ayoalabi

To witness and to inspire

Archive for the category “Pastiche”

Forget NYRs. Find out how much you love yourself.

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How many new years resolutions (NYRs lol) have you broken so far? Let me guess, all of them. To be honest I stopped being a believer in new years resolution when I was about 10 because I quickly realised that I broke every single one a few days into the year, just like the previous 2 years. Now I just make mental notes of some things I’d like to change and work at it. For example, I’ll be saying no to people a lot more this year because I find saying yes most of the time leads to you delaying your own plans or possibly cancelling it in the end. I also want full days, not busy days, because being busy actually means you achieve very little. You know that feeling of being rushed for time? Its during these times we are at our least productive. A full day on the other hand is much more fulfilling: I woke up this morning planning to write this blog at the end of the day and here I am writing the blog at the end of the day, having done “most” of what else I had planned to do.

But why do we feel the need for these resolutions every year? We are able to recognise our bad habits and so we intend to cut them out. So these things are to blame for us not achieving all our goals of the previous year, or maybe they might shorten the number of years ahead of us. We make these resolutions to ensure that we are better people in the new year. However, the general rule for every habit is that it takes you the same number of years you took to pick it up to drop it, so if you picked up a habit over 10 years it will take a further 10 years to completely drop it. I think the only solution is to continually work at it no matter the time of year it is.

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Here is where my point comes in. We try to be better people in order to be more successful people. Your resolutions are made to ensure that you are at a better place in a years time. But we’ve all been told that a high self-esteem and high self-confidence – loving yourself, believing in yourself – is the key to success. And this is not true.

New research points out that our generation has developed a higher proportion of people with narcissistic attitudes due to the beliefs earlier mentioned. This means people are increasingly unrealistic in their expectations thus creating an “ambition inflation”. The long term future of such is not too bright and the down-sides are extensive. Note that this does not mean under-confident people will be more successful. It’s all about hitting the right level of confidence.

Me me me

All this narcissist talk made me want to find out how much I loved myself (to do the same the link is pasted at the bottom of this post) and if I was in a psychological danger zone. It’s a test that asks you 40 questions and rates you across seven traits. A score between 12 and 15 is average, celebrities score about 18, and narcissist score above 20.

I scored 12 and I thought phew I’m safe. My lowest score was exhibitionism (a zero) indicating that I do not like to be the centre of attention. I scored a 3 on superiority and two other traits but the test mentioned that I scored highest in superiority meaning that I think I am better than others around me. Not sure I agree with that but the truth can be hard to swallow so I’ll take it as it is.

So why don’t you go ahead an take the test and see if your love for yourself is harmful to you. It’s best you are honest so at least you know where you truly stand.

I actually pity the narcissists because they are notorious for never completing therapy. Enjoy!

http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/narcissistic.htm

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Merry Christmas… The world didn’t end after all.

Mayan apocalypse: Syndey, Australia

So the world was meant to end today 21/12/2012. To be honest, some thoughts did go through my mind concerning what would happen if the world was to come to an end. What would I have achieved? Would it all have been worth it? What would happen next?

I never took the prediction seriously and for me it was much ado about nothing. I already knew the stupid prediction was actually a misinterpretation of a Mayan calendar and even if I did not know that, my Christian Faith dictates that the end would come like a thief in the night, no one knowing when it comes (Matthew 24:36).

Basically, according to the calendar, before the 21st we were in the 13th Baktun and it was to come to an end on 20/12/12. At this time, the world would not end but we would cross into the 14th Baktun, kind of like crossing from the year 1999 to the year 2000. But being humans we like adding the extra drama to such events, so people immediately jumped on a verb in the inscription on the tablet found in Tortuguero that said “It will happen” to mean the end of the world; quite a jump.

google doodle mayan

But it’s not the first time something of this sort has occurred. Who remembers the “Y2K bug” and all the energy and money wasted on preventing a worldwide collapse of computers? We crossed into the new millennium and nothing happened. I remember happily watching Tarzan and eating peanuts on that day. Then there’s Harold Camping and his rapture predictions. First he said it would happen sometime during the month of September 1994 and nothing happened. Then he said it would be on the 21st of October 2011, nothing happened.

But the one I like best is the video released this week of Vladimir Putin mathematically deciphering when the world would end. He gave all of us under the next 4.5 billion years to exist before it’s all over. He said “The functioning cycle of our light source, the sun, is 7 or 14 billion years. We are now in the middle. I think a total of 7 billion or 4.5 billion have already passed. So in 7 billion… in 4.5 billion years everything will end. The reactor will just turn off, and then the end of the world will come.” All I can say is that his numbers don’t add up but I’d prefer to think he was joking.

photograph of the sun taken with a huge telescope show flames erupting from the surface

Ceremonies have been held all over Central America to mark the entry into the 14th Baktun. Others have taken measures in case of any catastrophe. Some performed ceremonies that have single-handedly saved the world from destruction. Some people believe Bugarach, in the French Pyrenees, is one of the few places on earth to be spared in the apocalypse. One man made a lifeboat in which to ride out the end of the world. But for many, it’s just an excuse to have another party. However, a special mention goes to the indigenous people of Guatemala who have used the entire hullabaloo to draw attention to their plight.

