LIVE YOUR LIFE REGRET FREE!

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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!

SHOULD DOING THE RIGHT THING MAKE YOU PROUD?

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When my son was much younger, my wife and I had trouble getting him to eat his meals. My boy is quite the picky eater, and if you serve him food that he does not like he can sit for hours at time, just staring blankly at his plate. This used to be very frustrating for us, because we would cajole and beg, threaten and scream, just to make him eat. My wife would warm his food several times after it gets cold, and then the pleading and threatening would begin again. But as he grew older he started to develop a healthier appetite, and would gobble down his meal and hold up the empty plate to me proudly and say “daddy look, I finished my food!” I would smile and nod my head approvingly, as if he had just done me a huge favor. These days my boy will clear his food and take his plates into the kitchen before I even realized that food is ready, and I know that the time will come when I may even have to monitor the quantity of food he eats, to stop him from becoming obese. That’s the joy of parenthood, and all children go through these phases.

 

Last Saturday the country held its General Elections, and I noted with amusement many people proudly posting pictures of their ink-stained thumbs and forefingers online to show that they went out and exercised their civic duty. It reminds me of people who stroll proudly out of church after Sunday service, like they have just done God a huge favor by going to His house to worship Him. While I agree that going to church on Sunday fills one with a sense of accomplishment; just like going to the polls to cast our votes does, I need to remind us that going to church is not an act of charity…it is an act of obedience. When we do the right thing we are tempted to stop and look around us to see who is watching, and we expect to be congratulated for our efforts. But friend, serving God is for your benefit, not His. Voting in the elections is a duty to yourself and your nation that you must perform, and it does not stop there. You must monitor the outcome of the polls, and join other citizens to ensure that those who won the elections fulfill the promises they made in their campaign. We must hold our leaders accountable to their offices and encourage law enforcement officers to check the excesses of elected and appointed officials. We must pay our taxes and obey the laws of our constitution and make sure those who are in authority do the same. That is our duty as citizens, not just putting ink on ballot paper and declaring proudly that we have “done our duty”.

 

Similarly as Christians we must follow through on our Sunday worship: we must go back and search out the preacher’s words in scripture; we must put into practice the lessons we were taught from the pulpit, and flesh out the goodness of God. We must hold each other accountable to what we profess, and our lives must reflect the faith we claim. Our duty does not end with Sunday service, and unless we see our duty as 24/7, 365 requirements we are no more than an infant who eats his vegetables and expects ice cream as a reward. Spiritual and civic duty requires maturity, and only when we see ourselves as part of a team in search of progress, we cannot enjoy the best of God and State. So let us stop preening and start doing our duty to God and to each other. We have voted, and now we must follow through: just like we have worshipped in word, now we must worship in deed. There is no other way to secure the future, and I pray that God will help us carry out our duties to Him and to our nation to the fullest. Cheers!

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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CLINCH

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Years ago while competing to get my second Dan black belt, I severely damaged my knees. So I decided to try my hand at learning how to box. My first few attempts in the ring ended badly for me; I was knocked out twice, and three times I was so exhausted by the fourth or fifth round that I could not continue the fight. This was quite a blow to my fighter’s ego, and I could not understand why I couldn’t go the distance with guys who had far less experience in combat than I had. After this happened a few times I sought out a veteran boxer to help me find out why, and that was when I discovered something very important. I was approaching my fights with the same mentality with which I had been trained by my masters in Taekwondo, which was “go in, find the other guy’s weakness and end the fight quickly”. This worked well for me when I was sparring in competitions that usually lasted 2 or 3 rounds, but in boxing the fights last much longer and the amount of contact is much higher. My veteran friend explained to me that I wasn’t using my ‘Clinch’. The clinch is a defensive tactic which basically sees a boxer tie his opponent’s arms up so that they become entangled and any attack is rendered ineffective. For those of you who happen upon a boxing match, you may sometimes see boxers hugging during a fight. This is not to show affection; rather it is a boxer who doesn’t have the energy to counter his opponent’s punches tying up his arms in a clinch.

 

There are usually two reasons why boxers clinch. One is because the boxers are tired and they think they have no other choice. The other is because one of the boxers is getting pummeled and needs to stop the onslaught. … When that’s happening, clinching allows you to break your opponent’s momentum and get some much needed breathing space to gather your wits and some energy with which to continue. The exact same thing applies to real life: Sometimes the pressures of work and life and financial problems get so overwhelming that you are in danger of getting knocked out from the onslaught. At this point I would advise you to clinch your opponent to avoid serious damage to your physical and spiritual health. There are several simple and effective clinch techniques which I have discovered over the years; one of them is to take a couple of hours off and retreat to a corner to pray; another one is to switch off all electronic devices around me and just enjoy the silence. There are other effective clinch techniques as well: pausing work and going for a long walk to clear your head; reading and meditating on your favorite verses of scripture; even focusing intensely on something entirely different from work or business like your children or your other loved ones. These are all clinch techniques that help me take the edge off the pounding I receive on some days when I go to the office, because I know that if I don’t tie up my opponent’s (work) arms I could fail woefully at a critical project or I could suffer some form of physical or mental breakdown. Even an afternoon nap sometimes is a good clinch for work.

