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Food for Living: Skills for Life

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings my friends,

We are currently living in the 21st century, regarded as the jet age. Progressive minds have admonished us not to compete with other people, rather we should compete with ourselves by distinguishing ourselves. The question we need to ask now is; how do we compete with ourselves? We distinguish ourselves by having the right skills. Just like information, education and our network sets us apart, in the same way, our skills sets us apart from our contemporaries.

Last week, I wrote on The Effect of Digital Age of Innovation and how it has influenced a lot young minds to believe that skills are of more relative importance than formal education in our contemporary society. This article seeks to shed more light on how we can maximize our skills.

This article is for progressive minds.

One of the qualities of a leader is the ability to bring out progressive change to the life of the people and the society in general. According to Quincy Adams. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”. One of the ways a leader can do this, is by being skillful. During the course of this article we shall shed more light on how we can apply skills to profit our business.

Skill can be defined as an ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills).

There are different types of skills, but we shall focus on hard and soft skills:

Hard skills are skills we learn in classrooms such as Accounting, Law, Medicine, among others. They are measurable unlike soft skills which one learns while at work and through interpersonal relations like leadership, empathy, time management and communication. We shall be focusing more on soft skills.

Communication Skills:

Non Verbal: This skill doesn’t involve speaking. It’s mainly applied via body language. Your ability to read in between the lines is very helpful.

Listening: This is the master skill of all soft skills because it is the foundation of all informal skills. I call it the mother of all learnable and acquired skills. You can only learn in life if you pay attention. You need this skill in order for you to learn and apply all skills.

Clarity and concision: In communication, you need be as concise and clear as possible. Never have you allowed anyone to assume what you are trying to say.

Verbal Communication: Sometimes it is good to speak and write depending on what is needed. Either way, you need to be coherent for people to understand your message, otherwise there will be no communication.

Organizational Skills: This skill is applied in both cooperate and personal life.

Time Management: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. This skill is in high demand by employers because they need employees to achieve more within the shortest period of time. Your ability to use this skill will set you apart from your contemporaries.

Decision Making: As a leader, you should be able to use your intuitive knowledge to make prompt decision when the needs calls for it. This is an uncommon skill which very few people have.

Delegation: A true leader knows how to delegate duties/authority as the case may be in order to complete a specific task and thereafter give accolades to such staff or team. This skill helps to reduce pressure on the leader.

Planning: In any progressive organization, they have a blue print for whatever they plan to do. They forecast the needs of the clients and the world and work towards meeting their needs.

Leadership Skills:

This is the mother of all skills. I call it the hallmark of all skills. As a leader, you have the responsibility of leading your peers and followers. This task can be hard, but it takes humility, love, and understanding to relate with people.

Feedback: You are required to provide feedback to your leader or peers when you are working on a project. This helps to foster team work. Feedback helps in keeping employees or target people in loop of the actual situation of things so that everyone will be properly guided on the most updated information.

Responsibility: This is the second most important skill any rational and progressive being can have. The world is truly governed by perception. Nobody relates or does business with an irresponsible being. If you are serious about making an impact in life or in business, you need be responsible. For some of us, our name is the only thing we have. This is because your reputation is what people think about you, but your character is reality who you are.

Flexibility: Every rational person must be flexible. As a leader, you must be able to understand the direction the world is moving towards to. You should also learn how to bend as opposed to breaking to fit into the needs of the company or organization especially if you don’t agree with their thoughts. For example, if you are having a Board meeting, most decisions are done by the Board of Directors. Be advised, you have to know when to take a stand from your colleagues and when you have to work with them. You need wisdom in order to decipher when to swing the pendulum.

Commitment: Anywhere you find yourself, always know that your word is your bond. I recently told myself; I will commit to what I can do and supposed to do as opposed to what the society wants me to do. This skill is hard to maintain because as human beings, we may experience many disappointments. The moral about commitments is that, it goes a long way to show how responsible and proactive you are.

 

Computer Skills:

This is one of the resourceful skill that is in high demand in the world today. Information and Communication technology has truly shaped the world. There’s hardly any company that will employ any individual who doesn’t have basic computer skills such as Word processing, excel, power point, publishing, and outlook. You need to be computer savvy in order to do a good presentation, be a computer analyst, and a good system administrator.

Social Skills:

This is another skill that is in high demand. There’s a saying; knowledge is of two kinds, its either you know the answer or you know where to find it. The same notion is applicable when working with people. According to Robin Sharma, “the business of business is human relation, but the business of life is human connection”. As a social being, your ability to relate with people is very important. This social skills transcends hard skills because it is the connection to all social skills. With the right social skills in place, you can network with the high and mighty.

