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Facts of Life: You Are Not Educated until You can Create Ideas

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By Henry Ukazu

 

Hearty Greetings my dear friends!

Communicating and relating with you on a regular basis gives me not only joy and satisfaction but also fulfillment. As one of my positive mentors, Chief Dele Momodu, will say, ‘in order to remain relevant on social media, you must continually endeavor to feed your followers with information and updates to keep them engaged, otherwise they might lose interest in your work’. It is on this note, I try to update my tribe every week on resourceful topics that will not only inspire them, but also assist them in attaining success. This is my own little way of giving back to the society.  By so doing, I’m educating progressive minds with resourceful information that has empowered me.

Today, we shall be discussing education and how it can serve as a pathway to success. We shall also be looking at various ways education can serve as a pathway to success and other component parts. Not only that, we will be discussing the contemporary and smart ways of educating oneself as opposed to the traditional style of education.

I was inspired to write about education being a pathway to success after listening to two terms former Governor of Anambra State and Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi’s speech at an event which was organised by the Christian Covenant Centre under the auspices of Platform. Honestly, it is always good to listen to intelligent people when they speak or write because one has a great opportunity to learn from their secret of success.

Please permit me to share a word or two about the background of Mr. Peter Obi.

Mr. Obi is a trained and experienced Economist, Administrator and Politician. He sees himself priviledged to have attended some of the best schools in the world such as Harvard Business School, Boston, USA; London School of Economics UK; Columbia Business School, New York and Lagos Business School in Nigeria. Mr. Obi is also the Vice Presidential Candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 Nigerian presidential election; He was a Governor of Anambra State, one of the most resourceful and viable states in Nigeria.

In his speech, Mr. Peter Obi mentioned education as one of the most resourceful and viable tools to stimulate the economy. That speech really resonated in me, and I thought it nice to write about education but on a different note.

The focus of this article is how resourceful minds can tap into the indirect form of education to achieve their dreams. In this twenty-first century, you cannot underestimate the power and role of education for an emerging economy, and countries that have truly distinguished themselves in the comity of Nations. Education plays a great role in shaping the life of a progressive mind.  This is because all civilized countries know that the only way to stamp their feet in the global world is by planning for tomorrow, and how does one plan for tomorrow? You plan for tomorrow by investing for the future through education. Investment in education is synonymous to your future. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. In civilized climes, they have taken education to the next level by investing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). They didn’t stop at that; they try to empower their citizens through Research and Development to solve some of the challenges facing them.

I strongly believe that one of the greatest investment you can have in life is education. Education secures the future because it’s a form of security.  Even the book of life states in Proverbs 4:13 “Your education is your life, guard it very well” and Hosea 4:6 “My people perish for lack of knowledge”.

That being said, we shall be looking at the component and the relative part of education as a way of leveraging oneself. There’s nothing good in life that comes easy. Every good product or success comes with a price tag. The same theory goes for education. The price of education is very expensive. I remember when I was seeking admission into one of Nigerian state universities to study Law. I met one of the admission officers who promised to assist me secure admission. I was excited about this opportunity until he told me the amount I have to pay as a kickback. The price sounded outrageous to me. When I asked him why I have to pay such amount of money as a kickback, he said: “young man if you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. That statement has always remained in my heart till date. I definitely agreed with him because if you compare and contrast the value of education and the price of ignorance, you will realize that education will definitely pay in the long run. Moral: If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.

What do we therefore mean by traditional form and style of education? It simply involves attending classes and preparing for exams. However, it should be noted that education is not only limited to getting degrees and certificates. Education also entails thinking out of the box, reading books outside your discipline, researching, learning from resourceful minds and developing oneself.

 

During one of my classes as graduate student studying Taxation at the New York Law School, a particular professor had told the students; ‘it is good to get good grades like As; but networking and developing oneself and following your passion are some of the things that will give you the desired opportunity you want in addition to defining you. What I literally got from that advice is, yes, it’s good to get good grades, but there’s more to success than getting the grades. He ended the class by telling us ‘you’ll understand what I’m saying when you graduate and start exploring job opportunities’.

No doubt, education is good, and the advantages numerous. A very big advantage of education is that it is the greatest leveler known to mankind just like money. Let me explain a bit. You can study in the same classroom with the son or daughter of any great man or woman and can even fall in love with the said being, especially when you know or understand the love language of the person in addition to being compatible to the being. This opportunity can even lead to marriage if properly nurtured. What I’m trying to say is that the son of certified pauper can be a man of means tomorrow if properly nurtured. Let me share a practical experience with you, I was privileged to attend one of the most expensive private universities in Nigeria, and I had the opportunity of meeting the children of top government officials, politicians, businessmen, ambassadors, and technocrats. Ordinarily, I felt a little bit uneasy relating with them because of the class status, but it didn’t take me long to adjust to the system when I saw the value I was bringing to the table and knowing full well we are the same. The secret to this feat was because of the exposure I got from education. Furthermore, I have been privileged to meet high profile people in the world in the USA because of the value I bring to the table, but more especially, because I have been properly educated to speak and communicate in the language they understand.

