Spoil Yourself with Consistency


A friend of mine has been wooing this particular girl, on and off, for some years now. They started out as friends with nothing attached but along the line, as it often happens in this kind of scenario, one party fell for the other. 

The girl remains unsure of the guy’s intentions even though the guy had made his feelings known to the girl. She cited his inconsistency as a major reason behind her confusion.

Just like the girl, every human yearns for consistency in his/her relationships. Relationships don’t develop overnight; they take time. It takes consistency. We like to see others make a consistent effort to be in our lives. This makes us feel wanted and happy. 

So why don’t we apply the same principle to everything we do? After all, consistency is not exclusive to relationships; it is the key to everything. It is the mother of mastery. Consistency creates integrity and integrity breeds trust hence it makes you relevant, accountable and reputable. 


Throughout my life, I have struggled with consistency in certain areas of my life and daily routines. For example, I started this blog a few years ago, to write atleast 3/4 articles a week but there have been many times that I have gone months without writing. Often times, I blame it on writer’s block or busy schedule but I don’t want to give excuses anymore so I am tasking myself with atleast one article a week. From one, I can go to two and then 3-4 just as it was when I started off.

According to Aristotle, “we are what we repeatedly do.” Our daily routine goes a long way in determining the trajectory of our lives. To achieve “elephant-sized” dreams, you have to take it a step at a time and do it over and over again. Consistency makes our routine which seems tedious at the beginning a subconscious one.

For instance, exercising is tedious for many but if you choose a workout routine that works for you and repeat it everyday (even if it is for 5-10minutes), the results will shock you to the point that you may not be able to stop. This is because we do things over and over again until it becomes who we are hence the reason why repetition trumps intensity. 


The 21/90 rule states that it takes about 21days to create a habit whilst takes 90days to create a lifestyle. However to become a master in a particular area, one must dedicate atleast 10,000hours to that particular activity. 

Consistency strengthens self-discipline and disciplined actions, when done consistently, lead to positive results. There’s a Chinese proverb that says that “no one who rises before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.” This is valid because our willpower is strongest in the morning but wanes as the day wears on. American writer Mark Twain famously said, “eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

However, it must be said that whichever frog you feed your brain consistently, be it positive or negative, it will become a part of your lifestyle so focus on the things that will help you grow as an individual. 

The brain is such a powerful tool that it creates a neural pathway for everything you feed it, be it thought or action. The more you repeatedly feed it the same thing, the stronger the neural pathway becomes and with time, the brain adopts the neural pathway you’ve practiced the most. 

This is why it is a Herculean task to make a change in your life because the brain has gotten used to the neural pathways you’ve strengthened over time via repeated actions and thence will try to override the new neural pathways that will drive the desired change. 

Often times, we get frustrated, give up and revert to our old ways but it is important to be gentle and patient with yourself. If you miss a day or two in your quest, don’t lose hope. Keep at it, spoil yourself with consistency and you will get the same end result that you seek.

What are you consistent in? What are you trying to be consistent in?

    Life is All About Relationships


    Last year was a huge lesson for me both personally and professionally. In my bid to create a better future for my unborn kids, I had to make a lot of round trips to different cities. Luckily, I was never lonely even for a day despite all these trips. I always had a friend whose family was willing to take me in and make me feel right at home. I also had to make phone calls to people in different time zones to get things done for me and they all delivered.

    Then it hit me, life is all about relationships. Infact, relationship is the only important thing in life. Normally, whenever relationship is mentioned, many think about the partnership between two lovers but relationships is larger than that. It encompasses your relationship with your God (if you believe in any), lover/s (I heard some are inclined to polygamy so I had to factor that in), family, friends, customers, readership, co-workers, teachers etc. 

    Think about it, would you go into business with someone you don’t have a relationship with? Would you refer someone for a job if you haven’t built a relationship with the said person to vouch for his or her capabilities? 

    Naturally, human beings are tribal; we try to form a tribe with the people we like and are comfortable with. This is because biologically and psychologically, from childhood, we depend on others from survival and growth. According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, our brains are wired to connect whenever we engage with others. 

    As a result, relationships are an essential source of learning. Everyone has something to teach you; everyone has a lot to learn from you as well. It is through relationships that we get to understand our true self. Through series of interactions, ideas and connections, we develop into who we really are. 

    The quality of our relationships has a great influence on our perception of the world – bursting with curiosity, openness to new experience and ability to see the inter-relatedness of things around us. Without others pushing us to the limit or providing assistance in one way or another, our creative muscle atrophy and we lose our critical thinking hats.

    Therefore, it is safe to say that a lot depends on how we handle our relationships with others. It determines how far we’d go in life. Nearly everything in life is made possible because of someone else, from the tools to the skills that make them useful.  

    The connections we form with others create options and opportunities that are hard to come by. If you take a trip down memory lane, you’d notice that some of the best opportunities you’ve had in life were somewhat created by those you had formed a relationship with. 

    No wonder Keith Ferrazzi described success in his book, Never Eat Alone, as the sum of the people you meet and what you create together. Ferrazzi believes success has nothing to do with class but about access, which some gain through birth or money. 

