It Is A Selfish World

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One has lost count of the number of people he’s been “friends” with. In hindsight, these people became friends with me for different reasons – most of which (if not all) were selfish.

I used to be annoyed when people portray their selfishness but some events made me realise that I am as selfish as the people I loathed. This epiphany led me to another Zinga theory, that no matter how awesome we may think we are, there is a (selfish) reason why that man/woman is around us. And everything we do has a selfish connotation and engineered in such a way to make us happy.

Selfishness is often regarded as something evil; an image of one who cares for no one but himself or herself and pursues nothing but his or her own happiness. Being selfish has never been given to anyone as a compliment.

This is a common misconception about selfishness; being selfish has a variety of meanings. Melissa Deuter, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center once said “Selfish is an ugly word but it can mean two different things. One connotation is that you’re unkind and inconsiderate of others. The other is that you take responsibility for getting your personal, emotional and physical needs met, and that’s an important part of becoming an adult.”

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Everybody is selfish in diverse ways and to varying levels/degrees – after all, we are self-centred in our daily pursuit of happiness. Epicurus wrote, “We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.”

Almost every action we take is to satisfy our needs and happiness. Everyone is dire pursuit of what he/she is greedy about – love, knowledge, sex, acceptance, money, success or any other activity/product that gives a sense of gratification.

Don’t misconstrue the point here, you can still be the best person you can possibly be and be selfish. Altruism – the act of being selfless for the wellbeing of others – can also be linked to selfishness. There are a lot of kind and generous people in this world but most of the effort people put in is for selfish purposes.

For instance, many believe people will like them more if they do everything others want. They yearn for love and acceptance to feel good about themselves (happiness) but instead, they become pawns controlled by others. Nathaniel Branden wrote in his article “Isn’t everyone selfish?” “No one ever really sacrifices himself. Since every purposeful action is motivated by some value or goal that the actor desires, one always acts selfishly, whether one knows it or not.”

Biologically, human evolution depicts that natural selection abhors selflessness and favours selfish behaviour. Human beings have a deep survival instinct – to fight for food and shelter or against adverse circumstances. These instincts may be the reason behind our selfishness.

People seldom praise others without selfish motives. They may sing your praises today because you are in power but will waste no time to disregard your achievements and magnify your flaws as soon as you lose that power.

It is all about survival. Happiness is a survival mechanism, a reward for our actions. As far as mankind chases happiness, it will always be a selfish world.

What do you think?

Success

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What is success? What does it mean to you? Does it entail money/wealth, fame, academic and career achievements, titles and health? What about family? In all honesty, success means different things to different people. One’s definition of success gives an insight into his mind and perception about life.

Being born and raised in Nigeria, where everyone is crazy about titles and money is everything, it is quite easy to understand why many believe success is all about money – having lots and lots of it and academic titles/job promotions/political appointments. Dr Chris Kwakpovwe, the writer of the popular Bible reading guide Daily Manna once wrote, “Titles may enhance us but they aren’t our identity.” Indeed titles are not our identity. Think about this; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Microsoft, Apple and other products we consume today are owned and created by persons, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and late Steve Jobs who have/had no title. Would you say they are not successful because they lack titles? Don’t misconstrue my point, titles are awesome but they are useless if you don’t put them to great use.

I know a lot of people reading this are already asking themselves, what does a young man in his 20s know about success? What has he really achieved? I am still light years behind, both in age and achievements, but I have experienced joy and sadness, success and failure, and had it both good and bad. My success made me have a quasi-outlook on life; because things were quite easy for me, I struggled to comprehend when people complained about same things being difficult for them. However, nothing changes a man like failure and I am no different. Failure changes one’s outlook on things; it emboldens you and makes you hard-bitten.

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Let me paint a mental picture for you. Close your eyes and think about the best and worst relationships you’ve had. Which of them taught you more – the good or the bad one? Hear Robert Kiyosaki, “Inside every problem lies a gem of wisdom, a gem that makes us smarter, stronger and able to do better regardless of economic conditions.” Failure, in its own right, is success coated with indelible lessons, only if you learn from it. My failure and disappointments made me appreciate life and success more. John Maxwell once said, “The greatest lessons in life are from our losses. Everyone experiences loss but not everyone learns from it. Experience is not the best teacher, evaluated experience is.”

