Same traits, But it Kills

Same traits, But it Kills

I attended the same secondary school as my elder sister. She’s that type that will collect all the academical prizes during the awards and prize-giving day. To say that she’s super brilliant is an understatement. As a result, every teacher knew her, and she was quite popular among the students as well.

But the unintended consequences of her academic success were on me. Every teacher believes I should be as good as her and the expectations of the students were too much for me to bear. Getting into senior secondary school did not help matters. The comparison got really bad; my attitude was on the check, my grades where constantly being monitored, and I was asked more difficult questions than every other student in the class.

When it was time for introduction, and I called my surname, statements like – “oh Ngozi’s sister, right? She was very brilliant. I hope you are too” – was not uncommon. It was a bit difficult for me; to make matters worse, she was a senior prefect, and I wasn’t qualified to be one when it was time. I almost died, lol, but that aside, I had to prove myself every time to people. Subtly, I hated such a comparison.

So, my niece and nephew came visiting during the holiday recently, and I noticed that anytime I wanted to correct her I would say “stop doing this, can’t you see your brother doesn’t!” Because she is way more hyperactive than him. But later in my quiet time, I realized I was doing to my niece the same thing they were doing to me back then.

It suddenly dawned on me that I was not in any way better than those teachers and students that wanted me to be just like my sister. Regardless of the good intention I had, I realized I had started passing the same trait of comparison I suffered during my secondary school days. You might have fallen victim to this comparison syndrome as well – whether as an object of comparison or as somebody that unduly compares two people, especially children.

Like many others, I wouldn’t want my niece to feel the same way I did. Unhealthy comparison causes more harm than good, and here are three reasons:

Comparison stalls a person’s progress: If you spend your time comparing someone, you hinder the person’s ability to reach its highest point. It’s like wanting the fish to jump like a monkey or the monkey to swim like a fish.
No one has a perfect life: Everyone is uniquely created, even when we have our flaws, but that’s what makes us unique individuals. There would always be someone better, someone, more organized, more intelligent, even more, good looking. But that shouldn’t make you inferior; after all, there will also be somebody you are better than.
Comparison turns friends or siblings to rivals: It kills that genuine love both has for each other.

In whatever you do, do your best to resist the temptation of comparing. The urge can be strong sometimes but always find an alternative to correct. Focus on improving the individual because our beauty is in our diversity.

Have you ever being unduly compared? Does it have any negative impact on you? I would love to hear your story. You can share it with us using the comment section. You can also let us know if there are better ways to handle the unhealthy competition.

The Lessons About Values from Mr. Ibu

The Lessons About Values from Mr. Ibu

When I use to do Nigerian movies, one of my favorite actors when it comes to comedy was John naira Okafor popularly known as Mr. Ibu. In one of his movies, he found a wallet full of several hundred-dollar bills and some few a thousand-naira notes in a “danfo” bus.

On reaching home, he took the notes and pasted the dollar bills in his room as decoration. A friend who knows the value bills came visiting and asked to have the remaining bills so that he, too, can use it to decorate his room. Mr. Ibu reluctantly gave him the remaining large chunk of the notes. You can imagine what happens next.

As I was reminiscing on this story this afternoon, two things lessons became clear to me, and I will love to share it with you.

1. Ignorant of a value does not reduce the value.

Simply because Mr. Ibu doesn’t know the worth of those hundred-dollar bills does not reduce the worth of the bills.

Let’s look at the business perspective. Because some people are ignorant of the value of your product or services does not appreciate, it does not mean the value has reduced. Do not cut your value to their level of understanding rather help them to increase their understanding of your value. That’s why effective value communication is a fundamental part of your business activity.

Alternatively, you can focus on those people who understand and appreciate your value. I mean, those whose values resonate with yours. Hence the need for market segmentation. The two can even go hand-by-hand is you have enough resources to pull it.

Now from an individual perspective, of almost 8 billion people on earth, you are the only version of you. That means you have something to offer or do in a unique way that nobody else can, and that’s your value. The fact that you have not discovered it yet does not mean it’s not there. So, don’t ever think you are worthless.

