Archive

January 2022

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My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For heaven and the future’s sakes.

Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily “Hit them hard!”
I knew pretty well why he dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.

I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.
Good blocks of beech it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.

“To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.”

In Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, psychologist, and author Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.

Angela’s TED talk is among the most-viewed of all time. She is the co-host, with Stephen J. Dubner (co-author of the Freakonomics books) of the podcast No Stupid Questions.

The hardest part of starting anything worthwhile is the start. When you start, the universe conspire to make your dreams come true. You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. We all have greatness in us and we need to initiate, start, execute and do to become great. Unseen forces conspires to help you get what you want but you have to consistently show up day in day out.

We can’t run anybody else’s race except our own.


Long-distance legend Joan Benoit Samuelson
teaches her personal approach to running so you can go further in running and in life. The record-breaking, Olympic gold medal-winning runner’s career is a study in listening to your body, channeling your passion into goals, and overcoming setbacks with resilience. Winner of the very first women’s Olympic marathon, Joan Benoit Samuelson has spent her life breaking records and paving the way for female runners around the world. Now she’s teaching her personal philosophy and approach to running.

Oprah Winfrey referred to Will Smith’s autobiography as the “best memoir she’s ever read” in her November 2021 “The Oprah Conversation” interview with actor Will Smith. In Will, American actor Will Smith takes the reader on a journey of his life, childhood, thorny relationship with his dad, his rap career, career shaping chance encounters with Benny Medina and Quincy Jones, becoming the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, longterm business relationship with James Lassiter, his marriage, divorce, friendships, jealousy, parenthood and his thought process.

In Will, he rapped, cried, was very vulnerable and he takes the reader on a journey of the renaissance man. I really enjoyed the book as it had everything you would want in a great book: Funny, Inspiring, thought-provoking, vulnerable, entertainment and smooth.

This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind.

The audiobook was read by Will himself and it is by far one of the best audiobook have ever listened to. Will is witty, funny, inspiring, entertaining, vulnerable, raw and down to earth. He shares lots of story about his roller coaster life such as his successes, failures, fears, heartbreaks, pain, and what makes him thick as an entertainer, actor, entrepreneur and family man.

You do not have to be great to start but you start to be great.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Whether is starting a business, setting up a blog, writing an article, learning a foreign language/programming language, running a marathon, reading a book, or cooking. Everyone starts somewhere, crappy, not yet good enough but eventually with consistency and persistence, we all figure it out eventually. You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. The secret of getting ahead in life is getting started.

 Scottish mountaineer and writer W. H. Murray noted in his book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition:

“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.”

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”

Shonda Rhimes, creator, writer, and producer of the ABC hits Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and How to Get Away with Murder. Shonda signed an exclusive multi-year development deal with Netflix, under which all of her future productions will be Original series.  Her first Netflix show Bridgerton was an instant hit, it became the most-watched series on Netflix at the time of its premiere, and remains the second most-watched series by total watch time on the platform. 1

In her speech, Shonda describes the difference between Dreaming and Doing, the power of trade-offs, having a bias for action and relentlessly pursing your goals. She writes about the 2014 Dartmouth College Commencement speech in her 2016 Book – Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person.

With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

In The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond-and what to do about it, Psychologist and author Dr. Henry Cloud write about the power of association – the power that someone else, not you, has in your life of performance, achievement, and well-being.

“human performance requires fuel from relationship. But, the booster engine is not the rocket. The support is not the performance.”

“It is a story told through a life of creating and developing things, as well as expressing a call to arms for young people to become engineers, creating solutions to our current and future problems.”

James Dyson is one of my favorite living Entrepreneur for his passion for creating elegant products with great design. In Invention: A Life, Dyson describes his many failures as an inventor, the importance of mentorship, education, and self-reliance. The book explores his love for great design, scientists, innovators, engineers and farming.

