Sunday, August 17, 2014

You’ll Never Grow Unless

Thanks to Bella Naija. Game Toppers brings to you a new piece by Nigerian model, actor and TV personality that Uti Nwachukwu, wrote exclusively for Bella Naija .
The 32-year-old who recently celebrated his birthday in South Africa, previously penned an article  about not carrying vultures into your new life.
In “You’ll Never Grow Unless…”, he talks about moving to a place of success and more.
Read;
Yeah, the headline caught your attention didn’t it?
Sounds like the curse of an angry relative, spouse, friend, abi?
The truth is…you will never grow unless you show that you are ready for the blessings by rising above your current situation.
Sitting at a popular lounge in Lagos, I watch a group of girls all well dressed chatting, laughing, toasting to life and saying “we run this town” even breaking into the Rihanna chorus. Now that’s a LOL moment.
Not far off is also a group of young men in designer apparel throwing it up with 10 buckets of champagne and shouting “where ya rozay..show me ya rozay (rosé)”.
1.) Fiction: Wow! These peeps are living the life and their dreams
2.) Fact: Na only one person dey pay all the bills while others are follow follow, pose pose
3.) Worst Case Scenario: They finish partying, have no money to pay and leave their phones or car keys behind till they settle their bills.
Permit me to laugh out loud at this point : bwaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaah.
Okay that’s done….
It amazes me how people with crowd mentality are constantly waiting for that super natural blessing to come and take them out of their current situation. Comparing themselves with the leader of the group while they wait to covet.
Really, you are praying and fasting? And then you go back to your clique to pretend to pop rosé and run this town? Wake Up!
Especially the young generation today, are you kidding me?
Okay, let’s say you get a blessing, how are you going to handle it? How will you cater for it?
The same you that will say “Ah I won’t go through this or that or suffer ‘cos God will not give me something I cant handle”. Exactly!
If you show God that you are an irresponsible little pretentious spoiled brat, how do you expect him to load you with blessings fit for a king?
Just imagine leaving your only child in the care of a baby sitter that allowed 6 puppies to die under her care. Your answer is as good as mine.
Then there is the clique mentality. Show me one HUGELY SUCCESSFUL man that became successful while being part of a clique?
Show me one that became successful, then joined or started a clique and remained or became more successful? (Even music bands split and only 1 becomes the star).
Names anyone? Talk Nah? Oh your still thinking abi? Ponder some more while I go on.
To succeed, you have to rise above the clique. In my other article, I said to rise you have to die a little on the inside, you have to be broken…alone! Yes no man is an island I know I know, I’m not saying be a recluse o. Not at all.
But I’m saying you cannot move and live in a clique constantly. Have times you set out for friends.Don’t make it a lifestyle.
Do you know only one person can cause you chronic delay? (Remember Abraham and Lot?…. Your eyes are opening now ba?)
If you are in a clique now. Think of how much progress (legit) you have gotten with your so called ”hommies and babes”. Yeah your starting to realize?
Success, failure and stagnancy are highly infectious! How many people will sit and watch you make it out of the clique and leave them behind? You are dreaming, if you think it’s a reality.
I Uti Nwachukwu have been on both sides. And for every time a new chapter was to begin, I often found myself in a place where not a lot of people are around me, a time where the things that excite the juvenile become boring, a time where spending time with God became deeper, and then BOOM! New blessings! New Doors, My new Chapter.
You cannot be irresponsible and expect God to give you the responsibility that comes with being blessed. If you do not know how to manage yourself at NOTHING, then SOMETHING will never come to past in your life.
You will see that you will continue to live the false life of complacency and the false hope of the lazy man.
It’s time to rise up! Rise above the life of cliques! Start doing something no matter how small, sober up.
Take the bull by the horns. Stop being a liability to people and move on to the new friends till they too get tired of you.
Start being a provider and cater for your own self and your family and be a helper to someone.
I’m no pastor or shrink, I’m just a man who learns from everyday experiences and shares with the lives of people whom God has decided to use me to touch.
A word is enough for the wise. Start now before it gets too late. Try it and see how once again you shall rise like the Phoenix from the ashes of your past mistakes with the lessons as the wind with which you shall glide upon with the help of God.
And remember…
It always begins with a choice.
Picture: courtesy, aprokocity.com

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our Thoughts are Powerful


Determine from the moment you stop reading this to fill your mind only with positive and happy thoughts. Do it in such a way that whenever a negative limiting thought creeps into your mind, you fight it and replace it with positive and reassuring thoughts. Get back to this blog after about three hours and drop your feedback.