2. If you don’t know your value, others who do will use you.

The world is full of several of Mr. Ibu’s friends – people who know your value and know that you don’t know your value. And instead of helping you to discover it, they will rather exploit you. It could be your friends, your employer, your clients, and even your customers

Always ask yourself, am I really been appreciated for the value I’m bringing to the table? When it comes to the exchange of values, never think the next party is doing you a ‘big favor.’ That does not mean you should be an ingrate; it does mean you should strive to know your value and what it worth.

Life is a journey, and one of the exciting things about it is a fact that it is a journey of self-discovery. The more of the adventure you undertake, the more you understand what you are capable of, which sets you apart from others. How much of your value do you know?

Do you learn any lesson from Mr. Ibu’s story? Share with us.

CAPACITY BUILDING NETWORK – What we have to say about rape.

CAPACITY BUILDING NETWORK – What we have to say about rape.

It’s no longer news that the word “rape” has taken over the Nigerian internet’s street lately.

Millions of Nigerian have taken to the social media to lend their voices against rape, and the members of the Capacity Building Network (CBN2020) are not left behind.

Here are some critical thoughts by some of them and I bet you, you will find a lot of wisdom in there. Enjoy reading,

Olaniyi Emmanuel

We need to educate every boy and guy about rape and its implication, not just rape, but sexual harassment and molestation.

Oluwatunmike Esther

Teach the boy child that every female should be treated with respect. Teach him how to care for his sisters or females around him right while growing up, so he will not depart from it when he is grown. Teach our boys that sexual urge is very healthy, but it is essential to have self-control. Teach our girls not to “lead guys on”, if they are not interested in them.

Ayorinde Olawunmi

Make our men understand that we are not a thing, we are not an object, we are human, and we are women!

Teach them self-control else they will make life miserable for girls while she lives with pain and stigma forever. Teaching our young women to value and respect their body and avoid exposing what is ought to be covered so as not to increase the sexual urge of the opposite sex

Jolayemi Momoh

I am sorry to disagree on the issues of exposure and what is being taught. I believe in the old days, girls wear only wrappers to the stream. Moreover, even now, children are being raped. Abuse, of any type, stems from the same or closely related causes. Teach the male child he is not a god, teach him to respect himself, show him he can be vulnerable, and teach him to value weakness. But even more importantly teach your girls to protect themselves, people get killed every day; men women children, so teach her to fight for herself.

Oluwabunmi Abiola

Let all parents be taught to be responsible to sow good seed into their children. Let them be taught to raise all their children the same way and be intentional about it, both boys and girls are being raped

Timothy Ameloko

Let us create a petition platform for the Nigerian lawmakers against rape for people to sign. They need to review the crime of rape and its punishment because as it stands, it is tough to prove a rape crime beyond reasonable doubt not to talk of winning a rape case in the country.

At the side of the coin is that some women use rape to blackmail men. Let the punishment for those found guilty of that be severe as well.

Women hardly rape men; it is mostly men raping women, so I would not say much on that. Rape punishment should not be 6months imprisonment; it should be up to 10years imprisonment with hard labour

Semasa

Rape is a sin, and all crimes have root causes. The trending stop rape everyone is posting will make little or no impact if the contingent causes are not addressed.

This may be needed, but how about when females present themselves as a sexual object in music videos. The lyrics also address them as sexual objects.

Our society is filled with harmful activities, and we are expecting a positive outcome? We need to critically examine the causes of rape and launch strong campaigns against them. Rape is a product of some abnormalities.

Gloria Okorafor

I am weak. The whole stuff is painful. First off, accusing all men, as rapists will not solve a thing, instead, it lends succour to the “rapists” that they are not alone. So much perversion everywhere, the system is sick. Perpetrators know that little or nothing would be done to them. How many rapists have faced judicial trial in Nigeria?

