Archive for May, 2012

Don’t try to “fix” …

Don’t try to “fix” anyone. Instead, look for someone who isn’t broken.

20 Things I Should Have Known at 20

 

1. The world is trying to keep you stupid. From bank fees to interest rates to miracle diets, people who are not educated are easier to get money from and easier to lead. Educate yourself as much as possible for wealth, independence, and happiness.

2. Do not have faith in institutions to educate you. By the time they build the curriculum, it’s likely that the system is outdated– sometimes utterly broken. You both learn and get respect from people worth getting it from by leading and doing, not by following.

3. Read as much as you can. Learn to speed read with high retention. Emerson Spartz taught me this while I was at a Summit Series event. If he reads 2-3 books a week, you can read one.

4. Connect with everyone, all the time. Be genuine about it. Learn to find something you like in each person, and then speak to that thing.

5. Don’t waste time being shy. Shyness is the belief that your emotions should be the arbitrators of your decision making process when the opposite is actually true.

6. If you feel weird about something during a relationship, that’s usually what you end up breaking up over.

7. Have as much contact as possible with older people. Personally, I met people at Podcamps. My friend Greg, at the age of 13, met his first future employer sitting next to him on a plane. The reason this is so valuable is because people your age don’t usually have the decision-making ability to help you very much. Also they know almost everything you will learn later, so ask them.

8. Find people that are cooler than you and hang out with them too. This and the corollary are both important: “don’t attempt to be average inside your group. Continuously attempt to be cooler than them (by doing cooler things, being more laid back, accepting, ambitious, etc.).”

9. You will become more conservative over time. This is just a fact. Those you surround yourself with create a kind of “bubble” that pushes you to support the status quo. For this reason, you need to do your craziest stuff NOW. Later on, you’ll become too afraid. Trust me.

10. Reduce all expenses as much as possible. I mean it. This creates a safety net that will allow you to do the crazier shit I mentioned above.

11. Instead of getting status through objects (which provide only temporary boosts), do it through experiences. In other words, a trip to Paris is a better choice than a new wardrobe. Studies show this also boosts happiness.

12. While you are living on the cheap, solve the money problem. Use the internet, because it’s like a cool little machine that helps you do your bidding. If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck, extend that to three weeks instead of two. Then, as you get better, you can think a month ahead, then three months, then six, and finally a year ahead. (The goal is to get to a point where you are thinking 5 years ahead.)

13. Learn to program.

14. Get a six-pack (or get thin, whatever your goal is) while you are young. Your hormones are in a better place to help you do this at a younger age. Don’t waste this opportunity, trust me.

15. Learn to cook. This will make everything much easier and it turns food from a chore + expensive habit into a pleasant + frugal one. I’m a big Jamie Oliver fan, but whatever you like is fine.

16. Sleep well. This and cooking will help with the six pack. If you think “I can sleep when I’m dead” or “I have too much to do to sleep,” I have news for you: you are INEFFICIENT, and sleep deprivation isn’t helping.

17. Get a reminder app for everything. Do not trust your own brain for your memory. Do not trust it for what you “feel like” you should be doing. Trust only the reminder app. I use RE.minder and Action Method.

18. Choose something huge to do, as well as allowing the waves of opportunity to help you along. If you don’t set goals, some stuff may happen, but if you do choose, lots more will.

19. Get known for one thing. Spend like 5 years doing it instead of flopping around all over the place. If you want to shift afterwards, go ahead. Like I said, choose something.

20. Don’t try to “fix” anyone. Instead, look for someone who isn’t broken.

 

(This post was inspired by an email question from Daniel. Photo by Tambako the Jaguar.) * Filed by Julien at 1:22 pm under tips

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20 Things I Should Have Known at 20

20 Things I Should Have Known at 20

 

1. The world is trying to keep you stupid. From bank fees to interest rates to miracle diets, people who are not educated are easier to get money from and easier to lead. Educate yourself as much as possible for wealth, independence, and happiness.

2. Do not have faith in institutions to educate you. By the time they build the curriculum, it’s likely that the system is outdated– sometimes utterly broken. You both learn and get respect from people worth getting it from by leading and doing, not by following.

3. Read as much as you can. Learn to speed read with high retention. Emerson Spartz taught me this while I was at a Summit Series event. If he reads 2-3 books a week, you can read one.

