Stop Avoiding Hurt by Chukwukadibia Ude


Everyone is a builder but what people build differentiates them. Relationships prove that every human being builds either a prison, wall or bridge.
A lot of people open their minds to the hurt stories around them and as such refuse to give themselves the gift of experience. I hear people in this category say things like: ‘men are horrible’, ‘women are dangerous’, ‘all men are the same’, ‘all women are the same’. These people build prisons for themselves. From the prison, they look out and assume a lot. Most times, they have a tunnel view about life and all they think about is what people will do for them. Such people are blame masters and can be referred to as ‘closed’ people.
The second category is made up of men and women who have come out of their shells or prisons but are still living in the world of too much expectation. Relating with this people is okay but once you make a mistake that hurt them, you may end up losing them for life because little hurts to them mark the end of the relationship. Immediately, they build walls to shield themselves from you. These people regret being open and return to closeness. They are referred to as ‘open to those that like me’ people.

The last category has a few men and women who give themselves to the practice of forgiveness. They open their hearts and build bridges . They have tasted both closeness and openness. They choose to know how to become better after being hurt rather than building walls. People hurt them, but they remember that they hurt others too.Their openness show them how weak they are and their closeness remind them of the need to open their doors for people to come in. Their take is not to build prisons for themselves because that would be like starting all over again. Their resolve is not to build walls for some certain people and see them at some point from afar. They choose the bridge because that’s the only way to show that the heart accepts other hearts. To them, openness is an exercise. They are referred to as ‘open’ people

There are varieties of people that share a mix of these three categories but the point is on how they understand the hurts in the world. Avoiding hurts should not be your aim. You will judge people forever.

Learn to be the one who aims to give the best love and you will grow through the mistakes you never dreamed you could make. Remember, when you say ‘people are deceitful or horrible or dangerous’, you may have counted yourself in the number.

Closeness and openness are tools available for you, don’t see them as destinations. Openness is what gives you experience. Closeness helps you think of better ways to improve.

When you are open, you open doors for yourself. Instead of saying that openness is bad, think of better ways to become open. Do the same with Closeness.

Hurts are big heaters. They give you pains that release your weaknesses. This also applies when you hurt people. Asking for forgiveness helps you release the pains of pride.

Relate with people and throw away your pains. All you need is the guidance of Intelligent Love that does not err.

Into me, into you.

Chukwukadibia Ude.

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Tags and Labels: A Social Barrier 

“Labels are for fillings. Labels are for clothings. Labels are not for people.” – Martina Navratilova 

Back in 1990s/early 2000s Nigeria, every parent wanted his/her child to go to a Unity School as they were the leading secondary educational institutions in the country. The name ‘Unity Schools’ was coined by the Federal Government of Nigeria, and comprised of a number of colleges spread across the nation, which were used to promote national unity via the admission of “intelligent” students from all parts of the country and all ethnic groups. Little wonder the motto of these schools is Pro Unitate.

I was opportune to attend a Unity School, Federal Government College Enugu (in Fedi lol), to be precise. It was an eye-opening experience. You have people from all walks of life, background, ethnicity, religion, culture all mixed up in one place.

Ironically, this was the first place I learnt about labels and tags, and the effects they could have on both “the tagger” and “the tagged.” It was a typical high school, with so many people forming cliques, which differentiated the cool from the uncool, the smart (nerds) from the dullards, the boarders (gnashites) from the day students (day goats), ‘guy men’ from the ‘Jew men’, the rich from the poor etc.

The first place I witnessed the effects of tags and labels

Last year, I met some folks I went to secondary school with and they all addressed me as a “bookworm.” One even told me, “I’m surprised you drink.”

I couldn’t help but laugh as that’s the worst way to describe me. Although I did well in school, I can’t remember ever sitting in front of the class nor count the number of times I was disciplined by the teacher because I was a perpetual noise maker. I seldom paid attention but I get it, I did well so the bookworm tag fits perfectly.

Similarly, we place tags and labels on others in our minds the moment we meet them, based on different parameters, and most times, we are wrong. To be fair, labels and tags are all around. We are all labelled and tagged by either sex, race, ethnicity, religion, anatomy/physique, sexuality, socio-economic status, music we listen to, sports we play/sports team we support, clothes we wear or the job we have. Sometimes we don’t mean to label and tag others but we can’t help it; it just happens.

I wonder if labelling will ever stop. It has been used as a means of discrimination for thousands of years. It is like clothing people with what you want them to be whilst covering their real identities. However, human beings are complex and multi-dimensional.


