Posted in Principles

The Irony of Balance

For as many as have had ‘deep’ conversations with me lately, I’m pretty sure the word ‘balance’ has come up a couple of times. It might seem really spiritual and deep too and like a mean feat I’ve achieved when I say I’m learning balance but really what is balance?

Balance is the state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have equal or proper importance. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

I remember back in Secondary School (High School) when my French teachers would say every rule has an exception. I used to joke and say the statement itself had an exception but I digress. Now balance is supposed to be a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance. We focus too much on ‘equal’ sometimes that we forget the word ‘proper’.

Who determines what proper time is? YOU!

If you’re reading the 7 Habits (which I hope you’ve gotten around to reading – I promise it’s worth it!), you’ll realise that being proactive involves changing the narrative. You control your time and you control the outcomes of your actions or inactions. Your job is to schedule activities in order of priority and this priority is determined by your value system.

So I ask again, who determines what proper importance is? You! And not based on feelings but based on your value system. This is where discipline comes in. If we ALWAYS make decisions based on how we feel at that moment, then we’d almost never get anything done really.

Just imagine this – I have a tonne of bricks on one side of a weighing balance and a tonne of feathers on the other side. The scale is balanced right? In this balance you’ll see that I have so many more feathers (in number) than bricks. I had to put more feathers unto the scale to truly achieve balance – I would have been deceiving myself if I decided that the weight of 10 bricks was equal to that of 10 feathers even if they had the same dimensions. In the same vein, apportioning the same number of hours to two different activities does not automatically mean balance.

The message is simple: Finding balance does not mean apportioning equal time or equal importance to different aspects of our lives but rationing the time available in such a way that we reflect our principles by giving priority to certain activities not neglecting others. It is also important to note that REST is important. You might be effective at allocating your time so you can complete various tasks but remember to allow time for rest as well. Its either you give rest a little time now so your body can be refreshed a little or you’re forced to give rest a lot of time later when your body decided to break down on you.

I’m learning to embrace scheduling. I’m learning to apply priorities. I’m learning to reflect my core values as an extension of myself. Simply, I’m learning balance.


Posted in Principles

Lifestyle Choices

I understand that there was just a blank space here on Sunday. I’m sorry about that. I’ve reuploaded the post. Enjoy!!!

Its another Sunday! The last post was about being intentional in making choices and taking decisions. One thing I’ve learned over time though is that your decisions are usually reflective of your value system. Before I get ahead of myself, let’s go back to the basics.

A lifestyle is a style of living that reflects the attitudes and values of a person or group. I love the dictionary! (I’m a weird breed, sue me). Anyway, we’ll take it bit by bit.

A style is a manner of doing or presenting something. Style of living refers to the manner in which you ‘do’ life. Now a lifestyle shows your core – what is important to you because it is consistent and long term. The problem now is ‘Do you know what your core values are?’ Flash back to being intentional. You need to define what is most important to you. This is ultimately linked to your purpose and guides your decision making even when you don’t feel like it.

For instance, if one of your core values is fitness, you would get up and exercise even when your body doesn’t feel like it. Another example is the vegan lifestyle. They make grocery choices based on that lifestyle – not just food choices but grocery choices attacking it from the grassroots. That is how lifestyle choices are. You’ll notice that because it is already a part of you, your decisions support those values subconsciously. Now that we’re working towards making conscious decisions, we need to sit down and reevaluate our core values so that we can make decisions along those lines.

Most people live life based on momentary decisions. I’ll explain. You see a lot of us make decisions based on what is right in front of us at that moment. As practical as this sounds, it may not be very effective in the long run. Note the key word – MAY.

A lifestyle again is a particular way of living or a typical way of life of an individual, group or culture. I looked up typical too. It means normal for a person, thing or group. I want you to hold on to this – that your ‘typical’ is not dependent on anyone else; it is what is normal for you!

Imagine a vegan (a person who does not eat any food that comes from animals and who often does not use animal products) is faced with the choice of pepperoni pizza and a bucket of KFC chicken. He/she would probably say no to both options simply because they both don’t fit into his/her lifestyle.

