WHEN IS IT OKAY NOT TO KNOW?

Last week, I was involved in a serious conversation with a colleague. In the heat of the convo, he asked a question to which he knew the answer to just so he’ll find out if indeed I truly knew it. After critically considering the question, I began beating about the bush in response. Truth is, I wasn’t very much familiar with the answer, and having given off an impression of knowing, I knew I couldn’t ‘fall my hands’.

When he saw that I was going round and round in response, he remarked, ‘there’s no shame in admitting that you don’t know.’

I was momentarily taken aback by that statement and then I decided to come out clean; after all, admitting to one case of not knowing will not degrade my intelligence. So, I asked him to tell me what the answer was.

I wasn’t prepared for what came next. It was as though he let out the initial statement as bait to draw me into his net. He made me feel comfortable with not knowing, and after admitting so, he ridiculed the fact that I didn’t know.

It was very terrible. It felt like I was the most foolish person on earth. I’m certain that you too must have passed through a similar experience, maybe worse, who knows?

But guess what?

I stumbled upon a quote that said while going through the WhatsApp statuses of some persons in my contact list just a few days ago. It read: “the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it’s the illusion of knowledge.”

Frankly speaking, I don’t like admitting that I don’t know. The teachers I had while growing up made it seem like a crime if you didn’t know the answer to their question. It was almost like they expected you to know everything. This was the same mentality I grew up with and looking at how it has affected me today, I’ve come to understand that this is very wrong.

No man is an island of knowledge. There are so many things you and I don’t know, and while we can only attempt to know them, we can’t do anything about those things as long as we don’t know them. So, why stress it?

Paraphrasing the quote, it’s better to accept that you don’t know than to claim that you know. That in itself is the greatest enemy of knowledge.

It doesn’t matter what others may say about you, it doesn’t matter how they may label you. In the end, you’ll get to know and that knowledge will make you a better person.

So, what should you do when you don’t know?

1. Admit that you don’t know.

While I can’t guarantee you that it is very easy to admit you don’t know a thing or that you’ll not be looked down on if you make the admission, I can guarantee you that admitting you don’t know prepares you for knowledge so long as you have the right mindset.

2. Be willing to know what you don’t know.

While some knowledge is not for everybody—the stylist doesn’t have a business with the knowledge of the intricate structural design of a rocket launcher—you must be willing to find out the truth about certain things that concern you.

Take, for example, you’re this same stylist and you don’t know why black is an important colour of style, have you seen that you must seek out this knowledge because it directly affects you?

3. Be open-minded to accept new information.

Some people are just too stubborn. They hold on to what they think is correct, even when it is proven without a doubt that such knowledge is wrong.

It is not enough for us to accept we don’t know and still dwell in the fact that we don’t know; after all, ‘it’s okay not to know, isn’t it?’ No.

Equally, it’s still not enough for us to accept to be schooled in what we don’t know but thereafter, vehemently refuse to accept the new information that is passed across to us.

That said, we must make the necessary adjustments.

Remember, it is only okay not to know when you:
• Admit you don’t know
• Decide to know what you don’t know, and;
• Accept the new information you previously did not know.

Final Words

Don’t let anyone shame you for your ignorance of knowledge. Similarly, don’t act as though you know something when you don’t know it.

But if you feel that it is too humiliating for you to admit you don’t know a particular thing, you can try out this trick I employ:

“Whenever I’m faced with something I don’t know, I make quick research to acquaint myself with the basic knowledge of the subject. Once this is done and I can say a thing or two about that particular thing, I go deeper in search of the information that I may have missed during my quick search. By doing so, I become better versed in that matter and ultimately become a better person.

“However, in a case where I cannot get the basic information about the subject, I swallow my ego and admit that I don’t know. Then I open up my head and mind as I seek to know.”

You too can do the same!

You too can know even when you don’t know.

Remember, the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge.

Do have a knowledgeable week!

Don’t forget to come back next Monday for another dose of Monday Inspiration!


The Park Experience

The car slowed to a stop by the side of the bubbling tarred road and the driver announced, “this is where you stop. This place is Iwo road.”

I adjusted myself to alight from the Toyota Sienna car I’d boarded from Lagos. Sitting in the middle did not help, too: I had to wait for the lady beside me to slide open the car door so I could step outside. She finally did, and I was greeted by the burning sun over my back as I sucked in warm air mixed with the smell of vegetables and corn immediately my feet touched the ground.

I circled round to the back of the car where the driver was already waiting with the car boot opened. I took out my back bag and my black medium-sized echolac box. Some young men were already waiting to pick up the bags as the driver slammed the boot shut.

“No, no, no… Leave it,” I said to one of them who tried to pick up the box.

I turned around to observe the expressly tarred road crammed by slow-moving vehicles, roadside vendors, with several pedestrians trying to cross the road. ‘This is Ibadan’, I muttered.

“Oga, where you dey go?”

I turned sharply to see who it was that talked to me. He was dark and tall with prominent scars plastered across his face. His teeth were arranged haphazardly and stained, but his navy blue sleeveless top and black jeans didn’t look dirty.

“Iwo. I’m looking for the place where I’d board a vehicle going to Iwo,” I said.

