Careers, Young Nigerians and the ASUU strike

Living and Impacting Humanity in an Amazing Way!


This post is for Nigerians attending public universities in #Nigeria.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria have embarked on another strike. The resultant effect is that academic activities in public universities have come to a halt. This is very disheartening. As usual, it is based on breach of agreements between them and the government. This means that many young Nigerians are currently either at their schools having fun due to no academic work, or some have decided to get busy and make the most of it. We can only hope that the reasons that led to this strike are quickly resolved. As a nation, we really must go beyond this strike issue. I keep wondering how first world nations fund their public universities that they don’t have academic staff going on strike.

If I had a crystal ball, I would have told every student attending public universities…

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Star and Spectator: Linking Video Game Addiction and Smartphone Addiction

Tony Reinke

Anthropologist Thomas de Zengotita links smartphone addiction and gaming addiction in his 2014 article “We Love Screens, Not Glass,” theatlantic.com (March 12, 2014). There he argues screen technology has now evolved to reach a new pinnacle of addictive delight in the digital age because our screens make it possible for us to live in a dual role: as both spectator and star.

This dual spectator/star role in social media on a 4-inch screen, de Zengotita writes, is seen

in the special intensity, the devotional glow you see on the face of a stranger in some random public place, leaning over her handheld device, utterly absorbed, scrolling through her options or matching twitter-wits on a trending topic, feeling the swell of attention rising around her as she rides an energy wave of commentary, across the country, around the world — it’s like the touch of a cosmic force, thanks to…

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The difference between a goal and a wish

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The difference between a goal and a wish is a plan — or a system to achieve the goal. For example, my goal was to read 104 books in 2016 but I had no plan. I managed to read only six books and even that was an achievement.

OK, so this year my goal is to read 12 books, and now I have a plan. I will read 20 pages each day in the morning, and in the evenings before bed if possible. I will complete a 300-page book in 15 days at this pace.

But I think I will probably do more than 20 books a year. Who knows, I could do 30. All I need to do is to stick to my 20 pages a day and the goal will take care of itself. If I commit to the process, the goal will be achieved. It’s like cooking. If you stick to the recipe and the preparation guide (the process), you will produce the advertised fluffy cake or Fried rice (the goal).


Inspiration from The Simple System I Use to Read More and Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead by James Clear. This is the second post in a row I would be referencing this resource.

The List of Six

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This 2017, I continue the quest to both simplify my life and get more done. I usually write my day’s tasks, my To-Do List, each morning in my diary before (or during!) the morning’s work and cancel out each one as soon as it’s done. I have managed my day this way for some time and can say it helps me stay focused.

Now, I’d like to experiment with a variation of this tool called ‘the Ivy Lee method’. I call it The List of Six. Here’s what I will do this January:

Instead of writing my list in the morning, I will write it the evening before I close at work. I think it will give me more time to reflect on my priorities.

And I won’t just write every possible thing I want to do in the world, I will put down just six things, the most important tasks I intend to engage in the next day at work.

I will arrange or rearrange them in order of importance.

The next morning, I will work on the first task until it’s accomplished before moving on to the next and so on. This is the heart of this plan–>To devote my energies to the most important task before my energy level goes down. I will try not to multitask!

At the end of the day, I will move any pending task to the next day’s list of six.

I learnt the man Ivy Lee got a cheque for today’s equivalent of $400,000 from a client for this! You can read the full story on James Clear’s highly resourceful website.

This evening, will you join me to write down the six things what you want to do tomorrow? Make sure to begin to do the most important first when you get to work.

 

Restart

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Welcome to 2017. God gives us many special blessings. A particularly good one is the gift of restart, the grace to begin again. Here be opportunity to
dream,
do,
be,
become;
a time to live and love anew,
a time to embrace purpose,
to get on with our work,
to sow and harvest,
to prosper amidst challenges,
to experience the seasons and cycle of God’s benevolence to us again.

2016 great or not, we should build this year on all that’s good from it and then leave the rest. We can trust God to somehow transform even those into something beautiful in our lives.

363 days ahead of us, with God’s help we will do valiantly.

MMM

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Recently, I was invited to join MMM. From the pitch I got, (and according to Wikipedia), MMM is publicized in Nigeria as a “mutual aid fund where ordinary people help each other”. How it works?

Put in some cash (ensure it’s disposable cash, not your capital for business or anything), and you will be paid it plus 30% after 30 days. Ah, what a tidy relief package for Nigerians in this recession. Anyone could do with a little help, this is not a Ponzi scheme, never mind the events in Russia* or the clampdown in South Africa. They’re just persecuting the founders.

The scheme appears beneficial when you consider this explanation on the surface. There’s nothing wrong with a collection of people pooling their money and issuing such out to each member in a systematic way. This is how thrift collections work. The difference here is that people participate because they expect to gain a sort of interest accrued for investing or lodging their cash–not from secondary investments from the funds they receive but from the pool itself. I would have nothing against this but for one gnawing question: where does this interest come from? The answer: From other folks who put in their own money also in hope of gain–that enthralling 30%.

But concluding that way doesn’t tell us the truth about the source of the 30%. It is indeed income from labour and businesses, from salaries and loans secured by active or intending members. It is indeed a pyramid, a chain scheme sold marvelously with the right message, “the participants just help one another”.

I cannot ignore the negative reports about the foundations of this scheme in Russia (perhaps, only because I have not tasted the 30%.) Aside the familiar underpinnings of the work of masterminds exploiting a season and a mindset of a people driven by greed or bound in dire straits, the negatives for me lie in the expectation of gain from doing almost nothing–either directly or by extension**, which, sadly, is the very appeal of the venture:

The allure of the scheme is a distraction for any professional, anyone striving to master a craft or trade. The mechanic, carpenter, computer technician, doctor, tailor, trader will gradually cease to provide us their very best services because of an all-consuming focus on the proceeds of an ‘investment’ which requires no exertion or creativity or productivity on their part.