The Book explores his constant desire to learn, fearlessness to step into the unknown, and an unflagging spirit of entrepreneurialism. Ultimately, it is a celebration of the role that young minds play in solving the world’s biggest problems, regardless of experience. 1

“Remember that there is nothing wrong with being persistently dissatisfied or even afraid. We should follow our interests and instincts, mistrusting experts, knowing that life is one long journey of learning, often from mistakes. We must keep on running and we really can do better!”

The story of British inventor, industrial designer, and entrepreneur James Dyson is very inspiring and illuminating. He takes the reader on a journey of his childhood, lessons learned from his parents, losing his parents at adolescence, becoming self-reliant early in life, getting fired from his first company, losing the license to the ball barrow and the patent. His five years legal battles with Amway, dealing with the British government and moving the Dyson Headquarters to Singapore.

Dyson’s Father Died at 40 of Cancer when he was 9

 He also shared great insights he learned from his friend and mentor Jeremy Fry. His favorite inventors and heroes who inspired his thought-process such as Alec Issigonis, Soichiro Honda,  André Citroën, Frank Whittle (Jet Engine), Isambard Kingdom Brunel, among others. Dyson also speaks glowingly about his ever-supportive wife and partner Deirdre Hindmarsh.

The book is a journey of an entrepreneur, the ups and downs, the value of having a supportive partner or spouse (Deidre), the importance of having a mentor (Jeremy Fry) that always pushes you to succeed, a dedicated financial institution or bank manager that is ready to take the plunge with you. His story shows how far determination, willpower, dedication, persistence, and perseverance can take someone with a commitment to succeed.

Dyson made 5,127 prototypes of his Cyclonic and Bagless Vacuum Cleaner before he got to a model he could set about licensing.

5,127 hand-made prototypes One-Track Mindedness

“In 1983, after four years of building and testing 5,127 hand-made prototypes of my cyclonic vacuum, I finally cracked it. Perhaps I should have punched the air, whooped loudly, and run down the road from my workshop shrieking ‘Eureka!’ at the top of my voice. Instead, far from feeling elated, which surely after 5,126 failures I should have been, I felt strangely deflated.

How could this have been? The answer lies in failure. Day after day, with the wolf at the door, I had been pursuing the development of an ever more efficient cyclone for collecting and separating dust from a flow of air. I built several cyclones each day, conducting tests on each one to evaluate its effectiveness in collecting dust as fine as 0.5 microns − the width of a human hair is between 50 and 100 microns − while using as little energy as possible.”

“This might sound boring and tedious to the outsider. I get that. But when you have set yourself an objective that, if reached, might pioneer a better solution to existing technologies and products, you become engaged, hooked and even one-track-minded.”

On Failure

“Learning by failure is a remarkably good way of gaining knowledge. Failure is to be welcomed rather than avoided. It is a part of learning. It should not be feared by the engineer or scientist or indeed by anyone else.”

Folklore depicts invention as a flash of brilliance. That eureka moment! But it rarely is, I’m afraid. It is more about failure than ultimate success. I even thought of calling this book James Dyson: Failure, but was talked out of it because it might give the wrong impression. People want to read about success. Funnily enough, engineers who are good at inventing things are never satisfied with their latest creation. They tend to look at it quizzically and say, ‘I now know how to make it better’, which is a wonderful opportunity! This is the start of their reinvention, marking another leap in performance.

“Research is about conducting experiments, accepting and even enjoying failures, but going on and on, following a theory garnered from observing the science. Invention is often more about endurance and patient observation than brainwaves.”

We certainly have taken big risks, with the digital electric motor, the washing machine, the electric car and our research into solid-state batteries. Not all have been commercially successful. That is the point. By its very nature, pioneering will not always be successful, otherwise it would be all too easy. We don’t start these ventures with the inevitability of success − we are all too aware that we may well fail.

