SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS

“Work for free, you never know where it may take you…” That’s the bullshit they sell us and people drink it up.

Now there is nothing wrong with starting from down there or working for free, but for how long? To what end? When do you wake up and say “I am worth more than this?”

You see the world is not all “Pursuit of Happiness” type endings, not everybody gets the cherry pie at the end of the day … not everyone makes it to the top or gets their story of disappointment turned into a major blockbuster movie, so while you are working for free and grinding make sure to set a limit or you could be sucked into somebody’s motion picture but as an “extra” aka the stunt man without any stunts.

And please don’t stop pursuing your happiness but ensure that you don’t leave the logic behind!

 

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CHAT WITH RICHARD BRANSON

4-bransonGood day Friends, I got this piece from a friend and I thought it would make for good reading, it is an interview with Richard Branson, although I prefer to call him “Virgin”. I have always been a big fan of Virgin and I would rush to buy off the shelf any book authored by him, he has some amazing breathtaking inventions/ success stories from almost all business industries. In one of his books, he actually talked about his trip to Nigeria during the Reggae boom in Jamaica, later he made an entrant into Nigeria and invested in the aviation sector, well that didn’t go very well. I learnt and still learning some core business principles from him and the lesson learnt today just sank all the way down. I’d like you to read through and share your comments.


Richard Branson, one of the most exuberant and successful entrepreneurs of the last 50 years, stopped by our offices recently. As the conversation below suggests, one of his greatest strengths may be his ability to grasp all that’s thrilling and inspiring to people, be they his customers, his employees or anyone he happens to meet. The following has been edited for clarity and length.

Henry Blodget: Most management gurus preach the virtue of focus. They’ll say you have to focus on one thing, learn how to do it great, crush everybody else. How does Virgin succeed doing dozens of things in dozens of industries?

Richard Branson: It’s interesting. When we started diversifying from student magazines to records, from records to airlines, there were big headlines saying, “Will Branson’s balloon burst? He’s stretching the brand too far.” Fortunately, we ignored them. We built up what I would call a “Way of Life” brand, a brand that has overcome my frustrations in lots of different areas. I hated flying on other people’s airlines, so I thought we could create an airline that we enjoyed flying on. I was frustrated by the way the banking system works, so let’s create the friendly bank that I’d like to go to, and so on. And if we hadn’t done that, 50 years later, we would not be in business today. Because our original business was the record business. The record business has imploded, record shops have disappeared. So by diversifying, we’ve I think had the last laugh.

HB: But each of these businesses is very hard, very competitive. Even if you have a macro idea for a great airline, how do you actually execute it while then also building a space tourism company, a cola company and the many other companies that you’re doing?

Skye Gould, Business Insider

RB: Let’s take Virgin Atlantic as an example. I was trying to fly from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands, and I got bumped off an American Airlines flight. I was desperate to get there. I had a beautiful lady waiting. So I went out, I hired a plane, I was 28 years old. Came back with a blackboard, wrote on it: Virgin Airlines, 29 dollars, one way. And I filled it with all the people who’d been bumped. When I got there, somebody said, “Sharpen up the service a bit and you might be in the airline business.”

I thought there was no point in going into the airline business unless we could be by far and away the best airline. We got one secondhand 747. We were competing with British Airways and about 18 other American carriers. And by creating something really special, we survived. In fact, every single one of the American carriers we were competing against disappeared, went bankrupt. And the reason for our survival was we just had magical stuff, we had magical service, and people enjoyed the experience with Virgin Atlantic. Continue reading

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WHEN YOU ARE DOWN

There are certain times in life when the heavens seems to be closing in on you and you have no where to run to, times when you would wish the world would just pause and give you a moment to breathe and get back to your feet. I have been at crossroads myself when nothing seems to go the way I want them, I had sat down and called on God for a one on one chat to resolve some pending issues, well he came but not the way I wanted. I have tried to get some tips to help people in times of difficulty.

