Monthly Archives: April 2014

#9 – What if? What then?

He who pays the piper dictates the tune.

No guts, no glory

No scars, no stories.

If you don’t buy the ticket, you don’t win the lottery.

The only way to satisfy a fantasy is to live it.

Despite knowing these truths,

We often are plagued with questions:

  • What if my application is rejected?

    What if they refuse to listen to my explanation?

    What if my proposal is treated as dung?

    What if she says no?

    What if I’m not good enough?

    So, what if it doesn’t work out as you planned? What then?

    In the end, the greatest cause of drama in our lives is the WHAT IF.
    So perhaps you’d take a cue with me today and do that thing you’ve put off for so long.

    At least if nothing else, we’d know what can’t work and move on to some other worthy pursuit(s).

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    #8 – The Fox and the grapes

    One hot summer’s day, a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of grapes just ripening on a vine on a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” he thought. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again, he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”

     

    The story above is one of Aesop’s famed fables

     

    The moral of it being that it’s easy to despise what you cannot get.

     

    So you see, ‘sometimes’ the apparent negative vibes you get from people has naught to do with anything wrong with you, rather, it may be because there’s something you have that they cannot have.

     

    In the same way, in every pursuit of yours, ambition or human likewise, strive to ensure that your disinterest any time it comes isn’t due to your inability to get those things.

     

    In my opinion, it helps your perspective to always stay impersonal.

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    #7 – Pay attention before responding

    More times than I can recall, I catch myself listening to respond instead of listening to understand.

    I’m convinced I’m not alone in this as I see it around me everyday.

    This habit, I reckon, ensures that learning becomes difficult

    Difficult because the ideas behind certain concepts or reasoning are lost on us.

    A typical example:

    Someone says God said “Let there be light and there was light.”

    I tell such a person that speech giving birth to light isn’t rational, all things being equal

    Then he huffs and puffs, labels me an enemy of God because the harsh truth is that he cannot intelligently explain to me how speech can produce light ‘naturally’

    Another person argues that masturbation is wrong because a lot of indulgers do it behind closed doors

    Someone asks him if his parents copulate on the streets and he goes bonkers, injecting religious hostility into it

    You see, until the approach we take to any situation becomes less passionate and more considerate, we will always fail to have water-tight arguments.

    Listen and observe to understand before jumping the gun to have your two cents.

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    #6 – Your Word, Your Honor

    I thought to let you know that my new found adrenaline–like induced excitement with outlandish science is enthralling.

    The fact that one cannot see the end of the extensive corridor of inexplicable phenomena is likewise scintillating.

    A couple of days ago, I heard about the possibility of the existence of a phenomenon called “Emotional Quantum Entanglement.”

    It has to do with how the association of the emotional energy from two or more separate entities over proximal or vast spatial separation affects the environment in one way or the other.

    In essence, thoughts from different individuals in different locations could mingle to produce results in one or more locales.

    What is of utmost interest to me for the purpose of this commentary is the fact that there could be a relationship between my thought and yours despite our unconnectedness in any dimension.

    However whimsical that sounds, you must agree it’s an interesting notion.

    For this cause, I wasn’t surprised – as I thought and decided upon what to write today – stumbling upon the ideas of an entity related in some way to what I was thinking yesterday.

    Communication is a vital ingredient of the human associative concoction

    And when all the parties involved in any conversation have no vocal deficiencies, it’s very likely that worded communication will be employed.

    Many words are spoken in many separate conversations everyday

    As such, it is inevitable that words that edify and words that bring down likewise must be spoken.

    Loose talk is commonplace and ruins otherwise blossoming relationships

    Slander, misplaced sarcasm and any other speechifying malady you can think of.

    An intense urge to always have a say, or a wise-ass attempt to spew something witty that ends up being bashful

    How effective silence can be in ensuring that you don’t create irreparable chasms in your relationships

    Afterall, it is not mandatory that your occasional folly, ignorance or insensitivity be laid bare as wares in the market for all to see.