On Curiosity

My tale is one of not being brilliant. I wasn’t even trained as an engineer or scientist. I did, however, have the bloody-mindedness not to follow convention, to challenge experts and to ignore Doubting Thomases. I am also someone who is prepared to slog through prototype after prototype searching for the breakthrough. If a slow starter like me could succeed, surely this might encourage others.

Curiosity – Experience is not the best teacher, it is the ability to maintain that curiosity that matters

I was naïve and eager to learn all that as I progressed. It was a steep learning curve, though, and still is. Everything changes all the time, so experience is of little use. I didn’t know that at the time and assumed that it would become easier with experience. It must be encouraging for those just graduating to know that is not the case. Fifty-two years later I can assure my graduates that I am no better for my experience.

“At Dyson, we don’t particularly value experience. Experience tells you what you ought to do and what you’d do best to avoid. It tells you how things should be done when we are much more interested in how things shouldn’t be done. If you want to pioneer and invent new technology you need to step into the unknown and, in that realm, experience can be a hindrance.”

If you want to pioneer and invent new technology you need to step into the unknown and, in that realm, experience can be a hindrance

Role of Supportive Partner and Network

The failures began to excite me. ‘Wait a minute, that should have worked, now why didn’t it?’ I was scratching my head, mystified, but then had another idea for an experiment that might lead to solving the problem. I was usually covered in dust, getting deeper and deeper into debt, yet happy and absorbed. Fortunately, my wife, Deirdre, allowed me to put our house and home life at risk, while the bank was kind enough to lend us money.

She and our children never expressed doubt about what I was doing every day. They offered encouragement, love and understanding. Without that I would have given up. The same is true of every one of our friends. They must have thought I was mad and wasting my time, leading my family into penury. They never said so. Instead, they supported us and gave the unstinting encouragement without which I also doubt I could have lasted the course. They are true and close friends.”

Long-Distance Running – Crossing the Pain Barrier

The first thing I knew I was good at, and something that I had taught myself as a teenage schoolboy, was long-distance running. Once through the pain barrier, I found I had the determination, or sheer bloody mindedness, to keep on running. Running, early in the morning or late at night, through that hauntingly beautiful landscape proved to be more than a ritual challenge. It was an escape from school, allowing me to think that anything and everything was possible.

Cross-Training

  • It was playing games, however, that taught me the need to train hard and to understand teamwork and tactics. The planning of surprise tactics, and the ability to adapt to circumstance, are vital life lessons. These virtues are unlikely to be learned from academic life and certainly not from learning by rote
  • Acting in plays, which I very much enjoyed, taught me about character, learning to express thoughts and to emphasise dramatically in speech.
  • Long-distance running allowed me the freedom to roam the wilds of Norfolk while depending on no one but myself. Running also taught me to overcome the pain barrier: when everyone else feels exhausted, that is the opportunity to accelerate, whatever the pain, and win the race. Stamina and determination along with creativity are needed in overcoming seemingly impossible difficulties in research and other challenges in life.

Running also taught me to overcome the pain barrier: when everyone else feels exhausted, that is the opportunity to accelerate, whatever the pain, and win the race.

Losing his father and Self-Reliance

“I felt the devastating loss of my dad, his love, his humour and the things he taught me. I feared for a future without him. Having recently become a boarder at the school, away from my family, I was suddenly alone. It didn’t do to cry or show emotion, just a stiff upper lip. Ever since, a part of me has been making up for that painfully unjust separation from my father and for the years he lost. Perhaps I had to learn quickly to make decisions for myself, to be self-reliant and be willing to take risks. Little could be worse than my father dying when he did.”

I had to learn quickly to make decisions for myself, to be self-reliant and be willing to take risks.

On Creativity

“It makes me sad and concerned that schools are failing to teach creativity. Yet life today demands it more and more. We need to create fresh solutions to seemingly intractable problems, to devise new software, to create something different in order to compete in the global economy. These abilities are a prerequisite today. No longer can we lead life by repeating what we have learned and what has worked in the past. The world, thankfully, is becoming better educated, and competition has never been so fierce. The advantage we in the West have relied upon for so long is being diminished. In order to stay ahead we need to focus increasingly on our creativity.”

