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Life

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The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. – Amelia Earhart

Some days are tougher than the other; sometimes you are upbeat other times you are down. No one lives a problem-free life; the key is to constantly show up, work hard, trust the process and relentlessly execute. Getting anything worthwhile done in life and business requires commitment, patience, consistency, and self-discipline. You do not need to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

You are either preparing or you are repairing. To achieve long-lasting success requires consistent working on yourself, your business, and your goals. Anything worthwhile takes time, dedication, and commitment to the journey and not the destination. The journey is more important than the destination because when you get to the destination, the journey always continues. It is not what you achieve that matters, it is what you become on your path to success that really matters.

It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. – Ursula K Le Guin

Life is in stages and seasons, there is a time to work on your project and there is a time to reap the reward of your hardwork, either through monetary rewards, awards or recognition. Success is cause and effect, what you sow is what you would reap. If you work hard, what is hard would eventually work but if you take short cut, you would eventually be cut short. We get rewarded in public for what we diligently practice and refine in private.

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

It might not seem so but everyone is trying to figure it out. From your favorite sports athlete, musician, politician, entrepreneur, you name it. Barrack Obama, Beyonce, Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and anyone you have come across even Donald Trump. We live in a world where showing a little vulnerability is seen as a sign of weakness, especially for men, it is recommended you numb your pain, deal with it, hence we have a society filled with people hiding their inadequacies, pretending to be perfect, we are all performing for the world through social media by sharing our well-curated perfect life and in the process making others depressed, envious, jealous and in turn everyone is striving for perfection.

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

One of the greatest truism of life is that: “You do not need to be great to start but you have to start to be great”. Anything worthwhile takes time, commitment and consistency to achieve your set goals and aspirations. As Earl Nightingale once said “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” My favourite Nursery rhyme is ” Good better best never let it rest until good is better and better is best.”

Every wall is a door.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once quipped: “Every Wall is a Door.” No one has a problem-free life; if it is not this, it is that; It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. We all go through the tough times, the heartaches, the disappointments, the sadness, and depressing episodes. Do not let success get into your head, and do not let failure get into your heart. There would always be a tough road around the corner; whatever would go wrong would always go wrong. You are either going through a storm, coming out from a storm, or heading towards a storm.

“The road to success is not straight, there is a curve called failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called friends, red lights called enemies, caution lights called family. But if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, insurance called faith, a driver called your conscience, you will make it to a place called success.” – T.E. BOYD

Whether it is losing a job, failing an exam, losing a parent or a child, dealing with infertility, failing to get your dream job, the betrayals and backstabbing from family and friends, life can be tough and hard sometimes, making meaning of the suffering can make it tougher. We ask, Why Me? When the tough times come around, it usually comes in silos, and you wonder why now? We will go through it, but the most important thing is to go through the pain and accept life’s reality. A lot of our unhappiness in life stems from always wanting our expectations to align with our reality. One of the common traits of the highly successful people in the world is their ability to bounce back from their failures and disappointments; they try to get the message from every mess, when life gives them lemon, they turn it into lemonade.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pele

One of my favorite things to watch is Award acceptance speeches; I really love seeing people achieve their goals and get rewarded through awards and championships. I live for those moments, and I find it to be very inspiring. I am a fan of award shows, biographical documentaries, autobiographies, and rags-to-riches stories. I really enjoy knowing what makes people tick, the hustle, the grind, the betrayals, the ups and downs, and most importantly, the successful breakthrough,

I know firsthand how hard it is to be a creative, it is a very lonely path, and it is tough because most times, you need to go against the trend, follow your guts, bet on yourself, follow your bliss and trust the process. Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up. Becoming successful requires showing up for the practice, rehearsals, following through with the study plan, exercising regimen, and staying consistent with your commitment. Napoleon Hill defined success as the progressive realization of a worthy goal. He also quipped that Success requires no apologies and Failure requires no alibis.

