This Life…

OK, Jai Mcdowall won Britain’s Got Talent 2011.

Like many people, I had him in my top 5 but my eyes were on New Bounce or Ronan to win.

It is quite interesting how a man’s life changes overnight…

While the press was reporting Jai’s winning story, they were also saying one of the judges of the other show is now out of job both in UK and the USA.

But 6/7 months ago, she was the nation’s SH. She won two series back to back. She even had the record of being the first judge not to choose (which I think was part of her job spec as a judge)

She decided who she took to the life show and who she did not…it was almost like she had the say over other people’s lives.

This life….

Who would have ever imagined that she would now be the one out of job?

I am sure she will bounce back though …

When I think of Gamu Nhengu’s story: the controversy around her being dropped from X Factor, the visa issue/ the court cases, I believe that she will still do well in the music industry whether now or later.

Also:

  • No position is permanent
  • When man closes a door, God can open several others
  • The man in charge today will not be in charge forever
  • The interviewer today can become the interviewee tomorrow
  • Nobody can stop your destiny
  • Sometimes things go bad so they could become better…

Paradigm Shift…Boy Driver!!!

I have read the famous paradigm shift story – a man on the tube on a Sunday morning with the children running around and disturbing everyone. The writer was angry and said “Sir, can you please caution your children?” To which the dad replied – totally oblivious to all that was happening around him – “I am sorry, we are just coming from the hospital, they just lost their mum”!

Instantly, the writer’s emotion and reaction changed from anger to empathy.

Recently, I had a very interesting experience. It was an unusually warm autumn evening, I pulled in into a filling station for fuel. I grabbed the nozzle and was almost through with my fueling when I heard the honking of the horn from a car a few pumps away.

Who will be using their horn around here, why now?

I was startled, surprised and miffed at the honking. I looked over my shoulders with a mixture of wonder and irritation – we are not in London where the horn goes off 2 seconds after the light turns green. And there were no black cabs around…

To my amazement, I saw a 4-5 year old boy behind the wheels of a people carrier. Obviously the parent (driver) had gone into the store to pay for the fuel, as such, there were 3 kids left alone in the vehicle.

The first honking was probably a mistake but once the boy realised what he could do behind the wheels, he honked again, looked at his siblings, laughed out loud, raised his hand in enjoyment of what wonders he was performing.

I do not know what exactly was going on in the car with the 3 kids but all of a sudden, the boy literarily sat on the horn and let it run for as long as he could.

Typically, it would have been a prolonged state of anger plus irritation if the person honking was an adult. But amazingly, I found myself smiling in wonder of what this boy was doing.

Obviously, it was not the noise pollution I was enjoying. Rather, it was more of sharing in the boy’s amazement. He was visibly enjoying the magic he just discovered how to perform.

To everybody else, it was annoying. However, I found myself change from the feeling of irritation to amusement in seconds.

As I left the filling station, it occurred to me that, I have control over how I feel, the situation not withstanding.

Was it because it was a boy and not an adult that I was not irritated? Next time an adult is messing up, can I see a boy behind the situation and will that give me a paradigm shift?

It is really not the situation but our interpretation of it…

Picture source: hittheroadrob.blogspot.com

What do you do when you do not know what to do 2…

We all have times/moments in life when it looks like everything is against us. It looks like we are not where we should be or things are not quite working as we expect.

Sometimes we feel we are not where we want to be despite having tried all. To continue in this line of thought only leads to discouragement and despair.

At such times, when we feel we do not know what to do next, we need to re-evaluate the situation(s). And to help do this effectively, we need to see the situation through the eyes of gratitude

Gratitude

A lot has been said about being grateful. It can not be over flogged. I have discovered that this gratitude thing has got to be personal i.e. it is not a duty or a mechanical event. Sit down, take a sheet of paper and pen and begin to list things you are grateful for example:

  • You are alive
  • You are not in the hospital
  • You have eyes to read this
  • You have hands to type
  • You have opportunity to access the internet
  • You have 10 fingers
  • You have 10 toes
  • You are not bed ridden
  • Things are bad but not everything is bad

Recently, my wife and I decided to take stock, we took a sheet of paper and divided it into two. We listed the good things on the left and the bad ones on the right. As we started listing all we could remember, it became apparent that the challenge is predominantly in only one area.

