YOU have the POWER! It is INSIDE

State Of Mind
We may not completely control our careers, but we are in full control over
  • Which skills we choose to acquire, refine and master.
  • Which talents we nurture and refine into our Perfexcellence toolbox.
  • Which passions we pursue and what problems we deploy our skills and talents at.
  • What impressions we make on the people we meet.
  • Whether we respond, or react to the curveballs that our careers throw us.
These are the things that largely determine our career success. The rest is mostly luck and as someone once said “Good luck is opportunity meets preparation”. So how are we preparing?
We may not have full control over every aspect of our health, but we do largely have control over
  • Those little habits that make up our personal hygiene.
  • What we eat, how much of it and how often.
  • How physical exercise we put in regularly.
  • How long we let each feeling and emotion (good or bad) live in our hearts.
  • How we choose to perceive the ‘injustices’ in the world.
And these largely determine how healthy we are – physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are no sustainably fulfilling careers in unhealthy bodies. So how are we ensuring that our health won’t sabotage our careers and dreams?
We cannot dictate people’s actions but we can chose and do control
  • How we perceive people and consequently treat them.
  • How we serve, help and appreciate those whose paths we cross.
  • Whether by our deeds and words, we leave people better off than we met them.
  • Whether our actions paint a consistent picture of our character.
  • Whether we leave each encounter better in some way than we got into it.
  • How well and often we make and keep our promises.
And these things touch people’s hearts and minds and is the stuff of influence.  When that influence makes their minds dance to that song we put in their heart, they reward us by letting us lead them.
Ultimately, we all create our futures and destinies, by the very thoughts we choose to dwell on,  the acts we choose to do in the present and what stories we choose to tell ourselves when things don’t go as planned.
The dirty office politics, the dubious colleagues, the bad boss, the unfair compensation schemes are only part of the story but they can also be tests and launchpads to true greatness, if only we can find the power within to overcome them, as often as they rear their head up in different forms.
Yes, there is tremendous power within us but we must be willing to pay the price to wield it.
  • Can we muster the strength to sacrifice the mundane for the significant … or vice versa if the mundane is what enriches another life?
  • Will we have the courage to deny our senses pleasure now that in order to gratify our spiritual yearnings?
  • Will we be able to say no to eating the fruit today and rather plant a tree of whose fruit neither we nor ours may eat but that will feed a small nation tomorrow?
The path to perfexcellence is riddled with such choices and we must find that courage, that willpower, that love and that vision to make the right calls and do it consistently no matter how many times we fail.

Living … in a Nutshell

Stephanie ...don't doubt it.

LIVE, for without life, nothing matters. That’s why you take good care of your health.

LEARN, for that’s how you gain the knowledge and skills that enable you to exercise the divine within you by creating things. That’s why you feed and take care of your mind.

LOVE, for nothing created without love can be truly divine and life isn’t worth living without love and the divine. That’s why  you remain steadfast through pain and darkness in building relationships and exercising your heart.

DIE, for a sad as it is, it is what makes life precious (it will come, don’t rush for it)

Leave a LEGACY, for that’s the only way to conquer death, and that’s why you listen to your conscience and reach out to the world with LOVE

And DEATH may well be a break between one life well lived (loving, learning and leaving a legacy) and another life of PEACE and GLORY. Even if death is the end, a life of loving, learning and living a legacy is ENOUGH!

Thread Softly …for You Might be Threading on Someone’s Dreams

I was going to say I don’t know what to call these experiences I get sometimes when it downed on me that is was a moment of Shibumi — a moment of profound insight, truth and an ideal coming to life in a poignant way.

