Monthly Archives: June 2015

Your Bra Strap Is Sticking Out

Without batting an eyelid, I’d tell a guy his singlet strap has become peeping tom. Sometimes, I’d go the extra mile to help him adjust his shirt. He’s a guy afterall, and I’m a guy. Shouldn’t come off as being inappropriate (most times).

When it’s a lady though, unless I’m an exceptionally close buddy with her, I’d probably not say a word, I’d hope she finds out somehow and makes the necessary adjustment. Yet, I find it somewhat irritating that anyone’s inner wear should be somewhat exposed.

Here’s the bottom line: it’s most probably quite easy to tell a friend or someone who has a track record of being objective about alterations they need to make to better their lot. How about the stranger or mere contemporary? How do you tell them;

“Your bra strap is sticking out?”

Figuratively speaking of course.

That’s one task for you to ponder upon; how do you teach a man without making it mighty obvious you’re teaching him?

How do you say unpalatable (but necessary) truths without burning bridges?

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Which Chess Piece Is The Most Important?

Naturally, you’d like to believe the King is the most important piece in chess. Afterall, the objective of the game is to render the opposition king immobile on the next move, a situation referred to as a checkmate (in case you’re not familiar with chess).

I like the Queen best, as do several other avid chess players. Her strength lies in her reach and abilities. You wouldn’t want to be queenless when your opponent has his queen intact.

There’s the Rook (Castle); its vertical and horizontal zipping motion coming in handy for annihilative purposes.

Then the Bishop and the Knight. The former diagonally ruthless, the latter grossly unpredictable in terms of the space it could occupy at any given point.

People are like chess pieces. You can’t treat them all equally. You have to be able to decide the idiosyncrasies of any one of them to decide with what priority to relate with them. This is reality.

The importance of any chess piece to you at any given time and in any given situation determines what you do with it.

Proverbially speaking, your life is like a game of chess. The most important thing being to prevent the King (You) from stagnancy or ineffectiveness. Every other thing in between start and finish depends on relationships with people and how well you’re able to handle them, even the pawns; the ones that ‘seemingly’ have no real importance in the grand scheme of things.

Knight to C3. Your move…

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Did You Die?

Someone ruffled your feathers, got you riled up and refused to own up to how he was wrong. Did you die?

Your colleague is simply annoying, he does all the wrong things, has to be told everytime what is appropriate or not. Did you die?

Something you’ve worked your hat off for finally didn’t fall in place, now you have to start all over again. Did you die?

As long as there’s a chance to start again, there’s no real point to dwelling in the quagmire of what could have been or what is not.

Pick yourself up, dust off the debris and go again.

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The Size Of The Audience

Everyone wants their art to connect with a good number of people. Their art of course being the thing they’re excellent at.

Everyone wants to be patronized by a sizeable clientele. The clientele of course being the set of people they wish to supply value to with their services.

The reality facing us is that when we just start sharing our art, we have to be content with the little number of people it resonates with. We have to deliberately ‘groom’ them to understand and love our art. Only then can they be willing to tell our stories without us naggingly prodding them.

At inception, the size of the audience isn’t the real challenge. The real challenge is creating art that is of any value.

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Every Man’s Duty

Many times, I’ve found that groups of people ‘decide’ to undertake an action or ‘agree’ to stop doing things in a certain way or ‘talk about’ their next line of action as a group.

The problem is that often, no one in particular is saddled with the responsibility of doing what is necessary. So, we see neglect everywhere, abandonment of projects, collapse of enterprises even before they are kicked off, decay and disorderliness on the increase.

Every man’s duty is no man’s duty. One person should take responsibility, or at least suggest that tasks be specifically designated.

Tangible progress only comes by the taking of responsibilities.

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Where Were You When Others Were Doing Useful Things.