Mayan apocalypse: A self-styled prophet prays in Manila, PhilippinesMayan apocalypse: Men in tin foil at Bugarach, FranceGuatemalian people

For more information about the end of the world check out the end of the world website http://www.december212012.com The official twitter page for the Mayan Apocalypse has tweeted “Sorry everyone, running a bit late”, the deadline was 11:11 GMT. Maybe the apocalypse is being delivered by post.

Anyway before any of these apocalyptic scenarios come to pass there should be enough time to grab lunch.

What’s your Temperament?

A few months back I was a given a book titled “Why you act the way you do” by Tim LaHaye by a friend and leader of mine. He had taught me for three weeks in bible school every Sunday and on the front of the book he wrote “Ayo I love your personality. Be the best.” I was obviously pleased by this and to be honest I wasn’t surprised. Who wouldn’t love my personality lol (joke).

In reality I wasn’t really sure of my personality. I’m just the regular nice guy who smiles a lot and enjoys helping people out. However, this book was to cause a paradigm shift concerning how I saw myself.

Basically, Tim LaHaye proposes a theory that categorises Human beings into four major temperaments; Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and phlegmatic. Sanguine is the life of the party, Choleric is the Boss, Melancholy is the perfectionist, and the phlegmatic is the passive dude. You can never be one of these alone; there will always be a mixture. For e.g. you could be 55% Choleric and 45% phlegmatic. You could even be a mixture of three as the options are unlimited. The book like any other book gets boring sometimes but it is imperative to read all of it because only then does it make sense. I am sure you’ll find your temperament.

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When I started out reading the book I found it interesting but I reckoned it probably was just another one of those theories. But along the way there were some things in there that perfectly explained why I take certain decisions. From the different examples given I concluded I am majorly Melancholy with smaller chunks of Sanguine. This means I am the over-critical, self-sacrificing, perfectionist, outgoing, party guy.

I am not completely all things ‘Mel-San’ but I am a lot of it. As I read the book I noticed that I used to exhibit very selfish tendencies when I was younger (which I no longer do now thanks to the help of the Holy Spirit), characterised by the different tales my younger sister still tells me today. And each time I respond with “I never used to do that” as I cannot believe I would ever have behaved like that. But I know this is true because I found my year 8 book and in it I wrote my first name initials as I Am(A) Your (Y) Overlord (O). Scanning through my old e-mails a few years back I could not believe some of the things I was complaining about. I would love to meet the younger me.

Suddenly I understand why being melancholy I have developed strong pacifist beliefs and feel that all war and murder is unjustified and evil. I am still strongly against the death penalty and pro-life in every aspect. However my sanguine nature realises that if everyone else was a pacifist in the late 1930’s then the world would be very different.

The aspect that really (really!!!) got me was the self-sacrificial part. It says “Two characteristics of the melancholy which mutually short-circuit each other are his natural desire to be self-sacrificing and his self-persecution tendency. Unless he is careful, this conflict will likely make a martyr out of him. Ordinarily he chooses the most difficult and trying location to ply his vocation.” This sentence in the book really blew my mind. It kind of was like how Adele’s ‘someone like you’ touched a billion hearts across the globe. Now I understand why I told my parents I didn’t want to go on holiday with the rest of the family when I was 12 and would rather stay with my friend and play football all summer. The real reason was I thought they would have more money to spend and have fun lol. Why I have this little urge to join the army and serve as a medic in Sudan or Somalia to help treat injured soldiers and supply food and medication to those in the world who need it most. Why I really want to serve with Medicins Sans Frontieres in a place like Congo for a year. And ultimately why I want to work in Nigeria, get involved, and do whatever I can to change it.

There are other bits that confirm my conclusion on my temperament. Why I like classical music. Being over-critical of others and setting them and myself likewise impossible standards. Also setting unrealistic targets, like planning not to drop any credits at uni which obviously is impossible. Priding myself in being dependable, never being late, never losing any thing etc…

I recommend the book for everyone and anyone. It helps you understand yourself and helps you try to be a better person. It is imperative you do not ignore the negatives that you might see but instead accept them and work on them. It also helps you understand why other people act the way they do, and it’s not just because they want to spite you (this one is especially for the married one’s lol). Temperament affects many areas of life including career, relationships, and sexuality.

