2018 — another year has gone by. The seconds have ticked into minutes, and minutes rolled into hours, and hours to days, days turn to months, and this year is finally at its end. I have had my fair share of highs and lows, but even more importantly, I eagerly look forward to 2019 as I reflect on some key life lessons and principles I imbibed or at least, gleaned in 2018.
Define your Goals
Set your goal(s), make it crystal clear and align all your resources towards it. Think about it every minute of the day and let it govern your activities. It should determine the social events you attend, your network of friends, partners, allies, etc. When you do this passionately and consistently, “the universe will conspire in your favour”. For now, the seemingly insurmountable challenges of achieving your set goals should be the least of your worries, because only two things matter: ‘Is it (your goal) worth the sacrifice?’, and ‘are you willing to pay the price?’. Answer a definitive ‘Yes’ to both questions and your end will be met.
Image is Everything
The world interacts with you based on the image you successfully project. Be true to your persona only and be flexible to ensure that you’re not held hostage by previously projected images.
Leadership is Tough
Nothing sufficiently prepares you for the emotional and mental drain that comes with the privileged responsibility of leading others. As you rise, you seemingly hold the success, failure, opportunities and difficulties of many who may often react towards you in ways that are hardly logical. Building leadership capacity to relate with people with patience, maturity as well as dexterity in the application of high-level emotional intelligence is most helpful to navigate leadership challenges at the top.
Mediocrity is the Enemy
Any leader that tolerates mediocrity, condones failure and ignores success is sure to lead a failed army. Doing the opposite makes you largely unpopular but keeps you on the path to success.
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Hate the Game, not the Player
Conduct your business just like politics — don’t take things personal. People typically act based on their interest/loyalty. Be wise, track intentions and interests, and then predict peoples’ actions accordingly.
Be both a Leader and Manager
Lead and manage strategically. Always assign tasks that you can do yourself and execute alone if all your lieutenants fail to deliver.
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History is a Great Teacher
History repeatedly narrates the tales and cycles of the greats and empires that fall, while underdogs rise time and time again. To me, this represents the greatest opportunity of life — a choice to either defend or attack, depending on your state. When on top, leave nothing to chance. When under, work with all you have to change the status quo.
It is often “The Little Foxes”
Great men often die from small and insignificant attacks. Never allow little things lie. Kill those casual unhealthy habits, dislodge weak adversaries, refuse to allow a slight pain or itch fester. Address the big issues and don’t let the simple matters slide because they will come back to haunt you.
Depth is the Key to Lasting Success
How far are you willing to go? Like a submarine, build extensively below the radar. Cover all basis, prepare for all angles, act out all possible scenarios, learn beyond the requirement, build depth beyond your rivals — it’s one of the greatest protection you can build. So again I ask: How far are you willing to go?
See It and It’s Yours to Keep
Anything the mind can see, the mind can give. All that is required is for you to believe. Impossible things have been done before. More challenging tasks are being achieved. Many more difficult exploits will yet be conquered. You just have to believe to make it happen.
Beware of the three witches — Greed, Anger and Envy. Build immunity towards them and protect yourself from them in other people. They intoxicate the mind and take over your being to certain reins.
Gratitude is a potent strategy. Use it always, excessively and continuously. The only sin of gratitude is not showing it.
I know you’re wondering why but make sure you sleep. Sleep some more (and for some people, probably a bit more). It fuels and enhances your mental agility, and your mind is your greatest asset. Without sleep, you cannot function at your optimal capacity. Don’t ask me how long I sleep; I am still learning how to.
Finally, and most importantly, never limit yourself. You are potentially your own greatest ally or limitation. And until you overcome the later, you’ll keep getting in your own way. Break out of your comfort zone, try new things and embark on new experiences.
Stop fantasizing and start realizing your ambitions. 2018 is gone, live your best life now and decide to make 2019 count today.
Nonso Okpala is a visionary and serial investor. Managing Director/CEO of VFD Group Ltd and Father-In-Chief.