Why We Turn Out The Way We Are

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It is common practice in Africa for people to  blame parents and fault their parenting skills as reasons for the misdemeanors of their children. Children are believed to mirror the skills/values/principles/convictions instilled in them by their parents.

As a consequence, well behaved and successful kids owe their “success” to their parents. For example, someone allegedly claimed (on twitter) that a man was “overjoyed” by his nouveau wife’s virginity that he bought his mother-in-law a Range Rover Jeep for raising an explemary lady.

This made me to ask, why does the mother of the lady have to be the one to take the credit for her daughter’s virginity? Yes! She must have played a part but there are other factors worth considering – like the daughter herself and her immediate environment.

I sincerely believe the environment plays a major role in a child’s upbringing more than the parents and the individual in a ratio of 4:3:3. Using percentage, the environment takes up 40% of the effort that goes into a child’s upbringing whilst the parents’ and individual equally share the remaining 60%.

Think about it, throughout a child’s developmental period, s/he spends more time out there in school/church etc (environment) mixing up with friends, neighbours, teachers, peers, house helps and strangers. According to Elliott Bisnow, “You are a reflection of the twenty or thirty people who give you advice.”

Most kids are farmed out to boarding school between 8-12 years old which means the only time they really spend with their parents and families is the long holidays. And in most cases, parents are carried away with happiness/joy when they return for the holidays that they forget to keep a close eye on them during these periods. Instead, they pay attention to their physicality and most importantly, their grades/results. It would surprise you how a good result can cloud parents’ judgment of their child’s character.

One may argue that parents can afford to influence the child’s immediate environment hence their contribution soars to an unassailable 50%. However, no matter how good an environment may seem, it is complemented by the bad and the ugly, and in the end, the child is left with the unenviable task of choosing his or her own path. This is because children learn a great deal by direct teaching; they learn much more by watching others. The peer pressure on kids is enormous; they are confronted by drugs, alcohol, sex and foul language wherever they turn.

Another may argue that even the “little 30%” parents contribute is the fulcrum of the child’s developmental process because it is the foundation. After all, a solid foundation is the key to a well-built home. It is adjudged that a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development depend on family dynamics.  However, how often have we seen children with solid foundation from good homes turn out differently after much water has flowed under the bridge since those foundation days?

No matter one’s side in this argument, one thing is certain – parents, environment and the child play distinct roles in the development of an individual. Luck plays an integral part too. After all, luck and chance determine the family we are born into and thence our immediate environment.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts.

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Keep Your Head Up

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I was in Junior Secondary School the first time I watched the music video “Baby Don’t Cry” by Outlaws featuring then recently deceased Tupac Shakur. Tupac Shakur was one of the most influential hip hop artists and poets of all time. So many years later, the lyrics of that song Baby don’t cry, I hope you got your head up even when the road is hard, never give up have come to mean so much to me in this torrid journey of life.

The world is awesome when things are going to plan. We feel on top of the world, get comfortable and possibly criticise others. After all, it is easy to criticise others when you are comfortable. We assume nothing could ever bring us down.

But what do you do when the tables turn? When you try your best but you don’t succeed. When you lose something you can’t replace. When you love someone, but it goes to waste.

You feel so tired but you can’t sleep because you feel trapped by something or somebody. The tears come streaming down your face; you feel stuck in reverse, leaving your vision blurrier than it was before. You start questioning if you can take another step without falling on your face.

When faced with problems, take a deep breath and keep your head up. Believe in yourself and understand that failure prepares you for success. Without failure, we wouldn’t know how gleeful and exhilarating success is.

Failure is an important part of life – it is the rate-limiting step in life. Scientifically, rate-limiting steps are the slowest steps in a metabolic pathway or series of chemical reactions, which require the greatest activation energy. They determine the overall rate of the other reactions in the pathway.

29-year-old Kenyan marathon sprinter, Hyvon Ngetich exhibited this energy on Sunday 15th February 2015. Competiting at the Austin marathon, Ngetich raced into an early lead and seemed destined to win the race at a point. However, with two-tenths of a mile to go, disaster struck. She collapsed.

Unable to walk, not to talk of run, she was offered a wheelchair by the organisers to take some respite and/or throw in the towel but she refused. She crawled on all fours finishing third the race just three seconds shy of second place and ten minutes after the winner Cynthia Jerop (of Kenya) had crossed the line. When asked about the race afterwards, she said she doesn’t recall the final two kilometres of the marrathon or the crossing line. “Running, always, you have to keep going going,” she said.

Life is like a marathon with hurdles along the way. These hurdles can make or mar you depending on how the approach you adopt. You may choose to adopt the Ngetich approach – refuse to succumb to self-pity, apathy and depression – or wave the white flag.

