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Conscience

What role does the conscience play in one’s life?
It is said that feelings are the voice of the body, thoughts are the voice of the mind, while the conscience is the voice of the spirit. (Man is made up of these three components: the body, the mind or soul and the spirit.)
If you have seen the cartoon Pinocchio, the puppet became a real boy; but to be complete, he had to be given a conscience to guide him on what to do / what not to do.
In a similar way, each of us is given a conscience to guide us. We are not to be primarily guided by “what others think or will say.
In the Christians’ Bible, there is an interesting character named Paul. He was charged to court, and he opened his statement by saying that his conscience was free!
 Paul surveyed the members of the council with a steady gaze, and then said his piece: “Friends, I’ve lived with a clear conscience before God all my life, up to this very moment.” That set the Chief Priest Ananias off. He ordered his aides to slap Paul in the face.
Immediately, someone slapped him. Why?
If your conscience says you are a great or liberated person, there is nothing anyone else can do to put you down!
However, we have a responsibility in taking care of the conscience. When the conscience is continually repressed, it goes quiet… sort of scorched. So how do we manage it?
Every one of us gets a nudge from the conscience when we are thinking of, or doing something we should not. Often, we turn away from the nudge and do what we want…until one day, we don’t get nudges anymore on that particular subject. The nudge is the conscience.
To keep the conscience alive and even make it stronger, we need to use our own voices to say what the conscience is telling us:
I should not take office supplies home.
I am not to cheat in examinations.
I am not allowed to take a bribe.
Lending your voice to support your conscience brings the message of the conscience to your mind. And in my little experience, when it gets to the mind, I rarely fail my conscience.
So when your conscience gives you a nudge, say out what your conscience is telling you, then try to cooperate with it.
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Psychosomatic

Prof Howard Hendricks told of his behaviour in Primary School. He used to be an unruly pupil. When a new year started, the class teacher called his name and he identified himself. She then said something like this: “I’ve heard that you are the most unruly in this school. I will not have anything like that in my class.” Hearing this, he made up his mind not to disappoint her; he gave her so much trouble that she once had to physically tie him to his seat.

The following year, another teacher took over his class. History began to repeat itself as she called him out and began to speak thus:  “I’ve heard that you are the most unruly in this school but I don’t believe a word of it. I know you will do your best this year and come out as one of the best pupils in this school.” In the same vein, he made up his mind not to disappoint her. Once in that year when he was studying, his dad came to his room and asked if Howard was sick (it was so strange to see him study).

In Mark Fisher’s book The Instant Millionaire, the story is told of a young man who was locked up in a guest house. Suddenly the facsimile began spewing out a message. The message was one, and it was repeated over and over again. The message was that someone was coming to kill him in one hour.

Whoa! He panicked. Picked the telephone, no luck, Banged on the door, no response. He called out from the window, no one noticed him. He watched the clock tick! When the hour was up, the door opened and…

His mentor came in.

He asked why our man was sweaty and frightened. He showed his mentor the message. The mentor pointed out to him that the message was not addressed to him, and it was addressed!

Thoughts and words are real things. Words in the mind affect the body, whether the words are right or wrong. They tend to guide our actions and Inclinations.

Psychosomatic refers to the relationship between the mind and the body. Words and thoughts sit in the mind while their effects show in the body and in the physical. Medicine talks about psychosomatic disorders–conditions of the mind affecting the body; and many people get well when they are administered placebos (empty drugs). Some people will not even get well until they are administered an injection. Others will not see clearly except they wear glasses, even if it’s plain glass.

The Holy Book sums it up this way: “As a man thinks, so is he.”

What do you think?

What do you see?

Think good and speak good so you can experience good.

Complicit

As an African “youth,” the experiences of our countries are completely inconsistent with the capacities which the people doubtlessly possess. While Africans have been portrayed as unenlightened, no one has been able to  replicate several African feats for example, the Terracotta arts. Africans have great capacity.