“Okay, I can take you there,” he volunteered.

As I followed him, observing the roadside display of shoes and sandals, I couldn’t help but be grateful, ‘the Lord has blessed me with a good Samaritan,’ I reasoned.

“Bros, make I help you carry your bag na,” he said.

“No, don’t worry.”

The khaki-coloured back bag wasn’t too heavy on my back as I dragged the echolac box behind me. I didn’t want to overuse the privilege of this stranger, neither did I want to pay any fees to anyone for carrying my bags.

“See Bros,” the stranger started, “my mind no dey okay as I see as only you dey carry these big bags. Make I help you with one.”

I didn’t budge, but after he persisted, I surrendered my box to him and he swiftly lifted it over his head. Soon, we crossed the road and a few steps later got to the Iwo motor park.

“Thank you so much,” I said, as he dropped the box.

I approached a man who I presumed was the driver of one of the cars that were loading passengers to Iwo. It was a black Toyota Corolla car that still looked very decent despite its age.

“How much to Iwo?” I asked as I dropped the box into the opened car boot.

Before I could get a response, my supposed stranger-friend said something that made me turn sharply. He had been standing there all this time.

“You say?”

“I say, give me my money,” he repeated, rather indifferently.

“Huh?” I was surprised. “Money?”

“Ahn Ahn!” he exclaimed, “all the waka wey I don waka na for wetin? Gimme my money joor!”

I looked him up again from top to bottom, ‘Good Samaritan indeed.’

“I think say na charity work you dey do oh… No be just to show me this place? Shebi na you say make you help me carry my bag na, I no beg you. So, money for trekking?”

The whole thing seemed very funny to me. I kinda had a feeling that this was what was coming, that was why I had initially rejected his offers to carry my bag.

“Which kind charity work, oga?” he said, his voice was gradually rising into a pitch, “something wey person dey use chop, you dey call am charity.”

The shit was getting more real than the humour I was expressing, and the driver was already bothering me to settle with him so we could leave for Iwo.

“Okay, how much is it?” I asked.

“₦600.”

I gasped in shock. I stood transfixed, unable to process the information I’d just heard. After a moment, I recovered from the shock of the amount.

“₦600 for what? For just trekking from there to here? Did I even ask you to carry my bag for me? Abi you carry me for back? How much be from here to Iwo sef wey you wan collect ₦600?”

The distance to the park from where I met this guy can be likened to the length of a football pitch. I laughed, ₦600 to walk?

I noticed that the both of us were isolated and that he was tilting towards hostility, and I wasn’t ready to allow my white top to be stained with his hands over ₦600. So, I moved over to the car that was to take us to Iwo and complained to the driver. The driver then called the attention of two other men who sprang up to listen to the ensuing misunderstanding.

“Did you talk price when he met you?” one of them said to the disputing guy.

“No, but he say make I help am show am the park, I carry this him back for my back from all that side.”

“Oga, I no beg you to carry my bag… Na you volunteer yourself. If you no collect ₦100, make you leave am. Which one be ₦600? Shey you wan carry me go Iwo?”

I was becoming increasingly infuriated with his demands. For Heaven’s sake, I’ve lived in Lagos, I’ve lived in the east, too. If he can extort money from everyone, it wasn’t going to be me.”

His temper was gradually rising too, but the money he was demanding was too outrageous to the point that one other person came in and reiterated the same.

“Oga, na wetin him give you you go collect o,” the first man said.

“Which kind ₦100?” he said angrily, “see, me and you go fight here now if you no give me my money.” He readjusted his stance and maintained the straight frown he’d had on his face all the while.

“Oga, you better calm down o,” I said, “you and who go fight here? You better calm down and accept ₦100; after all, we didn’t agree on anything.”

Realising that the odds were not in his favour, he took a different approach.

“See, I fit to leave this money for you,” he said, “but I go swear for am and the swear go work.”

I laughed.

“Swear? When we didn’t agree price? Oga please leave the money and swear,” I said, “please swear. You think say I dey fear swear? No dey look say because I wear glass, come wear white and black, say I resemble person you fit bully o.”

The driver came by and told me that the car was filled already and about to move, that I should settle with the young man and come enter the car. It was then I realised that I wasn’t having ₦100 notes with me, the least was a single ₦50 note and a ₦200 note.

The man who had been the de facto mediator was next to advise me.

“Just give am wetin you get, make him dey go,” he said.

To avoid further arguments and because of the urgency to leave, I had to lean into what he said. So I dipped my hands in my jean pocket and brought out a ₦200 note.

“I’m giving you this money just because you carried my bag. If to say you no carry am, na ₦100 you for collect this afternoon,” I said and handed over the money to him.

He took the money and left, but that wasn’t after he had made a hilarious remark.

“Na people like you wey if they make them God, everybody go suffer.”

“You don’t know me, oga,” I responded, “if to say you talk say you need money, I for help your life.”

He finally walked away and I went to take my seat at the space reserved for me in front of the vehicle.

I turned to the driver, “How much is the transport?”

He adjusted himself on his seat and stepped out of the car. “Give him ₦1,000,” he said, gesturing to a young man standing by my side of the car and arranging some naira notes.

