On a day like this some years ago, a young couple witnessed the arrival of baby No. 3. His shrill cry brought smiles to his mother’s face- she had another son. Fast forward to today. That cute (yeah) lil’ bundle of joy is now a young man. Sadly though, the arms that first held him has since become one with the earth. But her legacy lives on in him. Miss you loads, Mummy.
Over the past few weeks as I approached my 26th birthday, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life and trying to make composite sense of my two and half decades on this planet. I sought to boil down all my experiences to a few distinct lessons that I’ve picked up along this incredible journey. What you’re about to read is the summary of those thinking exercises. These are not things I read in books or heard from others. So in no particular order, these are personal lessons drawn from experiences, adventures and reflections. Enjoy!
26 LESSONS AT 26
1. There’s a God and He really does care about EVERY detail of my life. People tend to assume that God is only interested in the ‘spiritual’ aspects of our lives. But being someone who’s had divine advice on things as ‘trivial’ as what to wear or when exactly to walk to a bus stop to avoid the mad rush, I beg to differ.
2.If someone aks you for advice and they’re arguing, stop talking and walk away. Many times, when people ask for advice, they just want to hear what they are already thinking from another person’s mouth. Use your time for something better.
3. Dreaming is free. Don’t be economical in your dreams. It costs me nothing to dream. So why hold back?
4. Either you humble yourself or you get humiliated. Learned this the hard way! Haven’t you noticed that every time God speaks about humility, He always defines it as our PERSONAL responsibility? If you don’t bring yourself low, he’ll let you be brought low- painfully!
5. Real learning starts after graduation. You find out just how ignorant you really are after obtaining your degree. Schools by nature compel us to block out many other knowledge areas so we can excel in our chosen field of study. Real life doesn’t do that. So it’s either you learn or get left behind.
6. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no’. It’s interesting how we mentally make request and simultaneously turn ourselves down with cooked up reasons. Ask already. What’s the worst that could happen?
7. Never be too quick to say “I love you”. It’s amazing how feelings can change in a short time. Feelings are the worst foundation for a relationship- especially if you’re planning it to be long-term.
8. Talk may be cheap-but it can buy a whole lot. Your words do really affect your life.
9. Regret is like trying to turn eba into garri- seems easy but a complete waste of precious time. No matter how much you hurt over the past, it’s gone- and never coming back. So it’s best to learn the lessons, dust yourself down and move on with life.
9. It’s not what you tell your friends or post on social media that counts. That small voice in your head when you’re all alone is the real deal. Anyone can say anything on social media. What goes on between your ears is more important.
10. Not everyone wants to be OUTSTANDINGLY successful in life– some are totally content and happy with just an average existence. This I guess, is the lesson I have emotionally struggled with the most to accept. Being someone who’s passionate about growth, it was hard to accept the reality that not everyone wants to fly-some are just cool with driving through life.
11. It is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to out-give God. I’ve proved this too much to doubt it. There’s no way you can make God indebted to you by your giving. He gives more- ALL the time.
12. If you’re everyone’s friend, then you can’t be my friend. Had to end a budding friendship for this. If you’re everybody’s buddy, that just passes a wrong message.
13. You always have a choice-a-l-w-a-y-s! no matter what you tell yourself.
14. God-sent helpers will not need you to beg them before they offer help. If you find yourself ‘lobbying’, you’re the one organizing it- not my God.
15. You have to be rich before you can have money. Financial success starts inside.
16. People aren’t mind readers. If you don’t express it, don’t expect it. “I thought that you…” has caused so many problems. If you ‘thought’ it, say it!
17. Sometimes, the worst thing to win is an argument. Sometimes, it’s the best thing to win.
18. To be a winner every time, pick your battles very carefully.
19. ‘Mental planning’ is a ruse. If it ain’t on paper, it ain’t nowhere else. Thoughts have a way of becoming simplified when they get on paper. Once you get it out of your head onto paper, chances are that you’ll see a fresh perspective that may just lead to the answer you need.
20. Once anointed is not always anointed. Keep it fresh- daily. Relationship with God can’t be stored up like a charged battery.
21. You always think you’re so smart- until five years later. I still cringe when I recall some of the things I said and did some years back- thinking “how could I do THAT? what was I thinking?!”
22. Good things take time to mature (learned this the hard way too). Why rush it when you want it to last forever?
23. As a leader, your weaknesses are crystal clear to those you lead. If you doubt this and you’ve got guts, ask them. Front all you want, as a leader, your perceptive followers can read you like an open book.
24. Serving God is not complex (difficult)- but it is a complex (many-sided). Many times, it takes more than one turn of the key to open the door. The multiple turns aren’t really hard to make- but they have to be made, else the door stays shut.
25. It is better to be prepared and you’re not called up, than to be called up and not be prepared. You don’t prepare for battle on the day of battle.
That’s all. What? Thought I promised 26 lessons right? And I kept my promise. Count to see where you missed it *smiling*
Thanks for reading…and happy birthday to me!