Our thoughts affects us in many ways. They affect our emotional state and also determine what we do or say to people. A life of constant gratitude generates positive thoughts. If we constantly worry about our past or a future event that has not even occurred then we have negative thoughts.

Positive thoughts refreshes the body and create healing. It produces joy in our lives. Positive thoughts reduce stress in our lives.

Thoughts affect our heart rate. When you are afraid or embarrassed, it shows on your face. Likewise when you are joyful, your face glows. It shows that our mind and body are interconnected.

Because our thoughts are powerful and determine what happens to us, we must control them. Why get disturbed over a future event that has not even occurred? What if it never happens?

Choosing our thoughts will help us dwell on the kind of thoughts that count.  Always evaluate your thoughts and consider what your next thought would be.

When you learn to consciously control your thoughts by replacing negative mindset with positive thoughts, you would find out that you have extra energy to work out every day.

Negativity is captivity. Run away from it. Watch your thoughts, they determine your actions, which determine your behaviour.

Your thoughts rule your world.
Picture: courtesy, www.thisdrenchedsky.org

Monday, June 16, 2014

SUPER EAGLES: THIS IS THE TIME TO SHINE AGAIN!


Twenty years ago, Nigerians sat glued to their television sets, apprehensive and expectant, wondering what would be the outcome of the nation's first game in FIFA(Federation of International Football Association) world cup, USA 94. The Super Eagles surpassed expectations by pundits as they thrashed highly rated Bulgaria which had the likes of Hristo Stoichkov by three unreplied  goals.

Today, Nigerians are expectant again. There is also a level of apprehension because the Super Eagles team have not been spectacular in their pre-world cup friendly games. The 1994 team which paraded the likes of Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke, Daniel Amuneke, Jay Jay Okocha, Uche Okechukwu and Finidi George were rated the fifth best team in the world this is as compared to the present Eagles who are rated 44th in the world according to FIFA rankings.

However, there are some similar scenarios between the 1994 Super Eagles and the present crop of Super Eagles. Both teams went to the world cup as African Champions having won the preceding African Cup of Nations. Also, the coaches in-charge stayed over two years taking charge of the team before the world cup. Clemens Westerhorf took over as Super Eagles Coach in 1990, four years to USA 94 FIFA world cup while Stephen Keshi has been in charge of the Super Eagles since 2012.

Nigerian Football authorities have a reputation for easily firing and hiring coaches. Bora Mulitinovic , Adegboye Onigbinde and Lars Largerback were hired to coach the Super Eagles to the France 98, Japan/Korea 2002 and South Africa 2010 FIFA world cups respectively a few months if not weeks before the world cup.

The die is cast as Nigeria faces Iran tonight. Will the Super Eagles win this game? The last game the Super Eagles won in the FIFA world cup was against Bulgaria in the 1998 world cup. With Argentina in Nigeria's group in a fourth world cup, this is the time to win Argentina, not because Super Eagles have the best talent but because of pride and the 'Naija spirit'

Brazil 2014:
 
 
This is the time to shine again. Go Super Eagles! Go! Fly in Brazil.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Do not Let People Define You by Your Failures




I sat perplexed as I heard his story. His songs re-echoed in my head. I could imagine him playing the guitar. Every touch on the string brought out melodious music, so inspiring; touching me deep down in my soul. Yes, I could say that even my bone marrows were shaken. He sang those songs that have become favourites in church choirs in Nigeria.


"I ran away from school. It was so unbearable. I had got an extra year in the university and so I returned to school to face it. It was necessary that my extra semester courses had to be up to fifteen credit units... "

He kept quiet again. He was still staring into space. Then he took a deep breath, turned his head and stared right into my eyes. 

"But I failed again, seven credit units in all."

What he said, hit me. My heart was racing. I had thought my own story was the worse.

"That was when I ran away."

I thought about his running away. I could imagine his strides as he raced to nowhere in particular. But that was not what he meant. This was a young man born with a silver spoon who was privileged to be an undergraduate of one of the best private universities in the country.

"I was frustrated. I saw myself as a failure. If it were even a third class degree or pass, at least I would have something to show for my years in the higher institution."

I readjusted on my seat. I brought my arms closer to my chest. My heart was racing fast. As I folded my arms, I was able to calm my anxiety.

"Home was hell. Nobody saw anything good in me. I got no single encouragement. My father saw me as cursed . "

He paused. Then he looked at me again.

"I will never forget the day my father took me to a white garment church for prayers. Oh! that day..."  he shook his head, "they beat the hell out of me."