80 percent of success in life is just showing up. – Woody Allen

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” – Indian Proverb

Depending on the part of the world you live in, you have about 30,000 days to be alive. According to Life expectancy and Healthy life expectancy data published by World Health Organization in December 2020, Japan has the longest life expectancy (84.3), and Lesotho has the shortest life expectancy (50.7). The average life expectancy is around 82 years; if you multiply 82 by 365 days, that equates to roughly around 30,000 days, and if you are lucky, it could be more.

Life Expectancy: The number of years a person can expect to live

We cannot control the length of our lives, but we can control its width and depth. Our time here is limited, but we mostly live like we have all the time in the world, so we waste it. As the Buddha once said, “The trouble is you think you have time.” We overestimate what we can achieve in the future and underestimate what we can achieve in the present. We delay living; we say someday I’ll, and we eventually realize that someday becomes never.

Aristotle once quipped, “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit. You do not need to be great to start, but you need to start to be great. We get rewarded in public for what we refine and practice in private. We are what we do when no one is watching; we develop character, integrity, and strength by following through with our commitments day in and day out.

  Earl Nightingale once said: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal.” We all have different goals in life; one of the greatest things about successful people is that their success leaves clues that we can all learn from. One of the major traits most of them exhibit is a bias for action. Former USA President John F. Kennedy commented, “There are risks and costs to action, but they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it. Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield but to my own strength. Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved but hope for the patience to win my freedom. Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling your mercy in my success alone; but let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.” – Rabindranath Tagore, Fruit-Gathering

Grief is the response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or loss of something to which a deep bond or affection was formed. We also grieve in connection to job loss, ill health, infertility, end of a relationship, disappointment, failure etc. We all grief differently depending on our upbringing, culture, religion, societal norms, experiences, and relationship to the dead.

 Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim. – Vicki Harrison

      I have gone through some grief in the past 8 years, from losing my closest cousin (2013), diagnosis of mum’s cancer (2018), losing my mum at 55 to cancer (2019), getting laid off (2020). Grief is tough, deeply personal, and can be overwhelming. During grief, you might feel fear, shame, guilt, regret, varying emotions, the unsaid goodbyes, survivor’s guilt (a mental condition that occurs when a person perceives themselves to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not), among other emotions.

“Success is getting what you want; Happiness is wanting what you get.”

Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome; if you win, you become happy. If you don’t, you become unhappy. It is an if-then, cause-and-effect proposition that is not sustainable because every time you attain a certain level of happiness, you raise the bar, and it is an endless loop. We also schedule and delay our happiness; we say when this happens, I will become happy. If this then that, Someday I’ll when so and so happens, I would be happy when I get married we change it to when we have kids, then when the kids leave home to when there are grandkids, there is always a reason to postpone. It is a constant moving target.

“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well-lived.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Author Gary Keller, in his book “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results,” shares a great anecdote on happiness through the story of the begging bowl:

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

You are not supposed to have figured everything out; your path is made by walking it, take it a step at a time. Most times, we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, you just need to trust the process. It does not matter where you start. What matters is where you are going. It is ok to have stopgap jobs for a while; it is ok not to know what you want to do next after college, it is ok not to be married yet at 35, it is ok not to be a parent at 40, it is ok to wander for a while, it is ok not to be ok. The key is to be patient and enjoy the journey with the ups and downs. As American Journalist Hal Borland once said, “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”

As per study, 61% of people do check their smartphones after awakening in the morning.

NOMOPHOBIA or NO MObile PHone PhoBIA is used to describe a psychological condition when people have a fear of being detached from mobile phone connectivity. The term “NomoPhobia” was coined during a 2008 study by the UK Post Office who commissioned, YouGov, a UK-based research organization, to evaluate anxieties suffered by mobile phone users.