This capacity is however often repressed as seen, for example, in the repeated destruction of the Library of Alexandria–the first library in the world–by Romans and Arabs amongst others. This destruction repeatedly wiped out centuries of innovation and scientific advancement in Africa.

Furthermore, how is it possible that though Mali is little known today, its 14th century ruler–Mansa Musa–is still regarded as the richest man in contemporary times worth about $400 billion. Where did that capacity go?

How did these great empires disappear?
In my opinion,

1. Africans did/do not trust Africans.

2. Africans trust foreigners.
In fact, if we are made an offer of re-annexation by the Western or Eastern powers, some of us would vote for it showing the strength of the two points above.

As a result of the misplaced trust of our forefathers–trust in the foreigners as against trust in one another, slave trade boomed. Neighbours and cousins were betrayed or sold into slavery by neighbours and cousins. The treatment of slaves in transit was so depraved that several preferred to drown in the Atlantic before boarding the slave ships. Nevertheless about 50% of those who could not commit suicide died in transit. Only 10-20% of slaves taken across the Sahara were believed to have reached Arabia.

The most worrisome bit is the part religion played in slave trade. In today’s Republic of Benin, five nations had slave fortresses: France, England, Portugal, Denmark and Netherlands. The proprietors of these dungeons were diligent enough to construct churches in the dungeons. George Hamilton IV sang of how Africans were enslaved to work in the cotton farms to make white shirts for Europeans to wear to church on Sundays! Western slave trade was abolished in the 1800s after three centuries.

It is interesting that Arabs traded in African slaves so much that the Arabic word for BLACK is said to be synonymous with SLAVE. In fact, the biggest slave rebellion in history was the Zanj Rebellion of black slaves in Iraq in the 800s AD; about 10,000 Africans were killed to suppress the uprising. Slave trade was abolished in Saudi Arabia (let’s assume in the whole of the East) in 1962 after about 14 centuries.

At the end of it all, both the East and the West came to Africa with the offer of religion. How well religion mixed with racial repression!! Mere Religion is doubtlessly complicit.

This write-up is not an attack on religion. Rather it is an encouragement that Africans investigate what they believe and that we ask our Almighty God for personal encounters with Him rather than warring against our fellows based on modern hearsay from distant lands.

Have you encountered the God you claim to serve? How?

Mere religion cannot save neither can it bring peace to the world; everyone of us must have a personal encounter with God.

Consistent

Happy new year!

Standard, most of us [attempt to] develop new habits in January. A man hence subscribed at the Gym as a keep-fit plan for the new year. After about two visits, he got busy. Sometime in February, he showed up again. He asked the manager, “What do you call those of us who pay but do not show up at the gym?” Without batting an eyelid, the Manager responded, “Profit!”

Many of us desire improvement but certainly we do not want to be tagged “profit” by anyone. How do we keep up with our plans?

One point I find very important is from George Clason’s book The Richest Man in Babylon:

Should I say to myself, ‘For a hundred days as I walk across the bridge into the city, I will pick from the road a pebble and cast it into the stream,’ I would do it. If on the seventh day I passed by without remembering, I would not say to myself, Tomorrow I will cast two pebbles which will do as well.’ Instead, I would retrace my steps and cast the pebble. Nor on the twentieth day would I say to myself, ‘Arkad, this is useless. What does it avail you to cast a pebble every day? Throw in a handful and be done with it.’ No, I would not say that nor do it. When I set a task for myself, I complete it. Therefore, I am careful not to start difficult and impractical tasks, because I love leisure.”

Sometimes we set goals too hard for ourselves without allowing ourselves time to grow through the goals.

For example, one who does no exercise wants to jog 1 hour daily simply because it’s a new year?? Or a busy executive wants to spend 1 hour in silence at lunch hour every day… because it’s 2017. In time, they get discouraged and feel it’s unachievable, unrealistic. What if the plan is to start  with 10 minutes a day for 2 months? Ten minutes jogging daily for 2 months; 10 minutes quiet after lunch in the lonely courtyard etc.