Each and every one of us have experienced (or will still experience) something that changed our lives and we have never been the same ever since. Jonas Guiterrez, a rich Argentine professional footballer, who is living the dream of many said after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, “I think the most important thing in life is health. Health and happiness. Sometimes we get into a lot of trouble for things that aren’t significant.” Sometimes we get caught up or engrossed with frivolities such as acceptance and fame on social media (virtual world), fashion trends etc. Thanks to satellite TV and social media, everyone is “close” to the fabulous lives of their favourite celebrities and yearn for their lives.

Numerous chats with people down the years made me realize most youths long for success but a few are prepared to put in the effort. Regardless of your definition of success, one thing is certain – it is a long continuous process. Even Kim Kardashian, who is often criticized for lacking talents apart from her beauty and good derriere, works hard to maintain her success. Success does not fall on one’s laps – like manna from heaven. It has to be earned through hard work, perseverance, persistence and determination.

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Michael Wardian, after becoming the World record holder for 50km on the treadmill said, “I think about my goal. Don’t give up because it gets hard or something gets wrong. It is the middle that’s tough. People cheer at the starting and finish line. The middle miles need mental toughness.” Oh Yes! Everybody likes to be associated with success; failure is an orphan. In other words, who no like to embrace the winner? Cast your minds back to when you got accepted into the University, everyone was ecstatic for you and you became an overnight celebrity at your matriculation ceremony. The same thing reoccurs when you finally graduate and everyone adds Dr, Barr, Engr, as the case may be, to your name. However, only a few understand what you had to go through to obtain that degree – the mental, emotional and psychological stress heightened by sleepless nights.

Every successful person you know today has had it rough but never gave up. If you aim at being excellent at what you do, you ought to be willing to sacrifice a certain part of your life. You have to do the work; dot the ‘i’s and cross the‘t’s. Tim Gower wrote in his book, RELENTLESS:  “There is no privilege greater than the pressure to excel and no greater reward than earning the respect and fear of others who are in awe of your results.” He further described three types of personalities in the book; the coolers who let others decide whether they are successful or not, the closers who feel they are successful once they get the job done e.g. African footballers in Europe and the cleaners who never feel as if they have achieved success because there is more to do.

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the easiest examples of cleaners today. Debate about who is better than the other has divided the football world. Despite what these two football greats have achieved, they don’t rest on their laurels. Their hunger for success is what drives them and they have created a legacy for themselves.

Our environment determines our path; it is the most powerful teacher of all in our success quest. If you aim at being successful in your chosen field, it is pertinent to identify the right environment that allows you take advantage of your three brains – right, left and subconscious – to achieve your dream. Crowd mentality can’t get you to the sky, where we all believe is our starting point but by creating a niche for yourself in your field and proving everyday why that niche deserves to be yours.

Crowd Mentality

“If you follow the crowd, you might get lost in it”

Prior to the World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Kenya few weeks back, there was a war between Nigerians and Kenyans on twitter. A lot of provocative, insulting yet funny words were exchanged between citizens of both countries.

The Kenyans took to twitter to complain and rant about the way their national team was treated by the Nigerian Football Federation on arrival in Lagos for a World Cup qualifier.

If they were truly treated unfairly and unprofessionally by NFF, they deserve to be livid and their anger justifiable but a lot of Nigerians, not knowing the genesis of the tirade, took it upon themselves and “fought back”, just to be part of a trending topic on twitter.

This is exactly what Crowd Mentality is all about. Crowd Mentality is when an individual or a group of individuals adopt a behaviour just to look or sound cool.

Most Nigerian youths don’t have a mind of their own, they are controlled by people around them or those they believe are superior to them and see these superiors as role models.

So many people form foreign accents, have twitter accounts, fake love for a particular genre of music, blog, drink heavily or smoke uncontrollably because they believe it makes them look cool and acceptable.

