Monthly Archives: February 2014

THE ENDLESS JOSTLE FOR RESOURCE MONOPOLY

Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.”
                   
                    – Karl Lagerfeld

What I have learnt is that there is a never-ending gravitation towards the direction of resources. For the purpose of this literature, resource refers to a skill, talent or ability.

More often than not, while still a prodigy at some specific ability, there is almost always a maddening rush for your services free of charge. Sometimes, you feign being occupied or being temporarily unavailable just to ward off the perceived parasites. You see, even when you attain a higher level of proficiency, people will still always come at you from all angles, seeking your assistance on this or that; their sweet tongues lavishing accolades on your unsuspecting person. If you allow yourself be fooled by these praise singers, you’ll see that in no time, you will have been gleaned of every strength or indeed, time to do other constructive things for yourself or for a greater cause.

Here’s the tricky part. The goal is not to form busy every time someone requires your input for a ‘selfish cause’ voluntarily. Rather, the goal is to ensure you’re building yourself up, while at the same time creating avenues for the projection of your talents on a larger scale. The harsh truth is if you fail to use your time for yourself, someone somewhere is always willing to use it up for you. And when it is considered critically, the person perhaps needs your ability more than you do.

Being practical, I have been faced with cases where I failed to use my abilities for constructive purposes for myself and have had people ‘run up to me’ needing my services ‘urgently’. In the end, maybe my input opened a door or two for them, but in most cases, I turned out none the wiser, for in those instances, I felt used; which is one of the worst feelings one can have. Take it from me. In the real sense of it, don’t make it a habit to ALWAYS be the ‘go-to-person’ when deadlines are imminent for some fellow or the other. It’s okay to be a person that others can count on, yet, do not allow yourself be always available for all seasons. Selective unavailability is a tool of great importance as you will learn in time.

It is expedient not to let your competence be chipped at gradually till it diminishes to the point of obscurity to leave you high and dry. There’s always a period for relevance for everyone and if you let others move a rung higher every time by feeding on your skillfulness while you remain a nobody due to your inaction, you only have yourself to blame.

Time waits for no one, and every resource yearns for expression, including yours. It’s left to you to decide if your expertise will be preyed upon or will propel you to become a force of nature.

May the odds always be in your favour!

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JEREMIAH BALAKIAN AND AUTODIDACTISM

Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

– Richard P. Feyman

 

 

Until two days ago, I had no idea who was Jeremiah Balakian, but then I saw a movie made in 2013 titled ADMISSION, and the character that caught my fancy the most was a certain Jeremiah Balakian. Jeremiah Balakian was portrayed as an Autodidact; a fellow who practiced self-directed learning. He had an impressive ability to say a lot about anything, such was the measure of the knowledge he acquired by teaching himself in a contemplative and absorptive process.

 

Now that we’ve gotten the mystery behind the name out of the way, shall we then move forward?

 

You see, a host of avatars gone by have been said to be Autodidacts, most notably Leonardo Da Vinci (the Renaissance man). He possessed vast knowledge in the arts, sciences, literature, history, philosophy, nature and so on. I hear Marcel Proust was also a man versed in all fields he ventured into (quite a number of fields actually).

 

The contributions these autodidacts have made to the world as we see it is immense. They have encouraged the furtherance of knowledge and an insatiable desire for incessant self-improvement by those who have taken them as role models.

 

What autodidactism initially requires is the unquenchable thirst for wisdom and knowledge. This desire serves to propel one to see every opportunity as a learning opportunity and thus employ rigorous formal and informal means to this end.

 

The resources that those we call geniuses employed to attain the cognitive levels they attained are not some secret engravings on ancient stones, rather, they are everyday pieces of information we find all around us and choose to disregard. Learning should be an ever continuous process; it should be something we consciously subject ourselves to. Every item and happening presents with it an opportunity to learn something that we’ll find invaluable at some point in our worldly exploration. Too much respect has been ascribed to formal education within the walls of institutions. While these institutions’ importance cannot be overemphasized, it must be said that a personal dedication to self-education is a worthier alternative as it allows learning in an original manner devoid of the fears of academic failure.

 

There’s something called ‘Beta Version’. Those who are used to downloading and updating software will have a good idea of what it is. A Beta-version simply implies that it isn’t a final version; it is still being improved upon.

 

Linked-in founder, Reid Hoffman spoke extensively about permanent beta in his book THE START-UP OF YOU, and the idea was to suggest that one should be ready to consistently improve upon oneself in all areas he finds interest in at any point in time.

 

In the final analysis, what is needed to make a transition into any field is the ability to process a vast amount of information even in areas one hasn’t necessarily been formally schooled in. The world we are in requires vastness in knowledge and the enviable quality of being flexible. The internet is a ready tool to begin your journey as an autodidact (the quest can begin at any age). Make yourself more open to various opportunities for knowledge acquisition and watch as you gradually soar beyond what you would ever have thunk.

 

May the odds always be in your favour!