I was listening to a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson …and of course his usual wit and humour was great, but at the end, he quoted the poet Yates and my heart almost stopped beating, and for a moment, Yates, Ken and I were linked in the deep beauty of words so profound they are timeless, so true they don’t need to be explained or defended and so beautiful they almost made a cold geek like me cry (sob sob). The words were these:

“Had I the heavens embroidered cloth

En-robbed with gold and silver light of blue

And the dim and the dark clothes of night and light and half-light

I would spread the cloths under your feet

But I being poor have only my dreams

I have spread my dreams under your feet

Thread softly, for your thread on my dreams“

The magic lines for me are the last two lines. The magical thing about profound words like these is their ability to thread various moments of space and time into a string of utter and breathless amazement. Just as I wrote this, I recall that in one of my favourite movies “Equilibrium” this same quote is used by a character, a quote which when he read, made him question his life and job and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Sir Ken Robinson used those words to caution us that children all over the world spread their dreams under the feet of an educational system and that we (as part of that system) should thread softly.

Simultaneously, I made the link to what happens in countless organisations all over the world, excited employees walk into a job and spread their dreams under the feet of managers and I say to managers every where … thread softly, for you thread on their dreams.

Every day, other people put their hopes, their faith, their trust, expose their egos/fears/dreams and all sorts of priceless things under our feet and so we must be careful how we proceed for all our actions bear consequences.

While I don’t think that people on the path of light should let their dreams be trampled upon, I also realise that for the majority of us, there are those moments of vulnerability – at work, in love, at play in which for whatever reason, we spread our dreams under someone’s feet and how they thread has the potential to scar us forever or elevate our dreams to a reality so beautiful it seems like fantasy and lasts an eternity in a moment.

Every day in your life, you too could be threading on someone’s dreams, what will you be? the one who shatters the dream to feed your own ego? -aka an Agent of Dispair or that one who nurtures the the dream to life and in so doing creates another nurturer?

Thanks to the following who have thread carefully on my dreams: Mum, Nubed Isaac, Nji George, Fortung Amos, Acha Nicholas, Augusta Bah Fon (RIP), Rose Adejoh, Susan Okpapi, Omotola Anna Ogunsote, Iliya Yusuf Joshua, Danjuma Dajab, Boyi Jimoh, Makut Fuki, Dahiru Sani, Tanyi Henry, Tanjong Helen, Amina Ogrima, Bukky Babalola, Wale Adedokun, Mosi Mosugu, Nurudeen Ibrahim Suleiman, Kabiru Chafe,

Purpose in Life – A Daily Perspective

“Why was I put on this earth?

What is my purpose in Life?”

These are questions that every person who aspires to self mastery must ultimately ask and answer of themselves. And the answers don’t come easy, it might take the first 15 years or more of your life for those question to even cross your mind, probably another 10 years of ignoring them and then maybe another 10 years or so to get an idea.

By the time we get the answer to the question, refine it into a clear and compelling personal vision and mission and develop the resources, relationships, capabilities to actualise it, probably we’d be in our forties. Of course some lucky ones or divinely touched ones can figure it out earlier.

Yes, it can be frustrating and this morning I had a thought (as usual it came to me in the bathroom). While pondering the bigger question of purpose in life, we should not ignore the smaller and probably more important question of purpose in the present, in the NOW. Afteral, we can only live life in the now, by being present and if we could ask and answer the questions:

a. What is the purpose of this task I am doing right now?

b. What is the purpose of this encounter?

c. How may I serve in this situation?

Then we could bring purpose to the present and our day need not be a ‘grind’ but a dance to the tune of clear purpose that changes and responds to each situation and in interlaced moments of spontaneity, we’ll find rest from purpose and just BE …be tools/instruments to be used by the divine, for good, for peace, for progress.

And if we can find purpose and meaning in each day, is it possible that our lives will be without purpose? I don’t think so.


The NEW has GONE, the OLD has COME – The Transformation

I stand at a threshold in my life, one I know so many other people have stood at – looking back at 3 decades of life (thanks to all that have been there, even the obnoxious ones) and looking forward with my physical eyes to at least another 5  decades (Insha Allah) and with my spirit, to an eternity.