Dreaming at RCA

I loved my time at the RCA not least because of its lively and inventive cross-disciplinary approach. Here, as I progressed, I realized that art and science, inventing and making, thinking and doing could be one and the same thing. I dared to dream that I could be engineer, designer and manufacturer at one and the same time.

‘When you design something, everything about it has to have a purpose. There has to be a reason.’

Invention, a life is a great book about invention, risk-taking, entrepreneurial initiative, guts, perseverance, resilience, and a never-give-up attitude. James Dyson’s story is very fascinating, thought-provoking with lots of ups and downs, false turns, and many failures.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

Environment and Entrepreneurship

In some ways, precious little has changed. When people ask why companies, including Dyson, manufacture outside Britain, the answer might be complex and yet it boils down to the fact that there are places and countries around the world, from Germany to Singapore, where manufacturing is encouraged and not least because it is seen as both worthwhile and exciting.

 There were to be several good reasons why, years later, I was to move Dyson manufacturing to Malaysia and, ultimately, its headquarters to Singapore, yet the sheer enthusiasm for making things there, expressed by both governments and entrepreneurs, is a wonderful antidote to the British way of looking down on the world of factories and production.

The Importance of Sales

Inventions, though, no matter how ingenious and exciting, are of little use unless they can be translated through engineering and design into products that stimulate or meet a need and can sell. It might be fun to look at books illustrated with fascinating if all too often enigmatic, impractical and rather mad inventions and designs that never happened, yet even the most worthwhile and world-changing inventions, from ballpoint pens to the Harrier Jump Jet, need to be a part of the processes of making and selling to succeed.

“Britain has been a nation of plunderers and raiders, pirates, buccaneers and chancers for several hundred years. We have a history of the fast buck celebrated in poetry, song, films and romantic histories, whereas the story of what has long been portrayed as the slow, difficult and dirty business of making things is held up to ridicule and shamed even today.”

Continuous Innovation as a key to success

There is a lesson here. Rather like the way some sharks have to keep moving to stay alive, innovative engineering-led manufacturers need continuous innovation to stay competitive. Striving for new and better products is often what defines such companies. At Dyson, we never standstill. In a quarter of a century, we have gone from making a revolutionary vacuum cleaner to prototypes of a radical electric car. Invention tends to compound invention and companies need to be set up for this. They can have a DS moment − a prolonged one in the case of the car that in Roland Barthes’ words ‘had fallen from the sky’ − and still fail.

Lessons Learned from his friend and Mentor – Jeremy Fry

Jeremy Fry, however, taught me that if you have a good idea for a new product, you engineer, prototype, manufacture, market and sell it. This makes you an entrepreneur. Jeremy showed me that, far from being pirates, entrepreneurs could be creators and makers of better products, however odd or outré.

Don’t copy the opposition. Don’t worry about market research. Both Jeremy and Alec Issigonis might just as well have said ‘Follow your own star.’ And this is indeed what successful entrepreneurs do. The problem, though, was that I wasn’t following my own star, and this proved to be the very reason why my first company, Kirk-Dyson, was not the success it could have been.

Chris Wilkinson, who, before setting up his own practice in 1983 and had, like Tony, worked for Foster, Rogers and Hopkins, impressed me. Instead of telling me what he thought I needed, he asked lots of questions that helped me think what we really needed and wanted, and drew sketches for me in response to my answers. This, of course, is exactly what Jeremy Fry had taught me to do when selling the Sea Truck. Ask your client what they think they want and then suggest solutions.

Ask your client what they think they want and then suggest solutions.

Beware of Experts

Experts tend to be confident that they have all the answers and, because of this trait, they can kill new ideas. But when you are trying to break new ground, you have no interest in getting stuck in engineering conventions or intellectual mud.

Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known, we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgement in science stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. Jacob Bronowski

On Innovation

Plagiarism is lazy, while avoiding the costs of developing and introducing new technology. Patents exist to allow the inventor to commercialise an invention without being copied for twenty years from the date of filing the patent, which in practice means ten to fifteen years of production. If the inventor didn’t have that opportunity to make a return on his efforts, why would anyone invest in researching new and better ways of doing things?

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

There are no unrealistic goals, just unrealistic timelines.

It is that time of the year when we set new year resolutions, wishes, goals, expectations, re-order our priorities, change our routines, and pay more attention to our aspirational desires. A goal is a dream with a deadline, we all can achieve whatever we set our mind to achieve. Humans are the only animal that has that superpower to will anything they desire. We set goals at the beginning of the year such as exercising more, saving more, reading more books, nurturing our relationships, learning a new foreign language, the list goes on and on.

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve – Napoleon Hill

   By March, most of us begin to falter with our goals because the going usually gets tough, we got bills to pay, work deadlines to meet, children to raise, family responsibilities, etc. Most of us have the desire to achieve our goals but we have not developed the right strategies and techniques for achieving them. Here are 10 strategies that could help you in achieving your goals this year:

  1. Start with WHY

German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “He who has a strong enough why can bear almost anyhow.” It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. Whatever would go wrong would eventually go wrong (Murphy’s Law). When you are trying to achieve greatness, it is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, the middle is usually messy, the trying times would always come. The key is to persist by remembering why you started in the first place.

 The year was 2013 and I received the bad news of losing my closest cousin Aloma. I was shellshocked, devastated, and emotionally drained for a long time. During the early grief period, I saw an advert for an upcoming Marathon (Accra Milo Marathon 2013). The Marathon was three weeks away but I enrolled as I needed something to help with my mental health. I participated in my first Marathon as a result of grief and I finished around six hours plus. I ran, walked, crawled, limped, and eventually finished the race because of my Why (running for my deceased cousin). I since participated in 11 Marathons in 6 different cities (Accra, Cotonou, Lagos, Nairobi, Toronto, and Ottawa).

 It is the same for any goal you have set for yourself this year, it is ok to falter once in while. Miss somedays, walk instead of running, crawl instead of speeding up, but don’t forget why you started in the first place. With a compelling WHY, you can deal with any obstacle that would come up eventually.

“He who has a strong enough why can bear almost anyhow.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

2. Start Small

Research shows that people are more likely to achieve a goal if it is subdivided into smaller goals.  According to a 2017 study, Step by step: Sub-goals as a source of motivation by Szu-chiHuang et al – When individuals are initiating a goal and derive motivation primarily from the belief that the final goal state is attainable, the structure of sub-goals enhances the sense of attainability and therefore leads to greater motivation. Conversely, when people are completing a goal and the source of motivation centers primarily on the perception that their actions are of value, a focus on the overall goal (rather than sub-goals) heightens the perceived value of the goal-directed actions and leads to greater motivation. 1

“Behavior (B) happens when Motivation (M), Ability (A), and a Prompt (P) come together at the same moment.”

tiny-habits-bj-fogg

World-renowned Behavior Scientist at Stanford University and author of Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, Dr. BJ Fogg makes a strong case for starting small and setting small achievable goals. He writes:

We live in an aspiration-driven culture that is rooted in instant gratification. We find it difficult to enact or even accept incremental progress. Which is exactly what you need to cultivate meaningful long-term change. People get frustrated and demoralized when things don’t happen quickly. It’s natural. It’s normal. But it’s another way we’re set up to fail.

One tiny action, one small bite, might feel insignificant at first, but it allows you to gain the momentum you need to ramp up to bigger challenges and faster progress. The next thing you know, you’ve eaten the whole whale. 2

“The essence of Tiny Habits is this: Take a behavior you want, make it tiny, find where it fits naturally in your life, and nurture its growth. If you want to create long-term change, it’s best to start small.”

