Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Random Thoughts: On Indiscipline in Nigeria

If indiscipline were human, it would probably be Nigerian. It lives here already.

You see it when bus drivers park indiscriminately on the right lane to pick and discharge passengers, slowing traffic to a crawl as all other drivers are forced to make do with one lane.

You see it when people glance down long queues at banks, airports, or even places of worship - then head straight to the front.

You see it when citizens make unsafe highway crossings right under pedestrian bridges, endangering their entire lives to save a few minutes.

You see it when people openly demand bribes, gifts, and 'settlement' before they do the jobs they are already paid to do.

You see it everywhere, if you look well enough.


Slowly but surely, indiscipline has become the norm here. People are applauded as 'smart' for gaming the system; those who comply with rules are derided as 'dumb'. It is worrisome, and I don't think we should continue like this. There is a lot more we could achieve as a nation, and our overall quality of life would definitely be better for it, if we would be more disciplined.

Seeing as we lack the power to wave a magic wand and change everyone at once, what can you and I do?

First - we can role-model disciplined behaviour. Use pedestrian bridges. Join queues. Do your job without requesting kickbacks. Treat other citizens respectfully. Drive responsibly. Be disciplined! Show people that things can be done without breaking the law.

Bottoms-up change in a society like ours where indiscipline is strongly entrenched is going to be very slow and exceedingly difficult, but it can be done. Of course, things will move along much faster with a few targeted top-down initiatives (like a modernized War Against Indiscipline and an impartial war on corruption).

Two - speak up for disciplined behaviour, and against indisciplined behaviour. Recognize and compliment people who respect the rules and conduct themselves in an orderly manner. Speak up when people don't. You don't have to be aggressive. Gauge the situation, and speak up calmly and respectfully. If you sense you might be in any danger, then just let it slide.

We can make a better nation, together.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Birthday Report: Mind Blown, Thank You!

Yesterday was amazing.

Without doubt, this was my best birthday yet! I stepped into the day excited, looking forward to a good day; I got a great day! I returned home wishing my birthday could last 48 hours so I could experience all the excitement, joy, and celebration again! I can't believe I have to wait another 365 days before it's my birthday again.

I am reminded that God has blessed me with amazing relationships, in my family and with my friends. I appreciate everyone who helped me feel special and loved yesterday. Special thanks to Busola, who made me a cake so lovely I did not want to cut it, went the extra mile to surprise me at the office, and gave me gifts of the variety one keeps for a lifetime. I appreciate my siblings and parents; there is nothing like celebrating your birthday with the people who have always known you.

Who conducts their own birthday song? Me - of course :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

I’m starting with this picture because I think it is funny. Foluso Ajayi dug it up yesterday, and my Facebook friends seem to think it is funny too. I’m doing a few things in this picture I’ll most likely never do again: striking a hilarious pose, wearing green ‘canvas’, and generally trying hard to look like an Ibadan boy. Apart from highlighting how much I have grown, this picture does not contribute further to this post.
This picture was taken about a year after the first. I had gone up the Old Buka hill at the Obafemi Awolowo University with friends, and I was the designated photographer. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I took it, but I am glad I did. It is one of my favourite pictures of myself. It reminds me of a time that sometimes seems far away, a time when I had few worries, even fewer fears, and when I genuinely believed I could help heal the world.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Transform Your Effectiveness: Tying Up Loose Ends (4/4)

It’s been four weeks since the first post in this series. I struggled to decide which to start with between ‘Eating Healthy’ and ‘Planning’, but chose ‘Eating Healthy’ after concluding the best plans cannot be executed by a sick body. I then shared in the third post how the best plans don’t amount to anything if they’re not excellently executed.

In closing the series today, I intend to tie up some loose ends and answer some of the questions I was asked. For readers who seek a more comprehensive discourse, I strongly recommend the following two books: ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey, and ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen.


Why ‘effectiveness’, instead of ‘efficiency’ or ‘productivity’? These words are similar, but mean slightly different things. Productivity and efficiency define the production of results with minimal waste, but do not measure if these results are the intended ones; effectiveness does. I have spent days analysing data, identifying patterns, and drawing conclusions – to later find that I misunderstood the original requests or business needs. I was productive and probably efficient, but was I effective? No.

I chose ‘effectiveness’ because it incorporates an understanding and alignment of what is really important. Alignment, a clear understanding of the objectives, is really important in the context of work.