 We live in a society where fornication is excused for the males, with excuses made for them that it is like food to them and they cannot stop once they are turned on. We cry out to the girl child to be self-controlled and how her husband would value her chastity, but no one or few people address the males. Boys will always be boys are our slogan, see us now.

Many youths are engrossed in porn sites and magazines. We do not lend our voice to fight against some organizations that use the lives and destinies of young boys as a business; we just keep quiet and hope none of our loved ones gets involved.

Human nature is sorely deprived, and an overhaul of the system is needed. Personally, I believe prayers and right actions will go a long way. We must not wait until we carry banners and placards.

It can begin by telling the little boy not to touch his little sister’s privates; admonishing the mother to discipline her ill-mannered son and not make silly excuses for him. We cry against the entertainment industry.

If society is not keeping them in business, they will not be in business. We sing their songs, dance seductively, and then complain about the effects? That is so wrong. I personally do not like some of the Success videos that seem funny as they portray disrespect and dishonour all in the name of making a joke.

Still, some families sit together and watch these things and everyone laughs and we all marvel when a little boy talks rudely to a big aunty.

In summary, a reformation is needed, and it begins with us

Morenike Egbeyemi

Although much has been said, I would like to add my little quota, which might be similar to some answers already given. There is more to rape than meets the eye.

However, I believe before society can be reformed, the basic building blocks that make up this society have to be dealt with. Here, I refer to the family and each individual that make up this unit (the family).

I am a staunch believer of the statement ‘ We are a product of our nature (environment) and nurture (upbringing). The different environments we find ourselves in and the nurture we get, play a significant role in who we become. A good and quality education would help.

In this case, I mean excellent and quality family education, children education, sex education- all forms of quality education. That could pass across messages against rape, sexual harassment and assaults.

Aside this, individuals (especially grown-ups -males and females) need to nurture themselves, I mean, renew their mindset themselves.

They need to teach themselves to be of ethical conduct. “A good individual, no matter how much quality training he/she receives, further trains him/herself to become the best”- Another Yoruba quote I believe in.

Even in cases where he/she did not have access to the best upbringing, it is never an excuse for acting irrationally; I feel such a person can become better. People have been in such shoes, yet they came out strong, theirs will not be the last

Rape is a consequence

The society indirectly endorsed rape the moment she supports all forms of porn, suggestive images and animations. Women are portrayed as sex objects in our movies and music videos.

You don’t expect to teach a child to avoid rape and yet permit the media to distort his sexual innocence from a very tender age.

When the bible says “Train up a child in the way, he should go, And when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6, he is not talking about just using rods but also protecting the child’s innocence.

We are going to fight rape, but let’s start from the root cause. Shouting “#saynotorape” on social media cannot stop the rape if we are not going to fix the rapidly decaying morality in the system.

The act of rape is a consequence of the decaying system. Leave that out of your narrative, and you will never get it right.

The world needs Jesus.

The better and faster way to learn anything

The better and faster way to learn anything

Do you want to master the art of learning faster? Or Are you a student at any level desiring academic excellence? Then gather here; this is for you.

What can a primary school pupil teach? I think I can answer that question because I started teaching right from primary school.

I grew up in the house of teachers – my both parents are teachers. So before I began schooling, I had started going to school; and at that tender age, I can recall watching my mum teach students.

As part of the regular child’s play, I remember gathering my younger ones in a classroom setting and teaching them simple things like how to say ABC and count 123… correctly, while every other kid was busy playing with sand.

Fast forward to secondary school, my passion for teaching continued. This time, I started teaching the primary school pupils in my neighbourhood basic arithmetic and dictation.

Then I moved to a boarding school outside my hometown, where I started taking the junior students, and sometimes my classmates, tutorials as well.

I had to read to know more so that I will not be disgraced. That was how I cultivated the habit of reading outside my teachers’ lesson notebooks. It was so serious that while I was in SS1, I had already finished the syllabus and had delved into the next class’ curriculum.