    I couldn’t agree more. Every career you can think of is about managing relationships. How well we manage these relationships determine how far we would go. A reference is only as good as the referee’s word and is dependent on the relationship between the refereee and the ‘refered’. We project and deal with people we know and trust hence every business deal or transaction is a human enterprise. 

    However to achieve this, one must be willing to give something in return. You can’t separate giving from a relationship. You can’t be a leech who has three daughters, all named “Give Me” and expect your relationships to be genuine. There must be some of form giving interms of time, attention, money, advice, a smile, a handshake or any other form of help. This way we make a lasting impact on others. 

    When you are consistently reliable, offer some reflective feedbacks, have an interesting conversations with others, genuinely help others or connect them with ideas or people that can help them achieve their goals, you are making a huge deposit into your social account. This is because people tend to help those who help them.

     In the long run, social capital is the most valuable currency. It is worth more than money, education and/or credentials. Have you ever seen anyone who’s faced with death that thinks about money, success, career achievement or titles? 

    Make deposits into your social account everyday by building, maintaining and valuing the relationships you have with your God (if you believe in any), family, friends and others because at the end of the day, that’s all you have.

    P.S. I am sincerely grateful for all the reliable people in my life and also hope that they find me reliable.

    Letter to Myself: Try To Make Peace With It

    When people look down on you, it will definitely hurt but try to make peace with it. This doesn’t mean that you should be a doormat – that’s a sign of weakness but what people think of you matters little compared to what you think of yourself. Always remember, how you react when people insult you reveals a lot about you. Nobody can make you inferior without your consent so why give people this power over you? Fight your insecurities, build your self-esteem and develop yourself into an asset.

    When you experience failure or rejection from friends, a potential partner or employer, it will definitely hurt but try to make peace with it. Don’t throw tantrums. Don’t let others control your emotions. Most times, failure/rejection comes with indelible lessons when critically analysed. These lessons often have the potential to propel you to greater heights in your personal relationships and/or chosen career.

    When things aren’t going accordingly for you, many will desert you and it will definitely hurt but try to make peace with it. A friend once told me “We often think people have forgotten us. The moment you become successful, it will surprise you who has your digits.” so chase success. See this as a way to remove the chaff from the rice.

    When friends and loved ones are always out to cheat you because you have a kind heart, it will definitely hurt but try to make peace with it. Just remember that every transaction is a true test of one’s integrity so see this as an eye-opener and never do business with them again. Our actions and attitude are a reflection of our innermost values, beliefs and expectations. Once beaten, twice shy.

    When people hate you for no good reason, it will definitely hurt. Try and have an introspection to know if you really are the problem instead of getting mad. Anger sometimes means fear so always ask yourself what are you afraid of? If/when you are convinced you aren’t the problem, try to make peace with it. Smile and talk to them when you see them, it will make them uncomfortable thus giving you power over them.

    When people gossip and bear false witness against you, it will definitely hurt but try to make peace with it. Everyone gossips but make a conscious effort not to pay much attention or gossip about others. Rather let them gossip about you. No one pays attention to those they feel are below him/her. We rather pay attention to those we think are on our level or above us.

    When people mock your efforts at learning something new, don’t be discouraged rather make peace with it. Everyone starts off as a novice so your case isn’t different from others. Keep at it and practice everday till you achieve mastery in that area. There’s no skill you can not master, we just lack the zeal, focus and determination to see it through.

    In all, try and have a realistic approach to life. Always look at every possible angle before you leap. Weigh both the positives and negatives but don’t be afraid to leap regardless.

    P.S. 

    Everyone wears their hunger and haunt. We demonstrate our true values in our actions especially when we are under pressure so pay more attention to what people don’t say. Nevertheless, find atleast one good thing to say about others despite your differences with them. Also, always own up to your shit. Abhor the victim mentality. Don’t blame others for your woes because “no one finds themselves in circumstances. We create our own circumstances.” So before you blame others, check thy self. When you make mistakes, be on top of correcting those mistakes then try again and again and again.

    2016: A Roller Coaster

    Let me start off by apologising for my long hiatus. A lot has been happening that I couldn’t get myself to reflect and collate my thoughts together.

    This year started off nicely; things weren’t rosy but I was supposedly on course towards reaching the dreams I envisioned for myself. Suddenly, just like Game of Thrones, there was a plot twist and 2016 ended up being a tough gloomy one and a real downer for me physically, mentally, financially, emotionally and otherwise. This made me question my capabilities and skills.

    My itinerary this year also meant that I had to take a lot of trips round the country hence I was stressed out most of the time. I choked in desolation and succumbed to depression as a result, stoppped writing and eventually lost resigned from my job. I sought solace in solitude but this excerbated the situation. I knew I needed help but couldn’t talk about it because it took time for me to really accept that I was depressed. I am usually the strong one; the one people run to for help but here I was, wallowing in misery. 

    Humans have different defense mechanisms against all the negatives life throws at us, however, once in a while these negatives infiltrate our system, engulf our thoughts and cause a huge shift in our emotions. According to psychologists, one in every four people will experience depression or anxiety sometime in their life. So I guess mine came pretty early.