I took out a ₦1,000 note and handed it over to the man.

“How much is the transport?” I asked him as he collected the money from me.

He was busy with the other people at the park that he didn’t bother to respond to my question. Anyways, I settled in, tried to calm myself as I pondered over the events of the past minutes.

Then I heard something that interested me. The guy I’d given the money said something to the driver in their Yoruba language. I’m not Yoruba, but having stayed in Lagos, I understood the language to an extent.

The driver came into the car and started the ignition. He was about to drive the car out when I turned to him.

“What of the ₦400 change the guy outside told you to give to me?”

He turned to me in bewilderment; apparently, I looked too foreign that he didn’t know I understood the language. But he made a sound recovery.

“The place you’re dropping is different from the place every other person is dropping,” he said.

“That’s not a problem. Drop me wherever you’re dropping every other person, I’ll find my way. Just give me my change.”

He reluctantly brought out the money from his pocket and handed it to me without saying another word.

These people are exploitative,’ I muttered, and we journeyed along in silence.

I’ll Say It Again, Regardless…

When it comes to motivating people to become better versions of themselves, many believe that whatever should be said has been said already. For some people, the mere hint of a motivational speech turns them off. 

It’s so sad that in this part of the world where I come from, not many people pay attention to inspiring words. Many feel it’s all cliched, a sham and an unnecessary waste of time. It has gotten to the point that the noble profession of “motivational speaking” is now used as a tool for sarcasm, comedy and banter.

However, if you’re expecting me to follow this trend, or perhaps to alter the point of this article; then, I’m sorry, this article is not for you, you can stop reading at this point.

If you’re still reading, I want you to understand that motivating people to do better, to become better versions of themselves is not a trivial matter. It is not something that should be discarded as cliched and of little importance.

Why?

All over the world, in one way or the other, people need to be motivated to carry on, to stay on course, to pursue their dreams. Although, while it is good to be able to self-motivate yourself, you cannot deny the fact that sometimes, we just need to draw it from outside. After all, we don’t generate the air we breathe in to stay alive, we get it from the environment.

So, it’s not enough to say once and not say again; in fact, the average human being needs to tell herself positive words several times every single day to cushion the effects of the negative ones that may pop up.

What are you telling yourself and what am I saying to you?

KEEP GOING, DON’T GIVE UP!

I’m certain that you must have heard this phrase several times before. You see it on billboards and fliers, hear it from radios, watch it on televisions, and so on. You might also have attended seminars and events where the person speaking kept on emphasizing it. Truth is, you’ve heard it many many times.

If you’re still reading, I’m guessing you’re nodding your head at this point and asking yourself what exactly my point is. Alright, to clearly emphasize my point, I’ll tell you a story.

There was this black Pathfinder jeep my cousin rode. Each time she went out with the car, she’d always branch by the fuel station to get petrol for it. It kept happening again and again and again. 

There was one time when there was not enough petrol in the car, she had to branch to the nearest fuel station before continuing to her destination.

What am I trying to suggest?

She refuelled the car, again and again, each time with the same hydrocarbon; the same components but different quantities. If she didn’t refuel, the car wouldn’t go further. 

Similarly, you and I need to refuel consistently. Our fuel is the words we speak, the motivation we get, the “never give up”, the “just do it”, the “keep going” and the likes. No matter how full of these words we may be, we should remember that the car always needs a refuel after exhausting its existing volume. 

The most important thing is that we should understand that these motivational words are not cliched. They are there to motivate you, to help you to keep your vehicle moving forward. And when you exhaust the volume you have, you have to refuel.

One last thing, 

“The vehicles that remain on the roads are the ones that make use of their fuel.”

euphoriawrites

It’s not enough for you to listen and sink in these words and not act upon any one of them. You have to put the motivation you’ve received to good use. You have to step out.

So, dear friend,

KEEP GOING. KEEP FIGHTING. NEVER GIVE UP.


Driving Through Ibadan

…and we’re back!

Welcome to another edition of TGIF! It’s the first Friday Lifestyle in a very long long long time.

By way of apology for the long absence, I’d be telling you a story in this post. It’s a real-life story, so just stay put and listen… or should I have said, read? Anyways, here it goes!

Have you been to Ibadan before? You haven’t? Then, it won’t be wrong if I say you’ve not seen “crazy”, at least, the Ibadan version of crazy.

Well, I think I should start with some background information. Ibadan is the capital city of Oyo State, Nigeria and is dominated by the Yoruba speaking people of the country. It is one of the oldest and most famous cities in the country. It has seen its fair share of the good, the not so good and the ugly.

So, back to my story.

I was in this white, almost brand new Toyota Hiace Hummer bus that slowly manoeuvred its way around the congested Ibadan traffic at around 7:00 pm. It was a corporate vehicle owned by the organisation I work with and we were returning from a successful visit to Lagos, Nigeria. I was seated in front, just beside the driver.

The road was crammed with vehicles of all types; vans, SUVs, buses, taxis, tricycles and motorcycles. The city bustled and bubbled; roadside sellers called out to passersby; vehicles caused unwanted cacophonies with their impatient honks; couples walked hand in hand into eateries—the chatter never stopped along the narrow double-laned road.

