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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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Food for Living: Become a Person of Value

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friend,

“Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value” – Albert Einstein

To be valuable is one of the best things that can happen to any person. Whoever has value is the king of the pack, and is well sought after. He is resourceful, and everyone wants to tap into his resourcefulness.

But what does it mean to be a person of value? Note that understanding differs when the word value is mentioned. Value is relative because what’s valuable to one person might not be valuable to another. For example, a lady who has several suitors seeking her hand in marriage has something of interest she admires and dislikes in every suitor, but what will determine who she will marry will be the value she desires in a man. This value might be money, character, academics, loyalty, beauty or skill.

It’s however, sad, when people think that value relates to only money; but value is more than money. It can be skills, academic qualifications or certification, network and networth, spiritual life, social life, physical strength, position, talent among others.

To the world, value means having something to offer; a person’s value is something that can make a positive difference in the lives of others. When one is valuable, it means that they are not just a consumer, but a producer and creator. It means that they are not just followers, but a leaders.

The importance of value cannot be overemphasized. Everyone has a measure of value, but the challenge most people face is the inability to maximize their value.

Your value is a gift to the world. Your value is your talent. People of value are in high demand. People of exceptional value are in higher demand, and are respected and honoured.

Did you know that your value can be used to know your interest? For instance, how you spend your time; what you think; how you invest and spend your money; where you work; causes you support; choice of majors; the books you read; the events you attend and more, all combine to reflect your inherent value. Your value will assist you to know how you can balance work life and career. Your value can be used to showcase your mission and passion for life.

It’s instructive to note that nobody will willingly come to you if you don’t have value. When you position yourself as a pest, beggar, liability, etc., people will begin to see you in that light. Just to let you know how attractive one can be, imagine an ant being attracted to sugar. It is simply because the sugar has what the ant likes. That’s how life works. People will come to you when they see you have what they have.  That simply tells you must add value to yourself. Quit complaining and apportioning blame to people, government and circumstance, take ownership and responsibility of your life.  According to – Marcus T Cicero “You will be of as much value to others as you have been to yourself.”

When you know the value you offer, you won’t need to talk too much. You will have self confidence, you won’t need to announce yourself, rather, people will seek your services or product. According to  Patrick Lencioni, the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, “he stated the five ways to become a person of value and Influence. According to him, you must find your passion and purpose; Embrace Personal Development, choose a problem you can solve; be authentic.

1. Find your purpose and passion

The great and influential men and women the world has ever known were those who discovered and pursued their purpose and were driven by their passions. When you’re on the path of purpose, it’s easier to add significant value to the lives of others. You’ll hardly be of any significant value to people or influence them when you don’t know where you are going yourself. Purpose ignites passion which keeps you motivated, inspired and focused. You need that to be valuable and influential.

2. Embrace personal development

Becoming a person of value and influence demands embracing a lifelong pursuit of personal development. Personal development is a process of understanding and developing yourself to realize your full potential. The extent to which you’re able to add value and influence others depends on the extent to which you have been able to develop yourself. Every raw material has little or no value. It becomes valuable after it’s been refined. Take time to refine yourself in every area. That could be hard but it’s rewarding. Daily ask yourself, “What do I need to learn or do to become a better person?

3. Choose a problem you can solve for people

To be a person of value and influence, you have to become genuinely interested in people enough to solve a specific problem for them. Think of what you can do to make lives better. The more people you solve problems for, the more valuable and influential you become.

4. Be original and unique

When we live our lives mimicking or imitating others, it steals our originality. Originality is the beauty of life. Guess what? Imitations don’t get much attention, originals do.  You can copy my style, but you can’t imitate my creativity. We’ve all heard that when you imitate someone else, the best you can be is second best. That’s very true. To be a person of influence, don’t be anyone else. Be you.

5. Pursue excellence

Becoming a person of value and influence is not going to be so much about what you do as it is about how well you do it. It’s said that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. Go beyond the usual. Add a touch of class in all you do. That’s what excellence is all about. Mind you it’s not the same as perfection.

6. Encourage and inspire others

Find a way to encourage and inspire others to be all they can be. Empower, share your knowledge and skills with others. Your value and influence is connected to the number of lives that are better because of you.

7. Exude confidence

Self-confidence is one quality that’s very admirable. It’s about knowing what you want and having the courage and boldness to go for it. When you’re self-confident, people are attracted to you. When you don’t have it, the opposite is the case. The reason is simple — what value do you think a person who doesn’t believe in himself offers?