*Thinks of changing the word “sexuality” and using a different word as some people might think it refers to sexual orientation but reckons they should humbly pick up a dictionary and make sure* Oops! There goes my melancholy being over-critical again…

Numb Nigeria.

I was busy tweeting away yesterday the sixth of October when the astonishing news came through. As I read the story my heart literally melted. Three students had been beaten and burnt to death because they stolen a laptop and a phone in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I have been warned that the pictures are so distressing they can make a grown man cry and as a result I have decided not to try and look for them, or investigate any further into the matter.

Now this was the second of such an incident in the same week, with both being equally as gruesome as the other. The earlier incident occurred in a place called Mubi, somewhere in the north of Nigeria. In the middle of the night, an impromptu roll call was made at the university grounds. As the names were called out, each student was taken away and shot by unknown gunmen, and this occurred for the next two hours. I cannot imagine the state of mind of their fellow students as the killing squad slowly murdered between 20-40 students (I’ve heard different numbers so I’m not exactly sure), uninterrupted! It is ironic that it is now rumoured that this was not a terrorist attack. No. It was due to a dispute over the student elections that had recently taken place at the university.

Meanwhile, the reaction of the general public must be noted. It seems the news of the Mubi killings took a while to filter down to most Nigerians as the public outcry is non-existent. Two days after the killings, a popular Nigerian “tweep” @toluogunlesi retweeted a tweet of someone asking “Pls wats dis #mubikillings thing?” The inquirer really had no idea what the incident was about. If a single student gets shot on a campus in America, the whole world knows about it. However, the rate at which the atrocities occur makes it hard for many to react. Before you can adequately mourn one disaster, another is thrown in your face. You become numb. A lot, once told the bad news, will just click their fingers across their heads and utter “tofiakwa”, thereby repelling the possibility of such an incident occurring to them or their relatives. Some are numb, some are cold-hearted. It is reported that the pictures of the students in Port Harcourt– taken while they were being tortured, and after they had been murdered- were released by fellow students who had managed to be passing by. There was even a power point presentation of the incident made.

But I had experienced something of the sort earlier this year. I was with quite a few students of a particular private university in Nigeria when the news came through that ‘Modou’ (or something like that), the thief that had been disturbing their campus for the past few months, had been beaten to death by some boys who had managed to catch him while he was about embarking on one of his escapades. I was actually shocked by how well this news was received. I remember clearly one of the girls shouting “Thank you Jesus!” I could not understand the psyche behind this and asked why they would celebrate as cold-blooded a murder as this? An argument began that got rather heated because they got angry at me for being unable to understand their reasoning. Were they meant to take him to the police who would bail him out soon after? But my question was why would death ever be the solution? Their conclusion was “Ayo you don’t know anything. This is Nigeria!” That day I realised that the very people I joke and laugh with had the capability to harbour what I consider very sinister thoughts. They did not view life as precious as I did.

Now I do not condemn any of them or even the boys who committed the murder. I practice what I preach (referring to my last blog). I guess we all are products of our environment, and maybe if I had experienced that environment long enough I might feel the same and celebrate along with them. But no, one or two of them actually felt bad that ‘Modou’ had died and thought his murder was wrong.

I asked my friend and uncle why things are the way they are and his response got me thinking in a whole different direction. He said “There is no single answer. Nigeria is at the precipice. If you care to know many die daily of starvation and other sundry system collapses.” In responding, I said seeking a solution might require fighting the system. He replied, “Yup. But we always find a way to side step the logical obvious. Life goes on. It is just a scary statistic. Better them than me.”

What he said reminded me of a poem I studied while I was doing my GCSE’s. It’s titled “Not My Business” by Niyi Osudare.

They picked Akanni up one morning
Beat him soft like clay
And stuffed him down the belly
Of a waiting jeep.

What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?

They came one night
Booted the whole house awake
And dragged Danladi out,
Then off to a lengthy absence.

What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?

Chinwe went to work one day
Only to find her job was gone:
No query, no warning, no probe –
Just one neat sack for a stainless record.

What business of mine is it
So long they don’t take the yam
From my savouring mouth?

And then one evening
As I sat down to eat my yam
A knock on the door froze my hungry hand.

The jeep was waiting on my bewildered lawn
Waiting, waiting in its usual silence.

The poet makes it clear that the oppressors thrive when their victims act only for themselves, which, if we really look at, has been the case for Nigeria since its conception. A state where military chiefs are appointed and the first question they are asked is which state in the nation they originate from? There has been talk of splitting the nation but for me this cannot work. There are millions of Nigerians who would be left stranded if such occurs. Where would you put the Delta woman married to a Yoruba man that gave birth to all her children in Kano? The logistics would make it very difficult and such a project will undoubtedly not end amicably. It would be a disaster.