“You’re mad! You’re foolish!”

I turned right to see who was swearing at our bus. It was a tricycle operator who our driver had overtaken in a manner he didn’t like. He was a young-looking man probably in his late 20s dressed in a red top and blue jeans and his tricycle was loaded with passengers.

He overtook us again and continued his swearing; he swore and cursed in his native Yoruba tongue. It continued like a drag race and each time he overtook us, he swore at our driver. I turned my attention to our bus driver, a complete Yoruba man by all standards. He had literally flown us from Lagos, and despite how fast he was, he was very careful. I thought he didn’t deserve the insult and I wasn’t surprised when he couldn’t just sit still and swallow it all up. More like, I knew his reaction would come despite how hard we tried to calm him down.

“Baba ẹ!” he cursed back at the tricycle driver.

“Baba, please calm down. Don’t answer him. Let him go with his wahala.” We tried calming him down but it was too late, he was already too pissed.

There’s this popular African proverb that goes like this: “When the gods want to kill a man, he would first make him mad.” That was exactly what happened to this young man, only that his case wasn’t death, it was debt.

The traffic was worsened by the long line of cars parked by the side of the road. This made it difficult for two moving cars to drive side by side. It was in one of these places, beside one of the parked cars, that the tricycle operator attempted to overtake our bus for the umpteenth time. This time around, in addition to his swearing, he decided to come directly in front of our vehicle.

Unfortunately, his driving wasn’t as smooth as his swearing, as the rear of his tricycle caught onto the front bumper of our vehicle. It stuck there too, just as the driver applied the brakes.

Baba immediately jumped down from the vehicle to confront the tricycle guy. Funny enough, both the bus and the tricycle were packed at the centre of the road, adding to the traffic jam.

What happened to the tricycle operator upon realizing his error was like someone falling from a 10 storey building. His passengers had all deserted him and people who had gathered at the scene condemned him. He, at that moment, went from being the arrogant swearing brat to a quiet humble lamb.

The guy begged. I looked at him and while I could pity the fact that he may not have the money to repair our bus, I laughed internally at his deflated ego. How have the mighty fallen and the weapons of warfare perished!

You should see his face that night. My guy lost his passengers and was faced with the possibility of paying for a bus bumper. It got to a point that he began to ask other people to help beg us.

In the end, we let him off the hook with a warning of going forth and sinning no more. The damage was already done, so we lifted the tricycle out from under the bumper. Without a single word, and with a quiet expression on his face, he stepped into his tricycle and zoomed off.

Luckily, the bus had insurance and was fixed the following day.

So, that’s the end of my story. I hope you learnt a thing or two?

I’ll be waiting for your comments in the comments section. See you next Friday!!

Oh… Wait! Come back on Sunday for a refreshing piece of poetry.

Book Alert: Behind The Mask

You can agree with me that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent worldwide lockdown were the major highlights of the year 2020.

During this period, the world experienced a kind of hardship never before seen. Millions of people lost their lives, several others struggled to stay alive; the worldwide economy plunged and many families found it difficult to feed properly.

While the focus of the world was on the failing health system and the daily counts of body bags, a deadly illness went unnoticed. It is an illness that fed on the mind and weakened the resolve of the ‘supposed’ healthy population.

I’m talking about depression or major depressive disorder (MDD) as many professionals may call it. During the period of the lockdown, there were several cases of suicides linked to the culminating effects of depression.

On a broader scale, before the pandemic, depression has been one of the leading causes of worldwide suicides. Sadly, despite its devastating effects, not many people are aware of its dangers.

To this end, on May 23rd 2020, I published a poetry book titled Behind The Mask: the end of a star. Long story short, I revised the book this year and have brought it forward again simply as Behind The Mask.

What is this book all about?

Behind The Mask poetically tells the story of the young and altruistic Tobi; a university undergraduate who, having dined on the table of happiness, saw himself fall into the depths of depression.

The poems in this book detail the timeline of Tobi’s life; from the time he lived in the quietness of mind to the time he made the first contact with depression and his lifelong struggle with it.

BTM isn’t just a series of progressive poems about Tobi, it is what so many young people can relate to within our contemporary society. It is more than just a story, it awakens us to the possible end of life in depression.

It is available on pabpub through this link

Read | Reflect | Drop A Review


Never Settle For Less

We live in an age where success is measured by the level of one’s affluence. These days, only a few people still worry about the legitimacy of the source of their desired affluence, and the mantra is slowly becoming “the end justifies the means”.

Sadly, many people—especially the young ones—are going against acceptable societal standards and doing what is morally unjustifiable in their bid to attain this success, all because “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do”.

More painful is the fact that many others are perpetually hooked up in activities and means which ordinarily shouldn’t be on their list of to-dos. These sets of people have belittled themselves with their logical assertion that “we’ll take whatever life throws at us”. For them, life happened.

While we understand that at certain points in a person’s life, there tend to be brick walls preventing a kind of break forth; this, however, shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to settle for less.

It isn’t a matter of ego

Being an egoist is not synonymous with my concept of “not settling for less”. They are two different things. 