Empathy: Empathy literally means showing concern and understanding to the feelings of others. As human beings, we go through situations, but how we react to those situations defines us. Sometimes stressed people are not concerned with the materials things that is given to them, they just want to feel the presence and care of anyone around saying “I hear you and I am with you on this”. This is an uncommon skill to have in real life. Most times, it is applied by selfless people who have a humanitarian heart of service.

Team Work: Empathy is a skill that is need in a work environment. As human beings, we are all wired in different ways and as such we learn in different ways. Some of us learn fast while some needs more time and attention. A great way to assist people when working in a group is by working together to get the work done.

Patience: Patience is one of the most priceless virtue. I call it the virtues of all virtues. We all need patience when we are dealing with human beings because human beings are the most difficult specie to deal with. We are naturally complicated. If you are in relationship, you need to accommodate the excess of your partner, if you are working in a professional environment, you need to tolerate in addition to dealing with some unprofessional work ethics of human beings because they will in one way or the other show what they are made of.

Trustworthiness: Trustworthiness is also similar to being responsible, although, it’s narrowed to a specific trait. It should be noted that nobody does business with anyone they don’t trust. As social beings, our customers are our most treasured asset after our name/product. Trustworthiness, does not only relate doing your fair share of the business, it also relates to how you relate with other people who can say a word about you and your product in addition to giving a review about your product.

Life Skills:

Life skills can be simply be regarded as the skills you need to live in the society. Personally, I think all skills originates from life skills because if you have life skills in your pocket, you can simply bring it out to solve any challenge facing you. I liken life skills to common sense. This is because with common sense, you don’t need hard formal knowledge to solve any problem. All you need is to think and reason. Isn’t it true that common sense isn’t common? Let’s see how common sense works with life skills.

Problem Solving: We face challenges daily at work, in our personal life, community etc. Being able to solve this problem entails caution depending on how sensitive it is. Problem solving is one of the most valuable skill employers’ love due to the friction that normally arises at work. This skill is normally used to diffuse problems in amicable and friendly manner to create a conducive work environment.

Handling Criticisms: How you handle criticism speaks volumes about you. Very few people know how to handle criticisms. Great men who think out of the box appreciates criticisms because it helps them to know what they are missing and how they can improve especially as it relates to their business. According to Uche Okorie, a maritime attorney, “When you are criticized objectively, examine it. If it is untrue ignore it. If it is unfair, rest the temptation to be irritated. If it is ignorant, just smile, If is justified, then it is not criticism, LEARN FROM IT”.

Adaptability: The ability to adapt to life is a life skill especially when you are in a new environment. As advance human beings, we have the ability to adapt to almost any condition or situation we find ourselves in. This skill is mainly used by strong minded people who normally turn out to be champions and great achievers. Adaptability is an emotional skill which only strong willed people maximize in order to produce results.

Resilience: The last but not the least of all skills is resilience. This skill is similar to adaptability, but the only difference is that it pushes harder in the sense that when you are not able to adapt, you are faced with either accepting the status quo or strive to try and try again without giving up. Without resilience, we wouldn’t able to achieve more in life. Nothing good in life comes easy. We succeed just because we are disciplined and push ourselves. Personally, churning out articles of this nature every week is not easy, but I have resolved to do it because I love and learn from it.

In conclusion, I do know there other skills life out there, I just thought is nice to share this skills with you. I hope they have been able to inspire and guide you. I wish you well in your endeavors.

 

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny- Actualizing Your Birthright to Success. 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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Man, Grandchildren Die of Suspected Food Poisoning in Imo

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A man, Moses Oguebuka, and two grandchildren, were on Tuesday found dead in Okwudor in the Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State.

The development, our correspondent learnt, caused tension in the community as the police took over the investigation.

A community source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the man and his grandchildren ate dinner together.

He said the bodies of Moses, who was a widower, and his eight and 11-year-old grandchildren had been evacuated by the police.

The source said, “Their lifeless bodies were found in a room in the morning. It was the man’s mistress, who had come to check on him, who found the corpses. She quickly raised the alarm, which attracted the villagers.

“We don’t know what actually happened, but food poisoning is suspected. The deceased ate dinner together and were found dead the next morning.”

The state Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, confirmed the incident and said investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths had commenced.

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Price of Cooking Gas Soars as Supply Drops

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The drop in the supply of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, popularly known as cooking gas, to Lagos has led to an increase in the retail price of the commodity, raising fears of an imminent scarcity in the state and many parts of the country.

The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers said last Wednesday that terminal owners had increased the price of 20 metric tonnes of the LPG by 33 per cent to N4.2m within five days.

NALPGAM said efforts to extract the cause of the sudden price increase from the terminal operators had not been successful.