I was taken aback when some folks asked if I was gay and gothic because they heard me play and sing rock hits and songs made by openly gay music artistes like Frank Ocean and Sam Smith. Even though, research has shown that music tells you a lot about someone’s personality, it is disputable. So I’m really curious, why can’t a straight man gladly enjoy good music made by gay musicians? Does being gay suddenly make their good music bad? I listen to and enjoy different genres of music, as far as it is good music. And for the record, Ocean’s Lost remains one of my best songs ever.

The problem with labelling others is that it limits the perceptions of the “the tagger” and “the tagged” about life creating a tunnel vision of some sort. When we tag and label others, we are overtaken by unintentional and unconcealed prejudice hence losing our ability to think objectively. It leads to segregation and as a result, we miss out on a lot of good things in life. We miss out on friendships, interesting conversations, business deals, good music, marriage/relationships, food, travel experience, family (via adoption), life-changing experiences etc.

Naturally, people cling to things and people that they are used to but I find that boring. Is it possible to change your perception about life if you stick so religiously to what you are used to? During my masters degree in the UK, there was a huge divide between the British and foreign students – it was as obvious as the midnight stars. And it did affect the budding understanding, friendship and relationship between both groups.

Labelling is a lifetime trigger. Once we have an encounter with another person, we tend to hold on to that memory for so many years until proven otherwise. As a consequence, a bad experience with someone can make us hate an entire race, religion, tribe or sex hence forgetting that we can also have similar experience with people from our own comfort zone.

There is no problem in using your past experiences to shield yourself from future hurt. No problem at all. However, it becomes a problem when you use your personal experience/standards to ill-advise and judge others. I mean your personal standards could be mere opinions or blatant assertions, not facts.

This is evident in our relationships and marriages. I had thought that what really matters is finding someone who is good for you, in every meaning of the word, regardless of his/her religion, race or ethnicity. Oh boy! How wrong was I?

Inter-racial, inter-ethnic, intra-ethnic and/or inter-religious relationships/marriages are still a “taboo” to many people across the globe. To even make matters worse, amongst Christians in Nigeria, there is still animosity towards members who marry Christians from other denominations. And most of the time, this segregation is heavily influenced by the church, parents/family and/or friends.

A person’s race, religion, sexuality, socio-economic status, calories, sex, tribe, nationality or intelligence does not define him/her. That black people like dancing does not mean all black people know how to dance (I mean, I don’t!). That white people can’t pronounce black names does not mean there is no white person who can.

Let go of tags and labels, and see people for who they really are. People are not their hairs, skins or your expectations. They are souls that live within.

What do you think of tags and labels? And how have they limited your views about others? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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?

    Ode to Kevin Durant by Ejiro

    As one of the Neanderthals who waits for the Olympics every four years for the 100 metres dash final and the superstar NBA players humiliate the competition from the rest of the world playing with FIBA rules which are a bit different from the NBA rules, I was looking forward to the 2012 London Olympics with great fervour. The chance to see the inimitable Usain Bolt attempt to go for the world record and Lebron/his cohorts (headlined by one Kobe Bryant and Kevin Wayne Durant) destroy everyone wasn’t gonna pass me by without the customary ohhhs and ahhs from yours truly.

    Now Lebron James was widely regarded as the best player in the world at the time and proved it somewhat in the 2012 NBA finals months earlier beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 games. I hadn’t at that time watched the finals but followed it online.I hadn’t, prior to that moment, seen Durant play a full game in the NBA. Yea I knew he played in the league and put up great numbers but I’d never assessed his skill set up close.

    After losing the first game of the finals to the 23 year old Durant and his team of neonates, the Heat were on the verge of losing the second one after the thunder recovered a major deficit in the 2nd half. It  came down to a huge play at the end where Durant attacked James in the low post and James went on to foul him on his attempted shot which wasn’t called by the officials.

    It was a huge and potential series deciding mistake by the refs. Lebron went on to hit two clutch free throws to win the game and won the next three to win the series.

    The London Olympics arrived and I’m just watching highlights of the basketball games (after swearing I was going to see all the Team USA games) and loving myself. First full game I watched was the Spain/USA Gold Medal Game and something became painfully glaring to me. Kevin Durant, not Lebron, was the best player on Team USA. 

    This man was 7ft tall with guard skills. He was ambidextrous, could take the ball to the rim, could post up, could shoot the midrange,the three in many ways. The catch and shoot, the pull up three, this man had it all. He was simply an Basketball scoring savant!!

    Every time Spain and Pau would get close, the Americans and KD had a shot to stop their run. That was the moment i realised Kevin Durant was the most talented basketball player in the world and all he had to do to become the universally recognised best player in the game was improve his defense. That of course was not to be as he only started playing noteworthy defense in the Playoffs in his last season with OKC.  