Egoism, on one hand, involves a selfish feeling of self-importance and self-worth. An egotistical person wouldn’t take to doing an odd job just because he feels it’s totally beneath his class. Such a person will rather go through the short routes to success than stick with a job or a task that he considers “self-demeaning” or an affront to his social status.

Not settling for less, on the other hand, involves turning down odd jobs or tasks because they don’t align with a person’s long term goals. Persons in this category do not just jump into whatever life offers; instead, they are conscious and carefully determine if the ‘offering’ is right for them.

They don’t take up a janitor job because it’s the only option. They’d, however, take a job as a janitor because they believe they can utilize that avenue to gather finances and/or experiences for the time being, pending when they’d switch to a more “presentable” job. They’ll never ‘settle in’ being a janitor.

The difference here is to do things with a sense of purpose and legitimacy not just because they have no other choice. These people are equally better positioned to switch jobs or venture out whenever the opportunity arises. They search out the opportunity while they’re at a “lesser” place.

Making the distinction

Some time ago, I listened to someone who spoke enthusiastically about how she wanted to live a   lifestyle. While she got down to talking, she mentioned that she wouldn’t take any ‘lesser’ job regardless of the size of the pay, because she didn’t want to go below her current social ‘class’. 

Upon my examination of this person, I discovered that she had this whimsical fantasy about the future but didn’t have a plan on how to get to that level, and worse still, I felt her ego speaking through her mouth. That isn’t what “not settling for less” is all about.

While I was still considering the consequences of her decision, I stumbled upon an article of a young man who travelled out of his native country to another country where he basically “took up whatever life threw at him”. He did every type of “low-class” job possible, throwing his heart and muscles to work in each one.

He didn’t last in those jobs very long; in a short while, he got himself a better job and better fortunes, and his social “class” skyrocketed. It became obvious that he only leveraged those odd jobs to secure a more profitable one in line with his dreams.

This is the distinction I’m talking about: not ‘settling’ for less, but aiming and actively working towards higher while engaging in jobs that may be considered “less”.

You too can!

What is that thing you’re doing? What business(es) are you engaged in? Have you seen it as a means to keep on living or do you see it as a rung that takes you higher up the ladder?

Listen, you shouldn’t ‘settle’ for less. When I say ‘settle’, I mean being comfortable with. 

It’s okay to work as a cleaner, doorman, driver, house help or even a bus conductor. There’s nothing wrong with it. When it’s wrong is when you get comfortable with it and accept it as your fate for the rest of your life. That is when it’s wrong.

You have to see whatever it is you’re doing as a stepping stone to the next level of affluence. You have to consciously work towards it too. Develop a big picture and run with it. Don’t settle yourself in mediocrity.

Life will keep on throwing stuff at you. It’s left for you to consider which one of them would go into making you a podium which it’ll use to announce your success.

Remember, options are set before you. You have a choice. 


Join us next Monday for another dose of inspiration!

Is S/HE BREAD?

Have you ever been hungry before? Dumb question. My bad. What do you do when you’re hungry? Oops! Another dumb question. Turns out, I don’t know how to properly ask questions. But you get the point, don’t you? I like to think that you do.

You don’t? Forgive my brain, dude might be confusing sometimes. But there’s nothing to worry about, though, by the end of this little chit-chat of ours you’ll fully understand what I’m talking about.

To start with, bread’s a food! Yea, everyone knows that; unsurprisingly, not everyone eats bread. Why? Allergies, tastes, etc, etc. However, people who eat bread eat bread because they’re hungry, isn’t it? Uhmmm… not always, a person might eat bread because they just feel like eating bread.

That’s not the point of this discussion, though. The point I’m trying to make is that people always turn to bread for their satisfaction—to quell hunger—pleasure and probably the benefits it will give to their body.

Note the reasons I listed: pleasure, satisfaction, benefits. They only eat bread because they want to or need to. Do you have a relationship with bread? Well, except you’re one of those “special” people, the answer is a big no.

The “Bread”

Do you have friends? Like, real friends? That’s a tough one, isn’t it? Alright. Do you have people who only come to you when they need something? I can see you nodding now, whether it’s in affirmation to the question or a realization on the whole “bread” introduction, we’ll soon find out.

Okay, let’s turn the question the other way round: Do you have people whom you only contact when you need them to do something for you? Uhmmmm… does the question seem uncomfortable? Hang in there, please, I promise to round off soon.

Let me share my experience with you. I got a text from someone weeks back, she sent a ‘hello’, I responded. She went further and inquired about my welfare and began asking about personal matters. I was taken back a little, she rarely did that, so I figured out what would come next—quite unsurprisingly: she needed a favour. The first word that came to my mouth was “BREAD“.

Let’s go back to the reasons, shall we?

What Makes “S/he” Bread

Remember, I said people turn to bread for three things: Pleasure, satisfaction and/or benefits.

Pleasure. S/he’s bread when you turn to s/he to fulfil the pleasures you crave. I’m not hungry, but the bread smells nice, I take a bite, it tastes nice so I take another bite. I’m pleasuring myself.

Do you have people who remember you only for the fun you’ll bring? Say, someone is bored and asks you to come over so you can cheer them up? Or, do your “friend(s)” invite you to follow them to a party where your presence may only serve to rack up the numbers or boost their social status?