A father attended his son’s convocation ceremony, and on he watched as a particular student cleared virtually all the prizes rewarded for excellence. Animatedly, son turned to father and tells him how he and the girl used to be reading partners in their early days in school. Fathe turned to his son and said: “Where were you when that girl was being serious with her work and getting all the best results?” His son had nothing to say except to wear a forlon look, visibly despondent.

The ceremony soon ended and Father and son stood by the side of the road, the father repeatedly attempting to flag down people he referred to as ‘long term friends’ in their exotic cars, arms flailing time and again as one ‘friendly’ car after the other disappeared from view, their drivers signalling “we’re on full capacity” everytime. After a while of fruitless endeavor, the boy turned to his dad and with a face devoid of emotions said: “Dad, where were you when your friends were making a respectable living and buying cars for themselves?” Needless to say, the father had no justifiable words to say.

You see, I very well appreciate that calculated hard work and innate intelligence might sometimes not be enough to set you on track for a satisfactory life, yet, possessing these two qualities well boosts the chances you have of being among the best (if not the best). No one likes to be among those that only make up the numbers and have tales to tell of how people that excel were part of their contemporaries while growing up.

Perhaps today, you’re complaining about the low estate you find yourself in, or the less than satisfactory work you’ve done with your life. Where were you when others were doing useful things?

It’s not enough to have epiphanies without doing anything to stem the tide of unfulfillment that plagues you. You know what you do well. Put in the effort and time needed to ‘explode’ to the scene. Life without a feeling of daily progress cannot be a meaningful life. Or can it?

Carpe Diem.

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The Malady Of Blind Morality.

Two nights ago, the fifth season of the popular TV series, Game Of Thrones came to an end. The final episode reflected arguably more than any other episode the theme of the series; deaths, disasters, thick plotting any time. Well, this isn’t about a series review in case you’re wondering.

In the season finale, we see Jon Snow, eyes wide open, face up, blood seeping into the the thick white snow as the life ebbed slowly out of him. He had been stabbed about 5 or 6 times by members of the night watch of which he was the commander. I think they call this mutiny.

In the episode preceeding the last, the mother of dragons had to be whisked away by her dragon as a section of the people she governed sought to take her life. She wasn’t a bad leader, infact, she tried so hard to do all the right things; rule with fairness and justice, and punish wrongdoers, but things went horribly awry and she would have suffered the same fate Jon Snow did suffer.

Again, in the final episode, Arya Stark, daughter of Ned Stark, who had been earlier beheaded in one of the past seasons lost her eyesight because against the wishes of those she was doing apprenticeship with, she killed a man well deserving of death.

These three characters in the grand scheme of things didn’t really do wrong. Infact, they tried so hard to enforce Justice in their dealings, yet, tragedy struck.

Why did bad things happen to these ‘good people’ trying to do ‘good things’? Simple. They weren’t very observant/attentive to the people in their immediate environments. Jon Snow neglected the growing discontent amongst his people as he sought to provide a safe haven for the wildlings; their sworn enemies. The mother of dragons almost always took ONLY her own counsel of swift judgment, neglected the pleas for mercy and diplomacy in leadership. Arya Stark refused to bide her time properly in ‘judging’ past offenders.

They all paid a price. A steep price.

More often than not, people have good intentions, then they “go to work” without properly considering the folks their efforts and decisions affect in some way. They believe morality to be enough reason for every man to reason with them. You see, in the real world, things do not always work that way. Every good intention must be effected with wisdom and a keen observation of the ‘climate’ of those in the immediate ‘environment.’

If only we did weigh the costs carefully, if only we did attend to the concerns of our subjects and contemporaries alike on our endeavors, if only we embraced the fact that things shouldn’t always be treated purely BLACK or WHITE, perhaps, just perhaps we won’t have a lot of the obstacles that plague our progress in our many endeavors.

This resonates still with one of the points in my scrabble roundup yesterday; being observant wins.

I wish you the kind of day you deserve; let Karma sort this out!

