Gratitude is Happiness

Happiness!

A feeling…

…of euphoria defined by perfection?

…that defines the complete wellness of your existence?

…meant to scream your greatness to the world?

…meant to elicit envy from your peers?

…of mental, physical, emotional, and least I add spiritual stability?

What is Happiness?

What defines your happiness? What defines mine?

As a special friend recently told me whilst I whined about the changes I needed… “Gratitude is happiness”

I am usually quick to respond with a smart retort on just about anything that can be thrown my way, but I paused… Needless to say, I still came up with something in my defence, which we all usually have by the way “Of course, I am grateful”. However, we say that without truly incorporating the meaning. I mean, we are on a scale of 1-10 probably generally not ingrates, but it takes true understanding of gratitude to know to be thankful for the little and albeit sometimes taken-for-granted mercies and gifts.

Still, it was worth more than a few thoughts at those few sane moments before being taken into the lethargy of sleep… Was that all it really took to be happy?

We spend our lives in pursuit of happiness; trading our passions and individualities for false securities we convince ourselves will take away our pains, alleviate our worries, complete and make us whole, and generally are the key to our being happy!

Once I get this, once I get that, and we go on in a circle of acquisition and personal challenges, competing with and challenging everyone but ourselves as to what we really and truly need… “Will these make me happy”, I asked myself at that moment before I drifted off.

I woke up to the same nagging thought, and continued to ponder, but this time I took a more profound look at gratitude and less at happiness. What does gratitude stand to give that these things wouldn’t?  At that moment, it hit me straight between the eyes and I wondered why I hadn’t really seen it before! Focus is the key! If I remain thankful long enough, it means I look more on the things that I do have, and certainly if that’s what I see when I look into myself, happiness can’t be too  far away from my way of life!!

One of my greatest quotes on gratitude;

“Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture” ~ Kak Sri

That was it; I had figured it out… It didn’t mean everything had to be great per time, it just meant I had to make the most of it per time or I’d be miserable!!

It didn’t mean I couldn’t be ambitious or pursue the things that satisfy my yearnings as an individual; but through the race of life, all the acquisition that comes from thought, ideas, building, being,  through the entire rat race we call life, I wouldn’t have to abandon my hobbies, passions, individuality, nor trade who it is I hope to be. This is because intricately, every step of the way I am truly elated by a happiness that is a State of mind, born by an inner gratitude of all that already is even while I look forward to all that will be.

So, Gratitude indeed is Happiness; if we pay attention to the little things we already have, we will indeed find ourselves in a state of calm that allows us to purse those we don’t with a peace that makes the wait truly worthwhile.

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Who we really are and what we really want II

… Remember when I said I was going to be discovering me, and promptly advised that you do same? It appears I have made a few more discoveries, and of course I’m going to share! I must reiterate along with Tony Robbins however that “Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” Anyway, back to me…

Dear InnerMe,

I am a fighter; every fibre of my being is born of resilience, I bounce back and out of every challenge that comes my way; like the eagle, I understand that the storm is my only propeller to heights others can only dream of, into world’s I can only imagine, into ventures that only the brave will risk and thus only the exceptional can attain. According to Napoleon Hill, “Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting”. Makes sense, don’t it? So, rise above my fears and fight I must! Yes, indeed I am born of a true Nigerian spirit in the very resilient sense!

I am a thinker; I just will not be limited, even by the limitations that are clear as day, I simply will not acknowledge them. Call me a joker if you like, a dreamer, a loose cannon, but if I can dream it, then surely I can be it! Yes, I can push myself like that!!  It’s hard with all the distractions, but I always try to know more about anything and everything that’s relevant in the emerging world which I am a part of. Surely and steadily, I try as a matter of necessity to avoid the danger, limitation and imprisonment of a single story!

I am a dreamer; I bet you are wondering how big a difference that is from thinking, but I assure you, I dream it before I can even begin to think and wrap my head around it!! Yes, building castles in the air and the whole shebang!! Dreaming makes me want it badly enough that I will be more than inclined to think it through over and over and over and over again. Then, I have to do it; true to Tonny Robbins’ words, “the path to success is to take massive,determined action”. I can’t act if I haven’t thought, and definitely can’t think if I haven’t dreamt. My dreams and values push me beyond my comfort zone and drive me even when no one is looking!

I am a firm believer of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”, and I totally live and abide by this as best and as frequently as I possibly can; Spiritually, professionally, financially, and politically. Believe in and desire a change so badly that it physically hurts, and be ready to make plans and take actions in the directions of your yearnings, and the sky will be your starting point. Aggrieve a people continuously and steadily, and you will undoubtedly feel the strength of their wrath and the effect of their hate. I can go on and on about what lies within and how effective it is in shaping our world in our preferred direction, but I’ll let your mind do the rest… We all need to believe in something, there simply has to be a picture bigger than us!

