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

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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!

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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LIFE AS A VIDEO GAME: AN INTERESTING ANALOGY

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I like video games. No, scratch that…I LOVE video games! Ever since my friend Ike brought one to school and convinced me to skip classes and go to my house and play Mario with him, I’ve been hooked. Over the years I have been an avid follower of the gamer culture, and I have invested a lot of money in my games. I say ‘invest’ because I understand the role of digital entertainment in my own personal process. Video games help me develop my problem solving capabilities because the sort of games I play have cool puzzles and tests which you must pass before you can advance to the next level; they help me improve my goal setting process because for me few things are more rewarding than playing a difficult game on the hardest level all the way to the end and seeing the end credits roll and the CONGRATULATIONS! Message light up the television screen. Another thing computer games do for me is improve my hand eye co-ordination and my mental reflexes in actual combat scenarios, so that when I’m sparring an opponent I think faster and react better. But I guess that as a married man the greatest benefit of my gaming habit is that it keeps me occupied and out of trouble when my wife is away from home on trainings or attending meetings. I love my games; Street fighter, Halo, Mario, Tomb Raider, Winning Eleven, ISS pro…I own them all and I play them enthusiastically because they help me relax after work.

 

My favorite video game of all is the god of War series. In this game you play as Kratos; a Spartan warrior who must embark on a long journey armed with twin blades mounted on chains with which he slices and dices his enemies on his quest to destroy his arch foe Ares, the god of war. I love this game in particular because of the high level of blood and violence, and the realism of the graphics as well as the fact that I can relate with the flaws of the hero. Kratos is a tortured soul who seeks to avenge the betrayal of Ares and redeem himself for his unspeakable crimes against the innocent. He has no allies and is driven solely by his rage and his desire to exact vengeance. But I digress.

 

The good thing about video games is that even when you die in the game, you can come back to life and just continue from where you stopped, or you can save your progress and continue playing at a later time. Unfortunately, real life is quite the opposite. You cannot afford to be reckless with your life, or attempt to put life on “pause” because “something came up”. You cannot select who you want to be or switch characters halfway through. There are no “continues” and “extra lives” or “cheat codes” with which to go through this world. We don’t get “free bonuses” and “unlimited” anything because we stumbled on a hidden box containing upgrades to help us make the game of life easier. Finally, you cannot select a difficulty level that makes your challenges simple, or skip the really hard levels because they’re “not fun”. Unlike video games, in life you have to play as you are; you have to play through every single level with no unlimited ammunition or infinite continues because if you die…that’s it. We must live and grow through our experiences and be mindful that whatever decision we take today will most certainly affect our tomorrow. I’m not saying this to depress you, rather I want to remind us that we have one shot at life, and the best thing to do with that shot is to appreciate it by serving The One who programmed the game and gave us an opportunity to play. God expects us to use what He has given us to serve Him by doing His work. Sometimes it may seem like ours is on the hardest difficulty, but if we recall, the bible tells us in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus lived in the same world as we did and was tempted just as we are. That’s right; Jesus had no cheat codes either.

 

So try to enjoy the life you have, and don’t spend your time wishing for shortcuts through your challenges. If we accept the gift of life and do the best we can with it we can be sure that no matter where the game may end for us, those end credits will roll and when we enter the kingdom we will see the boldly written message CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE GAME!

 

You can access more of my written and video content on www.ifeanyiubawords.com Merry Christmas!

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!

YOU MUST OWN IT BEFORE YOU CAN CHANGE IT

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Over the years I have posted numerous articles and write-ups on my blog and my social media pages, and each time I’m always careful to post only what I know to be truth through personal experience and many hours of deep thought and prayer. But of all the lessons and advice I have ever posted, this one is to me one of the most powerful and effective lessons I have ever learned.

 

Emeka was a young Taekwondo-ka I trained with back when I was competing in tournaments. He was one of those fellows who you would call naturally gifted; long limbs, flexible and with good reflexes, Emeka made Taekwondo look beautiful. His kicks were strong and his footwork and stances were textbook perfect. In fact, with the right training and attitude, Emeka could have gone all the way to the world championships…even the Olympics. Yes, Emeka was THAT good!

 

But Emeka had one serious flaw which I believe derailed his chances of becoming a world class martial artist. He always had an excuse to give every time something went wrong. If he arrived late for training and missed a spot on the team, he blamed it on traffic, or the rain, or something else; whenever he lost a match, he complained that the referee was being partial to the other guy; if he failed to break a board during grading test; he blamed it on the person holding the board. That was Emeka for you; he blamed everyone and everything else except himself. Before long he was dropped entirely from the team and his conclusion was that the coach was tribal and jealous of him. The last time I saw him he was hanging around the National Stadium, obese, unkempt, telling anyone who would listen about his glory days as a fighter and how the envy of those he was better than caused them to conspire against him and end his career. I tried to feel sorry for him, but it’s hard to feel pity for someone who never took advantage of his unique gifts, or took responsibility for his failures.

 

If this story does not strike a chord with you, then you’re not being sincere to yourself. Our society teaches us to hold others responsible for our failures, and blame something other than ourselves for our shortcomings. We are conditioned to believe that our poverty; lack of education; disadvantages, and even spiritual immaturity are the handiwork of “the enemy”, regardless of our decisions, lifestyle or lack of commitment. People flock to churches where they are told that unseen enemies are to blame for their lack of wealth and physical and psychological discomfort. They spend time praying and fasting against their fellow man, and seeking for miracles from heaven in the form of “covenant helpers” to magically provide them with things that so called “unbelievers” wake up and go out and achieve every day through hard work, dedication, and personal sacrifice. We are a society of blamers, and between the secular zeitgeist and the religious programming, we are taught to blame and not own.

 

Success is a process, and that process begins with first owning your reality. Whatever your reality is right now; whether it is your fault or not, you must accept responsibility for it before you can change it. When I finally decided to accept responsibility for my failures I discovered that I was no longer concerned with whom or what caused them. All I was interested in was how to change the situation. Yes there are bad people out there who seek to take from you and destroy you, but there is also a God who loves you and will replenish and multiply…all you have to do is accept responsibility for where you are and begin to work towards getting to where you want to be. If like Emeka you choose to blame everyone and everything else for your failures, you will never hold yourself responsible for your success. Remember that where you are today is as a result of the decisions and actions that you – or someone who has authority over you – have taken in the past. So if you want a change you need to accept responsibility for your shortcomings and work towards overcoming them. Are you poor? don’t blame society or government, accept responsibility for your finances and start working toward riches. Are you obese? Stop blaming your moods and circumstances and accept that it’s your responsibility to get fit. Are you unhappy or dissatisfied? Stop blaming your past, accept your present, and begin to create your ideal future now! So accept responsibility for what you don’t have today, and when you do you will become empowered to go out and get it all.

 

Because before you can change it, you have to own it. Check out my website www.ifeanyiubawords.com for more content. Cheers!