Wait a minute, do you do that to others?

Satisfaction. I think I’m getting hungry, I may probably have to get a snack, I think there’s bread in the fridge?

Everyone has a need, most of these needs require the help of someone else to fix it. I’ve told you about my friend who needed my help to fix her need. The problem is that she only hits me up when there’s a need to fill. Do you also experience the same thing? Then, someone is treating you as bread.

Benefits. Do you know that bread contains carbohydrates that give energy? Some bakeries even go the extra mile of including additives that are beneficial to the body. That’s a good reason why I should have bread, isn’t it?

Well, you’ve heard of the popular FWBs, right? It simply means ‘Friends With Benefits’; with ‘Benefits’ actually meaning ‘Benefits’ if you understand what I’m talking about. S/he is not bread when you both are FWBs, S/he is only bread when the benefit only comes from her/him. Many people choose to call this parasitism or opportunism.

When S/he Isn’t Bread

Your friend, acquaintance or relation is not bread when there is an underlying RELATIONSHIP.

No single person is an island of their own; we all need each other’s help and support in one way or the other. This help, however, shouldn’t be requested out of the blue, there has to be a relationship.

The relationship might be a buyer-seller relationship. Hell yes! I’ll only call up the baker if I need bread from her, once the transaction is done, we can both go our ways until when next I need bread. There has to be some form of relationship.

The relationship might equally be the one that exists between friends, partners, relations and acquaintances. In the end, it has to be mutual and has to show that both parties care for each other in ways other than what they can offer to the table.

If this my friend was to be having regular conversations with me, asking about my welfare and helping me emotionally or otherwise, I wouldn’t be suspicious when she starts all of a sudden with such questions and yeah, I wouldn’t have thought of me being regarded as ‘bread’ when she asked that favour.

Final Thoughts

Consciously or unconsciously, you—in one way or the other—may have been treated as bread. Conversely, you may have treated (or been treating) someone else as bread. This is not good for our relationships especially when the person who has been treated as such finds out (which they may likely do in this blog post).

It is important, therefore, that we practice the religion of mutualism; let us strive to build mutual relationships, one that will be endearing to both participants and one that will equally have a lasting impression in our lives.

So, don’t just ‘eat’ bread, make ‘bread’ to want you to ‘eat’ bread. Let the bread have no other choice than to offer bread to you.


See you next Friday on another episode on lifestyle!

Four-Footed Placid

The sun hid among the fluffy white clouds as I stared out the window. It looked tired, having expended an over-generous amount of heat all afternoon. I took a deep breath, the air smelled of exhaust fumes mixed with the odour from sweaty bodies. I sighed. I reclined on the packed seat; surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as the seat of the bus I boarded when I went to work that morning.

I was thankful as the bus threaded on the bumpy tarred road without the usual stop-start traffic. It wasn’t moving very fast either, but I wasn’t complaining. The rest of the passengers seemed as tired as I was; the usual bus chatter was absent and except for the continuous hum of the vehicle coupled with the occasional location call-out by the conductor, it was quiet.

I closed my eyes as the moist air slapped gently against my face, sending strands of hair across my eyes. I tugged the hair back behind my ear. My makeup was smudged too, it was part of the “perks” that came with being a secretary at M & J Holdings. I slowly recalled the events of the day: the unceasing calls over the office phone, the constant staring at the computer, consistent typing, drafting memos and unending paperwork. “The week just began,” I sighed. Mondays were the second-worst days after Thursday.

“Ikotun!” The conductor called out, snapping me from my reverie. 

He was a very black young man, probably in his late twenties. He wore a black shirt and dirty cream-coloured 3/4 length combat trousers with a pair of black rubber flip flops preventing his feet from touching the ground.

“Ikotun wa,” I said. He hit the body of the bus twice with his fists and the driver slowed down just close to the bus stop.

“Sorry… Excuse me,” I said to the other commuters on the seat as I wriggled my way out of the bus, clutching tightly to my black handbag.

I was greeted by an apologetic sunset as I came under its gaze. I looked around, hesitantly deciding which of the bikes to take from the dozens that called out to me. I finally decided to go for the bike man with a red cap and striped shirt. He appeared to be in his mid-fifties.

“Solomon James,” I said when I got close to him.

“Madam, your money na ₦150 o,” he said and started his bike.

“Ahn ahn… na ₦100 I hold o,” I replied, flashing him a ₦100 note.

“Oya enter.” He adjusted himself on the seat, giving me enough space to seat myself well. The company’s policies prevented us from wearing trousers on Mondays.

I thought about Placid as we moved off. I’d left him with enough cat food and milk for the day.  He was a very good cat, usually comfortable among my visitors and didn’t give me any trouble. I wondered what he did in the afternoons, though. He probably slept all through.

The bike pulled out in front of the big black gate of my apartment, a one-story building dwarfed by taller buildings at both sides of the fence. I lived on the ground floor, in the only one-bedroom flat the building had.

I alighted and paid the bike man and watched silently as he zoomed off. I turned and walked into the compound. The air contrasted with that of the bus, I sucked in deeply and heaved a sigh of relief.