Inferiority complex has been associated with crowd mentality and it is believed people who have inferiority complex issues tend to do things, just be accepted by people.

These people have lost their own identity and imagination,letting it get diluted with the influence of people around them.

A lot of girls and guys are easily influenced by people around them so they lie whenever they are in the presence of such people. They lie about sex, relationship, money, etc as the case may be.

The issue of crowd mentality can be seen in career building. So many people lack direction and as a result follow the path chosen by their friends. Recently, I had a discussion with a guy and I realised he’s only studying for a Masters degree just because his friends are doing the same.

This young man isn’t alone in the world of people with this kind of screwed mentality. A lot of people have travelled out of the country to study but when you interact with them, you will realise that most didn’t travel because they really want to further their education but they did so because they want to be accepted by the “elite”, boast to people who still see travelling abroad as luxury, have sexual escapades with foreigners or just leave the country for “good”.

You don’t need a microscope to see the effect of crowd mentality on social media. I always say this “if only our lives were as awesome as we portray it on social media, the world would be a better place”. Most people are ready to do anything to be accepted by the crowd. They post nude pictures, fight to be the first to convey or report some information, share recharge vouchers, copy and paste quotes, use pictures of “correct” people or photo shop their pictures and use them as their profile picture.

Social media is all about mirage, majority of people are far from what they depict on these social networks. I believe people who struggle so hard to be “celebrities” on these social networking sites don’t really have an interestingly fun life in reality so they seek solace in social media.

My Dad once said “Unintelligent people move with the crowd, the intelligent ones move with the minority and the most intelligent ones are always thinking”

Letting go of toxic people in your life is a big step in loving yourself. People in your life may be acting a bit crazy now, but don’t let it get under your skin. Just because others are off in the deep end doesn’t mean you have to join them there. Stay in safe waters and do your thing.

I recommend finding yourself something to interest yourself away from other people, some hobby that you can learn and do on your own, that requires some reasoning and imagination so that you can practice thinking independently and not relying on your friends to think for you.

Better yet if it’s a hobby that few to none of your friends already do (although of course, make sure it’s something you enjoy doing yourself). It might also help to teach yourself to be more critical of what other people do, look at other people and their actions and just think about how you could have done it better, or in a way that would better suit you. You could even just try deliberately doing something different and unique, like wearing a different style of clothes from what your friends wear, or listening to different music, or eating different food, some sort of trigger to teach yourself that you don’t have to do the same things as other people and how thinking for yourself can work for you in your life.

“To Belong” syndrome is a chronic progressive syndrome that is very easy to contract but very hard to treat/manage/cure.

Ditch the crowd and have a mind of your own.

Football’s Life Lessons II

16. Under rated people find life easy, they surprise everyone when they do well but over rated people are always under intense pressure and are often criticised for every wrong move they make. Google Freddy Adu.

17. Listening to renowned commentators like Martin Tyler can aid your vocabulary.

18. Karma is a bitch, just make sure that bitch is beautiful. Our past come back to haunt us one way or the other. Sunderland’s appointment of Paolo Di Canio as manager has caused an uproar because of his fascist salutes/political views in the past.

19. Drugs, alcohol and women can ruin you. Diego Maradona (drugs), Paul Gascoigne (alcohol) and George Best (alcohol & women) all ruined their careers.

20. Money can’t buy happiness. Robert Enke and Gary Speed committed suicide after succumbing to depression.

21. A leader is a person who leads by example and not words of mouth. Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard led by example in the 2005 UCL final against AC Milan, having started the game in midfield, he shifted to the right back position in the extra time of the match to send the game to penalties, which his team won.

22. Don’t be a quitter. Ronaldo de Lima suffered recurrent knee injuries in the early 2000s. Prior to the 2002 world cup, he didn’t a play part in Inter Milan’s season but went on to win the Golden boot and World Cup with Brazil that year. He also won the FIFA World footballer of the year award that same year.

23. Team work supersedes individualism. Chelsea won the 2012 Champions League not because they were the best team but because they worked hard as a team.

