WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT THE PAST?

Nostalgia

The past has always held a special appeal for me, full of fond memories and hope and security. In my past I find instruction and experience; fond memories and the hope which enables me to face the speed and chaos and sadness that seem to define our current existence. There’s something about the past that makes many of us wish we could return to those times: those days when life was simpler and less complicated. If you were born before the turn on the century you would understand what I’m talking about. Before the days of instant messaging and social media; the days when life moved at a pace that you could understand and enjoy, because you didn’t miss a single event or occurrence…and you had time to process your experiences emotionally, before the next one came around. Now everything is moving so fast: tweets and posts, hash tags and memes are propelling us forward faster than some of us care to move. Now you can post a picture online in the morning and become a celebrity before noon, and almost immediately become old news before nightfall. I’m saying this to those people who like me, miss the sweet torture of falling for that girl in your neighborhood, or that boy in your school and be completely powerless to do anything about it, because the only way you can communicate your feelings to them is to actually walk up to them and say something…or write them a letter and beg your best friend to pass it along.

 

I miss the days of the analogue telephone; my fingers shaking as I dialed the numbers of her family’s home phone; my heart pounding as the clicking and buzzing tells me that the telephone is ringing on the other end; my stomach knotting up in fear at the thought that her father or her uncle might pick up and demand to know who is calling. I miss that feeling of euphoria when she comes on the line and we talk for as long as her folks – or mine – would allow the conversation to go on. I miss pouring my feelings on paper and posting it to her. I miss the exquisite agony of waiting 2 to 4 weeks for her reply; checking the family post office box every day until I get that brown envelope addressed to me; written in her teenage cursive, her words echoing the love and devotion I feel for her. I miss the long distance relationship, where you both have to wait until school goes on holiday to see or speak to each other. In some way I believe that love is only genuine when you either have to wait for it, or you have to endure making difficult choices to get it. In today’s world almost everything is instant: communication is instant, connection is instant, but worst of all…gratification is instant. If you cannot wait, you don’t have to. If you insist on waiting the world will pass you by and you will be left behind. The world does not care if your emotions are ready or not, because there really is no time for emotions. There’s only time for sensations.

 

I miss the days past when friendship meant something more than a tweet, or a Facebook meme or a short Instagram video, or words typed on a Whatsapp message or a quick phone call; those days when you waited for the weekend or the holidays to see your pals, because they were just as busy as you are and just as eager to see you. I miss walking thirty to forty minutes to your friend’s house just to “hang out” and talk for a few hours, with no electronic interface between you. I miss bonding over shared interests like paperback novels and music – not music videos mind you – just good music. I miss exchanging cassette tapes and compact discs and watching or listening to them, treating them with care because you know how your friend would feel if you returned them scratched or torn. I miss the passion and discipline of starting a collection. It didn’t matter what your collection was made up of, because back then everything was not digitized and disposable, replaceable, and easily duplicated. I miss bookshops and corner stores; being able to go out for a stroll at night without the fear of being robbed and injured by touts in a neighborhood that used to be safe for children to play in until mum came out to call you to come in for dinner.

 

But most of all, what I believe I miss most, is sincerity. I miss the days when life was straightforward, whether it was fair or unfair. I miss the days when only the wise in society were given an audience, and every fool with a smartphone couldn’t just come online and spew idiocy and foolish, negative sentiment. I miss the days when men thought before they spoke, and quotes meant real wisdom, and not a mish mash of words that have been retweeted and forwarded until they have lost all meaning…or bearing on the real problems of society. I’m not saying bring back the old days, because the new days have their positives too. But let us please remember the value we placed on the simple, small things like truth and integrity, because back then we were ruled by the best of our characters, and not the worst of our instincts.

 

In conclusion, I want to say I miss the way value was appreciated. Words were precious; time was priceless; delay was treated as part of the process, and the journey was every bit as fulfilling as the destination, because it was fun. If you were born in the 1900s and you grew up in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, this is for you. The young ones won’t be able to understand that there was a time when nude pictures weren’t just a click away; when the word “friend” didn’t have “Facebook” preceding it, and nobody followed anyone online, because everyone had an equal amount of value to offer…and all it took was appreciating life enough to see it. Namaste!