As I am sure is probably clear to you now, I am a discoverer; I like to discover stuff as I have embarked on this task of discovering me!

Thanks for letting me into a little more of me, and following through on my determination to be a better me.

Yours always and truly,

Me

This may seem rather mundane, pedantic and somewhat unhelpful, but the best way to define who it is you are is to focus on the specifics of your true self and do an actual discovery of every part of you as is seen in your reactions to every part of your life.  

It appears I know who I am and thus my first phase of discovery is complete; liken this exercise to writing your life goals and long-term plans in a place where you can constantly see them and remind yourself what it is you live for. It doesn’t make them happen, but it keeps you ever focused on their realisation and channels you towards them with every thought, plan and action.

Nothing is as powerful as a picturesque of where it is you are headed, discover you and then discover that!!

Who we really are and what we really want!

Interestingly, we get to a point in our lives where we generally feel like we have it all figured out, the thing is maybe sometimes we genuinely sort of do! However, we run into our greatest tests when we realise that there’s almost no purpose behind our actions… that can be totally demeaning!

Of course I know what I’m doing, of course I know what I want, I totally repeat it to myself even though I don’t have to so obviously I can’t have missed it, can I? The thing is I do miss it… so many times I’ll lose count if I am true to myself about how many times I really go back and begin the planning process again. How many times I get what it seems I wanted and yet it has no value, and I wonder why I thought I needed that very thing in the first place!

>>> I sometimes wonder if I truly know what I want, and then I stop short and slam an affirmative Yes! Of Course I do

>>>I want a job! Of course, I do. What kind? O_o

>>> I want to be happy? Of course I do! How? With who? Doing what?

We totally lose our focus on focusing on our specifics, it’s not enough to want a job, or wish happiness on ourselves; Ok, so we think we know what we want; if we’ve never considered the how or the why synchronizing with the what, we surely are no closer to finding fulfillment in our lives, it just means nothing, nothing but worry about what we don’t have and wishful yearning for those things. We have to tell ourselves specifically as it is…. I’m going to serially discover myself by telling me how I am, and I suggest you do same!!

Dear InnerMe,

I am a me with dreams of one day reaching out to the world, I know I like to make a difference; I yearn to speak and be heard, and recognized for what it is I say. I want my words to be able to bring value, solace and motivation to people I will never meet or have the opportunity to shake their hands… Yes, I recognize that words can do this! That is my strategy, expose my words to places I may never see; people whose heritages I may never understand. My words will go places and speak volumes on my behalf!!

I am a planner, tell me about yourself and I will give you a plan to take you to your next phase, but I have a problem; with my own plans, I fear taking that first step of execution; I am afraid it seems, afraid I may fail, I think I’ll rather hide behind the comfort of having never tried than to expose myself to the possibility of the pain and disappointment that failure brings. You know what, for the purpose of gratification, I dare say my problem is half solved, I know it’s there so I can speak to myself until I can push me off my irritable fears and man ventures after my dreams!

I am not a romantic, don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of love, and watch the movies and read books wishing I could feel the way they seem to feel, but it’s never quite worked out that way.

You would think I should be because my best place in the world is by the ocean looking up to a star filled midnight sky, hearing the sound of the waters beating against the stony embankments, and the slushing sound of the water’s retreat against the shore sands. Sitting on a bridge or hill and watching the orange sun set against distant waters. I wish I can look into my mate’s eyes and have tears in my eyes just knowing that he loves me so, I wish I could get lost in the feeling of love and being loved so much so that nothing else in the world matters!… I sound like a romantic, don’t I?… Still, I won’t ooh and ahh over a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates (I’m more likely to do so for chocolates though J), or a solemn declaration of love; as much as it’s a good feeling, it won’t matter if he didn’t open the car door for me; though he has to somehow be nice and sweet! Yep, I’m sure you figured that with relationships, I can sometimes be an enigma even unto myself, seems like I want what I don’t want!

…Moving on!

So, I’m going to continue writing my attributes to me until I identify with how they influence me and make me the better me I’d rather be, and #innerme you have to help out and meet me half way!

Yours always and truly,

Me

What then is the difference between you and I? That I have nothing to fear or that I own up to the existence of a fear that I intend to overcome! … Own up to your fears, look into your eyes, and tell yourself who you are, of your weaknesses and your strengths, brace up to them and they will surely make you a better you!!!

…xoxo

How to Step out of your Comfort Zone

Ok… I’ve talked quite a bit about defining your path, choosing your career and starting a business along the lines of your personality, at this point I doubt there’s any doubt as to whether you consider yourself a job creator or a job seeker given all circumstances of the Nigerian economy and dispersing all foundational excuses… So, what’s next?

I dare say, “The Next Step!!”