I thought about who he was today. He had performed in major concerts. He had links with the best music producers and entertainment bigwigs in the country. I could remember seeing his pictures with Cobhams Asuquo and Wale Adenuga. These are great minds he had worked with.

"Those songs you so much love were written when I was at the deepest pit in life. There were what I used to encourage myself when I felt the world had rejected me."

I was not alone, I could remember how I often felt like an outcast back home because my parents were looking down on me. I had an extra year to contend with in a public university at a time when my younger ones who had attended private universities had both graduated. Now, I had seen someone who had a worse story to tell. 

"In all of these things, God has been so kind to me." He said, as he patted his hands on my back.
Yes, he was right. I beamed with smiles, I was lifted.

 We were two of a kind. Though we were both undergraduates of Mathematics in our various schools, it was my love for music that got me to know him. While I was going to face my extra year courses, as soon as the lecturers in Nigerian universities call off their strike action, he had given up on his own. Then I thought about my church choir. I was going to lead the worship session on Sunday. I knew his story was going to reverberate all over me when I sing. The world needs to hear his story.

This is not a time to give up on your dreams. Even if the people closest to you have written you off. It is time to tell yourself that you have what it takes to excel. There are people out there that you are better than. Follow your passions and do not let people define you by your failures. That you failed does not mean you are a failure. Brace yourself up and believe. The forces of nature will work in your favour when you persistently determine and work to succeed. 

And do not forget, just as my good friend said in his story, 'in all of these things, God will be kind to you.'

Thanks to my friend Mercy, for telling me his story.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Andy Murray Shines


Andy Murray played out his heart to winhis first Wimbledon title and ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's champion with a hard-fought victory over world number one Novak Djokovic.

The 26 year old Scot converted his fourth championship point game to win 6-4 7-5 6-4 and claim his second major title in a dramatic final .

As the game was on, Andy Murray had already captured the hearts of majority of the 15,000 spectators on Centre Court and thousands watching on the big screen nearby and millions more around the country.

This victory has once again brought Murray to spotlight after he won the Olympic gold at the London 2012 Olympics. Andy Murray, is indeed, on top of his game.
Picture: Courtesy, independent.co.uk

A Toast for Neymar




The 2013 FIFA Confederations cup may have come and gone but the memories of great football artistry displayed by Neymar, the Brazilian wonder boy who eventually emerged as the most valuable player of the tournament is still in our minds.

Barcelona FC is so lucky to have sported and signed on this prodigy because his value would have sky-rocketed after the FIFA Confederations cup.

Neymar helped Brazil to lift the FIFA Confederations cup for the third consecutive time. No doubt Neymar da Silva Santos Júnio, 21 is on top of his game.
 Picture: Courtesy, totalbarca.com

Monday, May 27, 2013

Find a Reason to Succeed

“You can never beat Ukyi,” Akpa told me. Ukyi was the overall best pupil in my form in the last term examinations and it was obvious to everyone of us that she was very bright.

Ukyi joined my class when her parents enrolled her in my school and even though she came just a few weeks to our exams, she outshined me in our examinations. 


Akpa’s remark hit me. It was a challenge. My heart started racing and my temperature rose. How could Akpa draw this conclusion? Yes, Ukyi was brilliant but does that mean she would beat me a third time?


I looked at Akpa and made a hand gesture moving forward my open palms to him saying, “Bet me, I will beat her in our third term exams.” 


Akpa did not hesitate to tap my palms with his but that was after he laughed out loud. He shrugged, laughed again and said, “I am telling you. You will see.”
 

“No way,” I said. I meant every word I said. 

And when it was the day for the school’s graduation and award ceremony which usually comes up after the last exams for the session, the names of the best three students in each form were called out for prizes. It got to my form and it was time to announce the best pupil. My heart beat was racing, yet I was so sure I was going to be the one. 


And a loud ovation greeted the announcement of my name. I was over joyed and moved to the stage to shake the school’s head mistress and the bishop who found my school. I felt a great sense of accomplishment as I clutched my prize.


As I tried to figure out where my father sat, Akpa rushed to me beaming with smiles. “Ol’ boy, you too much!” he said and shook me vigorously. “I didn’t know you could beat Ukyi,” he added. Akpa’s challenge had made me so engrossed in my studies that I forgot what he had told me in the beginning of the term. I smiled and I felt good.


It happened several years ago but it still beats my mind on how a challenge can bring out the best in us. Akpa’s remark that Ukyi was way better than me, academically; peeved me. I felt that way, not because I disliked him or Ukyi but because he felt so sure that I could not. So I had to prove that I can!


