Words!

I used to have a friend who I considered an intelligent and highly creative writer (well, he actually is). The guy rights effortlessly well. Be it fiction or non-fiction, always making sense.

On the other hand, I was a rigid & (struggling) writer. You could call me a good writer as far as constructing meaningful and grammatical sentences was concerned. But no more. My writings usually lacked the flourish/finesse required to make an interesting read. 80% academic & 20% creative.

So each time I wrote a piece I had spent a great deal of effort on and considered quite good for publication, I sent it to him to critique. However, I observed he mostly downplays them: “No substance, lacking in this, devoid of that, bla bla bla. I can’t remember anything positive he ever said about them. And when I ask him to suggest areas of improvement, he merely makes a joke of it and ‘moves on to other matters’.

I remember writing a short story that I was so excited about. I was sure I had done a good job of the storyline, characterization, plot structure and all. I believed it was going to make an interesting read . But alas, when my good friend read it, he couldn’t see any big deal about it.

It turned out to be one of my best work of fiction.

By the way, I minored in literature so I understand what constructive criticism is and I’m all for it. It brings out the best of a writer. But what my friend kept doing was everything but constructive criticism. More like devaluation. I wasn’t looking for someone to rob my ego. Just someone who could point out

I wasn’t looking for someone to rob my ego. Just someone who could point out what I was doing wrong and how I can do it better.
Each time he makes his comment, I become displeased with what I had written and no longer felt enthusiastic about it. All of a sudden, I start to see from his point of view and begin to consider the writing as no good. His words were getting to me and sowing the wrong seeds.

But thankfully, I came to my senses before real damage was done. I realized that this friend was more of a clog in the wheel of my writing pursuit. As far as getting better with my writing was concerned, he would be of no help to me. There and then, I quit sharing my works with him.

Perhaps his manner of feedbacks was his own approach to helping me with my writing skills. Perhaps he meant well, in his own way. But in reality, with his constant dose of negative words, he was sowing seeds of discouragement in me.

Dear friends,

Words are powerful. They dominate our lives. Be careful the kinds of words you allow to come at you because they create your realities.

Man is a product of words. What he hears, when he hears it long enough, settles in his mind, informs his thought pattern, dominates his consciousness and consequently affects his life and decision making.

Words (whether positive or negative) are like arrowheads. When shot with precision hit the target 🎯 with such a force that leaves a lasting impact.

Negative words have the capacity to….

🎯Set you on the path of discouragement & frustration

🎯Make you devalue yourself

🎯Make you lose your sense of self-worth/esteem

🎯 Cause you to be fixated on what seems to be wrong and lose sight of the wonderful things about you.

🎯 Breed inferiority complex and the need to (over) compensate.

🎯 Limit a man’s progress and make a shipwreck of his goals, dreams and aspirations.

When you have accommodated people who complain about how dark you are long enough, you’ll stop thinking black is beautiful and start considering bleaching your skin.

When you tolerate folks who consistently tells you about how your writing lack form, very soon, you’ll start thinking you are ‘not destined’ to write and quit writing entirely.

When you permit those who never fail to impress on you your supposed lack of business acumen, you end up thinking you are not cut out for business and give it up eventually.

Be wary of

❎People who are quick to point out what you do wrong but hardly talk about good things you do

❎Those who (by their words and actions) make you feel bad about things out of your control – defects and all

❎Highly opinionated folks – your opinion can never count with them

❎People who often downplay your ideas, efforts and activities

❎Cynics and pessimists – everything is wrong in their opinion

❎Bitter people – they speak from the abundance of their bitter hearts

❎Folks who peddle in stereotypes – they are hardly intelligent lot

Rather, surround yourself with

❤️Folks who can criticize you constructively

❤️Folks whose words bring out the best in you

❤️Folks who are full of words of affirmation and encouragement

But more importantly, remember this:

You are what God’s Word says you are. God’s Word should have the greatest influence on you and your life.

Give no room for negative energy. Be particular about the words that come at you!