    Depression creeps into every aspect of your life.It affects how you feel, think and handle daily activities. I lost people who genuinely cared about me; appearing needy and pathetic to the opposite sex. I was constantly looking for a gateaway drug or someone to lean on to take my mind off the numerous problems I had. Depression makes you turn to self-medication via sleep, sad songs, sex, drugs, alcohol etc to try and numb the pain of depression. As a friend aptly said one time, “the price of beer is cheaper than the price of drugs for hypertension.” 

    However, as I found out, these can only have a brief positive impact on your mood but compound the problem in the long term. My brother always says that every problem has an expiry date. Alcohol etc only end up prolonging the expiry dates of your problems. Eventually, I realised that the only way to bring this date closer was to face my fears and tackle my problems head on. 

    Talking to a loved one or professional also helps. Owning up to your shit says a lot about your self-confidence so be bold enough to confide in someone you trust. Family and friends are always willing to offer support and love if/when you do. Opening up led me to a book that had the greatest effect on me – The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal With Negativity by Jon Gordon.

    It is hard to implement this rule but experience has shown me time after time that great things such as wisdom, opportunities and most importantly lessons about oneself are hidden in challenges. These lessons may end up being a springboard to something far greater than we ever imagined. Oscar Wilde once said, “behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic”  And he was right, my year is ending is on a very good note so I am excitedly looking forward to 2017 and what the future holds.

    How did your year go? Did you experience tough moments? If yes, what lessons did you learn about yourself?

    How Sports Prepares You For Entrepreneurship Part 2/2

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    …continued from last post

    Focus
    In my short life, I am yet to see anyone who has achieved massive success without zoning out people, forgoing pastimes and focusing inwardly. This helps one to understand his/her strengths as well as weaknesses and find a way to use them effectively and efficiently to neutralise the tactics of those he/she is up against. Sports teaches you how to “be in the zone” and close yourself off from distractions. If an athlete/player, whether amateur or professional, can maintain his focus, he has attained a certain level of maturity. As an enterpreneur, focus is important when starting a business. For one to be successful in business, one must stay focused on his/her vision/goal no matter how distracting things might get. And when success is achieved, a focused enterpreneur will have enough in his arsenal to fight laziness and complacency.

    Teamwork
    For every sports team to excel, the coaches and players need each other. Even athletes that participate in individual sports like tennis, athletics, golf etc need the help of their trainers, coaches and nutrionists to excel. Babe Ruth, the American Baseball legend, once said, “the way a team plays as a whole determines its sucess. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world but if you don’t play together the club won’t be worth a dime.” The same goes for enterpreneurship. You may have to do things alone to build your business from the scratch (start-up) but you need people to take it to the next level. Delegating some work to team members, who are hungry for success and take pride in their performance, affords you the time to focus on other things.

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    Leadership
    Participating in team sports gives one the chance to develop some leadership skills by captaining/coaching a group of players. As a result, an individual can acquire social and emotional intelligence, which are prerequisites in leadership. Hear Eddie Robinson, “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.” It is important for an enterprenuer to be able to understand his social and emotional make up as well as that of people who are under his payroll. A good enterpreneur must have a healthy open line of communication with his workers. And also maintain eye contact whilst talking with them as this gives an impression of sincerity, honesty and confidence. It is easy to forget about the troubles of others but if one takes time to remember and ask, it goes a long way. People perform best when they know they’ve earned the trust of the leader.
     
    Mentorship
    There are so many talented individuals out there who have lost their way because they had no mentor/coach to guide them properly. One may be naturally skilled and talented but if the opportunities aren’t there or there’s no one to offer guidance, attaining success will be an illusion. Jamaican Sprinter, Usain Bolt spent his time playing cricket and football at a tender age but his cricket coach noticed his speed on the cricket pitch and encouraged him to try track and field events. Under the tutelage of Pablo McNeil, a former Olympic sprint athlete, Bolt was encouraged to focus his energy on improving his athletic abilities and the rest they say is history. The same happens in business, every rookie enterprenueur needs a mentor to guide and direct him inorder to achieve great success.

    Attitude towards failure
    Failure happens to us all in one way or another. Even the best falls down sometimes but what really matters is how you recover when you are down. It must be said that failure can be painful and hard to take; it demoralises some and makes them wallow in self-pity. However, it can also spur others to greater things. Former cyclist, Lance Armstrong, once said, “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” For an enterprenuer, failure can be a wonderful management tool as long as it doesn’t become a habit. When faced with failure, the entrepreneur tries to keep his head above the water and find ways to be successful. Bill Gates co-founded a failed startup called Traf-O-Data with Paul Allen when he was 17. Their failure later became a springboard to success; their next start-up, Microsoft, is currently the world’s largest PC software company.

    The entrepreneurial race, just like life, is a marathon (sports) with hurdles here and there. Many startups fail – even those backed by a huge amount of venture funding – at the first hurdle. So participating in sports can equip an entrepreneur with indelible capabilities and skills required to motivate oneself and weather the storm until he/she crosses the finish line.