4. Connect with everyone, all the time. Be genuine about it. Learn to find something you like in each person, and then speak to that thing.

5. Don’t waste time being shy. Shyness is the belief that your emotions should be the arbitrators of your decision making process when the opposite is actually true.

6. If you feel weird about something during a relationship, that’s usually what you end up breaking up over.

7. Have as much contact as possible with older people. Personally, I met people at Podcamps. My friend Greg, at the age of 13, met his first future employer sitting next to him on a plane. The reason this is so valuable is because people your age don’t usually have the decision-making ability to help you very much. Also they know almost everything you will learn later, so ask them.

8. Find people that are cooler than you and hang out with them too. This and the corollary are both important: “don’t attempt to be average inside your group. Continuously attempt to be cooler than them (by doing cooler things, being more laid back, accepting, ambitious, etc.).”

9. You will become more conservative over time. This is just a fact. Those you surround yourself with create a kind of “bubble” that pushes you to support the status quo. For this reason, you need to do your craziest stuff NOW. Later on, you’ll become too afraid. Trust me.

10. Reduce all expenses as much as possible. I mean it. This creates a safety net that will allow you to do the crazier shit I mentioned above.

11. Instead of getting status through objects (which provide only temporary boosts), do it through experiences. In other words, a trip to Paris is a better choice than a new wardrobe. Studies show this also boosts happiness.

12. While you are living on the cheap, solve the money problem. Use the internet, because it’s like a cool little machine that helps you do your bidding. If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck, extend that to three weeks instead of two. Then, as you get better, you can think a month ahead, then three months, then six, and finally a year ahead. (The goal is to get to a point where you are thinking 5 years ahead.)

13. Learn to program.

14. Get a six-pack (or get thin, whatever your goal is) while you are young. Your hormones are in a better place to help you do this at a younger age. Don’t waste this opportunity, trust me.

15. Learn to cook. This will make everything much easier and it turns food from a chore + expensive habit into a pleasant + frugal one. I’m a big Jamie Oliver fan, but whatever you like is fine.

16. Sleep well. This and cooking will help with the six pack. If you think “I can sleep when I’m dead” or “I have too much to do to sleep,” I have news for you: you are INEFFICIENT, and sleep deprivation isn’t helping.

17. Get a reminder app for everything. Do not trust your own brain for your memory. Do not trust it for what you “feel like” you should be doing. Trust only the reminder app. I use RE.minder and Action Method.

18. Choose something huge to do, as well as allowing the waves of opportunity to help you along. If you don’t set goals, some stuff may happen, but if you do choose, lots more will.

19. Get known for one thing. Spend like 5 years doing it instead of flopping around all over the place. If you want to shift afterwards, go ahead. Like I said, choose something.

20. Don’t try to “fix” anyone. Instead, look for someone who isn’t broken.

 

(This post was inspired by an email question from Daniel. Photo by Tambako the Jaguar.) * Filed by Julien at 1:22 pm under tips

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#OccupyNigeria: The Making Of A Cyber Fury – By Jude Egbas

#OccupyNigeria: The Making Of A Cyber Fury – By Jude Egbas

Articles | | February 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm

“ Do you know any Japhet Omojuwa?”, a younger friend called Okunade Goodman enquired of me on a social net working site as we discussed the impact of Nigeria’s newest Movement, days after thousands of youths had taken to the streets to protest the Government’s hike in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).

“No, why?”, I had responded, a bit starry eyed and fecklessly, while almost berating myself for having not looked up the name ‘Japheth Omojuwa’, on the google search engine.

“Omojuwa and Chinedu Ekeke are the main guys I know who drove the #OccupyNigeria Movement. They both have blogs which kept us all informed. You can follow them on twitter @omojuwa, @ekekee, @elrufai, @toluogunlesi, @occupynaija,@yadomah….”, suggested Goodman.

Thus began my twitter adventure. Yes, I had maintained a Tweet handle prior to my discussion with Mr Goodman, but my whole world was about to turn full circle as I began ‘following’ all of the Twitter personalities my friend had suggested above. And as days snow-balled into weeks, I would ‘follow’ more of Nigeria’s cyber activists and other likeminded persons, allowing myself the luxury of peering through a new lens for my country in the comfort of my PC or Smart phone. Over night, I had unashamedly transformed into a Twitter addict of the first degree.

