Don’t Mock Me, Teach Me

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“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” – Proverbs 12:1

How often have you heard people say, I can’t marry a woman that doesn’t know how to cook? Or I can’t be with someone that doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re (grammatical errors)? I reckon that these have led to the demise of many promising relationships.

First and foremost, I love food. Ah! Food is life. In Nigeria, there is a common saying that “the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” so I do believe a woman ought to possess great culinary skills.

However, as I grow older (and wiser I hope), I have come to accept that not every woman produces magic in the kitchen and not everybody is grammar-savvy. Nobody knows it all and we all have flaws; even the shortcomings of the genuises among us may come easily to those with the lowest of IQs.

As a consequence, I have come to realise that everybody has something to teach you and what really matters is being teachable. So the most important question ought to be is she willing to learn how to cook? Is s/he eager to know the difference between your and you’re?

Teachability is not something you can force on anyone; it is a choice. We choose whether to react positively or negatively to other people’s views and ideas. Jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong once said, “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t teach them.”

Naturally, we abhor criticism and negative feedback. No one likes to be criticised so we tend to develop strong resistance and reluctance to it.

This problem is often exacerbated if one possesses any of the six things that can make people arrogant: power, fame, intelligence, affluence, talent and beauty. No matter how powerful, famous, intelligent, affluent, talented and/or beautiful we are, if we are unteachable, it will be hard or almost impossible for us to reach our full potential in our endeavours, careers or relationships.

Hence, being teachable is crucial in self-development and self-education; it is the most important skill in life. Teachability is linked to having an unquenchable thirst and deep appreciation for knowledge.

Your immediate contacts, friends and family are always willing to share their information/knowledge if you are willing to learn from them. Every coach/manager from all walks of life loves anybody that is teachable. They are often happy and eager to help anyone who is not conceited to ask questions.

So go ahead and ask questions for everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. And if someone doesn’t know what you know, try correcting/teaching them before mocking them.

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Me, You and Sad Songs

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Emotions are frequent companions in our lives. They can’t be controlled; they come and go like the weather. Nevertheless, music has a powerful influence on our emotions. For instance, human beings are so fixated on the idea of happiness. This is why Pharell Williams’ “Happy” was a massive hit.

However, British music acts Adele and Sam Smith have received global recognition and scooped various awards for belting out sad heartbreaking songs. When Adele released her new album “25” recently, the Internet was thrown into ‘sadness.’ Virtually everybody had her single “Hello” on repeat. Some even made cover versions of the sad song.

This got me asking myself some questions like why the huge attachment to sad songs despite our obsession for happiness? how many people are truly happy?

Funnily, I went through my music collection and realised I have more sad songs than happy songs. To worsen the matter, I found out that the sad songs were some of my favourite songs. I assure you I’m not a masochist nor a saddist so the result was surprising to me. I bet you if you go through yours, you may get the same result.

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Here is a list of 50 popular songs that are actually sad. You might find some of your favourite songs in it too.

1. Wiz Khalifa ft Charlie Puth – See You Again
2. Sia – Big Girls Cry
3. Adele – Hello
4. Adele – Someone Like You
5. Sam Smith – Lay Me Down
6. Sam Smith – Stay With Me
7. Sam Smith – Not The Only One
8. 2Face Idibia – True Love
9. Omarion – Ice Box
10. Nicki Minaj – Pills & Portions
11. Seether ft Amy Lee – Broken
12. Hinder – Lips of Angel
13. Ed Sheeran – Kiss Me
14. Drake – Find Your Love
15. Justin Timberlake – Lovestoned
16. Enrique Iglesias ft Sean Garrett – Away
17. Rascal Flatts – What Hurts The Most
18. Rascal Flatts – Here Comes Goodbye
19. The Script – BreakEven
20. Hoobastank – The Reason
21. Bon Jovi – Misunderstood
22. Coldplay – Fix You
23. Coldplay – The Scientist
24. One Republic – Say (All I Need)
25. Tom Odell – Another Love
26. One Republic – Apologise
27. James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
28. Rihanna ft Mikky Ekko – Stay
29. Pink – Just Like A Pill
30. Mario Winans ft. P.Diddy – I Don’t Wanna Know
31. Puff Daddy ft. Faith Evans/112 – I’ll Be Missing You
32. Bruno Mars – Grenade/If I Was Your Man
33. Mr Probs – Waves
34. Ruben Studdard – Sorry 2004
35. Trey Songz – Never Again
36. James Arthur – Recovery
37. Jennifer Paige – Stranded
38. Daniel Merriweather – Red
39. Gotye ft Kimbra – Somebody I Used To Know
40. Drake – Mavins Room
41. Drake – Hotline Bling (don’t let the video confuse you)
42. Snow Patrol or Leona Lewis – Run
43. Chris Brown – Say Goodbye
44. Chris Brown ft. Kendrick Lamar – Autumn Leaves
45. Nas ft. Quan – Just A Moment
46. Nelly Furtado – In God’s Hands
47. Nelly Furtado – All Good Things (Come To An End)
48. Ne-Yo – Do You
49. Chris Brown ft Tyga & Kevin McCall – Deuces
50. Creed – One Last Breath

