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Exemplars of Greatness: The Indefatigable Cosmas Maduka

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“With courage, you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” – Mark Twain

Indeed, courage is grace under pressure. Cosmos Maduka’s story is particularly instructive to youths across the world. It reveals that there isn’t just hope for them, but that there are countless opportunities that they can exploit and maximise to their advantage.

Maduka was born in 1958, in Jos, Nigeria to Mr and Mrs Peter and Rose Maduka. In 1962, at the age of four, tragedy struck, with the passing of his father. With the poor and pitiable status of his family’s finances, he was faced with no other choice than to start providing the basic necessities of life for himself. At the age of seven, he withdrew from primary school at Elementary 3 and started assisting his mother in hawking akara (fried bean-cake) in Plateau, Jos.

In 1970, when Maduka was twelve years old, his uncle who resided in the Ebute Metta area of Lagos, took him to serve as an automobile apprentice in his auto shop located at No 88 Griffith Street, close to Oyingbo Bus stop. Since the uncle himself had no place of his own to stay, he usually slept at his friend’s place, while Maduka slept in the shop at the end of each day.

Not long after he resumed work, young Maduka, through his diligence, dedication and honesty, had totally won his uncle’s trust. This made his uncle to give him larger and more sensitive responsibilities he would not naturally have given anyone, including travelling alone to make purchases on his uncle’s behalf from Nnewi. In fact, at the age of 14, he was sent to work at one of the company’s branches in Sokoto in northern Nigeria.

Sadly, however, after absenting himself from work at a time to attend a church camp programme without his uncle’s permission, his relationship with his uncle fell apart. The event caused his uncle to immediately terminate his apprenticeship, and to subsequently settle him with the paltry sum of 200 naira (not up to a dollar now). The little sum was given to punish him at the time.

With his settlement, Maduka founded an auto spare parts business called “The Maduka Brothers”, with his brother. Unfortunately, the business soon collapsed as the two parted ways due to ideological differences. Fortunately, however, the business had earned him an additional 100 naira. So, with just 300 naira in capital, Maduka decided to have another trial at entrepreneurship. He started a new business as the sole proprietor. He began to buy and sell motorcycle spare parts from Boulous Industries.

Maduka soon found that the major product that was giving him a lot of returns was Boulous’ new innovation – motorcycle crash bars. Consequently, he began to buy several of them and would remove the address of Boulos from the carton so that people would not know where he was buying from. Within a short period, his capital had risen from 300 naira to 3,000 naira. At the age of 19, Maduka decided to get married to a beautiful woman, named Charity. A short while after his marriage, he started importing products. Sadly, misfortune struck when he received wrong consignment, leading to a huge loss. This loss led him into several debts, and his landlord whom he had owed several months’ rent ended up locking his shop.

With nothing in hand, Maduka brought out the bathroom scale he had received as a gift during his wedding, took it to the market, and started to charge 10 kobo from everyone who checked their weight. This daily routine seriously distressed his wife, as she considered what her husband was going through, which contrasted with their previous comfortable state.

After saving up a little capital, Maduka teamed up with a friend of his, Dave, to start a new business called CosDave. Not long after, however, their new business partnership fell apart due to disagreements. This new breakup prompted Maduka to start yet another business called Coscharis. The name Coscharis was formed by the combination of his name, Cosmas, and that of his wife, Charity.

Maduka’s big break finally came when in the same year, 1982, the Nigerian government granted ten vehicle companies import licences, and his Coscharis Motors was selected. Since then, his company has continued to grow sporadically, with several branches around Nigeria. Today, his personal net worth, according to an interview he had with Forbes Africa in 2015, is over $500 million US dollars and counting.

As of 2016, Coscharis Motors was not just one of the largest automobile dealers in Nigeria, but was also the exclusive distributor of BMW automobiles in Nigeria. Maduka’s success story is that of a man who started from the very bottom, went through several hurdles, and still turned up extraordinarily successful. His story teaches that resilience, hard-work, and taking advantage of opportunities at the right time is key to success for any entrepreneur anywhere in the world. Maduka has transformed from a zero to a HERO! It is therefore pertinent at every juncture of our lives, that we must acknowledge this obvious fact: that we need a backbone, and not a wish bone to keep supporting our courage faculty and maximizing our potentials for the fulfilment of our destiny(s) and achievement of our dream(s) and whatever aspirations we may have within us as humans to bless mankind with.

I tell you, friend, you too can rise from your present level to an exceedingly glorious and influential one. This is the will of God for you.

Exemplars of Greatness Series continues next week…

Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (From Zero to HERO) by Tolulope A. Adegoke. Foreword by Dr Yomi Garnett (CEO/Chancellor, Royal Biographical Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A., U.K., Abuja, Nigeria.) Edited by Ola Aboderin. 

