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The Empire States of the Mind: Activate Self Exploration

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“The ultimate goal of every exploration is to discover something(s) or unravel mysteries, and maximize those things to conquer: fears, flaws and limitations; thereby advancing one’s self for the benefits of those around us, especially our generation(s)” – Tolulope A. Adegoke

By the activation of the processes of what is termed to be self-exploration, the prodigal son came back to his senses and went back home. The prodigal son did not come to himself by determination or willingly; he rather came to himself by a process- the process of self- exploration.

How far a man conquers the world is a function of how well he conquers himself; hence, the greatest journey, the most prestigious journey, the most rewarding journey any man would ever embark on is the journey of self-exploration. The ultimate goal of every exploration is to discover something(s) or unravel mysteries, and maximize those things to conquer: fears, flaws and limitations; thereby advancing one’s self for the benefits of those around us, especially our generation(s).

A man will be stuck in ‘yesterday’ no matter how well read he is or how well he has explored the world around him, if he neglects to travel through himself; that is, to explore the industries that lies with him. Empowerment for change of levels or development does not come from travelling round the world; it comes from travelling through one’s self. Africa as a continent and government of its nations, for example, craves to attract Africans in diaspora to come back home to make Africa better is an unnecessary move. Africans that will develop Africa are not those that have travelled round the world, they are simply those that have ‘travelled into the industries that lies within their earthen vessels’. The prodigal son is a testimony of this fact; despite how well-travelled he was, he still fell from grace to grass, from a Hero to zero, but he got connected to a program of restoration when he embarked on the journey of self-exploration.

Self-exploration is the art and act of outgrowing childish dependences on individuals, as an individual, a people, a nation or continent, in acknowledging and celebration of the cultural values of developing and assigning one’s natural or innate potentials or gifts to the benefits of others. If you cannot lean on your inner grace (as given by God), you will end up becoming an unnecessary burden unto those around you. Treasures lies within everyone. To be honest, self-explorers out-grow and outshine childish nature of dependence on others. They do not just sit down and wait for others to make things work for them or better; rather, such category of people gets up and work-out things for the better by accepting responsibility for the well-being of peoples, or corporates or nations without any need of compulsion.

Self-explorers meet needs, they do not waste time to first think of who to call on to help them meet the needs when in need. Therefore, such a man or woman waits on him or herself, because he believes in what the Creator, God Almighty has embedded in him or her, which are consciously and continuously worked upon to become better and more useful to God, the society at large and not only to himself! We should be observant enough to know with empirical evidences that major life’s activities are usually done or carried out in seclusion. In quietness lies the truth. My daily mantra goes thus: ‘calm, quiet, available and useful is my soul before God Almighty, My Maker!’ For example, real banking transactions are carried out in the strong room and an organization’s behaviour is cultivated and strengthened and accounted for in a secluded company boardroom. Also, medical operations are usually carried out in secluded places known as the hospital-theatres. So, self-exploration is carried out in the empires of the mind!

Self-exploration involves securing personal independence for self-realization and self-productivity, which requires a secluded or serene atmosphere and the culture of practiced silence. Because, in silence lies the truth! A man that does not engage in silence is bound to perform below his potentials! The prodigal son as a powerful case study here was launched to self-realization and fulfilment of his potentials simply by engaging in silence; listen to the account: [Luke15:15-16]

15“And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; And he sent him into his fields to feed swine, 16And he would fain have filled is belly with the husks that swine did eat; and no man gave unto him.”

The prodigal son celebrated this truth: “…he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”

17“And when he came to himself, he said how many hired servants of my father have bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him…am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

As we can see, the prodigal son became alone with pigs, he was disconnected from men, such that he had nobody to come to his aid or depend on. He became alone, disconnected himself from clubbing, from hanging out with sluts and macho guys. He indeed disconnected himself from distractions (the noises), so as to gain attention to the call of destiny!

Even, Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists ever lived was bearing witness with the prodigal son’s engagement to silence, when he revealed that:

“I am truly a ‘lone-traveller’ and never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family with my whole heart. In face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude, feeling that increase with the year.”

What the above simply means is to practically engage in silence beyond locking yourself in a room, disconnected from all manner of human and mechanical noise. It simply means disengaging your mind from all manner of desires, lust, pursuits, values and associations that are not loyal, subject or beneficial to the discovery, development and deployment of your God given or innate potentials.

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 (KJV).