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Of fine margins and scrabbled ramblings

Today, I have an extra spring in my step, and I owe that majorly to the fact that over the weekend, I participated in a scrabble tournament. Now, those who know me to some extent know how passionate about scrabble I am. I mean, it is one of the few things I can do and get lost in for hours without a care in the world. I can play scrabble for hours and forget I have to eat, and food is normally very important to me. So you should have an idea of what scrabble means to me.

I won 7 out of 16 games, so competitive performance-wise, it wasn’t one of my best outings. However, on a personal level, it was the closest to my best I gave as far as competitive scrabble is concerned. Anyway, here are a few take-aways from the event.

PERSONAL VICTORIES AREN’T OUTRIGHTLY USELESS

As I mentioned already, I gave close to my best in all the games I played in such that the cumulative scores I had per game was my best average in tournament scrabble. I went toe to toe with all opponents, refusing to be beaten even before the start of any game, unlike in my previous outings when I became despondent as soon as my opponent shot ahead. This gives me encouragement that with more than a little more work that improves my word power and skill level, I’d be at the very top in no time.

MASTERY IS AN ART

I play in the opens category for now. It is the most basic category in scrabble as it features relative neophytes, as well as some more experienced players who have for some reason not improved their games over the years. You see, the time, money and energy professional players of the game of scrabble devote to the game makes it necessary – in my opinion – to always strive to get better. There is no joy in a claim you’re passionate about something without investing the energy needed to be a master of that thing. Otherwise, you had better pack your bags and get moving. The meteoric rise of some of the players in these categories serves as a source of encouragement to me personally to not just make up the numbers in scrabble and in other endeavors I’m involved in. Needless to say, they all had some systematic account of the methods they employed to attain proficiency. What is art if not the systematic application of skill for production of an awesome output?

ADVERSITY HAS ITS USES

Well, perhaps the usage of the word ‘adversity’ in this “mere report” is excessive, but that’s what I’ll like to describe a situation in which a player has lost a handful of games and is probably losing another before he summons his inner guru for expression. I’ve seen players fight their way from the dregs to a respectful position in the end. I’ve found that they’ve had to dig deep into their subconscious for words buried deep there when the need became dire. I’ve found that the fear of embarrassing ignominy has spurred many a player to go on a run they probably wouldn’t have had they had things rosy from the onset.

THE EYES ARE MADE FOR SEEING

I know I said I gave my best in all the games I played. Yet, I lost at least four games carelessly because I was too comfortable. I played those games to an extent that in my mind, I didn’t give my opponents a chance or prayer of coming back into the game. I had become so confident I was the runaway winner that I practically started taking the moves in stride as the number of tiles in the bag ran out. As such, I couldn’t see opportunities before my very eyes to put a nail in their playing coffins. I only saw what I should have and could have done in retrospect after I had lost those games. There is a malady the comfort zone tags anyone who revels in it with. The malady is such that the reveler might fail to see opportunities that could better his lot even when those opportunities are in plain sight. Sometimes, he is only left to rue missed chances as beautiful things pass him by. One thing I learnt from my latest adventure is to always have my eyes wide open for opportunities that lie within my very purview even when I think I’m faring relatively well. Things change in a heartbeat.

There’s so much more I could say, experiences I could share, people I could adulate for the roles they played in making my stay in Abeokuta memorable, but that might ensure you don’t get to the end of this lengthy chronicle.

It was awesome meeting with friends, seeing the work of masters of the game, getting lost for a few days in something that means a lot to me, learning a few lessons along the way, getting my scrabble mojo back and so on.

Like I said, I have an extra spring in my step this week, and I hope you find that step as well as immense joy in the things you do best.

Cheers to a fantastic week ahead!

Here’s a quick trivia for you: NIGERIA IS THE SECOND BEST SCRABBLE PLAYING NATION IN THE WORLD, SECOND ONLY TO THE UNITED STATES.

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