Setting achievable targets helps us to celebrate quick wins and to build capacity for growth. It’s better to increase one’s savings by 1% every month till the year ends than to plan to increase it by 12% this year and then jump ship mid-course.

Summary: Count the cost while making your plans; Set small and achievable targets which you can raise with time; and keep at what you choose to do!

Finally, good company makes any journey seem shorter and makes us accountable. Maybe a neighbour wants to jog 10 minutes daily too, or a colleague wants to spend 10 minutes in silence after lunch each workday.

A happy 2017!

 

Change

Change

Change now means different things to different people especially with the ongoing wrenching of political power from established oligarchies as seen in Nigeria, the USA and Gambia.

But while these obvious changes are going on, several other life changing changes are happening which most people do not realise till they have been impacted.

1. Uber vs taxi/car ownership.

In this wise, Uber might as well be a generic name because several such services are now operational.

But suddenly, you don’t have to stand by the road or call the taxi company when you need a cab–and it’s often cheaper. There have been protests in Canada, in India, etc. In some countries like Nigeria, some governments departments are clamping down on Uber drivers.

Well, change as some. Several people are happy for the easy and comfortable cabs, but meant family heads cannot win as much bread as they used to.

I wonder what impact this is having on car dealerships too. I reckon that those who use their cars only in weekends might as well outsource that department.

2. Hotel vs Airbnb

As it has happened to taxis, so it is happening to hotels. Airbnb brings people with free rooms/houses together with those who need such without the elaborateness of hoteliers.

Cheaper, homelier, probably leading to a great change in how hotels are run.

3. Omron/Medics vs Health apps

I had heard about mobile phones that could measure heart rates. But to think that just installing an app on my regular android could measure not just heart rate, but also blood pressure and even spirometrics (lung function).

After I saw this, I looked at my friends big blood pressure manometer and pitied the manufacturer (Omron)–they are in trouble! Then it occurred to me that a BSc in Medical Laboratory may soon be an obsolete course of study, for obvious reasons!

4. iTunes vs Spotify

I am not really an Apple fan. But the concept of iTunes is commendable. I get a lot of free media files that I love. However, iTunes is not really compatible with Androids. Anyway, one day, a few young guys in Sweden developed an app called Spotify. With Spotify, you don’t need to buy and several media files. Just pay a subscription and listen to the media online! I bet Apple was shocked to find themselves expiring so quickly.

But they were quick to respond with Apple Music app, and Google Play Music was quickly tweaked to respond to it.

5. High Street Bookshops vs Amazon

First, the idea was to reduce the time it takes to get books. Just order from home and you get the books! Fine idea. Then I observed that people were selling off their books at giveaway prices. I quickly bought a few. Then I wondered why they were selling–Amazon Kindle reading app!! With it, one could travel with a whole library and even read your books online from location to location!

So who’s impacted? Bookshops, Publishers, Printers, etc!

6. Whatsapp vs Facetime/Duo/BBM

Whatsapp recently launched video calling; and I remembered where there were no DPs! Whatsapp probably contributed to the decline of Blackberry phones! With Whatsapp, Apple’s Facetime and Google’s yet-to-be-popular Duo are probably going to become unnecessary.

What would Apple, Google, RIM, and transport magnates think about Whatsapp? I wonder!

Every change comes with great change (so to speak): loss of jobs, loss of investment…summarily wealth transfer!

Look around and wonder what could be subject to unprecedented change next … and maybe what change could be initiated by you!

But for a start HUDIBIA is about to change the face of medical consultation!

Joyful

In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.

That was an encouragement left us by Jesus Christ as He was preparing to depart the earth. Today, 2000 years after, that sentence is as contemporary as can be!

I’ve wondered how the city of Troy could be destroyed because two men were fighting over a bride. It doesn’t make sense.

I’ve wondered how Adolf Hitler could sway Germany to deal so wickedly with millions of people. Just because Hitler was ruler? It doesn’t make sense.

I’ve wondered how Turks could kill millions of Armenians simply because Ismail Enver Pasha was leader of the nation. The man who killed him (in a time of peace) was allowed to go free, meaning that not everyone was deceived.