    It is fitting that I at this point quote the fellow I suggested our thoughts became entangled in the quantum jargon I spoke of earlier:

    “Don’t join the premier league of those who say mean and hurtful things to others.”

    You see, sometimes, what we know or what we think we know about people moves us to say unkind things to them or about them.

    Some react immediately, some contort their faces to show disapproval, some others are simply silent.

    The smiling, silent ones are the most dangerous. Their backlash could often be devastating

    The strength of one with a wise head is self-restraint.

    The whipping and lashing chastisement the tongue carries out is not always welcome by the recipient

    Infact, more often than not, it creates enmity while you think you’ve “poured out your mind” or you simply considered what you might have said a joke.

    The threshold for being ridiculed differs from person to person

    Learn to trust people enough to fix themselves if you do not have subtle ways to prod them to change whatever you think needs fixing in them.

    Many a man has been responsible for slanderously destroying another because of damaging information about that fellow he has relayed to yet another.

    If you know yourself to be of a sharp or quick tongue, one who can’t ‘keep secrets’, it will do you a world of good not to go about gathering dirt on people with your antenna-like ears.

    I have always thought of a man’s word as his greatest honor. If he fumbles with his word(s), he fumbles with everything.

    To some, the honor with words might mean ‘keeping your words’. I propose that it could as well refer to a conscious effort to say honorable things every time.

    Words hurt. And their vibrations keep resonating long after the ‘dust has settled’

    While we’re at it, it must be said that the timing of speech has also been found to be very vital.

    Learn to recognize slight nuances and let your dialogues be guided by critical observations of moods in every moment

    A word fitly spoken in season is like an apple of gold in a silver saucer.

    He who loves life and good days will keep his tongue from wanton converse.

    Always remember that.

                    Oreoluwa Aboluwarin
                      ©2014

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    #5 – You’re but a speck in the scheme of things.

    Perhaps you know of an Hollywood actor called John Noble

    He is famous for the likeable role of ‘Walter Bishop’ in the award winning TV series FRINGE

    WB once suggested we as a people are too arrogant to think we are the first set of humans to inhabit the universe

    Of course a strange case involving the probable existence of an earlier super civilization brought about his retort

    He was somewhat mystified as to why the modern human fails to recognize and build upon the early sophisticated empires.

    To him, we were engrossed in the delusion that everything we see is only just being created by us and us alone

    And as such, we probably take too much on our plates, attending to roles that are not ours with an air of self importance.

    While we could easily brush aside any notion of the first rotation of the earth being about 5 billion years ago,

    One truth is clear:

    Sometimes, we think too much of ourselves.

    Individually I mean this time,

    Lest we delve too deep into any elaborate pseudo scientific discuss.

    Truth be told, I would love to give instances of the manifestation of the haughtiness I speak of

    But words fail me where I need ‘em most

    Hence, I reckon this quote by C.S. Lewis should do justice.

    “One of the greatest joys of life is being used up for a purpose considered a mighty one, being a force of nature, instead of being a feverish, selfish individual complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

    You see, sometimes, we focus on and moan too much about the things we don’t have and fail to work with what we have

    We always want to create when sometimes all we need is to maintain or build upon.

    And in our misery, we act as if we are the only ones a great injustice is being wrought upon by mother nature.

    Consciously or inadvertently, we become self absorbed, a situation which well ensures we don’t make the best of ourselves.

    If only we could learn to think more of ourselves as just part of the jigsaw in the order of things, perhaps we would consider our inadequacies and failings as part – and only a part – of a machine that needs oiling/fixing.

    This machine is the world as we see it

    So, next time you catch yourself thinking too much about you and you alone, tell yourself you’re just a pixel in the big picture

    Yes, while being ‘just a pixel’, you could still play your part in ensuring the whole picture comes out perfectly well

    Afterall, little drops of water make the mighty ocean they said.

    Let your own role in the scheme of things be well attended to, and if Jane and Joe attend to theirs also, perhaps our world will be a better place to live in

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    #4 – Everyone’s a potential snitch

    More than 2000 years ago, a master walked the earth

    He was pretty much a controversial figure considering he said and did stuff that was against what was generally accepted as ‘normal’ back then.

