Is Perfection a necessary or even realistic ambition? by Nnamdi Onyema


Wikipedia describes perfection as this “Perfection is broadly, a state of completeness and flawlessness”. In other words, being whole or free from faults. 

My father, (Happy Father’s Day to him as today 18.6.2017 is father’s day in the UK), I once described to a fellow student as an eccentric, when I didn’t fully understand the motives for his perspectives​ on life. Growing up as a young child with my siblings in Nigeria and the UK, my father was always instilling the principle of “doing better until you couldn’t do any better in us from a very young age especially myself, as I was the eldest of my 2 siblings.

He always told me I had uncontrollable potential but that I couldn’t rely on ability alone. He stressed the need for me to imbibe the core principles of conscientiousness, determination and discipline to realise one’s potential into tangible achievements. 

Reminiscing on past conversations with him, while in University Primary School  Enugu State after transferring from Ekulu Primary School when my father took the position of lecturer in University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), he would say “do better” after I took 18th position in primary 3, and then after I took 3rd position in primary 4, it was “do your best and take 1st position”. I was very unhappy at transferring to University Primary School because I lost many friends and it thoroughly had an effect on my performance as I rarely wanted to be in school.

Eventually, I took 1st place in primary 5, my father then changed his normal sermon to “score 100% in your exams”. In that same year, I gained 3rd position in the common entrance exams to enter into University Secondary School. Even after that accomplishment, I remember going for a drive with my father in his Mitsubishi and he was gesturing frantically while saying I should have taken 1st position in the common entrance so I could be recognised as the best student in the state.

I remember thinking to myself, “this guy is really nuts, what does he want? Perfection?” and that encounter and other countless similar ones, led to my belief that he was somewhat one-dimensional, a perfectionist in matters of academics alone. Perhaps this was because I was busy ‘perfecting’ my football skills and lacked the support from my father in these endeavours but then again, my father was an academic after all.

As I grew into a youth, I often reminisced on my father’s dramatic and animated speeches, I now understand he was encouraging my siblings and I to be perfect in all our activities, be it academic, leisure, relationships etc. and this I felt was a noble ambition worthy of my efforts. Perhaps my father wasn’t one-dimensional or eccentric after all. At this point, you might ask, why is perfection necessary?

Perfection based on Wikipedia’s definition, implies a state of completeness or wholeness. When an object is less than whole, it implies something is missing eg, if you had a body without a heart, you are missing an organ and are incomplete or someone stole an item from you, you become incomplete and would want to retrieve the item because it belongs to you and without it, you feel your belonging is missing.

However, perfection has often been misinterpreted by society as an unattainable quality attributable only to God. We often hear in churches, that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and thus earthly beings​ should wait for the return of their saviour Jesus Christ, to make them whole again. This only ends in disempowerment of the masses and thence gives the impression to the masses that humans are less-worthy and should limit their ambitions until their saviour returns to make them ‘whole’ again.

Interestingly, the Bible says in Matthew 5:48 (NIV) “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. Thus, the Bible accepts that perfection is an ambition all earthly beings should strive towards, to be as they were created in the image of their creator. I wonder why this part of the Bile is largely ignored by unscrupulous churches.

In my opinion, perfection is very necessary; if we take a look in the earth today, there are wars, natural disasters and the seven deadly sins are prevalent. However, even scientists agree that, planet earth had ‘perfect’ conditions for the existence of life. So why all this turmoil? Why is nature crying out?

Assuming the earth was perfect in the beginning, bearing in mind, perfection means a state of completeness, flawlessness or wholeness, it is our utmost responsibility to make earth whole again. I mean the earth is our home, our connection to nature and consciousness and perhaps future of mankind depends on the wholeness of the earth.

To those who might say, is perfection a realistic ambition? I say, “practice makes perfect.” Perfection comes from the determination to improve incrementally, until you’ve mastered a skill. In today’s economy, it is widely acknowledged (perhaps in the developed world more than the developing) that skills are the new passport to employment, not degrees and then of course, Jesus Christ might look more favourably upon a person who is making efforts to improve all aspects of their character incrementally rather than procrastinating, waiting upon his return to make them whole again; recall the parable of the talents, where a master travels and gives his servants some talents, upon his return, rewarding the conscientious servants whilst admonishing the servant who didn’t attempt to increase their talents. 

Perfection is thus, not an utopian ideal, but a very realistic and achievable ambition in our lifetime but then again, I’ve always been unorthodoxically inclined from an early age. Perfection shouldn’t be perceived as unusual or difficult but​ rather as the norm. Wholeness or flawlessness, implies the quality of functioning correctly.

The earth and its inhabitants are not functioning correctly because they are imperfect and thus, incomplete. In Nigeria, where roads, political system, access to electricity and water, education system etc. are lacking perfection, our imperfect attitude is clearly shown hence why our outcomes are also imperfect.

Attitude, they say, determines altitude. Life is to be enjoyed, not tolerated and the masses in Nigeria, in my experience, have been tolerating and not enjoying life. We must each internalise perfection in our minds and perfect outcomes will surely follow. To those whose minds have been imprisoned by their negative experiences of an imperfect earth and who remain doubting of perfection as a realistic ambition, like Thomas, the disciple of Jesus Christ, I leave you with this, “if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, then it can surely, change earth. Become the change you want to see”

Perfection can be the norm for every human. Perfection, like the daily habit of cleaning one’s self in the morning, begins with incrementally improving your attitudes until you are whole and it promulgates into every sphere of one’s existence, and together, we can all experience the necessary and realistic ambition that is perfection.

Happy Father’s Day to my perfect father and every perfect father out there.

Do you think perfection is necessary or a realistic ambition? Please share your thoughts. 

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?

