Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Your Marks, Get Set, Marry!



A few years ago, I participated in a marriage seminar where something happened that really struck me. After concluding a session titled ‘Like Father like Son, like Mother like Daughter’, the facilitator asked the audience to raise their hands if they wanted marriages that were (at most) as happy as their parents’. We were at least 350 young people in the audience, and only one lady raised her hand.

Today I pose that same question to you. Do you want a marriage that is (at most) as happy as your parents’?
 

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I am grateful for my parents, both of whom are Pastors. Among other things, I have learnt a lot from various marriage-counselling sessions they have ‘hosted’ over the years. I have seen marriages disintegrate, and worst of all – I have seen children suffer the effects of ‘failed’ marriages. Failed marriages are real, and they are a scary prospect!
 

I have seen husbands splurge on luxuries while their wives went without necessities! I have seen wives refuse to speak to their husbands for weeks!! I have seen husbands reduce their wives to the role of ‘cook and sex-slave’ – regardless of her level of education!!!
 

All these people were very much in love with their spouses at some point. They used phrases like “I love you tori torun”, called themselves “baby” and “bobo”, and shared plans for a ‘great future’!
 

So, what happened?
 

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The curse of youth is to assume that we are magically exempt from the problems of our parents. ‘Falling’ in love is magical, and we get the feeling that ‘this’ is meant to be and we are destined to live happily ever after. But then, time passes and the magic recedes. Even with the best intentions - the ‘feeling’ continues to die, problems creep in, resentments build and communication breaks down. The magic of love is lost.
 

Good intentions are never enough.
 

If we are to build happy marriages, different from many of those we see around – we need to learn, and work to do things differently. Teachers can teach what we need to know – but the responsibility to ‘do’ remains ours.
 

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In ‘On Your Marks, Get Set, Marry!’ Temitope Akinyemi attempts to teach what we need to know.
 

Across fifty-five chapters, she discusses themes as diverse as ‘cooking’, ‘arguments’ and conflict resolution, mentoring, ‘baggage’ and ‘emotional clutter’ from previous relationships, and ‘communication’. In the staccato style that is necessary to cut through the ‘noise’ that badgers us from all sides today – she uses phrases like “stop sulking, grow up!” “Guy, if you can’t handle the thought of a more successful wife, you’re yet to be ready for marriage” and “If your opinion doesn’t count in the relationship, then your presence doesn’t count either”.
 

She addresses men who believe women are only good for food and sex; women who have refused to marry because they await tall, dark, handsome (and rich) dudes; and couples that go into debt to run big wedding ceremonies – then cannot afford amenities like a refrigerator and cable-TV after the ceremony. She also addresses couples who confuse sex with love; the situation of “mama’s boys”; and high maintenance relationships.
 

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Are you single and ready to mingle? Read through the book, think over it, and allow your thoughts to influence your actions accordingly. Are you in a ‘maritally-intended relationship’? Study through the book with your partner, and strike issues at their roots even before they arise. Are you married already? Read through the book with your spouse, and discuss the themes in relationship to your marriage. Do you know someone who is getting married soon? Buy their aso-ebi, make plans to buy them that Haier Thermocool cooler, and yes – buy them a copy of the book before the wedding!
 

Remember, good intentions are never enough!
 

Godspeed!
 

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Call Koye on 08168930124 (MTN) or Busola on 08153100374 (Glo) to order copies.
A few paraphrases are taken from 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' by John Gray

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reinvent Yourself: Learn (7/7)



It is nine days today since the first post in this series. Six days out of those nine, we have discussed simple ways to reinvent ourselves. Before we wrap this up today, I thought we would do well to consider a re-cap.

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In ‘Connect’, we discussed alternative uses for digital media that would see us making real connections, earning permissions, and gaining insights from people we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to interact with.

In ‘Be Generous’, we discussed the power of ‘free’. Since it does not cost money to play, we have the ability to give before we get. We can write essays, distribute free eBooks, and upload music tracks – gaining satisfaction and name-recognition in the process.

In ‘Make Art’, we discussed the need to stand out by being original. In a world where so much badgers people for their attention, you, your product, your service, or your brand need to be distinctive!

In ‘Acknowledge the Lizard’, we discussed the fact that most of us do not ‘make art’ because our ‘lizard brain’ is afraid of being laughed at. So what do we do? We acknowledge the lizard, and then walk to the podium and do the work!

In ‘Ship’, we discussed the fact that good intentions never get us anywhere. No one builds a reputation on what they are going to do. Quit obsessing. Ship! Execute! Do!

In ‘Fail’, we said that we should not let the fear of failure hold us back from trying. We should learn to embrace ‘failure’ as just another step on the path to finding out what works. We not only acknowledge the lizard – we also challenge it!

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In many ways, the seventh ‘pillar’ is the key to the other six.

It is simply amazing how fast the world is changing today. Methods and paths to achieve success and growth are continuously evolving, and what worked a decade ago will not necessarily work today. To bring a ‘rigid’ mindset to ‘work’ today is to court certain failure.

These days, school is never over. School is now. School is blogs and experiments and experiences and the constant failure of shipping and learning.

Reading through this series is just another step in the right direction. The path to reinventing ourselves is just that – a path. One of the greatest opportunities of our time is to discard what we think we know, and instead learn what we need to learn. Every single day.

PS:
Excerpts and paraphrases from Seth Godin’s manifesto – Brainwashed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reinvent Yourself: Fail (6/7)



I must start this post by apologizing for the abrupt silence. I have been quite busy and have not had time to write. I am sorry.

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The story of Edison’s attempt to find a suitable filament for the incandescent lamp is widely known. After trying hundreds of elements with no real success, a reporter from the New York Times asked if he had failed. His response, paraphrased as follows, was classic: “I have not failed 700 times. I have only found 700 ways NOT to build a light-bulb”.

That response is very instructive of the right perspective to take when we do not get expected results – a situation also known as failure. We do not give up and stop trying – we simply try differently!

Seth says, “A key part of doing is the ability to fail. The order of the world today demands that we have the ability to fail, often and with grace – and in public!”

If you had given up on your attempts to write the alphabet in Kindergarten because you tried and failed so many times, you would not write so well today – never mind your ugly handwriting. (Yes, the only people I know who have fine handwritings are my not-so-humble self and Durodola Ibidun).

Is there anything you do very well today? Chances are you failed repeatedly on your quest to becoming good at it. Driving, playing the guitar, making handbags, sewing clothes and everything except innate talents? We ‘failed’ at these things before, so why are we still afraid?

I have a simple theory. Failure is embarrassing! When we fail, particularly in public, people laugh at us. When they laugh at us, we feel bad. Because we do not want to feel bad, we don’t want to fail; because we don’t want to fail, we don’t try. So we don’t ask that girl out, we talk about the weather rather than sell our idea to a potential sponsor…etc.

We must remember: we have not failed when we learn from our attempts and do things differently on the next pass. Do not let the fear of failure hold you back. Create art, and ship it!

Challenge the lizard!