    By controversial, I mean His statements often bothered on the blasphemous, his deeds on the absurd and metaphysical.

    Nonetheless, some adored his guts and abilities, some others hated his mettle and personality

    Of those that adored him, some knew more about him than others, 12 of them to be precise

    They referred to these twelve as his disciples

    They moved with him, learnt from him, carried out his instructions and knew a whole lot about him

    Much has been made about how one of them erred tremendously in betraying him. Judas I think he was called.

    They said he betrayed him for money

    While that may be true to a large extent, I can’t shake the feeling that somehow, this Judas probably didn’t believe this master was absolutely legit

    So he made a choice, sold him to his foes

    The other disciples are not excused in this matter

    From all we have read and learnt, they betrayed him also

    Afterall, none of them was there when he was beaten through the streets, carrying a wooden cross prior to crucifixion.

    There is the general belief they simply were scared, or perhaps decided he wasn’t that special afterall

    If he was as special as he claimed, he shouldn’t have been subject to the ridicule he was destined to suffer upon capture

    He had wrought great things and all of a sudden he was taken easily from them and treated like a dog.

    What were they to make of that?

    I think it simply didn’t make any sense to them, despite the fact that he had often predicted his impending suffering and humiliation beforehand.

    All in all, they were supposed to be his most trusted allies, but apparently, not all he said and did seemed to mean a thing when the moment of desperation came.

    There you have it

    One with fantastical abilities deserted in a moment of dire need

    Shall we then say he didn’t properly communicate with his followers the necessity of his certain death?

    I don’t think so.

    Well, to me, his story shows that virtually all humans are capable of disloyalty

    So when next you think your association with people is laced with absolute clarity,

    When you decide that they understand you perfectly and as such should stand by you under any condition,

    Remember that each man is living his own dream, and as such will most likely act in his own best interest

    I’m not suggesting you live a life garnished with paranoia and suspicion

    But then, it’ll serve you well to hope for the best but expect the worst from mortal men

    I propose that this reduces disappointments in people and institutions

    And of course, a fellow who doesn’t take disappointment at face value can take things less personally and have solid relationships with people.

    People will always have ‘good reasons’ (in their mind’s eye) to sabotage you in one way or the other through the course of your life

    At the end of the day when investigated properly, their reason(s) will boil down to self-preservation or face saving.

    In the end, life is per head.

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    #3 – You don’t HAVE to follow ALL rules; you NEED to abide by SOME rules.

    Yesterday I saw a tweet. It read as follows:

    “Turning your good practices into a religion is dumb. Rejecting good practices because some people turn them into a religion is dumb.”

    Apart from the idea of what ‘religion’ means in context above, the converse nature of the said tweet is also of interest to me.

    We know religion to mean a system of beliefs

    Beliefs that guide followers of any religion. Beliefs that are binding on them.

    They fail to follow those beliefs, they are said to have erred or sinned.

    The number of religions existing in the world today is countless

    And inevitably, the rules that form the pillars of those religions are incredibly plenteous also.

    Good practices it must be said are what they are; GOOD PRACTICES

    They aren’t necessarily the things that qualify us as faithful religionists

    And so anyone who believes he is religious because he believes or exhibits some virtues that obviously were integrated into his religion (not necessarily birthed by his religion) is said to be dumb.

    I think I quite agree

    However, some people shun good qualities because they think others have overemphasized and probably spiritualized them

    This is a dumb idea also.

    What then is not dumb?

    Let’s not limit ourselves to religion, let’s consider rules in general

    We will always be guided by rules. Whether we be agnostic or fetish or ardent believers in anything.

    You may adopt lay down rules, you may form your own rules. The point is rules will be a part of you.

    The irony when you decide to ‘break all the rules’ is that you are inadvertently following a rule, probably your only rule. This rule will perhaps read ‘break all the rules.’

    Often, I come across critics and skeptics who fault those that write stuff such as ’10 ways to be positive’, ‘7 principles to wealth’, ‘3 key relationship issues’ and so on.

