8 REASONS YOU NEED TO BE ORIGINAL

8 REASONS YOU NEED TO BE ORIGINAL

A few days back, I enrolled in a writing class, and we were given a template for the introduction.
Our tutor said we could use hers as a guideline, with a strong instruction not to copy the template verbatim. The assignment was to be submitted before the end of the day.

As I was running out of time, my first instinct was to copy it, change a few words, and submit. I followed my instinct, but during the proofreading process, I realized it wasn’t me talking. I literally could hear neither my active nor my passive voice. I wouldn’t introduce myself in that manner.

Remember that I was really behind time. I just wanted to submit and head on to the next task, but then, a friend’s voice changed everything; “be original, do not rush, do your thing,” she said.
I heed to that counsel and choose to do the right thing – to be original. It may not sound like a pro, but it would be me talking.

So, I erased everything I’ve written and started fresh again. I was surprised, it came out really nice, and I felt the originality of my introduction.

This scenario reminded me of how the “cover song” originated. A cover version is a new performance or recording by someone other than the song’s original artist or composer in music.

A cover version was originally described as being a rival version of a tune recorded to compete with the recently released (original) artist or composer of the song.

I probably don’t particularly appreciate promoting cover songs. I guess because I feel so much effort is put into remixing an artist’s song for publicity when you could sit down, think of your lyrics, and be original.

The same goes for plagiarism. People saw plagiarism as being smart or creative but thank God it’s a punishable offense in itself.

The ability to think independently and creatively should always be encouraged, and that is originality. So, here are a few secrets to help you remain original.

  • Reason #1 Originality makes your business stand out – No matter how someone tries to copy you, yours will always be distinct.
  • Reason #2 Originality builds your identity and image into something influential – your originality keeps you ahead of your competition and makes you influential.
  • Reason #3 Originality brings fun and excitement: remember the adrenaline rush you feel in your body when you think of an idea no one has thought of, or you write an original content no one has written about, or a business idea your striving business can leverage on and grow, you become excited! That’s what originality does to you.
  • Reason #4 Originality breeds new ideas – If you get used to being innovative and imaginative, you would always think outside the box and have something new to offer. Originality helps to stretch your mind and train it to think beyond the norm and not waiting for someone or something to copy from.
  • Reason #5 Originality gives more respect – Everyone wants someone to look up to. As they realize you have your principles and you stick to originality, you are more respected. You become a role model for them.
  • Reason #6 Originality fosters a better relationship – Being original leads to a better relationship because you do not pretend to be someone else. You are honest about who you are and what your values are.
  • Reason #7 Originality brings security – Who wouldn’t feel secure around someone straightforward; someone who isn’t a copycat.
  • Reason #8 Originality creates trust – Trust can only be built when originality is being practiced. Trust is how well people work together, listen to each other, build an effective work relationship, and improve productivity in any organization.

And lastly, originality keeps your customers – You could attract traffic to your site or customers to your business, but what happens when they find out that you are a copycat? News flash; you would jump off the window.

So, I urge us all to be original. Do you have other reasons to be original? Could you share with us?

THE “WITCHCRAFT” TAG

THE “WITCHCRAFT” TAG

We were told countless times not to go out and play with Anita, although they did not give us any concrete reason. So, I always disobeyed my mother’s order. Anita was a lively girl who loved playing rough as I did, and we would talk for hours when we didn’t feel like running around. I noticed other kids avoided her, but I always said their loss was my gain as I had her friendship all to myself!

I often heard other kids call her “Ogbanje,” probably because of the countless times she had fainted publicly. I always made a jest of her like, “Anita, if only you would eat like an elephant, you won’t be this skinny. You would cease to faint” Then, we would laugh about it, and when all the kids were playing in the rain, Anita wouldn’t come out. I didn’t know why, but I enjoyed myself alone with her. A couple of times, we had to fight off her “ogbanje” accusers, and after such ordeal, she would get really sad.