“What the hell!” The bag slipped off my hands and landed on the cement floor with a thud. Placid came running out from the gaping metal front door, his fluffy brown furs appeared slightly ruffled.

I was sure I had locked the door before I left, no doubt about it. I took a step further and observed that the lock had been tampered with. I slowly walked inside, Placid following closely behind.

“Oh my…” I gasped and slumped onto the black leather cushion. The sitting room was torn apart, the plasma TV and other electronics were missing. My home had been burgled.

A thought crossed my mind. I jumped off the chair and hurried into the bedroom. The boxes were missing from the drawers beside the bed. They contained the pieces of jewellery Modupe had asked me to keep for her. I slumped on the bed, head buried in my palms—confused.

“God why? Why me?” I looked around the room, it was just like the sitting room, everything had been turned on its head. “My phone!” I hurried away, ignoring Placid who climbed onto the bed. 

The bag was gone when I got outside. My phones, the files I came back with, everything. That was when the first drops of tears fell. They had been collecting for a while. I slowly returned to the sitting room, I couldn’t scream, I didn’t know where to start from.

Placid followed me everywhere I went. He climbed the cushion after I’d slumped in it. He climbed my laps and tried to climb up my face, his cute ink-black eyes staring into mine. His touches were warm too, and it seemed that he tried to comfort me.

“It was your neighbour that did all these. Dapo, the one upstairs.” 

I jumped out of my seat as the tiny voice whispered to me. He was swift too, he jumped away almost immediately. I stared at the cat who met my gaze. My heart was threatening to explode out of my chest. My head hurt. Tears had dried from my eyes.

“What the fuck! Placid?”

“Dapo was the one who broke into the house,” the cat said, parting his lips in symphony with the sound he made.

That was the last thing I remembered as I felt my head spinning. Everything turned grey and white and then nothing. I passed out.


Lessons From The Fireplace

Fireplaces are common in geographical locations where winter is commonplace. They’re mostly employed to enable a temperature rise to warm those who make them.

Fireplaces are also used in camps and adventures for providing lighting, warmth and a means to prepare food.

In this part of the world where I come from and grew up, fireplaces are a common occurrence, not because of the weather though, but because we need fires to make food. 

Every morning before going to school, my routine house chores involved making fires at the fireplace cum kitchen. We usually set up woods underneath a local stove we call òkìgwè. When the fire matured, we used it to cook and prepare whatever was on the menu.

Consequently, I evolved into a master fire maker who didn’t require kerosene or other crude liquid to make fires. It was as a result of this continuous activity that I learnt important lessons which I shall reveal in this article.

I hope it inspires you and fires you up for the week ahead.

Lesson 1: The Wood

This is by far one of the most important components for the making of any wood-based fire. 

During evenings when we had less work to do, we usually went to the bush in search of firewoods. We gathered them, bundled them and brought them home so we could use them for our fires.

It is very important that the woods used to make fires are devoid of moisture; dry wood which had long turned from green to brown; woods with low pliability. This is because, for a fire to be sustained, the wood has to keep burning. Wood still full of moisture and green are usually very difficult to start and sustain a fire. Also, the type of tree from which the wood was cut plays a huge role in its ability to sustain a fire.

So, what is the nature of your wood? Will it be able to sustain a fire or is it resistant to starting a fire? 

Your wood could be your skill, ability, qualification, strengths, education, and generally the substance you possess. It is usually a combination of your innate gifts, talents, opportunities and hard work. 

You should ask yourself two questions: 

  1. Do I have the right substance to succeed?
  2. Is what I have good enough? Ready to be thrown into use?

If your answer to these questions is no, then you have to work on yourself, to acquire skills and talents; to invest in yourself; to consciously decide to learn and grow, and; to position yourself better to be able to easily jump in on those opportunities coming your way.

However, if you can convincingly answer yes to these questions, then you have to look at the next lesson.

Lesson 2: Placement

I can make fires in less than a minute. This is true. I’ve done this time and time again: in the mornings, afternoons and evenings. I know that one key to making fires is to make sure to get the wood arrangements right for the fire to be able to spread from one wood to the other.

When I make fires, I make sure the wood converges and even touches each other. I’m careful to place them together so that when I light the match and it begins to burn, the fire will not only spread from one wood to another but will also have a direction in which it ascends.

Have you put your skills to good use? Are you at the right place, aligning yourself with purpose? Or, do you generally tend to haphazardly do this or that and follow in whatever direction the fire goes?

Hear this, it is not enough to have the right tools or possess the right substances, you should also know how to put them to good use, carefully placing them such that each step takes you closer to your dreams. 

Do you have a big picture you look up to? Do you have any goals? Do you have a road map to achieving these goals? Are you better placed to jump in on opportunities relevant to your goals?

One of the major reasons that make placement possible is understanding one’s path and purpose. If you do not know how the wood should be placed (where and where to unleash your skill), you wouldn’t know how the fire will ascend—a lack of direction. 

The reason why a person will drive a Ferrari like a Toyota is because of a lack of understanding. Get your placements right.

Lesson 3: The Fire

Without the understanding of placement, you wouldn’t know where to start your fire. 