8. Have integrity

It’s true that none of us is perfect but for you to be a person of value and influence you must be able to earn people’s confidence and trust. You should be able to live by certain values that uphold sound moral principles. Integrity means always doing the right thing and, in all circumstances, whether or not it’s convenient. It’s about being sincere and real. It’s about being honest enough to admit when you’re wrong. It’s your “yes” as “yes” and your “no” as “no”. It’s people trusting you not for any other reason but because you have earned their trust.

In conclusion, to be relevant consider being a person of value. Remember, your value depends on what you can offer.

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Food for Living: Adding Value: Unpredictable Nature of Life

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

There are different philosophies, principles, facts, theories, and truths that guide life. The ability to understand these dynamics can position one very well. Life can however, spring surprises because that’s its nature. It can also be very complex, and it takes discernment of mind to comprehend it.

Withoutan iota of doubt, life can be as unpredictable as it can fragile. So, it’s advisable to handle it with care. Just like the rain falls on every roof, and death visits every household, life and success can be unpredictable no matter how well you plan for them.

The journey of life offers us several opportunities, misfortunes and experiences. Your ability to manage and navigate through all the varieties of life will determine your attitude towards it because of its unpredictability.

We never know what the next chapter life will offer, and the uncertainty it will bring. This uncertainty can be both thrilling and terrifying.

Life is a journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, and unexpected surprises. It is a rollercoaster ride that takes one through moments of joy, sorrow, triumph, and defeat. One thing is certain however, there are factors that contribute to this unpredictability.

Uncertainty is an essential aspect of human experience, and accepting it can lead to personal growth, resilience, and a more fulfilling life. Uncertainty can be likened to risk. No one knows what will unfold.

It is in these moments of uncertainty that we discover our true beings, strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities. In fact, we get to know more things about ourselves. By embracing the fear of the unknown, we become more flexible and open to change, which is essential for navigating the unpredictable nature of life.

On a personal note, I had plans to work in the United Nations, study a particular major, marry a certain kind of lady, have a certain number of children, etc. But as one matures and experiences life, sometimes what we think is good for us might not be good for us and what we think is odd might be what life is for you.

For instance, you might desire to marry a curvy lady with intelligence, but at the end of the day, life can give you a lady with high school diploma, with less beauty, but with the ideal qualities you need to succeed.

Over time, my experience of life has changed due to the books I have read, and human relationships have taught me to accept the unknown by preparing for the best and expecting the worst.

Sometimes life offers us golden opportunities through relationships, but our inability to manage the opportunities and relationships will make the opportunity to slide. It’s sad to see people who think because they have certain people and opportunities, they believe the opportunity won’t leave them, either because they think they are too good or can’t be replaced. However, they fail to understand that in life, nothing is guaranteed.

Again, some people think and feel that because they have money, power, network and resources, life will remain permanent and soft for them, however they fail to understand that nothing in life is guaranteed, except death and God. Your power can fail you; your money can fail you, your network, contacts can disappoint you., you can lose your job, etc. but God can’t fail his people.

Just to understand how unpredictable life can be, imagine buying a new car, you are not guaranteed safety in the car if you are driving the car. This is because no matter how careful you are, you are not sure what other drivers might be driving on the road. Again, you may have a sound car, you cannot tell how durable the car might be because it can break down unexpectedly due to one mechanical or electrical fault. That’s just simply how unpredictable life can be.

One of the experiences life has taught me is not to believe in my knowledge, understanding and my network, but to trust in the capacity of God. I vividly remember one day I was invited by Mr. kola Adesina, the Group Managing Director of Sahara Energy for a friendly meeting. During the meeting, I shared my desires and plans of introducing my work to some resourceful people. He smiled and said to me, your prayer should be for God to connect me to meet the right people and not the names I mentioned. That statement made me speechless for a minute.

He went on to say, you might meet Bill Gates, Jef Bezos, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Aliko Dangote, etc, but they are not the right people for me, according to him, he has seen people who worked with bigger names and still became poor. While am I sharing these, when I look back at some of the achievements and resourceful people, I have had close contact with, I know it’s only God who has made it possible because on my own I wouldn’t have been able to do it, and the people I was hoping to introduce me to them didn’t come through.

