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Valentine Thoughts

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Happy Valentimes Day! Yes, Valentimes, you read right. I’ve actually heard people say that. If you know it’s ‘Valentine’s’, thank your sponsors for your education. I decided to find out the temperature on the Valentimeter ( I just made up the word) so I spoke to a few of my colleagues in school.

Honestly, my fingers are crossed on this post, I wanted to change it last minute but I’m trying to be loyal to those who gave up time to answer my questions. (Shout out to all my interviewees). I asked their opinion on Valentine’s Day, gifts they’d like to give or receive and how they spend the day. Here’s what I gathered.

For Lola, Valentine’s is a day to show people that you love them though there’s no need for a specific day. Although she believes the day is extremely hyped, she thinks “we should show love everyday and at every opportunity we get” and definitely expects gifts from her partner. “I’m human and want to be shown love. Since there’s a day set, I want to be part of it”, she said. She would love to spend Valentines having dinner with her significant other in a cosy environment with soft music playing.

On the contrary, Biyi has been out of the dating scene for a while so Valentine’s has been a normal day, but he’s “hoping something comes up soon.” A few years ago, he realised that people actually put effort into the day when he saw a couple, dressed in white and red, pushing their broken down car in the rain on third Mainland Bridge. So cute, but the car though…think Uber for a night out! He also thinks it’s a day to watch football especially for broke or single guys, because low-key, its just another day, without the additional expenses.

Mary said that love should be celebrated everyday, though she’s fine with Valentines day. Who’s going to complain when they’ll be showered with many good gifts? Wink wink. She feels that although there’s a show of affection in many relationships, cards and gifts don’t come everyday so its good to have at least one day for it.

Jeff thinks the day is useless, but not fully useless, because you can declare real love to your parents and do something for them. This brother clearly isn’t interested. He doesn’t see the need to have a specific day and feels no pressure about Vals at all because he’s single, instead he treats himself on Vals day. (Can I hear you say self love?) You cant be dulling when everyone else is having fun. An ideal gift for him is anything well thought of, as long as it’s not singlet or boxers.

To Larry, Valentines is commercialised, much like Christmas. He thinks it’s unnecessary, but with people’s busy schedules, sees the need for a specific day. “There’s pressure on guys because we all believe that they must get the girls gifts and all of that”, however he stated clearly that he would be the best gift to his partner and she’d be lucky to have him. “That day in particular she has all of me, my undivided attention”, he joked. A gift to someone special should be thoughtful, something that will be appreciated.

Ore doesn’t really care, he’s indifferent. He doesn’t feel any pressure around Vals day. Like Larry, he thinks it’s helpful for people in relationships, especially if they have issues to deal with. Regardless, he feels people should go as hard as they want to on V-day. Gifts are not a must in his opinion but “that’s the practice” so he’ll give gifts to his partner. For an ideal day, he’d like to be in the same space as his partner. Ore’s general advice is not make the day about sex only, love is beyond that. Y’all hear a brother preaching good?!

An anonymous interviewee thinks it’s overrated. “If you know you’re in love, you’re not waiting for a particular day to show it, you’re actively trying all year round”. He’s not a fan of Valentine’s but if his partner values it, he’ll definitely sacrifice for her although he said he wouldn’t expect any gifts back.

Did you enjoy it? I noticed the ladies didn’t mind the gifts and love specific day and the guys were more indifferent than interested. The one common factor from everyone was that love should be a daily affair. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done because we sometimes get caught up with work, school, life generally and ignore those around us till a birthday, anniversary or some landmark event. It shouldn’t be this way. The annoying thing about life is that all you know is what you have per time, you can’t be sure of another moment so it’s best to make maximum use of every single one.

All that being said, what are your plans for today (I’m eager to see your responses in the comments section). But beyond today, make intentional plans to show, give and spread love to your loved ones and more so to those who may be sad or going through hard times. Just brighten up your corner of the world as best as you can! Someone said “you don’t really give until you give someone that can’t give back to you”. Selah.

Love and hugs!

 

 

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Home is where the food is

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Yesterday, I read an article about customer service and how it’s a work in progress in many organisations. Today, I was reminded about customer service again when my favourite food joint in Mammy Market (a market where I buy food in school) reopened. They had lost a family member and hadn’t been open in a week. I woke up to the news that they were opened and had to go see for myself plus say hello because I had actually missed them. And I’m not the only one.