Life usually gives us back what we put in it. I was diligent and it paid off with success. A reason triggered off that diligence. It was Akpa’s challenge.


Indeed, our lives would become more fruitful if we find reasons to bring out our best. Imagine the joy and glory that comes with success. Yes, when you build that your dream house, when you pay off your debts, when you find your dream wife, when you write that book, when you start running that fledging business ..name it! 


Picture yourself living the kind of life you want and let it be the reason why you have to work smart and hard. Do not brush off that jeer by a colleague who says you cannot when you know you have what it takes, even though it looks difficult. Let that be your reason to ‘fight’ for your success.


Consider the rising number of unemployed people out there; some of them just need the right contacts to find a good job while others need capital to start a business and some others just need the right motivation and mentorship. You could be that influential friend that can make a phone call and link one of them with a job. You could be the philanthropist that can give one of them financial empowerment to start up. You might the person whose story can inspire them to go out and do something that would make them succeed. Imagine the value your success can add to one of them.


Think about it, your life would make more meaning when you find a reason to succeed. 



Picture, courtesy: matthewdavisvisuals.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Staying on Top of Your Game: Lessons From MTN




MTN is business savvy and that makes them stand out. They understand Nigerian business terrain better. At a time ECONET(now Airtel) was busy trying to build strong facilities in a few cities, MTN spread their tentacles to many towns. Their network service were not reliable, but Nigerians who were long waiting for GSM services rushed for their sim cards. Few years later, they reinforced their facilities in those towns after making quick money.

When MTN got the sole right to sponsor Who Wants to Be a Millionaire(Nigeria),they made sure you can only apply(text or call) to participate in the show, exclusively from an MTN line. It was not so when Vmobile alongside UBA and Orange Drugs(Delta Soap) were sponsors of the game show. Vmobile failed to realize the potentials of the show.

And a few years ago, when the newest entrant, Etisalat and later, Airtel, were crashing call tariff to win new customers, MTN stayed put. But suddenly, MTN came up with MTN super save and other packages giving even lesser call tariffs. They won back most of their subscribers.

Last night, I saw a brand new commercial from MTN advertising the recently activated number portability scheme. And who was on set? It was none other than Hafiz Oyetoro popularly known as Saka. The actor, well known for his comic roles in English and Yoruba home videos and sitcoms, not too long ago featured in several Etisalat adverts. Saka brought life to these adverts. His expression, "like my wife o" where he opted for an Etisalat package that gave a lot of freebies used by his wife in one of the adverts easily comes to mind.

This is another good business move by MTN who have been receiving a lot of backlash from subscribers, some of whom have advocated switching to other networks. It is likely that MTN offered Saka a better deal after his contract with Etisalat was not renewed. Or maybe his deal with Etisalat was just per advert. No doubt, Saka, is a lot richer, after this commercial.

While I commend the MTN boardroom for understanding Nigerian business terrain better and making smart business moves, I believe the best business move, they can make in the long term is to reinforce their facilities and improve their network.

But for now. I admire their insight, hindsight and foresight. No wonder, they are on top of their game.

Enjoy the advert video clip below. Saka don port! Saka don upgrade to MTN. See the effects they achieved with the lights. Saka's attire changed from green to yellow. An impressive advert and a smart media weapon by MTN. I love the 'kirikata' dance too!


Pictures, courtesy: Brandwork Nigeria, PilotAfrica.com

Friday, April 20, 2012

Get Out of that Comfort Zone!

He was working in a government hospital as a medical doctor. He did not like the monotonous nature of the job. He detested coming to work every day and waiting for his pay cheque at the end of the month. He came from a family where most of his relatives shunned payed employment jobs because they prefer to start their own outfits.

Working for government most of his life and settling down for gratuity and pension did not appeal to him. He felt 'running his own show' will make him think harder and come up with more initiatives and creativity in the course of his work.

It was two years down the line, after he got his employment letter to work at Charanchi in Katsina State and he was not finding the job exciting.

It was not an easy thing to do but he had made up his mind...

And he threw in the towel. He went on to start a his private clinic at Katsina, the capital city of the state. The reactions he got from most of his colleagues and superiors were "Are you crazy?" "You are playing with your career" "You have just ruined your future." His determination made him turn deaf ears to their cautions.

"The first six months was hell. I only had a few patients patronizing the clinic. I was spending a lot of money running the clinic as compared to the little income."

"Many people failed me. A relative that promised to give me a loan came up with excuses. Another friend that had promised to deliver some equipment to me disappointed me."

