I’d still give thanks…
Great leaders often have great egos, and therein lies great danger. In ‘The Empowered Communicator’, Calvin Miller uses the form of a letter to describe this problem and the negative impact it has:
‘Dear speaker, your ego has become a wall between yourself and me. You’re not really concerned about me, are you? You’re mostly concerned about whether or not this speech is really working…about whether or not you’re doing a good job. You’re really afraid that I will not applaud, aren’t you? You’re afraid that I won’t laugh at your jokes or cry over your emotional anecdotes. You’re so caught up in the issue of how I’m going to receive your speech, you haven’t thought much about me at all. I might have loved you, but you’re so caught up in self-love that mine is really unnecessary. If I don’t give you my attention it’s because I feel so unnecessary here. When I see you at the microphone, I see Narcissus at his mirror… Is your tie straight? Is your hair straight? Is your deportment impeccable? Is your phraseology perfect? You seem in control of everything, but your audience. You see everything so well, but us. But this blindness to us, I’m afraid, has made us deaf to you. We must go now. Sorry. Call us sometime later. We’ll come back to you when you’re real enough to see us… after your dreams have been shattered… after your heart has been broken… after your arrogance has been wrecked with despair. Then there will be room for all of us in your world. Then you won’t care if we applaud your brilliance. You’ll be one of us.’
Ref: The Word for Today; 19th April 2015.
There was something about Paul…
Maybe it was his blue eyes…
Or his humanitarian work.
His gentle smile…
Or his riveting talent.
His humble beginnings…
Or his passion for marine life.
His saviour complex..
Or the fact that he acted an entire movie in a car.
His high spirits…
Or his love for dogs.
His simple lifestyle…
Or his final curtain call in Furious 7.
Or the fact that on his last ride, he actually had just finished reaching out.
His individual strength…
Or the emotional roller-coaster his crew and brothers faced, acting without him.
The memories his movies bring…
Or the blend of ethereal soul in his beautifully-lyriced tribute song.
There are not many actors whose absence touched me like Paul Walker did.
And, now… maybe I know why.
We don’t have all the time in the world…
Make a difference today.
If you didn’t smile throughout Coldplay’s ‘Sky Full of Stars’ Video, your normalcy might need to be questioned…
I love the ambience that emerges at the end of every year… regular activities come to a weird, screeching drag… clients stop replying mails… sometimes, vacation autoresponder mails take their place… suddenly, people become all jolly and greet-y… fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and lovers travel from far and wide back to the place called home, even though for a moment… things are all warm and fuzzy inside… people sleep far more hours than they could possibly dare on regular days… chickens dangle helplessly from the firm grips of passers-by… cheap fireworks light up the air… phones buzz with recycled and re-worded festive-season messages… the escalators in shopping malls resemble secondary school staircases immediately after a Monday-morning assembly… consumer goods retailers, entertainment destinations and eateries experience huge, upward sales spikes…
And the stories go on and on…
You know, people always advise that, at the end of the year, you’ve gotta sit down and take a long, hard, analytical look at the past 11+ months and figure out stuff… like what you did right… what you did wrong… what you could have done better and stuff…?
Well, I think that’s lame.
Just kidding. It’s totally necessary.
2014 has been an awesome year. It’s been a year of random discovery, new beginnings, hard lessons, bold steps, blinding reality, a number of firsts, weird laziness (I can count the number of times I jogged this year on less than 10 fingers), but generally, a year that could be greatly improved upon.
Although work was a major part of my 2014, I’d keep this post as work-free as possible… Maybe save it for later.
So, let’s see… what to talk about besides work?… *long, awkward silence…*
Yes. Favorites. In no particular order, here are my 2014 favorites:
Favourite song: Jeez. This is hard. I’d have to say no answer. Too much of a commitment.
Favorite video: Darwin Deez: My DNA.
Favorite artiste: Adam Young.
Favorite Animal: Guinea Pigs
Favorite Mode of Communication: SMS
Favorite Talk Show Host: Jimmy Fallon
Favorite Comedy Skit: Continental Breakfast (Key & Peele)
Favorite Traffic Radio Station: My 6-CD Changer
Most-visited Site: HBR
Favorite Movie: Edge of Tomorrow
Favorite Book: What the Dog Saw – Malcolm Gladwell
Best workout song: Man Up Anthem (116 Clique ft Lecrae, Trip Lee, Kb, Tedashii, Pro, Andy Mineo and Sho Baraka)
Indulgence of the Year: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition; PS4.