Did you find any of your favourite songs on the list? If yes, surprising isn’t it? I have come to the conclusion that sad songs are unarguably the best songs. Initially, I had thought sad songs are there to help us deal with the emotional stress of a current heartbreak, death, rejection or other misfortunes in life however I come to realise that sad songs are also pleasurable.

Recent studies by German and Japanese researchers respectively showed that sad songs don’t necessarily make us sad. Rather they play a role in emotional regulation. Along with sadness, they also evoke nostalgia, tenderness, empathy, peacefulness, forgiveness and other pleasant emotions like bliss and awe. Also, they were found to be more likely than happy songs to arouse our pleasurable emotions.

Phew! Not all sadness is bad afterall; it can also contribute richly to our lives. However, one ought to be careful before his/her sadness deteriorates into depression.

I hope I have managed to put you in the mood for some sad music going into the weekend. What’s your go to sad song to make you feel better. Please share in the comment section.

Is Formal Education A Mistake?

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It seems a lot of people are questioning the effect of formal education on their lives. Virtually every book I read these days is focused on the need to restructure the educational system and promote self-education (in the West especially United States).

I agree that this is the Information Age hence  there is an abundance of information at our disposal however in a developing country like Nigeria, how do you access/critically analyse this information without formal education? How do you seek out answers from books at home, library or Internet without formal education?

Formal education is very important. It is a ticket to our future. Without it, we rely on easier and faster sources for information like television, printed materials, experts, or hearsay from immediate contacts, friends or relatives to save us the time to self-learn, think and analyse.

It must be said that formal education doesn’t guarantee anyone financial success but it removes the scales of ignorance from one’s eyes and makes your thinking mind to explore and seek several answers. As a consequence, it is a ticket out of miserable circumstances for many; a solution to our backwardness.

Nigerians (like the guy I watched on television recently) who claim formal education is nothing, I am curious to know why they think so. And what helped you to form this opinion? I need to know if they’d be opinionated or able to reason the way they do now if they had no formal education. Formal education gives you a certain level of exposure and thence the will to chase self-education and become an autodidact.

“Autodidacts are the self learners who quench their hungry and inquisitive minds by self learning and finding answers to their questions themselves” – Maaher Sayeed

The problem with our formal education is that we are/were all taught to be status- and result-oriented. Most people believe formal education is all about amassing certificates and titles whilst bragging about them to anyone who cares to listen.

The truth is that what really matters is the transferable and non-transferable skills you pick up. Don’t miscontrue my point, I am not saying having a good grade/result is bad. No! Nevertheless, due to the keeness to have titles attached to our name, cram-la-pour has become a ritual. This is beneficial in the interim but useless in the long run.

“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

Also, many go to school and focus solely on  academics or social life and when they are thrown out in the real world, they realise their inadequacies and deficiencies. There’s definitely a reason why the Igbo word for a University is “Mahadum” but I prefer to call it “Marahadum” which literally means know them all. The best advice you can give to a student going into school is to allow the school pass through him/her as s/he passes through the school. That way, s/he would be equipped with formal, non-formal and informal education.

I concur that there are certain things you can’t learn in a classroom because experiences shape up our lives. However, in this third world country, you need formal education to ditch crowd mentality, hearsays and blindly conforming to borrowed wisdom, and base your opinions on balanced and educated thinking. As a consequence, formal education paves the way for self-education.