Written by Nicholas Aderinto.
I feel very honoured to write on this platform. The owner of this blog has been a friend for the past year and we’re still counting. She has deposited a lot into me especially in the writing aspect. She taught me patience as a writer and showed believe when I needed it most. So I didn’t have to think twice when I was offered the chance to be a guest writer on this blog. Thank you OBA( that’s my personal name for her) for this rare opportunity.
I’ve learnt a few things about expressing my opinion in ways that don’t offend but intrigue people. I always love to express myself with a part of my story. I know if I can tell you where I came from, how I came to the ideas and values I have, people will be more inclined to listen to me. I’ll be using my story to as we go through this topic together in a practical manner.
I’ve divided this article into sessions to make everything explicit.
1. FAILING FORWARD
I wouldn’t want to start anything without giving someone Hope by sharing how I’ve failed forward in my life. Writing to you is someone who once had an aggregate of 177 in UTME and repeated a class in primary school. This is a part of my story that I love sharing because so far it’s the most interesting source of Hope I have for people out there. To someone reading this, sit back, you might have experienced all sorts of academic failures but I tell you you can fail forward. I’m a living testimony. The day I received my UTME score, I picked a knife and said to myself it’s better to die than to live with this. I went to a bush around 5pm in the evening and wept. I was there weeping with no comfort till to 10 at night before going back home. See don’t let the devil or anyone push you to kill yourself physically or emotionally no matter what in life. If I had killed myself, I would be in hell and my story wouldn’t inspire anyone today.
I came from a failure to a success and I’m living in that reality everyday. One thing you must know is you’re unique and you’ve got the whole world in your brain! If anyone could have done it, you’re the only one who can do it better.
Excellent people aren’t just the perfect ones as you might have been thinking. Excellent people are people that just keep moving and improving everyday . Probably that’s one of the reasons why people don’t think they can be excellent and achieve this feat of 5.0. Probably you’re thinking the ones that have gotten it are the ones who life constantly throws good things. All these mindsets are wrong. They are the ones who will never give up on where they’re going. When they fall, they don’t sit and start a pity party, they stand, dust themselves and get back on their ride.
Excellent people are the ones who have distinguished being a failure as a person from failure as an event. Average people think of failure as themselves. Excellent people think of failure has an event on the road. What’s the difference between the two? Failure as a person is saying everything about you have failed. It’s saying your creator created a failure! What an act of ingratitude! It’s saying you’re not good enough. It’s calling a pity party. Failure as an event means this is just a temporary pause on my journey.
I’ve discovered that the approach of average people and excellent people to failure is completely different. This was one of the things I tapped into after the eventful UTME failure. Average people see it as a life time stuff and fail backward. Excellent people see it as an event and fail forward.
I nearly ended my life. I thought I was a failure. I wasn’t saying it to myself but subconsciously it was showing, I was walking around as a failure. I was not seeing the failure as a temporary event. And as I’ve always put it, my life was a mess, my life was going down the lane and I was failing backward. With each day I was taking a step backward, to me it seemed my dreams couldn’t be fulfilled. I even tried killing myself; it was that bad. And this is how average people think. They see themselves as failures. Note, I was brilliant in school then and everyone in the class would tagged me excellent but I was completely average in the reality.
Any principle I shared here might not work if you don’t learn to see any failure that might have come your way as an event. You’ve to move on from it. Forget your past, whether it’s a success or failure. You can start on a new note and apply the principles I’m about to share. To many, failure or success is a tombstone. To few, they stepping stones. Be among the few.
To you this might be your earthly family. But that’s not it. You need to associate yourself with a greater family. See, the day you start your journey to a 5.0CGPA is the day you start to see it and work it out in your heart. It’s from inside to outside and not vice versa.
Who are your family? What’s your bloodline? Who is your brother? Forget your natural bloodline, your spiritual bloodline matters more because it would influence your actions.
So every morning before going to school, I would remind myself that Daniel who was ten times better is my brother. I’m from the Jesus bloodline. I’ve the DNA of Jesus, of Bro Daniel and Bro Paul. I started seeing God has my Father consciously, Jesus my friend and the Holy Spirit has my close partner. Daniel was my oldest brother.
This is a principle that looks funny but its effect is great! I’ve tried it and it has worked and is working. So if I’m from the bloodline of Jesus, how wouldn’t I achieve greatness? God deposited in Daniel, why wouldn’t He have deposited it in me too. Some want to have 5.0 CGPA but their bloodline is hurting them. From this moment on see from your spiritual bloodline. It matters. No one from God’s family fails. No true son fails.
Nothing good comes easy. It’s true that the race isn’t to the strong but please try your maximum best to be strong. This current generation likes to substitute God’s miraculous power with diligence. It doesn’t work that way.
Diligence for me is knowing what works, doing it to your best and consistently. Note that I didn’t say hard work , I said what works. Many people are working hard but they don’t know what works. That situation is very frustrating. You must know yourself and know what works for you without comparing yourself to anyone. After discovering God’s purpose for your life, self discovery is the next most important thing.
I’ll be introducing you to a new system which would help you to be diligent.