I didn’t know why people called her a witch, not until I was of age and read about sickle cell anemia. Where ever Anita is right now, I sincerely hope that she could fight off her illness, and I wish we all knew better.

The Bible says, “my people perish for lack of knowledge.” A lot of us are misinformed, uninformed, or ignorant. No wonder we throw stones at anyone different from us, rather than love them.

Here are a few disorders that are popularly seen as witchcraft here in my community.

ALOPECIA AREATA (AA)

Loss of hair syndrome. It is an auto-immune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, and in most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches on the scalp. This condition can progress to a complete loss of hair. Sadly, the exact cause of AA is unknown; roughly 20% of affected people have a family member with alopecia. People are yet to accept these affected individuals. So, they wear wigs to conceal it.

UTERINE FIBROIDS

These are non-cancerous growth of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. It ranges in size from seedlings to grown masses. It can distort and enlarge the uterus.

Have you heard of someone saying something like, “that woman don chop all her pikin for her bele” or “the woman with the issue of blood”? Here are their reasons? Symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
I) Heavy menstrual bleeding
II) Menstrual periods lasting longer than usual
Most times, submucosal fibroids could cause infertility or pregnancy loss. An exact cause of uterine fibroids isn’t known, but some of the following factors can be noted:
I) Genetic change
II) Hormones
III) Extracellular matrix and other growth factors

PROGERIA

Also called Hutchison-Gilford syndrome. This condition causes children to age rapidly. It results in growth failure, wrinkled face, baldness, short stature, large head, small jaw, limited range of motion, thin skin, etc. It’s caused by a mutation in the lamin A gene. So, whenever you see a child looking old, don’t go ahead and conclude, it’s the reincarnation of our ancestors, please!

PICA

I had a school mate who loved eating chalk. It was a bit weird to me, but I didn’t care. Pica is an unusual disorder that causes people to eat non-food substances, such as chalk, clay, dirt, paper, soil, etc. It’s more common in women than men and very common in children. It could have an adverse effect on them, but the good thing is it’s treatable with close medical supervision.

TRICHOTILOMANIA

Have you seen an adult intentionally pulling out their hair? Fear not! They are not possessed; it’s just a disorder that compels people to pull out their hair from their scalp, underarms, and other body parts. Although it hasn’t been discovered why they do these, it’s believed to have a calming effect. However, it can be treated with therapy.

So, now you have been educated in some genetic and mental disorder that we have popularly tagged as “witchcraft,” especially in this world. We now know the truth. Now, instead of hating on them, why don’t you show love?

Please share with us some disorders or diseases that have been tagged witchcraft in the comments section.

Simple hacks to a cheerful life

Simple hacks to a cheerful life

The recent events around the globe have thrown us into an unprecedented state of uncertainty. It seems no one can plan anything because we have no idea what tomorrow, next week or next month will come along with. This uncertainty of not having control over events in your life can create anxiety. Presently, there is actually very little that we can control.

Global chaos or not, while we may exert our wishes on the world, we can’t control how the world, including other people, will treat us and only control our responses to our environment. Being upset about how things are is focusing on what’s wrong, but with a quick change in focus, you see the same situation but focus on what’s right.

Achor’s research found that every single business outcome improves when a person’s brain is “a positive.” A person is 31% more productive, 37% better at sales, and doctors are 19% faster and more accurate when their brains are positive rather than negative, neutral, or stressed. The question is, how can we be positive and stay positive?

I would be sharing a few sets of actions that rewire the brain and say, hacks to living a happy life:

Acceptance

Acceptance means finding peace in the way things are, and it’s closely tied to awareness. How can we accept our current situation if we aren’t aware of our abundance? The opposite of acceptance is resistance, and that’s what we all do. Instead of lamenting about how things are, try asking yourself how I can immerse myself at the moment and make the most of it?

Acceptance doesn’t mean apathy, naivety, or false hope, it means dropping resistance and being open to what potential may come. It’s saying, “Okay! This is the way things are, now what am I going to do about it and what might be the silver lining?”

