HIDE IT IN A BOOK!

Some years ago, I traveled to visit my parents. My Dad told me a story that made me laugh so hard. It reiterates the popular belief that if you want to hide anything from an African, you hide it in a book. I hope the new generation of Africans will be those from whom nothing can be hidden in a book.

hide it in a book

It was 1978. He had graduated the previous year from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and was doing his National Youth Service (NYSC) at Gombe which was then in Bauchi State.

On a fateful day, the Youth Corpers had gone out for community service and upon return to their residence, they discovered to their chagrin that they had been robbed in their absence by a pseudo-corper who had claimed to be one of them. This was quite tragic as most of the corpers had just received their “allawi”- allowance of Two hundred naira (N200) that same day which was quite a sizable amount of money in those days.

nysc
Picture credits: today.ng

 

Most of my Dad’s colleagues bewailed their loss bitterly but he lost not a dime despite the fact that the hoodlums had ransacked his place thoroughly and overturned all the clothes in his bag. His allowance of N200 was safe and untouched. Why? Because he kept it in between the leaves of the novel he was reading before he left. The unwelcome visitors had flung the book aside and never bothered looking in between the leaves. Thus, was his cash preserved.

If the new generation of African Youth, the future leaders of the continent, are going to rise above bad leadership, mediocrity and poverty that has ravaged the continent for centuries, then we must become a reading people for READERS ARE LEADERS.

The industrialized nations of the world are global leaders, because of their wealth of intellectual capital. They have and acquire the best in every field and area of knowledge whether Science and Technology, Finance, Military, Business and every other area. So naturally, they lead the world. Africa MUST INCREASE ITS INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL to grow to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Let’s go beyond reading compulsory work and school stuff that you must study for exams to reading wide and voraciously. My primary area of training is Medicine & Surgery but my private library includes hundreds of books which cuts across several areas like Shakespeare, Management, Entrepreneurship, Spirituality, Personal development, History, Fiction Novels, National Development & Nation Building, Technology, philosophy, psychology and of course Medicine & Surgery and much more. No knowledge is a waste.

A piece of information from British history I had known for about a decade came in handy in my final exams in surgery. My examiner fancied it. In my Public speaking & writing career, some piece of information I gleaned a long time ago, sometimes come in handy in front of an audience.

I invite you today to join me in a lifetime of consistent Personal development. Make a commitment to be a great READER, hence a great LEADER. Equip yourself for the great future God is taking you to. Join the ranks of Africans who NOTHING CAN BE HIDDEN FROM IN A BOOK. Your future is great so you’ve got to Keep Hope Alive!

Action Plan: Read at least one book every month to help you grow. If you do this, you will read at least 12 books in a year. This is quite significant, considering that 80% of your peers do not read a single a book in a whole year. Keep Hope Alive!

http://www.NewDimensionLife.com

NO OFFICE? NO PROBLEM by Ndubuisi Egwim. Published in Business Day Newspaper, April 1,2009

More often than not, I get approached by young aspiring entrepreneurs with bright ideas for great enterprises. Most point out that the much required capital they need to bankroll their project is not available but one of the commonest challenges I get to hear quite often is that there is no office space available for them to launch from.

It is true that a nice office can really help in facilitating your business meetings, transactions and generally promoting your corporate image but it’s also important to accept the fact that not everyone will have the necessary start-up capital to rent plush offices furnished to their taste. This is especially true when you are not born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

We can take solace in the fact that some of the world’s greatest creative businesses were not started in executive corner offices located in high rise buildings but in dormitories, garages and rented rooms. Michael Dell of Dell computers fame, launched his company from his dormitory room as a freshman (1st year) in Texas University.

Garage where google started. Pic credit: eyeopening.info

When I started my first company I had no office. I didn’t even have a computer or laptop. I had a great idea for a hot untapped market and a lot of determination to make up for what I lacked. I used my website and e-mail as my contact point but most of that changed within a year. There are many other examples of international businesses that took off without an office at first.

For instance, Google Inc. is a billion dollar corporation today that is worth far more than all the companies listed on Nigerian stock exchange put together. They own the Googleplex, the complex that serve as their corporate headquarters but it is also important to note that Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google from their dormitory room. Jeff Bezos started Amazon.com from his garage. Hewlett-Packard (HP), the giant computer firm also started from a garage. Mark Zuckerberg, who Forbes rated as the world’s youngest billionaire, started his billion dollar facebook company from his campus room.

googleplex
There are several other examples, Nigerian and foreign but time and space doesn’t allow me to mention more. Start from where you are. Focus on what you have and keep getting better. Your other needs will fall into place with time.

In this our present days that everything is going online, it will also be wise to give your business an online presence. If you cannot afford a full dynamic, interactive website, with unlimited bandwidth, complete with forums and blogs like mine (www.newdimensionlife.com), you may try getting a free blog at blogger.com or wordpress.com. It’s also important you make quality promotional materials and complimentary cards. It doesn’t have to be so expensive but you will really have to bring a lot of creativity to bear.