    Their argument is ‘Who made them an authority on this subject or that?’

    Well, in the real sense of it, nobody is an absolute authority on anything, at least that’s what I think.

    Yet, people have experiences, some have insightful contributions and some have heard stuff that has proved vital to their approach to life.

    Hence, they lay their submissions at our feet. They do not necessarily force those submissions down our throats.

    The choice to decide what concept hooks our attention totally lies with us.

    And so in the end, it can be said that we are the ones that decide ourselves the rules we live by.

    In the end, people are always going to make suggestions, boldly declare opinions and powerfully assert their findings.

    You don’t have to accept everything they say, you need to consider some things they say though and from there coin your guiding principles.

    There’s no point being rebellious because you think some person(s) believes t(he)y is/are intelligent and so make their claims.

    Always remember that the power lies with you to decide what you want to accept.

    And just as we said yesterday, you don’t need to take anything personal. Their thoughts/beliefs/declarations only
    have something to do with their own ‘dream of the world’

    It is folly to refuse to abide by any rule because the idea of creating rules pisses you off.

    If you forget everything, always remember that please.

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    #2 – Don’t take things personally

    There’s a quality that is to be desired above many other qualities; it is the inability to take things personally.

    While it is an enviable virtue, in reality, it is very difficult for anyone.

    However, to ensure your approach to life and people is fairly unbiased, it is a necessary one to acquire.

    I think being positive and resilient in the face of situations and difficulties (inanimate) is easier than taking shit/crap from humans.

    Afterall, you probably can’t stand someone being bashful, dismissive or negative about you.
    ‘Why should he say that or act like that?’ you say. Why on earth should he have done that when he knows I don’t like being treated as such?

    You assume everyone has to think the way you think. You assume foreknowledge of your likes and dislikes is enough to make someone conditioned to pleasing you absolutely

    Well, you’re wrong,

    In the fifth agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz (which I make reference to a lot these days), he proposed that every other person is a secondary character if your life is to be treated as a movie.

    And how you see that character, as well as how you think that character sees you will be different from how the character sees you in his own ‘movie.

    In essence, don’t be overly critical if the next fellow doesn’t see things in the exact way you see them.

    You see, you save yourself a lot of headache if you decide that any animosity or flawed action or insensitive word directed at you speaks more about the person than about you.

    When you finally learn not to take things personally, your actions will not be spurred by what anyone has done or can do for you but out of love.

    You will begin to trust yourself more to act in synchronism with your thoughts and values since you will have decided that anyone who has a problem with what you do doesn’t understand the angle you’re doing what you do from.

    Of course, this is not a license to act anyhow. It is more about learning to tolerate the host of eclectic behavioral patterns you see all around you everyday than any other thing.

    If you’re rejected for a position or neglected by a person, it isn’t entirely because you’re a bad person (though sometimes you may have been).

    If you are reprimanded or belittled, when you learn not to take things personally, you don’t respond defensively so as to prove your rightness. Rather, your speech and actions are guided by the realization that every man has his own dream of the world and acts in accordance with it.

    In the final analysis, my life has been a lot easier since I started practicing not taking things personal.

    Of course I still err every now and then, but then, gradually, I’ve come to understand that giving room for people’s idiosyncrasies even when unfavorable towards me is the only way to enjoy my growth and the best of my associations.

    I hope you make the decision sometime.

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    #1 – My 30 days challenge

    Everyone has a story. It is the story each individual has to share or more appropriately live out that contributes to the entirety of life as we know it. It is for this reason that I created this blog, to share my story; the world through my eyes, the things that motivate me, the things I think and do, the few things I think I understand about the way the world works.

    And so over the past weeks I’ve been sharing my ideas on human motivation and self mastery, until a break almost two weeks ago now. This break was mainly because I needed to write about something else, something I hadn’t decided on.