P.S. This post was inspired by the post of a fellow blogger @theafterthought titled: “The healing Power of Words” You can check out her blog for that post and more refreshing writings.


©IBUKUN

THE “SEE FINISH” SYNDROME 👀

Some time ago, I did a job for a friend who needed my writing service. We’ve been friends for a while and she has come to know me quite well. We agreed on terms and conditions and I began the work immediately.

Businesses Lesson No 1: Doing business with a friend can be tricky. If not well managed, you could end up with both a ruined relationship and a bad deal. Be wise about how you engage in business with people who are close to you.
I held up my end of the bargain. Gave the work my best and finished it in good time. Meanwhile, I didn’t charge her the standard fee for the kind of service because I was being nice and friendly. After all, it’s not all about the money. 😎

Business Lesson No 2: Unless you run an NGO, try to not to carry over friendship sentiments into your business dealings. While it’s reasonable to give special considerations to friends, it shouldn’t be to the detriment of your business.
What is more, I didn’t bother to ask for a down-payment (which is standard business practice) before committing to the work. I mean, she is my friend and shouldn’t default in paying. She’ll pay up as soon as I’m done with it.

Business Lesson No 3: Unless you are working pro bono, do well not to commit to a business bargain without a down-payment. People can be funny.


So I finished the work and delivered it to my dear friend even before the time agreed upon. She thanked me profusely for a job well done and then dropped a bomb on me:

I have to be ‘sincere‘ with you. But I’m not sure I can afford the fee. You are my padi (friend) na. You of all people should understand. Just let me pay you XYY (way below what I charged for the job)”.Note that I had already undercharged for the service while putting more finishing touches than what is generally obtainable. Meanwhile, she knew all along she couldn’t afford the agreed fee but chose not to say a word about it until the work was done and delivered. And why is that? “Isn’t it my friend ABC? What can go wrong?”

To cut a long story short, she didn’t pay me the much devalued fee until weeks later. What was more baffling was her attitude to it all. ‘I’ll pay you when I can’ 💁‍♀️. And why is that? She knows me too well: ‘Mr Nice Guy’ who will turn the other cheek when slapped.I chose not to take offense or let her conduct cause a rift between us. Took some doing though. But one thing is sure. She had lost my goodwill as far as business dealings with her was concerned. I won’t be doing business with her anytime soon.

By implication, she has lost out on:
📌 Having a friend who can get the job done promptly.
📌 A fellow who will execute the job as if it were his own.
📌One who won’t rip her off but will  charge her reasonably well.
📌 Someone she can fall back on to help her with the kind of service even when she is broke.

You see, it’s not a cliche when folks say too much familiarity breeds contempt.


I believe familiarity, in the real sense of it, shouldn’t breed contempt. After all, how can you claim to have a good relationship with someone if you don’t have a level of familiarity with them? But then, my people will say ‘when a handshake goes beyond the ankle, it has become something else’.

It’s great display of wisdom and maturity when we don’t allow the privileged information or access we have to people cloud our sense of value and regard for them.I believe it’s a terrible lack of judgment when we treat those close to us or care about us with less regard while we worship at the feet of folks who care less about us.

You go out of your way to treat an outsider nicely and respectfully while you disregard those you know closely. Seriously?

There is an Algerian proverb that says “there is an excess of familiarity at the root of all hostility“. I think it’s not far from the truth.

Remember what transpired between Jesus and his kinsmen? They couldn’t receive the blessings he had to offer because of the background knowledge they had of him: “Who does he think he is? Isn’t he the son of the carpenter we’ve always known?”

Someone once said that too much familiarity makes us devalue those we love the most because we are used to them being around. 💯

Nigerians have a colloquial way of referring to this malady. They call it SEE FINISH.

Oh, you mean Mr. XYZ? I know him too well.”

” Don’t mind her. Isn’t she the same girl I know? She doesn’t have much to offer.”

