships, relationships with family and friends, the desire to have children — the list goes on and on. Sometimes, continuing to strive will be the right decision. But other times it won’t be. Giving up doesn’t always make you a bad person, or failure, or a deserter, or whatever bad thing you’ve been telling yourself.

Sometimes giving up means that you are mature enough to know when to cut your losses and move on, someone who has the bravery to protect his mental health, someone who is willing to take the risk of changing course.
You may not have heard it but failing to quit is a failure to learn. Sometimes your ideas and vision don’t match reality. What you’re trying to do isn’t going to work, staying stubbornly in the same direction can cost you much more than just pride. Majority of people are blindly persistent on the wrong job, relationship, ambition. Whatever they are doing is not in sync with their purpose, yet they rather not quit because of the popular opinion that “giving up” is for the weak.

Consider Isaac Newton. Famous for discovering the law of gravity that unites apples falling and the planets orbits. Yet, he spent years trying to decipher strange numerological codes hidden in the Bible that he thought could give him the recipe for turning lead into gold.
Or what about Elizabeth Holmes and her bogus blood-testing company, Theranos? She had ambition and persistence in abundance. But had she paused to reconsider earlier, she might have readjusted that drive into a product that wasn’t a sham, defrauding investors of billions.

Even Alexander the Great died at an early age because he pushed his empire too wide and thin, rather than stopping while he was ahead.

As much as you want to work persistently on an idea until you break boundaries and achieve that goal, it is also important to know when to simply give up. It is necessary to know when to give up on a particular style, process, system, approach, opinion or the even entire goal. In our world, people are so pressed with the idea of perseverance that they do the same thing over and over yet expect a different result.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” By this definition, it is a good reminder to be proactive and make necessary changes, even if they are painful. Maybe it’s not time to give up as much as it is for you to make a course correction. Do not stay rigid!

The most precious resource we can ever have is time, and time wasted on blind persistence is time gone forever. You will never get back the time you waste being stuck on something you should have given up on to try something else because in the end, it is not the failure we regret but the time wasted. The painful truth is that some dreams don’t come true. Some relationships will never be healthy. Some people will never love you the way you need to be loved. Some inventions are not yours to make. Some jobs are not yours to keep. Some things will never just work out. You need to know when to reevaluate and reconsider. Sola Adesakin- a prominent financial literacy coach was talking about how she dreamed to work at chevron and chased that dream for years, but to no avail. She would finally give up and got something different. Her testimony is that she probably wouldn’t be the Sola Adesakin we know today had she not given up her big dream to work at chevron to chase a different passion.

How do you know when to give up?

When you are no longer passionate about that ambition, relationship or career, when you begin to lack passion, enthusiasm, dedication and focus for something you are involved in, you may want to reconsider if you want to keep at it, or simply just stop. We can come to be so defined by our goals that it’s easy to take them for granted, to simply think, “Well, of course, I want that because I’ve always wanted that.” Take some time to think about yourself now. Is that dream something that still powerfully speaks to you? Or are you simply going through the motions?

Also, you may want to give up on an ambition if you aren’t able to visualize a positive outcome. If you continue working to achieve a goal and yet, it seems like an impossible dream to be successful, you’ll sabotage your efforts. Contemplate the realization of your goal in detail. Can you picture the resolution of your problem? Can you see yourself succeeding and feeling good about your success? If not, it‘s a good idea to reassess your commitment to the goal.

Lastly, when the idea of giving up floods you with relief, maybe you should give up.
Is the very first feeling you have when you contemplate quitting your job, leaving your relationship, or giving up on a dream is a profound sense of relief? Take that response seriously. If, after stripping away all of the worry and anxiety that comes with any major life change, all that you feel is an enormous weight lifting off your shoulders, there’s your answer.

If the reason you haven’t quit on an ambition, relationship or career is because of what people will say, then be a quitter and wear the name proudly. Sometimes it’s the best life decision you can make.