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Food for Living: Perception and Reality of Life

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friends,

Among the many mysteries surrounding life, the greatest of them all is life itself. This is because one cannot completely understand life in its shape or form. According to some schools of thought, understanding life is akin to understanding a woman. You must agree with me that the year 2020 will not be forgotten in a hurry because of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many people didn’t really see it coming. Understandably, many people have already planned how their lives, businesses, marriages, academic, and work will be shaped, but they were humbled by the virus which claimed many lives, businesses and gave the world a ‘new normal’ of living life.

In our contemporary society, perception is everything, especially in this digital era where most people live their lives on social media. One of the ways to understand someone is to look at how they invest their time and money. For instance, you can use social media to decipher someone’s interest due to what they post, and how they engage in conversation. However, the reality is that, that might not be their real being; they may be using the platform to advertise or promote their businesses. Again, people only show you what they want you to see.

Perception is how we see about ourselves and our surroundings. Crucially, it is the stories we tell ourselves about life, and that in turn reflects in our own life because perception equals projection. If a child lives in love, he/she learns to love humanity, but if a child lives with hostility, he/she tends to relate with a hostile attitude to the world. According to Henry Thoreau, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.

There are two types of perception: the way you see yourself and your world and the way others see you and their world. The only perception you have control over is your own.  If you perceive your life as lacking what you need, you worry more about conserving what you have rather than attaining those things you want and need. Our brains automatically process what we worry about and then change our perception.

It is widely stated that appearance is not reality. For instance, while someone might say life is easy if you understand the principles, and do what you must do, another person might say, life is hard because he or she might have done what he/she is supposed to do and might be unfortunate. While someone might say marriage is great, another person might have a contrary opinion, while someone might say, brothers/sisters of even siblings are priceless, another person might say, there are friends who stick closer than brothers.

As we soldier on in 2021, your target should be how to work on your mind. The success of anything on planet earth starts from the mind. As a transformational mindset coach, I train and coach people on how the mind works, especially as it relates to inspiring and empowering them on how they can unleash their God-given potentials. For instance, while many people were affected by the pandemic, some resourceful minds used the pandemic to launch new businesses and networks to engage with people. That’s improvisation which only works if you can think out of the box.

Life is basically how you make your bed.  Alternatively, you can say, life is simply how you cook your food. If you put the right ingredient, steam the meat, fry the rice, and use proper timing to cook your meal, you’ll get the desired output. You can’t have the wrong proportion of ingredients to cook your meal and expect a sumptuous meal.  It’s just like the computer; garbage in, garbage out.

To understand the reality of life, you need to think out of the box. Let’s share some examples of the realities of life. Bad things also happen to good people just like the rain falls on every roof; our educational system does not provide the right or complete tools for success. For example, you might have a Ph.D. MBA, or a degree, that doesn’t mean you’ll succeed or have money; most times we hear the government is here to help you, but the truth is that most times, the government gives programmes and policies that favour its interest.

Most times, we follow the bandwagon or celebrities with the assumption they are always right, but the reality is sometimes the majority can steer us in the wrong direction. We also live in a world where people say, money does not equate to happiness, but the truth is that money is very important in life and it can buy laughter in addition to making the world go around; No great man ever achieved anything great without failing. Anybody that doesn’t fail before achieving greatness has no authentic experience and story to share for people to believe his story or impact.

There can never a perfect environment no matter how hard we try. Crime and hate will always prevail in our society. That’s the reality of life. Social media can make or mar you depending on how you use it. Human beings by nature are insatiable, you can never please them. According to Bill Cosby “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone”. The false perception of life is that when you show love, people will show you love, but the humble truth is that there’s so much negativity everywhere no matter the love you show.

Having the right perception, understanding, and attitude to life will go a long way to shaping your thoughts towards life. A great way of overcoming the vicissitudes of life is by having the right perception. The simple truth is life is generally hard because nothing good comes easy. Let’s say, for instance, running a business can be hard; searching for a job can be a difficult task; being unemployed can be very challenging; staying in marriage can be hard; being divorced is also hard, and being single is also hard. The moral of the message is that everyone has his/her burden to carry. It’s just how you decide to live your life. Just focus on making your hard easier! Life can get easier, but life can never get easy.  The earlier you understand and adjust to this reality, the more fulfilled you will be.  According to Ari Gunzburg, “Tell yourself to change your vision to change your decisions. You need to pay attention to how you perceive anything. Your perception is your reality.”

Therefore, as you work in 2021, approach life in a dynamic manner taking into consideration what works for you and what doesn’t work because your life is shaped with your perception and understanding.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a mindset coach and transformational coach. 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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Experts Urge States to Focus on Revenue Generation, Fiscal Transparency

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…Extol Sokoto for performance

Public Finance experts, and business analysts have urged Nigerian States to focus more on internal revenue generation rather than waiting on the Federal Government to allocate funds to them.

This was part of the conclusion reached at the January 2021 CIAPS Roundtable tagged “Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability of Nigerian States”. The event hosted by the Lagos based international Graduate school CIAPS had participants from across the 36 States for the federation and from outside Nigeria discussed how Nigerian States were doing in terms of budgeting, revenue, debt management and fiscal responsibility.

Lead discussants at the CIAPS Roundtable included Ayo Teriba, CEO Economic Associates, Phillip Isakpa, Executive Director Businessnewscorp and Yemi Kolapo Editor In Chief at The Point Newspaper, the event was chaired by Anthony Kila.