The cracks of degradation of my physical body are beginning to show (I can no longer work for 48 hours without sleep) and rather than cling to the vanishing sands of my past and youth, I must now make the decision to either embrace the winds of the future, or languish in fires of regrets of what could have been in the house of yesterday. A transformation is going on …whether I choose to accept it or not. I make the choice to accept it and intentionally make what ever adaptations I must make in other that this transformation be one that will bring me and those around me more peace, more love and more fulfillment.

Part of that transformation will be to give up the ‘glory’ of youth for that of old men, and to do this I must transform or let be transformed :

  • Youthful strength into strength of character.
  • Reliance on my intellect into knowing by intuition and awareness.
  • Desires to make myself better into a yearning to serve others and make another life better.
  • The need to take into a desire to share and give.
  • Independence in for interdependence.

I know it is a journey and it won’t be easy, but it is a journey I must make – one I have chosen to make because I KNOW that it is one filled with reward … I cannot lose and there is ultimately only happiness and peace on that path.

Thus, as I thread this path of light, I pray that a life of discipline, of learning, of service, and of contribution will bear the fruits some of which I have always desired but never had: Patience | Selflessness | Spontaneity | Presence | Silence | Oneness with God.

This I wish myself, every moment …and I wish it to you too.

Seek Greatness, and Fame will also be Yours

I was listening to Mark Sanborn’s “You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader” and he said these lines that got me meditating about my life and the collective values of our society.

“Fame is based on what you get out of life, greatness is based on what you give to life”
WOW!!! and I wondered within me, what have I been seeking to do with my life? I believe that most people’s definition of success has connotations of fame or riches in it but I believe in a deeper kind of success … the Shibumi kind and it is quite simply success that is based on greatness, on what you contribute to make this world a better place. One of my favourite authors Stephen Covey puts it puts it in a way that says you can be successful but not significant [can’t remember the exact quote]

No, I don’t think fame in itself is a bad thing [often, the famous have made great sacrifices to earn their fame eg as musicians, footballers etc], but because it is something that appeals to the ego and increases our sense of self and I, I inherently suspect it because it could easily lead to arrogance and avalanche of other vices that come when we let our ego go unbridled. Fame will always be hollow, shallow and dangerous unless it is earned through greatness ie we spend a life of sacrifice and giving to others and then the world rewards us with fame [Like Ghandi, Mandela, Mother Theresa] … but exactly at that point is when the greatest danger to our spiritual evolution and growth comes.

In a way, getting fame as a reward for greatness could be the ultimate test of our spirituality. This is because fame lures the mean and weak into self exaltation, we start thinking how special we are rather than see that perhaps we were priviledged to have had a higher power [GOD] work through us [Remember Moses drawing God’s ire when he struck the rock to bring out water seemingly by his own power?]

So consistent with my philosphy that everything is a journey and or process, fame then can be seen as a bigger challenge that one must face in the quest for self mastery and perfection. First is all the work we must do within to purify ourselves, learn master and practice the right principles. Then as we get a bearing, we continue on that path, AND also start making contributions to society to help others and make a positive contribution in the world and if we are good at the latter, the reward then is the burden of fame which is a battle on the personal front.

May we find the strength to be able to tame the lure of fame as we grow in our self mastery and that perhaps one day, we may overcome it like the monk in “Bullet-proof Monk” by giving up our name!

Move It!!! — Leave the Past Behind!!

One of my favorite quotes is from the character Vahla in the TV series Stargate SG-1. It goes thus:

“There is nothing to be gained in second-guessing yourself.
You can’t remake the past
So look to the future
Or risk being left behind”

What I take from this is that we should never let our past, no matter how sordid hold our future to ransom. Some of those habits that keep us captives of the past are regret and rumination.

So leave the past behind and also let the future be … your domain is here and now – the only domain you can DO anything about anything. Look people, between ruminating about the past and worrying about the future both of which are ultimate acts of futility, there is another way … savour the present. Stop and bask in the glory of that flower, the magnetic innocence of a child or the wonder of God’s work.