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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: The Principle of Giving and Receiving

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friends,

We are familiar with the saying; givers never lack, and the giver’s hand is always on top. Isn’t it true that you can’t spray fragrance on somebody without leaving a trace on your palm? Just like succeeding in life follows laid down principles, receiving in life also follows principles. In law, a Latin maxim, says, ‘you can’t give what you don’t have”. This is a fact of life, if you don’t have love, you can’t give love, if you don’t money, you’ll be limited in what you can give, if you don’t have empathy, you can’t feel the pain of someone, if you don’t have knowledge, understanding and wisdom, you can’t share, teach and create impact.

The same principle is literally applicable in receiving. There’s a direct relationship and correlation between giving and receiving. Before you receive you must have given in one way or the other. When you give, you are opening doors of blessing to come your way. However, you will have to understand the applicable principles and dynamics that are associated with giving, and how you can receive gladly. For instance, you can’t give with the intent of receiving, no, if you want to give, you must give with no expectation of receiving. You have to give because you know it is the right thing to do.

If you want to attract blessings from God, be kind to those who do not deserve your kindness, in fact, give to people who can’t pay you back.  Be informed, if it is done without love, it makes no sense and gives no value, neither does it add value and as such doesn’t attract blessings. Anything that is of value only multiplies when it is freely given and received with gratitude.

You can scale up your giving habit by giving to even your enemies, this might sound foolish and difficult, but then, that’s how you attract uncommon blessings. When you do this, God will see that you are mature enough to receive wealth and power!

Every relationship takes the form of give and take because giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. The law of giving and receiving is simple: If you want love, learn to give love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention and appreciation; if you want material affluence, help others to become materially affluent. If you want to be blessed with all the good things in life, learn to silently bless everyone with all the good things in life. The more you give, the more you will receive. In your willingness to give that which you seek, you will keep the abundance of the universe circulating in your life.

Giving takes different shapes and forms. When you give your tithe cheerfully, you receive bountifully. When you work hard and smart, you’ll receive a consummate reward. While many people think giving entails only money, they fail to understand that you can give your time, words, actions, touch and services. Sometimes, people are not concerned about your money; at that moment, their greatest concern might be your time, this is because money can be limited. For instance, money can’t buy fulfillment, and money can’t buy happiness.

While some people may think money gives happiness, there has been testimony of great people who have money and not happy. For instance, a successful career lady who has strong family values and orientation might be happy because she can comfortably take care of her needs, but if asked if she’s fulfilled in life, she might say no, because she’s not yet married. There have been stories of my many great men and women who have money in life, but they are not happy. There are stories of couples who have money but are not happily married. If you take a cursory look of all these examples, one thing is lacking and that is fulfillment.

There was a story by Billionaire’ Femi Otedola in a telephone interview, was asked by the radio presenter, “Sir what can you remember made you a happy man in life?”

Femi said: “I have gone through four stages of happiness in life and finally I understood the meaning of true happiness. The first stage was to accumulate wealth and means. But at this stage, I did not get the happiness I wanted. Then came the second stage of collecting valuables and items. But I realized that the effect of this thing is also temporary and the luster of valuable things does not last long.

Then came the third stage of getting big projects. That was when I was holding 95% of diesel supply in Nigeria and Africa. I was also the largest vessel owner in Africa and Asia. But even here I did not get the happiness I had imagined. The fourth stage was the time a friend of mine asked me to buy a wheelchair for some disabled children. Just about 200 kids.

At the friend’s request, I immediately bought the wheelchairs. But the friend insisted that I go with him and hand over the wheelchairs to the children. I got ready and went with him.

There I gave these wheelchairs to these children with my own hands. I saw the strange glow of happiness on the faces of these children. I saw them all sitting on the wheelchairs, moving around, and having fun.

It was as if they had arrived at a picnic spot where they are sharing a jackpot winning.

I felt real joy inside me. When I decided to leave one of the kids grabbed my legs. I tried to free my legs gently, but the child stared at my face and held my legs tightly.

I bent down and asked the child: Do you need something else? The answer this child gave me not only made me happy but also changed my attitude to life completely.

The child said: “I want to remember your face so that when I meet you in heaven, I will be able to recognize you and thank you once again.

To get what you don’t have, you have to do what haven’t you done. The universal law of gravity teaches us the incontrovertible principle of life that whatever goes up must come down. To cause change and progress in your life, certain principles if applied well can catapult you to the next stage in life and one of them is the principle of giving.

Giving is a powerful catalyst for spiritual and financial advancement. It should be noted, the very act of giving tantamount to the very act of receiving. For instance, human beings breathe in oxygen and bring out carbon dioxide, while plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. So, when you give, you put smiles on somebody’s face, heart, and life while attracting multiplication of blessings from the universe which comes in ways and manners you can’t explain.

The reason why some of us don’t get the blessings of giving is that we don’t give with love; we don’t give with the right cause and mindset. For example, try giving to your parents, the less privileged, a “widow” without a helper, or someone in need, and see the boomerang effect it will have on you.

When you give, it doesn’t mean you have it all together, it simply means, you know what it is for one not to have, you have the heart of giving, and as the saying goes, it is not the person that has that gives, but it is good people that give. It is not what you give that matters, but the heart in giving. That’s why it’s not advisable to reject any “gift” someone gives cheerfully.