Here are four suggestions to help you survive and grow through upheavals such as an unexpected job loss, the death of a loved one, a failed marriage or a serious health issue:

1) Admit how you feel. That doesn’t mean sitting around wallowing in negativity; it means trusting God enough to acknowledge how you really feel. Pretending things are fine when they’re not, makes it harder to get back up. We all have down times. The Psalmist asked God to help him cope with despondency. And at one point Paul was under so much pressure he ‘despaired even of life’.

2) Identify the source. Discouragement often comes on the heels of a setback or disappointment. Did something you set your heart on fall apart? Were your hopes unrealistic to start with? Did somebody let you down? Or is your dejection coming from a generalised feeling of burnout?

3) Talk with a trusted counsellor. Solomon said, ‘The more wise counsel…the better your chances’. Don’t let pride prevent you from opening up to those who will listen empathetically and respond wisely. Talking to the right people can lessen your sense of isolation, and also pave the way for others who are hurting to do the same.

4) Be open before God. He, not fate or circumstances, gets to write the last chapter. Maybe He’s trying to teach you something or redirect your energies. David said, ‘Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.’ When your hope is in God, He replaces discouragement with confidence so that what you’re going through can become a path to spiritual growth

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WHY SO MUCH BEEF FOR LINDA IKEJI?

So this week was quite interesting for me and I learned a few PLENTY things… the highpoint of this week was the site pull down of Linda Ikeji’s blog on the grounds of plagiarism. I had a very tough time with my colleagues Igoche Egwu and Dare Davids trying to understand why someone would go so far to shut down a bloggers site. Then we went as far as talking about the essence of her blog and how she got to the peak of blogging in Nigeria (this they totally disagree). Well I guess they would not understand as blogging is a gift and you only feel it when you have the experience.

I stand corrected to make bold may statement that Linda Ikeji has developed digital media in Nigeria and blogging has now become lucrative because people like us have gotten sponsorship deals from blogging. It is a pastime that would make you some money if you are judicious with it. Well with the people I mentioned there, I doubt you can ever win any argument as they would come at you with different points, (annoying or sensible) just to make sure you don’t win. Other colleagues saw my points and maintained that the site shouldn’t have come down cos of a mere story. Gossip sells reason why Kim Kadashian, her family and the Jenners have made it big on the biggest Gossip TV ever.

Well I stumbled on a post by one of my funny and hilarious blogger Ofili and below is an excerpt from his blog.

It all started with the Linda Ikeji plagiarism accusation story, which I am sure most of you have heard by now so I am not even going to touch that. But what struck me about the many debates I was involved in on twitter, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, whatsapp and others places is the amount of disguised hate people have for the Linda. People will say “o we are not hating we are just stating that plagiarism is wrong” and “she should apologize and everything will be fine” but then when she apologizes … people will say that “o that apology was not good enough” or “the comma was off a little bit.” No matter what she said or did a small select people will find fault in it. And that made me think and realize something…

And that is that whether you like it or not there are people that will hate you, it is an inevitability of life. And the more successful you are, the more hate you will get … this is nothing new. But the clincher is that the hate escalates even more depending on the job you do. Let me explain…

About a month ago, I was driving down the roads of FM 1960 in Houston when a truck sped past me at about 80 miles per hour converted to Nigerian units it was moving very fast! It was 11:00 pm and obviously dark except for the street lights. I was startled. When something like that happens it is normally an indication of a live street race so I know not to switch lanes so I don’t get clipped … and before I knew it another truck zoomed past me. I was right … this was definitely a street race …

But then another truck sped by and yet another one … that was like 5 trucks in a row and at top speed. Which is odd because trucks don’t do speed races typically. And then I started looking at the trucks much more closely and realized that this was not a street race! These were tow trucks … and they were racing not for leisure but for business…

There had been an accident and they were on a race to get to the site as fast as they could. Their top priority was not who lived or who died or who was critically injured in that accident but rather who got there first … even if it meant causing another accident! “What type of people would do a job such as this?” I thought to myself.