 

Whatever form of mental or spiritual clinching you employ, be sure not to do it too often so that you won’t become lazy and complacent and lose the fight. Mohammed Ali used one of the most effective clinching techniques against a near invincible George Foreman and won what experts billed as an impossible fight. You too can use effective clinching to beat impossible odds in life, because you are built for success…just learn to pace yourself. Cheers! Check out my other content on www.ifeanyiubawords.com, and subscribe to my You Tube channel The 360 Degree Mastery.

DIAGNOSING ADDICTION TO SIN

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A couple of years ago, I began suffering from terrible, crippling pains in my knees. I went to see a doctor and he sent me in for an X-ray. The X-ray revealed that I had severe arthritis in both knees, and that the years of abuse and injuries from practicing several martial arts plus my poorly managed weight had all contributed to damage my knees and ankles to the point where I couldn’t run or squat without almost passing out from the pain. I was devastated because martial arts and physical exercise are among the few things in which I found genuine pleasure and personal challenge. The doctor suggested I go for knee replacement surgery in the near future, but to manage the pain he prescribed the controversial pain killer Tramadol. Now Tramadol is a narcotic drug, and a pharmacist will only sell it to you if you have a doctor’s prescription. He put me on a daily dose of 50mg twice a day, and warned me to make sure I seek further treatment, as the Tramadol was only to help me manage through a critical period at work.

 

I began taking Tramadol as prescribed, but after some time I found that the duration of relief was starting to reduce. I needed to take it more than twice a day if I was going to get through work, and without talking to my doctor, I upped my dose to 50mg 3 times a day. Before long I discovered that 50mg wasn’t taking the edge off the pain anymore, so I started taking 100mg of Tramadol per dose. Shortly after that my doctor relocated abroad, and without his prescriptions I couldn’t get Tramadol from the pharmacy close to my house. Unfortunately Tramadol is available on the black market at a very high price, and I began to buy from a local dealer just to get my fix. At the height of my addiction I couldn’t get out of bed without popping a 100mg pill of Tramadol and taking it at least 2 more times before evening. The mellow feeling it gave me soon became a requirement for my productivity. I had become an addict without even knowing how or when it happened. The wakeup call came when I took a sizable amount out of my wife’s ATM one day to buy a few tablets of painkiller. I realized what I had become; the very thing I taught my students to stay away from…a junkie!

 

Getting off Tramadol was not easy; I prayed to God for relief, and forced myself to stop taking any sort of painkillers. I started going to the gym again and began using the treadmill to walk at least 1 kilometer a day. It was painful, but I stuck at it. I weaned myself of my addiction and endured the agony, forcing the muscles in my legs to get stronger so that they would take some of the pressure off my bones. Slowly the pain in my knees reduced to an ever present ache, but at least I could handle the aching. Now I can box and use a cross trainer without relying on drugs…as long as my wife helps me massage my knees at night.

 

Sin is a lot like drugs in so many ways. We often resort to sin as a solution to a problem, and most of the time we get into it innocently. But like drugs we soon find that we do not get the fulfillment we experienced the first time we committed the sin, so we sin some more. After this we begin to develop a tolerance to the sin and our conscience no longer bothers us when we sin, so we start to commit other sins that complement the original sin. Finally we become so addicted to a sinful lifestyle that we sacrifice the most important of all our relationships – our relationship with God – just to enjoy that lifestyle. The only way out of sin is to draw closer to God and try hard to live according to the standards that He set for us. This is not easy at all, and many times we will find ourselves in pain and agony while we try to live sin free. But the good news is that living a sin free life opens up a blissful and joyous world of communication with God, because that is His original plan and purpose for us. Living without sin is difficult, and many times in your life you will fall short, but as long as you do not allow yourself to remain in the sin, and as long as you do not let your spirit build up a tolerance to sin you will find that the pain of living sin free will not last; God in His love will even provide you permanent solution to your problem (1Corinth. 10:13).

 

So in this 2019 try to wean yourself of your dependence on and addiction to sin. The fewer the sins we have in our lives, the happier and closer to God we will feel. Don’t manage the pain; deal with it and I promise you that it will subside. Happy New Year and God bless us all as we resolve to live sin and guilt free.

 

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ACTUALLY IT SHOULD READ; “WITH GREAT RESPONSIBILITY COMES GREAT POWER”

 

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If you have ever read a Spider-man comic, or watched any of the Spider-man cartoons, or seen any of the Spider-man movies on cinema, you must have probably come across the signature quote of the hero’s late uncle Ben; “With great power, comes great responsibility”. These words define the character, Spider-man and his complete belief in these words is what leads him to perform so many brave and heroic deeds, and make so many personal sacrifices to keep his friends and family and the entire comic universe safe. Those words are so powerful that they have found their way beyond the comic world and even pop culture into mainstream reality. So many people have adopted them as their personal mantra, and a lot of companies, businesses and initiatives use a portion of that saying or all of it as part of their Vision, Mission Statement, or corporate motto. Even politicians and religious leaders have been known to quote the words dreamed up by the late, great storyteller Stan Lee (RIP); “With great Power, comes great Responsibility”. To explain this quote I would point you to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, which he spoke in Luke 12:48; “To whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” This means that if you are blessed with great ability, resources, opportunity, or influence, you are expected to use them to better the lot of the people around you. That is what God requires of us all, and He demonstrated this severally in the bible from Noah to Joseph; from Gideon to Samson to David. When God calls you, He equips you.