    Nothing is more important to a man than clarity. Clarity ensures you have your eyes on the prize once there is no doubt within you that you’re on the path to doing what you must.
    Over the next 30 days – to start with – I’d be writing on anything human relationships and associations. I don’t know of any topic that could be broader. Virtues, idiosyncrasies, crisis, innovations and a host of others take their roots from our associations. And so that’s what I aim to explore and exploit; telling multiple single stories. Sometimes seemingly abstract, other times awesomely concrete.

    Well, my motivation comes from the daily writings on inspiration by a friend of a friend. In his dose yesterday, one particular point struck me, and I realized I’ve long been guilty of trying to overly analyze the important aspects of what I want to do before brainstorming. As such, I’ve decided to start on what I’ve already brainstormed about, and then analyze to fit the pieces together along the way.

    See you on the morrow. 

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    Don’t believe me, Don’t believe yourself, Don’t believe anyone else.

    Reading an article on 1000 days of inspiration a couple of days back, I decided to download and read a book reference was made to; the four agreements. Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed because the content of the book resonated with something I’ve been searching for, something I couldn’t quite define but knew I needed.

    Anyway, lest I trail off, I subsequently have read another of Don Miguel Ruiz’s books, The mastery of Love, and presently, I’m poring through the pages of The Fifth Agreement. Such has been the immense impact of the ‘teachings’ expressed in the books on me.

    It is fitting that what I have to share summarily from the fifth agreement comes today, especially since I’ve decided to temporarily suspend the motivation-type daily writing that has characterized this blog till now. Next week, we chart a new course… More on that later.

    The fifth agreement simply states: “Be skeptical, but learn to listen.

    Would have loved to elaborate extensively on the preceding four agreements but I strongly suggest you read the book yourself if you feel inclined. Anyway, the bottom line with this said fifth agreement is that you don’t take everything at face value. You question declarations and beliefs (majorly) to verify whether they be the truth or just relative truths.

    I’d say this Toltec wisdom agreement as simple as it looks has the potential to be a very vital habit for any man especially in a world laced with eclectic opinions that can distort one’s perceptions.

    What I mean is this; whatever anyone says or wants you to believe, listen carefully, but have it at the back of your mind that you’re a secondary character in that person’s outlook of life and so, most of what he says will be as he sees it, not necessary the raw truth.

    To this end, it is necessary that no matter how insightful the potential knowledge you’re about to amass is, subject it to proper skepticism until you’re able to determine if it’s reality or virtual reality. Same goes for all the articles I’ve presented on this blog so far.

    I love Don Miguel’s rider with this agreement. It goes thus;

    Don’t believe me, don’t believe yourself, don’t believe anyone else.

    In the case that the above statement seems confusing, the point is not to take anything as an absolute truth just because someone you think you trust says it or because it aligns with the idea of the truth you’ve been fed with by outside information until you’ve listened to ensure clarity and you’ve questioned it in your mind.

    Frankly, at this point, I seem to be complicating what Miguel’s trying to pass across, so I think it’s best to close with the following (in his words):


     

    You already have the awareness that all artists live in their own dream, in their own world. In that world, whatever they perceive is truth for them, and it could be that it’s absolutely true for the artists who are expressing their story, but it’s not truth for you. The only truth for you is what you perceive in your world. With this awareness, there’s nothing to prove to anyone. It’s not about being right or wrong. You respect whatever somebody says because it’s another artist speaking.

    Respect is so important. When you learn to listen, you show respect for the other artists — you show respect for their art, for their creation.

    All artists have the right to create their art in whatever way they want. They have the right to believe whatever they want to believe; they have the right to say whatever they have to say, but if you don’t learn to listen, you will never understand what they’re saying. Listening is so important in communication. When you learn to listen, you know exactly what other people want. Once you know what they want, what you do with that information is up to you. You can react or not react, you can agree or disagree with what they say, and that depends on what you want. 


     

    I hope that’s clearer?

     

    Don Miguel is a very good author and his books have been enlightening to me, they’ve made me understand better some of the things I’ve known before and they’ve opened my mind such that it can never return to its former state. (Hooke’s law of Elasticity broken). I recommend that you find time to read any of his books you can lay your hands on.

     

    Cheers to a blissful weekend!

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