Another way you can overcome the NO OFFICE BARRIER, is sharing an office with a friend. In this case you use your friend or partner’s office as a contact point. You can set up meetings there and you can also receive mails and calls there until you are financially strong enough to rent your own place.

The ideas are in your head, the vision is burning in your heart and like the Reverend Martin Lutherking Jr of blessed memory, you say, “I have a dream”. Yes, it is good to dream big even if we lie on a small bed today but until we begin to take steps to achieve our dreams, until we stop waiting for everything to fall into place before we move, all we would have will be just a DREAM, a figment of our imagination. You are unstoppable. Keep hope alive!

www.NewDimensionLife.com

BLINDNESS: WHAT’S WORSE? by Ndubuisi Egwim

steve wonder

Several years ago while I was in medical school, I walked in for my pediatrics clinical exams, I prayed silently. I was quite apprehensive as I wondered what case I would meet and who would be my examiner. Would my patient be co-operative? Will I have time to finish the exam and type down a diagnosis before the time was up?

My fears were rested in a couple of minutes as my patient was assigned to me.

She was a cute 3 years old but her health challenge was obvious. Her left eye was almost bulging out with a tumor of the retinal part of her eye (Retinoblastoma). As I interacted with the mother, my heart really went out to the little girl especially knowing the fact that due to how late they presented, the tumor was so advanced that the treatment for her condition would be surgical removal of all the contents of the affected eye socket(exenteration) therefore leaving her blind on one eye. I felt it wasn’t fair that this little innocent angel would start out in life already blind in one eye.

However I was consoled by knowing that she could rise above her challenges and that there was something worse than being blind in the eye and that is the BLINDNESS OF THE MIND.
I was confident of this fact because as a freshman in the University, I was privileged to live for about a year in the same room with a middle aged man who was blind on both eyes. He was quite a jolly-good fellow who had made up his mind to make something out of his life despite his physical challenge. We all fondly called him “Oga John”.

He tape-recorded his lectures and got us to help him do the same for his textbooks and print materials. How did he write his exams? He carried an old type-writer to every exam or test he ever had in that Institution and with it he typed away. We served as his mirror to make sure he looked great. He would even laugh at us whenever there was no light and we tripped over things because he had mastered his environment without light. I was glad when he graduated with honors.

Through him, I was also privileged to meet other physically challenged people. On several occasions, he would come across a blind beggar and recognize the voice as one of his Classmates at the Primary School for the Blind. He would call out greeting them but knowing that he had taken his destiny in his hands. For him, blindness of the eye could not stop him because he had a vision, yes, albeit, not physical, he had a vision of the mind because he wasn’t blind in the mind. Such was his attitude that among his friends were Government officials in his state, Student Union Leadership, town hall executives, Dean of his faculty, lecturers and of course his fellow students.

3 years later,I was privileged to speak at a Rehabilitation centre & home for the Physically challenged. I cited Oga John’s Story as an example and many of them were inspired in no small measure.

One may be blind in the eye but something far worse is to be blind in the mind. If you tell a blind man that there is a ditch 20 meters ahead of him, he will understand and change his direction but a man who is blind in the mind may even go ahead and walk into it.

Leadership by people who are blind in the mind is obviously one without VISION. What better definition could there be? Such a Leadership will fall into the ditch but that’s not all: the real tragedy is that they will also lead their followers into the same ditch they fall. No wonder, the Holy Book asks “Can the Blind, lead the Blind?”
A Nation, Company or any organization that has no vision is headed for the ditch and it is only matter of time.

Listening to Cobhams Asuquo’s Music is so refreshing. In case, you don’t know him, he is a multiple award winning Nigerian Music professional with a powerful vision-no, not physical vision (He is blind in both eyes). He is very inspiring.

There have also been many other individuals in History who have gone ahead to prove to their generation that the Blindness of the eye is not the same as that of the Mind. Time fails me to tell you the stories of the likes of Helen Keller, who was a great speaker, activist, author and lecturer; Stevie Wonder, a musician of great repute; Louis Braille, who later invented the Braille for blind people and of course Governor David Paterson, who made history by becoming New York’s first Black and first physically Blind Governor in 2008.

Despite the fact that the burden of Blindness of the eye is quite high in some parts of Africa today, no thanks to Onchocerciasis, yet the real problem that has really plagued the continent for years is lack of vision. As high impact leaders and creative entrepreneurs, we must create clear cut visions and see farther than where we stand from the eyes of our mind. We can make a change in our continent. We can make a definite impact. Let’s Keep Hope alive.

Don’t eat your tomorrow today!

In December 2014, I visited the small town where I was born. I am glad with the decisions I made a couple of years ago. I am convinced that any body can go from the narrowest slum street to the greatest pinnacle in life.

Don't eat your future today!
Don’t eat your future today

Picture credit: sodahead.com

The favor of God being with you, what you need is a passionate dream,a dogged determination and correct information…yes lots of information. You can read yourself out of any hole you find yourself in. Don’t go complaining and blaming everyone,circumstances and fate..everyone but yourself. Take charge of your life today! The principles of Delayed gratification never hurt anyone. You can either Pay now and play later or Play now and pay later. It’s a big choice you have to make, whether consciously or unconsciously. The world is at your feet. Your tomorrow is bright. Don’t eat it today by making wrong choices. Even if you lie on a small bed,dream big dreams. Yes,even if you live in a narrow slum street,think globally. You are unstoppable.