24. No knowledge is a waste. In 2012, 21-year old, Vugar Guloglan oglu Huseynzade was named as coach of Azerbaijani club, FC Baku based on his experience of playing the computer game, Football Manager. He beat former European footballer of the year, Jean-Pierre Papin to the job.

25. Hard work will always beat talent, if talent doesn’t work hard. Nani is more talented than Antonio Valencia but Valencia’s work ethic is impressive thus he’s kept Nani out of the team for most of the campaign.

26. Don’t underrate anybody, everybody has something to offer. Monaco & FC Porto surprised everybody when they beat G-14 clubs to reach the final of UCL in 2004.

27. Proper planning makes decision making process a lot easier. A strategic plan is usually developed for every opponent. This plan is developed after careful examination of their strengths and weaknesses. The experience gotten from this plan, whether successful or not would be useful in subsequent matches.

28. Be flexible to change. Sir Alex Ferguson is an epitome of flexibility to change; he’s gone from 4-4-2 that won him the treble in 1999 to 4-5-1 in 2001 to 4-3-3 in 2008 to 4-2-3-1 in 2013. This has helped him wrestle the EPL title from the likes of Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini and Arsene Wenger.

29. Always have a substitute or back plan. I’m yet to see a season Sir Alex Ferguson has played without four recognised strikers in his squad. When one or two strikers aren’t performing at an optimal level, the others are thrown into the game.

30. Everybody remembers the winner, nobody remembers the person in second position. When a goal is scored, nobody remembers the player with the killer pass but the scorer.

Football’s Life Lessons I

Football is the most popular sport, played and watched by millions of people world wide.

Football is more than a game because it teaches us a lot about life so let’s take a look at some of the lessons we can learn from following the game.

1. People don’t remember all the things you’ve done for them rather they will hold unto the one you didn’t do. Robin van Persie has scored a lot of important goals for Man United this season but took a lot of stick for missing a glorious chance late in the game against Chelsea.

2. Success breeds haters. Lionel Messi and his FC Barcelona team are hated by many because of the success they’ve recorded.

3. The media will make and mar you. David Beckham married spice girl, Victoria Adams in 1999 and the pair were dubbed “Posh & Becks” by the British media. A few years later, British tabloids offered Rebecca Loos a whooping £5m to reveal all the details of her affair with the football star.

4. Competition is healthy and brings out the best in us. Javier Hernandez has really improved in his all round play this season because of the emergence of Danny Welbeck and signing of Robin van Persie.

5. Football enlightens us on geography and makes us conversant with some places we had never heard of. Eg Andorra, San Marino, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Catalunya, Lichtenstein, Basque country, Andalucia country, etc.

6. Football helps you become familiar with some names of the players/coaches and the countries associated with such names.

7. Nothing is permanent. Life is all about rise and fall. In 2002, Leeds United were in the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League; they play in the English second tier (Championship) today.

8. All is fair in love and war.
If you like complain and moan all day about some refereeing errors that cost your team the match, the match won’t be replayed.

9. Opportunity comes but once, take it! Kenneth Omeruo was relatively unknown prior to the start of AFCON. He was given the chance to play after Efe Ambrose was red carded in the first game, he did well and cemented his place in the team ousting the captain, Joseph Yobo from the starting line up.

10. Football educates one about history, only if you listen to the commentary and don’t make silly noise/arguments during a game. Did you know whenever Tottenham Hotspur plays at home, Arsenal (Highbury days) must play away to prevent traffic jam?

11. It is hard to replace or leave a team player out of the team. Pedro is the one of the most hard-working players I’ve seen, that’s why it’s hard to keep him out of the team at FC Barcelona and International level.

12. Footballers inspire you, you can be anything you want to be if you work hard.

13. Money will always come but what would you do with the money? A lot of footballers have gone from riches to rags because they failed to invest their money properly.

14. Nobody is indispensable. Manchester United won’t become extinct when Sir Alex Ferguson finally retires.

15. Humility is truly a virtue. Ryan Giggs is the most decorated player in the history of English football but he’s laid back and humble, a true example to everyone. See Kanu Nwankwo also.

To be continued