Affirmative words

The words we speak to others are just as powerful as those we speak to ourselves. A well-known proverb says, “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Affirmations repeated several times each day, every day serve to reprogram your subconscious with positive thinking. An affirmation is made up of words charged with power, conviction, and faith. Affirmative words, when done properly, triggers positive feelings, which in turn drive positive actions. Your affirmative words should be unique, uplifting, be related to your present condition, and should be able to touch your heart like;

  1. I feel better about myself today because I know the importance of life
  2. Today is the first day of the rest of my life, and I would make it count
  3. I am creative in my own way
  4. My thoughts and feelings are nourishing
  5. I attract only good things in my life.

Exercise

Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters, it keeps you healthy, it reduces the immune system chemicals that can make you depressed. It also increases your level of endorphins (which are natural mood lifters) and keeps you in a positive feeling.

Build your A-team

Having the right team with the right attitude makes it easy to live a happy life. Your A-team should consist of people, be it friends or relatives whom you share great trust and confidence in. They should possess positive attitudes, be people who believe in you, and have supported you. Your A-team should be people who you can easily reach out to when you find yourself in difficult situations and in need of a pep talk

Be kind

It takes a cheerful person to be kind, so wake up with the consciousness of doing random acts of kindness to people. Send someone a thank you note, a lovely message, wear a big smile, help someone open the door, give compliments to your colleagues or neighbors, and watch your attitude boost from 0 to 100.

These are seemingly simple hacks, but over time, they’ve proven to be all we need in the most unlikely situations!

Do you know any other hack, why don’t you cheer with us in the comment session?

Undervalue Fields we must Pay More Attention to

Undervalue Fields we must Pay More Attention to

Everyone would attest to the fact that while growing up, we all looked forward to career day with all enthusiasm, where we could all play grown-up roles and act out our future careers. We would eagerly rush to the school hall to hear our seasoned speakers mount the podium and address us.

But sadly we only saw but a few speakers who were doctors, engineers, nurses, lawyers, an accountant, Nigerian army personnel and a few more and at the close of the lecture by a doctor, when asked: “how many of you want to study medicine and surgery?” 80% of hands were raised, funny, right? Hahaha

None of us knew what life had to offer, and you wouldn’t blame us even our parents saw these professions as the only worthy profession which could have a regular paycheck monthly, after all, who wouldn’t want to secure his or her child’s future.

But surprisingly, there is a long list of Noble careers which still give you your regular paychecks and fulfillment, and sometimes even less demanding. I call these careers my rare gemstones. You know, everyone knows about gold, diamond, and silver. Still, only a few know about Tanzanite, Red Beryl, Black Opal, Burma Ruby, Emerald, etc. and by the way, some are more expensive and valuable than a diamond.

In no particular order, here are a few careers that are overlooked and should be given due attention and encouraged.

Agricultural Science:

Despite the establishment of agriculture-based universities in Nigeria, this course is still underrated. Agricultural students are usually referred to as “farmers.” Nobody wants to be a farmer when there are white-collar jobs. Still, the untold truth is this is one of the wealthiest sectors in the economy, and you get to be in charge of your business, and with a well-managed farm, you won’t need to rely on the government’s monthly check for survival and maybe to earn daily.

Hospitality and tourism management

The hospitality and tourism sector is fast growing in Nigeria. Not many people have this specialized skill, with a degree in such hardly popular course, you could be of more advantage, you could write to hotels with a good cover letter and sell yourself, or you can decide to start up on your own, you could own catering services, a travel agency, tour operator and much more.

Public Health

This branch of medicine deals with holding sensitization programs, prevention of diseases, awareness programs, etc. and most times the Nigerian government pay even in dollars, you could work with the government or with NGOs and live a fulfilling life, you could also be a health coach and be self-established.

Food nutrition and Dietic

We all love food, but these people make food and nutrition their daily job. Trained in health, science, and human development, these professionals enjoy careers as independent specialists, government employees, research scientists, and educators, and it ensures a lucrative career.

