Thursday, 28 February 2013

The disease most AUN students suffer from

I graduated from The American University of Nigeria, a university where you see a lot of folks who suffer from a disease I call “Misplaced priority.” I, too, at certain stage of my life (may) have suffered from this particular disease, but as I grew more mature, I discovered the remedy for this disease that plagued me for the most part of my life (thinking from ‘consequences” to “decisions”).  Now, that doesn’t mean I occasionally don’t fall sick of this disease, I do! But like any reasonable person would do, I never allow this disease to fester before I take my meds.

As a student, I was actively involved in the Student Government Association popularly known as Student Union Government in most, if not all Federal /State Universities in Nigeria. One of the persons who inspired me to go into politics was my cousin, Teinye Akobo, popularly known as TY who was then very influential and active in the system. He was someone I really admired and looked up to because of his passion for students and good governance.  Everywhere you go, you would see Teinye Akobo . Even in the toilet, he was there. It was that bad. But one thing that strikes me till date was how he was able to combine politics, social life and his academics and still graduate with a good grade.

Curious to know his strategy, I dragged him out of his room one evening, and we sat under a tree to talk, just a stone throw from the dorm. Long story short, he made a profound statement that has echoed in my heart till date, “Never ignore that which contributes to the development of your life and that of others. Always know what’s important.”

Ok, enough of myself and Teinye’s gist. Now to the main issue. I had a telephone conversation with a friend yesterday, and we spoke for nearly 2 hours. Our conversation started out with our usual gossip, and “babes talk” and the babe(s) we are eyeing from afar and all those type of gist. Bla bla bla.  You know what am saying… Don’t pretend like you don’t engage in such conversations with close friends. You do!

As we spoke and laughed our bellies out over the phone, he interrupted “You know Steve Harris, the life strategist was in school last weekend right?”  I retorted “of course I do, and am sure the hall must have been full to capacity” He laughed and responded “Are you a learner? Don’t you know AUN students again? They didn’t show up. The people in that hall weren’t up to 70 persons despite the numerous reminder mails that were sent to students” so basically, for the purpose of not generalizing I would say most Aun student knew about this “career talk” with Steve Harris yet some chose not to show up. Pathetic I must say. 

As we spoke, my mind flashed back to the numerous events the university spent thousands of dollars to organize of which over 70 percent of AUN students never showed up and probably considered these events as rubbish. From the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, to Ambassadors of several countries, to Google officials, to Chima Amanda, the Noble Prize winner, To Fela Durotoye, Nigeria most sought after motivational speaker and life coach and most recently Steve Harris, the life strategist and to name a few.

It is shocking and quite unimaginable to know that a typical AUN student would rather attend a concert or show where he or she gets to pay as much as N50, 000 for a table than attend a seminar or an event charged at no cost that would help better their lives. Lest you say I am exaggerating, let me cast your mind back to Fall 2008, the Naeto C show, organized by Shuffle entertainment where some students paid over N50, 000 for VIP sit. And as most AUN students know, the VIP session becomes useless/ irrelevant as students rush in masses to the front row when the artist comes on stage. I still remember how a boy’s laptop was seized by his friend because he was unable pay back the N50, 000 he had borrowed to buy a VIP ticket to impress who? I don’t know. Misplaced priorities. 

I’m pretty sure some of you would remember the show organized by 3 AUN students where MI happened to be the guest artist. You would also remember the bottles of Champaign that was popped that night at Pibz club. Interestingly, on my way to the cafeteria for breakfast the morning after that night the popping went down, I saw a fellow student crying like a baby. This was around 7am in the morning. When I enquired of him why he was crying at that early hour of the day, I found out that he had spent part of his next semester tuition fee popping Champaign that night just to impress people; N270, 000 (Two hundred and seventy thousand Naira). Misplaced Priorities.

Should I mention a few perpons who deferred the semester and used the money meant for their fees to buy a car just to impress who? I’d rather not.

So you wouldn’t think am against having fun or living the “youthful life”, I attended most of this shows back in school and a few of which I even sponsored quietly. At least am not that boring. But one thing I always had at the back of my mind was that more than the “swag” and youthful exuberance will all pull is a word called “substance.” The world don’t respond to your swag, it responds to the stuff you are made of; the capacity you’ve been able to build for yourself over the years. 

While I may sound a bit critical and annoying in this article, let me say here that this article isn’t intended to castigate or humiliate anyone or to brandish myself as one “good guy” but rather to point out the issues that need urgent attention.  I once met a student who was in his sophomore year second semester, who asked me for the way to the main University Library. That’s Peter Okocha hall. Quite unbelievable I know, but it happened.  What more can I say if a student in his sophomore Year didn’t know the way to the main library.

Unapologetic, I would say this disease has eaten deep into most AUN students and most of us alumni’s as well and the quicker we find a cure the better for us. I have come to realize that most AUN students take a lot of important things for granted. Here you are taking for granted big opportunities that the University offers on a platter, while many others out there wishes to have access to what you don’t see as important.