I’ve seen that every election brings tears: some, tears of joy and some, tears of bitter sorrow. Yet, Proverbs 16:33 says, “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” If I expect Mr A to win and he does, fine. If he doesn’t, fine still. In reality, we cannot do anything about some things.

Viktor Frankl was in Hitler’s death camp. But he did not die. He had this to say, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”

So, I’ve decided to be joyful! I’ve decided to remember that time on earth is small beside the real time we are going to spend alive.

My DP will always exude joy. My face will always shine. My mouth will always sing for joy. I invite you to join in.

But the fruit of the Spirit is… Joy.

Learned Humility

The Holy Book says that knowledge puffs up. However, knowledge also appears to be a cure for pride.

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I met a middle level Police woman recently. Through her, I’ve met about 6 other Police officers (Nigerian Police) who are admirable, respectable, well-comported, and forward-looking. It felt unbelievable.

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One of them has read “all the books.” In fact, the next time I see him, I’m going to confirm that we have the same mentor. One is a knowledgeable lawyer. Another is young and beautiful, with nice make-up. One is gallant; he successfully single-handedly put armed robbers to flight after his colleagues fled the heat!

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When I could stomach the glaring disparity anymore, I asked why there was so much humility and friendliness at this level of the Police force as against the abrasion one normally experiences with the Police generality.
Without batting an eyelid, my friend replied, “Knowledge!”
“Knowledge? How?”

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She pointed out that those officers we generally encounter and dislike are usually the most junior in the force and that they have been told how much powers they have as representatives of the Government. The knowledge of this power puffs them up and makes them abrasive.

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However, at her level, they have come to realise that the greater part of life is outside the uniform. Hence, though they are probably more aware of the authority of a Police officer, they have learnt to be first a man or woman, then a Police officer.

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In corroboration, one of her colleagues told of a trip he needed to make for the burial of his dad. Unfortunately, his car could not do the long distance. However, a new civilian friend lent him a car for the trip. He prides himself in the fact that he has never tortured anyone in his long career–not even those he charged to court. He says that everyone cooperates when treated with respect.

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Well, that’s the lesson: more knowledge reveals our ignorance and weakness to us–that should make us more humble.
Looking at the Nigerian Police again, reorientation is ongoing at all levels. And with what I have seen, I am hopeful!

Success

The 2016 Rio Olympics have come and gone but the stories and after-tastes linger. Usain Bolt is celebrated for his triple-triples (3 gold medals in 3 successive Olympics). The video of the transformation of Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time is now popular.  It shows how reconciliation with God can set one on the path of peace and happiness. If a much celebrated Olympian could fall apart, many people can!

However, even as a celebrated swimmer, Phelps began preparing for Rio in 2014.

The Nigerian Olympians made the news. Their outfits were not ready, hotels were not booked, flights were not arranged. The event must have come as such a terrible surprise. The participants were largely self-trained, self-motivated, and self-sponsored. The soccer bronze medal “against all odds”  earned the team the applause of the world.

The Kenyan representatives, after 6 gold, 6 silver and 1 bronze, refused to enter Kenya with a triumphant entry: the event management was a historical flop for them. It is reported that some of the government officials in charge have been arrested.

An African president was said to have ordered the arrest of his participants at Rio. Would you consider it a surprise to find Nigerian names among the representatives of Bahrain then? Or to find that most of the representatives of the Arab nation were Africans?

For some years, I kept wondering what the best definition of success could be. Cars? Houses? Vacations? Or high-handed indulgence? Then I heard this from Sam Adeyemi, “Success is the achievement of goals!”

“Wow! So simple; so meaningful!”

If you have no goals, you would not be able to call any achievement a success!

I was fine with that till I heard Sam Adeyemi’s mentor, David Oyedepo, “Success is the achievement of goals in succession.” He explained that if your goals do not grow, you cannot be successful. That means that if I set a goal to earn $100 monthly and I leave it at that forever, achieving it may not be called success after some time. After all, the gnawing effect of inflation ensures that yesterday’s dollar is always stronger than today’s. Or shall we call the Nigerian  soccer team a success for winning bronze 20 years after winning gold?