The exercise helped us to know that our challenges are in only one area and all the other things are working fine. So we were able to give thanks.

The exercise is such that no one can do it on your behalf but you have got to step back and consciously remember the things in your life that are working.

If we forget our problems the way we forget our blessings, life will be great.

It is amazing how when we focus on the positive, we see a light …The more grateful we are, for the things that have worked, that are working, the easier it is for us to move forward. Also, it is as if the exercise turns the light on and you suddenly begin to see things from a different light.

When you do not know what to do and you are feeling down and dejected, switch over consciously to the positive side by being grateful and you will be amazed how things turn around.

What do you do when you do not know what to do 1?

Have you ever experienced those moments, where it looks like you are alone and all by yourself? When it looks like you are carrying the weight of the world? Or you seem to be singled out for troubles?

I have had situations and events happen, that really pushed me. I mean, push me to the wall. Times when you pray and say God “I know you know what you are doing but I do not see the total picture”.

There are moments when I say to God, “I know you are good and everything you do is good but everything around me is saying the opposite”. Times when I know the right scripture for the situation and somewhere inside me, I know it is going to be alright; however, what I see is a million miles away from what I know in my heart.

Sometimes, I am able to pray but at other times, I just speak to God without it sounding like prayer. Other time, I just like to stare at the TV so the moments could fly away.

I often go back to notes I had taken earlier and they are usually very helpful and reassuring but then that voice on my shoulder starts shouting all the negative stuff again.

My candid opinion based on previous experiences is that, God is too good to sit down in heaven and watch the devil mess up my life. I usually say to myself that all things work together for the good of those that love God.

While meditating recently, I had a very great revelation – there is nothing new under heaven! (That in itself is not a new revelation). And as the adage goes, “Saying that you have never heard of / seen such a thing before, is just a means of scaring the victim”.

At the end of the day, I won’t be the first and neither will I be the last. If other people have gone through it before and they do not have two heads, I will certainly go through. It shall come to pass.

It occurred to me that nothing lasts forever. Life is in seasons. After every winter comes spring. It looks like there is nothing we can do about the change in cycle… we can only align ourselves with it i.e. use it for our good. As the saying goes, it is not what happens to us but what we make out of it that counts.

Whatever, your list or issue, someone, somewhere has been through that same thing, and has come out on the other side. However, you will only come out on the other side if you keep on pressing on.

To be continued…

He Raised Me Up

He killeth and maketh alive
He bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up
He maketh poor and maketh rich
He bringeth low and lifteth up
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust
He lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill

He forgiveth all thine iniquities
He healeth all thy diseases
He redeemeth thy life from destruction
He crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies
He satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Have you not been paying attention?
Have you not been listening?
Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?
Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?
He sits high above the round ball of earth
The people look like mere ants
He stretches out the skies like a curtain

Who do you think made all these?
He marches this army of stars out each night
He counts them off, calls each by name

Why would you ever complain?
Don’t you know anything?
Haven’t you been listening?
He doesn’t come and go
He lasts
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath
He knows everything, inside and out
He energizes those who get tired
He gives fresh strength to dropouts

He opens and no man can shut
He shuts and no man can open
He is ALL

The Storm is Over!!!

Please join me in celebrating the anniversary of Anoda Phase, it has been an amazing 365 days!!! 

Someone sent me this mail and I could not but share it:

 A lady and her father set out on a journey on a wet and windy day. They felt that the journey might be rough and tough but they decided to set out anyway. Not too long after they started the journey, they came upon a storm, and the young lady asked her father, “What should I do?”

“Keep driving,” answered the dad. She was a little hesitant but decided to follow her dad’s instruction, so she kept driving.

However, she noticed that most cars were pulling over to the side, and the storm was getting worse. Once again, she asked him; “What should I do.” “Keep driving,” her father replied.

They drove for another few minutes when to her amazement, she noticed that eighteen wheelers were also pulling over. She told her dad, “I must pull over now, I can barely see ahead. It is terrible, and everyone is pulling over!”

Her father told her, “Don’t give up, just keep driving!”

Now the storm was terrible, but she never stopped driving, and soon she could see a little more clearly. After a couple of miles she was again on dry land, and the sun came out.

Her father said, “Now you can pull over and get out.”