Looking back at my life as a student, I learned a few things from these experiences:

1. There’s always something you can teach. In my previous post, I emphasized that knowledge is progressive, which means there’s always someone who has a lesser understanding than you do, and that’s an opportunity to teach.

We usually fall into the temptation of thinking that everybody already knows what we know. But It will surprise you to realize that there are millions of people who do not have the knowledge you have. So, there’s always something you can teach somebody.

2. The more you teach, the more you know you don’t know enough: In my adventure in teaching, I always realize later on how much more I need to know about a concept. That’s why professors seem to keep searching for more. As long as they keep teaching, they keep on bridging the gap in their knowledge. That’s because the more you teach, the less you will think you know.

3. You cannot really claim you know it until you teach it: There are things we think we know until you get the class to teach it. Then your bubble will be busted. There’s this spirit in class that opens your mind to a great depth that you cannot access while just keeping the knowledge to yourself. As you teach, the concept becomes clearer, simpler.

4. The more you teach, the more you know.
The final part of the lesson I learned is that my comprehension of a concept improves while teaching it. I really cannot explain the science behind it, even when I really wish I could. But I discovered that it is tough to forget whatever I taught somebody.

Apart from that, if you are a teacher, you wouldn’t want to mess up in the presence of the students; thus, it’s up to you to make sure that your level of knowledge is up-to-date.

If you are looking for a motivation to study more, then start teaching more. This explains why students who take tutorials always perform well, ceteris paribus.

So what should you do?
1. Never think there’s nothing you can teach.
2. Do not allow what you don’t know to prevent you from teaching what you know.
3. There’s always somebody who is dying to know what you already know, so teach it.
4. You don’t teach because you know more, but you teach to understand more.

 

The “Progressiveness” of Knowledge

The “Progressiveness” of Knowledge

In primary school, we were taught that two minus three (2-3) was equal to “cannot.” I mean, it was impossible to subtract three from two, probably because we used sticks to count and an attempt to explain it would get us more confused.

As we moved from primary to junior secondary school, we found out that the answer was minus one (-1). I could remember finding that really difficult to understand in JSS 2. However, with time, I got used to it and not only master the concept but also used it to solve some basic algebra.

In junior secondary school, we were told that the square root of negative integer was impossible. But in senior secondary school, surd was introduced. Thus one could solve problems involving negative integer until one got the lowest imperfect number. So when we solved a problem involving surds and got to the point of (-1), that was the end of the solution.

In senior secondary school’s further mathematics and early years in the university, the concept of complex number was introduced. And suddenly, the square root of -1 became possible.

Now, why all these stories? It is to demonstrate the importance of a concept – “Knowledge is progressive.”

Let’s assume Paul, Peter, and Pius are in university, secondary and primary levels of education, respectively.

It would be wrong for Paul to shut Peter up for saying that the square root of -1 is not possible. Similarly, it wouldn’t be okay for Peter to laugh at and look down on Puis for saying that it’s not possible to solve 2 minus 3 (2 -3).

They are all talking from their levels of knowledge, and three of them have to pass through all these phases.

For our brothers and sisters in “high places” of knowledge, when next you hear somebody “blowing” blunder, please remember that he or she is talking from his or her level of knowledge. Don’t be too quick to forget that you were there once upon a time. So instead of shutting him or her up or looking down on him or her, just sincerely correct or, at best, walk away in peace.

And for us at the lower cadre, let’s not shut up because of those ahead of us or allow them to shut us up. We should also not forget to be humble to learn and grow to the next level of knowledge.

The largest room in the world of knowledge is the room for improvement. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 1 Corinthians 8:2

How to Sources Funds for your Business Idea – My thought & Experiences

How to Sources Funds for your Business Idea – My thought & Experiences

You might have heard that you don’t need money to start a business. I think the better way to put it is – you don’t require capital to start working on your business idea.

Every business at any stage requires capital – to start, to run or even to expand. No business can out-grow the need for external funding. Let me put it in a better way; no business is too big or too small to ask for more money.

