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Fact for Living: The Secret of Listening

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By Henry Ukazu

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”– Stephen R. Covey

Greetings Friends,

Today’s article will take a different route because it will be structured to empower any rational mind to think out of the box. One of the greatest force in life is love. There’s an imaginary strength that comes when we truly love. If you have truly loved, you’ll agree with me that you’ll not only care how your partner or friend feel, you’ll also listen to them.

I once read a book by Gary Chapman “The five love language Love language” where the author beautifully wrote about the five love languages (Words affirmation, physical touch, gift, services and time). When you truly care, you’ll apply all this love languages to your partner, friend, work or whatever you are doing. I choose to use love to buttress the important of listening because in whatever you do in life, if you don’t love it, you won’t give it your time and listening is one of the components of loving.

There are so many things we are stand to gain when we listen to people. One of the greatest things you can do for anyone is to listen to them. It should be noted that listening comes with respect. Whether you are in the cooperate world, self employed (entrepreneur), Non Government Organization or even faith based organization, you are bound to listen to your audience because that is the best way to communicate with them while serving them.

Listening is a choice, you decide to listen to what you like. It is really hard sitting or even standing up listening to people you don’t value. When you listen to podcast or programs of interest, you select music, talks or even comedy of interest that appeals to you. In this digital age, experience has taught me to pay attention to what really matters to me. In fact, unless I am sacrificing my time for a worthy cause, if it’s not taking me to the next level and if it doesn’t involve money, it doesn’t worth my time.

In any industry you are in, you need to practice good listening skills. Are you seeking for a job, or currently working, you need a good listening skill to succeed in a job environment.

With this skill, you can navigate the politics of the job environment. Even a leader needs this skill the most. I have always opine that one of the great art of a leader is the ability to listen and learn. This is because you get more ideas when you listen to your followers.

Listening gives you ability to hear (feedback) what others feel about your work. According to Bill Gates “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.

During the course of this article, we shall be discussing the different styles of listening and how we can use effective listening to enhance our business or opportunity of interest.

Practice active listening: The most important gift you can give to a public speaker is your ears. When you listen to someone, you are not only giving the person your time, you are also learning more about the person. There’s a saying you can learn more about a person by what he/she does than what he/she says. Practicing active listening is a very good way to learn and be engaged. In communication, what is important is not what is being said, but what is not being said, therein, lies the message. When you practice active listening, you hear the unspoken language from the other person in addition to being engaged.

According to G.K. Chesterton “there’s a lot of difference between hearing and listening.” This is because hearing isn’t necessarily listening. This is because you can hear someone but not present at the same time. Active listening makes you to be present. You may have heard of the saying, the joy of life is not happy you are, but how happy someone can because of you. Everyone loves to be listened and loved. In my book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success, specifically on page 111, I wrote about the four levels of gratitude (Appreciation, administration, approval and attention). In order to understand this teachings you must practice active listening to understand the unspoken words inherent in such deeds.

Eye Contact: A great communicator uses eye contact to deliver his/her message. One of the most valuable ways a public speaker communicate with his/she audience is by using eye contact. With eye contact, you can tell if your audience is listening or feeling bored.

Sometimes you hear what the person is saying when you look directly in the eyes of the person, sometimes, maintaining a visible presence by looking over the head audience gives them the desired space they need. This is because some people don’t feel comfortable when they have direct eye contact. Eye contact also goes with the body language of the speaker. In communication, sometimes, somethings are better felt than spoken.

Don’t interrupt the speaker: A good way to know a great speaker is by looking how he/she pitches his/point or message. Interrupting a speaker can ruin the flow of information. That is why sometimes, it is good to reserve questions towards at the end of any presentation.

Listen without judgment: –: In communication, most times, people listen with the intent to respond as opposed to understanding. This normally plays out most times in marriage. In law, a good to way to apply justice is by listening to the other side. In applying this knowledge, the judge normally use Audi alteram partem, a Latin phrase meaning “listen to the other side”, or “let the other side be heard as well”. It is the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them.

Meditation: Mediation is a form of listening. According to Thomas Carlyle, “Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together”. Meditation is truly a great form of listening. According to Wayne Dyer, an inspirational author, meditation is simply the act of being quiet with yourself and shutting the constant monologue that fills the inner space.