And what’s that?

I dare say, ACTION…

To be able to act, we must be willing to disperse our fears… We must as a necessity call upon courage, to pull us out of an ever growing and deepening abyss of fear!

If we think about that plan too long, if we ponder on that opportunity endlessly, we’ll find many reasons why it’s wiser to not go down those roads, causing us to experience analysis paralysis on every level – basically absolutely planning and never doing. More infuriating even is the fact that these reasons will appear more than legitimate.

We already have a lot of reasons, albeit, rather reasonable ones as Nigerian youths to do nothing, should we ponder longer, we might never recover!!

Still, that’s not to say one shouldn’t weigh options and risks before any and every venture against business acumen for profitability, but ever notice how you never hear good of yourself when you eavesdrop? Same principle!! Listen long and hard enough and you’ll hear exactly what you were thinking you would!!

Read quite a number of stories on a post called “A conversation with fear”, and I mean the comments actually made for a lot of interesting stories, they gave me even more insight to the damage fear can have on dreams and caused me to further appreciate the effectiveness of it’s personification.

…We say “face your fear” without quite realizing that we mean we should literally face our fears, stand up to and speak to it like a friend or foe, whichever suits your personality. Talk it down, or woo it, whatever it takes, but ensure it’s in sync with you on every venture you undergo because even after you successfully make the first move, it continues to influence your every step…

More often than not, we live in the sanctuary of our comfort zones, and tell tales of how we will start up what we want when we are good and ready. Unknown to the bulk of us, we are pushing forward that day when we will need to reckon with fear, and unfortunately for us, the longer we leave it be, the more courage we will need! And it’s unlikely that fear’s half sister, courage will do more than we give her room to!

So, regardless of how tough it may seem, how needless you may suddenly have convinced yourself that your venture is, you best rise above that overwhelming feeling of sinking in your ideas, and swim to your dreams!

….So my dears, as Nigerians we are known for our persistence. Get out of your Comfort Zone and make things happen for you!!                                               

How to define your Career

Appraising this on a foundational level will for some, bring them smack amidst being middle aged with nostalgia of the dilemma as to what directions they chose to take their lives professionally, for some, a melancholy of how they were whisked into a world of getting by with a reasonable package, and for others an honest-to-God “I had always wanted to do this and I did, I am so fulfilled”. Sadly, the latter is often the exception rather than the case. Most people look back regretfully at having done one thing or the other, or made a decision rather than another. Often times, it’s not the choosing of a career in itself that makes the difference but the reality that necessity is laid upon you to understand and define purpose in every sphere of your life.

To this aim, I choose to work with defining Career as

“progress or advancement through life”

Or

“rapidly moving ahead”

Both definitions demonstrate awareness as to an action that you’re going to have to take every step of the way as opposed to restricting it to one’s profession, which is independent of one’s thought input after making a choice. Thus creating an intrinsic notion that once that choice has been made, the deal is done. This is ambiguous.

I like to think of it as

…“an evolution of thought”

Yes, indeed I appreciate career as

…“an expedition towards a lifelong goal”…

Sure enough, we have a destination with many existent tributaries, how and when we get there however is entirely up to us. In our nation, the ideal always seems to be lacking in options. Expectations exist and you are simply projected to follow through. Go to college and study as you’re told, more often than not without a single thought as to why you’re reading what you’re reading other than the means to a livelihood; it’s not enough to study medicine because your father is a doctor or an engineering course because you think you want a piece of the oil company’s revenue. Honestly, if a niche must be carved, if a road must be paved, one must realize that that’s just not good enough.

True progress cannot be defined nor measured in one’s truly

confused state though one may be successful, a delineation must be made, thought must prevail, ideas must be borne, decisions made; all of which simply make for the voyage, the continuous progressive journey to a purposeful existence.

Let’s consider two 24 year old Nigerians in varied locations, shall we? One in Houston, Texas and the other in Lagos Nigeria: While the Texas bred, given the same opportunity for public higher education from 18 will have a first degree, probably working on a masters with her own apartment and a car along with a savings of sorts; In other words, for her, life will have begun. As opposed to the Lagos bred who will at this time be about  frustrated of the school system due to strikes, still be living in her father’s home with no sense of personal responsibility and almost no direction. If we make an honest appraisal of our economic situation, it simply does not give us any fair competitive advantage over our peers in other nations of the world. Do we then conclude we are destined to be despaired, or do we strive to create our own opportunities and re-write the stories from the way they are presented before us, at least from where I’m sitting? I’d take the latter, and I’d like that you do to, because unfair it may seem, the deed is however already done can not be un-done unless it is first rejected by you. Hence, you must decide that you will not accept nor tolerate mediocrity, you will not be merely be placid, and take everything brought your way but that you understand that you have to choose to either receive or reject what’s dished your way.