Physical & Health Education

The sports industry is growing in Nigeria, more and more people in the middle and upper class are paying attention to fitness, professional fitness coaches are still in low supply, what we have are emergency fitness coaches. Sport based businesses from the gym centers to health clubs to even standard sports centers are regularly opening, and as a professional physical and health educator, you stand a chance of employment. You could also delve into physical therapy, and be self-employed.

Human Resource Management

They are very much sought after, and in high demand, their importance in any organization cannot be overemphasized. They are versatile; they are also paid a reasonable amount of salary, and it’s less demanding.

These are my few lists of underrated careers, which I advise we pay more attention to; they are my rare gemstones. “wink” venture into any and thank me later. Do you know any of other gemstones career you need to bring our attention to, please let us know at the comment session?

The Blood Money Psychology

The Blood Money Psychology

Emaka grew up in a village in Enugu. One day, his childhood friend returned from Lagos with the latest car.

Emeka wanted to be rich, too. So, he begged his friend to take him to Lagos so that he can hustle and make his own money.

On reaching Lagos, it turns out that his wealthy friend was an occultic man and he convinced him to join the occult group. Emeka was resistant at first, but after some more persuasions, he succumbed and used his father, mother, or somebody he loved dearly for rituals. He became extremely wealthy.

If you are a Nigerian born in the early and mid-90s, I bet you can relate to this story.

I grew up with two terrible mindsets about money.

The first one was influenced by Nollywood, and it is that every wealthy person belongs to an occultic group.

Where I spend the early part of my life, seeing an extremely wealthy person was a privilege we could not afford. My definition of wealth was any family who could afford a generator, television, and maybe a fancy car (Fancy – referring to any other vehicle apart from 504 or 505 Peugeot).

Well, some of us were not privileged to be part of that league. So, we usually sneak out at night to stood by the window to see movies. If we were lucky enough, they would open their curtain or, better still, allow you to go in (if you are a friend to the family).

The type of movies we watched those days were full of something like my introductory story.

These stereotyped storylines were made for entertaining, but the unintended consequences were that it was gradually implanting on my innocent, naive, and young mind, a wrong perspective about wealth.

This kind of plot was so consistent in Nollywood movies that it became so real to me. So much so that I began to see any good car on the road as a product of ‘blood money.’

The second mindset was influenced by a church I attended for six months after my secondary School while I was doing computer training.

We were doing a series of Bible studies on the end time, and what I understood then was that all the world’s wealthiest people are potential antichrist.

So, as far as I was concerned, once you are a billionaire, you have pitched your tent with the devil.

It was so serious that I concluded that it’s impossible to be wealthy and influential and yet be part of the Kingdom.

What those mindsets did to me was to take away my confidence, becoming rich. I told myself, “since I wouldn’t want to use my parents or siblings for ritual and I do not want to be an antichrist, the best thing is to just remain in the middle class. After all, godliness and contentment is a great gain.

The good news is all those mindsets have changed because I realized they weren’t true. Thanks to the balanced doctrines of FCS KSU and Chapel of Restoration. My first two years in the University were more of a mindset reform and spiritual transformation than they were of Academics.

I also come to learn that an average Igbo man who migrated from his village to Lagos does not have to be an occultic member to make money. Most of them (if any) do not belong to any cult at all. Their wealth is a product of determination, commitment, and divine empowerment.

I am a firm believer in the fact that God gives the power to create wealth, and a man can yield to him and build capacity to lend to nations. That’s the scripture.

In case you are still having similar mindsets about wealth as I had before, I want you to know that it’s not your fault. We are all products of our nature (genetic make-up) and nurture (environment). You may not be able to change your nature but can unlearn everything you learned from your environment that is toxic. That’s what life is all about, learning, learning, and relearning.

Guess what, I can help you with it. I will be writing a series of posts about how you can develop a healthy mindset about money in August. You can subscribe to the series for free at https://bit.ly/MMwithnick

Stay tuned!
#Growwithnick

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.