He had to sell his car to pay some debts he accrued. He was between the devil and the deep blue sea.

"At a stage, I had to give out my apartment to someone interested to refund me the money I paid and I moved into one the rooms in the place I rented for me clinic." He said, as he recounted his experience.

He needed to achieve the dream. It was the same dream that led him to take the risky decision that made him quit his job. Unfortunately, with the turn of events, the dream looked distant and bleak. But he had been a dogged fighter all his life and he needed to prove his friends that thought he was crazy, wrong.

Where there moments that he thought of quitting? "Yes," he replied, "but I had no escape route because 'I had burnt my bridges and there was no going back."

"My big break came about a year after, during the cerebrospinal meningitis outbreak in the north," he said, "the vaccine was scarce and I was fortunate to have some in stock."

" A trailer load of infected patients from the border towns and Niger republic were brought to my clinic and the government public health officials were ready to buy the vaccines even at more than four times the cost."

"The work was so hectic at this period but it payed off and I still had more patients to administer the vaccines even after I ordered more drugs from Lagos."

Less than two months afterwards, he bought another car and started making arrangements to move into a new and better apartment. His clinic started booming. The disease outbreak had made it more popular and many patients had come to gain confidence in him. Today, he has a hospital and many thriving investments. He has also built a strong reputation as a general practitioner.

When he was asked about his colleagues way back his days as a government employee, he replied: "Oh! they are doing marvelously well. Many of them are getting set for retirement and some are already through and waiting for their gratuity. Many of them now commend me and salute my courage."

He braved the odds and he took a difficult situation that paid off. Everyone cannot be like him, it all depends on your mindset and what you want in life. But you could be succeed like him if you are convinced that you need to 'run your own show.'

Perhaps you are tired of your 9 to 5 job and your monthly pay cheque that is barely enough for you. You may have been nursing a dream about a business venture or project. Calculate the risks; now might just be the right time to take a leap of faith.

It is your life; live it to the fullest and it matters that you reach and stay on top of your game!

Picture, courtesy: networkequipment.net and southern4life.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You Have a Bright Future!


I watched him limp around the clinic at various times to get a device for one procedure or another. Merie was a master of his art. The fact that he was physically challenged did not diminish his work because he was never found wanting.

"I have a bright future and God will keep taking me to a higher level," he told me, as we discussed when he finished seeing the patients at hand. It was obvious that he never or rarely thought about his disabilities. He told me about work, his young family, the wife that God blessed him with and how her prayers enabled him secure his a job at a time that getting employed was difficult because of the global economic meltdown.

As I watched and listened to Merie, I seemed to forget most of my headaches because they all appeared to be trivialities. I could walk straight, I could speak and hear well, I was physically alright but just the night before, I stayed awake for several hours thinking about the things I needed to get done. My problems turned to a flash in the pan as I looked at this young man who had to endure a remarkable physical challenge caused by poliomyelitis infection, which he contracted when he was just an infant.

"In my second year in the University, I made up my mind to quit. It was just too unbearable. I was the one training myself." His face was expressionless as he spoke, "My faculty head advised me against it. I persevered by combining studies and petty trading. And the rest is now history."

He had stubbornly refused to join a relative to learn a trade, instead he set up a barber shop to raise funds. "I had to use my little savings to buy a hair clipper.It was from the money I made from my shop, situated under a tree shed that I was able to take my senior school certificate and university matriculation exams."

My mind wandered to the various possibilities that could have taken place in the life of my friend had it been he did not set his mind on his ambition and persevered against all odds. He is an eye doctor today. Indeed, like he says and believes, he has a bright future.

Many of us are more advantaged physically. A great majority of us did not have to toil to train ourselves in the course of higher education. Yet we keep dwelling our minds on the things we do not have. Many times we go about as if life has short changed us. We worry, we play the blame game-forgetting our strengths and the opportunities that life has offered us.

A lot of lessons can be learned from Merie's life: Your present challenge does not mean you are finished, it is just a phase and your attitude as you face it, matters a lot. We would better enjoy our lives when we stop looking at limitations. Whether you are well or physically challenged; whether you are black or white; whether you are wealthy or just surviving or whether you are educated or illiterate- it is never too late to get your fire back and live your best life.

You can start it now by eliminating negative confirmations and limiting thoughts! For a start, you can take a cue from our friend Merie; say it and believe it, "I have a bright future and God will keep taking me to higher level !"

As you face your life and daily tasks with diligence and this kind of positive mindset, it would push you to rise above those limitations that have always held you back.

You have a bright future! You will win!

Picture, courtesy: dreamstime.com