August 12 every year is the International Youth Day, and as the world celebrates #YouthDay, it’s a great time to remember the power of one. We seem to forget that “you” are not just a combination of flesh and blood and bones; but that you have a soul, and a spirit. In your spirit is light that should light up the world around you with sound character.
You don’t have to complain about darkness, just turn on the light in you. You, like a little candle, is all that is needed to bring light in the dark. But if you think your light is too weak and you don’t shine it, the darkness will persist. Sound character is the component of the light in you, so it is your real essence to light up your world. Never underestimate that power of “you.”
It Gets Lonely, But It Doesn’t Matter
You are going to be alone when you start shining this light. That should not deter you in anyway; you need to know that one person will come with their own light before others will see that they have light too, and will be inspired to turn it on. When you start to shine sound character, it will get lonely but it does not matter.
You must let your focus be clearly fixed on the multiplier effect of your light inspiring your family, community, state, nation, continent and eventually the whole world. When you think you are alone, is when you should not allow your light go off. Being alone suggests that your light cannot go too far, but that will happen if you refuse to shine it. As you forge ahead with your light, others will join you with theirs.
You must know your role at any particular place, time and stage of life. Ability to know your role helps you take a stand when it matters. The challenges you see, and the solutions that can be proffered, show you your role in the society.
The problems you see are not just for you to complain, but rather to solve by shining your light in that area. Be poised to shine your light. Never wait till its popular to shine your light, shine your light all the same. Don’t wait for the Likes, work to keep shining your light. Your light doesn’t need the Likes to shine, your light needs sound character to shine. It is in you, turn it on.
You Can Inspire a Nation!
You can inspire a Nation. Looking at the odds, and not looking at the light inside of you is a great disservice to the Nation. You only need to get started, Sound character begins with you. Everyone appreciates light when they see it, give them that joy by shining your light. Gradually, you will see them bring out their own light, and turn it on. But if you had refused to light up, they may have withheld theirs thinking what can their little efforts matter. It does matter; it can inspire a nation! Don’t underestimate the power of one – “YOU!”
Author & Sound Character Coach
We have come to a point as a nation where we should change. Things should be better, and can be better if we decide to change. The path to change is a tough one, but one in which we must get to sooner than later. This change is not just about the people in leadership, it is about we the people.
Truly, it is what we the people allows that happens in leadership. For example, if a relative assumes a leadership position, and his family relatives and associates do not make or expect unusual demands of such person, that sends a very clear signal to the leader not to go overboard or abuse the office to please anyone. While we expect leaders who are clear-minded, and would do the right things against all pressure, their leadership will be a lot better if the people around them are meritorious in mind. We the people must get back to a meritorious way of living, and that can only happen as we imbibe sound character.
Change, a Choice we have to Make
The path to change beckons on us all. The change we must pursue is largely in the area of educating the minds of the people not to depend on handouts. However, this becomes very, very challenging when enabling environments have not been created for the people to thrive. While it is a sad pill to swallow, the democratic process in Nigeria and the current practices around it have been a major setback to creation of the desired environments. While the concept of government for the people by the people sounds good on paper, the big lacuna is “who are the people?” When the people are impoverished, it takes extra-normal power for them to be meritorious in mind. But the point is, we do not need extra-normal power to do normal things. We must choose to educate our minds.
A Change of the Poverty Mindset
The change we must seek as a people is a change of the poverty mindset. This is the hard work we need to commit to. Imagine over 50 years of being ‘educated’ to be poor in mind by processes and practices that obviate the normal course of living? That’s why we talked about the #50 Year Challenge. This is challenging every Nigerian to commit to sound character over the next 50 years, since we cannot change this nation overnight. The change we need is mainly in the aspect of character virtue education of Nigerians aged 0 to 24 years, which is 62% of the population. (Source: World FactBook). Poverty mindset is not, not having money; it is not having sound character! So the work is cut out majorly for Parents and Teachers.
We will see and Live in the Change
If we work to imbibe sound character strengths in Nigerians aged 0 – 24 years, over the next 50 years, we will certainly rebuild this Nation. The pain is going to be much, but the pain of change that produces sound character is far less than the gain. This is also a cry to Nigerians in leadership, especially those 55 years and above, to please be conscious of the aged 0 to 24 years, kindly live everyday to leave for them a legacy of sound character.