The Hero called Michael Jordan, the man whom God had in mind in blessing and entertaining mankind with the basketball skills. The game of basketball would have become boring without the legendary exploits of Michael Jordan. With a divine sense of understanding, there are reasons beyond the visible that made Michael Jordan such a timeless star, which has helped to inspire a lot of individuals across the world and lured many of us study several respective versions of his biographies.

It has been discovered that Michael Jordan’s winning edge is his mastery of the ageless art of silence. He once wrote this powerful piece online:

“When I am out there, no one can bother me. Being out there is one of the most private parts of my life…during the game; for a few times in my life, I feel untouchable…I mean that about a game being like meditation period for me. Anytime I am playing serious basketball, it’s like meditation.

Sometimes even in the middle of the game, I am able to think about things as loud as it is; it’s almost a quiet time for me. I know that basketball game can be very exciting, but for me the game is one of the calmest parts of my life.”

Michael Jordan’s winning edge no doubt is his discipline to play the game on the platter of silence, by being united- spirit, soul and body-with the game of basketball; not minding external applauds or distracting forces which surrounded him- the process with such force that would break any unfocused man. By this, he is able to initiate and maximize communication and application with the unusual and inherent basketball energy he is endowed with.

Silence is the strong force that connects the physical into the spiritual, if properly harnessed to yielding the manifestations of possibilities. Silence, therefore, is the art of being immune to distracting-external forces in order for one to initiate or propel or maximize communication with inherent and invisible resources endowed in man by God. But the art of silence has been neglected by vast majority of mankind; yet it is as important as the art of prayer. Surprisingly, those that are master of the art of ‘prayer’ without mastering the art of ‘silence’ make little or no contribution to human existence. But, those that master the art of ‘silence’ enjoy the grace to maximize, expand, explore, exploit and contribute meaningfully to the advancement of humanity!

Attesting to the reality of this fact, Bishop David O. Oyedepo revealed in his book titled: “Maximizing your Destiny” that:

“Quietness enhances the quality of thinking. Quietness enhances productive reasoning. I cherish quietness and I will do anything to have it…that is why although we have many rooms in our house. I sometimes have to put certain guest in the hotel, to avoid the noise they will make in my home. Quietness is precious to me. It has great spiritual value…”

A prolific and industrious writer, Samson Adah Paul wrote this mind blowing piece that reminds me of the Divine creation techniques:

“When God Almighty saw the need to create woman for man, he did not inspire man to employ the ‘art of prayer’, he simply inspired man to connect to the art of silence…”

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs…and the rib which God had taken from man, made He woman.” [Genesis2:21]

Silence informs! It is the factory house of progress and development. Any quest for progress and development that is pursued without the art of silence will ever be in vain. Samson Adah Paul writes again: “Africans that will experience the fulfilment of the ‘African Dream’ will have to be masters of the art of silence. Mind you, silence in this context is not about being mute and dumb, it’s rather about being immune to distracting external-forces in order for one to initiate and maximize communication with the inherent resources endowed in man by God.”

Some sensitive aspects of Thomas Edison’s life has been a great lesson and positive example to me as a person after series of comprehensive study about him. I discovered too that his greatest strength was his mastery over the art of ‘silence’. His life showed impeccable discoveries and exploits, but were all as a result of paying attention to necessary matters; it is much more a function of withdrawing attention or refraining from unnecessary matters. He refused to submit to his medical science advancement for the treatment of 100% deafness which he suffered from birth on one ear and 80% deafness on his other ear. Edison rather preferred to bear the burden of deafness, for him to become better; because to him, that was an advantage. He wrote this mind-blowing piece:

“Even though I am nearly deaf, I seem to be gifted with a kind of inner hearing which enables me to detect sounds and noises that the ordinary person does not hear.” Edison did not consider hearing disability as pain but as gain which helped to strengthen his concentration levels in the areas of discoveries and impeccable inventions, thereby serving as a plus to humanity, rather than living on the guise of excuses! This, I call the Empire States of the Mind!

Learn, Apply & Share.

Thank You!

Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (From Zero to HERO) by Tolulope A. Adegoke. Foreword by Dr Yomi Garnett (CEO/Chancellor, Royal Biographical Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A., U.K., Abuja, Nigeria.) Edited by Ola Aboderin.

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Food for Living: Just Begin

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

We are familiar with the slogan of Nike, which says “Just Do It”. It sounds easy at face value, but in reality, it portends a lot. This simply means that if it is easy, everyone will be doing it. The starting point of any worthwhile endeavor or task is very tasking. It’s just like laying the foundation of a house, where a lot of concrete goes into the ground to hold the pillars.