Then we will sink deeper in this consumer-centered culture we find ourselves. Buy, buy, buy… more money to spend on whims. The guys who service our desires will continue to enjoy their trade surplus over us.

Inflation. As the quest for easy money draws more people in a local government or town away from their occupations, the ones which remain will inflate their rates in providing such services. It will not be only out of envy or greed but because of the mechanisms of demand and supply. As the demand for their still reliable service increases, the price at which they provide such will invariably increase, too.

The timing of the scheme’s popularity presents a dilemma. When the times are hard,  a tremendous amount of effort is required to swim upwards against the forces of poverty, to labour and produce, to invest one’s energies in ventures that translate to value. Unfortunately, this is when the people, now distracted, go after easy schemes, gambling, and sports betting.

Like it is common in life, the line between black and white splits up into many fine lines of diffracting greys. I wouldn’t need a lot of common sense to acknowledge that it has helped someone take care of important bills–some school fees or hospital bill. Even I most probably have benefited indirectly from the proceeds of MMM through someone actively engaged in it. My aim is not to extract myself from this whole thing but to present a case, a possible note for anyone as he considers the gains of MMM against the impact on the sustainable prosperity of our society and nation, of each of us. Surely, there are many people making a lot of money from this scheme, but there will be many more losers at the end. And it might just affect all of us. Should we allow this seemingly profitable indulgence to sabotage our future? Each of us must decide for himself.


*The infographic in this report tells a lot.

**People who loan others money for business seem to also obtain returns for doing next to nothing. If you think about it, you will realize they do a lot in a secondary way. They provide the funds that others with ideas use to keep advancing commerce, technology, and industry in our world.

Live truly today

How many friends do you have? When was the last time you hung out with a pal? Or held conversation with someone, anyone without thinking about your importance or the principles you needed to defend? People do not hate you, they just do not remember you. Well, some may hate. But most folks are too busy seeking their personal comforts than to be distracted.

It’s a lonely world because people are eternally occupied with their own desires. The one who shows his neighbour the tiniest interest wins a companion. He will not be alone or lonely. He may not present himself wise or smart or knowledgeable, but he will be the go-to person when advice or comfort is needed.

In conversations, delay your ready response. Think less of self, and regard the other person before you say anything. You think of the other person, see the world through his eyes.

It is not the things you do, but your heart. And the only way to change your heart is to lay aside your arguments, your internal chainmail and show yourself as you truly are. It will change you, and will draw people to you. Live truly, not a scripted, rehearsed life. It takes too much energy to keep up any appearance, to continue to play the role you have adopted. Live truly today.

Distraction

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It’s easy to get carried away, bogged down with work, an endless cycle of dullness given energy by the worker’s soul, while your real work suffers.

It’s easy to find your satiation soon but temporarily, in that mild-to-tepid sort of way, rejoicing in solving daily issues for people and organisations, some merely trivialities worthy of your immense capacities.

What, then, is distraction? Anything at all which detracts, slows you down or stops you from facing your self-determined priorities and doing the work you want to do. Work can be a distraction from other work–the type of distraction more potent than that from non-work.

My favourite excuse: My distraction, justified as it is (by the salary), slows me down, stops me from doing faithful work.

But should I even complain? Or hobble towards the nearest inklings of disgruntledness? Nope. What I ought to do is to look up. And seek ways out of this phase; to swim upwards to more meaning. The work I do when I’m not working is meaningful because it fetches the sliced bread; it’s only that some work is more meaningful than the other. My work at this time is most meaningful when the career and q&a websites are done, and folks benefit from their content.

On Perfection

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The lines must be straight. The book, phone, and laptop aligned symmetrically on the desk before you. All must be perfect.

There must be no mistake, no error in the essay or post. Any error is a shame, and perfection must be preserved. If your fly’s open, that’s trouble but a man must carry on.

Perfection is possible, sure. But not at the expense of sanity, not at the expense of common sense, or progress. A badly written book could be better than an unfinished bestseller. A stick drawing preferred to the promise of another Mona Lisa.

Perfection should be beautiful, but you may be surprised to find your experience or observation contrary. Maybe the imperfection, the inadequacies, the flaws evident in your work will communicate the authenticity of your humanity, of your striving, of your struggle for meaning, for significance. A certain charm is found with suffering leading to achievement.

Perfection is possible… in the end. I hope the world has the patience to wait until the unveiling of your perfect masterpiece while the rest of the rest plod on, marking one progressively better artefact after another — minimum viable products, and viable products.

There is perfection, and there is excellence. Excellence you achieve by making up your mind to strive toward perfection, constantly preparing yourself and delivering your best, while allowing yourself hope, and space to improve day by day, goal by goal. Demobilizing, paralyzing quest for perfection, on the other hand, is pride manifested in the way you see yourself, in the way you relate to the world. It is a weakness we must pray about, work on, and lean on certain grace to rid ourselves of.

You can either be humble, willing to be proven wrong or inadequate and get better or you can hide your flaws and labour on in the dark mulling the day you would prove to the world, finally, that you’re king, and all of us bowing subjects. It is possible. Is it probable?

Pursue your perfection, but be humble and gracious enough to appreciate where you are, what you have achieved at every stage in your journey. Celebrate your milestone, no need to postpone it until it is a national (or international) event. You are here. Create. Produce. Ship. Enjoy.