BE YOURSELF, BE ORIGINAL, BE UNIQUE

be unique

When I teach anything – be it writing, martial arts, Documents Analysis and even when I counsel young people about life, career or marriage – I always encourage my students to be themselves…to follow their own path to success. That is the single, most fulfilling freedom you and I can ever enjoy in life. I have come to realize and appreciate the importance of self-acceptance and individuality in the journey to true success and satisfaction. Let me share quickly with you how one simple experience a long time ago helped cement that principle in my heart.

 

Before I got married I used to compete in many freestyle martial arts tournaments and competitions. Back then I trained with a motley crew of fighters, and one of them was a friend I will simply refer to as Master Jim. I admired Jim a lot because he had heart, and though considerably older than the rest of us, he had a speed that belied his age. Jim was also one of best fake out kick boxers I have ever seen. He had a cool trick where during a fight he would constantly drop his left arm, presenting his opponent with a juicy target of an unprotected left side. When you swooped with a punch or a kick to attack his exposed ribs, Jim would quickly drop his shoulder and knock you senseless with a vicious right hook that came out of nowhere. It was a beauty of a gambit, and it worked every single time. I loved seeing Jim use it so much that I decided that I would copy it and use it in my fights. So I started training myself to drop my left guard like Jim did, and quickly swing around with my right. Pretty soon I was sure I had mastered the technique, so in my next fight I tried it, and my opponent knocked me out. I tried to use that trick again in 3 or 4 subsequent fights, and each time I was beaten. It did not make sense to me; Jim used it so flawlessly, and I studied and practiced his style for many weeks. Why couldn’t I use it effectively? It was not until Jim passed away that I found out from his brother that during his childhood Master Jim had suffered a severe injury to his left arm that left him unable to hold that arm up for more than a few seconds at a time. The damage also made it easier for him to drop his shoulder a fraction of a second faster than someone with a sturdy arm, and reach around with that blinding fast right under hook. That technique belonged to Jim, and only he could use it the way he did. I could try to copy it, but I would only be trying to be something I was not.

 

We all admire attractive qualities and personalities in others, and sometimes we try very hard to be like those we admire. While there’s nothing wrong with that, we need to understand that there’s a difference between learning good and useful skills from others, and trying to be exactly like them. We are who we are because of the way we were made, and the experiences of our past that helped shape our character. No matter how much you feel someone else is better than you, remember that you are unique. No one can be better at being you than you. Rather than trying to be a poor copy of someone else, work on becoming a better version of you. Explore the unique gifts and quirks that God has blessed you with, and exploit them to become the best of who you are. Turn your disadvantages into talents that can help you and others, and you will be admired for who you are. Satisfaction in life begins with self-acceptance and self-esteem. Appreciate who you are first, even as you admire the good in others and you will always be happy. Don’t forget that being the best in world starts with being the best within, so don’t drop that guard because you see someone else doing it. Find what works in you, and use it to create what works for you. God bless you this week, continue to stay safe as we work together to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. We will get through this.

 

Visit www.ifeanyiubawords.com for more awesome, life affirming content, and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Namaste!

JUST LIVE YOUR FAITH – GOD DOES NOT NEED A HYPE MAN

jesus hype

 

When I started my career as a banker, I was assigned to a desk as a processor for documents and transfers. I liked my job because I did not have to go out every day and try to convince people to open accounts with my bank. I used to think that marketing and sales jobs were harder than operations work because marketers were given sales target figures and forced to meet and exceed them or risk losing their jobs. In every company, marketing staff will lament and complain about how hard it is make sales or meet targets, but everyone knows that the progress of any business depends on the ability of its sales people to convince customers and clients to buy its products. With time my respect for marketers grew into admiration because no matter how efficient a company’s products or services are, if you cannot sell to the world, you cannot turn a profit.