SEE FINISH is why
📌A family member of a man of God fails to receive healing from him while other church members do.
📌 A wife is bemused when outsiders speak highly of her husband 😏
📌 A friend fails to take another seriously and misses out on a vital information passed on by the friend.

I can go on…

Whatever you do, avoid being too familiar (SEE FINISH) with people. You will lose value for them and not make the best of your relationship with them. You will shoot yourself in the leg!
Thank you for reading.


©IBUKUN

ODE TO MOTIVAT🎤ON: ON A LIGHTER NOTE

I remember how back in my undergrad days (can’t remember what level now) the network giant MTN sponsored a program where Les Brown, one of America’s foremost motivational speakers, was invited to speak to us undergraduates.

And without a doubt, he did a hell of a job of it.

Well, he wouldn’t have done any less for a service fee of $50,000.

Yes, you heard me clearly. He earned $50,000, back in 2010, to tell us good stuffs.

But that’s by the way…

He did his thing and did it like the master motivator that he was…

Les Brown

He provoked the emotions of many as he recounted his grass to grace story. Even the seemingly hard guys soon became teary-eyed.

But before we could call for a pity party, he had begun got to throw the classic punch lines at us, getting us all psyched up:

“If I can make it, you can make it… Don’t see a problem, see a challenge… 😎Believe you can do it, trust in yourself…Focus on the process not the destination…If you can think it, you can achieve it”, bla bla bla

By this time, the room was up in smoke (not literally). Majority of the students in attendance were already getting fired up to go take over the world. We all couldn’t wait to leave the auditorium to go pull up mountains and pull down the sky.

Such was the excitement Les Brown’s pep talk created.

You could tell that he was visibly impressed at the ‘commotion’ he had created as he bade us farewell and left the podium, $50,000 richer.

Hardly had he left the podium than the anchor came up to tell us a class act was about to take on the stage. The program was about to come to an end with a performance by a star artiste.

Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise as I present to you Nigeria’s No 1 rapper, the one and only MI!…

The last words had barely left his mouth than the audience (students freshly inspired) jumped off their seats and rend the air with a deafening scream…

Then came in the Mr Incredible (MI) himself, doing his hit track at the time.

The song was Anoti.

MI

And trust me when I tell you that he brought the roof down with it.

Boy! The ‘just ignited’ students were doubly ignited. Some even made to run onstage just to touch the helm of MI’s garment. The bouncers had a hell of a job restraining them.

Think about it…

Just some minutes ago, this lot were being stimulated by Brown’s powerful speech. But before you could say Jack, they were gyrating away to MI’s brand new beat with careless abandon.

In no time, the bulk of them had danced $50,000 worth of Les Brown’s motivation away.

They left the auditorium more pumped up with MI’s hit song than with Les Brown’s fair speeches.


When all is said and done,

Motivation is an internal process which only the person can control. Others can influence, encourage, or inspire. Only the receiver can motivate themselves to action. Jean-Pierre


© IBUKUN

LESSONS FROM MY NIGHT WATCHMAN

Night watchmen are scams!

Well, maybe not in your part of the world. So I shouldn’t generalize…

However, in my clime, we hire them just to fulfill all righteousness & have a sense of security and not because we rely on them for safety.

We used to have two of them in my neighborhood, back in the day. They always began their watch anytime from 11:00pm. They make their presence known by the sound of their gongs. Yep. They would bit the gongs with a stick for a couple of minutes.

By the way, they don’t just bit the gong randomly. Rather, they bit it in a rhythmic manner, in a manner that communicates a message that says “stay indoors y’all’.

But I digress…

So these men would go around the neighborhood disturbing the residents, most of whom were long asleep, with the noise from their gongs. After a while, they would stop constituting nuisance and ‘get down to business’. Their job was to keep alert throughout the night and go around the neighborhood intermittently to ensure nothing went amiss.

Unknown to us, the minute they were done with their routine of gong beating, they would find themselves a prime spot to lay their heads and do some sleeping. Only to wake up an hour before the end of their watch in order to do another round of gong beating about the neighborhood. Just so we’ll think they have been up all night doing the Lord’s work.