Favorite Hangout Spot: The office (Yeah, it’s fun like that)
Most awesome experience: Travelling 5 Northern states in 3 days by road.
Most frustrating experience: Getting the new driver’s license.
Most inspiring Bible Verse: Romans 12:1
Best Movie Song: Atlas – Gone, Gone, Gone – Phillip Phillips (Amazing Spiderman 2)
Best Animation Song: I will survive (Rio 2)
Best Game Theme Song: Everybody wants to rule the world – Lorde (Assassin’s Creed)
Favorite Band: Switchfoot.
Best use of Synth Effects: Wolf Bite – Owl City
Best Old-School Artiste: Frank Sinatra
Best “I don’t know why this song keeps getting to me” Song: Just James – J Moss.
There’s a million other things, moments and experience I really loved in 2014, and maybe I’d update this list before the year runs out, but I guess that’d be all for now.
And finally, thanks for being part of my 2014. Yup, I’m talking about you. Yeah. You with the eyeball.
Just recently, while driving in traffic and flicking aimlessly through radio stations, I heard the most beautiful song ever. First, Olisa Adibua of Beat FM played a couple of Nigerian covers for the song, and then the actual song itself.
And the words got to me.
Anyways, contrary to my usual habit of writing down any of the words that I could pick up from the song to Google later on (that’s how I discovered a huge chunk of the songs and artistes in my playlist), I had the time to memorize just one phrase.
It turned out to be Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’.
So, I’ve rocked the song since then, and this evening, while running a Google search on Ed, I stumbled on the music video.
Awesome video. But that’s not what this post is about.
Before the video played, YouTube served me an ad. It was almost 5 minutes in length, and although I usually skip long videos, I stayed on this one a bit:
And it brought me to tears. The tears didn’t reach my face though… it just soaked my eyeballs… (this is my sorry attempt at trying to be manly).
Anyways, I really love the way video advertising is going. It’s gonna be a huge part of 2015. But it’s not just gonna be about selling products – it’s gonna be about selling a story… selling a dream… selling golden and irreplaceable moments… selling hope. At some point, the product would not matter anymore… not as much as the movement.
I mean… after seeing the video, would you believe me if I said Western Union sells just plain old, ordinary money transfer, right?
I’m just thinking out loud.
Indeed, I’d never look at a four-pronged pocket square the same way again.
Today, 6:07pm: Mostly due to the incessant rumbling in my tumbling, I recall that I haven’t eaten anything since morning, except for a Sausage Roll (Gala) that I forcefully stole from a staff after a client meeting, and the Cabin biscuits that I dug out from the office locker upon my return from the meeting. So, as the responsible body owner that I am, I decide to go get something to eat.
6:18pm: Walking along my office street leading into Allen Road, I decide to call a friend of mine to lay my burdens (of how hard it is to find decent talent in Nigeria) upon him, asking if he could help us scout for new recruits. I walk into the Allen Avenue main-road and see the usual, long evening traffic. Something seems a little off though – just a few cars have their engine running. Maybe just a coincidence. Still on the call, the network decides to misbehave. *** was at it again. I lose the call and use the next 2-4 minutes trying to reconnect, all the while pacing the front porch of the eatery that I’m gonna get chow.
6:23pm: I’m done with my call. On the other side of the road, the car engines are still off. I walk into the restaurant and order something rewarding – Two wraps of Fufu with Vegetable and Fish. No takeaway this time. I need some reflective, alone, non-office time – just me and my chow. There’s no Malt, so I decide not to get any other drink.
6:30pm: Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Down goes the chow. It isn’t microwave-warmed but who cares? Hunger knows no temperature. I absent-mindedly watch the Allen traffic. Nothing seems to be wrong. Then I recall the order of the cars I saw during my phone call – a black Ford Explorer, a Lemon-Green Toyota Camry, a Dark-Green Mini-Jeep (couldn’t catch the brand) and a Black Honda Civic. The same cars still sit idly there. “Maybe it’s just another happy coincidence,” I think to myself.
Then the dude in the Mini-Jeep steps out.
He starts stretching. Taking air. Roaming the tiny range between his car door and the demarcating road kerb.
I’m a slow eater (most of the time), so time flies, naturally. Nothing to entertain me but the random stretching dude and a bunch of static rides. I’m thankful that I’m not in that traffic, but then it starts to worry me.
6:43pm: Done with chow, I order a takeaway snack. The lady at the till takes forever to get change for me. No pressure, I tell myself. Inner peace… (it’s weird, but a fat Panda always comes to mind when I’m trying to fake inner peace).