Today, I charge you to give with love and allow the universe to visit you at the appointed time with your corresponding blessings. If I may ask, what are you willing to give in 2021?

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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Opinion: OMS: The Missing Links in Hosa Okunbo’s Tale

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By Anthony Badmus

Ordinarily, the attempt by Captain Hosa Okunbo to obfuscate the real issues and confuse the public through a massive manipulative media onslaught should be dismissed as a desperate and futile effort to clean his Augean stable. However, the inept and unskillful manner of his media campaign has only revealed to the discerning mind the missing links and his deliberate attempt to sidestep, if not totally avoid, addressing the substance of the issues in contention.

The issues in contention are crystal clear and unambiguous. The deliberate and orchestrated campaign to demonise Tunde Ayeni, a major investor and co-founder of Ocean Marine Services Ltd has failed to achieve its intended purpose but has rather resulted in leaving people wondering why the substance of the critical issues recently brought to fore in the public domain have been intentionally left unattended to.

Captain Okunbo wants Nigerians to believe that Tunde Ayeni has irrationally relinquished his shares in Ocean Marine Services to him. His claims are premised on an illogical notion that a highly discerning and successful entrepreneur such as Tunde Ayeni sold the totality of his over 30% equity stake in OMS, a multi-million dollar going concern valued well in excess of US$100 million, for a paltry sum of N2 billion (US$4.5 million) and a little change. He wants the corporate Nigeria to buy into the false narrative that a business strategy aimed at ensuring that huge debts owed the company was recouped was actually a forfeiture of investment decision, thereby resulting in a situation where he, Okunbo, has become the absolute Lord of the OMS Manor, whilst the man whose idea and contacts gave birth to the investment can take a dive.

However, it is common knowledge that deception has its limits and treachery has its expiry date. Discerning corporate players are not taken in by Okunbo’s wasteful media antics and the attempts to give a bad name to the one on whose back he rode to wealth and stardom. Assuming, without conceding, that his erstwhile Partner’s investments are now his in return for the proverbial bowl of pottage, a la Essau, does that, in any way, extinguish the critical corporate issues bordering on the illicit diversion of OMS’s corporate revenues that Okunbo has been called out to address?

Many still wonder what type of media battle is this that fails to address the salient issues that could clear his name once and for all, provoking the question: “Why is Okunbo dodging confronting the real issues?”

The critical issues here are gross mismanagement, stealing and criminal diversion of company funds. This matter is fundamentally about the abuse of business ethics and corporate governance for selfish ends.

Why is Okunbo maintaining a deafening silence on the allegation of the unauthorised withdrawal of $10 million allegedly spent on settling a Senate Hearing on one of the Subsidiary Companies, Secured Anchorage Area, SAA? When did the Board sit to approve such bizarre expenditure and on what basis?

Why is the recently deposed King Maker of Edo State Politics not in town to address the issue of the alleged illegal withdrawal of $8 million allegedly and supposedly spent on the Presidency, whatever that means. That withdrawal, which is what EFCC is currently investigating, was claimed to be funds withdrawn to take care of the dispute between the company and Ministry of Transportation and the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA.

Why is this self-acclaimed Lord of the OMS Manor with intimidating resources to buy all available media spaces and pages not addressing the gross allegation of diverting $5.5 million, being the proceeds of the sale of the company’s Challenger Aircraft, to his personal farm in Benin?

And this is not all. The EFCC is also beaming its searchlight on the company’s $5 million, which Okunbo allegedly singlehandedly withdrew and claimed to have invested in an oil block owned by Star Oil as a 5 per cent stakeholder.

Another key issue that will engage the attention of the anti graft agency is the $1 million which the Captain allegedly claimed to have borrowed from the company but which he has refused to pay back.

The alleged infractions are legion. How does one justify a claim by a company Chair that he expended $30 million on a film on Oil Spill in the Niger Delta Region and expect investors and, even the long suffering Niger Delta people to be excited?

But the mother of all infractions appears to be Okunbo’s recent political misadventure in Edo State where he threw in an intimidating war chest which unfortunately yielded a colossal failure. An unspecified amount of money estimated at about $18 million allegedly withdrawn from the company’s account, was said to have been expended on that costly political misstep.

The EFCC definitely has its job clearly cut out for it in respect of the many infractions at OMS.
Okunbo will be explaining to the anti graft agency why he singlehandedly moved the company’s account from Polaris Bank to StanbicIBTC and thereby abandoning the loan repayment commitment by the company to the consortium of banks that funded the acquisition of Ibadan and Yola Electricity Distribution Companies. The loan currently is about $100 million.

As damning and mind boggling as these issues are, corporate watchers find it strange that at OMS’ so-called Board meeting of December 17 2020, the Board could only have a one line response to the issues raised as follows: “…that its accounts are in good and correct order and its funds are intact and not missing, misappropriated or otherwise mismanaged.” Of course, the so-called Board members are his minions and those with insignificant stakes in the company.

That the ‘Board’ could take such major issues bordering on corporate governance and accountabily with such levity and treat Nigerians with such disdain speaks to the mindset of this Lord of the Manor who must have convinced himself that he could get away with any infractions since, in his worldview, everything and everyone has got a price.

But the day of reckoning draws closer and it is just a little more time before Nigerians will find out that some gods truly have feet of clay.

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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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