The focus of my thoughts on this matter will be on two things. First, what to do before you ask for (more) money and second, where to look for money. Join me on this ride.

Four things to do before you ask for (more) money

  • Move past the idea stage.
  • Know what you want
  • Use your own money
  • Horn your communication Skills

Let’s take a look at each of them one after the other.

1. Move past the idea stage

One day I was in my business mentors office, and a young man (let’s call him Nemi) came asking for money to fund what I called a very brilliant business idea. That idea was so bright that when I heard it, I was like wow! I will invest in this idea if I have the money. But after listening to Nemi with rapt attention for like 20 minutes, my mentor simply asks, “How much do you need?”

Nemi replied with a very ridiculously low amount?  He smiled and asked again, “What did you need the money for?”

“To start the business”, Nemi responded.

“What precisely”, my mentor propped further.

Nemi man could no longer answer.

He simply asked Nemi to go and bring his business plan.

After Nemi has gone, my mentor turned to me and said, “Nick, you see that young man, he is not returning to me again. The best way to turn down young entrepreneurs who don’t know what they are doing is to ask them to bring a business plan. They will never return.

That was three years ago. Since then, I have learned never to ask anybody for money until I have done real work on my idea. I mean real work.

They are five stages of business growth – the idea, startup, growth, expansion and maturity stages.

The idea stage is the stage of conceptualisation. You just got this excellent business idea that is going to among Fortune 500 in the next five years. You have everything figure out in your head, you want to start tomorrow, and you need the money now.

Well, I will say, calm down. It doesn’t happen that way. Only a few funders fund ideas, but no one who can, will resist investing in a startup that has proven sustainability and scalability. So before you ask for money, do some work about your idea?

Carry out a feasibility study, identify your target customers, validate your users and be sure that they will love to pay to use your solution. Do your financial analysis and have figures at your fingertips. All this information will lead you to write a “killable” business plan or business proposal.

A powerful tool that can simplify this for you is called “The Business Model Canvas (BMC)”. Maybe one these days we will look deep into it.

2. Know What You Want

From our little story above, the significance of knowing what you want, when it comes to getting funding for your business is apparent. Nobody, including your friends and family, will take you seriously if you do not know what you want. Run your figures to understand what you want, how much you need and how much is for what. You can even go-ahead to run the financial projection of your profit.

Find out your break-even points, break-even revenue or even break-even unit. You can learn this calculation online. Seek for an assistant if you need to. If you can memorise your figures and have them handy, it will be super awesome. It shows you know what you are doing.

3. Use your own money

You are the first investor in your business. If you can’t put your money into your idea, don’t expect others to do so. No matter how little it is, put your money in your business. It also helps to show others that you are serious-minded.

4. Horn your business Communication Skills

When you have done your underground work, ran your figures and even invested your money in your business idea, there is still a high possibility that you will not get the fund if you don’t know how to pitch your business idea correctly.

When pitching your idea, the first thing you should take note of is your target audience. Different things attract different sets of funders.

The investors are more concern with the scalability and sustainability of your idea, especially in the long term. Thus net profit (bottom line) and break-even analysis ( how long it takes you to generate them)  is fundamental to them.

The bank is interested in your cash flow and ability to pay to pack the principal and the interest. They are less concern with your bottom line (net profit), unlike the investors.

Most grant donors are more interested in the social impact of your business. They gave out money for a course and achieving that course is very important to them. If it is to create more jobs, they will be interested in your number of employees.  They always are concern with your environmental sustainability and social impact on the community or the less privilege and venerable.

Your friends and family will want to know if you will be able to pay back them their money back. Or that you will use the funds appropriately and expand your business. Some of your uncles will think you should not be asking them for money any longer because he has empowered you.

The summary is, you should know what your funder wants and design your pitch to amplify it.

A business pitch can be writing or oral. Whatever means you are using or you are required to use, always try to be clear, concise and straightforward. You wouldn’t want to bore your audience with unnecessary jargons or unfamiliar business terminology.

Now, where can you source your business funds?