Fine, you may think these guys are just talkers, but what you fail to realize is there are “talkers” and there are” branded talkers.” I mean, what does s/he wants to say that I don’t know or haven’t before? When actually in reality there are many things you are ignorant of. For most people, talk is cheap. But I stand to be corrected. Talk isn’t cheap. You pay big box to have some people speak for 45 min or anchor an event.  Do you know how much Bill Clinton is paid to speak for just 20min? Do your research. Haha! I’m sure by now most of you must have heard how much Kim Kardashian was paid for spending just 20 seconds on stage.  Just in case you haven’t heard, she was paid $500, 000 (Five Hundred thousand Dollars not Naira). That’s about 80 Million naira.

As I conclude this piece, may I be careful to say that it’s imperative people, AUN students especially, know what priority should be placed above another. We should know what matters most and learn not to take for granted that which contributes to the development of our lives. Like a friend of mine by name Debbie always says, “party hard, play hard and work hard’
The comment box is right below for you to express your opinion on this subject
Huntly Anabs

Sunday, 24 February 2013

MORNING DEW: Become Someone’s HERO

I remember a certain period in my life when I was going through a whole lot. I was depressed over so many things and was still able to mask perfectly, the depression I felt on the inside of me.  Usually, when I have a lot going on in my mind, and wouldn’t want to talk to anyone about it, I just listen to good music and sometimes take long walks just to lighten up myself.  

It was on the 1st of May, 2009 while I was walking back to my dorm from the Cafeteria when a shoe maker boy about the age of 17 walked up to me with a letter in his hands. The content of that letter, although filled with grammatical and spelling errors, was quite touching and encouraging as he poured out his heart letting me know how much of an inspiration I have been to him. While I may have inspired this boy in some way, He was my hero for that day. Why? He encouraged me and made me see reasons why I should be thankful for what I have rather than focusing on what I don’t have.

Ever since that day, I have gone out of my way to put smile on people’s faces no matter how difficult it gets. However, I have also made people cry by hurting them. I don’t dispute that fact. But I try in the best way possible to fix things. 

One thing I have come to realize is that behind every smiling face is a struggling human spirit. Oh yes! I know some people won’t agree with this statement. But that’s the honest truth.  Do you know Just a word of encouragement can help someone through the day? Compliment people and make them feel special. I know some people who are experts at making you feel as though you are bigger than life. Those are the kind of people I love to hang around; people who inspire me to become better, not the ones who make me feel small and worthless.

Rather than criticizing people, why not compliment them? Rather than pointing out the bad in people, why not point out the good in them? Rather than tearing people down, why not build them up? Become a master at elevating people with words/action and go out of your way to make their dreams come through. Be a HERO to someone this week and weeks to come. Tell someone how much you appreciate him/her. Show them how much you care about their wellbeing. In doing so, please be sincere about it. 

I’m yet to meet that person who puts a smile on other people’s face and remains sad. If you happen to anyone, please do not hesitate to let me know so maybe we can take that person for a serious checkup. Lol…

So, as you live your life, look for ways to become a blessing to someone.
Huntly Anabs

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The in-between stage of life

I’m usually not the kind of guy who would sit down for hours watching some Hollywood, Nollywood, or BollyWood movie. Nah! Not my kind of thing… I really don’t have that luxury of time. But I recently saw this movie (The ultimate gift) in one of the folders in my laptop and decided to check it out. How it got into my laptop in the first place I don’t know. I guess it has been in that particular folder for months and I didn’t just notice. Well, this particular movie changed my life. This is one of those movies that after watching; you would sit down and think about life in depth. 

The story goes thus;

Jason thought his inheritance was going to be the gift of so much money. Was he ever in for a big surprise? The story sends trust fund baby Jason Stevens on an improbable journey of discovery, having to answer the ultimate question: "What is the relationship between wealth and happiness?" Jason had a very simple relationship with his impossibly wealthy Grandfather, Howard "Red" Stevens. He hated him. No heart-to-heart talks, no warm fuzzies, just cold hard cash. 

He figured that when Red died, the whole "reading of the will" thing would be another simple cash transaction, that his Grandfather's money would allow him to continue living in the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed, which of course was a very luxurious one. But what Red left him was anything but simple. Red instead devised a plan for Jason to experience a crash course on life. Twelve tasks, which Red calls "gifts," each challenging Jason in an improbable way, the accumulation of which would forever change his life.  These tasks were to prep him for what was already his.  It wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience for Jason, but he had no option.
Jason was quite immature, and lacked what it took to manage and grow his inheritance.  So, Jason had to go through series of rigorous tests to enable him grow into maturity and instill in him a virtue called patience. This in-between stage of his life transformed his thinking, making him become a better person,

I’m convinced that we live in a society that constantly focuses on immediate reward and instant gratification. We want whatever it is we so desire to happen right away forgetting that life is in stages and nothing worth having comes quick and easy; for we must understand that in between “here” and “there” (Where we are now and where we are headed) is a bridge called “process” and this in-between stage of life is something you must go through if you are to come out fully developed, not lacking anything. This in-between stage of life is what prepares you for your life’s assignment.