Meditation helps in self discovering. You learn more about yourself when you listen to your inner self as opposed to what other people think of you. There are many benefits that comes with meditation. Examples include: it reduces stress, helps you to focus very well, it reduces anxiety, it gives you better memory and enhances creativity.

In conclusion, a good listening skill if properly utilized will set you on a good path that will set you before leaders, kings and Heads of Industries if properly applied.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with 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.

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Opinion: The Parable of the ‘Bees’

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“Our experiences in life are most times like the stingers of the Bees…we scream when stung by it, yet can’t resist the sweetness of its honey. We even groan and often complain of the pain, forgetting the sweetness, healing, and blessings that come thereafter. Be vigilantly wise! The terrible pain will soon lead to sweet gain! Stop pitying yourself, rather start gently till you get to find your health and values restored, then get to your promised land and become greater. Simply understand that life is just like the Bees. In them, lies both the pain and gain…what you can see is what you will get, your perception of it determines what you will get.”Tolulope A. Adegoke

The flow of love saturates the flower by the presence of the Bees,

It kisses the flowers so tenderly and lovingly in ways that purify the flowers with its so-called bee-venoms of healing, fragrance and sweetness which has no adverse effect on the flower and owners of the flowers.

The Bee stings, yet it is praised for doing so if modestly executed due to the healing impacts it has on whatsoever and whosoever it stings.

The Bees! What a rare type of insect fly. Even, its anger could be a blessing unto its enemies, let alone friends.

This special insect is often harvested by some people who extract its so-called venom, while some individuals even submit themselves to the power of the Bees to be stung intentionally. To them, it’s a blessing, it is a cure, it is sweetness and pain, fragrance and naturally supernatural!

Either deliberately or not, angrily or happily, the Bee stings, yet it comes with a gift of cure and supernatural blessings beyond the knowledge of science.

Why not be like the Bees? Why not emulate its patterns of flow of healing nature…no matter what comes the ways of the Bees, they still pass healings, cure and blessings? Everything about them is the productivity of naturalness and blessings which are its original essence of wonderful creation, even as an effective pollinating agent…

The pains of the stings at first may be much, but why not consider its cure, healings and blessings…the pain is just for a while, it is the blessings that matters!

Put your mind off the pains of the moment and focus your heart and strengths on the blessings that come with those pains…

Focus on where and what you would get in return at the end and not what you are going through!

Focus on the crown, not the cross! I must confess, it will end in praise.

Sweetness leads to praise…the pain must come first if it is really true healing and sweetness that will last forever…

Our experiences in life are most times like the stingers of the Bees…we scream when stung by it, yet can’t resist the sweetness of its honey. We even groan and complain of the pain, forgetting the sweetness, healing and blessings that comes thereafter. Be vigilantly wise! The terrible pain will soon lead to sweet gain! Stop pitying yourself, rather pick yourself up by the strength of your faith, start gently till you get to find your health and values restored, then get to your promised land and become greater. Simply understand that life is just like the Bees. In them, lies both the pain and gain…what you can see is what you will get; your perception of it determines what you will get: if your focus is on the pain only, you will hate the Bees, forgetting that in the same Bees, there lies peace for your health and vitality.

Thank you for reading.

Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (Awakening the Giant Within You!) byTolulope 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: Don’t Settle for Less

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

Talk, they say, is cheap. I doubt if there is any human on earth who doesn’t have ambition. The issue is what are you doing to change the status quo? Do you have any strategy? Are you limited by your environment, academics, finance, health challenge, or spiritual cause? There can be many sides to what the cause might be. The cause might not be listed here, whatever is the case, you don’t have to limit yourself. This is because the world does not celebrate failure, but success.

In our contemporary society, we are defined by what we do, what we overcome, and what we settle for. One of the major problems facing humanity is accepting the limiting belief that they cannot reach a height in life. These words are not only said by friends, teachers and supervisors, parents are also included. These words have a way of living in the memory of the child/adult and if proper care is not taken, it will forever remain in their subconscious mind. The saddest part of these harmful words is that they have the spiritual effect of limiting progress no matter how hard one try in life unless they don’t deserve the curse or harsh words, especially if they are said by parents.