Note that we all just adopted the system of the day starting 12am in the midnight. You can leave an independent life and adopt your own starting point in the day. If you could do this; it would help your accountability about time and helps you to maximize your own personal 24 hours.
My own day always starts 9pm, I start my day with reading. Let me pause here, I read for 3-5 hours everyday. Note the word everyday, even though there are few days I sleep off while reading I make sure I gain something. I’m much better than someone who reads 9 hours on a Saturday and skips 3 days in a week. You must be consistent with any system you adopt. Between the 3-5 hours, for every an hour I take my eyes off the book for about 5 minutes so everything I’ve read could sink in. By 2:30am I’m sleeping already. I make sure I get 5-6 hours everyday. Even though it wouldn’t be at a stretch, I always get 1-2 hours in the afternoon and the 4-5hours during the night.
Some of my friends attend night reading classes but it doesn’t work for me so I don’t do it. I’m not always envious of them or feel intimidated. This is something you must know, never compare yourself to anyone else. You’re unique. God created you the best way. I make sure I’m accountable for each day. I have a book where I jot everything I read in a day and on days I slept off I’m always sincere to myself by writing “slept off”.
I have something I called my rectangle lifestyle. You can only find me in my room, football house, lecture room or church. Sometimes I substitute football house to visit the few friends I have. I make sure I spend a larger portion of my 24 hours alone. The moment you start spending a larger portion of your time outside than inside, problems are coming.
I attend lectures, write notes and listen very well. Never make the mistake of saying I know this topic already I’m not going to write its note. This kills gradually.
4. POSITIVE TALK
You speak more to yourself than anyone else does. But most times it’s subconsciously and I see many students playing negative songs everyday. I’ve people who will say – I know I’m not brilliant. Then tell me how will they be brilliant? Your words are an outflow of your thinking and it’s a principle that as a man thinks so is he!
My friends are always in awe of my self esteem. I never believe I can be anything than God’s best. Even when things aren’t going right I’m always positive. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be realistic with your present state but don’t let it hold you down. Speak more of where you want to be than where you are.
I always tell myself, if anyone could have been done it only me can do it better. Everyday, I look inside the mirror telling myself I’m handsome. I speak positive words to myself. Even on days when things aren’t right, I tell myself I’m just a day closer to achieving my goals.
One of the things that kills student’s self esteem is seeing themselves as inferior or as superior. Don’t allow what anyone says to affect you. There was a day a mate of mine told me “I’m not among the top 10 readers in my class” after hearing that I said to her – it’s true but it doesn’t matter. Don’t allow anyone to speak negativity into your life. Be positive always.
I’m not a good artist and there are two courses I took in my 100l that require artistic skills ( FAA AND BIO 191). Every time I submit my drawings I’m always made jest of. But I remained positive knowing God isn’t partial not to have given me artistic skills. On the final day of submission, I lifted up my drawings to the sky and in my face of everyone – I said God you can see how everyone are making jest of me by the time I’m collecting the result I want them to see you. I said it jokingly and everyone laughed but in my heart I meant it. I had A in both courses and everyone was surprised.
Being the best student in the class doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ready to be teachable. Teachability is a key that unlocks doors of greatness. I was taught by my classmates than I taught people in my 100l days. I’m not always afraid of looking like a dummy.
One thing I’ve learnt about being teachable is that the name, age or class of the person who taught you doesn’t matter. That which you want to learn is what matters. Even though sometimes it’s always ridiculous to learn under some people but it’s just one of the prices to be paid. There are days I went back to hostel frustrated, there are days tears rolled down my cheeks and days it looks like I don’t know anything. But all those didn’t matter. I made sure I was learning. I was grabbing every learning opportunity.
I have few friends and I make sure they are people that have passed the test of loyalty. You can’t go very far in life by going alone. God has programmed our lives in a way that all of us need people to do some things for us. True friends are rare but if you’re true you’ll always have true friends.
Your friends have a great influence on your life whether you know or you don’t. I once had a friend whom all he wanted was to have a 4.5CGPA ,I once had one who wasn’t concerned with the result other than not having a F. These are friends I had to drop because gradually you start thinking the way people close to you think.
You need the right friends. Note that I didn’t say good friends.
Some people are good but aren’t right for you. People who could always challenge, drag and encourage you. People you could always learn from.
If I’ve seen further, it’s because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.
You need people who have gone through what you’re going through. You need to tap from their experience. You need to ask them the right questions.
You mentor doesn’t have to be someone so big. It doesn’t work that way. Life is in chains. Look for a mentor who would always be available not one you would be queuing to see.
9. THE GOD FACTOR
There’s a God that gives increase. Never lean on your own understanding. Everyday acknowledge God’s supremacy over everything you do.
I wouldn’t end this article without telling you to have fun. Best students aren’t those that spend every of their time with books. Fun helps you ease pressure and pain. I play football for my Class and I watch football. You learn much if you have a bit of fun everyday.
I’m committed to seeing young ones below me in the ladder move up. You can contact me through my email – email@example.com or through WhatsApp – +2348167724987.