Two years before, In an article which was published on saharareporters.com and other Nigerian online news media titled; “Nigeria’s new power elite are here”, I had responded to Reverend Matthew Kukah’s piece of a similar title by suggesting that the New Power Elite which he had waxed so lyrical about in a piece published in the Guardian Newspapers, was actually closer than we thought. But not even I had expected that new power elite to begin baring its fangs so early in the day. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s (GEJ’s) ill advised fuel subsidy removal scheme, proved to be some blessing in disguise.

As I joined the mass protests on foot from Yaba to the Ojota Park in Lagos on the first day of the strikes, chanting anti-government slogans along the way, I allowed myself a smile and some measure of pride. Nigeria was actually coming of age right before my very eyes. Young people long erroneously perceived as gullible, blithe and insouciant were demanding for changes in the way the country’s affairs have been run and calling for an end to that fabled Nigerian monster—corruption, in the most legitimate of ways .

 

The numerous placards were suggestive of a new force that had been simmering with rage underneath while a heartless political elite ruled the roost insalubriously. By the third day of the protests, it was clear GEJ and his cabinet would have little choice but accede to the demands of the people. The Gani Fawenhinmi Freedom Park had by this time assumed a carnival atmosphere thanks in large part to modern electronic devices and the new media. Younger people were mobilizing friends and families with facts and figures of Government malfeasance and profligacy using Blackberry Devices, the Iphone, Ipads and mobile phones. Facebook statuses and Twitter updates had anger and venom splurged on their pages, each a reminder of the writing on the wall which successive Governments had disparagingly ignored to wit: It was only a matter of time before the bubble of docility in Nigerian homes busted with one more shove to the walls.

#OccupyNigeria has emerged from the rubbles of a fuel subsidy protest and Cyber fury, and indications appear to be that it has indeed taken a life of its own and come to stay. The likes of @ekekee and @omojuwa now have thousands of young people ‘following’ them. @elrufai and @delemomodu now and again chip in with quotes and cries of a new Nigeria. @Pobahiagbon panders towards the grandiloquent as has become his pastime, but still stirs the soul with anecdotes and sound bites deriding the incompetence of the Government of the day.

As I write this piece, the framework for the birth of a twenty million strong Nigerian army or more to install a credible leadership by the time the 2015 elections come around, is being hatched and perfected on Twitter. And to dismiss this mobilization network of angry Nigerians as a bunch of ‘castle-in-the-air’ daydreamers would be fool-hardy.

The fuel subsidy protests provided the tinder box on which a well spring of age long fury had been forever ignited. Apparently, #OccupyNigeria, with a symbolic logo reminiscent of the popular black power movement symbol of 1960 America, has moved from the realms of cyber dreamland and is taking roots in the hearts of millions of Nigerians from Ogoja to Lokoja and from Lagos to Kafanchan.

As I gyrated to the tunes of several artistes who came to perform in Ojota on Day three of a slew of hugely successful mass protests country-wide, it dawned on me that the 2015 polls, with the deluge of modern communication tools in the hands of these young men and women, and further sinewed with a swarm of information at their finger tips, would be even harder to rig.
From Twitter handles and Facebook updates, that new Nigeria we had long envisioned dreamily may yet be taking roots before our very eyes in the most unorthodox of ways. The ‘cabal’ would do well to be warned.

Please join me on Twitter @egbas.

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Rules of Engagement

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EDO’s BUDGET OF PROGRESS by Nasir Ahmad @elrufai

Analytical diagnosis… i hope we’d keep and take to the lessons.

A New Nigeria

From a hopeless budget in the Bauchi of the North-East, a sensible one in Lagos of the South-West and an opaque budget in Benue of the North-Central, our focus this week is on the South-South state of Edo with a view to assessing how self-reliant, fiscally prudent and accountable the state is. It is one of the states where a Fiscal Responsibility Bill has been presented to the state House of Assembly but has not yet been passed into law. While the state benefits from the 13% derivation fund as a marginal oil producing state, this fiscal advantage does not translate to any significant edge in financial transfers and key indices when compared to other states in the Niger Delta region.