 

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Food for Living: Distance Yourself from Negativity

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friends,

It is a well established fact that in life, there’s time for everything. A time to sow, and a time to reap; a time to cry and a time to be joyful; a time to be born and a time to die; and a time to succeed and a time to fail. The list is literally endless. Amongst all these, the gateway of overcoming this challenge is having a positive mindset. When you diffuse your mind from negative thoughts, you give yourself the positive energy to live again.

In the journey of life, sometimes we are too complacent. We sometimes hold onto sentimental attachment with our fellow human beings due to vested interest. Most of us kind of play along or flow when it comes to who we surround ourselves with.

Having a positive mindset is priceless. A positive mindset tells you that despite all the bullets that is thrown at you, it shall fade away if it’s definitely not for you. A positive energy tells you that regardless of what is said about you, they don’t decide your fate. A positive mindset tells you that when they go low, you go high. A positive attitude empowers you to raise the price so that detractors will find it hard to rent a space from your mind.

You cannot underestimate the power of positive mindset. However, before you are able to appreciate the strength of positivity in your life, you must keep negative people out of your life. The question now becomes, how do I kick off negativity from my life? Kicking out negativity does not only involve distancing yourself from friends and associations, it also entails distancing yourself from negative thoughts. This is because that is where all negative thoughts arise.

Just like how success and failure arise first from the mind, distancing yourself from the world starts from the mind as well. You’ll have to conceive the idea first before acting on it. It should be noted that if you don’t weed out negative thoughts and people from your mind, they’ll hunt you. Let’s take a case study of a farmer who plants a crop. He has to constantly weed the farm in order to allow the crop grow and mature very well before he/she can harvest. In the same way, we need to separate our self from the chaff.

As human beings, we all have one form of chaff living in us. It’s up to us to weed out all the chaff in our life. This chaff can be friends, family, insecurity, associations, habits or even blind spots which you are not aware of. It’s high time you shook off any chaff of disappointments preventing you from possessing your passion. You are in charge of your life. Has it ever occurred to you that you are the landlord of your life? If yes, then it’s imperative for you to raise the bar so that cheap people can’t rent a spot in your mind. Don’t allow people with no value to occupy a space in your brain which you can use to create ideas and solutions.

As human beings, sometimes, we always think human beings are the cause of our failures, but in reality, the reason is simply because we are still hanging out with negativity, free yourself by separating yourself from the crowd.

How to distance yourself from negativity

There are several ways to distance yourself from negativity:  Avoid negative people because they literally have no value except envy and doubt. Set boundaries from strangers and people you are not comfortable with in order to keep your sanity of mind. Look out for solutions and not problems; and finally, don’t take things personally and always practice self-love.

When you distance yourself from negative people, your thoughts become positive. When you’re surrounded by other people’s negativity, you may find it harder to regulate your own positive and negative reactions and emotions. When you are surrounded by negativity, it will hard to find reasons to feel happy or positive. However, once you distance yourself from negativity, your positive emotions will start to show themselves again.

According to a Life coach and author, Tandee A. Victor, “Complaining can completely ruin your life by taking all the happiness out of it. When you constantly complain, you develop a negative mentality about everything. That leads to discontent and inner turmoil.” This is simply what negative thought brings to the mind. It’s easier to think, feel and stay positive when you’re surrounded by such happy, good and positive energy. You’ll be surrounded by good people and good things, rather than an endless feedback loop of negative energy.

Sometimes, a lot of people don’t notice that they’re surrounded by negativity until they start to distance themselves from it.  Therefore, in order to separate or distance yourself, you must detach yourself from the crowd. And finally, ask yourself why? Ask yourself why now? Ask yourself what?  Ask yourself how? Ask yourself when? You can do this by finding the root cause and start looking at how it affects you, the people around you. Look around you, look at yourself. Food for thought: The one thing that happens immediately after distancing yourself from negativity is a shift in the way that you’re thinking.

Release

You can distance yourself from the crowd by releasing yourself and your mind from any distraction. You need to let it out whatever has been disturbing you. It would greatly help if you release feelings. The longer you keep it in, the harder it will get.

Forgive

Pride can make you do things you’ll regret. Pride will make you say words that can leave wounds deeper than any blade can ever do. Forgive them and forgive yourself. This will help you have peace of mind. And wouldn’t it be calming to think that nothing else is holding you back from moving on, from detaching yourself from the things that aren’t good for you. Forgive. One word, six letters, and a lifetime worth of work, forgiveness takes time..

Be grateful.

Be grateful for the pain and sorrow. Be grateful for the joy and hope. Be grateful for the memories. Be grateful for the smiles and scars, and the wounds and tears. Be grateful for realizing the reason you’re detaching. There are so much other things, and many other people that you can be grateful for.