Over the last week, deciding what to eat was a struggle, I wasn’t used to eating anywhere else and somehow other shops seemed expensive for a smaller amount of food. I heard conversations about how the food in other shops just didn’t cut it or the customer service wasn’t as great, or they wouldn’t make customised meals you wanted and if they did, it wasn’t as good. I saw and experienced the hustle to get food as people constrained themselves from reacting to not-so-great attitudes from ‘waiters’. I wished, many times in this past week, that we were allowed to cook in the hostel. I remember someone saying she heard the shop would be closed for 40 days and prayed it wouldn’t be – she couldn’t survive that long. Someone else had been having just moi moi (beans pudding) all week from a trusted joint. But as the news of their reopening spread, I felt the joy in the atmosphere, the GIFs on the group chat were hilarious. I was there before 10am and people were already settled in and eating.

Good food is great but a good attitude to customers is even better. And this shop ticks both boxes. While chatting with one of the ladies who run it today, she said a few people came to visit while they were gone and begged them to come back, because survival was hard without them. Some people had been eating from their restaurant since July. Who changes the winning team? Especially on matters of the stomach, you just stick to what works. This is why some people order the same thing every time they eat out. Sound familiar?

So, give your best in whatever you do: conversations, service, business. Ensure that you can truly say to yourself that you’re doing your best, it sets you apart, and people notice your absence when you’ve been a difference maker. People miss your ‘extra’ when it’s not there, even if they don’t complement it when it is. And to those who don’t complement people, I encourage you to start today. Give people their roses while they can smell them. If someone is doing a good job, say so, leave a tip, a smile, a word, something. Life is hard as it is, if you can make a few seconds better for someone, why not?

Have a good weekend!

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January’s Tidbits

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As many people do, I made some plans for 2018. One of the things I decided to try was to write down daily lessons. I would reflect on my day in the evening or early hours of the next day and look out for something new, something (re)discovered or something unknown no matter how random. A friend of mine gifted me a journal where I write down these lessons. I’ve successfully journaled throughout January and I’ll share a few interesting things I learned.

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First of, did you know that a baby elephant is called a calf? I know right, basic elementary science. Moving on to some Geography, Ukraine celebrates Christmas on January 7th. They follow the Gregorian calendar as some other countries in the former Soviet bloc do. What’s this world if someone doesn’t stand out, right?

If you’ve seen the movie Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield, this won’t be news to you. I recently saw it and learned who a conscientious objector is. This is an individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service on grounds of freedom of thought, conscience or religion. Basically they’ve attained the right not to carry weapons during war, at least that was the case in the movie. I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

On the Christian front, I discovered that Cain and Abel were not twins. For the life of me, I thought they were, turns out they’re actually just brothers. And Rahab was the mother of Boaz. Rahab? I would never have guessed.

Sometimes in buying okriks (aka okrika in Nigerian parlance, thrift clothes, bale clothes) the first price is the last price. Some sellers don’t have time to throw you off with exorbitant prices, they tell you what is it and you pay if it’s good for you. Others however will double their prices, so I’d say always negotiate. I try to split the initial price I’m told in two and take a little off that, so if I’m told something costs N1000, for instance, I’d offer to pay N400. It’s bargaining guys, don’t come for me.
Please watch the environment and the attitude of the seller, if you overdo your negotiation, you’ll simply irritate them and they’ll end up shoo-ing you away. This is for markets where bargaining is done, people, not in a store with fixed prices.

With regard to personal development, I learnt that you can do more than you think can, especially when you think you can’t. The moment you think you’re done, you still have a little energy left in you. Time and time again this hits me afresh: you never really have the perfect formula to comfort a grieving soul or any soul at all to be honest so…in your judgment be sensitive, in your criticism, be discerning. Your opinion is yours, you can be keep it that way, until someone asks maybe. Get the possible best for the people you call friends. And if you’re getting cake, never judge a cake by its icing unless you’re familiar with the baker- L.I.T.E.R.A.L.L.Y!

Anyone who is into their style and looking good may get me on this one: Variety is good but minimalism works great for a select few. Some people recycle their outfits and do such a great job, it makes me wish I had less clothes and more wardrobe staples.