As humans, we have so many plans, ambitions, dreams, goals, and wishes which we desire to accomplish either at a specific time or before we leave the surface of the earth. Some of us even have great vision, but the question we need to ask ourselves is, am I ready to do the needful.

It is sad to know that many of us have great ideas which follow us to the grave. If I may ask, will you be happy to go to the grave with your talent, dream, money, and the blessings God, your creator has bestowed on you? Many people don’t know they have an assignment to perform on earth, and that it is their responsibility to fulfill their purpose. However, they failed to take the bold step, and consequently remain in their comfort zone.

No doubt, the beginning of any endeavor can be challenging. Challenges come to everyone; even sailors experience waves while at sea, but they don’t give up. Challenges come to everyone both in their personal and professional lives. If you want to start a business, you definitely need funds, experience, the right people, and logistics. Even if you have the funds, you will definitely have one form of concern. You’ll quite agree with me that there’s the fear of the unknown lurking around because business on its own is at risk.

As a student, you are afraid of beginning a course/major; just begin. As a full grown adult, you have the fear of getting married. As a person who loves to travel, you are afraid of traveling due to the fear of space, height or flying; I say, just begin.

One of the reasons many of us fail to begin any task is fear. But we fail to understand that when we begin, the universe has a way of meeting us halfway. Just that you know the universe conspires with you to bring your desires into manifestation. When you speak, the walls hear your words, the ground stamps and confirms it and the air carries it. As a single man, do you have an interest in a lady, approach her, send her that message, express your thoughts to her and let her know what you think/feel about her. You may be surprised to know she likes you and maybe waiting for you to take the first step.

Let me share a secret with you; did you know that when I began to write my first book, I had no clue of what to write, but because I took the bold step of writing the topics, ideas began to flow, the more I write, read and engage with people both online and in real life, the more I began to see more concepts to incorporate into my work.

Do you know you are the solution and answer to many people’s requests, challenges, and prayers? The world has not gotten one-tenth of your ideas

Do you know that many ideas go to the coffin just because of perfection? You can never have a perfect time to begin a project, that’s why it’s necessary to take the most important step which is ‘begin’.  You’ll be surprised to know how you’ll improve in a month, year, or even a decade, when you look back.

Do you know you can literally begin an institution just by beginning a project or following up with an idea? The world celebrates Steve Jobs just because of his ingenious ideas in technology. The world celebrates Nelson Mandela because he fought for justice against the apartheid policy. Martin Luther King Jr fought against the injustices in America against the Blacks. The interesting thing about these great men is that they didn’t just conceive an idea, they took the leap of fate, and had massive follower-ship. I ask you, what are you waiting for?

It should be noted that you cannot improve on any task you haven’t started. Isn’t it true that most people learn to dance on their feet and not when they are on their chairs? That tells you, you must get up to dance if you really want to enjoy your dance. In order to run, you must stand up. So in the journey of life, you may not have everything you need, but you have all that is needed and necessary to begin just where you are. The world is literally waiting for you. Just start.

Today, I ask you, what is that task that you are feeling reluctant to start? What is that business, idea, vision, book, music, dream, passion, etc. you are feeling uneasy to begin? I say to you, just begin and see how the universe will conspire to work in your favour

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a mindset coach and public speaker. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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Opinion: It’s Your Turn

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke 

“Just like eagles, turns the storms that come their way, into propellers which aides them to their desired heights and PEAK of greatness; they get up daily to confront and fight against what other birds flee from in the form of storms and other intimidating factors which they strive and thrive on to be where they ought to be and not being where they ought not to be by the standards and forces that power their natural senses, innate abilities and purpose of existence which has exceptionally marked the eagles out to be worthy of emulation, idiomatically speaking.  It is worthy of note, that you must wake up, dress up, build up your guts, conquer your fears and excuses, take charge and win, because it’s your turn to thrive and live – the journey to the PEAK starts from within!” – Tolulope A. Adegoke

All the exemplars of greatness we have considered so far in previous articles are great conquerors who refused to allow their backgrounds to put their backs to the ground. They became champions because they did not give up. They passed through the incubation processes, the heat of times (empowerment) and subsequently came out strong as shining lights, as winners in their generation.