How did we know they slept through the night? Simple. We had a couple of night crawlers in the neighborhood who caught them in the very act a couple of times.

Anyway, we didn’t realize that we were on our own (as far as security is concerned) until one fateful night when men of the underworld decided to pay us a courtesy visit. I’m talking about the type that come heavily prepared for any form of gunfight.

At the sound of the shot from the AK-47 rifle from the bandits, our blessed night watchmen abandoned their dane guns and took to their heels. 😁

Those armed men had a field day in our neighborhood that night.

Interesting narrative, isn’t it? The experience was not a pleasant one for the victims though.

Meanwhile, I shared this account to say one thing: ”

Never put your faith in men!

Whatever you do, never put too much reliance on people or overly depend on others to get things done. You’ll end up setting yourself up for series of disappointments. While, you wisely discern reliable/dependable folks and count on them, take responsibility for your life and put your faith in God.

Cheers.


P. S. Even as I type this post, I can here the sound of the gong coming from our current night watchman. Funny lots.


Image Credit: udemy

©Ibukun

WHEN A DOOR CLOSES…

Some Valid Rants For The New Year

I would like my car to fly and make me breakfast, but that’s an unrealistic expectation. Jack Tretton

I’ve learnt not to have unrealistic expectations of people and not to project my expectations on them either. It’s one reason i’ll never get bitter at anyone or hold people captives in my heart. Men are men I’ve come to learn. I’ll rather lower my expectations of people and be amazed when they deliver than expect much from them only to be disappointed when they fail to live up to my expectations.

Don’t be quick to think of me as a cynic or narcissist. I hope/believe the best of people. People change for the better. Meanwhile, there are really great ones out there – some of whom I’m blessed to know. However, I do well not to live on/by chances.

Perhaps you are someone like me…the type who likes to spend and be spent for others but find it difficult to ask for help when there is need for it. And why is that: It somehow makes you feel like you’re trying to take advantage of them or something. However, there arise a number of occasions when there is a pressing financial need and you are forced to come out of your shell. So, reluctantly, you talk to Uncle A and Friend B about it.

Uncle A tells you he is sorry that he can’t help ‘at this time’ as he just offset some bills recently and is cash-strapped himself. As for Friend B, he really wished he could assist you but doesn’t just have the means to do so at moment. Phew! For someone who hardly bothers others with his personal issues, getting such responses eventually may feel like a slap in the face.

In such cases, you can either feel entitled and be bitter or take the outcome in good faith, move on and trust God to meet that need in His own way.

But Uncle A can’t be broke as he claimed. Didn’t he just purchase a piece of property and bought his wife a new ride while at it? Meanwhile, Friend B is just plainly tightfisted; he never wanted to give in the first place.

Consider this: What if neither Uncle A or Friend B didn’t have what to spare as they claimed? Perhaps they could do much more in the nearest future. And even if they had and wouldn’t give…so what? They aren’t responsible for me and neither do I labour for them. Why then should I hold a grudge against them for not being helpful?

Interestingly, in most cases, such needs are met through means I least expected.

Regardless of disappointing experiences I have in my dealings with folks, regardless of the unpleasant turn of events, it doesn’t change my resolve to always be the best of me. The truth is when a door closes, another opens. Unfortunately, the man who becomes fixated on a particular closed door may never notice when the other opens.

True, you get to have men (not spirits) minister to your needs. You however don’t get to determine who exactly will. Doing so may imply setting yourself up for a certain circle of disappointments and heartaches.

Tieing the nots

It’s a new year. Don’t have exaggerated/unrealistic expectations of folks. Enlarge your heart/mind. See beyond the limited sphere. Be intelligent with situations, experiences and actions. Never forget that there are always two sides to a coin. Believe/hope the best of people but never rest your hope on people. Rather than be the gimme guy, strive to be the giving guy. Do your best to take responsibility for your life and trust God to meet your every needs.

When a door closes, another opens!


Thank you for reading.


©ayansolaibukun