Then I hear a rev of hope.
6:49pm: The rumbling of car engines. The inaudible and inexplicable aura of expectation oozing from the previously-frustrated motorists. And then they move! Yes, they move!! Finally!!! Yeah!!!!!.. yea… wait.
They move, but not for long. The cars screech sadly back to a halt.
Since I’m already a part of these guys’ reality show, I decide to estimate how many metres they moved. Gosh. I can categorically say that they moved the equivalent distance of the single pace of a bamboo-stick-legged masquerade.
Give or take, three or four complete rotations of their Goodyear tyres.
And they are back again. Stand still. The dude in the jeep, without hesitation, jumps out again. Seems he really loves the thrill of idle traffic. Or maybe that’s how it’s been for the past hour. The least he can do is revel in the moment.
I had a camp crush.
Oh, Sorry. My apologies. Let me give you a little background information first…
I did my national youth service camp in a distant northern Nigerian state – A long, long time ago… Like, a really long time ago!
Background information over.
I had a camp crush.
You guys know how camp works now… 3 weeks of exhaustively routine activity. The least I could do was have a camp crush. Cut me some slack here.
Dark, slim and really pretty, she wore braids (well, almost all the girls in camp did…), was extremely reserved and refreshingly well-composed (refreshingly, because a terribly huge percentage of the camp girls were just plain razz). She was in platoon 3 (I was in 2…) and she happened to be one of her platoon’s two ‘sub-commanders’ (I really don’t know the army lingo for that, but she was one of the two people leading her platoon’s parade group, apart from the platoon commander).
A year older than me, (well, more than 95% of campers were older than me… don’t be so quick to judge), she studied accounting in one of the most popular schools in Nigeria (and no, I wasn’t stalking her that badly – they usually announce the names, schools and birthdays of the platoon commanders on parade day).
She was a decent girl. Funny thing is, I don’t recall her name. How embarrassing.
Anyways, I always encountered my camp crush in a number of places throughout camp. And her behavior was always consistent and impressive.
Just the way I liked it.
But here’s the thing…
I never spoke to her. Or approached her. Or even heard her voice.
In my room (sorry, extra-large hall) of over 210 boys, only 1 guy knew about my camp crush. I think his name was Segun. I told him towards the end of camp . And I did so because he was in her platoon, and in my ‘grand scheme of things’, I needed him to help me do something.
A few days to the end of camp, I wrote a letter.
It was a simple letter… If I recall properly, here’s part of what I wrote:
You seem like a really decent, well-behaved and quiet-spirited young lady (maybe a little too quiet sha)…
Keep it up.
BTW, your about-turns are really terrible. You should consider turning to the left instead of right for a change… 🙂 ”
– Truly, A distant admirer. (then I wrote the last 3 digits of my NYSC number.)
I sealed the letter with a stapler (heaven knows where I got that stapler from…) and gave it to my ‘alarina’ to help deliver it to her. So, he did. Well, I never really asked what happened, but he said she read it and smiled.
Later that day, my buddy, out of curiosity, asked me a question…
“if you like her, why not go talk to her?”
And my answer was simple…
“Well, I don’t like starting stuff that I can’t finish”
And that was it. I was over my camp crush.
Seriously, as much as it seemed like it, this wasn’t me chickening out or something…
The thing is, honestly, I already had someone back at home, and as much as the idea of getting involved with another girl might have, frankly, been fun (tsk tsk, men), it wasn’t really worth my time. Mind you, there was really no moral-high-ground-standing here.
It was just plain logic.
I think we’re all called to finish the things we start. And start the things we can finish. Along the way, things might not turn out as planned, they might turn out better, or worse… or maybe not even work out at all. But I think it’s still worth putting in the effort.
So, yeah, the lesson for today is really simple – start what you can finish. Simple advice.
Afterword: Yes, if you wonder what happened to my camp crush, well, nothing much. I have a video of the entire camp, and every ‘once in a blue moon’ when I watch the video, I always show anyone who cares to listen, who my camp crush was…
*pauses VLC player* “Yes, that’s her! That’s her!!!
I believe that the moment we realize we’re not alone… that single moment… turns out to be the most liberating discovery in the world. Suddenly, we don’t have to strive so much. In our imperfection, He is made perfect. In our weakness, He gives us strength. And yes, It’s Jesus I speak of. And He’s real. Very real.
That’s what I believe.
Need I say more?