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LIVE AND LET LIVE

“Minding your own business includes avoiding eavesdropping, gossiping, talking behind other people’s backs, and analyzing or trying to figure out other people.”
                – Richard Carlson

There’s something about chipping in a nice statistical value to back up your claim in any discussion. First of all, it leaves the listener(s) awed about stuff you’re giving those statistics on, then again, it makes them appreciate you.I am one of those fascinated by statistics. Although it (statistics) is not an area I would readily venture into, yet, I love it, for it makes my imagination run a bit wilder than it would on a very normal day.

That said, imagine if the statistics were given of the total amount of time we spend overly bothering ourselves with matters not directly affecting us. Truth be told, a huge part of emotional and social intelligence revolves around being sensitive to all that happens around us, yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should always have a vocal opinion or strong opinion concerning everything.

I digress a bit. There exist some people that pay keen attention to details. It comes unconsciously, not like they plan on it. These details they observe mostly involves people, their idiosyncratic characteristics and the mistakes they make. Of course unless the fellow they’re studying at any given point in my time is ‘close to home’, some of them wouldn’t necessarily make a comment as regards what they observe. This – some will say – makes them (the observers) critics – however passive. I mean, they see the slightest mistakes in grammar, spelling and tenses, they spot the subtle body language signs of irritation, disapproval and pride in people’s mien, They analyse occasionally what others should have done in certain situations, they have a ‘clear picture’ of how the ideal attitude of a person should be. You see, if you think you fall into that “special category”,  at some point, you just need to tone down the ‘higher observatory skill’ you think you have.

A whole lot of people sit down to run down other people with their wanton tongues, they gather to discuss and analyze things they know little or nothing about, they second-guess peoples’ motives and intentions, they have an accurate outlook of any and everything. The sad part is a whole lot of these people never live pleasant lives. Asides being jealous and bitter most of the time, they live submerged in a state of almost absolute inadequacy even in areas they think they possess supernatural strengths. The bulk of their time is spent complaining about how the world will not devote itself to making them happy.

There comes a time when you need to shake off being overly irritated by the comportment and conduct of other people. You need to embrace the hard fact that no two people can act or think the same way. It is okay to try to influence others positively. It is okay to learn and figure out ‘what not to do’ as seen from the excesses of others. It is okay to observe and then know how to relate with people based on their peculiarities. It is NOT OKAY to allow your misgivings linger, festering into envy and a rotten attitude. In the end if you check well, nobody loves the critic, at least I don’t. Why? ‘Cos he always has an example to back his claims, some of the examples exaggerative or false at best. He always has the ‘perfect opinion’ and isn’t ready (most times) to listen to any disparate opinion others might have.

You might have that acquaintance who is lousy. Instead of discussing his bad behavior with Joe, John and Peter severally, call him to order, and if he heeds not, figure out a way to deal with his prickliness. You might have those co-workers who you think do not think well of you. Try to correct that impression they have of you by being courteous and understanding. Any attempt to totally ignore them gives flesh to their burgeoning misgivings of you. You might think you can do certain things better than others, don’t lord it over them or consider them lesser than you, simply do what you think you can do better and help them up.

In the final analysis, a real man is the one who doesn’t blow his own trumpet or excessively proclaims how he would do things better than others in a garrulous manner. The interesting part is that sometimes, those we have some criticism or the other against do not even know of these things, they just keep on living their lives gaily while we keep being angry about them. The joke is on us!
Our lives interact in more ways than we can think of with the lives of those around us. The smooth running of this interactive wheel is enhanced by our acceptance of faults and our ability to take things on the chin. Focus more on your circle of influence today rather than idly analyzing what you cannot change.

May the odds always be in your favour!

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February 11, 2014 · 8:34 am

BEING DELIBERATE

“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” – Haruki Murakami

Those who have succeeded in making a mark in the world have been known to be disciplined and deliberate. Disciplined in the sense that they figured out what they wanted to achieve and stuck with it even when the going seemed tough. Deliberate in the sense that they took steps, actions that consistently ensured they remained on the path they chose. And that is the main message of today… Success doesn’t simply happen, it is a product of calculated actions backed with dogged perseverance. You see, repetition can be very frustrating, but this is what it takes if mastery of any occupation, skill or environment is to be achieved. Some see repetition as madness though. They say stuff like: “why continue in what you have had no joy over?” Let’s see it this way: a footpath is only created if vegetation is being constantly trodden upon.

It’s okay to question but not okay to doubt yourself, for a man who is beginning to lose faith in himself is walking the fine line of gradually slipping into obscurity and banal existence. Today, I find that a whole lot of my failings have been largely due to my inability to take necessary actions and be proactive.

The clock always is ticking. People always are creating landmarks all around us – new inventions and innovations. It is the one who lies down and lets himself get beat by the elemental forces that would get brushed aside in the race to be a force of nature. In actual fact, such a person at the end of his life could be said not to have lived. Find what you love, itemize all needed to make steady progress, take your time, mind the time, eliminate distractions and addiction, be purposeful and deliberate in your actions.

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May the odds always be in your favour!

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