 

Over the years, businesses have developed strategies to market their product and sell more: advertising campaigns; promotions and bonanzas, as well as free samples and discounts. Companies are now hiring younger and smarter, more energetic people to drive sales, and creating eye catching and compelling ads to draw attention to their brands. They even partner with celebrities and pop culture icons to push business and make more money. These gimmicks can be as simple as a sexual undertone in their ads, or as grandiose as a huge philanthropic initiative meant to show the world that they are for the mass public. Whatever the strategy is, marketing and hype is key to staying in business. Unfortunately we now seem to think that God needs us to hype His existence for the world to believe in Him. We have now equated marketing the Kingdom, to preaching the gospel. Huge events and compelling spectacles showcasing the beauty of Christian living do not fall into the prime directive of Jesus to us – or of any other faith or religion for that matter. You don’t have to manufacture a beautiful story telling of God’s goodness in your life to get us to believe in Him, and you don’t need to dazzle us with made up miracles and testimonies of great riches to validate God to the world. The most effective gospel anyone ever preached to me was by simply living his daily life in a way that showed me that the Spirit of God was at work in him.

 

Christianity is not a product that we must sell to the world; instead the message of the gospel is exactly what it is – a message to inform, encourage and comfort the people. Unlike the businesses of today that have to rely on the psychedelic, and prey on the emotions of the mass market, God does not need our hype. Live and act as Jesus did, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Inform those around you of what little God has done for you, but do not exaggerate or embellish. Whether it is working for you or not is not your concern. Just stick with who you are and stick with your prime directive: “go…preach”. God wants you to testify, not “Testi-Lie” and the world needs testimony…not “Testi-Phony” so share the gospel by living it and not by embellishment or exaggeration because God does not need a hype man.

 

Visit www.ifeanyiubawords.com for more awesome, life affirming content, and log onto www.sasukeventures.com to purchase my books and order a training or seminar. Stay safe during these trying times, and God bless you. Keep living your faith, and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel. Namaste!

BETWEEN BINKY AND BRUNO (OVERCOMING YOUR FEARS)

BRUNO

 

When I was 3 years old, I was playing with my neighbor’s family dog Binky in the front yard, and he bit my hand. I can clearly remember how it happened that day, and how my parents rushed me to the clinic as I cried and cried from the pain and the sight of my own blood pouring from the back of my hand. I had to get several stitches, and till this day I have the scar on the back of my hand to remind me of that terrifying event. For many years after that I carried a deep fear for dogs, and while growing up my friends would laugh at my efforts to avoid dogs, and the lengths to which I would go to stay well away from them. The funny thing is that I love dogs, and I find them to be very interesting. But the incident with Binky stayed with me well into adulthood and prevented me from developing a healthy relationship with dogs.

 

Last year I finally decided to face my fear head on (which after all, is what I teach) and get a dog. After talking to many dog owners and reading lots of online literature about man’s best friend, I finally got a beautiful Boer bull mix that my wife and I named Bruno. From the day he entered our lives, Bruno turned everything upside down. Chinelo and I had to take turns to wake up at 4am to let him out of his cage for his morning ritual of no.1 and no.2 which I have to say, toilet training him was NOT EASY! Bruno grew very quickly, and had a lot of energy…and mischief. He liked to rip stuff apart and dig holes and eat shoes and slippers. But as he grew we loved him more and more and learned to put up with his naughty behavior. Unfortunately, two weeks ago Bruno was killed in a domestic accident and Chinelo and I were devastated. He had become a part of our lives, and losing him was like losing a member of the family. However I am grateful that after raising Bruno, there’s hardly a dog whose size or bark can strike fear into me again.