Amazing things happen when you distance yourself from negativity

The simple question I have for you today is what’s your own chaff?

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via henrous@gmail.com

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Food for Living: Elevate Your Game

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friend,

In the journey of life, everyone’s goal and desire is to constantly elevate their game. Elevating games means several things to different persons. To some, it is going up the ladder of success, while to others, it can be stepping up their game plan by scaling it up. Most of us are driven to succeed, yet it is amazing how many of us view the process of getting to where we want to go as a chore, rather than as the greatest, most fulfilling adventure of a lifetime.

The pursuit of success is our greatest gift, as it is exactly what develops our character and makes our lives extraordinary. When we have a goal in mind, we are instantly purposed. Succeeding comes down our mindset. Our mindset must be driven to succeed, to sacrifice and to have the resiliency and patience to chart our path.

In today’s business world, the only entities that will stay relevant are businesses and people who are willing go the extra mile to gain not only theoretical knowledge, but practical knowledge through learning, unlearning and relearning. In an evolutionary point of view, those who are not adaptable to change will not survive. This is the most reliable way of elevating your game. It’s quite unfortunate many corporate organizations don’t take time to learn contemporary skills and certification which will enable them to be ahead of their competitors. The same philosophy is applicable to progressive beings who don’t take time to improve themselves. When you elevate your game plan, opportunities will locate you. This is because you have set yourself apart from your contemporaries.

In elevating your game, it is important to mind who you spend time with, your network of friends, the books you read, the associations/organizations you relate with, and most especially, your mindset. It is instructive to note that you cannot achieve more than your imaginations can assimilate. According to Henry Ford, if you think you can and if you think you can’t, either way you’re right. It is pertinent to note that who you spend your life with will determine how your life will be. You cannot hang out with chicken and expect to soar. Isn’t it true that your friends can make or mar you? It is widely believed that, if you hang out with nine millionaires, you’ll be the next millionaire. Therefore, today, I charge you to look at your friends and see where you are likely to be in five years.

You can’t be doing the same thing over and over again and expect to get a different result. Always make it a point of duty to set new record for yourself. In setting a record, you have to be on the lookout for certain qualities you’ll like to learn. You can also check out the qualities you can learn from your friends. Whatever qualities your friends have is likely going to rub off on you. Just like spirits are transferable, bad friends can influence you with their character

Set Boundaries

In order for you to elevate your game, you need to set boundaries. For instance, If you’re going to reach your highest potential, you have to step up your game by raising the bar for only a select group of people who identify and share in your vision. You need to ask yourself hard questions on what you really want. Inferior minds are always concerned with what they’ll lose if they cut off from certain boundaries/person. They fail to ask themselves, like what is important to them? Money, fame, value or vision. If you are among these categories of people, who always ask what if I lose my business? I have a simple question for you, what if you miss your destiny?

When you’re in the process of elevating your game, what you’re unwilling to separate from, will continue to follow you. The law of the group says, we associate with people with the way we see ourselves. Happy people hangout out with happy people. What most people don’t know and understand is that twenty years from now nobody will care about your friends. It’s not about quantity if your friends but quality. A one loyal and impactful friend is better than ten general friends.

You shouldn’t apply sentiment in business. Don’t mix family and business together. It’s not a good business idea to do business with only people associated/connected with you, because they may not have the same spirit unlike strangers. Treat them with respect but relate from a distance.

In the journey of life, your joy is your joy, none can share it with you. What this really means is that your success and failure lies with you. If you don’t get the wrong people out, the right people won’t come.

How Can We Elevate Our Game

It is generally believed that one’s entrepreneurial journey won’t be such a grind if they learn to take joy in your growth along the way.

1.      Start a personal project. Define a specific goal/project to realize in a specific period. It should be something that you absolutely feel is yours.

2.      Get trusted advisors. It is time for you to stop taking suggestions from anyone who has an opinion. Search for a mentor who has the expertise in the industry you are passionate about.

3.      Read as vast as you can. Trying to have knowledge about almost every aspect of life. In that way, it makes you to position yourself very well.

4.      Run Your Race

To get to our next level we must focus on our own race. We must not succeed for anyone but ourselves. We must not pursue success to show up, get revenge, or take someone down that we fear is better. The reason race horses have blinders on their eyes is so they don’t get distracted by the other horses when they’re racing. The blinders do not allow the horse to see anything but what is in front of them. It forces the horse to stay focused on their own race. We must do the same thing. We all saw what happened in the Olympics with the South African swimmer and Michael Phelps. The South African was watching Phelps, and Phelps was watching the finish line. It’s no wonder Phelps won. We must each focus on our own finish line.