The Mid-Western Region was created in 1963 from Benin and Delta provinces of the old Western Region, and its capital was Benin City. It was renamed a province in…

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The Politics Of Dogs And Baboons – Awwal A. Salisu

The Politics Of Dogs And Baboons

The recent brouhaha about the statement of the General is one I have followed with amusement. It seems from all indications that this country still has a long way to go in attaining true nationhood. Mere idioms from other parts of the country are misinterpreted and given non intended effect. This is reminiscent of the humour and tragedy that prevailed in the colonial era when local interpreters muddled and confused messages.

It is evident from the mudslinging very much active that the Presidency has as its main target of opposition Buhari. While I understand the objections voiced by all and sundry in the corridors of power, it is nonetheless to be swallowed with some humour. The statement was indeed distasteful, not one to be credited to a true statesman. In this, Buhari would be properly minded to engage in positive PR enlightenment. Buhari, a good man who commands a lot of respect but nonetheless underestimates the power he wields especially with the vast majority of the oppressed northern populace, needs to be counseled by his closest advisers on the politics of statesmanship.

However, I wish to point out that the purpose of the words used “dogs and baboons” is figurative and idiomatic, intended to indicate a laborious struggle due to unwillingness of each party to be thwarted. To this end, I wish to borrow another Hausa idiom “ abin da babba ya hango, yaro ko ya hau tsani ba zai hango ba” what this means in direct translation is “ what an adult has seen, a child cannot see even if he were to climb a ladder” while this is more straightforward, it however has the connotation of wisdom acquired from age and experience not necessarily height associated with age. As a result, I would not expect children to start challenging adults by climbing 20 foot ladders to see what the adult has seen. It would indeed be an absurdity.

All these aside, what is curious is the apparent lack of response by the Presidency to the serious allegation of being part and parcel of the Boko Haram imbroglio plaguing the nation. An active mind would have thought Dogs and Baboons to be mere trivialities in contradistinction with this damning declaration. A menace that has plagued the nation is forced to play second fiddle to pets and zoo animals. This is however characteristic of the politics of deceit, delay and diversion currently in play. The people should wise up, wake up and ask this government to respond to these allegations which have been variously concurred by the President himself, Okah in South Africa and the NSA.

 

Awwal A. Salisu 

@skarjar (follow me on twitter its free!), as always trying to free our minds from groupthink and move this country forward

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JONATHAN’S WATCH – Dr. Hakeem

Goodluck Jonathan at CHOGM 2011

Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria President Alhaji Yar'Adua talks with N...

Late Nigeria President Alhaji Yar’Adua

JONATHAN’S WATCH
“There are three times in a man’s life when it’s useless to hold him to anything: when he is madly in love, drunk or running for office.”
Robert Mitchum.

A little over two years ago, President Umaru Musa YarAdua died, providing a natural solution to a messy political and legal logjam that was to haunt the rest of his planned four – year term. It is a sign of the present times and the conditions we live under that the Anniversary was barely noticed. There were certainly a lot more pages with paid adverts congratulating the Governor of Jigawa State for receiving an honourary degree than those which reminded the nation that its President died two years ago. Both his entrance and his exits were tumultuous events, and Umaru YarAdua’s life and death will be marked as significant watersheds in Nigerian history. He did not, strictly speaking, hand over the baton to President Jonathan. You could say he dropped it, and Jonathan had to pick it with considerable difficulty in a race which started with so much promise, finished in a most controversial manner.