 

My relationship with Bruno makes me think about how we relate to certain aspects of our lives. Some of us are afraid to love because of some trauma or betrayal we suffered in the past; and many of us are afraid to put in our best at something because of some shameful failure or crushing defeat we have had to endure in our youth. The past can mean many things to us, but we must never let it prevent us from seizing the present and enjoying the future. The analogy I wish to make here is twofold: Binky represents a pain from my past that I allowed to deprive me of the pleasure of something for many years, and it was not until I decided to approach Binky (this time as Bruno) again, did I finally overcome that fear and pain. So to overcome our fear we must face down that thing which we fear before we can succeed. The second analogy is this: as any dog owner will tell you, having one is not easy. Bruno was a handful and I had to devote a lot of time and effort and resources to taking care of him and training him. Several times during training or play I got nipped by his sharp teeth, but that did not reduce my desire to own a dog and enjoy his company. My point is that even after we decide to face our fears, we still have to tough out the overcoming process before we can succeed. Many preachers and self-help gurus will not tell you that. Success in anything is a two stage process; facing the challenges, and sticking it out despite the difficulty.

 

So try to face what you fear today, and you will surely overcome and triumph over that fear. Open up your heart to love and trust again, and open up your mind to what is possible for you. Don’t live in the fear of the past, and don’t relent in your efforts to win victory. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and have a blessed week ahead. Check out my online store by clicking www.sasukeventures.com to order my books and arrange for a training session, or visit www.ifeanyiubawords.com to access more life affirming content online.

 

Finally, help me say “thank you” to Bruno, for teaching me how to overcome my fear. I still miss him so much.

“ANYTHING FOR YOUR BOY SIR?” (THE GEHAZI PRINCIPLE)

bribe

 

Have you ever been rewarded for doing your job by someone who was so grateful for the way you served them, that he or she decided to show their appreciation by giving you a gift of money or something else of value? It feels good, doesn’t it? Getting a tip just for doing what you’re being paid to do is one of the highest forms of validation, and a source of great encouragement that you’re doing a good job. Tipping in the service industry is normal in our society, and in some cases is even encouraged. But for those who work in sensitive positions like government or financial services, receiving a tip can be a dangerous trap that can tarnish one’s record and end one’s career in a snap. In all the banks I worked for, the policy on receiving gifts and emoluments from customers is very clear; do not ask for a tip or a bribe, and even if you are offered a tip after performing your duty to the customer politely turn it down or refer the gift to your boss for equitable distribution among all members of staff. This is done so that such an employee will not be lured or tricked into committing a crime by influencing a transaction. This is taken very seriously, and in my career I saw several employees lose their jobs or promotions because they received gifts from customers to give them preferential treatment.

 

Nowadays employees ask for gifts from customers in different, creative ways. The most common of these ways is by asking “anything for your boy sir?” this is kind of like asking for a gift without openly doing so. Unfortunately it has become part of our culture to ask for…and even to demand for gratification from those whom we have been paid to serve. Such a practice is encouraged by dishonest clients who want to circumvent due process and break the law, and they use greedy staff to achieve this. Demanding for cash gifts from customers has destroyed the integrity of the workplace, and if you choose not to participate in such you may well be the exception to the rule.

 

Look at the story of Elisha the great prophet of God, and Naaman, the Syrian army general (2Kings chapter 5). After some back and forth, Elisha finally decided to heal Naaman of leprosy, who in his gratitude offered Elisha a present but Elisha refused. Unfortunately, Gehazi who was the servant of the prophet could not bear to see such an offer of gratification go to waste. He raced after Naaman and after lying to him that Elisha sent him, obtained two talents of silver and two changes of clothing. Of course Elisha found out and cursed Gehazi and his descendants with the same leprosy that Naaman had just been healed from.

 

If we examine that story – and if we want to be honest with ourselves – we see that what Gehazi did is no different from what we have made a culture of today. After all, the job had been done, and the customer just wanted to show his appreciation…right? But know this; demanding gratification for doing your job tarnishes the quality of your work and your character. It reduces the value of your efforts, and it creates a greed for lucre that if not checked, can destroy your career. We cry about corruption in the land, but fail to see what we do every day at work. The line between demanding a bribe to do your paid job, and requesting a reward after you do your paid job is very thin indeed, and like Gehazi, the leprosy will follow not just us, but our generations to come.