A job that depends on accidents to be successful. No matter how you spun it, tow truck drivers to me were dirt. You couldn’t spin it any other way. And the way I think about tow truck drivers is the way a percentage of people think about “gossip” bloggers such as Linda Ikeji. No matter how you spin it, they are and will be hated by some people for seemingly exploiting people’s social accidents. They could walk on water, build a hospital in Kano and even bring back our girls but they will be hated. That is what Linda is facing and will face continually because of the job she does …

The way I think about tow truck drivers is the way a percentage of people think about “gossip” bloggers such as Linda Ikeji. No matter how you spin it, they are and will be hated by some people for seemingly exploiting people’s social accidents.

That made me realize that I need to be even more objective in criticizing (and supporting) public figures, I need to be slower in jumping to conclusions about people who on the basis of their job description are more prone to be hated … from LASTMA to Nigerian Police to Flashy African Pastors. Because not everyone is 100% evil …

The same Tow Trucks that zoomed past me in the middle of the night are the same ones that helped tow my car when it broke down and the same ones that jump started my Camry when the battery was out. I learned all that this week when I saw someone that has given and helped so many people get her character practically torn down in the space of seconds!

Picture Credit: Mania Magazine

 

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DAYSTAR CHRISTAIN CENTRE KITS KIDS FOR SCHOOL

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Saturday 20th September started very early for me and the usual routine of workout and light exercise but I knew I couldn’t do very much as I had a very busy schedule for the day, as a member of Daystar Christian Centre and a dedicated member of the Benevolence Unit of the Church, I knew the much awaited BACK TO SCHOOL UPGRADED event would be a good means to work out and even wear my body out. I rushed to tidy up and drove to the church premises.
Entering Ikosi road that leads to the Church I noticed a different sight, I noticed long lines of children being dragged in a way you would assume they are rushing to school, then it hit me straight up the event is here. In Daystar and in Benevolence where I serve every Sunday is a big deal for the less privileged as they turn out in good numbers to get food items and clothes from the Benevolence store house, for those where the unit has an event like LOVE AT EASTER, or LOVE AT CHRISTMAS or BACK TO SCHOOL, the church actually throws everything in especially the kitchen sink to ensure they help us to control the crowd. These events are always full to capacity as the attendees come from far and wide, Muslim’s or Christians or Pagans (for lack of word) and to surprise you that as the person that supports communications for the Unit, we limit our info to only church announcements and bullets slots, then also we do online displays, however the turn out far exceeds what we budget for at all times and I wonder can we ever budget enough? Continue reading

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NEVER ACT ON IMPULSE

As twins go, Jacob and Esau were very different. But they quickly learned to negotiate. Have you ever watched children make a deal that favoured one over the other? For example, one offers the other a candy bar in exchange for an expensive video game. Well, that same dynamic was at work between Jacob and Esau. Esau had been out hunting and came home exhausted and hungry. Nothing mattered to him except food-and certainly not something as remote as a future inheritance. In a moment of weakness he said, ‘I am about to die…what is this birthright to me…So…he…sold [it] to Jacob…[for] bread and stew’ It was a decision Esau would live to regret, and couldn’t undo. Recovering addicts are taught the importance of observing their H.A.L.T. sign. When they’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, they’re in danger. And so are you! Acting on impulse will cause you to:

1) Buy stuff you don’t need at prices you can’t afford;
2) React before you get all the facts, resulting in a loss of respect, opportunities and good relationships;
3) Compromise your character for a few moments of sinful pleasure;
4) Quit in the middle of the race, or worse, on the threshold of victory.

The Bible says, ‘He that believeth shall not make haste.’ When you make choices based on short-term gratification rather than life-long convictions and goals, you always lose out in the end. So don’t take the deal; don’t trade your God-given destiny for momentary gratification. Be patient and hold fast. When you do, God will bring your dreams to pass in ways that honour instead of diminishing them.

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LISTEN MORE, SAY LESS

Talking instead of listening-will get you into trouble. Two geese were preparing to fly south when a frog asked if he could go along. They questioned how he could do it. ‘Easy,’ he said. ‘You guys hold a stick between your beaks and I’ll hang on with my mouth.’ Off they went as people looked up, admiring their teamwork. The trio was making great progress until somebody below shouted, ‘Great idea! Whose was it?’ That’s when the frog opened his mouth and yelled, ‘Miiiiiiiine!’ Every time you open your mouth there are consequences! So learn to listen. Plutarch said, ‘The talkative listen to no one, for they are ever speaking. And the first evil that attends those who know not how to be silent is that they hear nothing.’ Listening without having to air your knowledge or interject your opinion is a quality of character that proves you’re mature. Larry King once said, ‘I remind myself every morning: nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.’ Jesus was a great listener, and as a result He attracted people like a magnet.