In conclusion, whatever you have, please manage it because nothing is guaranteed.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s the founder of Gloemi. He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate, creative writer and author of Design Your Destiny Design Your  and Unleash Your Destiny .  He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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Food for Living: The First Step

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

It is an incontrovertible fact that greatness is appealing and soothing to the heart. Globally, greatness is celebrated because of the accolades that come with it. The question we all fail to ask is what does it take to be great?

Several factors contribute to the greatness of an individual, among which are tenacity, discipline, failure, belief system, courage, etc.

According to Ernest Agyemang Yeboah, “There has never been any great person who never met great trials and oppositions, but their patience, tenacity, endurance and perseverance saw them to the end as great people”. It is these trials and oppositions that will determine how great we will be.

Just like gold must go through a furnace to be refined, we all must be tested in our way or another to determine our passion, interest and courage.

Greatness is not easy to come by. One must soil his hand to make ends meet. Ernest Agyemang Yeboah maintains that “anytime you enjoy the sweet fruits of the tree, remember the dirty roots of the tree”. To be great is like making money. Nobody acquires genuine money with clean hands, you must soil your hand in a mud for you to reap the fruits of your labour.

It’s instructive to note that everyone has greatness living inside of them, however, the challenge most of us have is not being able to activate the greatness. Taking the first step is the foundational step to greatness. It’s sad to see people who want to be great, but they are scared of taking the heat Greatness does not come from a place of comfort.

A great factor necessary for greatness to take shape is courage. Per Apostle Joshua Selma, “courage is not outsourced, it is generated.

He further stated that “behind every genuine result you see, there’s a testament of endurance and courage.  You must date to succeed despite glaring failures staring at you.

Great people dare the consequences of what people will say. They are not scared of failing. They are not scared of walking alone. They are not scared of risking their lives to birth their vision. Research has it that Charles Leiper Grigg failed 6 times before he succeeded at the seventh time and he nailed the product, 7UP, meaning that he succeeded at the 7th time.

The first step in succeeding is very critical, and in most cases, it is the most important step. The first step is like the foundation of a building. The first step is like the first appearance. The first step is like your resume/curriculum vitae.

Without the first step, every other act is like putting the cat before the horse. Let’s take some practical examples, before a man wins the heart of a lady, he must take the first step in talking to her. Before a person becomes a celebrated author, he must have taken the first step to write the first set of words. Before someone becomes the President of a country or even serves in any elective position, he must have taken the first step in buying the form. Before someone gets a job, he must have taken the first step to apply. Before a mentee gets accepted by a mentor, he must have taken proactive steps to reach out. The list is literally endless.

Amid all these, one thing is certain, one must eliminate fear if one is desirous of taking the first step. Fear hinders one from taking the first step. It would be foolhardy to say we have not experienced fear in our daily lives. I have personally experienced the fear of the unknown. I can vividly remember when I was writing my first book, in all sincerity, I didn’t know what I was writing. I had to reach out to a couple of friends and mentors to review the work, some said just continue, some said, when you are done, the editors will review it. I was literally wondering how my work will be received by the public. Being a first-time author was no joke, but the good part is, the book came out as a resounding success.

The role of the first step in my life cannot be overemphasized. Most of the big accomplishments I was privileged to overcome were simply because I took the first step even when I was not prepared for the task or journey. I vividly remember when I joined the Nigerian Lawyers Association while studying Taxation Law in New York School. In all honesty, I was not prepared to occupy the position. I simply decided to test my faith. I literally failed and learnt on the job, but the interesting perspective to the job was the inherent opportunity that came with the job. The position exposed me to lots of High-Profile people I have access and relate with closely. Imagine if I have not taken the first step; I won’t know most of the people I have access to today.

According to an accomplished Ghost writer, Dr. Yomi Garnett, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great. If you have a rather big goal. Today take the biggest possible step in the direction of its fulfillment. If the step looks relatively tiny, do not worry if it’s the biggest possible for now.

In as much as it’s advisable to get prepared before you take an opportunity, however, there’s an exception to the rules, sometimes, you don’t have to have everything figured out before you take the first step, you just have to take the risk and, in most cases, it turns out good. Even if it turns out negative, you didn’t fail, rather, you learn from an experience.

In conclusion, do you have a project you would like to accomplish? If yes, take the first step. Don’t be afraid of the challenges, obstacles and forces that are likely to rear their ugly heads.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s the founder of Gloemi. He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate, creative writer and author of Design Your Destiny Design Your  and Unleash Your Destiny .  He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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