However, it’s important to note that the greatest disservice one can do to oneself is to believe in those limiting words by superior people. If you renounce those words and work hard towards overcoming those limitations, posterity will be kind to you. If we ae honest to ourselves, we all may have faced one form of criticism growing up. I experienced one when I was the Public Relations Officer for the Nigerian Lawyers Association, my president and vice president weren’t comfortable with my style of writing. The honest truth was that my grammar was horrible, and to make matters worse I was the Public Relations Officer for the association, and as such, I can imagine the trauma they face on a daily basis because of my writing skills, but the truth of the matter was that they way they handled the issue was unbecoming of a leader to a mentor. I was literally torn apart when the President once told me I will go back to Nigeria after my program at New York Law School because according to her, I can’t compete with the system in the USA. I felt humiliated but smiled in my heart. I also remembered when the Vice President told “I have to hard on you” just because she was editing my work.

Fast forward to a couple of years later, I an author of a trailblazer book. Design Your Destiny, while working on another book. By the special grace of God, I am the founder and President of Gloemi.  I am also a creative and prolific writer, I have been profiled New12  and interviewed by  New York Times and News12. By the special grace of God, I have also been on great platforms in addition to meeting great resourceful minds which have humbled and honored my life. Looking back, one might think it is impossible, but the truth of the matter is that with God all things are possible. It’s pertinent to mention that no one is in charge or responsible for your success. You are literally responsible for it. So don’t allow anyone’s perception to define or limit your capacity. Your mess can be turned into a message., your limitations and failures can be a set up for success.

Why am narrating this experience? I have to be vulnerable in order to share. I don’t know the situation you may be experiencing now, it could be an academic challenge, marriage/relationship, health, finance, business, personal or even spiritual, if you can hold on a little bit more and learn the lessons in the pain/challenge, you will come out stronger in addition to having a story to tell. If you feel stressed, you can reach out to me and we can have a decent conversation.

According to Mary Kay Ash, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.” Mary Kay Ash, entrepreneur and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

We all go through life challenges, but how we cope, manage and handle those situations will go a long way to make an impact in our life. To progress in life, you must do any productive work that makes you happy.  Anything that excites and energizes you is your passion. If you follow it, as long as it is not negative, it always leads to success. The biggest mistake most people make is to turn their passion into a hobby instead of a business or vocation. Don’t limit yourself to what others are doing. Be unique because you have a voice and the world is itching to hear your message.

To advance in life, you need good friends and books. Cultivate the habit of being intentional in all you do because the only thank you have for your detractors is to be successful. So, I ask you what are you doing with the time and the network you have with you? There are a lot of opportunities for everyone. The market is not saturated, forget the hype, just find your niche and see how the world will resonate with you.

How can you overcome your limit

1.      Improve your skills: You can never reach “success” because success is a journey and never a destination. Strive to learn something new daily. Believe in yourself and in your abilities while working in your weakness. As you continually do this, you’ll gain knowledge and experience in new areas.

2.      Get work done: Limiting yourself also ruins your productivity. But once you let go of that, you’ll get more work done and will be more focused. It should be noted hard work doesn’t kill but it’s the lack of work and laziness that can facilitate hunger that can kill you.

3.      You’ll enjoy life more: Life is meant to be enjoyed. All work and no play they make jack a dull boy. When you achieve success in life due to your productivity and you look back and see how far you have come in addition to overcoming challenges, trust me, you’ll proud of yourself.

4.      You’ll generate ideas: Once you’re confident and free from limitations and mental barriers, you’ll also get your creative juices flowing. You’ll start coming up with new ideas, will handle daily problems more easily, and will start working on new projects all the time.

5.   You’ll take action: Another great benefit of not limiting yourself is that you’ll become action-oriented. Most people have too many doubts and insecurities, fear of failure and distractions get in the way too. But once you have peace of mind and the right amount of confidence, you’ll also take initiative, act upon your goals and turn ideas into reality.

6.     You’ll become a role model: One of the best ways to inspire others is to do something great with your life. And if you’re purpose-oriented, know what you want, and are going after it, don’t waste time but work hard on what you believe in, and have fun at the same time, and are grateful, then you’ll be a great role model.