 

So, if you’re reading this and you are in the habit of asking to be rewarded with cash for doing work that your employer has paid you to do, have a rethink today. Only accept gifts in line with your company’s policy, and when you cannot decline a tip, make sure you let your boss know and ensure that your entire team partakes of the gift and give their sincere thanks to the gift giver. This way your integrity is protected, and the sanctity of your spiritual walk is not tarnished. If you’re not sure how to proceed, just follow my personal rule: ‘when in doubt…give it out!’ May the Spirit of the Most High God protect us in our locale and keep us from suffering the fate of Gehazi in our lives and careers. Amen! Have a blessed and profitable week ahead, and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking the link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmE-xv2bKtcYlfxKJnZJIug and hitting the SUBSCRIBE button. Visit my website www.ifeanyiubawords.com and order a training or seminar for your staff, group or company. And while you’re at it, order a copy of my books #360degreemastery and #getupgetbusygetthatA to support our efforts at #theifeanyiubafoundation to provide books and scholarships for the less privileged. Namaste!

LIVE YOUR LIFE REGRET FREE!

no-regrets

 

Several times in the past I have mentioned in my write ups that I have previously been diagnosed with severe Osteo-Arthritis, and that I require complex corrective surgery. I reference it in my posts because I know that many people are living with the same or a similar condition so my outlook on it gives them hope and encouragement, but mostly because through it I have found myself in God and I have been so blessed in my life because there’s nothing God cannot use to turn your situation around. As a Christian I believe that everything happens for a reason, and before I can change anything I have to first own my reality. This is a lifelong lesson, and the further I go in my walk, the more I learn about how wonderful life can be.

 

When I first found out I needed surgery I was sad. I pitied myself and tried to get others to pity me. I tried to find relief in pain medications, but when I discovered that I was abusing them, I resolved to fight back by going back to the gym. My cousin Ikechukwu dragged and forced me to get back into training, and every weekday we would train hard to lose weight and get fit. Last week I was using the treadmill, when an older couple came into the gym. They both looked in their 60’s and the man came and switched on the treadmill beside mine. I expected him to set it on a slow speed to match his age, but to my amazement, this man cranked up the speed and started running! For half an hour his feet pounded the platform as he covered mile after mile on the machine. Three machines away his wife was doing the same thing, and when they were finished, they hit the other exercise machines with a vengeance. I was so intrigued that I struck up a conversation with them after my workout, and they told me that they do a lot of traveling, but always made sure they hit a nearby gym each day. Their story inspired me afresh, but it was something the man said that made me decide to write this piece. He said; “I try to live my life without any regrets. I have been blessed with a good life and a good body by God, and I make sure I appreciate Him by using it to the fullest. If I die today I won’t regret the way I spent my life, that is why I do my best to do only what is right…because the best life you can live, is a life where you regret nothing.”

 

In the past we have all done things that we regret. In our private moments we remember those thoughts, words, and actions and we wish we had not thought, said, or done them. It weighs on us, and dulls the colors of our present joy. Many of us are still living our lives doing things that we are not proud of, and are not happy about. We compromise peace of mind for material gain, sexual conquest, or the approval of society. We live with guilt, but seem unable to break the cycle because we think we cannot live better or be better. This is where walking with your creator comes in. a life free of regret is possible, it just takes you to appreciate the life you have been given, and live, work, and play in a way that does not take away your peace of mind. Be the person you want to be, and always put in your best in what you do as long as you believe that what you are doing is right and in line with what God would want from you. Don’t worry about what the world thinks of you, just live your best life; a right life, and you won’t be plagued with negative emotions or feelings of regret. This is a very powerful lesson, and I’m glad I learned it because in all honesty, we don’t have so much time to spend on this earth, least of all time to spend regretting how we live it.