Finally, in the gathering of a lot of people in the same space (school, church, conferences), some people don’t see you till they meet you. Don’t take it personally, especially if you’re good with faces because you’ll remember everyone. They’re just familiar with the faces they know. You’ll never escape their sight once they meet you.

And cut! That’s it. Like I said, very random tidbits from conversations, movies and situations. If you’ve learnt anything new this year, please share. I’d love to know.

Toddles,
Ife

 

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Feel the pressure?

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In the first week of January, I hung out with some friends and we got into a conversation about marriage and ‘the Nigerian factor’. This is pretty much the fact that in Nigeria, the society puts pressure on young people to get married ASAP! Literally from your parents to aunties, distant cousins, the elderly lady who cooks for your neighbour, everyone is suddenly asking you “how far” once you’re in your twenties.

I understand and somewhat agree with this fact but I think as a young person, I must chose what I accept and allow to bother me. Yes, some of my mates are married and have children and that’s great; but it doesn’t mean I should rush into it head first (I’m under 25 by the way).

Marriage is a big deal, committing to one person forever is not child’s play. Some people can hardly commit to a job, blog or keeping a dog, talk less of a human being (with all the inherent flaws and imperfections which take a while to get used to, love or not). I just think it’s a venture to learn and be properly informed about before getting into it. More than butterflies in your tummy and trips to Monaco, it’s a forever tale that may or may not be fairy, with one person and potentially a handful of mini-yous. Stay woke!

I’ve heard more than a few stories of people who got married because of the pressure or at a time they were not ready and it didn’t end well. I’d rather take my time, enjoy my life as it is and when the time comes, if it does, then happily start the journey that is marriage. Please don’t let anyone decide for you or make you believe you’re any less beautiful, smart or successful because you haven’t said vows and entered the marriage institutions. Yes, it’s a beautiful thing and I’m in no way downplaying the joys and bliss it is. I’ve seen many wonderful marriages and desire one too, but it does not certify your existence nor make you any more or less human than you already are.

Do not marry or even get into a relationship because everyone is doing it. That’s not a good enough reason. You don’t live with everyone and cannot know their struggles, of course you know that all you see on social media is the best version of themselves plus some good ol’ filters (thanks Snapchat!) You may not enjoy what you thought everyone was enjoying and the workload in the “Love & Marriage 101” course might just amaze you so, be ready. Love yourself. Know yourself. And while you wait, educate yourself. Read books, attend seminars on relationships and marriage. And when you find that person and you’re ready, go for it! And give it your best.

There are pressures, no doubt but choose yours.

Love always,
Ife

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2018: Keep Moving

Whoop! Whoop! It’s a New Year.

Some people find that fact a bit overwhelming because they had plans for 2017 that are still on paper or goals that are yet to be achieved, or maybe like someone on extra time in 2017. The best part about this is that your supply of oxygen is not based on how much you’ve achieved. God has freely given us life and we must stay positive and keep going. It is not time to give up on your dreams and goals, you can keep working on them this year.

This year, I encouraged myself by thinking ‘It’s a new day in a new week which also happens to be a new year’ because I didn’t feel ready for a new year. I didn’t have any grand plans like everyone else seemed to have but I reminded myself that I’m alive and in the running to have a successful life. That’s all that matters. I’m choosing to take it one day at a time.

Although it’s best to have set goals before the year begins, it’s not a crime if you haven’t. You can still make them now. Think about what you want to do (or not do), areas you want to improve in your life, work, school, relationships and finances. Have a plan, write it down, maybe a mood board with pictures on it if visuals is your thing. If you need an app to make it easier to achieve some goals, sure thing. Find and download it. Maybe you need a friend ot colleague to keep tabs on you and ensure your consistency, find a reliable human being that is genuinely interested in your progress and can lovingly and sometimes harshly, if you need it push you in the right direction.

Do whatever you need to ensure you live and enjoy this year to the fullest. You have one life, live it to the best of your ability.