Be informed however, that education does not guarantee success; stories abound of so many great people who have been able to succeed in life without getting the traditional style of education. For example, the wealthiest Black woman in the world, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija; Henry Ford, Shawn Corey Carter popularly know as Jay -Z, Richard Branson and many more are accomplished individuals who believed in themselves, explored their talents and worked hard to develop themselves by learning from their failures.

Again, education creates opportunities. According to Steve Jobs, innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower. When you create a product that solves a problem, there’s a high tendency you will find people who will need your products. According to Albert Einstein, “try not to be a man of success, try to be a man of value. A good education makes you to think out of the box. It makes you creative. It broadens your mind in addition to exposing you to resourceful information. A good education is like traveling because it gets you exposed to world affairs. It’s quite unfortunate that sometimes we complain of not having time, money, or opportunities. We forget that time is like money. Whenever you say you don’t have money, it invariably means you don’t have time to read and research. It’s important to note that ideas are what creates money. Education will not literally give you money, it will open doors of opportunity for you to explore. For example, instead of waiting to get funds for a formal education, how about visiting websites, researching for online and offline companies that offer free courses and equip yourself with knowledge. Moral: Never allow an opportunity to meet you unprepared.

You might have the best of education, but you might not be as successful as someone who has empowered his/her mind. Having faith and belief in oneself is very critical to success.

According to Muhammed Ali “The man who has no imagination has no wings”. This is the reason some entrepreneurs who never had the opportunity of going to a school were able to succeed more than those who attended universities.

According to Robert Collier “Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself”.  One story of interest that comes to mind is that of John Sculley, the former CEO of Pepsi who left Pepsi to join Steve jobs in his company. Steve Jobs told John Sculley “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?” The rest they say is history. The interesting part of this analysis is that Steve Jobs trusted his innate ability to achieve success and the knowledge he had can’t be acquired within the four walls of a classroom. It was this same innate ability that made the bank to give him and Bill Gate two million dollars when they presented their ideas to them. The question now is did they go to school to acquire this knowledge? The answer is no. They developed their minds, believed in themselves and above all, educated themselves by learning from their failures.

Finally, a major form of indirect knowledge and education in our contemporary society is social media. Testimonies abound of people who have gained a lot by mere listening to a podcast, videos, and reading online messages on Twitters, Facebooks, LinkedIn, Instagram and relevant articles from resourceful minds. Education has truly gone global. Social media has made the world much closer and easier to learn. What literally took Mr. A five to ten years to acquire in the classroom can simply be gotten via researching and listening to people with authoritative form of knowledge who have expertise in the subject matter in question. But it’s quite unfortunate a lot of people spend valuable time and resources listening and watching online information that won’t add value to their lives

In conclusion, I’m not insinuating that formal education is not important, please it is very important. If you have the opportunity to get one, please do, because that alone is education itself. However, as mentioned earlier, it is not the yardstick for success.

Have a great weekend!

 

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He can be reached via henrous@gmail.com

 

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ASUU, Minister’s Two Weeks Ultimatum and Buhari’s Silence

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By Eric Elezuo

Two schools of opinion were formed on July 19, 2022, when President Muhammadu Buhari, like one who woke from debilitating slumber, gave the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, a two weeks ultimatum to resolve the lingering strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). The strike, called since January, 2022, is in its seventh month.

On one hand, the first school of opinion rejoiced that at long last, the president many has seen as completely lackadaisical and nonchalant about the events in the country, has finally taken a decisive step to arrest the excesses of both his administration and the lecturers in scuttling the educational advancement of hapless Nigerian students while their own children study unhindered in various high profile schools abroad.

The second of opinion had shrugged their shoulders in resignation, knowing that the threat was just what it was – a threat without an adjourning or commensurate firepower. They have concluded that the verbal pronouncement was another exercise in futility as the president has either lost the capacity to enforce discipline, or has never mustered the courage to lead from the front.

However, close to four weeks after the ultimatum, and two weeks after the ultimatum expired, nothing in the air shows that an ultimatum was ever given. The Minister of Education has continued to resume in his office in his capacity as Minister, the ASUU teachers are still sleeping through lecture periods, while students continue to hover around television and radio channels and newspaper stands to get a feel of the next line of action. In short, nothing has happened, and Buhari has remained mute.

A lot of observers has wondered if the executive president has suddenly become a toothless bulldog, or why was it that the honorable minister failed to act on the pronouncement of Mr President.

