Monday, January 27, 2020

Sometimes You Got To Ask

Some people (myself inclusive) find it difficult to beg or ask other people to give them anything. This difficulty has nothing to do with pride as a lot of people may think, but has a lot to do with past experiences.
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People who have been too dependent on others in the past had to put up with a lot of crap. You know for some people when they are helping you or they're always the ones providing stuff for you, they begin to feel like they have complete power over you.
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They begin to order you around, they tell you what to do and try to dictate to you how to live your life. Some may even maltreat you. Although, not everyone behaves like this when they are providing anything for you, but a good number of people do.
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As a result of this,  people who value their self respect and their opinions learn the hard way to provide the things they need for themselves by themselves, so they don't have to put up with insults from benefactors and the likes.
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It works for them and soon they begin to see that it's possible for them to get the things they've been getting from others by themselves. It becomes a way of life and unconsciously they become more unwilling to ask for help even when they really need to ask for it. This unconscious unwillingness(as I choose to name it ๐Ÿ˜Š) is not always good.
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Last Saturday, I was kinda stranded. I had some money in my account, but I couldn't recharge from there (kept getting errors๐Ÿ˜•). I needed to make an important call and I wasn't with any reasonable handy cash at the moment because I have to offset the N500 I was already owing MTN, before I could recharge(I don't know how I fell for that *606 borrowing prompt๐Ÿค”).
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I had data and I didn't know what to do. And then a thought came to my head. "Why not put it up on your status that you urgently need airtime and whether anyone can assist you?" And then the other part of me said "Don't do it, nobody will listen even if they see it. You know how people can be.. you end up looking stupid.." but the smaller voice said, "Nigel, what do you have to lose? You can only try." That voice finally won and I put up the status on my WhatsApp.
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I forgot about it as I walked to my destination and in less than 8 minutes, I started getting notifications on my phone. I thought it was regular WhatsApp group messages , but to my surprise it was SMS notifications from different numbers who had sent airtime adding up to a total of 2,200. I had to quickly take down the WhatsApp status.
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I was bamboozled by the fact that people didn't only take their time to view the status, but also responded fast. I had to thank them all before I made the call I needed to make. I still had enough balance after that. Why did that magic just happen? I only asked.
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The point of sharing this message is not that you should start asking everyone you know for something(if you can provide it yourself, that's usually the best route). The point is that if you're that kind of person who never asks for help/assistance in anything you're doing (because somehow you believe nobody may be willing to help you), then you may need to reconsider your views.
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No matter how independent we are or try to be, there will be times when our hands may be tied and we will need help and support from other people. If we cannot ask, we cannot receive and we will be stuck. Yes, it's true that when you ask some people won't care, some people might ridicule you, but when you get to that point where you cannot do anything else, just ask! Even the Bible says, "Ask and you shall receive".
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The worst thing that would happen is that nobody responds, but at least you go home happy knowing you exhausted your last option by simply asking. However, often times than not, if you get to that point and you make yourself vulnerable enough to ask, you're most likely to be pleasantly surprised.

#Nigel

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Save Yourself Unnecessary Arguments

"Madam, please adjust, so I can sit down comfortably."
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"Where do you want me to adjust to? Can't you see that I've reached the end? I don't know whether some of you don't have eyes!"
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"But madam, no be quarrel.. I just said you should shift a little bit, the seat is tight.."
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"Something must be wrong with you.. where should I go, maybe I should sit on the window?"
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"You're the one something is wrong with… what do you mean by that.."
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And bla bla … it didn't end well(couple of abuses) .. but you get the gist already and have probably witnessed something like this play out in public transport. ๐Ÿ˜‚
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The thing about this scenario is that the problem could have been solved by just a simple movement from the person who was told to shift.
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When people ask you do something they feel you're supposed to do, somehow, they expect you to at least act like you've actually heard what they have said and do something to show some concern.
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Nobody would actually use tape or ruler to measure how many inches you may have shifted, but the simple act of moving your body(even if the net change from your present position is 0) goes a long way to calm the person who is making the request.
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What's there to just move or at least pretend to? Absolutely nothing. Will save us all the arguments and ethnic abuses. ๐Ÿ˜‚But No.. some people feel entitled to their sitting positions in a bus(when it's obviously not their personal vehicle). ๐Ÿ˜†
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I dunno, but 9ja is full of comedy on an everyday level. Entitlement people everywhere.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Stereotypes Can Be Wrong