Keep Hope alive!

Ndubuisi Egwim

ESCAPING THE ACTIVITY TRAP by Ndubuisi Egwim

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

U.S. writer and Philosopher.

rat trap

In our dotcom, instant coffee, click and get, over-night delivery world today, a costly assumption we can make, is to confuse Activity with Productivity.

Increase in Activity is NOT directly proportional to increase productivity. While you need to be active to get things going, also be sure you are not just as busy as ant with even less work done.

There a lot of individuals and companies that are involved in a hustle and bustle seemingly trying to get ahead but on critical examination, you discover they are actually extremely busy running a merry go round, trapped in a seemingly unending cycle of Activity.

The Activity trap will limit you from achieving your goals and will cause your dreams never to materialize.

There are dreams and plans and great things you have always wanted to do but have never done. You want to write great books and deliver powerful inspiring speeches. You want to learn a new musical instrument. You want to travel to some places or you want to start up an organization that will make an impact in your world. It could just be that you want to learn a new skill or a new language. Whatever it is, you will not be free to do until you break out of the activity trap.

Many individuals have had dreams of Financial Freedom and have had dreams of starting their own Business online or even offline but the greatest activity trap of all which an 8 to 5 Job, limits them from starting off their dream enterprise. They wake up each morning and rush off to a Work (Activity) they may not even like, only to return exhausted in the evening with just enough time to prepare for the next day’s labor. This way they go from the morning of their life through the afternoon and finally to their old age (night) filled with regrets and unrealized dreams.

Considering our limited time and resources, we must make each moment count and each action work towards a preset goal.

There are some simple steps I recommend for every Individual and organization to break out of Activity and move on to greater productivity.

1) Set Goals:

A goal guides you on your journey and helps you focus on what you want to achieve, where you are going to. If you have no definite goals and a clear understanding of where you are heading for, then you are going nowhere and more often than not, you will generally get there. Set definite goals today!

2) Evaluate:

It is not enough to sit down at the beginning of every year to make great goals on what great things you want to achieve. There must be an objective evaluation mechanism you can use to check yourself to be sure you are right on track and not just rotating in an activity trap.

Don’t always be in the unproductive rush typical of the 21st Century Business Executive. Remember “More haste, less speed”. Stop and evaluate your daily, weekly and even monthly activities. Find out which of them takes more time and produces less result. You can use a jotter or note pad to list and evaluate your activities. I dare you to do this today. You will be shocked at the amount of time you lose to irrelevant things and your need to reallocate your greatest asset properly- which is your time.

3) Prioritize:

We hear it so often yet we do it so little. You need to prioritize your business. There must be a way you can organize your activities into a Scale of preference. Make a daily To- do – list (TDL). List out all the activities you need to engage in for the day, in order of priority. Focus on the expected outcomes of these activities as a criteria for deciding what tops the list. Activities that will yield the best outcome and maximum results should come first. I usually prefer to do the hardest tasks for the day first. You could also set up your daily TDL that way. Start your day from the top of the list. If the day comes to an end or you run out of time while you are yet to get to the bottom of the list, it is ok. You would have done the most important ones. You can take a rest. The heavens will not fall if you don’t finish all the activities in your list. You can start again the next day.

4) Beware of the Insensible Time Loss:

Medical science teaches us of “insensible water loss”. The Medical Dictionary on Freedictionary.com defines insensible loss (insensible water loss) as the amount of fluid lost on a daily basis from the lungs, skin, and respiratory tract, as well as water excreted in the feces; the exact amount cannot be measured, but it is estimated to be between 40 cc and 600 cc in an adult under normal circumstances.  The most interesting aspect of insensible water loss is that we almost don’t feel it!. I equally observed that there is an insensible time loss. I have been there. You might just lazy about or you are seemingly engaged in a routine activity and time flies by. You don’t seem to notice it but your time is evaporating gradually. This often happens when you don’t have a to do list and clear goals for the day. Watch out for Insensible Time Loss.

5) Delegate:

Most Entrepreneurs are rugged people who built their businesses from the scratch. They have become very self-reliant and used to doing it all on their own. The same Solo Mentality that will be of great use to an entrepreneur starting out as a self-employed, could be the single most powerful inhibiting factor that will prevent them from successfully building their enterprise into a Great Business. All Leaders must learn to delegate. If you want your organization to reach a new level, you have to learn to trust your people with tasks, a little at first and then more later. Try as much as possible not to do what you can delegate or outsource.

A true leader develops the people around him or her and one great way to do that is to trust them with a task. It has a way of boosting their self-confidence and increases their sense of belonging to your cause. 

I wish you greater productivity as you break out of the Activity Trap to achieve your best dreams.

Dr Egwim Ndubuisi

www.NewDimensionLife.com