In the poem “Niyi Osundare also criticizes the character in the poem for thinking only of food – or perhaps understands that, in a poor country, hunger is a powerful weapon of the tyrant.” How do you expect to educate a man and change his reasoning when he is constantly inflicted by hunger? A nation where: according to the national statistics agency the unemployment rate is above 40%; there are 40 million illiterates; 39% of students passed the secondary school exams, which was also the best result in 6 years… and the list goes on.

Maybe we need to fight the system. Maybe a new set of national heroes are needed. Maybe, but the land is green, it’s just that the grass is growing very slowly. Cutting the grass shorter makes it grow faster, right?

No Condemnation!

I was invited to a Christian event recently by someone I had randomly met at a supermarket and decided to go (this was the third event she was inviting me to and I felt a 3rd strike might be a bit unfair). The event was meant to start at 4pm and take about two hours, but it did not start at 4pm and took about 4 hours; not funny.

The topic discussed was ‘Justification!’ a term that seems to have been following me around recently. The preacher took his time to dissect the topic really well and I was pleased by what he had taught, not pleased by the time he took, but pleased overall. He was basically saying that all things are held in Christ (even what we might consider evil) and were made by Christ, backed up with scriptural references of course. All that is now required is an acceptance of the Lordship of Christ, something similar to the case of the thief crucified alongside Jesus that managed to ‘craft’ his way into salvation.

At the end of his teaching there was a question and answer session, and the third question is the prompt for this particular blog. At this point, a man stands up and in the most condemning tone says something like “How can people do all sorts of things and still be in Christ? To be carnally minded is death. So I disagree with what you have said.” Now, at this point I am annoyed at the fact that my hope that the event would be over soon had been shattered by this proposed argument. The preacher seemed shaken by it but his response was very good, but I also observed there was still a sense of doubt in the room. I would have added my opinion to the discussion but I wanted to go home and I imagined everyone else most probably wanted the same.

A lot of people quote scriptures like 1 Corinthians 5:17 which says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” I remember this particular man emphasising on the word ‘If’. Now the thing is a lot of us argue without looking at the big picture, or just argue on the English word used (I find this funny). Note that I am also guilty of this.  The irony of using that passage to argue that viewpoint is that the actual chapter focuses on reconciliation through Christ. Paul begins to build an argument that “Christ died for all” from verse 14, and concludes that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, not condemnation. And like the preacher said, Colossians 1:17 does say that all things exist in Him.

The fact is only God can condemn anyone, no matter what they have done! So why do we (Christians) love to condemn so much?

It’s probably because we fall for that prideful lie that says “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5) and we try to play the role of God. We also feel that we are more special to God than those other guys, and that he loves us more than he loves those other people. Kinda like the cool kids in school. However it says somewhere “For God so loved the world…” He loves everyone equally.

In my beloved nation of Nigeria a lot of Christians condemn “witches” to their death on the daily lol. I’m touching very controversial issues here but oh well. We celebrate the death of the 75 year old aunty who we were told was the reason for all our failures because she kept eating all the money in the spiritual realm. She might have been truly evil but maybe she was totally innocent and died of old age. Actually, my question to that is if she was a “witch”, (and we believe spirits don’t die) then the spirit she was working with is still alive right? So the spirit could still do damage if it inhabited a different host right? Then the problems might still continue right? And you might have to kill a different witch? That must be a scary thought.

We are stuck in this Old Testament mentality that is not Christianity in its true form. In Exodus 23:7 God clearly states that he does not justify the wicked, however in Romans 4:5 it is also clearly stated that God does justify the wicked. What’s the difference? Jesus Christ! We have a lot of churches today who base their Christianity on Isaiah, Ezekiel, Deuteronomy, especially Isaiah. Meanwhile, there’s been an amendment made. God’s love is no longer just for the special people who are right to destroy anything in their path. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible contains the word of God and its entirety is still relevant and true, but we are to take a leaf out of Jesus’ book.

I think you’ll find Jesus was moved more by compassion than by anything else, even to the ones that nailed Him on the cross. He said to show love to your enemies (enemies must include “witches” lol). The one time He did condemn, it was because they “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men”. Like someone recently told me, you are allowed to condemn anything that will kill Christ in you.

So next time you see that person, try and see the potential instead. Apostle Paul started out by killing Christians. Remember, it’s all about love- loving God and loving others.

So here’s the thing…

Well I’ve never seen myself as much of a writer but an interests in blogging has as always been there. Sharing thoughts, Sharing ideas, making a small difference.

So I am glad to announce I have joined the blogging family and I plan to do justice to such a priviledge. However, I won’t be posting a blog every week. I plan to just write whenever something comes to mind or I consider an observation important enough to share. Neither will I stick to a single area but lend my thoughts to every aspect of life that may affect me in one way or the other; ranging from religion to the environment.

So welcome to an insight into my world and I promise not to bore you. 

Peace out!

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