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40+FAB Blog

I find that people who may not be described as your typical leader-type and who could easily be written off as not doing much with their life are a highly misunderstood group.

Over the years I have discovered that people who lead, and who get stuff accomplished have great passion. However, passion in itself doesn’t pick and choose the individuals it falls upon. Passion is borne out of interest!

When an individual finds what they are really interested in, you will see their passion come to life, you will see them lead fearlessly, you will see them accomplish in the area of their interest.

As much as there are many things to learn about leadership, this one thing is a key ingredient without which the individual will not even show up to the table. A person who is immersed in their interest will influence a whole bunch of people by their passion, a passion that leads.


40+FAB Blog

Until you actually find yourself in the exact same situation that another person has been in, you will not understand what they are going through. A man for instance will never understand what a woman goes through in her reproductive cycle. The indignity and injustice that the African American feels can only be understood through their eyes.

I grew up in Nigeria and adopted that whole attitude of confidence which Nigerians generally tout wherever they find themselves. But, on the 26th of February 2016, I had just boarded a flight about to leave London to Amsterdam on a business trip when a caucasian passenger beside me saw the word prayer on my phone and decided to report me to the pilot. Under the pretence of going to the toilet he went to speak with the pilot and the next thing I knew two armed police officers got on the plane and escorted me off the plane at gunpoint without any explanation.

I was interrogated by the detective in the main terminal who quickly dismissed the allegations made against me and he ensured I was booked onto a next flight to continue my journey because the pilot would not allow me back on the flight as he had announced that I was removed for suspected terrorism.

When I got to the boarding gate to wait for the next flight, I sat down and I felt a sense of loss of my dignity as a human being. For the first time I understood what blatant discrimination and racism felt like. It was a surreal moment that left me feeling powerless about what had happened.
I can’t help thinking now that maybe if that incident had been in America, I might not be here to tell the tale.

The next time you are tempted to condemn someone else’s actions as they stand up to fight for what they feel is their right, please remember that if you have not sat where they have, if you have never been in their shoes, then you do not have a full moral right to condemn them for how they act or feel.


40+FAB Blog

As some schools and other institutions reopen following weeks of lockdown, it has become apparent how unnatural it is for us as human beings to try and maintain a distance from one another.

My 5 year old son has been instructed to keep a distance of 2 meters from other children and he knows that well. However, when they are let out on the play ground, I hear tales of contact even though brief, as the excitement of being able to play with friends fills the air.

Everyone seeks connection with another in one form or the other. It is worth noting that in spite of lockdown, people have taken the risk to go out and support the cause of justice for George Floyd and to kick out institutional racism against the black community in America and indeed other parts of the world.

To connect means I stand with you not only in ideology but if need be, shoulder to shoulder to fight against a common enemy, I will sit where you sit, I will cry when you cry and I will offer a helping hand to show that our connection to one another is the most important thing that makes us all human.


40+FAB Blog

I used to think that moderation was about taking the fun out of things, but I have learnt that moderation doesn’t mean playing down on the enthusiasm, focus or drive you have for a thing; rather it means giving the right amounts of focus and drive to those things.

Moderation is about pacing yourself with what you have left in your tank to get to the desired goal, finishing strong. There is always something that needs to be left for tomorrow so you can focus on the rest of what is needful for today.

Remember that even as you engage in a pertinent battle, there is still a war in totality left to fight, and if you must win, you cannot expend all your resources on only one battle. I heard that the great generals never commit more than 70% of their troops or resources to any given battle. There is always the reserve, ready to back up when needed.

Do you find yourself burnt out at the end of your projects? Do you feel like you don’t have anything left to give after a major success? Maybe you need to take the lessons of the generals and make your 70% as effective as a 100%, then you will realise that you are always ready for the next thing, because you are living in the excellence of moderation.


40+FAB Blog

Going down memory lane, I can still hear my mum chiding “leave something for tomorrow!” “Waste not, want not!” I only got one scoop of ice cream even though I wanted five, but I had to leave something for tomorrow.

We were only allowed to watch one video film a day, so that we could have something left for tomorrow. I would have loved to stay in the pool for much longer than two hours, again, some things had to be done next time. It became a mantra that guided everything that we did. We were restrained from over indulging in the things we enjoyed, but at the same time made to participate in the things we did not care for like tidying up, homework, eating our greens, etc., so we could have something better for tomorrow. 

When I left home to be on my own for the first time, I had all the time and resources I needed to do what I wanted. I was free! So, I tried to enjoy all I could for as long as I could. However, I soon discovered that my original estimation of how much time and resources I had was greatly skewed. Reality quickly set in at about the same time that hunger – uninvited – decided to squat with me. It had moved in when my senses had moved out to have a good time. When I came back to myself, like the prodigal son, the words of my mum suddenly made sense “waste not, want not”, “leave something for tomorrow!” Her lesson on moderation hit home. 