 

However, though those words are 100% true, and though they represent the right paradigm with which to change the world and validate our existence, I discovered years ago that even truer than “with great power comes great responsibility” are the words “With great RESPONSIBILITY, comes great POWER!” When you accept responsibility for your life and your circumstances you accept also the ability, resources and opportunity to change it. When you accept responsibility for others you receive the power to help them. I have written before about the direct relationship between the amount of responsibility we accept and the amount of happiness we have. Now I’m writing that when you take charge of your life, you also receive the power to improve it. We can whine and complain as much as we want about how unfair life is, but until we accept responsibility for who we are and where we are, we cannot have the power, or authority to make it better.

 

As a banker I used to complain about how my efforts were not being rewarded, and how my career was at a standstill because the bosses were being unfair. But when I decided that the direction of my career and my future was up to me, I suddenly became aware of all the options and opportunities available to me, and I could take action and make decisions that made me better, richer, and happier.

 

So, in the context of the words of the immortal Stan Lee, spoken by the greatest of all superheroes; “Take responsibility to help others, but first of all take responsibility for yourself”. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I urge you to live this festive season the way Jesus lived…by using what you have to take care of others. Check out my website www.ifeanyiubawords.com and remain blessed. Cheers!

 

PS: Thank you Stan Lee, for everything…Excelsior!

HAPPINESS COMES FROM BEING YOURSELF

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As readership of my blog grows, I find myself under greater pressure to generate content that a broader group of people can relate to. And because I base my write-ups on the lessons I learn from things that have happened to me, this has become more of a challenge. But I will always try to draw parallels that everyone can understand, and I pray that God will continue to give me the grace to do this.

 

Olaitan (not his real name) is one of those people who have that uncanny ability to fascinate and perplex you, all at the same time. We met during my first year in the university, and we have remained friends to this day. Olaitan was a Humanities major, but he would always tell anyone who would listen that he wished he were studying Medicine, or Engineering, or Art, or whatever course of study caught his fancy at the time. He was never content with what he had, or what he was doing; he could play the keyboard and the guitar quite well, but he wished he could rap and write poetry like me. He was a gifted Judoka and Wrestling champion, but he would rather envy me because of my skill in Taekwondo. Whatever talents and gifts Olaitan had, he would always say that he preferred the talents and gifts of someone else. This inability to appreciate his own strengths led Olaitan to end dozens of relationships with many lovely women, just because he would observe another happy couple enjoying their intimacy and immediately wish that the woman was his instead. To Olaitan everyone else had it better than he did, and he was never satisfied with just being himself and enjoying the things that made him unique. The last time I saw him was when he came to me to borrow money to start a business that he was not suited for, even after we all advised him not to quit his well-paying job as a Human Resources Manager at big company. The reason he gave for leaving the company was simple; people who were into that business seemed to be so happy…happier than he. Olaitan is now in his forties, but is still unmarried and unable to appreciate the good things and good people in his life.

 

As children we all envied something about someone else, and I’m certain that we have often wished we had the nice things our friends owned, which we did not have. This is normal. But at some point you have to begin to appreciate yourself and be grateful to God for who you are and what you have. This is one of the cornerstones of maturity, and until you can appreciate your own, you can never become the best of who you are. Yes, there are certain talents that shine like a beacon, but because you cannot sing or dance…because you’re not an academic prodigy, or a gifted athlete, doesn’t mean you’re not special and loaded with potential. Some people have their talents bubbling just below the surface, while some of us have to dig deep and work hard to discover our unique abilities. This is the fun of living in this world; the diversity of people. I have done some checking, and I discovered that indeed God has equipped everyone equally. He did not equip us the same; He just equipped us equally in different areas. Whatever it is someone around you has in abundance, know that you too have something else in equal abundance. That is the wonderful mystery of God that we must all appreciate. But like the servant who was given one talent (Matt.25: 14-30) we would rather hide our talent and envy those who seem to have more. Please do not do this. Be yourself all the time, and make full use of the little you think you have or are. Look at it this way; there are people who carry a heavier burden than you do. Would you rather exchange with them? So if you would not accept a heavier burden why would you envy a greater talent?

 

In conclusion, know that God does not see our service by quantity; He judges our thoughts and actions by proportion. If you believe you have little, but you do all you can with that little, you will be given more. But if you do nothing because you believe you have little then you are abusing the existence that you have been given. So please, look less at the blessings of others and more at the abundance of opportunity that you have been given. I pray God will give us all the grace to be truly happy with who we are and the strength to make the best of what we have, even as we appreciate His grace in the life of others. Check out my website www.ifeanyiubawords.com for more inspiring content. Cheers!