The Nigeria LNG Limited, which is based in Port Harcourt, uses a vessel to deliver the LPG to Lagos at least twice in a month and buyers take the commodity to different parts of the country through trucks.

The company only delivers volumes to government-owned Northern Oil Jetty terminal and Navgas terminal, a private facility.

Our correspondent gathered that over 34 off-takers involved in the distribution of the NLNG’s volumes across the country received supply from the terminals.

But investigations revealed that the vessel only delivered the LPG volumes to Lagos once in October and no supply had been received this month as of the time of filing this report.

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers said on Sunday that the reduction in supply had led to about 90 per cent increment in gas price within a space of one week.

“It is likely that this ugly situation will continue if there is no urgent intervention, especially as Christmas and New Year approach. Just a week ago, in Lagos and some neighbouring states, 12.5kg LPG was sold between N2,600 and N3,000 at retail outlets. It is now sold between N4,000 and N4,500 owing to the sudden hike in the price by tank farm operators,” the LPGAR said in a statement.

Last week, the NLNG, in a letter seen by our correspondent, explained to off-takers recent delays and disruptions to the Lagos delivery schedule.

It said deliveries to Lagos had progressed uninterrupted until August when the LPG vessel, ‘Navigator Capricorn’, loaded a cargo in Bonny and then experienced a suspected piracy attack en route to deliver the cargo to Lagos.

The spokesperson for the NLNG, Sophia Horsfall, in an emailed response to questions, told our correspondent on Friday that the company delivered 12,000MT to the Navgas terminal in Apapa, Lagos on October 15, 2019.

“Before then, we delivered a total of 32,050MT (three cargoes) in the month of September to Lagos. Our next delivery for about the 10th of November will be to NOJ terminal in Lagos. We typically deliver at least two cargoes of the LPG each month to Lagos via NOJ and Navgas terminals,” she said.

The LPGAR called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to urgently intervene in order to restore sanity.

“The situation is already forcing many users to abandon their cylinders and opt for other sources of cooking energy such as firewood and saw dusk irrespective of the attendant health risks and resultant environmental degradation that results from those alternative energy sources,” it added.

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Lagos Begins Demolition of Burnt Building at Balogun Market

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The Lagos State Government has commenced the demolition of the five-storey building that was razed at the Balogun Market on the Lagos Island on Tuesday.

The demolition began after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had visited the scene to commiserate with traders, who lost goods worth millions of naira to the inferno, which raged for about 23 hours.

According to the governor, the incident has brought to the fore the need for a total regeneration of the Lagos Island to prevent occurrences that can endanger the lives of the people.

According to him, the government will hold meetings with the owners of abandoned high-rise buildings in the area to fashion out better uses for such properties.

Sanwo-Olu said the government would conduct integrity test on all buildings in the Central Business District of the Lagos Island and revisit the master plan for the regeneration of the area.

Sanwo-Olu stated, “This fire incident presents discussion for a complete regeneration of the Lagos Island. Here, we have a lot of buildings as old as a century. Now is the time to look into the master plan for a complete regeneration of the entire area. All families must support our move to start the regeneration.

“We also have abandoned high-rise buildings on the island and we have done an audit of all these buildings. We need to have conversation with the owners on how we can put the abandoned properties to better use.

“There are a lot of traders, who wish to take their wares off the road and occupy these abandoned buildings. We need to talk to the owners and reach an agreement with them on a scheme that will make traders use the abandoned properties.

“I have summoned an emergency meeting with all local government chairmen. We cannot condone the reckless approach in which shops are allocated to people in a manner that is not coordinated. When problems arise, they come back to the state government. We will not fold our arms and wait for disasters like this to be repeated.”

The General Manager, Lagos Building Control Agency, Abiola Kosegbe, said the building suffered partial collapse, adding that the demolition had to be undertaken to avert disaster.

Kosegbe stated, “We had to do the needful; the fire is still raging and it is difficult for our officials to go too close. The inferno prevented us from doing all the necessary things.

“A part of the burning building has partially collapsed; everywhere in the building is still hot, so LASBCA, in conjunction with the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency had to go into the building, systematically bringing it down so that it will not cause other problems.”

The General Manager, LASEMA, Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said, “We are pulling it down for reconstruction and we will also subject the surrounding buildings to a structural test. The policeman, who was rescued from the rubble of the collapsed portion of the building, has died.”

The acting Head, Lagos State Fire Service, Margaret Adeseye, said the fire raged for 23 hours, adding that it started on the second floor, where the generators were kept.

“The building in the Balogun Market suffered a partial collapse on Tuesday around 9pm during the course of extinguishing the fire. The challenge that we had was that the area had narrow roads and the human population affected accessibility to the building. We finally extinguished the fire before the governor came around 10am on Wednesday,” she stated.

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