“But why now?” she queried.

“I’ll tell you in a minute,” answered the dad.

After pulling over, the dad came out of the car. “Now look back at all the people that gave up and are still in the storm” “The reason we are here on dry land and are able to look back at the other people still struggling in and with the storm is because you never gave up, and because you did not give up, your storm is now over”.

This story reminds me of the Eagle. It is said that the eagle is the only bird and creature that does not fear the storm; rather it goes into the storm. Why? Because just behind the eye of the storm is sunlight.

While the other birds are running up and down, making noise and absolutely confused, the eagle goes into the eye of the storm and comes out on the other side of the storm.

Everyone may be giving up, but not you!

The strong may even give up but not you!

The bright and talented may give but not you!

If you keep on, you will get to the other side- where the sun shines!

Remember:

The battle is hottest when it is almost over

It is darkest just before dawn

Behind the storm is sunlight!

Maximise your Weakness

There was once a 10 year-old boy who decided to study judo despite having lost his left arm in a terrible auto accident. He registered with an old Japanese judo master and started his lessons.

The boy was doing well in his training, and so he couldn’t understand why after three months, the master had taught him only one move.

“Master”, the boy said finally, “shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”

“This is the only move you know, but it is the only move you’ll ever need to
know,” the master replied.  Not quite understanding, but believing in the teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the master took the boy to his first tournament, where he easily won his first two matches. The third match was more difficult. However, after some time, his opponent became impatient and the boy was able to use his one move to win the match. He was quite amazed at the fact that he was now in the finals in spite of having mastered just one move.

throw2

The day for the final of the tournament came and this time his opponent was bigger, stronger and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might be hurt, the referee called for a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the master intervened. No, “he said, let them continue.”

Soon after the match resumed, the opponent made a critical mistake; he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin his opponent down. He won the match and the tournament. He was the champion!

On the way home, the boy and the master reviewed every move in each match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. “Master, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the master answered. “First, you’ve mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defence for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

The boy’s biggest weakness turned out to be his biggest strength after all.

We all have weaknesses. Those same weaknesses, put in the right perspective, and properly channelled, could become strengths.

Maximise your weakness.

Shake off the Dust…Don’t Give Up!

A farmer had a donkey that he was very fond of; the donkey had served him faithfully for years and was very precious to him. As the donkey grew older, the farmer would allow it to go around the farm unaccompanied and it would return to the barn after some time.

The donkey went out one morning and had not returned by noon – which was very unusual. The farmer was uncomfortable and decided to look for the donkey; as he moved around the farm, he heard a noise from one of the pits located at the far end of the farm. On getting to the pit, he saw that the donkey had fallen into the pit and was struggling to come out. It was crying and wailing, seeking for help.

The farmer called his sons and they tried to lift the donkey from the pit using ropes but it was too heavy. Neighbours came along to help get the donkey out but all to no avail. The more they tried, the more tired everyone including the donkey became. It was probably going to take a crane or the aid of a chopper to get the big old donkey out of the pit, but they could not afford either.

After trying all they could, they finally decided that burying the donkey was the viable option… the farmer could no longer stand the anguish and pain it was going through. The earth from the pit was still close by so they all grabbed shovels and started throwing earth back into the pit. As they started the process, the cry became louder but then the donkey became quiet and everyone felt it was due to tiredness.

One of the farmer’s sons wanted to see what was happening and was shocked by what he saw when he looked into the pit. As each load of earth thrown into the pit landed on the donkey’s back, it would shake it off and then step on the sand. Thus, it was moving up the pit. When the son told the farmer about the development, they all started throwing in the earth with renewed enthusiasm and the donkey was lifted by every shovel of earth, before long, the donkey simply walked out of the pit.

The farmer was so glad to have his reliable old donkey back…

How often do we give up when things are not going our way? Other times, we resign to fate instead of pushing just a little more. Like the donkey in the story, we need to learn to shake off disappointments, failures and problems, and not dwell too long on them.

It is also interesting to note that what was meant to bury the donkey, lifted it out of its predicament! That ugly situation will only get the better of you if you allow it to. No problem is as bad as it appears. Something good can still come out of that mess.

Your attitude to your problem is more important than the problem itself. It is what you make out of your situation that counts. If others have given up on you, do not give up on yourself.