Before my journey to the West, I already heard a lot of negative things about the Yorubas. I heard they're saboteurs that must never be trusted.. I heard they like "ofe mmanu" and like to add a lot of pepper to all their food. Some said they were not nice people at all.. I heard a whole lot of things.
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And then National Service brought me here to see for myself. My first landlord was a Yoruba man and a Muslim. I expected him to be mean and unkind, but to my surprise, he was the opposite. I've never seen a nicer landlord than this man. He took me as his own son. He made sure I had everything I asked for and never gave me any troubles at all. Even when I had to leave, he gave me extra months to arrange myself. "Was this man for real?"
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Sometimes he called me aside just to give me advice as a young man who was still trying to find his way. Whenever he was celebrating, he offered me food and drinks and cared to know how I was doing. The experience I had with this man Mr.Tajudeen debunked a lot of things I expected. He was very hard-working and worked hard to provide for his family.
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Then I was posted to a company owned and run by Yorubas, Mr. And Mrs.Omojoye. These guys treated me very well. Sometimes when my alawee was running out, they gave me something to manage with which was separate from what they paid as stipend to me as a corper.
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I never had issues with them getting letters for local government clearance or anything at all. They were very cool headed individuals and I tried my best to do what I could to grow their company digitally.
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Sometimes, Mr. Omojoye would share with me stories of how he started his own life and what he did right when he was my age. All I could do was listen in admiration. An accomplished accountant and businessman sharing his knowledge with me(a young man who he didn't really know for too long). I felt so privileged to serve under them. Mrs. Omojoye was like a mom to me as well.
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In my street, there was this barber.. a cool headed guy who was Yoruba. He knew a thing or two about everything going on in the area and was a  hardworking young guy who didn't play with his business. I admired his spirit of hustle. He wasn't lazy in any way. Very enthusiastic guy.
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I got to taste Yoruba food.. ewedu and Amala especially.. I couldn't find all the pepper and I enjoyed the food and other Yoruba foods I tried. No ofe mmanu there.
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The professionals I've met here are some of the most intelligent, honest and kind hearted Nigerians I've ever met.
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So then I asked myself.. the stereotypes about these people which some people spread around back in the east, where do they get their stories from?
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And it dawned on me that stereotypes are just stereotypes. Things aren't always the way you are told they are. Sometimes, you have to go out and see for yourself then discover your own truth…
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If you hear things, at least try to find out through experience. There are things you can't find out through experience, but stereotypes are things you can find out yourself.
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Not to say that all of them are saints, but that the negative stories about them don't apply to everyone. Just like the negative stories applied to my tribe or your tribe don't apply to everyone..
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Don't judge everyone according to what you hear about some of them.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Stop Expecting And Take Care Of Yourself



Growing up, I used to expect people to care about me or show me love because I lost my dad early. I craved for attention from people because I at least expected some sympathy from them. But guess what? Nobody gave a shit. And today I've come to realize that it was for good.
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Nobody gave a shit whether I had a dad or not or whether it was difficult for us growing up or not. Who cares? No one wanted to know that. It hurt me real badly at first as I hoped that those who were closest to my father would care about me.. but they didn't.
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Usually, this is a similar situation out there for people who have lost loved ones or going through challenges of life. A lot of people wouldn't give a damn whether you've eaten today or not or whether you fell down the street or whether you went through a heartbreak or lost your job.. nobody really gives a hoot. People have their own problems to worry about. So why should they bother about you?
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Armed with this realization, I eventually learnt how to care about myself, how to depend on myself and how to get what I want. I learned how the world worked and stopped expecting anything from anybody. I started developing myself. It was only God I looked up to.
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I started interacting with older people who were making impact in the society and discovered that a good number of these people had similar or even worse situations than I did while growing up, but they still pulled through. Some lost their parents earlier than I did.. some were abused/maltreated as kids by their own parents.. some had very traumatic experiences, but guess what? They dusted themselves up and made it. It was really encouraging knowing that I wasn't alone in my experiences and so far so good, I've found more reasons to be grateful to God than worried about stuff.
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I dont know about you or what you have been facing, but you're not alone either. Growing up without a loved one, losing someone you were really close to or passing through difficult times could sometimes seem like the end of the world. It may seem like everything is crashing down on you and no help may seem forthcoming.. but you must keep your head up and look up to God. As you're looking up.. do the best you can for yourself no matter how little. Don't expect anyone to do anything for you.. do what you can for yourself. Interact with people who have made it and learn from their own stories and challenges. Then you will find the motivation and will power to keep striving.
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This life, no one owes you anything.. it's up to you to create the type of life you want for yourself by planning/working towards it rather than keep expecting people to have pity on you and help. A lot of people will expect more from you than they are willing to give, so don't bank on their giving.
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I don't like saying that nobody cares because the truth is that there are some people who will actually like you for no explainable reason and care for you. But the thing you have to note is that you should NOT EXPECT it from anybody.
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Learn to care for yourself first. You deserve it because no one else can really fully understand what goes on inside of your head except you. Stop expecting people to care.. that's why you end up feeling hurt and sad because you expect people to do for you what you can do for yourself. When you begin to care for yourself.. you'll find yourself making more meaningful contribution to the world around you.
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This post is a wake up call to everyone who is passing through one form of dilemma or another. Believe me someone has gone through a worse situation than you and has successfully pulled through it.
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They didn't pull through it by expecting people to have pity on em. They pulled through it by learning how to take very good care of themselves and doing their possible best.
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This is a note to you: Take care of yourself, stop expecting someone else to do it for you.. work your way out of that difficult situation and ignore what anyone else says.. You will look back one day and smile at your problems.

