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Youth Focus Initiative is my pet project which I started when I was 24, an age by which most students have already completed their first degree and for some their PhDs. After completing secondary school, financial meltdown at the family level put a temporary cap on my thirst for a higher education. As fate would have it, it was in between the struggling eight years of self-help, selling petrol as a pump attendant, teaching pupils in private schools, and working
as a community newspaper reporter that I started Youth Focus Media (later renamed Youth Focus Initiative) in Lagos.
The idea was (and still is) to motivate and engage the youths, wherever they are. I believe that some of the ideas that were packaged into those modest editions of the Youth Focus magazine had the same impact as the regular talks I gave along with the marketing of the publication. I made the magazine so simple that even the busiest person in the world would still find it ‘unputdownable!’ My sister and I were the company and we ‘hired’ some ad hoc distributors. It was not easy in the beginning, but we later found it very exciting.
In August 2001, we went to a massive programme called the Youth Empowerment Scheme at the National Stadium, Surulere in Lagos. The whole stadium was full and we had armed ourselves with 100 copies of Youth Focus magazine to test run the sales. In ten minutes all of our copies had been mopped up and we had to restock with an extra 200 copies, which also sold out within a few hours. It was then that it dawned on us that our Ghanaian cotenant
(Mr. Adoo) was right when he had told us to take ‘everything’ to the programme. We were surprised by the number of sales that we made in four consecutive days. Continue reading “The Story of My Pet” »
In my over 3 decades of existence on the surface of the earth I have had the opportunity to interact with three different teachers. I have been impacted one way or the other by all of them. My experience in life has made me to tag two of them as ‘rich teachers’, while the other one a ‘poor teacher’.
In 1984 I lost my father to the icy hands of death. He died at a tender age! Despite the fact that he died young, he achieved so much. He actually became a director in one of the Agencies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at 38. This is not a mean feat! I work 9-5 with an Agency of government today and I know it is not easy. My father was the breadwinner of the family. He was our all-in-all. When death called, events in our family took a downward trend. My mother was petty trader with just a First Leaving School Certificate! Things got so bad that we could hardly have a meal per day. Despite the downturn, she did not give in. The situation brought out the best in her.
One event that qualifies her as one of my rich teachers happened in December, 1984. During the festive period, everybody was preparing for how to make the period a memorable one. People were buying new clothes, chickens, goats, rice and all sorts of things. We became crestfallen and dejected because we knew nothing of such would happen in our homestead. But my mother shocked my siblings and I. She invited a tailor to our house to come and take our measurements. At first, we thought she wanted to do ‘April Fool’ for us, but this was December. We reluctantly allowed the tailor to take our measurements. After the tailor left, we enquired for where and how our mother got the money to buy a new cloth. She further amazed us with her response “I took out some of my old wrappers and loosened them.” From this singular event, she taught me to always turn problems into opportunities. Instead of brooding over any situation, she taught to think out of the box and make the best of the situation. With the simple solution she proffered to a hitherto big challenge in our eyes, we had a swell time at Christmas as we wore something ‘new’. My mother was a rich teacher; she taught me by example. She introduced me to “Problem-Solving 101”. Continue reading “A Tale of Three Teachers” »
By Tunde Oseni
Success is a relative term. It means different things to different people. Nevertheless, we all know successful people when we see them. According to The Pocket Oxford Dictionary (e-version), success means ‘accomplishment of an aim; favourable outcome; attainment of wealth, fame, or position’. People admire success and society rewards it. Simply, to me, success is what you achieve as a result of a calculated effort. This is what I mean: you succeed when you set a goal and meet it.
Let us begin with the story of a ‘skinny kid with a funny name’ who attempted to give life a shot with the hope that his country had a place for him too. Barack Obama overcame the stereotype of being born by a white mother, who later died of cancer, and a black father, who he truly never knew. He was raised by his maternal grandparents in Honolulu in the State of Hawaii and went to college with the full hope of making it despite odds. Barack studied Political Science at the Columbia University, worked as a ‘community organizer’ in the Southside of Chicago and went to read Law at Harvard University where he rose to become the first black President of the venerated Harvard Law Review. Barack then became an attorney, elected a state senator, appointed an adjunct professor, and then elected as a national senator, and eventually the first man of his skin colour to become the President of the United States of America. That is success.
Now, success is not just about becoming a president or a governor or being awarded a Nobel Laureate. Success comes in different garbs, colours and sizes. At times success may connote such a simple achievement as getting one’s dream job. For instance, one of my friends, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr., now CEO of CFA Leverage, shared with us how elated he became after securing a job with Globacom Limited. He said he was hopeful that he would secure the employment despite the discouragement by many of his contemporaries who insisted that getting such a job with a big Telecoms required ‘connections’ and since my friend didn’t have one he would fail. He succeeded.
I believe that anybody can set a goal, make calculated effort, through organised planning and self-motivation, and reach that goal. It is however important to differentiate between good success and bad success. This may be a paradoxical way of looking at the concept of success. But we probably do need to classify some success as good and some as bad in order to separate what is truly glorifying from what is merely vain-glorious. Continue reading “Defining Success” »
Individual like you and me originate actions that spice up life but being a ‘starter’ is not always fun. Going first can be risky because it frequently attracts criticism and judgment, and to many of us, that is enough reason not to take the lead. Generally, we are giving feedback, judging, or criticizing or we are receiving feedback, being judged or being criticized. In order to achieve you full growth potential, you must find opportunities to both give and receive feedback or criticism. Giving feedback comes naturally; doing the thing that will place you at the receiving end, that is, going first doesn’t come naturally. Many of us work to avoid that.
Most people especially in the corporate ‘world’ are conversant with the quotation above in-part which concludes with: ”do a re-check”, or with any other grammartical structure suitable to the writer/speaker depending on its purpose cum contextual usage. Due to the advent of infotech and its consequential effect on our lives viz-a-viz business activities, hardly is there any corporate firm regardless of its size and module operandi that does not operate with the use of computers. Gone where the days when businesses runned on paperwork en-mass, conversely today, most information are stored, processed and saved in computers, making work easy and fast to execute.
As an employee, how do you handle tasks delegated to you by your boss or supervisor/s in the office. Take for instance, a boss briefing you to type a short memo for official use. Imagine you have a very short period of time at your disposal to act as instructed by your supervisor. Two possiblities exist; one, that you would quickly within the time left typesett the memo and then move swiftly as with a predating hyena to your supervisor’s office for submission, alternatively, you would type as fast as you can, then do a thorough re-check on what you typed to ensure that words, phrases, clauses and sentences wrongly typed are rectified. Sometimes, an experienced colleague may be contacted to help edit your work. Continue reading “Before You Click That Mouse” »
Having an outsider's perception of the world helps you see change and the desire to succeed so it's not always an advantage to be an insider. Sometimes it's great to be an outsider.
A couple of weeks ago I was with my mentor in his office. I went to him not to be lectured, but for a different purpose. As I was about to tell him my mission, a woman came in. This woman, apart from being a veterinary doctor, also holds a Ph.D. in Innovation and Technology Management. She wanted my mentor to drill her for the interview she was to have the next day. Without blinking an eye, my mentor, in his characteristic manner, immediately began to ask some questions on current affairs. At a point I was wondering why my mentor would be asking a Ph.D. holder such ridiculous questions. To my dismay, she could only answer 1 or 2 out of almost 15 questions she was asked. Continue reading “How Old Is Your Knowledge?” »