    Fast forward to May 2016, he and Russell Westbrook blew 3-1 lead in the western conference finals to the Steph Curry-led Golden state warriors, who had just set the regular season record for most wins in an NBA season with 73. It was heart breaking for us OKC fans as we’d believed we were going back to the finals to avenge our 2012 loss to Lebron. Even worse we were dead worried about Durant’s impending free agency decision.

    A series of unfortunate events(injuries to both Westbrook and Durant in 2013 & 2015 respectively) and some self inflicted wounds by our front office (like refusing to pay James Harden a luxury tax of 4 mil), Westbrook’s ball dominant style of play at the 1, the teams heavy reliance on Isolation basketball, along with Lebron stacking the deck of cards in his favour, just felt like ominous signs he was going to leave and on the 4th of July 2016, Kevin Durant took his talents to the Bay area. He agreed to sign with Golden State who had just lost a heart breaking game 7 to the Cavs in the final minutes to a great Kyrie Irving isolation play. He agreed to sign for the team that just beat us in the Western conference finals sparking memories of Lebron’s decision in 2010. 


    Naturally, OKC fans, NBA followers and enthusiasts were irate. Chants of Snake! Traitor! Cupcake! soon emerged. ESPN First Take anchor, Stephen A Smith, called it “The weakest move by any superstar in history” but anyhow ESPN had some thick analyst called Cari Champion go on air in 2016 and leave KD off the list of top 5 players to build a franchise around citing “He doesn’t have heart.” She was duly put in her place by Damian Lillard on twitter as a know nothing.


    Ex-players were incredulous! Saying stuff like how they would never do such a weak thing. They would never hop on a bandwagon, join a team that didn’t need him to basically chase a ring conveniently forgetting Lebron had already wisely rigged the game in his favour. The naysayers were quick to say “There’s only one ball” “They are too small and lost all of their interior defense/rim protection to acquire Durant “ “KD a choker anyways and Bron would handle him and his new superteam.” 

    This was new territory for Durant as he was previously a universally loved athlete but now, he was more hated than Lebron James. This was a guy who delivered the most heartfelt speech in all of sports in 2014 when he dedicated his MVP to his mother in tears on National TV and called her THE REAL MVP but was now the most hated sportsman in America and 2nd most hated man in America behind Donald Trump. The Warriors would go on to win 67 games in the season, with KD, Curry, Klay and Draymond having stellar season. 


    The team did survive a medial cruciate ligament injury to Durant that caused him to miss 20 games/his shot at regular season MVP. He however recovered before the end of the regular season and they breezed through the Western Conference in the playoffs going 12-0 sweeping their biggest scare in the West (Kawhi and his San Antonio Spurs) thus setting up a rubber match with the defending champions, The Cleveland Cavaliers.

    This was the moment of truth for Durant. If he lost, he’d definitely be killed in the media – print, tv, social media – and almost everyone outside the Bay wanted him to lose badly but something else was happening.

    Most of the pundits were saying the Cavs would win in 6 or 7, and basically comparing Lebron to Michael Jordan. That ultimately meant no one playing today compares to him seeing the experts were comparing him to The GOAT. I could imagine KD watching all that and feeling insulted and would in return, go supernova on Lebron and the Cavaliers in the finals. I was not wrong. Kevin Durant went berserk in the NBA finals. He was simply a matchup disaster for the Cavs as no one could defend him and he wasn’t ball dominant in the Golden State offense. He was a killer. If you were too small, he’d just shoot it over you, too strong, he’d take you to the bucket or shoot it over you, slack off him on the perimeter, Three! Defend the 3, he is going to the cup.


    It was an ultra efficient display of offensive wizardry that has not been seen in the history of the finals. The man shot almost 50% from 3Pt range. He was giving lessons in art of scoring in the NBA finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers led by the great Lebron James through 5 games 5 years after crying off the finals stage against the heat. The moment of the series came in the final moments of Game 3 where he hit a dagger 3 that sucked the life out of the Quickens loans Arena.. IT WAS COLDBLOODED!! It was almost like it was scripted. He averaged 35ppg/5asg/7rpg with a 56% FG% and TS% of almost 70% (otherworldly) in the NBA finals and most notably played 1st team all NBA defense type of defense and was rightly named the MVP of the finals. LeBron had a triple double, averaged 33PPG with a far higher usage rate, more FGA/Game and played 6 minutes more than Durant per contest.

    This man had come into his own, finally realised he was the best player in the league and wasn’t there for all the Lebron adulation. He’s now an NBA champion, Finals MVP, THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD and i believe he’d be back at the peak in 4 years for the one that matters with OKC.