Doubtless there were times He was tired and didn’t feel like it-but He listened anyway. When the disciples fussed among themselves, and the Pharisees grumbled and caused trouble, Jesus focused on the important things. He listened, He spoke, and people followed. Listening is often more effective than talking. In fact, there’s a point in every conversation where you need to say less and listen more. In those moments you not only hear what others are saying, but what God is saying to you!

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NEVER THINK YOU ARE IRREPLACEABLE

I don’t care who you are, where you are or what you are in charge of.

If you leave your job either voluntarily or because your boss slapped you upside the head and then ninja kicked you in the stomach or because maybe you died from heart attacks from stress as a result of working long weekend hours … guess what?

You will be replaced.

Your replacement might not be perfect, your replacement might even turn your fortune 500 company into a bumbling piece of crap, they may be flawed…very flawed. But at the end of the day when all is said and done, you will be replaced.

No statue will be built in your name, no conference rooms or parking spots will be named after you, and depending on whether your burial is on a Friday or Saturday your co-workers might not be able to show up because they are too busy killing themselves at work. The irony…

The next day everyone would get back to work and just a few people would wear a long face for a few hours and the best they would say is RIP.

A friend narrated a story of his colleague who recently switched jobs and he was hoping his former colleagues would have his back on certain issues, He never knew it is just a matter of seconds and you would be forgotten, well he thought wrong cos in well over a few milli seconds he was replaced and he could no longer sit on the seat he used to sit for the past 4 years.

Irony, he now has to send a mail to see anyone in the same department where he was once a god and king J

Another tale was told of a guy who walked into a HR office and dropped his resignation letter giving a 2 months’ notice, never make threats that you would leave hoping someone would beg you to stay and raise your pay. But guess what, they asked him to reduce it to 1 month notice (just cos that was the policy I knew he would be been asked to even go sef) and immediately they conducted his exit interview.

NEVER EVER THINK YOU ARE INDISPENSIBLE, cos there are a million and one people who are way smarter than you and would do better than you on the job.

 

 

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THE GIFT OF BLINDNESS—Cobhams Asuquo

This is sooo touching, you would appreciate life more from another perspective.

NEVER EXCUSE FAILURE FOR ANY REASON OR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. Look beyond your weaknesses, TRUST WITHOUT FAILING, Sight might be a distraction to your goals in life, FOCUS and stay blind to things that would distract you, remember EXCUSES are monuments for FOOLS, TOOLS of the INCOMPETENT and WEAPON for the WEAK.

Your life is what you make of it, regrets have not space in our lives.

Weldone COBHAMS ASUQUO.

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WHY DOES SUPERMAN WEAR A STUPID RED CAPE?

Dear Readers,

I have struggled to write a post all day but the work load mounts, I stopped by at my favourite blog Ofilispeaks  and as usual I was not disappointed, I am free to share as I have done credit to his brains. Enjoy….

Why Does Superman Wear A Cape? Nobody knows. Not even him. He doesn’t need the cape to fly and unlike Batman he does need it to glide. Maybe he uses it as a head wrap or perhaps a blanket to sleep at night…who knows.

I mean the cape does not give him any super powers or any particular advantages. In fact he can function well without the cape but yet he wears it! That red flowing cape that drives engineers crazy!

Especially when they realize that Superman can actually jump higher and fly faster without all the unnecessary drag caused from his cape flapping around in the wind and colliding with all kinds of air molecules … faster than a speeding bullet? Yeah right … more like dumber than a speeding bullet!

The red flowing cape that his enemies use against him on several occasions to fling, strangle and slam him all around Metropolis. Just check out this 2013 Man Of Steel fight scene where General Zod’s loyalists kick Superman’s behind by using his cape against him.