Author & Sound Character Coach
“A good name is better than silver and gold.” Just where has this golden counsel disappeared to? The soul of Nigeria is begging to be free from the shame of corruption that has besieged her. Where has living to have a good name disappeared to? We have emerged into a world of moral bankruptcy that seems to desire riches rather than good names. Great riches chosen at the expense of a good name will end up as poverty. We must educate our world that a good name is still more desirable than riches. Sound Character is the component for a good name. We must make good names appealing again, and let the young ones know that a good name is still more honourable than riches.
A Fundamental Assignment for Parents & Guardians
While parenting starts from being biological (giving birth) / adoption to transactional (paying fees) and transformational (forming right values), the ultimate assignment for parents is to inculcate in their children the need for a good name. Parents themselves must epitomize good name. Regardless of parents’ economic or social status, they must not fail to model good names. A culture where success is largely seen in terms of money is one that will not value a good name. While we call on government to create an enabling environment so the people do not have to fight for survival, we call on parents to model good names to their children very deliberately; this way regardless of the rot in society a critical mass will be raised who pursue good names.Parents that model good names for their children will live a really fulfilling life.
Taking on a Good Name
We all have a responsibility to take on a good name. While parents have done what they have done, it is up to us to do what we should do to have good names. True pleasure, true wealth, true honour is in having a good name. Let your name be spelt with sound character. When you work for a good name as hard as you work for great riches, you will find purpose. Taking on a good name is a function of sound character strengths; and it starts in the little, little things of life. Do not be anxious for a successful life, but ensure every moment is laced with sound character, and you will end up with a good name.
Imagine a Nation of Good Names
We the people must determine to make this nation a nation of good names. A nation of good names is a truly wealthy nation. It will be a nation where the leaders lead for the common good. It will be a nation where the people live for the common good. The poverty or true prosperity of a nation is a function of how they embrace sound character in all they do.In essence, a nation of good names will be an enviable one in the committee of nations.
Author & Sound Character Coach
Why is the adjective ‘true’ added to success? This is because a lot of things have been attributed as success which truly are not; coupled with the fact that we have emerged into a social media, or better put, “instant media” world. And suddenly, we can’t wait any more. Everything must happen “now!”. Every young person is now concerned with the “end” at the expense of the “means.” Get-rich quick; fame even at the expense of shame; living large and lavish have now become the pursuit of most young people. We need a mass action to change this mindset. We need a mass action for sound character. Any success devoid of sound character is at best a failure. Anything achieved which is not through honesty is not true success. We must change the cliché from “the end justifies the means” to “the end must be justified by a honest means.”
The Disservice of a Warped Meaning of Success
An evident damage has been done to our society by celebrating things that really are “no success”. The “instant success mindset” has reduced the quality of everything we do. The impact can be seen in the four key pillars of society – family, education, religion and the media. For the family unit for instance, the situation where young men think they must attain a level of ‘so-called success’ at any cost so as to impress the would-be wives before getting married, and also where the young ladies are waiting to be impressed with material wealth, sets a wrong success metrics for the family. “Instant success” has led to a collateral damage in education; a situation where a lot of students only think of passing examinations, and not seeking knowledge. The quality of outputs from our pulpits and the media also reflects the disservice that the “instant success” mindset has had on this nation.
Redefining Success for Nigerians
We must inspire the nation Nigeria back to true success. We Nigerians must redefine true success. True success is finding and fulfilling your work i.e. your purpose for living. The ‘things’ that come as a result of fulfilling your work is not the success; success is fulfilling your work on earth. Your work is the value you are to add to the world, the platform for delivering that is sound character. So, more important than a desire for success, should be a desire for work. A mindset to find purpose early in life and pursue it to the point of success should be what parents must work with their children to achieve. The education curriculum must include this; the pulpits must emphasize it while the media must celebrate it. True celebrity is a product of sound character.
Who Gains When Success is Truly Defined
The nation, meaning the people, gains when success is defined in the right context. Success is a function of honest work built on sound character, and nothing else. We need a mass action for sound character, and must employ every pillar of society to achieve this. Everybody gains when everybody lives by sound character.
We must re-define true success!
Author & Sound Character Coach