If we could follow the national teams for the next two years, we would be able to tell the successes of the 2020 Olympics long before the games begin.

How? Why?

PREPARATION!

Some nations will begin preparation immediately. They will provide training facilities and place their athletes on salary–no man goes to war at his own expense (1 Corinthians 9:7). When they hold their national celebrations, their President would set new goals for them: x gold, y silver, z bronze!

Looking beyond the nations, in our individual lives we need to work out our success too!

– Set growing goals

– Prepare all it will take to achieve them

– Do not wait for luck
“MEN OF ACTION ARE FAVORED BY THE GODDESS OF GOOD LUCK” ― George S. Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon

My best Muhammad Ali Quotes

I think most people knew only of Muhammad Ali’s shows, not his real life.

 

Some of his statements that made great impression on me are these:

  1. When I look at the world, I see that many people building big beautiful houses but live in broken homes. WE spend more time learning how to make a living than we do learning to make a life. 
  2. Throughout my life, I never sought retribution against those who hurt me because I believe in forgiveness.
  3. Why not hold a competition of love instead of one that leads to jealousy and envy?
  4. One person with knowledge of his life’s purpose is more powerful than ten thousand working without that knowledge.
  5. Each time I thought I had achieved my life’s purpose, I discovered it was only another step in my journey. I thought boxing would help me be that public Black role model who was missing while i was growing up. I thought my purpose was to be that hero who showed children that Black is beautiful. I thought my purpose was to be that champion who showed White people they couldn’t treat Blacks like second-class citizens. I learned that all of these accomplishments were important, but even moe important, I gained a platform that allowed me to carry out my real mission, which has been to encourage all people to respect each other and live in peace.
  6. I just stood there as I watched Sugar Ray Robinson turn his back on me and walk away. Although I felt hurt and let down, I decided that I wouldn’t let my disappointment get the best of me. I was going to be different when I became a great boxer. I would be the kind of champion that fans could walk up to and talk to. I would shake their hands and sign every autograph, even sign some autographs in advance so that when I Was in a hurry, I could still hand them out to people assuring everyone went home happy.
  7. I looked at my gold medal and said to myself, I’m the champ of the whole world, and now I’m going to be able to do something for my people. I’m really going to be able to get equality for my people.” 
  8. At that time, I chose to join the Nation of Islam, which promoted Black pride and independence. When I became a member, I was fighting for equality and Black pride at the same time.
  9. Even my own name, Cassius Marcellus Clay, wasn’t really my own. Cassius Marcellus Clay was a White man from Kentucky who owned slaves. So I was named after a slave owner, and to me, my name represented hundreds of years of injustice and enslavement. 
  10. Why should we keep trying to force ourselves into white restaurants and schools when White people didn’t what us? Why not clean up our own neighbourhoods and schools instead of trying to move out of them into the White people’s neighbourhoods?
  11. My fighting had a purpose. I had to be successful in order to get people to listen to the things I had to say. I was fighting to win the world heavyweight title so I could go out in the streets and speak my mind.
  12. I was too busy selling tickets, playing around, and trying to promote my fights with my greatest asset–my mouth! I never took the verbal sparring seriously. It was all showmanship, which I learned from one of the best, Champion Wrestler Gorgeous George.
  13. I talk to God every day. If God is with me, no one can defeat me.
  14. What gives a person the strength to stand up for a cause, remain strong on the battlefield, endure all that may come in life? What gives us the power to have patience and the will to endure? It is the heart.
  15. Some people are so decent, loving and compassionate that the purity of their heart is almost visible. Some people have to struggle a little more to make these qualities a part of their being. Some people have to really work at just being civil. Some people seem to work at hardening their hearts so that even the least bit of compassion or love won’t scoop out. I think though that everyone has the capacity for love, kindness, and compassion. 
  16. Giving because you genuinely want to help a person or a worthy cause while remaining anonymous is true charity.
  17. True success is reaching our potential without compromising our values. 
  18. Success is not achieved by winning all the time. Real success comes when we rise after we fall. I am grateful for all my victories, but I am especially grateful for my losses because they only made me work harder.
  19. Jimmy ‘s death was a powerful lesson in the midst of all the activity and preparation for my job–a boxing match–of how fragile and precious life is. We must always be mindful that each day is a gift from God that can be lost at any moment.
  20. You don’t really lose when you fight for what you believe in. You lose when you fail to fight for what you care about.
  21. Suppose a man told you that he had seen a big factory where everything was running smoothly, without any owner or manager. Suppose he insisted the factory had been built all by itself, that even the machines had just appeared out of thin air and were now running like clockwork, producing wonderful products. Or would you believe that an electric bulb could generate light all by itself? Could even the great philosophers convince you that the fabric from which your clothes were made had not been woven itself? f we find the examples unbelievable, how could we possibly believe that the universe works so precisely without a Creator?