40+FAB Blog

While in secondary school, I learnt in physics that one of the characteristics of black objects was their ability to absorb heat. It was no wonder we had black pots that were used for cooking. The more the heat was turned up, the more the pots would absorb it to cook its contents. As much as they were able to take it, at some point they would begin to seethe and boil over and spew their contents all over the stove. Our job in the kitchen was to make sure that by lowering the heat or adding water, we were able to soothe the pot from boiling over.

In 1990, there was a civil war in Rwanda and after 3 years of seething, a peace accord was signed, however, after a year the leader of the country who upheld this treaty soothing the nation was assassinated. The very next day, the genocide began, and over a period of a few months about a million people were killed while the international community turned a blind eye to it.

In 2020, modern day America is still fighting a civil war that has gone on for decades, some have contributed over the years to soothe it, while recently many have done much to make the black people seethe. I wonder if the international community will fold it’s hands again and continue to allow the systematic killings of black people in America.

We may not call it a genocide now, we may call for the rule of law to take its rightful course, we may say it is not our business, but when the pot boils over the whole kitchen will become a mess. What contribution will we make to soothe it and not allow it to seethe and boil over?


40+FAB Blog

From my little experiences so far, I have noted that too much of any particular thing is bad for you, just as too little of it is detrimental. When does a thing become too much or too little? This question can only be answered in relation to how that thing is meant to be used.

Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, whereas too little can lead to a condition known as Hyponatremia, which could result in seizures. In the same vein, believe it or not, too much water can kill you with over hydration and too little leads to dehydration. The amount of salt recommended per day is about 6 grams or one teaspoon full, while the amount of water recommended per day is a weight of 2kg (2 litres – 9 tea cups full). 

In view of this, getting the right balance seems key in our ability to thrive. The more one masters how to get the balance right, the more they are able to benefit from their experiences. One of the secrets to good cooking is to get the right proportions of the ingredients into the meal. 

With everything that we do in life, we have to find the balance on every activity we perform, some require more time than others, but only you determine what that is to live your most effective life.


40+FAB Blog

Samuel Johnson said, “Actions are visible, though motives are hidden”. The true motives behind any action can only truly be known by the person taking those actions.

So what exactly are your motives for what you do? It is easy to argue that there are people with good motives and others with evil motives, but is there really anyone with a 100% pure motive or another with a 100% evil motive? who can really say?

I find that we are usually a bag of mixed motives and we tend to act on the predominant motive in our hearts. It is a good motive to be successful at what you do, but there lurks an evil motive of doing it to prove a point to someone or to spite another who was unkind to you in the past.

It is a great motive to help others, but then it is mixed up with a subtle motive of ensuring their loyalty to you or increasing your influence with them. So, does a good motive with a taint of evil still qualify as good? Or, does an evil motive with a mix of good ever stand a chance of redemption?

I will end with this quote from Richard Rohr, “Integrity largely has to do with purifying our intentions and a growing honesty about our actual motives”. Let us check that we are growing in the place of integrity and purer motives.


40+FAB Blog

Training to become a professional like a Consultant could take years, however, to fail at little things along the way gives me a quick lesson with a quick qualification, making me a quick professional in that little area. Embracing the quick lessons over the years has led me to become that seasoned professional. I have never seen a professor who is afraid of his area of expertise, so why should I be afraid of what I have unwantedly become an expert at (failure)?” Thinking about it that way ended my fear of failure. 

Failure is not a bad thing in itself if it leads you to discover a philosophy – a love for knowledge – that makes you a better person than you were before you failed. It is however the fear of failure that will seek to paralyse you from ever trying again. And once you fail to try again you remain where you are, in the place of failure. 

In his attempts to invent a light bulb, Thomas Edison was known to have said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 5,000 ways that won’t work”. His philosophy of failure made him thrive as one of the greatest inventors of modern time. 

I have learnt to develop a philosophy from my failings, which prompts me not to hide but rather share my experiences of failure with someone who might be gripped by the fear of failure. When one is free from the fear of failure, then one is truly free to succeed. 


40+FAB Blog

I have found that the typical traits one would display to cope with the appearance of anything that looks like failure are excuses, denials and cover-ups. This was quite typical of the ‘grown-ups’ who acted like they never failed when I was a child.

Another key thing that people do when they fail is to philosophise. I love this quote attributed to the Greek philosopher Socrates, “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.” 

Have you ever noticed that failure somehow brings about the philosopher in you? To philosophise is to investigate the truths and principles of knowledge and in its original form in the Greek language it connotes the love of knowledge. 

Every failure knowingly or unknowingly is seeking to understand why they failed and then they draw some knowledge from that experience. This let me know that a failure is no fool. For if my failure gets me to reflect on my actions and draw out a philosophy from it, then I have gained something valuable, as opposed to the fool who is unequivocally uninterested in any form of wisdom. 

One day I challenged my fear of failure because I thought to myself, “I am mostly afraid of the difficult things that I think I cannot do or have not done, like jumping out of a plane in a sky dive, starting a business, or getting married. But to fail is so easy, common and perhaps inevitable, so why should it fall into the category of things I fear?