Rule your self, rule your world.

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 Leading hand

Back when we were just toddlers, we were led by our hands. We were taught to sit, stand and walk by our parents,  older siblings and the extended members of our families and immediate communities. We were guided, led, supported, mentored, encouraged to always keep at it until we eventually grew to stand on our feet. That is to say, we ultimately learn to lead our own selves, individually. That is a form of leadership.

Leadership. Who is a leader? A leader as defined by Merriam Webster dictionary is one who has authority or commanding influence. A person who directs, guides or show others where to go or what to do in a particular situations at any time or most of the times. According to John C. Maxwell in his book,  The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, the ability to lead is the limiting factor that determines a person’s level of effectiveness in all other areas of life. That is to say, your potentials and the heights to which you are able to reach in life cannot exceed your leadership ability. As conceived by Peter Drucker and Warren Benis and stated by Stephen Covey in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, ‘ “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. You can quickly grasp the important difference between the two if you envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem solvers. They’re cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.  The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies, and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for machete wielders. The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong jungle!” But how do the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond? “Shut up! We’re making progress.”  As individuals, groups, and businesses, we’re often so busy cutting through the undergrowth we don’t even realize we’re in the wrong jungle. And the rapidly changing environment in which we live makes effective leadership more critical than it has ever been — in every aspect of independent and interdependent life.” ‘

So, leadership means assuming or taking responsibility, leading, guiding, showing the way, seeing the end from the beginning and charting the pathway that will lead to that desired end.

Leadership entails a lot of discipline, self sacrifice, accountability, pains guts and gumption. Leadership means, staying awake when you (and most folks) will rather keep on sleeping. And this is the reason why most people run away from it. Leadership is demanding and challenging. When we fail to lead, when we fail to take responsibility and discipline ourselves, we will end up being led by (and also often at the mercies of) those who took responsibility and discipline themselves. And at times, this is not always very pleasant.

When the negative consequences of your failure to discipline yourself begin to weigh on you, whom will we blame? Nobody but yourself. Bye and bye, we suffer when we fail to take responsibility for our life and actions. The unfortunate thing is that innocent people including our loved ones and others who depend on us directly and indirectly for their livelihood suffer as a consequence of our own faults and failures. And what burdens and pains of remorse and regret could be greater than having to confess that – “These people are suffering because of my own failures and faults. My failure to discipline and lead myself and ultimately provide them with the much needed, focus, leadership and direction”? You definitely don’t want to say that at any stage of your life.

What do you do then? Step up your act. And step it up today. Embrace self discipline. Discipline your heart, soul, spirit and body. In other words, lead yourself, rule your spirit. For in the final analysis, how can you ever hope to rule your world when you cannot even rule yourself?

Rule your own self. Rule your world.

Proverbs 25:28
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

leading hand - valiant akinlade

Meditations with C. S. Lewis: A More Clever Devil….

While We're Paused!

C. S. Lewis, best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, was also one of the most profound thinkers of twentieth century Christianity.  Along with J. R. R. Tolkien, he has inspired millions of people, include all of the authors at Lantern Hollow Press.  On Sundays we would like to take a moment to offer up a little Lewis for your consideration.

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“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”

The Abolition of Man (Allegedly*)

To follow up on last week’s meditation on the more famous passage from The Abolition ofMan, this week we have a point of explanation–and while it is doubtful that Lewis actually said these words, they do sum up much of his thinking on the issue.   As a result of the world’s “values-free” philosophy, “education” can more harm than…

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The Measure of A Man’s Life

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Professor Clayton Christensen is my favorite business writer. He take business and high sounding economic terms and dissect them to the practical understanding of the layman. Following in the paths of his other best selling and highly elucidating books on innovation and other subjects, this book is to say the least,  not disappointing at all.

Even though life is not all about business, he (and the co-authors) has severally used simplified and yet highly practical language to propose what should and ought to be the most important measure and approaches to life in general. A highly enlightening book, readers will not be disappointed.

Among other topics, the authors explained how readers can use what they called the deliberate (or planned)  and emergent strategy to discover what their life’s purpose, goal,  pursuits and what might eventually work for them in life. The likelihood of the success of any of these strategies been tested along the way with the statement, “What has to prove true for this to work? ”

Going further, according to them, people in all cadres of life can use the theory of full costs and marginal costs in taking decisions that have overreaching long or short term repercussions in business and in situations that call for moral choices. They explained that, “The marginal cost of doing something “just this once” always seems to be negligible, but the full cost will typically be much higher. Yet unconsciously, we will naturally employ the marginal cost doctrine in our personal lives. A Voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s okay.” And the voice in our head seems to be right; the price of doing something wrong “just this once” usually appears alluringly low. It suckers you in, and you don’t see where that path is ultimately headed or the full cost that the choice entails.”
This book did not set out to just simply teach us morals. But, in our world and times where people see morals as relative, I find the authors’ emphasis in this area towards the end of the book a highly reassuring guide.

Among other things,  my take home from this book is:
Never lower your morals in other to please others or meet their expectations. Do not debase yourself or go contrary to what you know to be your true inner convictions and what is the right thing to do. Why? This is because, according to the authors, it is easier to stay true to your convictions 100% of the time than it is to stay true to them 98% of the time. Why is this so? This is because,  you never can tell where or how far you will go down the drain after that first,  initial,  “Just this one time only” act of compromise.
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All quotations & brief excerpts are from: Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, Karen Dillon;  How Will You Measure Your Life?
©Harper Business, 2012

The Last Days at Forcados High School, by A. H. Mohammed

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As a compulsory reading material, this book came along with the purchased enrollment forms for the year 2015 universities Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam. I wrote the exam over 31 years ago and I was intent on helping my two teenagers with the English paper of their JAMB exam by going through it with them.

The book is fast paced and the characters are well developed IMO. The story is about teens, their ways, thoughts and often lopsided value systems. It reminds us of what can and do happen when parents neglect their responsibilities to their kids. It teaches us not to judge people by what just meet our eyes but rather evaluate them on the basis of the motives behind their actions and possibly the experiences they might have gone through. It talks about teens rivalry and foibles, love, friendship, betrayal, repentance and forgiveness. Eventually, I decided to buy the kindle eBook version even before I finished reading the hard copy.

Through the audacious defense of Efua, the beauty queen of the class, whom the hero, Jimi, failed to stand up for, in her hour of unjust persecution, Jimi was finally redeemed from shame and public opprobrium.

Two lines that stood with me are on the third page before the end of the book, and I quote:

‘I didn’t deserve this from you,’ said Jimi to his friends.
‘Who deserves anything?’ Nene said, murmuring to herself. ‘It’s like grace. God’s grace.’

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