It would be recalled that Adamu has not been in the forefront of finding a solution to the ravaging imbroglio in the university education sector. His deputy, Emeka Nwajiuba, who has resigned from the job to pursue his botched presidential ambition, was the link to the resolution, with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige. Many still do not know who the Minister of Education is. One of his appearances, if not the only appearance, was hosting a detachment of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) executives, where the meeting ended with him walking out on the delegates.

One continues to wonder if the government of Nigeria is not that of lawlessness at the moment or subjected to rudderless status as no one listens to or obeys superior authority or why would the Minister fail to adhere to the president’s ultimatum. There has been no recorded meetings called ever since Buhari’s two weeks ultimatum. That’s an affront, and not acceptable.

Buhari, on his part, has carried on like the minister, as if nothing happened. He has allowed the minister unhindered access to his office, and remained deaf to the yearnings of Nigerian youths and their parents who are the direct victims of the crisis.

At the maiden Special Convocation Ceremony and conferment of Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Maiduguri on Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi, held on August 12, 2022, Buhari, through his representative, Alhaji Ibrahim Gambari, made a clawless plea to ASUU to call off the strike with no mention of the ultimatum given to minister a few weeks ago. That’s how weak and insensitive the administration has become.

If the education minister has lost the willpower or idea to find a resolution, he should toe the path of honour and throw in his towel, especially as he has shunned the president’s ultimatum.

If Mr president on the other hand has lost the influence over his subordinates, he should as well ‘step aside’ for a fresh lease of administrative prowess into the body polity.

The Nigerian education system is in squalor, and the ASUU has become a nail driven deep into a maggot infested wood.

Buhari should do the needful, and urgently too, and sack those that need to be sacked, or in the alternative, bow out himself. Nigerians are tired of mediocrity at all levels

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Food for Living: Overcoming Life’s Test

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

Uncertainty is the name of life’s great journey, as it is almost impossible to predict what tomorrow holds in stock for everyone. In the same vein, no one can confidently say they are guaranteed life the next day, or can confidently say they are infallible.

As human beings, there is an element of failing because no one is perfect, but the good thing about failing in life is that it makes one humble, in addition to teaching lessons if you are alert enough to pick them up from the experience. Everyone is programmed to be tested in one way or another.

A student applying for any form of admission must undergo some academic test; a job seeker applying for a job must surely pass through some written or oral test; a single hoping to get married must surely pass through a form of test before the partner can accept them. Even when they are married, the marriage must surely be tested.

Life, no doubt, is full of tests. Friendships must be tested, employees must be tested in other to be promoted, passion, leadership, character, and even marriage experiences are tested. The list is literally endless. It is noteworthy that all these tests are not meant to make one fail, but to express one’s strength, integrity, knowledge, personality, among others.

According to philosophers, there are two certainties in life; death and payment of taxes. However, I will beg to add one more, and that is we all must make a choice and decision in life. This choice must also be tested. These tests are bound are bound to define us depending on how we approach them. For example, a politician, who promises to provide valuable services to the community, if elected, can be praised or condemned for his words depending on his performance.

Life is a test of seeing how a person will react to the various situations they will encounter. Sometimes, we boast of our abilities to stand in the face of challenges. For instance, a man might boast he can never hit a woman, but he might be surprised to see himself in a strange situation where he may knowingly or unknowingly hit a woman due to anger, provocation, or as an act of self-defense. One thing is certain, circumstances don’t say who you are, they reveal who you are.

The tests of life come in different stages and areas. Our goal is to endeavor to overcome each challenge that poses as a threat to us. If we are able to overcome the test, we are likely to scale through the next stage of life. For instance, a student must pass his exams before being promoted to the next class, just like an employee must pass his prospective probative test to become a permanent employee.

Life tests can be either negative or positive. When it is negative, one is brought down from grace to grass, while a positive test can be used to rise from grass to glory. To know how a negative test works, someone in authority like a politician or a king can be dethroned for acts of infidelity. A positive can be defined as a test that helps you to become your highest self. A positive test plays out when someone with a humble background is given an opportunity to serve and he has the opportunity to embezzle resources in his possession, but he refuses. He can be promoted to a higher authority. Alternatively, when someone refuses to play to a particular script that is capable of reducing him because of his integrity, he is bound to be elevated when the dust is clear.