There are definitely choices we need to make everyday. Life’s full of choices but it doesn’t always boil down to just right or wrong. What do you stand for and what picture do you have for your future? That should be the focus of your decision making.

The first step to becoming efficient at this is to define yourself.

Who am I?

What do I stand for?

What is most important to me?

When you know the answers to the questions and they become part of you, making decisions become easier. Not because the choices are clearer but because you can visualise the options and whether they fit into that picture of your future. Let me quickly say here that upgrading is allowed! You may not see all the details of your future but you have a solid idea of what you want. It is something that can be tweaked as you come into other levels of knowledge. One statement I heard recently that struck me is this: ‘Responsibilities have changed, change your routine.’ This means two main things to me – firstly that priorities need to be revisited and certain activities need to be rescheduled. It also means that there are choices to be made – about what to give more time and what, if the need arises, to let go of.

Choose your lifestyle so that your choices are made. You’d be surprised that people know what decision you’d make based on your principles and consistency reflected by your lifestyle. This can be to your advantage when running a business because your employees know what your company stands for and make decisions based on that. The organisation has its own personality at that point devoid of individual leaders. I think that’s a level worth embracing.

I’m discovering myself more everyday and I write for myself as much as for all of you that read this so don’t think I’ve got it all together completely. The beauty of periodic evaluation is that we can track progress and at the same time trace mistakes back to certain levels so we can promptly adjust.

This is an evaluation message. Its better now than when the whole building is up don’t you think? Take it step by step, look at where you’re doing it wrong and need to make corrections, observe what you’re doing right and make improvement and most importantly, stay true to you!


Posted in Principles

Be Intentional

Hello everyone. Trust you had a good week last week. I apologise for not putting this up yesterday. It was due to technical difficulties but hey, its still Sunday somewhere in the world right? 😀 Anyway, we’re headed into the week of National Chocolate Day (which most of you call Valentine’s Day depending on your priority. Mine’s chocolate!)

This year, our focus is on making progress not just movement and in order to do that, we need to be INTENTIONAL about decisions we make. One of the major reasons for taking time out to restructure the blog is to be intentional about the voice we project from here.

Decisions make or break you. Its up to you to make every decision you take count – they serve as building blocks for your future and the future of your environment.

Let me break that down a bit. The truth is that whatever you’re doing is bigger than you! Take elections for instance. You decide not to get your permanent voter’s card (in Nigeria) because the government according to you isn’t performing well so it’s none of your business!. Do you know that with a 100,000 people like you, even just you, the decision of government leaders can be changed? Yet, we just sit and stare.
P.S. In case you didn’t get the message – Go out and get your PVC (Permanent Voter’s Card) if you haven’t. I don’t want to hear story!

Being intentional is a combination of first deciding to do something and then making a decision in line with your goals and core values. That is a topic for another day. This year we can’t afford to be reactors – we should be proactive and if need be, be responders.

The difference between proactive people and responders is simple. Proactive people create their environment and act accordingly. Responders just occupy the environment then act according to the stimulus supplied. Its true that they are reactors but these ones are delayed reactors. They put into consideration certain factors and evaluate before response. You know how I said ‘if need be’. Well this is because we cannot 100% control what happens around us. In those scenarios, we need to learn to respond appropriately and not just react. Being a responder is a great skill to master but being proactive is an even greater skill.

We’re supposed to be reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People together. This book is amazing at opening your eyes to the concept of paradigm shifts and its importance in setting priorities and effective schedules.

Remember your decisions affect your environment so when you’re tired of being a solution provider, someone in need of that solution suffers. You don’t need to know the person to do your part. Be intentional to show up in the place of purpose EVERYDAY regardless of how you feel and strive for excellence in all you do. Lasting success is NOT accidental. It doesn’t happen in a blast. It may seem sudden but it is a planned work. You expect it because you make decisions into it though the world just sees you ‘blowing’ overnight.

Most of us usually picture the future as just ours. Let me shock you. Your future belongs to all of us! Really, everyone but you owns your future. You are responsible for it but we own it so you have a responsibility to us. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not to live your life for people’s approval but you live life because people need you to do your part in the puzzle of human relationships.

I’ll stop here.
Cheers to a life of INTENTIONALITY,