 

So do away with thoughts of your past, embrace your present, so that you can enjoy your future. Live a life you will be proud of, and only take decisions that God will approve. Forget what has happened before and focus on what is happening now. Pain and suffering will pass, but the memory of content will always remain with you. Make your private thoughts happy thoughts, and remember that a life without regrets is the best gift you can possibly give to your existence. Have a beautiful weekend, and a profitable week ahead. Namaste!

 

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THE DAMAGE A LITTLE LIE CAN DO

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In the course of my adult life, I have struggled with many different sins and addictions. This is not something I’m proud of, because as a child of God and as someone who strives to attain God’s expected level of spirituality for me, I become ashamed whenever I remember the habits that I have fought to break over the years (some with little success), and the sins which I commit knowingly and willingly even though my heart and spirit are screaming against my actions and begging my body to stop. But like the sinner who lays himself bare before the Lord, I own my flaws and continue to ask God to forgive and strengthen me, while I keep on battling against my instincts and my appetites and my weaknesses. That is the Christian journey.

 

But among all the sins and habits I war against, none have I found as hard to overcome as the sin of telling lies. You see, lying is a habit we learn as children, and if we are not taught how bad and unnecessary and hurtful it is, lying tends to remain with us for the whole of our lives. It usually starts with a simple act of denying responsibility for a broken or damaged item; or an attempt to manipulate the emotions or actions of a parent in our favor. We tell lies as children to avoid punishment or to get something we want but feel we do not deserve. But then as we grow up we begin to discover new, more creative uses for lying: We tell lies to impress; we tell lies to convince; we tell lies to acquire and to influence. We tell lies even when telling the truth will bring a much better result. In the end we become adults who lie so casually in a society built of lies that lying is now no longer considered such a serious sin as say, stealing.

 

I struggle with lies every day. I catch myself lying so casually in my work or to my friends that I wonder what God actually thinks of me. Something as simple as “I’m sorry, I don’t have a single kobo on me” when a friend asks for money, is as bad as the lies the Pharisees told against Jesus. I find that it would have been better to just say “Oh, I do have some money on me, but I’m sorry I cannot spare you any”. We have made lies a part of business; artisans like carpenters, mechanics and repairmen tell so many lies that when confronted they laugh and tell you it’s “part of the job, oga” It is now impossible to be honest with the facts, we believe that it is only simple, common sense to bend and twist them. Even in church we tell lies to each other and we lie to our spouses, our children, or neighbors, our parents, our friends so much that it now becomes difficult to receive anything we ask for from God, because we refuse to acknowledge how bad the sin of lying and deception are. The irony of it all is this; no one likes being lied to, and we go out of our way to punish anyone in our power who lies to us…even though we tell lies ourselves.

 

So, what is the solution? Can you go a day or a week without telling a single lie? Most of the lies we tell are lies to cover up previous lies we have told, and we would rather deceive others than risk embarrassment and shame at revealing the truth. The solution is this; try to go a day without lying. If you don’t succeed, try again the next day. Keep trying until you find yourself telling fewer and fewer lies. You will soon find yourself a happier person, and a more fulfilled and more confident person. But make sure you continue to pray. I’m not smart, and I don’t want to be smart if it requires me to lie and deceive people. That is my prayer, and I believe that God can make it happen for me. Being upfront and honest with my spouse is something I cherish very much, and she knows this and we both appreciate the fact that we can tell each other anything without fear. With time I’m sure I can eliminate lying entirely from my life because after all, my biological father is still very much alive and from what I have been told by every single person who knows him, he has never told anyone anything that is not true. So I believe one can live on this earth without indulging in the sin of lies. I pray God sends His Holy Spirit to convict us of this habitual sin, and give us strength to overcome it. Amen.

Visit my website www.ifeanyiubawords.com for more content, and subscribe to my YouTube channel THE 360 DEGREE MASTERY for videos on Self Mastery and Wealth Creation. Let me know in your comments what you think of lying, and what kinds of damage lies have done to you or someone you know. Cheers!