Dr Ayo Teriba lead the conversation and opend by disagreeing with the general concept introduced by Prof Anthony Kila that many Nigerian States were not financially viable. According to Teriba every State in Nigeria has the potential for being viable, it is just about having the right leadership that can identify how to generate wealth. Teriba noted that too little is being done by States to generate investments and that no Nigerian State has a portal dedicated to attracting and guiding investors. He listed the Economy, Natural Capital, Human Capital and Governance as the four levers that the states need to push on to generate revenue.

In analysing the Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability of States, Mr Philip Isakpa noted that generally speaking too many individuals and businesses are focused on the Federal Government instead of looking at what states are doing. He called on all to be more vigilant of and involved with States Government. Philip Isakpa agreed with Anthony Kila that the tying grants to fiscal responsibility is a very good move that allows citizens and businesses to know and access which States were doing well and which ones were doing badly.

Ms Yemi Kolapo sounded a note of caution warning that while the performance conditioned grant was a good thing, we should be careful to make sure that States are actually doing good things and they are not just working the books to get funds.
Prof Kila invited the media and other observers to provide information of the States doing well and those doing badly in terms economic management and fiscal responsibility. “We need to know who are the performers and who are the bench warmers” noted Kila.

The federal government early January disbursed N123.34 billion performance-based grant to eligible states under the World Bank supported states fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) programme for results.

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, announced then that Sokoto state received the highest amount of N6.612 billion while Kano state got the lowest amount of N1.710 billion. Bayelsa, Imo, Rivers and Zamfara States got zero allocation due to their inability to meet the 2019 eligibility criteria which required States to publish online approved annual budgets and audited financial statements within a specific timeframe.

In separate interviews many of the experts that participated at the event urged all states to focus on Revenue Generation and Fiscal Transparency and to learn from Sokoto State that was able to lead the table of performing states. Rotimi Olarewaju a financial analyst noted that Sokoto state must be praised and used as an example for other States since it is showing others that wining the World Bank performance-based grant is possible.

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After Losing to Sheffield, Solskjaer Claims Referee Made Two Mistakes

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer criticised referee Peter Bankes for making two mistakes as Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Sheffield United.

The Manchester United boss was not happy with the referee for allowing Kean Bryan’s opening goal to stand at Old Trafford despite Billy Sharp’s interference with David de Gea, and ruling out an effort by Anthony Martial minutes later.

Solskjaer told BT Sport: “It’s a foul. Billy Sharp just runs into him (De Gea) so he can’t get up, so it’s a foul.”

When asked about Martial’s disallowed effort, Solskjaer said, “No foul… but it’s this kind of season, inconsistencies, so it’s going to be unpredictable. But it’s two mistakes by the referee.”

Solskjaer’s side had the chance to leapfrog Manchester City back into top spot but froze under the pressure against bottom-of-the-league Blades, who had only won once in the Premier League this season.

Aaron Ramsdale was not overly tested in the Sheffield United goal as Manchester United only mustered four shots on target.

“We had all the possession but when you concede two bad goals it’s always going to be difficult,” Solskjaer said.

“We didn’t create big enough chances to score enough goals.

“That magic was missing, that little bit extra. They defended well, fair play to them but we didn’t have the right ideas or solutions.

“It wasn’t to be, the second goal we conceded is so poor, so sloppy. Easy. We stopped getting out to the ball, three or four bad decisions which is out of character.

“There will be no big inquest. There have been so many odd results this season but with the world as it is we have been the most consistent team, it hit us today.”

The Blades had just five points to show from their first 19 games – the worst haul in Premier League history – and had not beaten the Red Devils since 1993, with their previous Old Trafford victory coming in 1973.

And despite only naming six substitutes and having to rely on 38-year-old Phil Jagielka at centre-back – who subsequently put in a man-of-the-match performance – Chris Wilder’s men grabbed a richly-deserved three points.

“We have to play close to near perfect to get results and if you make mistakes, then you get punished,” Wilder said.

“It’s a brutal league and you have to be at your best every week. And sometimes it’s difficult to do that. Tonight we were good, we were brave in possession when we had to be and we created some little half-chances. You have to take those big moments and we took two, to give us a result.

“A slight deflection for the second goal but we all need that bounce of a ball. We’ve kept going, we have an identity and we’ve shown it tonight. We’ve had a little break, took it and managed to see the game out.”

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Concentrate on How to Fix Healthcare Facilities, Not COVID-19 Vaccines, Bill Gates Tells FG

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American philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, has advised the Nigerian government to prioritize fixing its healthcare sector rather than spending money on COVID-19 vaccines.

Bill Gates gave the advice during a virtual press conference on Tuesday ahead of the launch of the 2021 Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letters.

Gates said that the deaths from the deficits of primary health care were dramatically higher every year than the total deaths going on in Africa from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stressed that the impact of investing funds into the health system, particularly the primary health care system, would be very high in terms of saving children’s lives.

Bill Gates advised the Nigerian government to wait for the GAVI vaccines rather than diverting its limited health fund into trying to pay a high price for other COVID-19 vaccines.

He strongly advised the government to invest the proposed vaccine funds into other health-related areas, stressing that it would assist to deepen vaccine coverage and save lives.

“The key is that Nigeria is still eligible (for GAVI Vaccinee), and so, for a lot of those vaccines, they will come through the GAVI facility that we’ve raised money for.

“I’m an advocate for the government to have more resources and prioritise health. Obviously I’m not a voter in Nigeria, so Nigeria can decide that independently.

“So my advice is that the primary health care system is what’s super important and that with those finite resources, you have to prioritise expenditure.

“And in that case, waiting for the GAVI vaccines would be the best thing. So I hope it causes everyone in society to look at these health issues.

“There should be close to 100 per cent coverage of all the vaccines and you need to have those very functional primary health care systems because the number of lives you can save is absolutely huge,” he said.

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