We see so many successful actors, singers, athletes and comedians, who burst upon the public scene and seem to be “overnight and micro waved stars”. But what we didn't see was the in-between stage of their lives; the many years of rehearsing and practicing their craft, the sleepless nights and the prolonged period of paying their dues in minor roles and undesirable venues until they eventually emerged as the overnight success that we believe them to be. We sometimes desire to be like them but wouldn’t want to pay the price they paid to get to where they are.

A lot of people desire to become great but don’t want to go through the required process. You must understand that greatness doesn’t come easy; it cost what it cost. For God will make you go “through it” before you get “to it.” He will take you through His “Maturity school” where He gets to break, groom and frame you into the person He wants you to be. This in-between stage of life can be painful and would require patience and perseverance in order for you to come out complete.

The sad thing is, too many people don’t have the patience to go through God’s maturity school. They go through life trying to make things happen by their own efforts forgetting that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. If you are to live your best life, you must allow God break and remold you into the person He wants you to be. You must allow him mature you and prune from your life the things that stand between you and your real destiny. You must endure the pain that comes from being remolded. Knowing that life is a marathon, not a sprint, you go through each day knowing you have something to learn.

Perhaps you are at this in-between stage of life, and you are at the point of giving up because you feel you may never be able to survive the pain that comes from being broken and framed. I want to encourage you to hold on, endure the pain, be patient, raise your heads high and see the finish line of glory ahead.  We are all in this together. God will never make you go through what He knows you can’t survive. The only reason He allows you go through it is because He knows you can come out of it.

Huntly Anabs
Twitter: @huntlya

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Strength to HEAL again by POD

Life is so beautiful but at the same time it can be so filled with lacerations. Lacerations come from associations, assimilations and exposures to things, places, experiences and ultimately people.  Lacerations produce feelings of pain. Hurt is the resultant effect of deep seated pain.  Some of us hurt because we have to deal with complex issues and complicated people.  How did the issue get so complex? How is it that I am surrounded with such complicated people? Too many questions and yet too little answers.

Associations and exposures are embraced with some degree of expectation and when expectations are shattered, hurt sets in. The degree of the expectation determines how much pain would be experienced. I believe that associations and exposures are choices. The decision to also have an expectation is also a choice which we have control over. However, no one chooses to be hurt.  No one chooses to be rejected. No one chooses to lose a precious loved one or a relationship into which so much investment had been made.

I can see you try to smile through the day and cry yourself to sleep at night. Life doesn’t just seem so fair at this point. You are truly brave though. To think that despite the weight that you carry-some of you are going through some real stuff not Jimmy walked out on Sally or called Sally stupid kind of stuff- you still manage to put on a smile? That’s simply remarkable! I may not be able to explain the enormity of the hurt that you are experiencing right now, but I am sure that you and I share a similar commitment to end this cycle of pain. You simply can’t keep going on like this.

I know so many people opine that the things you go through helps to make you stronger. However, for you, it hasn’t made you stronger. Being hurt too many times has made you feel vulnerable, secluded and weary of the things that brought you pain. If it was a man, you have become weary of the gender. Somehow the things you have experienced are threatening to destroy all your foundations. You feel like you have lost yourself. Friends, lets help you get rid of the pain. Let’s help you see that you are still whole, you can still smile again. This is why I am writing because I still believe.

Frist healing is a choice. You really need to see yourself from a different perspective. I am sorry for sounding like it’s so easy to do-It’s not. Oh but I hate to see you this way. I hate to see you feeling so battered and confused. I have to present the truth and you just have to take it because it’s from a heart that sincerely believes. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life living from a historical perspective of pain. You must decide that you have cried your last tear and make the decision to look ahead and move on.

So many people who have experienced hurt tend to think that they need to change their personality. It’s been proven that sensitive and nice people feel hurt the most. Why would we face so much cruelty despite the fact that we do our best to be caring and nice? You hurt not because you are nice. You hurt because you are sensitive. You however do not need to change any of these attributes. They are a part of your core and actually serve as your identity. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not too nice as I often hear people say.
If you change who you are, you’d hurt yourself even more.  All you need to do is realize that although you cannot control people’s external actions, you have the power to control your internal response to their actions. 

Dear, I know how much you have cried. Maybe you are correct that I do not understand well enough to try to help you. But I am glad I am trying to help you. This only shows you that they lied when they told you there was no one else to trust. My next solution is to encourage getting to trust someone again. You really don’t deserve to live a weird life of not being able to trust. Real functional people get to trust. You are functional. You can trust again. Understand that when people break your trust, their character remains on the line while you move on knowing you gave your best. Life is beautiful and you are worth the time I spent putting this piece together. You are valuable. This hurt you feel will pass and in the end, you will win.  Afterwhile, this won’t hurt you no more. Release the pain and smile again.