Umaru YarAdua was a good but complex man. He had many good intentions, and a bag full of personal and political limitations. He came into the Presidency in 2007 on the back of the most condemned election; from a Governor in a state where he learned that Nigerians politics bred intense bitterness and took no prisoners. His entire campaign for the Presidency of Nigeria was planned, funded and carefully choreographed by others who saw huge opportunities to milk his Presidency. He tagged along, with his own agenda carefully tucked away, hoping that when, not if, he became President, he would make a clean break with history.
He began well, denouncing the election that brought him to power, and committing himself to reform the electoral process. He failed to do this, when it became clear that reform in the manner the Committee under Chief Justice M. L. Uwais proposed, would transform our electoral system beyond the capacity of his party, the PDP to control and manipulate. His commitment to entrench the rule of law and fight corruption remained hollow slogans, as corruption became entrenched in the circle which surrounded him, and the rule of law found expression only in pamphlets. Grand visions involving developments of infrastructure and reforms in the power sector, petroleum and gas and land administration were defeated by massive corruption which had dug in, and an indifferent and lethargic public service. A resolution of the crippling crimes under the name of militancy in the Niger Delta involved potentially dangerous and expensive concessions, and the jury is still out over the long-term value of the Amnesty Programme. A substantially weakened President was persuaded to give a shoot-at-sight order literally on his way out of the country when the Yusufiyya insurgency was threatening to overwhelm the Police in Maiduguri. In the execution of the order, the leader of the insurgency was executed, and the nation is being reminded of that act almost daily with bombs and bullets. An even weaker President was sold the dummy that tinkering with the rules of the public service under a tenure policy will transform the public service. The alarming crash in standards, efficiency and moral courage in the public service is the result the nation is paying for this folly. Competent and experienced hands are being retired at moments when they are most needed, and the shocking revelations and unprecedented levels of stealing around pensions and the subsidy scams are in reality evidence of the failure of the public service to protect the public and public resources from pillage.
A weak and a sick President is a liability to governance, but a weak and sick President who was propped up by interests which had scant regards and respect for the law or the national interest became a major threat. The undignified and untidy efforts made to prolong YarAdua’s Presidency and keep Jonathan away at all cost necessary (and unnecessary) did little justice to the personal ideals of Umaru himself who, for all his failings, actually saw power as a transient element. In sickness and in the manner his death came about, the foundations of a bitter succession and the perception of an parochial resistance against a Jonathan presidency took roots.
From the moment the law was turned on its head by a national resolve to end the drift after it became clear that Yar’Adua couldn’t continue, the Jonathan presidency was marked by an indelible perception that it had to fight every inch of the way against massive northern resistance. The underdog image was given a boost in the contest for the PDP ticket, and the gang-up of northern politicians in the PDP against Jonathan’s candidature created opportunities to tap into massive primordial sentiments and sympathies. Now a northern, Muslim enemy became easily identifiable, and the foundations of much of the character of our present political environment were laid.
President Jonathan’s full watch began on the ashes of four basically wasted years, when the nation moved from a crippled presidency, to one shackled by petty and destructive opportunism and fatal miscalculations. He came with a mentality that is substantially hostage to its recent past, and the riots which followed his announced victory further exposed dangerous faultiness which the political contest that produced his presidency had made more pronounced. Against a perceived far northern resistance, President Jonathan’s people whipped up their own regional passions. Our politics has never been more tribalized, and the centrality of faith in politics and governance never more pronounced.
With a mandate all of his own since 2011, the nation could legitimately ask what all that struggle by President Jonathan to become President was all about? To prove that he had a right to aspire and occupy the position, yes. To prove that South South people can ‘rule’ Nigeria, yes. To prove that the northern establishment could be humbled and humiliated, yes. But what about going beyond the pound of flesh? Is it purely coincidental that Jonathan’s watch has been marked by the most frightening manifestation of threats to our security, and revelations of mind-boggling corruption? Certainly, it is fair to say that he had inherited some of these problems, but Jonathan was part of the Presidency since 2007, and effectively President since 2010. To say his presidency has been crippled by incipient regional hostility, a determined insurgency and unspeakable corruption is akin to saying that thieves have made the night guard’s job difficult. The job of the guard is to keep the thieves away, and not use them as the excuse for perennial theft.
By any standards of judgment, President Jonathan’s watch is a difficult one. But he wanted job, and he got it. From the moment he sat in Yar’Adua’s chair, he called the shots. Now he is being judged by how he responds to the challenges he faces. Will he reign in run-away corruption by prosecuting people who swindled us of trillions in fraudulent subsidy? Can he prosecute the big names behind the pension scam; the collapse of the capital market; the scandalous sales or ‘dashing’ of our assets under the privatization programme? Can he find a way to limit and eliminate the dangers posed by the Boko Haram insurgency? Can he make a tangible difference between now and 2015 in the areas of power supply, unemployment among the youth and reform of the electoral process? The job of being a Nigerian President must be the most difficult in our current circumstance. It’s made more difficult because President Jonathan cannot blame anyone, if during his watch, Nigeria sinks deeper into crises.

 

Dr. Hakeem

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