I think I read somewhere that Muhammad Ali said that anyone who believed his showman statements was crazier than himself! He saw boxing as just a job from which true living was separate!

All in all, I think Muhammad Ali gave time to reflect on his life and did not get carried away with success.

We have a lot to learn from him.

 

Of Strength and Frailty

So Muhammad Ali is dead.

He used to be the epitome of strength. He was the superman who was said to often refuse to wear seatbelts in planes. Some audacious quotes credited to him include (www.usatoday.com):

“I”m so mean, I make medicine sick.”

“He’s (Sonny Lister) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me.”

“I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.”

These quotes are however between 30 and 40 years old since he suffered from Parkinson’s for over 30 years. First, I wondered that Parkinson’s is not a disease of former boxers. Then I imagined what it would have been like for a strong man to become weak. Would he have been heartbroken? Or maybe depressed? Did he ever come to terms with his ‘new’ reality? Or did he live the rest of his life in regrets?

Then I found a book written by Muhammad Ali in 2004, titled The Soul of a Butterfly. The contents are so refreshing and reassuring. He made such statements like:

“During my boxing career, you did not see the real Muhammad Ali. You just saw a little boxing and a little showmanship. It was after I retired from boxing that my true work began.”

His audacious and popular quotes were just like statements from a movie! One just wonders how many people on earth know that he did not even take himself so seriously!

“When I look at the world, I see that many people build big beautiful houses but live in broken homes. We spend more time learning how to make a living than we do learning to make a life.” Hmm! His life was not about strength and boxing. He must certainly have lived a full life even in his weakness!

Over the years my religion has changed and my spirituality has evolved. Religion and spirituality are very different, but people often confuse the two. Some things cannot be taught, but they can be awakened in the heart.” Truly, as someone said, “He who has an argument stands no chance with him who has an experience.”

“No matter where I go, everybody recognises my face and knows my name. People love and admire me; they look up to me. That’s a lot of power and influence for one man to have, so I know I have a responsibility to use my fame the right way!” Wow! All politicians and spiritual leaders need to learn from him!

“People say that I gave away too much money during my boxing career. They write about how some people took advantage of me, stole from ,e and how I let them get away with it. Even when I knew people were cheating me, what was important was how I behaved, because I have to answer to God. I can’t be responsible for other people’s actions: They will have to answer to God themselves.” M. Ali’s strength was more within than outside!

“At night when I go to bed, I ask myself, ‘If I don’t wake up tomorrow, would I be proud of how I lived today?’ With that question in mind, I have tried to do as many good deeds as I can, whether it is standing up for my faith, signing an autograph, or simply shaking a person’s hand.” The words M. Ali should be remembered for are those that most people do not know!

He appeared limitless, but he knew his limits and boundaries; and he hitched himself to Him who has no limits. He built strength within himself to carry his frame when most of his physical strength was gone! I doubt if he could have died depressed or heartbroken!

Good man!

 

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