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August 2021
Work before reward
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July 2021
Uncultivated
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July 2021
Blacklash
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July 2021
Going up or down
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July 2021
Stuck on start
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40+FAB Blog

My son reminded me a couple of days ago about the importance of work coming before a reward. It seems to be an age old principle, but it is one that is effective in motivating people to strive to complete a task they accept to take on.

As we drove back from school I asked if he would help me fold the clothes and in turn get a reward of a slice of cake, to this he agreed most willing. When we got home, he asked if he could have the cake right away, and I gave it to him reminding him that when he had eaten it we had to do the chores. I waited for a bit and he did not turn up, I called and he began to give me excuses. After a bit of threatening, he reluctantly carried out his own part of the deal.

It then hit me that the purpose of a reward is to satiate the one that has accomplished a task. It is meant to come after, not before. Rarely do people actually do what they are meant to do if they receive their reward before they do it.

If what you have in your hand is a gift, then by all means give it whenever you like as it is not linked to any sort of performance. However, if what you have is a reward, then it is different and must only be released after the task for which it is earmarked has been properly done. In doing this you are not only preventing disappointment for yourself, but you are providing a source of motivation for another that could help them accomplish their best work yet.

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40+FAB Blog

There is a lot of talk these days about preserving our natural environment and it almost seems like we should just let the earth be so that it does its own thing. Leaving vegetation uncultivated for instance, is almost synonymous to allowing it to be natural.

When you take a closer look at the way our world is designed, you will find that the things that are most useful to us are meant to be cultivated. Cultivation does not mean making it unnatural, it does mean tending to a thing so it has the greatest possibility of yielding its best.

Our habits can also be likened to seeds, and the ones most useful to us have to be cultivated. If we do nothing, our uncultivated ground will run wild producing bad habits which takeover our lives. Cultivation not only keeps the good, but it also roots out the bad.

Let’s not confuse things being natural as them being uncultivated. We must have a mindset of cultivation for everything around us. Cultivate your habits, your relationships, your children, your skills, your business, your career and so on. The best things don’t just happen, they must be cultivated.

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40+FAB Blog

Most of us have may have experienced a toxic relationship or worked in an environment where you were only as good as your positive performance. The moment you made a silly unintentional mistake, there was an immediate backlash, and you found yourself on the brink of being kicked out.

Experiencing the unfortunate cynicism and racism that was targeted at the black English players at the recently concluded Euro 2020 finals has spurred me on to encapsulate what black people in most western countries go through in the word ‘Blacklash”.

It’s tough to know you must work harder than everyone else to get a right to sit at the table. I remember talking to a friend who had taken a couple of days off work to go on a holiday with his family, as he talked about his next day back in the office I asked him, “Can’t you work from home on that day?” He said, “I am the only black employee there, it is fine for others but I don’t want to take the chance.” He was trying to avoid a blacklash.

The blacklash can almost appear like a normal backlash, but there is a subtle difference. Others may get good recognition and a reward for their hard work, while you get to keep your status quo and maybe a little something to go with it. The mistakes of others are dealt with in measured tones, always giving them the benefit of the doubt, while yours are given the full weight of punishment without leeway for an explanation.

Don’t get me wrong, the idea is not to stir up sympathy so that the black man is given a cup out even when they mess up, this is merely pointing out that everyone who is being given a blacklash needs to be upgraded to receiving a backlash which every other person is entitled to.

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40+FAB Blog

You may have heard the saying, “You are either going through trouble, have just come out of it, or about to enter into it”. Whichever it is, we have come to know that life moves in the never-ending cycle of ups and downs. Once we conquer our mountains, we must come down to the valley where life continues, as we pass through to get to our next mountain.

We must not forget that the mountain top does not last forever, so any lessons we learnt on the way up, and all we see when we get up, must be kept diligently as we would certainly need to use them again.

Serial entrepreneurs build businesses and when they are profitable, some will sell off that business and look for the next venture to pour themselves into. This means starting from scratch on something new, and the challenge is to again take that business to the mountaintop.

We can learn from such people that going down is never a bad thing and it is part of the process to start the journey to the next mountaintop. Two people may seem to be exactly at the same level, but it does not mean that they will end up in the same place.

Study this cycle of life with greater attention and make these laws work to your advantage. May the outcome of your life have had more time and experiences on the up than you had to endure on the down.

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40+FAB Blog

While growing up, I used to play a board game called Ludo and one of the rules was that you needed to get a six when you rolled the dice in order to move from the start position. Any number lower than six could not get you going. Once you rolled a six, then you could start moving and any other number would then count.

I remember there were games where a six just wouldn’t fall for me and I would be stuck on start while every other player moved around the board. It is indeed quite frustrating to see other people making progress while you seem to be on the same spot.

The good news though is that in real life we don’t have to wait for luck from the roll of the dice to determine when we move and how far we go. Everyone is gifted with just one move at every point in time, and we all get to make that move, not in turns, but when we choose. We all have the same 24 hours in our day, so what do you do with yours?