Cheers to a great year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To the ones … 

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To the ones germinating while their contemporaries pollinate                                                                                                                                    

To the ones with insecurities, self-trained to mask them behind practiced smiles/ frowns and courtesies    

To the ones afraid to dream for fear of failing      

To the ones constantly uplifting and not feeling it reciprocated         

To the ones always being the bigger person for peace sake      

To the ones wishing for some me-time because you’re worn out

To the ones dealing with grief of a friend or a friend’s friend           

To the ones desiring more but lacking wisdom       

To the ones in love but …it’s complicated           

To the ones crying for help in a room full of people but not being heard             

To the ones unsure of where their next meal will come from    

To the ones having a hard time with a spouse, parent or child  

To the ones facing a corporate storm, or an actual storm      

To the ones at a dead end in school or at work          

To the ones feeling less because of constant comparison                                                                                                                              

To the ones battling depression and those lacking the energy to try  

To the ones unsure of why exactly they’re on this earth….
This is what God says in His Word in Jeremiah 29:11-13 (AMP):
“11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

It will get better. As long as there’s life, there’s hope. Jesus is the surest way out of crazy feelings, unsettled minds and weary hearts. He’s a healer, Father and friend!

If you want to pray or talk, please send an email to ‪missbigwords@gmail.com‬ and let’s connect. 

Love and hugs,                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Ife

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So Will I (100 Billion X) -Hillsong 

A friend of mine sent me the link to this song last week and it has been a daily hit for me. I downloaded it and shared it with as many people that came to my mind. It reminds me of the importance of worshipping God, it highlights the greatness of God in simple words and challenges me to worship God with my all. The lyrics are worth meditating on: 
God of creation

There at the start 

before the beginning of time 

With no point of reference 

You spoke to the dark and fleshed out the wonder of light 

And as you speak

A 100 billion galaxies are born

In the vapour of your breath the planets form

If the stars were made to worship so will I

I can see your heart in everything you’ve made

Every burning star a signal fire of grace

If creation sings your praises so will I
God of your promise 
You don’t speak in vain, no syllable empty or void

For once you have spoken 

All nature and science follow the sound of your voice 

And as you speak 

A 100 billion creatures catch your breath

Evolving in pursuit of what you said 

If it all reveals your nature so will I

I can see your heart in everything you say

Every painted sky a canvass of your grace 

If creation still obeys you so will I
So will I, so will I 

If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I

If the oceans roar your greatness so will I

For if everything exists to lift you high so will I

If the wind goes where you send it so will I

If the rocks cry out in silence so will I

If the sound of all our praises still falls shy

Then we’ll sing again a 100 billion times 
God of salvation

You chased down my heart 

Through all of my failure and pride 

On a hill you created 

The light of the world abandoned in darkness to die

And as you speak 

A 100 billion failures disappear

When you lost your life so I could find it here 

If you left the grave behind you so will I

I can see your heart in everything you’ve done 

Every part designed in a work of art called love

If you gladly chose surrender so will I

I can see your heart 8 billion different ways

Every precious one a child you died to save 

If you gave your life to love them so will I 

Like you would again a 100 billion times

But what measure could amount to your desire 

You’re the one who never leaves the one behind 
Please share it with friends and family. It might just be what someone needs to hear!

xoxo 

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Put Your Best Foot Forward

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Am I the only one that feels like we exchanged Happy New Year greetings just yesterday? How is it June already? Well, it’s here and we’ve got to make the best use of it!

For some, it’s been a great year filled with pleasant surprises and things going up, up, up. For others, it’s not been as good as expected, maybe a sudden death, relationship issues or just unexpected incidents you didn’t bargain for. Either way, you’re alive! So you’re still in the running to have a successful life.

No one has life easy, no one sails through, even the most wealthy people face challenges, but what separates the men from the boys is a heart that peseveres, one that chooses to keep pushing through, against all odds.

2017 might seem like it’s just starting for you, but it’s better late than never. This June, I encourage you to put your best foot forward. Regardless of what you get paid, give your job your best, add value to your team. If you’re in school, go the extra mile in your reading time and knock those tests out! If you’re volunteering or interning, make sure you prove yourself in the tasks you’re given so much that your line manager speaks highly of you. If you run your own business, take the next bold step for your business, make your business portfolio worthy of an investor’s attention.
Whatever you do, give it your best. Excellence is key, even in the little things.

Have a great month. Remember to put your best food forward.

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The Need for Patience

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Pretty much everything in the world is automated, technology has taken over, everything is instant: text messaging, social media, same-day delivery. There’s hardly any need to wait and no one really wants to. We’re slowly losing the virtue of patience. It’s slightly worrisome because while some results can be achieved instantly, not everything can be a quick fix. I understand that some things should only take 5 minutes, like grabbing a Starbucks but the full benefit of certain things need time to yield, like the development of a baby.