I urge you, friend, don’t give up on that dream; don’t belittle those potentials that you are carrying. Time is a very humbling factor that must be regarded, considered and worked with if you surely and honestly desire global impacts. Crawl! Walk! Run! Fly! Soar! But don’t just remain on a spot! You must not stay idle. God Almighty requires us to optimise, empower and harness our gifts for the benefits of mankind and to our lifting, comforts and above all, to His glorification forevermore! 

Remember that you are here on earth on a mission of wonders, to deliver unusual possibilities to peoples, corporates and nations, thereby handing over a better world to the coming generation. Remember also that we all shall surely give accounts to the Giver of the life and the gifts that we carry, as soon as we are through here on earth!

Knowing this, I charge you, leave your comfort zone. Aim higher, and work late nights on your dreams, visions and potentials. Acquire relevant knowledge through diverse profitable means. Study relevant books on your areas of interest. PUSH till the doors open. Learn at the feet of the masters (your God-sent mentors or teachers). Stay ever-humble; remain loyal to God and to fellow men; pray hard; meditate in serenity; seek silence; rest well; feed fine; network (meet people); start small; relate with respect and honour, and help others to find their feet.

Chase excellence; perfect your talents into skills (products); understand business terms and administration; invest your time; manage your energy, activate your visions; work on paper (Habakkuk 2:2). Read, study, embrace joy, and maintain happiness, even in whatever storm you may be going through. Be grateful. Work with time. Flow beyond the rhythm of the present so as to secure the future!

It is my expectation and the expectation of God that you will join all the great men and women we have previously discussed here and many more that you may be familiar with. These people, like eagles turned the storms that came their way to propellers that catapulted them to their PEAK of greatness, while others see storms as obstacles or limitations.

Remember, every other number – no matter how huge – started from zero. Zero may connote the difficulties you are going through at the moment, but there is a lot you can make out of it if you do not allow it to overwhelm you. Revisit the success tips that the above people have proffered, as well as the ones you have read here so far. Begin to apply them with all seriousness. Soon, God will locate you with His favour and your story will turn to GLORY!

Here is a drive and charge from me to you to further encourage and guide you and those around you on this plane called earth and the journeys that come with it, in order to maximize your potentials and the opportunities that come with time and chance. It is titled: “A Teachable Spirit & A Heart of Deliverance”

“When you’re learning how to be humble, you have to be willing to listen, learn, and grow and be open to suggestions and corrections from other people.

You don’t know it all, and you can’t act like you know it all, either! So, here is my daily mantra for all seasons: calm, quiet and available is my soul before My Maker, God Almighty!

I shall remain teachable,

I shall not be foolish to be full of Myself!

I shall seat at the feet of my God sent masters to learn, so as to soar beyond the skies,

I shall remain humble for life!

I shall recognize my helpers and glorify God in them, I shall make peace with all men,
I shall keep working on my gifts/potentials with the utmost focus on blessing lives, globally.
I shall never look down on any man I come across,
I shall keep being at my best for God (Divinity) and people(Humanity).

I won’t give up, until I fulfil my destiny,
I won’t let go until I am exhausted,
I am simply a tool in the Mighty Hands of my Creator, He uses me according to His perfect Will, to fulfilling purposes, all to His Glory!
Through me, the world shall continue to see the irresistible wonderfulness of my Maker. He shall continue to increase in and through me… I refuse to be a ‘wander-fool’!

I am not ashamed of these choices I have made, of these steps I am taking…
I shall remain happy and joyful for life! It is not my life, it is my Father’s… God in a MAN (Me); with this, I’m boundless, unchained, unbothered, and limitless.
I am not ashamed nor afraid of this mission, due to this vision…

I shall remain truthful, smart and grateful!

I shall ensure that my impacts are felt across the world, yet, down to earth so as to be launched into the yonder beyond the skies where the realms of impacts flourishes, continually…

I shall never give up, I shall build my castles in the skies and leave my footprints in the skies…

Yes! There are footprints in the sky… Only visionaries can see them…
The strength of an eagle lies in its flights and vision!
I remain humble, so as not to tumble and fumble!
In humility lies the true strength, lies true vision and flights into the yonder!
I shall remain swift and completely obedient to the end… In obedience lies my chances of honour and grace.

I shall ride on the wings of the Holy Spirit to surmount all challenges and oppositions…
I won’t focus on the cross, but the crown… Not the tests but the testimonies, not the price but the prize… Not the grains but the gains, not the hisses but the ease, not the pests but the rest that is to come after all work has been completed…I shall have my crowns of Glory, sitting in Glory and splendour, glorifying my Creator, my Master for keeping me thus far without giving up on me, against all odds!”