Our perfect six is our ability to make a decision to move. So, are you planning? Are you connecting? Are you strategizing? Are you preparing? Above all, are you moving? Even though the board game requires luck, the winner was always the one that was the mover. There is no reason to be stuck on start, because all that is required to move is somewhere within your control. If you don’t know how, be rest assured of this, asking for help is a great move.

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40+FAB Blog

Have you ever been told to make up your mind about something? Usually the one asking has a sense of urgency and possibly irritation as they try to get you to move forward on the issue at hand.

Most husbands should be able to identify with the tension involved in this scenario especially from the experience of having to wait for their wives to put on makeup. She spends time applying the colours and glosses that highlight the features of her beauty or hides the blemishes that detract them. Once she is finished, if she has done a good job, her erstwhile frustrated husband breaks into a gasp and quickly compliments her adornment.

Our minds should be no different as we cannot escape from airing them in public. We will have to, at some point, allow others to see what we are thinking, and invariably who we are. If that is the case, then we must spend time to master the skill of making up our minds so that we display the beauty of our thinking.

If we make it a habit of attending daily to our mind, treating it right, declogging the negative emotions and focussing on the positive ones. If we keep learning, improving and growing, we will have a mind that shows up in all its beauty. We will not have to rely on pretentious masks taking us nowhere, but we will simply and effectively make up our minds resulting in outcomes that take us to our place of fulfilment.

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40+FAB Blog

There is a simple principle in the discipline of project management that involves the arrangement of every task that needs to be accomplished on a timeline. The project manager constantly watches the timeline to ensure what is expected at a defined time is delivered. Quite often, things can slip, but because they are tracked, more often than not, they eventually get completed.

Our lives should be managed no differently. The one thing we all have been given is time, and the more effective we are at looking at what time we have while arranging what we hope to accomplish on our timeline, the more likely we are to succeed.

It is indeed true that no one knows tomorrow, but we do know that tomorrow will be 24 hours and if we are blessed to see it, then we have been given the opportunity to work on what is scheduled on the timeline. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. These patterns do not change and they will yield to us what we planned and expected of them.

Are there likely to be events that throw us off course? Absolutely, but as long as you pick up all your plans and put them back on the timeline, you are guaranteed to win as you reconfigure the timeline and continue from where you are now.

Your dream home is on the other side of that course of study, that sits before the junior role at the fortune 500 company, which also precedes your several promotions off the back of all the hard work and continuous development you took on that got you to become a director at the company. It took a few years, but you always had a sketch of it on your timeline and followed it as best as you could.

There may be several other things that are on your timeline, but as you logically fit them in their proper place, it may take you longer to accomplish that goal, but you will accomplish it if you continue pressing on. Think about it, everything we want to see manifest in our lives is on a timeline. We need to fix them in their proper place and take all the right steps to finally arrive at the state we have desired.

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40+FAB Blog

How do we achieve anything of significance? Most believe that it is only the geniuses among us that accomplish anything, however, Thomas Edison, a man of many inventions said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”.

Everything starts from an idea, an inspiration, but that idea must go through many stages which involve work over time before it becomes a reality. But it doesn’t stop there because once an idea materialises, it needs to be circulated among the community that would use it. It is possible to work really hard on an idea and it doesn’t get very far. Many have worked on great ideas that produced great products, yet no one knew of it.

Actualisation is the whole process of making real what one envisaged would be the result of their inspiration. You must keep anticipating the outcome you desired until it comes to pass in its fullness. The hope, belief and expectation that it will do what it is meant to do is what turns the magic formula of inspiration plus perspiration into actualisation.

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40+FAB Blog

It is often said that the level of faithfulness you show while working in another man’s business will be the same faithfulness you show when you start yours.

On the surface it may seem that we have more of a drive to do our very best for our own thing and less so for someone else’s, but the reality is that our attitude doesn’t discriminate, so a diligent person will be conscientious when working for others or for themselves.

In the search for a successor, or someone who will succeed at what you are handing off, you must remember this, what determines their success is not what you hope they will achieve, but the quality of what they are doing now. Another way of saying it is, what your successor will do when they get into your position will not be more than what their current performance ability is right now at their level.

Wisdom dictates that you choose someone who is already displaying the right attitudes that are needed to fulfil the role that will be turned over to them.

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40+FAB Blog

Have you ever scrambled to complete what you should have done earlier in about a quarter of the time it really takes to do it adequately? If so, then you are familiar with what we call fire fighting. Fires usually start unexpectedly and burn unpredictably as it moves quickly, thus making it so difficult to deal with.

Contrary to popular belief, an actual fire fighter does have a plan, this involves daily exercises and playing out scenarios that could occur in a real fire. They live on high alert and are ready to move quickly to deal with an incident. In order words, they are adequately prepared daily, have long term plans, strategies, and knowledge built up over the years which help them to fight fires. They don’t just wake up and rush into a fire blindly, which is the assumption popularly made about them.

So what is your plan for dealing with the unexpected, unpredictable and swift moving pace of the things coming at you? Do you go from day to day doing what comes to your mind at the moment? Or, are you in a life long process of daily preparation, building up the skills, knowledge and abilities that make you effective at handling life?

Don’t live your life as the proverbial fire fighter who hasn’t got a plan, but rather model yourself after the true fire fighters who are always ready to respond because they do have a plan.

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