Whatever you are going through that has made you question your existence, always remember there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The moment will definitely hurt but don’t give in to its pain. Focus on your dreams. Never give up and keep your head up!

Is everybody an addict?

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I was listening to the song John Doe, performed by B.O.B and Priscilla, last night and some lines from the song go like this.

Errybody’s addicted to something
Errybody gotta grip onto something
Even if it’s just to feel the response of appeal
Maybe once, maybe twice
Maybe hundreds of times, hundreds of times

This got my mind racing; is everyone really addicted to something? Is addiction part of our make up as humans? Does it help one to fight his/her inner demons?

To answer these questions; yes I think everybody is addicted to something or capable of being an addict and addiction is a part of human condition. However I don’t know if it helps us crush our inner demons.

Whether it is drugs, sex, violence, alcohol, porn, nicotine, food, gambling, coffee, shopping or something seemingly innocuous like gossiping, exercise, power, religion, love, attention, TV series, music, looks or obsession to work, every individual has addictive tendencies. So, it is left for one to acknowledge that particular bane of his/her life.

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Our world encourages and demands addiction. Just like Oliver Twist, we yearn for more – more money, more power, more knowledge, more success, more status, more gadgets, more cars, more happiness.

Boredom is directly proportional to addiction. Most people can’t handle boredom. To be fair, nobody likes being bored. Once we are bored, we look for things to keep ourselves busy until we cross that fine line between loving or using something a lot, and being addicted. You know what they a say, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

In the end, it is safe to presume that everybody is addicted to something and everybody is an addict but we can channel our addictive tendencies into something positive.

What are you addicted to?

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?

Desperation

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Every football fan looks forward to transfer deadline day as varied teams make last-ditch efforts to save their season. European clubs scamper to get certain deals over the line before midnight of September 1 (this year the times varied).

The transfer deadline day gives one a practical insight into desperation. Fans/managers are desperate to see new players walk through the door at their respective clubs.

This year, we saw Manchester United break the transfer record for a teenager as they coughed out £36m (which could rise to €58m) for 19-year-old Anthony Martial from AS Monaco. This may sound like a calculated risk to the management of Manchester United due to the huge potential of young Martial but the truth is that he is a panic buy, purchased to solve United’s striking problem – an act of desperation.

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Desperation is marked by despair and a strong desire. It is unattractive to most people..maybe everyone. It is easy to decipher; it can be spotted from miles away.

Once you appear desperate, you become an easy prey. Desperation often impairs one’s rational and critical thoughts hence affecting his/her judgement. No wonder the Irish describe ‘desperate’ as something very bad.

To be fair, it is hard for one not to be desperate in this clime after some period of anguish and despair. Our economy is in a worrisome state; corruption rules the day, unemployment is at all-time high and most of the employed ones are underemployed and underpaid.

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For example, you just married the love of your life and have a baby on the way but you have no job because you were sacked from your last job. You have bills to pay, responsibilities to meet but you don’t have money to pay or meet them. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t get desperate after a while?

Also, just like job search, quest for true love can often result in desperation. It is that time for you to settle down so you attend every wedding and register on every dating site till you give into desperation. Being too eager and needy can backfire and creep people out.

Desperation often leads to self-destruction. Desperate people rarely make good decisions. They lower their value in the eyes of others and tend to settle for anything.

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Desperation is never a good negotiating tactic. It makes one over-react and over-price a product or service just like Manchester United. It is okay to be desperate for a job/love/product/service – whatever it may be – but it is important to maintain your cool. You don’t have to act like you are.

Tottenham Hotspur supremo David Levy is known for his calm and collected approach to transfer negotiations. In the end, his counterparts become frustrated and buy his players at an inflated price.

On the contrary, desperation can also be a good thing – like a springboard to productivity. This may sound weird to many but believe it. Some people develop overnight courage and spring to action when they are desperate. After all, you know what they say “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

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About 3,000 Syrian migrants have already died this year in the Mediterranean as they try to escape the violence in Syria but that hasn’t stopped others from migrating to Europe. When you are desperate, you leave your comfort zone and embrace your last resort.

Nothing matters to you other than this moment. You can’t second guess yourself when you have run out of options. This can give one a certain kind of power. It shows us who we really are; whether we are complacent or willing to go far. Hear Evan Esar, “Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, DESPERATION, perspiration, and inspiration.”

It is good to be full of zing but moderation is key. Once you act cool and collected, your confidence will rub off on people hence making you attractive. Desperation is like a dirt on the wall – cover it up with paint and it’s all good!

Thank you for making out time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please comment and share your view on this issue. Also, do like, share and follow the blog.