This, is when a tool becomes ‘The Tool’!

We are nothing but tools in the Mighty Hands of the Creator- To fulfil His perfect will on Earth: to love, fix, build, solve, touch, bless and impart. His brand is at stake in your life, don’t mess it up! Only your sacrifices would commit His integrity to work with and for you.

Do not envy the success, envy the sacrifice!”

Thank you all for reading.

Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (Awakening The Giant Within You!) byTolulope A. Adegoke. Foreword by Dr Yomi Garnett (CEO/Chancellor, Royal Biographical Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A., U.K., Abuja, Nigeria.) Edited by Ola Aboderin.

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The Efik Queen is Right About Post-COVID Democracy – Here’s Why

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Joel Popoola

As the leader of a campaign to modernise democracy in Nigerian, I might be expected not to agree too much with one of our nation’s countless local monarchs – institutions many Nigerians believe to be an archaic and outdated relic of a bygone era.

But a recent interview with the Queen of Efik contained some interesting thoughts about how our democratic processes should adapt to the post-Covid world which really struck a chord with me.

In an interview with the BBC, the Queen argues that democratic bodies should continue to hold meetings remotely – even after the end of social distancing and restrictions on movement necessitated by the coronavirus crisis.

The Queen combines her role with a day job in Lagos, returning to Calabar for council meetings which have always required members to be physically present.

COVID-19 has made this requirement impossible, and meetings have been convened online for much of the past year. The queen argues that council members should be able attend meetings remotely even after the end of the current crisis.

One of the few positives of the past twelve months has been the rapid uptake of digital technology from people who used to say they “didn’t do computers”. This can be very positive for our democracy, and here are five reasons why I believe the Queen is right.

1. Remote meetings can make political bodies look more like Nigeria

Our political class is overwhelmingly made up of men over fifty, which can make it seem out of touch and irrelevant to the huge swathes of our population who are not. And I say that as a man over fifty!

A significant reason for this is that working age Nigerians and those with caring commitments – the majority of whom are women – are unable to take on the additional commitments of political office. Not requiring them to travel, take time off from work or make alternative childcare commitments every time they need to attend a meeting, when they could just as easily attend from home or work, is a simple step we can take to bring about a more representative political class.

2.Remote meetings mean that politics will not just be done, but be seen to have been done.

Many Nigerians do not see that the majority of their local leaders are motivated by public service and a love of their communities, because they do not see them at all. Making more public meetings digital makes is much easier for members of the public to attend them using their mobile phones – or at a time that suits them if these meetings are recorded and streamed.

3. Remote meetings improve transparency

Likewise, there can be no claims of shady backroom deals and stitch-ups if a recording of the political process is recorded for posterity and made available permanently. Remote meeting technology makes this process incredibly simple.

4. Remote meetings are good for recognition

Like it or not, may Nigerians simply have no idea who their local leaders are. Remote meetings make it a lot easier for electors to identify their elected representatives, and to see them in action.

5. Remote meetings enhance accountability

Many local councils have a public question time, allowing local people to put their questions directly to decision makers. But the need to take time off from work and other commitments to travel to meetings to take advantage of this system renders is practically useless for many Nigerians. Again, being able to take advantage of this system from their comfort of their home or workplace strengthens accountability.

Another interesting argument made by the Queen of Efik is that traditional kings and queens are simply closer to the people than elected representatives due to their longstanding personal networks.

This is certainly an area local politicians need to work on, and at the digital democracy campaign I lead we have set out to provide them with the technology that enables the rapid development of those networks and relationships.

We created a free smartphone app called Rate Your Leader to allow elected officials to interact directly with confirmed voters in the divisions they serve.

Rate Your Leader  (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rateyourleader.voter2 )”  allows politicians and people can engage person-to-person, understanding each other’s needs and positions, communicating as peers, and collaborating as equals to make their communities better. Our abuse-proof technology ensures that conversations are always courteous and civil.

And Rate Your Leader even lets voters rate their politicians for their transparency and accessibility.

As the Queen points out, Nigerians are “very happy when people send them money online or by phone” – so why don’t we use that same technology to revitalise our democracy?

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur, digital democracy campaigner and creator of the Rate Your Leader app. Follow Joel on Twitter @JOPopoola

 

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