7.     People will look up to you:  You’ll motivate them to do the same without saying anything or making them do so, but simply by following your path and letting them see your progress. So that’s how the life of someone who’s not limiting himself looks like. And you can have the same very soon if you simply decide that you want more out of life and are ready to fight for it.

As I conclude, I will share these inspiring quotes with you. The only limits you have are the ones you believe – Dwyer Wayne

“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.” Brain Tracy“

Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” Jamie Paolineti

You need to ignore what everyone else is doing and achieving. Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live YOUR best life. You are not in competition with anyone else; plan to outdo your past, not other people.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a mindset coach and public speaker. 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 info@gloemi.com 

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Nigeria: A Nation that Exists Only on Paper?

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By Joel Popoola

I am almost as old as Nigeria itself, and in all my time on Earth, I have never known our nation to face so many challenges.

Corruption. COVID-19. Kidnapping. Economic collapse. Climate Change. Civil insurrection from secessionists. Civil unrest in rural towns.

Last month alone, almost 600 civilians were killed across our nation – with at least 400 abducted by armed groups.

As I write this, senior lawmakers are urging President Buhari to declare a state of emergency, with one senator stating “our nation is on fire”.

This is why Yemi Osinbajo’s plea for unity this week is so important.

The Vice President has said: “If the political elite does not speak up, if we don’t see anything wrong in what is going on, if we allow it to continue to slide, we will endanger ourselves and endanger the future of our country.

“I know that every conflict is a result of elite failure, the elite failure to speak up and tell the truth to their communities, that’s the cause of every one of these civil conflicts. So, I would urge that we speak up. I would urge that we stand for something. Sometimes it’s dangerous to stand for something. But the greater danger of course, is to keep quiet.”

But who is this political elite speaking up to? How are they speaking to them? And how do we ensure that those who are not part of this elite have the opportunity to talk back? How are ordinary Nigerians supposed to get involved in this conversation?

The answer is digital.

Yemi Osinbajo is one of the leaders who best understands how Nigeria’s future must be driven by digital.

Just this week the Vice President announced a new partnership with global tech giant Microsoft which will digitally upskill 5 million Nigerians – designed to boost their employability and entrepreneurship – and improve internet connectivity and cloud access across our nation.

The Vice President has also this week spoken of the importance of the start-up ecosystem as a “catalyst for future economic activities that will bridge the divide between rich and developing countries” and Nigeria’s wider economic development.

At a time when it feels like the only expanding economic sector in Nigeria is industrial scale kidnapping, the promise of a digital and digitised economy becomes more and more critical to our national future – not least as economic inequality is one of the principle driving forces behind so many of our security issues.

But this goes deeper than economic development. Our democracy must digitise too.

As the digital democracy campaign I lead, we are working to build digital bridges between voters and elected politicians – developing personal relationships between local leaders and the communities they serve in the name of collaboration, co-operation and unity.
We have developed a free smartphone app called Rate Your Leader which connects verified political figures with verified voters in the divisions they serve.
The app gives local people the access only previous allowed by lobbyists and party donors, which giving politicians a real-time insight into what matters most to the people who elect them – allowing them to take action, make changes and win the respect, trust and affection of the people their serve.

Once these relationships are established it becomes a lot easier for Nigerians to come together in the national interest. These relationships don’t exist in isolation and aren’t limited to the digital space, the more of us who join hands across political philosophies, ethnicities and even geographies and agree that as Nigerians we will always have more in common than what separates us, the quicker we can move forward as a nation.
As one observer has written, the people of Nigerian too often “lack a shared sense of what it means to be “Nigerian” leaving our country “a state that only exists on paper, sustained by the recognition of the international community”.

But as many of our artists and creatives – not to mention our social movements – can tell you, communities can be created almost instantaneously online.

Digital democracy, using platforms like Rate Your Leader, makes this possible.
Nigerians are more likely to own a smartphone than voter’s card. Politicians must recognise that and utilise the power and potential of the online communication to build the connections that are so badly needed to hold our nation together. If not now, then when?

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur, digital democracy campaigner, political commentator and creator of the Rate Your Leader smartphone app. He can be reached via @JOPopoola

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