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Starve your distractions, feed your focus.” – Unknown
The path to achieving little or nothing is feeding your distractions. Our generation seems to have mastered this vice; social media only acts as a magnifier. We want to know what’s trending and if there are no trends, we create them. From tweets to FaceBook shares and Instagram posts, we live for the buzz, the comments, the shares and the likes. That might be a good thing, until we take it too far like we did with Pastor Adeboye’s comments on marriage.
Whether I agree or disagree with the comments is irrelevant. What mattered more was our actions revealed our true nature; a bored generation thriving on distraction. Oh yes, we thrive on it! From Tiwa’s marriage breakup to #SaveMayowa ‘scam’ to the most recent, Pastor Adeboye’s comments, we seem to be waiting by our smartphones for the next ‘scandal’. This informs our obsession with any topic that has the potential of going viral. Let’s think it through, did we really need make such a fuss about those comments? Did we? If our intention was to convince others to get on the feminism train and change their mindset, I very much doubt that we succeeded. All our discussions, arguments and fights about the subject only served one purpose; populating the trending topics on Twitter. At least, in that regard, we achieved something.
More importantly, the way we handled it, the criticising, the condemning and the name calling only showed our lack of tolerance. A lack of tolerance for differing opinions and an inability to express dissent respectfully. If we preach tolerance, then we should in fact practise it, not minding the sour taste it leaves in our mouths. We should realise that sometimes, the wise way to treat differing opinions is to walk by especially since such opinions are not binding on you.
Social media is our space, our zone, our hood, our own thing. It’s also our safe haven. No wonder we fought tooth and nail when the ‘old school’ generation tried to compromise its sanctity under the guise of the social media bill. No, we do not want to be regulated, especially not by those who have disappointed and continue to disappoint us daily. So, we bask in our unrestrained power and freedom of speech. However, to justify our unhindered liberty, we must act responsibly and let decency and common sense be our watchwords. No more copying and pasting writing stories without verifying or descending to insults to show disagreement. We should learn to manage conflicts by treating dissenting opinions with maturity and mutual respect. Because with liberty, comes great responsibility.
So I have been on leave or ‘paycation’ for the past two weeks and I was indoors most of the time. Considering that I had worked non-stop – asides weekends and public holidays – since August 2015, I needed the rest badly. I soon got bored though, no thanks to PHCN. So when I saw the Red Media tweet about a Digital Marketing workshop, I thought why not? Location and timing is perfect besides I get to network. Sebi they say your network is your net worth?
First day in, we were given a long list of dos and don’ts (eye rolling), I’m like is this secondary school? We had a curriculum; Google Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation etc, with names of facilitators so I googled their names and I was kinda disappointed. I didn’t expect one of the doyens of DM to lecture us but hey a girl’s got to hope. I was already calculating better uses for my money than having ‘inexperienced’ people bore me.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. In most DM seminars, facilitators concentrate on what; how the internet is important, why we need an online presence but never tell us how SMEs can build and sustain that online presence. This workshop showed us how to create a FaceBook ad, how to measure ROI, how to create a Google adwords account, how to maximise SEO and on and on. On all three days of the workshop, the facilitators exceeded the time assigned but we really didn’t mind.
I always knew but after this workshop, I am more certain than ever that in a few years, digital media ignorance will be synonymous with irrelevance. Think about it, most millennials are dependent on smart devices for work, play and business. In ten years, is that gonna change? Nah. Instead, internet penetration will keep growing and will be largely driven by mobile.
I had a good time, I learnt a lot and more importantly, I met some really cool people. 🙂
A mind is like a parachute, it doesn’t work unless it’s open – Frank Zappa
I’ve always been a ‘stick to the winning formula’ kind of person. I mean, why change a method that works?! So I’ve taken the same routes to work, had the same friends, and literally built a tent in my comfort zone and stayed there. Once in a while, I explore, then jump right back into the zone. Of course, that influenced my career choices. It was either law or the media or I’m uninterested.
Then, I found myself in banking. From the word go, I told myself ‘I can’t stay here, this isn’t my passion’. Imagine my dismay when all my alternatives – getting a Masters, DV lottery (oh yes I applied!) and even getting an LLB didn’t work out. I kept counting my days and the days kept growing longer. So, I began to pay attention. Today, I’m not head over heels with banking, but I didn’t fail at it like I thought I would. I may try a different path later on, but this experience exemplified a popular Yoruba* saying; Ona kan o woja**.