As you can see from the end, even Disney Incredibles know better! And that is that capes are a no no for any serious super heroes. But yet Superman wears it…

Maybe because he is so freaking strong that he does not realize all the disadvantages of having a cape. I mean he defeated Doomsday see video and even beat the Flash in a race see video so why take off the cape? Maybe it’s because he has always worn one? And that might actually be it, because all fiction aside…a lot of our businesses are like Superman with his useless cape.

We have systems just like he has his red cape, we don’t know why they are there or what purpose they serve, all we know is that it has been there from the start so why change it. Even when the illogicality hits us straight in the face we just stick with the red capes not realizing how much they slow us down. How much they hamper us.

If you have ever been to the Atlanta International Airport (I have been but it was a sad experience I almost missed my flight and my luggage did not make it to Nigeria), you will notice something peculiar. It consists of 7 concourses, concourse A, B, C, D, E, F and … not G. The next concourse is actually T, not only that but concourse T comes before concourse A. Which makes no sense at all, but why the illogicality? Why not make concourse “T” concourse “A” and re-arrange all the others to follow a logical A-B-C-D-E-F-G order?

The answer is as complex as Superman’s Cape. The illogical naming of the Atlanta concourses is a thing of legacy as described by David Zweig in his awesome book Invisibles: The Power Of Anonymous Work In An Age Of Self-Promotion. In the book, David inquired from Jorge Cortes the assistant director of Design Planning and Development at the Atlanta International Airport. Here is a summary of his findings:

“I later emailed … to get an explanation for why ‘T’ was first used and why it still in use now. Alas, the reasoning behind it is so layered and opaque, all I can say is succinctly is that it’s the result of repeated airport redesigns, additions and renaming’s dating back to 1980!”

Notice those words “repeated,” “layered,” “opaque” and “1980.”

All of them relate to that one thing that kills businesses and organizations, red cape systems that have become established simply because they were used repeatedly in the past and are now so enmeshed in layers and layers of opaque bureaucracy that is hard … almost impossible to remove … to change. So the company just flies along with the status quo, too un-bothered to realize or acknowledge the detriments of an illogical legacy systems.

But the red cape phenomenon is not just limited to Atlanta…it affects us here in Nigeria.

One of our many red capes are roundabouts.

We build roundabouts all over the country especially in Lagos. Despite the fact that it has clearly not worked in controlling traffic. I mean just check out Falomo at rush hour or one of the many Lekki roundabouts and you will understand the problem with roundabouts! But who dares get rid of the roundabouts? No one!

It is ingrained in our system, likely from the British who gave it to us in the early 1900′s. And boy have wee held on tight to it. Building roundabouts everywhere even when the evidence shows that it makes no sense to do so. I mean just consider the roundabout at Allen Avenue!

Where do I start?

Growing up Allen Avenue was the hit spot, the Adeola Odeku of the Main Land. But today due to population explosion Allen Avenue is packed … so packed that a permanent concrete barrier has been placed to prevent cars from making u-turns in the middle of Allen Avenue. In fact the only way you can turn is via two roundabouts at either end of Allen.

The more interesting roundabout of the two is the one close to Adeniyi Jones.

But before I start, let me explain that a roundabout is meant to function independent of traffic wardens. But this is Nigeria where the roundabouts get so congested that we need traffic wardens … not 1 but several of them. But what makes this particular roundabout crazily “red cape” unique is the fact that it has traffic lights in it! I have never seen a round about with traffic lights in it. The first time I entered that roundabout I was confused … I thought it was prank or some sort of joke. But it was real!

Why build a round about with traffic lights in it? What’s the point? Why not just remove the roundabout and replace it with a fully functional junction with traffic lights. And why do we still build roundabouts! The answer is simply this…just like superman’s cape, like the concourse “T” at the Atlanta International Airport and like many others things hampering businesses, it happens because of legacy, because that’s the way people have done it in the past.

Great leaders, great entrepreneurs are the ones bold enough, crazy enough to question the red capes and take them out of their organizations … because we like Superman don’t need capes to fly!

 

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