    Sharp Guy No Be Thief

    Has anyone ever known that he could get away with cheating someone, and not taken advantage of it?  If so, he deserves his wealth, and everyone will praise him for his generosity. – Sirach 31:10b – 11 (GNT)

    In Nigeria, there is a general belief that everyone is out to manipulate you until proven otherwise. As a result, we try to “outsmart” everyone in our path. After all, that’s what a “sharp guy” does – scheme or get schemed. 

    In the Nigerian context, a sharp guy is someone who wastes no time in taking opportunities (or should I say taking advantage of others) whenever the chance presents itself. It is our default survival tactic and defence mechanism against manipulation and scam. Infact, you either “get sharp or get schemed.”

    This mentality is ingrained in us from an early age so we often mistake “dishonesty” for smartness and “integrity” for stupidity. As a consequence, a person who clearly states his terms and keeps his words is seen as a fool or a “mumu.” 


    We pride ourselves in what should be termed ‘indecent behaviour’, believeing we are smarter than the next man. We exhibit this “smartness” even when it is unnecessary. For example, the average Nigerian would rather make funny attempts at something (s/he knows nothing about) than accept that s/he doesn’t know.

    Why do we do this? The answer is simple. Even though it is obvious that life is a continuous learning journey – in which we learn, relearn and unlearn, we have a disdain for being tagged a learner or a dulling guy

    Are you a learner? Don’t dull! These two statements were popularised by two Nigerian music artistes – Olamide and Wizkid- respectively. These have become an integral part of the daily Nigerian conversation used to mock a beginner or someone who is starting or  learning a new skill, trade or profession. 

    In these situations, the rules of engagement are well laid out but one wrong step and you are left to rue your mistakes. The moment you acknowledge that you know nothing about whatever thing you may be involved in, you have shown your hand and managed to relegate yourself to the background. In every card game, you don’t show your cards lest you lose the game. The same applies here because at the end of the day, that is what is it is – A game!

    Unfortunately (or should I say fortunately), our future encounters/deals with others depend a lot on our ability to deliver on our promises/words. Every deal tests our integrity, trustworthiness and reliability. Money is the ‘acid-test’ of people’s integrity. It’s often reveals who we really are especially when we are under pressure. And the thing about business is there’s always another one coming.

    For many, inability to keep one’s end of a  deal automatically rules out any chance of another deal in future. That’s it! The bridges have been burnt. No one likes being cheated or taken for a fool.

    Don’t lose your integrity over just one deal.

    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.

    The Extroverted Introvert

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    For many years, I struggled to understand my persona. Sometimes, I am the life of the party -loud and easily strike a connection with others regardless of age, sex and/or social status whilst the other times, I am in my own shell – quiet, reserved and dull. Initially, I thought it was an ego problem – too much pride or lack of confidence. I have had people describe me as condescending, obnoxious, snub, proud, weak, naïve and/or unhappy so it is easy to see why that train of thought engulfed me.

    I do enjoy conversing with people because I was made to understand, at a young age, that social interaction is the basis of human nature. However, I also like to detach myself from the picture once in a while and analyze what I see. This often makes me see what I do not want to see – things that people don’t say -via the look in their eyes, body language and/or their tone of voice.

    I have accepted that this is the way I am…outgoing yet withdrawn hence it is safe to say that I am an extroverted introvert. People often say it is impossible for one to sit on the fence in matters; you are either here or there but I am comfortably seated on the fence here. And there are many people out there just like me. Unexpectedly, we are often misconstrued.

    Not to worry, I am here to rid you of such confusion by giving you an insight into the life of an extroverted introvert.

    1. If we like you, we really like you. There’s hardly an in-between because we are so picky with who we spend our energy and time on. This doesn’t mean that we are full of ourselves or condescending. Nah! we just don’t see the need of being with someone we don’t like.

    2. For what it is worth, we have a lot of things to talk about but we are not sure if those things will interest you. We can spend time listening to you talk because we are keen to learn about you. And we know most people like the sound of their voices.

    3.  Just because we like our own space doesn’t mean that we don’t get lonely. We like being out there, around people, even if they are strangers as far as we can still keep to ourselves because sometimes we just don’t want to talk. We prefer to live in our heads and observe every little detail.

    4. We are not advocates of small talks but if small talk is your forte, we will gladly oblige. We prefer to understand what makes you, you – how you think, what you think about, what scares/motivates you, what your family is like etc. We like to know if you have eaten too.

    5. We prefer to have a one-on-one, face-to-face conversation than in a group because this is more intimate and gives us the chance to listen to you talk. As a result, we find it easy to adapt to any situation and get along with people from all walks of life. However, maintaining those friendships or getting closer to people is another thing altogether.

    6. Because we genuinely try to get to know people on another level, we are often misconstrued as flirty and provocative. Maybe we are.

    7. Because we are self-aware – outgoing yet calculated -people tend to see us as leaders. We are not afraid to take the bold step, make hard decisions or stand up to talk in front of others. Funnily, we rarely see ourselves this way and prefer to take the back seat because we don’t think we are great like that.

    8. It is a constant struggle to control the introverted version of ourselves. We are fully aware when that spirit (of withdrawing into our own minds) is trying to overtake us, especially in groups and big crowds, but we can’t put up resistance against it.

    9. We don’t have a particular group of friends. We pick them from different social groups and bring them all together. Sometimes, it is an awkward situation for them all. You poor things.

    10. We want to be noticed and recognized for our efforts and at the same, prefer to stay anonymous. I know it sounds conflicting but that’s the way it is with us. Our fun/crazy side comes out more when we aren’t the center of attention.

    So it is likely you have people like these around you. They are often versatile in every aspect of life so try and understand them. And if you think the crown fits, please wear it with pride.

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