Shake off the dust…don’t give up!

The price of Beauty

I had goals and plans for the future, I felt I had it all worked out, but out of the blues, I felt my life crashing down. It looked like my world was crumbling and there was nothing I could do about it. I watched as everything seemed to slip away and I was tempted to ask if life was worth living at all. Then I remembered my sister…

My sister loves to bake and would often make cakes and other pastries for the family and for parties. Whenever it was time to bake, she would bring together the necessary ingredients: flour, egg, sugar, milk, flavour, colouring, etc.

She would start off with the flour, egg and sugar, mixing them thoroughly until she had a fine consistency – if any of them could talk, I am sure they would feel like screaming, going by the stress, rigour and discomfort they were going through in her hands. She then adds the other items and mixes them some more until she is satisfied with the mixture.

As if the discomfort during mixing was not enough, she would then place the mixture/dough in a very hot oven. When baked, she brings out the cake and proceeds to decorate it, producing a very beautiful piece. Everybody who saw the cake would say whoa! This is lovely, even before tasting it. The cake then goes on to get more attention at the party than the attendees, as it gets photographed and complimented more.

The ingredients (flour, sugar etc) that were uncomfortable and complaining bitterly initially, suddenly started smiling and waving at every one and the cameras.

The flour on it’s own is not edible, sugar on it’s own can be dangerous (where used in excess), eggs on their own … well, I can only think of frying or boiling… but when they are all mixed together, they complement one another and the outcome is great and exceptional.

Cake

Are you presently feeling dejected, neglected, unsure of the future and angry at God? Are you asking the questions: “Why me? Why is this happening to me? Am I the only one? Why am I so unlucky? Can this be happening to me? Is there a God out there?”

Whatever you are going through now is just a piece of the puzzle and an item included in the process just like the components of the cake. You may not fully understand the events of the moment but as long as you trust in God and follow Him, He is sure to make a master piece out of you. He can take the different unpleasant experiences of your life and make them all into a beauty to behold. Your day is coming!

…on your way to where you are going

When I was less than 10, I used to envy my uncles, aunts and siblings. It looked like they had it all; at least they could afford to buy me biscuits, “suya” (Nigerian barbeque), drinks, and take me out. It was a good time whenever my elder brother came home.

How I wished I was all grown up like them so I could also have what they had. I loved the fact that they drove, went out without mom or dad being with them, and I liked the freedom they had.

I could not wait to get out of primary school and into secondary school and even when I got into secondary school, my eyes were on moving on to the University. It was not any different in the university as my eyes were on life after university.

This showed me that we are usually in a hurry; we want to move from our present phase to the next one…the grass always seems to be greener on the other side and we usually forget to enjoy the green on our side of the fence.

In our bid and longing for the next this, and the next that, we sometimes fail to enjoy the present. This message is for everyone who fails to pause and savour the pleasure of the moment, those who feel there is nothing to hope for or live for, and those who believe that their situation is the worst.

I discovered that when you live your life as described above, you seem to be less grateful, and feel miserable that you don’t have this or don’t have that – forgetting to count your blessings. You seem oblivious of what is working in your life and are more conscious of what seems not to be working.

If you find yourself trapped in the chain of “only the next this and the next that”, learn to take a break and savour the moment…Like Joyce Meyer said; “Enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going”. Life is a journey, so take it in your stride – this is not to say you should be complacent, but to enjoy the experience along the way.

Pause and enjoy where you are and what is working in your life. All cannot, and will never be bad at the same time; there must be something working, good, enjoyable, etc. about your present state. The challenges and difficulties of today will pass away at some point, what will they leave you with? Will you be bitter or better?

I wish I hadn’t focused more on what I did not have and things that were out of my reach, but instead focused more on what I did have at the time!

Now that I have some of the things I once longed for, sometimes I secretly wish for those other days and times when I was not responsible for the bills or anything, but just woke up, ate and slept…those times are gone and there is nothing I can do about them. No point wishing I had enjoyed those days more than I did as it does not change anything!

All I have is today and tomorrow and I have got to make the best use of my NOW.

When I realised this concept, I decided I was going to enjoy where I am now, on the way to where I am going. I am still working on myself but felt like sharing this story so we could all learn to enjoy our lives.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Sam Adeyemi: “When you have what you want, will you want what you have?”