#Nigel

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Need To Collaborate

Sometime last year during a training, I was assigned a task with one of my colleagues:  to take an important examination on behalf of the firm which would qualify us for some big businesses. The business required at least 2 people to pass the exam.
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We were given over 3 weeks to prepare. We took the courses, researched the internet individually and we both felt confident that we would pass. As a FUTO graduate, I no wan fall hands and my colleague (finished from UNILAG).. didn't want to fall hands either.
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We had points to prove. The D-Day came.. we walked in majestically into the computer test center which had cameras installed to monitor us and we took the exam. He came out before me, I took my time (mostly staring at hard questions).
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I eventually came out 30 mins after he did. The look on his face wasn't good.. the exam results were instant and he had already checked. He failed. He asked me to check mine.. I was reluctant to check ( maybe I thought that delaying the checking of my result would somehow affect the outcome ๐Ÿ˜…).
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I eventually checked and it turned out that I also failed in in flying colors..๐Ÿ˜ just kidding.. we were both very close to the pass mark.. but we failed nonetheless. I was sad.☹️
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I reluctantly placed a call to our line manager to let him know we failed. He said he expected that(the exam was difficult) and already made provision for us just incase we did. But he told us that this would be the last chance he would give. I thanked him.
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Later, I took a look at the topics I failed from the exam review and I compared these topics with the topics failed by my colleague, then I discovered something:
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Most of the topics I failed, he got. And most of the ones he failed I got. He also noticed it. That was when it dawned on both of us that if we had collaborated and worked together as much as we should have, we would have definitely aced the exam.
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The lesson was very clear.
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We had two more weeks to retake the examination.. This time we worked together as a team. There was nothing to prove, we just wanted to ace the examination at all legitimate costs.  I taught him what I knew about the topics which he failed that I knew while he taught me what he knew about the topics I failed.. for the topics we both failed, we shared the tasks to research and share knowledge among ourselves.
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We created time everyday to revise together. Sometimes he came to my desk, sometimes I moved to his. Soon, it was time for our second shot. We planned to arrive hours earlier before our exam start time, so we could revise together. We revised, but we were still tense till we went in for the exam.
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We sat out the full 90 minutes of the exam.. I came out and I checked.. it was 97% .. way above the 70% pass mark. He checked as well and made almost the same score at 93%. We were both excited. We called our line manager and I jokingly told him we had failed again at which he kept silent.. then I laughed and told him I was kidding.. he had a good laugh.
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In life, not everything is a competition.. truth be told, some things are actually competitive.. but to get the really big wins, we need to learn to work together and put aside our differences. No one is perfect and no one knows it all, no matter how smart or intelligent we think we are.. we all need to work with people if we really want to achieve the bigger goals.
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At some point you've got to drop your perception of yourself and be humble enough to work with humans of different class and origins. You'll be surprised at how fast you can achieve your objectives working with different people than when you try to achieve stuff all alone. Even in football.. the best striker alone can't face a full 11 man team.. he needs the ball to at least be passed to him.

#Nigel

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