3. Set SMART Goals

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. The SMART acronym outlines a strategy for achieving your goal. Your goals should be:

Instead of I want to read more book

SMART Goal: I read 100 books by December 31st, 2022

  • Specific: I read 100 Books
  • Measurable: 100 Books.
  • Achievable: There are no unachievable goal, just unrealistic timelines. The 100 books goal is very achievable, you commit to reading two books per week for 50 weeks in the year. It is very doable.
  • Realistic:  Make sure your goals are realistic. Setting a goal to participate in an Ironman Triathlon when you find it hard to climb your condos ten story building is setting yourself up for failure.
  • Time-Bound: Your goal need a time constraint as that would push you to achieve your goal. Remember, a goal is a dream with a deadline.

Experiments have shown that people with SMART goals are more likely to seize on the easiest tasks, become obsessed with finishing projects, and freeze on priorities once a goal has been set. “You get into this mindset where crossing things off your to-do list becomes more important than asking yourself if you’re doing the right things. 3

Living without clear goals is like driving in a thick fog. No matter how powerful or well-engineered your car, you drive slowly, hesitantly, making little progress on even the smoothest road. – Brian Tracy, Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought by Brian Tracy.

4. Write down your goals

According to a study led by Professor Gail Matthews of Dominican University of California, people who wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals down. The study involved 267 participants recruited from businesses, organizations, and business
networking groups. Participants were divided into five groups: : Group 1- Unwritten
Goal; Group 2- Written Goal; Group 3- Written Goal & Action Commitments; Group 4-
Written Goal, Action Commitments to a Friend; Group 5- Written Goal, Action
Commitments & Progress Reports to a Friend.

At the end study, Matthews found that writing your goals down enhanced achieving it significantly. 4

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” – John C. Maxwell

5. Routinize your goals

As the Greek philosopher, Aristotle once quipped “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit.” To increase the odds of achieving your goals this year, try to include your goals in your daily routine. For example, to listen to more audiobooks, you can listen to audiobooks when you are on the treadmill at the gym, when lifting weight or other activities like that. One of the best ways of achieving your goal is to include it as something you do on a regular basis. Read on your commute to work, listen to audiobooks in the gym, read a chapter before you sleep, listen to educational materials while driving, etc

“We are what we repeteadly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

6. Prioritize your goals

I am often asked how I am able to read more than 100 books yearly, the answer is simple: Reading is a priority for me. I decided a long time ago to always strive to be a better version of myself daily by committing to lifelong learning. Hence my dedication to reading books daily, listening to audiobooks, listening to podcast among other activities. I challenge myself daily to read, think and relentlessly execute. A priority is something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first. Prioritization is the activity that arranges items or activities in order of importance relative to each other 5

priortize

If you don’t prioritize your goals, you would use your time on things that are less important. As German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once remarked “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” If you don’t prioritize your time, you would fall inside someone else’s priority.

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

7. Set Constraints such as Public Pressure/Accountability Partners/Commitment contract

Setup constraints for achieving your goals such as having an accountability partner, writing about your goals online, and sharing for public pressure, use a commitment contract with online tools such as Stickk. A Commitment Contract is a binding agreement you sign with yourself to ensure that you follow through with your intentions—and it does this by utilizing the psychological power of loss aversion and accountability to drive behavior change. 6

One of the fastest ways to bring accountability to your life is to find an accountability partner. Accountability can come from a mentor, a peer, or, in its highest form, a coach. Whatever the case, it’s critical that you acquire an accountability relationship and give your partner license to lay out the honest truth. An accountability partner isn’t a cheerleader, although he can lift you up.