It feels like the ability to wait has been forgotten, and things that come with time are no longer appreciated. For some, waiting in line for the bus is a hassle, the process to rise in career is too long, can’t this process just be sped up? Unfortunately not. Waiting increases your ability to appreciate a thing, many things received on a platter are often taken for granted.

I recently attended a conference aimed to encourage people to live their dreams and a common point the different speakers made was the need for patience in the pursuit of your passion and dreams. They explained that their jobs involved hard work and many of them started out earning little or nothing, but with time and consistency, their businesses grew to the point where they became sought after in their fields. This is something a few people either don’t know or have chosen to ignore: success is a process. That process involves falling, failing, sleepless nights but eventual progress. Behind every success story is years of toil and perseverance, a lot of self-motivation and hard work. Everyone must pay their dues. No one rises without first serving, observing and learning from those ahead of them in the industry.

Today, we admire certain individuals but none of them just sat and made money or impact instantly, they worked hard, pushed through challenges and consistently found ways to do something great with their gifts and skills and evolved over time. What are you doing with your skills and talents? Waiting for a miracle or putting effort daily to ensure that you achieve your desired goals.

I hope that someone will not misunderstand my argument and take it to mean sit on your butt and wait because you want to practice patience. No. Patience is not the lack of action, it is consistent action, with the awareness that the result may not be apparent immediately and an appreciation of that knowledge. (Aye! Sounds like a quotable quote, no?)

Here are some quotes from individuals of repute on this subject:

Why is patience so important? Because it makes us pay attention.” – Paulo Coelho

Patience is a conquering virtue.”- Geoffrey Chaucer

Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”- Moliere

Hasty climbers have sudden falls.”- Robert Greene

I really hope this helps you appreciate your waiting process, if you’re in one right now and challenges your mindset or thought patterns towards this subject. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

P.S- Have you seen the latest King Women interview? It underscores the need for patience. Watch it here.

Have a great day!

King Women

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I think it will be unfair of me not to talk about this. I mean, it’s the age of women empowerment and supporting your sisters and acknowledging good when you see it. I know the whole world has a smartphone and 80% are on Instagram, but some people might not know (p.s- those are not real stats).

Let me be the one to break it to you if you don’t know already- King Women is amazing!

King Women is a collection of interviews by Kemi Adetiba of powerful Nigerian women as they share about their lives, loves, passion and struggles. She captures truths that have never been heard or shared about these women. Watching it, you see strength and beauty in vulnerability. The women she interviewed, according to the teasers are Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, Tara Fela-Durotoye, TY Bello, Chioma Omeruah (Chigul), Funmi Victor-Okigbo and Adesuwa Onyenokwe. 

Kemi Adetiba is a cinematographer and film director. Her latest movie, ‘The Wedding Party’ (which is now on Netflix) was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She has also directed many music videos (such as Bez’s ‘More You’ and ‘Say’, Niyola’s ‘Toh Bad’, TY Bello’s ‘The Future’). With a degree in Law and another in Film from New York Film Academy, Kemi knows her stuff, does it excellently and always brings professionalism to the table.

Kemi started out releasing teasers of the videos and everyone kept asking when the full videos will be out. They’re out now! The episodes with Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, Tara Fela-Durotoye and TY Bello are out on Accelerate TV’s channel on Youtube. New episodes are released every Monday! I’m so excited.

The great thing for me about King Women is how inspiring it is. It’s the stories of great women who are seen as role models but it reveals some of the things that they’ve been through and how they pushed through it to be greater; how bad experiences were etched in their minds and became the driving force for their ambition and success.

King Women will teach you that you have something you can work with, and no matter what life hands you, you can make something of it. It will remind you that giving up is not an option because if you push some more, you’ll find strength inside of you. You’ll learn how to love, and know that things don’t just happen, there’s always a reason and a bigger picture. No matter what stage of life you are at, you will have something to hold on to as you watch these videos.

I’m grateful that Kemi ran with this vision and blessed the world and our generation with the gift of these stories. It is just what we need and the inspiration it provides to various people who watch it is inestimable. Thank you, Kemi.

With these few points of mine, I hope I’ve been able to convince you and not confuse you that you should watch and share the King Women videos. And this is to encourage you to spread the word when you find good things, online or even in print. Someone might need to read or hear it. Let’s look out for each other. Be a bearer of good news today and always!

Happy New Month!