Personally, when placing the wood for the fire, I make a hollow at its base where the fire will build up from. If I’m making the fire from nylon, I make sure the nylon is at that hollow so that the fire would be able to climb upwards.

If the fire doesn’t start from the base of the wood, there’s every possibility that it won’t last even if the wood was a good fit.

Every man starts his journey from somewhere. Success, just like cooking fire, does not just appear from anywhere. It always builds up from somewhere, generating little smoke that soon turns out into a big fire.

If you made it this far in this article, it means that you have what it takes to build your base (if you don’t have one already). Your base is the substance that you run with, consolidated by the skills and talents which you’ve accumulated for yourself. It is the one thing that is left when everything else is stripped.

Your base is your purpose, your determination, your core beliefs and your passion. It is what keeps you going every day regardless of how the previous day fared.

Your fire should start from your base and when it does, every other thing will fall in place.

Final Words

If you can dream it, you can do it. There is nothing impossible. I recently read the story of a Nigerian man who quit his CBN job and moved out to Canada in pursuit of his dreams. After doing odd jobs for a while, he ended up landing a job at the prestigious Bank of Canada.

Attaining success, like making fires, requires time; however, you should not just wait on time, you should be actively involved in doing something which should take you a step at a time towards your desired success.

Are you committed to your dreams? Have you set daily or weekly goals? Do you have your sights set on the bigger picture? You’re the inspiration you need to succeed. Act today.


What I Learnt From Gratitude

Earlier this week I was asked to assist some woman to finish up some menial job which she apparently couldn’t do on her own. I obliged and went ahead with the task.

To her surprise, I was able to finish it up in about three hours and she was extremely grateful. But, by the time I finished I was very exhausted and couldn’t do anything more. I had to go home to rest for the remainder of the day.

However, while doing the job, I noticed something very important. I was able to finish up neither because I had the physical strength to do it nor because I was extremely determined; it was because of the way she motivated me with her words of gratitude.

“Thank you so much”, “Wow, you’re doing it well”, “Thank you for your efforts”, “I am very grateful for the time you took out to this”. These were just a summary of how she was appreciating me till the job was done.

By the end of the day, whether consciously or unconsciously, this woman had manipulated me in her favour. I used the word “manipulate” because I feel that her use of gratitude had done so much to both influence and control my actions.

On that note, I have outlined three things I observed that happened to me during all the times she expressed gratitude.

1. Gratitude Breaks Every Resistance

As human beings, our natural configuration automatically makes us want to say no to the requests of others. This is the reason why many successful business coaches advise that to make sales, the seller always has to look for a way to make the prospect say yes, yes, yes.

By making someone say yes, you’ve automatically broken whatever innate resistance of ‘no’ such a person may have. By breaking this initial resistance, every other thing that may be requested subsequently has a greater chance of being favoured.

I noticed that this same effect was replicated in me when the art of gratitude was employed. Instead of grumbling within me and giving myself a thousand and one reasons why I shouldn’t continue in the job—valid reasons, meanwhile—I decided to continue because the natural barrier had been broken.

2. Gratitude Motivates You To Do Better

When your initial barrier of refusal has been broken through gratitude, you unconsciously decide to do better on the task which you’ve been assigned.

You develop an unconscious determination not to let the other person down because you believe that since they’ve shown you gratitude, you should do something fitting enough for that level of gratitude.

I once worked in an organization where the proprietor was always giving a backlash to his staff. Every morning, while we’re gathered for devotion, he will always look for areas where we were not meeting up and make a huge emphasis on them. He’d mention how we are not being diligent enough and how he was paying us despite us not doing enough.

What was the general atmosphere in the organisation? As you’d predict, it was sullen with underground murmurings and grumblings at every corner. His words did not help, even the things we felt we did well were not given special mention, so it was like everyone dragged their feet while doing their tasks.

Because there was no show of gratitude, there was no determination to perform better. I must also add that within this same organisation, when the spate of ingratitude increased, many workers quit their jobs.

3. Gratitude Energizes You To Do More

There is this wise Igbo saying that goes thus: “E kele dike na nke omere, ya me ọzọ”. It simply translates as: once you thank a good man for what he has done, he will do another.

This saying sums up what happened to me during the week and what has been consistently happening to me, as well as many others to whom I’ve shown gratitude.

Now, ask yourself, how many times have you done something for someone and you don’t get as little as a thank you in return? How did you feel? What happened when that person came back again for another favour?

How many times have you also done something for someone and the person almost embarrassed you with thank you’s? How did you feel? Did you feel that you should have even done more? What happened when that person came back again for another favour?

I bet you must have gone through both circumstances with very contrasting reactions. That is the power of gratitude.

Final Words

Be grateful. Do not just express gratitude when someone gives you something very tangible or when something very weighty is done for you.

Show gratitude, even for something as little as someone picking up your pencil after you or someone buying you water on a cold morning. Don’t grumble or lament over the nature of the assistance, show gratitude first.

Remember, when you thank a good person for what they’ve done for you, they’ll get motivated to do more.

Do you have any experiences which you’ve had from showing or receiving gratitude? Do let us know in the comments section! We’d be glad to hear from you.


…the echoes within

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