There’s a lot of talk about finding your passion; some say the path to ‘true success’ is finding your passion and living it. That notion is limiting because your passion is more of who you are than what you do. In essence, true success lies in the energy and drive you bring to whatever it is you do. Scripture says, ‘Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it well’. Pour 110% of yourself into anything you do, passion or not and you will be amazed at the results.
It’s important to focus on your strengths and maximise them but you must realise that you have strengths you haven’t even discovered and you are capable of much more than you dare give yourself credit for. By all means, find your passion, but while at it, do not make the mistake of believing there’s only one route to your destination. For there are several, if you will be patient and open minded enough to discover them. Truth is, many will go to the grave without discovering their passion but that’s nothing compared to leaving this world without an enduring legacy.
*tribe in South West Nigeria
**there are several routes into the marketplace (of life)
Yesterday, the Nigerian twitterati was literally on fire after the Senate, the upper house of the National Assembly rejected the gender equality and opportunity bill. According to Senator Olujimi, the bill sought equality for women in marriage, career and education. It had quite important provisions, one of which was: if a woman’s husband dies, she gets custody of the kids and inherits his property. Yet, the Senate struck it out.
The National Assembly has so far, been the most castigated arm of government in our 16 year democratic journey. So much has been said, ‘our lawmakers work only for their interests and pockets, they are a huge cost centre with minimal benefits, Nigerians do not feel their impact’…etc. Most of this is true and yes, we need new members of Parliament; those with the right mindset, to create laws that end oppression and inequality and restore the hope of the common man.
But beyond changing members of the National Assembly, we need a change of our collective mindset. For every Yerima and Ndume in the Senate, there are a thousand more in their constituencies urging them on. Think about it, how many people in the hinterlands actually think women are equal to men? How many thousands still believe every spinster’s prayer point is to get married so she can ‘be under a man’? How many still subscribe to Ali Ndume’s notion that ‘the first care of a woman is marriage’? Even in ‘developed’ Lagos, women are constantly reminded, subtly and not so subtly that the ‘man is the crown of the woman’. It’s ubiquitous; we see it in church, we see it in the workplace, comedians make jokes about it and we laugh.
Let’s face it, the Senators are just a reflection of the majority of the Nigerian people. We say they embezzle and earn bogus allowances for doing nothing, buy exotic cars and live in palatial mansions at the expense of the Nigerian taxpayer. But don’t you and I know people who envy them and their relatives wishing they also had access to the ‘national cake’, saying totally ridiculous things like, ‘It’s their turn to enjoy’ and using the Name of God to justify their obscenity and impunity? Aren’t there employers in the private sector, creating policies to enrich themselves unjustly, jetting out on vacations at the company’s expense while denying employees their wages?
The Senators aren’t the only ones with broken moral compasses. As a people, our moral compasses are in need of serious repairs. Yes, we need a new National Assembly but more importantly, we need re-orientation as a people. We need to come to the realization that empowering women is not emasculating, rather it a symbol of freedom. Most pertinent, we need to be aware that chauvinism and misogyny will only take us backward and farther from our dream of a united, prosperous Nigeria.
Photo credit: dailypost.ng
In the spirit of International Women’s Day – I see guys rolling their eyes, chill out, women gat this week 😊 – I read a bit about this year’s IWD celebration. I found some really depressing statistics; like it would take another hundred or so years before we achieve gender equality in the world. Just imagine that! Many women will remain marginalized and still earn less for equal tasks than their male counterparts for 100 years! Quite saddening!
The debate for women empowerment and gender parity has been a continuous one. And a lot has been achieved even though ‘the promised land’ is still far off. Although men in their own ways, have tried to promote the cause by creating more women friendly work policies, to make giant strides, we need more women in positions of authority. Be it in politics, business or the private sector, women just have to step it up. Understandably, a lot of factors inhibit this ‘stepping up’, least of which is our responsibility at the home front; a factor whose mitigation lies only in spousal support. Even with the needed support, in many ways, our actions and inactions as women show our readiness or otherwise for the top.