The study found that nearly

  •  53% of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage”.
  • The study, sampled 2,163 people, found that about 58% of men and 47% of women suffer from a phobia, and an additional 9% feel stressed when their mobile phones are off. 55% of those surveyed cited keeping in touch with friends or family as the main reason that they got anxious when they could not use their mobile phones.
  • The study compared stress levels induced by the average case of nomophobia to be on-par with those of “wedding day jitters” and trips to the dentist.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he said “We are what repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit.” You do not have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. A journey of a thousand mile, begins with a single step. One of the ways have been able to keep grounded during trying times such as getting laid off or losing my mum is the power of routines. It has worked for me thus far and I think it can work for anyone. Here is my typical daily routine.

  • Wake up
  • Meditate and Pray.
  • Write down my goal/schedule for the day.
  • Bath and Brush Teeth
  • Calm Morning Wake-Up
  • Fill out the Five-Minute Gratitude Journal
  • Longform writing on a topic I have been musing about e.g Social Media Pandemic, Self-Discipline.
  • Listen to inspirational Youtube Content
  • Start Work
  • Take a one-hour break at 1 PM (Calm Guided Meditation for 15 Minutes) and nap for 40 minutes.
  • Return to work till 5
  • Afterwork, Read as part of my commitment to my Book/Magazine Challenges (100 Book Challenge, 50 Audiobook Challenge, and Magazine Reading Challenge)
  • Read for IT Certification Exam (CISSP, CCSP, CCSK, AWS, Azure et al)
  • Watch Great Courses, Masterclass, Knowable, and other life long learning tools am subscribed to
  • Shower before Sleep, Floss Teeth, and Repeat.

Following through on the above routine daily is not really easy, but I know it is one way to achieve the goals I have set for myself. I have and need to trust the process, be patient, execute diligently, tune out the noise and get things done daily. I get distracted once in a while by going through internet rabbit holes like youtube binge-watching, Wikipedia search. Having these routines and sticking to them daily keeps me grounded, and it makes me not get too distracted cos I got goals to achieve and a vision to execute.

To be able to execute this daily routine, I had to cut out a lot of activities such as

  • Leaving social media (Not on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), but I have an account on Linkedin, only install Whatsapp once or twice a week to reply to messages or make some quick calls, I only watch highlights of my favorite sporting teams (Toronto Raptors and Manchester United).
  • Not watching 90 minutes of Manchester United games has not been easy, but I would rather work hard now and watch the games live than waste my time and get unnecessarily anxious about things I can not control.
  • DIsable Notifications from my phone and delete many apps from my phone; with that, I have less urge to pick up my phone.

Many of us cannot achieve our goals because of three things: We have not Decide what it is we want, we have not committed to following through, and we don’t execute. To achieve any goal, you need to decide, commit and execute.

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

In his book, Million Dollar Habits: 10 Simple Steps to Getting Everything You Want, Author and speaker Robert Ringer, writes about the power of daily routines and habits:

  • Remember, life is nothing more than the sum total of many successful years;
  • a successful year is nothing more than the sum total of many successful months;
  • a successful month is nothing more than the sum total of many successful weeks;
  • a successful week is nothing more than the sum total of many successful days.
  • That’s why practicing successful habits day in and day out is the most certain way to win over the long term

Setting up a daily routine allows you to have structure, achieve your goals with daily execution, and reduce procrastination. One of the hallmarks of highly successful people is that they have a daily routine and regimen they stick to day in day out. A daily routine allows you to build momentum, form and break habits, and prioritize the important things in your life. Successful people are directed and work out of their daily agenda and schedule, while unsuccessful people let circumstances and events direct their lives.

To follow through on having a daily routine, try the following:

Win your day with a Morning Routine

Having a well structured morning routine allows you to win the day. It might be writing in a daily planner or a gratitude journal, exercising, eating well or scheduling your day ahead.