5.       Keep the faith.

To elevate our game, we must always hold a vision of the next step in our process. The vision we hold is the picture of success we chase. We must drive, dig, grind and then let go, and have faith, as we witness how the results of our actions land. Every single day our eyes open in the morning, we must make sure we’re clear about what we want. We each have control over how hard and how smart we work; the rest comes down to having the faith that our efforts will pay off in the ways we want. The large majority of successful people work from faith. Faith is the energy that funds belief. Without belief, success isn’t a possibility.

6. You must believe.

The more we push ourselves beyond our perceived limits, the more we expand our belief in ourselves. This is exactly how we elevate to the next level. If we see a door that has a sign that says “limit,” “fear,” “I can’t,” “its not possible,” or “who are you kidding?” on it, we must take it upon ourselves to push through every single one of those doors. The majority of the time we will find that the signs on those doors were lies we’ve been telling ourselves. When we walk through them and achieve the “impossible,” we build our character and greatly increase the confidence we have in ourselves. The more confident we are, the more we elevate our game.

7. Be a team player.

One of the most important ways to elevate our game is to be inclusive. Success is a team sport. There’s an  African proverb that says if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to far, go with a team. If we are selfish, and we try and hoard or hide our success, we won’t get nearly as far as when we choose to include others in achieving our goals. It’s teamwork that makes the dream work. When we’re on our mission and we see anyone on our team wearing thin, we must partner up and bring them along, and expect the same in return. We must drop our egos, and ask for help whenever and wherever necessary. We are much more resilient when we have a community of support to turn to.

What are you doing to elevate your game?

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success. He can be reached via henrous@gmail.com

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Food for Living: Fret Not, That Set Back Is Your Set Up for Success

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friends,

Succeeding in life takes different shapes and form. Sometimes, we might be working towards a direction with the hope we’ll succeed, but in reality, our breakthrough in life can literally come from unimaginable places and sources like your network and strangers. If one is able to think out of the box, you can decipher that true success is an all-encompassing package. This is because you will have to cross the ts and dot the Is.

The interesting thing about success is that it has a way of humbling one. During the course of this article we shall be discussing about distractions, setbacks, disappointments and how unprecedent turn of events can lead to your success.

It’s instructive to know that the universe has a way of using your friends, family, strangers, work colleagues and even your detractors/enemies to catapult you to success. Taking a cursory look at the life of Joseph from the Book of life, his siblings had the plan of killing him because he was fondly loved by his father, his siblings may have felt he’s better prepared for succeed more than them, and as such they planned to kill him without knowing they are setting him up for success. Joseph, as the Bible recorded, was a dreamer who dreamt his siblings will bow before him. Ordinarily, he would have died if the plans of this brothers have worked perfectly well, but because they didn’t know any better, they had a second thought of selling him off to a group of merchants, who were traveling instead of spilling their brothers blood. That singular act of selling Joseph changed the course of Joseph’s destiny and the rest as they say is history.

It is simply the same way your business, environment and life can metamorphose. Let’s take another case study of someone interested in business, you may have a desire to bring in a new business into the market but then, you are unsure of how it will be received it. But then, when you take the risk, sometimes it might be best decision you may have to take your business career.

Let me share a personal experience with you; about three years ago, I resigned from my job and traveled overseas to see my family in addition to promoting my first book. When I came back to the United States, I had no job. I was forced to go the street to market my book. During one of my outings, I met one of the news anchors for News 12. I shared my vision with him. Fast-forward to three years later when New York Times interviewed me, it was the same news correspondent agent who reached out to me for the interview. The rest they say is history.

That’s simply the same way life works. Your disappointment can turn out to be a blessing if you are able to appreciate the blessings that comes with it. In order to do this, you will need to prepare for the best and expect the worst, and whatsoever happens, you’ll know you have done your bit.

It should be noted that God and the universe can use even your enemies to bless you. It can be your family, friends, work, strangers etc., they all orchestrated for a purpose, all things being equal. What you think might be a disappointment can be a blessing in disguise because without them you may not reach the promiseland. What looks like a setback might end up be a set up for your success.

In the journey of life, certain people have been placed in your life for certain reasons. Just like you have destiny helpers, the same way you have detractors all lined up to play their own unique role for you. All these beings are meant to enable you in one way or another. So, stop crying over spilt milk, what has been done has been done, the deed cannot be changed. You just have to think out of the box in every situation.

Critics, doubters, haters are all there for a purpose. Moral: If your enemies weren’t against you, maybe you wouldn’t have worked harder.

Let me scale the conversation up to a another level, imagine water in a tap being stopped from rushing out, when left open, the water will gush out farther than expected due to the pressure that will come upon it. That’s simply how our enemies and life situation come to us. What you think might be a set-back might end up being a set up for you

In conclusion, don’t complain about the person that betrayed, lied, and pushed you aside. Just move on and allow nature to take its due course. You just never know; they might just be setting you up for success.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success. He can be reached via henrous@gmail.com

 

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