Taking the bull by the horns, choosing to chart your course, braving the natural winds of normalcy and expectation, going all out against all odds because and only because you recognize that your dreams are bigger than you, and nothing else will make for satisfaction!!!

…This for me defines a truly entrepreneurial spirit…

Leading Edge – Young Nigerians and Start up businesses

As a fresh out of school or unemployed graduate, there arises a need to be more than tenacious in your desire for new horizons, new challenges, and new courses to chart. It should be a time of great thought, a time to birth ideas and to in a sense truly discover oneself, this is miles away from the reality we see, and the helplessness we experience in Nigerian youths as a result of our nation’s seeming inability to provide ready jobs. Alas, it does not occur to them that no nation’s government can unilaterally provide for all its nations graduates, therein lies the effort of the private sector in entrepreneurs which account for a minimum of 50% of our nation’s graduate positions, and of course inherent in that process is the high level of competitiveness to recruit the absorbable absolute best academically, and to a large extent a bias which must exist to make room for one’s own. They are the business owners in any case, so dare we say they not leave room for their families and friends in a nation where the available entry level and generally junior positions are fast dwindling?

What options do the un-absorbable remaining then have? To say the greater jobless percentage are the not too bright “left overs” is a great misdemeanor. Yes, academic excellence generally does make a way for you especially haven read a technical professional course but that’s about all it does, give you a first chance in! That’s great, but it’s not enough! You have to have dreams and ideas, greatly thinking outside or worse without a box, before you can truly harness all it is you can be.

An Entrepreneur's Mind

Thought, the birth of ideas

Professional status is usually categorized as a career orientation or entrepreneurship, I like to think whichever you choose there will always be a need to possess quite an overlap of both character attributes to truly succeed. For this reason, it is imperative that we all take on self development as a practical way of life and hone our hobbies to the development of character which guarantees us sustenance in our chosen professional status.

I take a stand on entrepreneurial development, necessary traits of which I will be sharing, and you as an individual on a career path can actively learn from, most importantly with focus on performance and time management as it affects your specific industry

Leading Edge works through your personalities and or ideas attempting to first understand you, so as to be able  deliver to you,  the perfect business plan in response to your deep business desires and targets, thereby enabling you to carve a  business niche that is in sync with who you are. We understand that a business can seem like a burden when too far-fetched from your likes and interests, and base our strategy on the concept that you are more likely to succeed in a business which you totally enjoy.

Our services include birthing and honing business ideas, writing business plans, conducting market surveys, risk analysis, devising marketing strategies, managing projects from initiation to conclusion, and providing support services in the early operational phase of your business.

All at a reasonable and negotiable percentage of total startup or recovery costs with convenient payment plans.

For expertise and strategy in start-up and continuity of your growing business, give us a call today: 08083080527

My Venture before the Venture!

What will you say is your professional category?

Do you have a career or a job?

These may seem like rather mundane questions and I mean, they mean the same thing, right? Actually, wrong! Not on the grand scale of things, they don’t.

First, you must understand what it is you do before you can even dare to analyse  and clarify what it is you will rather be doing and why! Take a minute to reflect on these… the first thing that crosses your mind is often exactly what it is!

Going forward, if you have a career, congratulations! If it’s a career that you chose and love, doubly congratulations!! If you run your own business, with obvious signs of growth, even fantastic!!

Whatever you do that satisfies your professional yearning, and of course qualifies for sustenance is great. However, to act like one has no responsibility to those choices which may or may not yield tremendous output is ludicrous to say the least. People often act like they do what they do by happenstance and or circumstances that come their way, it may even really seem that way, but we always have a choice. Yes, you may be jobless and it seems like you absolutely have to take the job that comes with the remunerations you’re being offered, but factually you don’t have to take it, and if you do, that was your choice!

Let’s pay particular attention to those who feel like they are stumbling into business due to a state of joblessness or whatever else, shall we! We’ll discuss our seemingly choice less folk at a later date.

Starting out a new business may seem like an option from a state of joblessness, the perfect break from an uneventful career, working on someone else’s time, or sometimes just a getaway from a rather overbearing boss. Realistically however, those reasons more often than not never take you very far! Dare I even say that it’s harder to manage a business than to show up at work on any given day. More often than not you’re not being paid by the standard of work you deliver, but rather that you simply make yourself available. Promotions on the other hand may come as a result of appraisals, but your monthly will come as and when due because you were there!

Consequently, to think you will have it easier managing your business as opposed to showing up at work is a gross misconception. We will in subsequent posts be attempting to discuss entrepreneurial traits and what makes them truly successful!

I will leave you however with two questions which make up the fundamental foundation of a successful entrepreneur, why do you want your own business, and how badly do you want it? These questions and the understanding of their answers are indeed the venture before the venture!!