Another way life tests a human being can be seen from the perspective of a budding or enterprising entrepreneur. It is easy for one to say, I am passionate about my business or a particular cause, such interest can only be displayed when the lines are not falling in place. When you believe in your product or service, regardless of the challenge you see, you won’t be deterred

As you go forward in life, know that your passion, interest, loyalty, knowledge, personality, and faith will be tested, and when that happens, do not be deterred, just see it as a stepping stone to move to the next stage of accomplishment.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. 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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Food for Living: Your Blessing is in Your Hands

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

One of the world’s favourite singers, Teddy Pendergrass, in one of his hit tracks, It’s so good loving somebody when somebody loves you back, posited that one of the best feelings in life is to have a requited love; to be loved by the person you love. The feeling is unimaginable by every standard. Without mincing words, there is an uncommon strength love gives us. When there is mutual love among couples, they are bound to attract unimaginable blessings.

This article, however, is not about love per se, rather, love is used here to show how blessed we are when we have people who genuinely love us for who we are, despite our limitations. For instance, the love of a child by her mother is priceless.

When we talk of blessings, most times we think the creator of the universe will come down from heaven and bless us, we fail to understand that human beings are the real blessings. Someone once jokingly said, if God wants to bless you, he sends a man/woman to bless you, but if the devil wants to destroy a man, he visits him with a woman. The morale of this story is that human beings can either make or mar you. You cannot underestimate the importance of having the right people in your life, especially if you are married, have a business, or working on a project.

Sometimes, we think opportunities will come from heaven, but the truth is that the opportunity we seek is right in our hands. Sometimes, we think human beings will come through to us just because we are in need. The truth is that it is very rare to see people who can assist others without demanding anything in return. In most cases, people will only give you money when you have value, in terms of a product or service, to offer them.

It is imperative to note that one of the killers of opportunity is the poverty mentality. This is the major reason most people lose opportunities. These set of people think blessings, favours, opportunities and many more will come to them, they fail to understand that it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, you will have to go out to search for the opportunities that is obviously searching for you.

Let me share a personal story. A couple of years ago, a young man named Sodeeq Abdulakeem Sulyman reached out to me via twitter to be his mentor after reading one of my articles. I felt honored, but was curious to know why he reached out to me, he said he has been reading my article and saw consistency in addition to the attitude and mindset I use to write, and that it appealed to his values. I gladly accepted the opportunity to add value into his life. It may interest you to know that this young man proved to be an exceptional being. It didn’t take long to make him the Chief Operating Officer of my company (GLOEMI). The interesting thing about this relationship is that we have worked on several projects, and we now work like a family. If this young man didn’t reach out to me via twitter, who knows if our paths wouldn’t have crossed. Do you see that your blessings are in your hands? You can apply the same strategy to win people.

Most times, we look for people to give us work, connect us to a resourceful person or even mentor us. The mistake we make is we don’t take time to add value to our lives. When you add value to your life, it will be easier for people to locate and connect with you. Value can be academics, skill, information, networking, right attitude or understanding.

Let’s take a case study of understanding. There was a story of two wealthy men who were taking a walk, Mr. A saw a poor man and said to Mr. B, let’s help this man, Mr. B said, it makes no sense because this man is not interested in anyone assisting him. If you help today, tomorrow he’ll return to this position. Mr. A said, he’ll give it a shot. He called the poor man and told him he’ll give him bread and that he should eat the bread alone. The man agreed. The rich man went to the bakery and told the pastry chef to add a $10 million check inside the bread and he gave it to the man. The man went home and informed the wife of what happened, the wife was happy he came back with a nice, delicious bread, but she queried him saying, only him can’t eat the bread alone when he has a family. All effort to make the woman understand proved abortive. They began to raise their voices and one of their neighbours heard the noise and asked if everything was okay, they explained the situation to the man, out of pity, the man bought the bread from them at a decent price since he observed they needed money and the wife was happy. When their neighbour went home, he was happy to see a $10million check and he quickly cashed the check and didn’t inform the couple.

On a subsequent day, this poor man was back on the street looking for support, the wealthy man saw him again and asked him if he ate the bread alone, he explained to the man what happened. The wealthy man told him he’ll give him another chance but this time around, he sternly warned him not to share the bread with anyone. The poor man was happy for the second chance, and promised he won’t share the break with anyone. When he arrived home, he explained to the wife what happened. But the wife wouldn’t accept the excuse which led to an altercation. Their neighbour came around and asked what’s the issue again, the couples explained their side of the story to the neighbor. The neighbor offered to pay double of the price he bought the first bread, the man refused, and the wife was infuriated. The neighbour increased the price again and again and the man refused, the wife out of annoyance accepted the money and told their neighbour to take the bread. Guess what, this time, there was a $20million check in the bread. The point of this story is that whatever we are seeking is also seeking us. The poor man lost a golden opportunity because of the poverty mentality.

Just like your life is in your hands, your blessings are in your hands. Therefore, take time to evaluate the people in your life, the strangers you meet on the street and the information circulating around you. In all these, if you can manage and nurture them, you’ll attract the desired blessings because success in life is more of a strategy as opposed to hard work.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. 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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