An accountability partner provides frank, objective feedback on your performance, creates an ongoing expectation for productive progress, and can provide critical brainstorming or even expertise when needed. As for me, a coach or a mentor is the best choice for an accountability partner. Although a peer or a friend can absolutely help you see things you may not see, ongoing accountability is best provided by someone to whom you agree to be truly accountable. When that’s the nature of the relationship, the best results occur. 7

An accountability partner will positively impact your productivity. They’ll keep you honest and on track. Just knowing they are waiting for your next progress report can spur you to better results. Ideally, a coach can “coach” you on how to maximize your performance over time. This is how the very best become the very best. – Gary Keller, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

8. Self Compassion

When the going gets tough like they often do, don’t beat yourself up for not achieving all your goals. Have compassion for yourself, be grateful for life, and always make sure you do your best. If you try to do your best most of the time, you would be fine eventually.

Everyone’s life is different, and we are all doing our best. “Our best” today may not be “the best there is,” but it’s the best we can do today. Which is strange. And yet true. And could draw us down into helplessness and isolation if we don’t stay anchored. And the way we stay anchored is with gratitude. 8

When we’re struggling, we may reach a point of oscillating between frustrated rage and helpless despair. Solution: Choose the right time to give up, which might be now or might be never; either way, the choice puts you back in the driver’s seat. – Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski Ph.D. & Amelia Nagoski DMA.

9. Setup Reminders

To achieve your goals this year, set up reminders such as using timers, alarm clock, goal timers, the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a Pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘tomato’, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student. 9

Setting reminders allows you to remember your goals, the reminder could be a picture of your goal, a frame, wallpaper, etc. The more you see and are reminded of your goals, the more probable you can achieve them.

10. Review your goals daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.

By constantly reviewing your goals daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly, you increase your chances of achieving your goals. The more you can review your goals, the better. By reviewing your goals, you can impress your goals into your subconscious mind and with time, you would be on autopilot.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. – General George S. Patton.

Achieving your goals and becoming great is not an easy task as we all find out yearly. it is not enough to set those lofty goals. You need to have a strategy for executing the goals. Anyone can set a goal of speaking a foreign language, what differentiates those that follow through and those that do not is persistence, consistency, and determination. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

I saw the Netflix miniseries first and I really loved it, I had to read the book. The Series is one of my favorite Nigerian Netflix series ever: Educative, Informative, Engaging, and Funny. Author Arese Ugwu describes the money issues most millennials can relate to – consumerism, retail therapy, fear and misconception about money, societal pressures, and the roles they play in success and failure. 

The book presents the basic concepts of earning, budgeting, spending, borrowing, saving, investing as well as the behavioural and emotional aspects of money in a practical way that makes it easy to personalise.

Although Arese wrote the book with women as her primary audience, I found the lessons in the book to be very helpful for all gender. Each chapter in the book and episode in the Netflix series ends with a financial principle/nugget called Smart Money Lessons. The book shares the story of a typical Nigerian millennial that is very relatable, the roller coaster of being a Nigerian or African, black tax, lifestyle decisions that eventually affect our financial future.

The Smart Money Woman revolves around five young women and how they take control of their finances and assets, the series focuses on spending culture of women and how it ultimately affects their finances on the long run, the series also talks about how friendship, peer pressure and societal influence can affect how we spend money, It also features and teaches how women should learn to invest in their themselves amidst romantic and financial losses. 1

Arese is the Founder of smartmoneyafrica.org a personal finance platform for the African millennial. As a contributor to the Guardian newspaper, the host on Guardian TV’s new personal finance show “Your Life Your Money”, and a co-host for “Analyse This” on Ndani TV, she has helped shape the new narrative on personal finance in the media.

Rating – 9/10 (Loved the Book)

It is that time of the year again when we set New Years Resolutions. We resolve to change for the better, change or improve bad habits, achieve personal goals and make strides throughout the year. Like the snake, we strive to shed our old skin, like the caterpillar, we transform to become a butterfly. We set these goals yearly with great enthusiasm and pump at the start of the year but most of us begin to falter as the year goes by. We set goals such as losing weight, saving more money, become financially independent, maintain an healthy diet, exercise more, read more book, etc.