Ever heard of the book, Nice Girls don’t get the corner office 101 by Lois Frankel? I read that book a couple of years ago and it literally changed my perspective. Lois basically said in that book that your dressing, hairstyle and makeup choices (among other factors, of course!) could tell if a woman was ready to play in the big leagues. And I thought about it, almost all the women in senior positions (and there are a lot of them!) in my organisation, dress and look the part. No loud makeup, tight skirts, 26 inch weaves or 6 inch heels. Nothing to allow ogling. I think it’s more of a strategy than a coincidence. No ogling, no distractions, the
boys men focus better. Think about the successful women you know; Hilary Clinton (whose femininity is totally de-emphasised in her presidential campaign, but that’s story for another day) or Ibukun Awosika or Olajumoke Adenowo, the list goes on, they are covered up. Not to sound cliché, but you really are addressed the way you dress.
In some cases, we just need to speak up for ourselves in the workplace. Men can’t always do it for us. In my organisation, we have a weekly knowledge sharing and we take turns in coordinating. Last month, the administrator asked me to handle the ‘Spread love this Valentine’ theme for that week. I was curious because I had never been nominated to handle topical issues. And he gave me the dreaded answer, “well, because you are a woman, you know”…I had been stereotyped. Luckily, I was able to wiggle out of it. It happens to a lot of us. Some women don’t mind, but trust me, it’s not in your best interest to have a wrong stereotype.
We really need to take more chances, more calculated risks. I understand we are naturally cautious but please join the #DoitAfraid bandwagon. At the risk of sounding motivational, you just gat to go for it anyway anyhow. I watched a video recently, of Tara Fela-Durotoye talking about raising funds for her business. She had gone into an interview with a bank MD, hoping for a N500, 000 loan but instead summoned courage and asked for N40m! And she got it! That’s what I’m talking about.
Above all, we should always bear in mind that we are first human, then female. I like the way Sefi Atta put it, when asked her perspective as a female writer in an interview, she responded, ”I’m not a female writer, I am a writer”.
It’s still International Women’s Day (everyday is!). Be happy. Be inspired. Be all of you and more!
I am a big arts enthusiast. I believe studying English in uni helped cement my love relationship with the arts. Even though I don’t get to attend as many events as I would like to, my love has remained strong.
Imagine my delight when Que agreed to attend the Lagos Theatre Festival last Friday. We arrived the festival venue, Freedom Park on Broad Street, Lagos Island at about 7.10pm. Freedom Park had quite the crowd that evening, not surprisingly though. There were open air bars with lots of people, lots of drinks flowing and loud music of Wizkid and Olamide blaring from the speakers. We walked around a bit, taking in the scenery. Freedom Park is such a beautiful place and I couldn’t stop oohing and aahing. From the museum to the shops selling artistic pieces to the photography booths, I fell in love with the cultural and artistic ambience. It was like TerraKulture…on a larger scale. I especially loved the statues. They looked so real, I couldn’t resist a picture. Lol.
We arrived at the main stage where Love like a slave was on. Love like a slave was a three scene performance in poetry, song and dance. The poetry was deep; a story of artists struggling to find the balance between their calling, societal responsibilities and financial obligations. In a way, the poem spoke to the wider society, about maximizing our gifts to bless the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the singing and the dance.
During the closing credits, I realized that a lot of the actors were in paid employment yet pursuing their passion. My favourite character, a 16-year-old boy who played the violin beautifully, plays his way through school. The poet was a partner in a law firm with over ten years’ experience. Wow! Very inspiring!
I had a good good time at the Lagos Theatre Festival, fantastic TGIF it was! Hopefully, we’ll have such events often. Did you attend any of the events? Please share your experience!
So I recently became natural…well not recently, about a year ago. It was totally unplanned. For those who know me, I think being natural takes a lot of willpower and errr…I just didn’t feel it was for me. But then, I take out my weave this fateful day and find out that my hair had chopped off in the middle, I mean like low-cut! I had noticed it for a while but I thought, hey, it would grow. But then it hit me, this hair ain’t coming back. So I walked to the salon and cut it, just like that. Big chop. You should have seen my colleagues’ surprised looks when I rocked my low-cut to work the next day. Someone even said I was bold. Lol. I didn’t feel bold at all. I just didn’t feel like wearing a wig – the breeze was making sense.
Well, fast forward to today and I’m still rocking my natural hair. However, I always dread shampoo time, cos from what I glean from naturalistas, especially on BN, maintaining natural hair is a full-time job. Wash in a circular motion, air-dry, wrap in a satin scarf…huh? Aint nobody got time for that oo!
So you could imagine my joy when I read Osemhen’s blogpost on caring for natural hair. I could literally hug her. Girlfriend is such an angel! I’ve taken the liberty of sharing. Read here and here. Do you have tips for natural hair care? Do share!