Stay away from your phone when you wake up

Try not to make picking your phone the first thing you do in the morning as it directs the tone of your day. According to brain coach, Jim Kwik:

First of all, there are these four primary brain wave states, beta is what you and I are in right now, we are awake, delta is when you are fast asleep. In between those two states, theta and alpha, are extremely important brainwave states for learning.

So theta is the state right in and out of sleep. Theta is the state that we call creativity. When you are at your most creative, usually it’s coming because you’re in this theta state of state, and you know this, when you’re in and out as sleep, or you are close to like you’re so deep, your mind goes and you come up with ideas.

Above theta though, is the state called alpha. (Right below beta where you are most aware and awake). Alpha is a state of learning, accelerated learning, it’s the state of relaxed awareness. This is the state we go into when we meditate, because your critical mind is set aside, and you just absorb information unconsciously.

Schedule your Day

You are more likely to following through on your daily agenda by planning your day ahead.

Organize your workspace

Try to make your environment clear of clutter as it gives you the ability to focus on a given task effecting.

Leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, in his book, Put Your Dream to the Test, writes:

“I once read that psychologists estimate that up to 90 percent of people’s behavior is habitual—90 percent! Most of the things you do are governed by routine. Think about how you started your days this week. You probably showered, dressed, ate, and drove to work using the same pattern you do every day. If you’re like most people, you didn’t expend any energy thinking about how you would do these things; you just did them. You start your workday, clean your house, shop for groceries, and read the newspaper pretty much the same way. You have a routine, a set of habits. Your habits impact every aspect of your life, from health to wealth to relationships.”

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

 

In his very great book, Entrepreneur Revolution: How to Develop Your Entrepreneurial Mindset and Start a Business that Works, best-selling author and Entrepreneur Daniel Priestley observed that there are three key part of an ‘Entrepreneur Brain'”: The reptile, The monkey and The Entrepreneur (Visionary).

DON’T LET THE REPTILE RUN YOUR LIFE

The reptile – fight, flight freeze (emotional often in a bad way – aggression, fear, panic, etc).

If you operate from the primitive, survival part of your brain, you can expect to live like a reptile. Reptiles don’t achieve very much, they eat scraps, they crawl all over each other, they don’t evolve and they feel the cold when the winters of life come around. Reptiles are either fighting for scraps, mating or conserving energy while watching anything that moves to see if it’s good for food or sex.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pele

Author Earl Nightingale defined success as the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. This means that any person who knows what they are doing and where they are going is a success. Any person with a goal towards which they are working is a successful person. Success is personal and subjective hence what I think to be successful might not mean success to you but no matter what your definition of success is, you still need to aim for something. Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success in life is just showing up. It is the writer who sits down every day to write, the entrepreneur who is always growing his business, the salesman who is always pitching, the artist who is always rehearsing, the sportsman who is always at the gym training, the student at the library studying.

You are either Preparing or Repairing.

One of the greatest truisms of life is that we are all going to DIE; that is our ultimate destination. A lot of us would not achieve our most cherished aspirations in life not because we do not know what to do, we know what to do but we wait for the perfect time, we say: “Someday I’ll“…….when I do…I’ll do this or that. Our time here is short as we are all living on borrowed time. The key to starting is to START, take baby steps. As Chinese Philosopher and Writer Lao Tzu famously said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” and as The Buddha quipped: “The trouble is, you think you have time.” 

Alfred D Souza. observed:

“For a long time, it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last, it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

You do not have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. Many of us have misplaced priorities; we do what we are supposed to do tomorrow today and do what we are supposed to do today tomorrow. Hence we do not achieve our goals and aspirations. If you do what is hard and pay today, your life would be easy tomorrow, but if you do what is easy and play today, your life would be hard tomorrow. Garbage in, Garbage out, what you put in is what you get out.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

In Zen Buddhism, the beginner’s mind is called Shoshin (初心). It refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and developing an attitude of openness and eagerness when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, With this approach to study, we can grow and learn faster.

Zen monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki, In his great book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice, shares some great insights on the beginner’s mind: