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Till Death – Excerpts – 17th July, 2011

I have been sooo busy that I have not written a single line in more than two weeks! In fact, I just bought a second notebook today so I can carry on (yes, I write with a pen! Already do enough on computers at work). Today, I will share with you the last two pages I wrote till date; it’s the beginning of Chapter 5.

Excerpt Starts Here

Whether man was created or evolved from lower ‘creatures’ is still a subject of hot debate among the most adept intellectuals on earth. Whether man was created or evolved is difficult for most people to categorically answer but it is obvious that that man is man – white, black, mongoloid, Latino, English, Chinese, Yoruba, Igbo…. Man is man, same internal organs, same inner being, when all is said and done.

Dupe was healing fast, Bobby was growing, Mrs Eluigwe was thinking about returning to her own home, Eno was bonding with the Eluigwe’s, Sophia was gaining grounds in Emeka’s heart and Emeka was in a struggle between his renewed wife and his new ‘love’.

“Roland, the truth is that I never really meant for any of this to happen”

“But you let it happen. Emeka, if you don’t take responsibility for this, you will not be able to stop now that something serious has not happened. And I hope something serious really has not happened”

“The situation is complex”

“There is nothing complex about the situation, Emeka. You are simply a married man, a married Christian, A married born again Christian who cannot afford extra marital affairs!”

“You are talking as though you have never had feelings for anyone apart from Nneka”

“Feelings or no feelings, we should all know when to draw the lines with women we are not married to, especially gold-diggers like Sophia”

“Is that the problem? You think she is a gold digger?”

“The problem, Emeka, is that she is not your wife! Full stop!”

“OK. How do you expect me to stop? Should I just stop talking to her? That would be unfair. Besides, we are still working together.” Emeka was hysterical; he spread his palms, as sign of some degree of helplessness.

“Emeka, ‘Satan has desired to sift you as wheat’. Better be careful, else Satan will use that girl to ruin you and your marriage. Why can’t she go and look for her own man for goodness sakes? I can tell you for free that believers do not normally get away with what unbelievers get away with, especially prominent believers like you”

“Anyway”, continued Roland, “this is not even the place to talk about this”

They stood facing each other some distance from their families. They had come to the famous Oniru beach this Saturday afternoon for a joint picnic. Their wives sat under the shade of a palm tree eating and chatting with Mrs Eluigwe. Linda came along too and helped keep Bobby busy.

Both men walked back to the shade and sat down, some tension showing on their faces much as they tried to hide it.

“What were you two yelling about at the centre of the beach?”

“Yelling” We were not yelling o”

“Shouting” added Linda, making everyone laugh.

Roland could have given Linda a trophy for saving him from answering that question. Nneka did not like unanswered questions. Roland only prayed his wife would not raise the issue later when they were back home.

Excerpts End Here

I am sure looking forward to a much less hectic week so I can carry on. All the best.

People

I recently ran into a very precarious situation at my workplace. I was expected to do something I had never done before, something whose outcome everyone was stone scared of, something apparently simple but potentially disastrous if things just happened not to go as planned. incidentally, things didnt really go as planned. Things went wayyyy outside the plan.

Before, during and after the task, you could almost touch the tension. People offered advise, yelled, avoided the situation, spent late nights and so on. Over a period of about 19 hours, with a break of one or two hours sleep, there was teamwork, support, encouragement and brainstorming. The boundaries of roles were broken and everyone helped each other. It was clear that if things did go wrong, everyone had something to lose.

I certainly learnt a lot over the last weekend. beyond the codes and commands, beyond the syntax and semantics, beyond the processes and procedures, I learnt the value of having PEOPLE with you! If you are in any kind of relationship with REAL people, value them: mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. Value them and support them when they need you. Watch their backs when they are not looking. People are the most important assets you have. “If one does not love his brother whom he can see, how can he say ‘I love God'”. Value people.

The Creative Plane

I was at a seminar once and I heard the speaker say something like ‘You cannot be a millionaire working for someone’. He was probably right! Just a few weeks later I heard ‘gist’ of staff that got up to 10 million naira in bonus (exclusive of salaries) ‘working for someone’. Someone reacted to my Facebook post on the matter stating that having 10 million doesn’t make you a millionaire and he could very well be right too.

I thought about the issue again this weekend and I combined it with a thought I had some months ago about what really creates wealth on the earth. I think that the issue is not really working for someone or not working for someone, becoming a millionaire or not becoming a millionaire. (By the way, if everyone became a millionaire, we might really not need the word millionaire anymore). The real issue I think is playing one’s exact role on the earth. People who play roles that they are excellent at tend to become quite successful at it on the earth and possible also quite rich.

In addition, I have also noticed that roles requiring digging into what I call The Creative Plane tend to create more wealth – roles like Software Development, Graphic Arts, Music, Film production, Show Business, Fashion, Engineering, most kinds of Research and the like. Of course, this list is not exclusive and I am in no way saying everyone should join the arts or become programmers, I am saying I observed that if there is something you do that requires creativity, intuition or those subtle skills whose procedures cannot always be explicitly documented, there is a chance that you can create great wealth from it.

One significant example of someone who played his role is Joseph, Prime Minister of Egypt in the 19 Century BC or so. He worked for Pharaoh but he was indeed and Entrepreneur. He sustained Egypt and the world for at least seven years with food grown in Egypt in the previous seven years. His impact on Egypt was so strong that even though he was a Hebrew, when he went to bury his father in Palestine, the locals named the place of burial Abelmizraim which is interpreted ‘the mourning of the Egyptians’.

I should give two warnings on this though however: (1) The wealth you create by delving into the creative plane may not always come to you. For example, most inventors were not rich but businessmen, who bought their inventions, became rich. (2) Being a creator or innovator is not the same as being a ‘copier’ of existing creations. You can only make a mark by delving into the creative plane.

Have a great week and be creative whether you work for someone or not.

Till Death – Excerpts -13 June 2011

The following excerpt is from Chapter 4. Dupe has returned from hospital after her accident and has to use crutches for a while. Sister Eno comes in once in a while to help her out in the house. On this particular day, their conversation goes deeper than normal.

Excerpt Begins Here

Once in a while Sister Eno came over to the Eluigwe’s in her modest Volkswagen Golf to help Dupe and her mother-in-law with the housework. She always had something to teach and had begun to have profound influence on Dupe’s life. Some people do say that tragic experiences have a way of changing people and indeed the Father succeeds more often than not in getting His children’s attention using the works of the Enemy.

“You fry your egusi first abi?” asked Eno as she unpacked items she had just brought in form the market.

“Yes, Please”

“I added locust beans. It wasn’t on your list. I hope you guys like it.”

“Of course. I must have forgotten”

“OK. Gimmie a few minutes let me put the meat on fire then we can talk”

“OK” answered Dupe, smiling. She stretched herself on the sofa while Eno walked into the kitchen.

“So…” began Eno as she stepped out of the kitchen a few minutes later.

“… How have you been?”

“Fine”

“Hope you have been taking your drugs and exercising your legs? All this lying around is not good for you o”

Dupe laughed.

“It’s just because you are here.  I do a lot of work with Mama normally. And if Bobby was awake, he would have been all over me sef.”

“OK. Nice to know”

Sister Eno pulled a side stool close to Dupe’s head and sat down. Her poise showed Dupe that some teaching was about to come forth. She often wondered how Sister Eno gained such depth of understanding of the Bible. She could deliver effortlessly in public as well as one-on-one. She was so natural in her explanation of things that everyone in church craved to be in her class.

“How has it been with your husband?”

“Fine shaa…”

“OK”

Eno studied her face.

“So what is wrong?” she asked after a moment of silence.

“Well, Sister Eno… the truth is that it’s not exactly the same”

“OK…”

“I mean it’s very difficult for us in bed and he hardly tries anyway”

“I understand. Don’t worry, it will be OK soon. A few more weeks and you will be running hundred metres’ dash”

“Yeah, right” laughed Dupe.

“Seriously”

Dupe considered for a minute or two what else about her marriage she wanted to let Eno know. She needed to talk to someone and she needed someone she could trust. She felt she could trust Sister Eno but had a small problem with the fact that the thirty-nine-year-old sweet, reasonably pretty lady wasn’t married. It was one of those mysteries that life throws people in the face. What could have stopped such a pretty-looking, homely Christian lady from getting married? Was it her weight? Did she do something wrong when she was younger? Did she not want to get married for some reason? Were there demons influencing her life?

“Dupe…”

“Hm!”

“Ah! Why did you startle? What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing”, Dupe smiled one of those smiles that betray you completely.

“OK. Is there something else you would like to tell me or ask me?”

Dupe sat up carefully. Eno helped her put her legs down.

“Sister Eno. Emeka and I have been married almost three years… “

“Yes…”

“… Some things have just been happening that make me wonder whether he is the same person… I don’t know shaa, maybe we are both just getting tired of the whole thing…”

“Sister Dupe…”

Excerpt Ends Here.

 

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10 Strategies for Keeping Your Wife’s Mind on You

I have been writing on marriage as your already know and in the course of my writing, I have learnt a few new things about cars, medicine, writing itself and of course relationships. This week, my Senior Partner and I came up with a few tips that could help married men resonate constantly in their wife’s minds.

After going through these tips, I would be glad if you provide feedback on the results of practising just two out of the ten tips over a period of time. Also, you could add tips from your own experience as comments. So here we go:

1. Send a very special SMS or IM everyday whenever you are away. Sample:

‘Someone got me really upset today then he wondered why I just smiled. I smiled ‘cos at that very moment, I thought about u’

2. Spend thirty minutes every day talking to her exclusively. Turn off the TV, your phones, your computer and just talk with her.

3. Have her pose and take pictures of her every weekend. Take pictures of her when she is asleep and surprise her with them.  

4. Do the cooking, house chores or take care of the baby all by yourself and let her do whatever she wants every two weeks.

5. Take her out to dinner, a park, the beach, the movies or wherever at least once a month.

6. Buy her a small gift every month. On special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas – buy her a big gift.

7. Visit her at her office once in a while unannounced. Let her colleagues know you.

8. Take her on a trip out of town at least once a year. Depending on where you are going, vary the modes of transport.

9. Describe a part of her body in detail to her once in a while. You can recite it like a poem, write it and send it in the mail or capture it on a camcorder.

10. Confess your commitment to her in a spiritual atmosphere and let her reciprocate. Sample:

‘You belong to me and I belong to you. You are pleasing to me and sufficient for me. I will never desire another. Our souls are bound by a blood covenant in God the Father. Till Death do us part’.

 Expecting your response. Ciao.

Tell Everyone

When you start something new whether it’s a business, a sport, a job or whatever it is, there is often some hesitation about letting people know. That hesitation may come from your not wanting people to laugh at you or copy your idea; it could also be that you are not sure how long this ‘new fad’ will last so you just don’t want to make too much noise about it. Well, keeping quiet is good sometimes but when you need people to expand your territory, you definitely have to tell them about it.

Volume is very powerful when making any kind of impact. In business for example, a small profit margin could turn out to be millions of naira if millions of people buy your product. An event could turn out magnificent just by having a massive attendance and a website could generate very serious statistics when enough people know it exists.

If you are doing something new and you need people, tell them! If you need help, tell an inner circle of friends but if you need customers, broadcast it from the rooftops. Your rooftop need not be expensive. It might just be Bulk SMS, Facebook Ads, Blackberry broadcasts or even Word-of-Mouth (my goodness that one is powerful!). Whichever way you choose, just let people know.

Before I say, ‘Bye for now’, I have something to let you know myself: if you are yet to get a copy of Njànsí, you can either get one online if you have a credit card. I would advise you compare prices at the following site:

http://www.allbookstores.co.uk/book/compare/1452090874

If you do not have a credit card and you are in Lagos, you can get a copy (for a lower price by the way) at Glendora Books. You can reach Glendora Books at the following addresses:

Shop C4
Falomo Shopping Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Tel: 07025595697, 08033047091
Email: glendora@glendorabooks.net

The JazzHole, 168 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Tel: 07025595697

 

Alright then bye for now….

Little Children

I spent last week with my young cousins. They are an ever-active, talkative, curious trio, about 2, 5 and 8. They just keep touching everything; breaking some things and making each other cry thus needing frequent adult intervention. The house was so alive (and noisy). Sometimes you want to spank them with a pestle, other times you watch their intrigues and laugh. So children are like this!

Asides from this kind of intrusion into a couple’s privacy, imagine not having the freedom to go to the movies with your spouse anymore, those ‘together alone’ times simply fading away. Housework and kids work taking your wife away. I actually learnt of a woman who uses the vacuum cleaner at 12:00 midnight (after the kids have slept, that is). Seriously, a colleague of mine is her neighbour. This can be really scary if you are not yet married.

Children, children, children. They can be such a bother but they are definitely part of marriage and part of life. Surviving through week, I definitely got some ideas on what I could include in Till Death. I am looking forward to this new book turning out more mature and having a better appeal to readers. In Till Death, I am highlighting various aspects of the institution and attempting to maintain the flow of the story while sharing my thoughts.

In my last post, I shared an excerpt from Chapter 2, I hope you have read it. I will keep up with this possibly on a bi-monthly basis till the book is ready. I look forward to getting your inputs. Have a splendid week!

Till Death – Excerpts -14 May 2011

The following excerpt is from Chapter 2. Emeka and Modupe have given birth and Emeka’s mother has come to stay a while with the couple and help take care of the baby. The following conversation takes place a few days into Mrs. Eluigwe’s stay between Emeka and his wife:

 Excerpt Begins Here.

Mother-in-laws are not perfect but who is? Mrs. Eluigwe was soft spoken and appeared nice but Roseline certainly took after her choleric nature. She had a subtle and firm way of making her children , and others, do what she wanted. Some people simply couldn’t take it.

“I don’t understand!  Every time she comes around, she always finds something I am not doing right” Dupe complained, “It’s either the diapers are not done right, or the soup is tasteless or the fridge is dirty or this and that … I am the only one here…I can’t …”

“Hey, Dupe, Dupe, take it easy. Ah-Ah. When did it come to this?”

Modupe was visibly upset and trying hard not to talk too loud. Her mother-in-law was in the living room playing with and singing to the baby.

“Emeka…”, she said calmly trying to control herself. They sat next to each other on the bed facing the bedroom door, left ajar on purpose. Closing the door would have aroused more suspicion on Mrs. Eluigwe’s part. Why would they close the bedroom  door so early in the evening? Were they talking about her?

Emeka held his wife and raised her head gently using the force of one curled finger against her chin.

“Listen. You have to learn how to get along with her. I am not saying the problem is from you. I understand what you are going through…”

“Emeka, I don’t think you understand!” Dupe interrupted “Taking care of this baby is hard work and what I need is a helping hand not another boss”

“Dupe! That’s my mother we are talking about”

“And I am your wife! You might have to choose who is more important. You are always defending her!”

“I am not. I am just saying: find a way to get along.”

“My own mother does not give this much stress.”

“Modupe, stop being unreasonable. That conclusion does not make sense”

“In fact…”

Dupe pulled away from him and walked out of the room leaving the door wide open.

“What is this? “ Emeka asked himself. He was still wearing his black suit, sweating from the day’s work and this night’s argument. His mother had been around just five days and there had been complaints every other day, incidentally from his wife. He hadn’t spoken to his mother about the situation and as far as she was concerned, everything was alright. She was setting things right in her son’s house. She had nothing to complain to her son about; she simply had to groom his wife. Dupe always avoided showing any kind of resentment when her mother-in-law made her ‘corrections’. She knew how to be nice. Her years as fellowship sister’s coordinator had paid off pretty well. She had dealt with all sorts of difficult people and managed to keep her emotions in check. However, when her husband returned from work, she poured it all over him.

The phone rang.

“Hello”

“Hello Emeka, how you dey?”

“Richard, how far?”

I’m good o”

“What’s up?”

“That agency I told you about…they have a lady who can work for you”

“OK. That’s fine. How much did they say it was again?”

“Twenty K monthly”

“Fine”

“But Nneka told me your Mom is around”

“Yes O. Hmm”

Richard laughed.

“No be laughing matter o. It’s really getting to Dupe this time”

“Guy, but talk to your Mom, now…”

“Richard, how do I start? You want me to tell her my wife reported her to me?”

“There are ways, Emeka. Ask her how things are going. Ask her what she thinks of your wife. Engage her.”

“See, whenever I do that, she just says everything is fine. To her, she has everything under control.”

Emeka began undoing his tie while he talked on the phone. He stood up and paced a bit then he took of his suit one sleeve at a time and dumped it on the bed.

“Emeka” Dupe called. She was at the door again.

“Yes” he whispered giving her a look and pointing to his mobile phone. She rolled her eyes and went back to the kitchen.

“What happened this time?” Richard asked.

“Imagine, my Mom told her Bobby was not getting enough breast milk. That, in her words ‘hope you are not trying to keep your breasts young’. Dupe told me she almost answered ‘Yes, for your son’”

Richard roared with laughter.

“It’s funny but it’s not a laughing matter o”

 Excerpt Ends Here.

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Special Post: The New Landscape

The first Platform I attended held on 1st October, 2007. One of the statements I will never forget from that event was Dapo Adelegun’s prediction of the coming change in the world’s labour market. He predicted then that in two years, people who would survive in the labour market would be those playing very specialized or rare roles. Thus a number of people would lose their jobs and be left with the option of either starting their own business or staying idle (and looking for a job).

I want to believe that a number of those heard his words at that time either decided to develop themselves and become more valuable in the market or began to explore starting their own business. I can imagine on the other hand that some might have ignored this as some prophecy of doom or negative statement but I made my own choice there and then. You may or may not know that his predictions proved true for a lot of us not because he was being ‘prophetic’ but simply because he had analyzed the economy of the world accurately. That kind of depth of thought is very desirable.

A couple of years ago when I told an uncle of mine how much I was earning, he remarked that I could just grow with my current employer and need not bother looking for another. That might have been true in his generation but it certainly not true in the 21st century with such concepts as outsourcing, flat structure, downsizing and cloud computing staring us in the face. Job security and business stability in our age is definitely not as it was half a century or so ago. The way out is new ideas, breakthroughs, inventions and innovation, expansion of existing structures.

At some point in a generation or two, the capacity of the main stream systems becomes exhausted and simply cannot take in more. At such points, someone just has to Think Outside the Box if life is going to continue to be comfortable. Entitlement mentality and hubris will take one nowhere at such junctures. The breakthrough for your circle of influence could just come from you, you know. At this year’s first Platform on May 7, examples and the ‘hows’ of Thinking Outside the Box will be explored. Be there and Engage the Future with us!

www.theplatformnigeria.com/register

Happy Holidays

We have spent fours days so far without having to go to work! It’s Easter! I have been enjoying the holidays and doing a lot of sleeping as well as reflecting. On Friday, I was fired up and broke into Chapter Two of Till Death (by the way that’s just page 29). Stuff has happened – Dupe has given birth, her mother-in-law is coming over for omugho of sorts (I will let you find out what that means). And moreover she is about to have a life-changing accident. On Friday night, my pen was racing over the paper like a roller coaster, I really thought I was going to hit like page 40 this weekend but I think I still did OK.

So what have I been up to then? Well, asides from the sleep, and the Easter buzz, today, we had a volunteer’s meeting to prepare for The Platform 8.0. The Platform is a motivational programme organised bi-annually by Coveneant Christian Centre. The core drive of the Platform is helping people see opportunities, improve performance and generally advance in their careers and business. The Platform is open to everyone who can attend free of charge. Interestingly, starting last year, the Platform streams live on the Internet and local television. Moereover, this year, the Platform will stream on Blackberry and iphone Smart Devices. To be part of the platform on May 7, 2011 wherever you are, you can use the following links:

www.theplatformnigeria.com/live

www.theplatformnigeria.com/bb

www.theplatformnigeria.com/iphone

www.theplatformnigeria.com/audio

If you are in Lagos, you can be at the venue: Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island. The Platform is always a massive and very educative. This year, we are expecting the likes of Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas; Lanre Olusola, ASET/NCUF Certified Life Coach; Leke Alder, Principal, Alder Consulting; Sam Graham-Felson, Chief Blogger during President Obama’s 2008 Campaign; Saray Lucy, Award winning American Technology Journalist; Tony Rapu, Senior Pastor, This Present House; and Anand Giridharadas, New York Times’ first Bombay-based corresponedent in the modern era.

If  you plan to be there at TBS, please do register as soon as possible at www.theplatformnigeria.com/register. Space is quite limited. I look forward to seeing your there. Adios.