THE MESS WE’RE IN: INFORMATION OVERLOAD IN THIS AGE AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

THE MESS WE’RE IN: INFORMATION OVERLOAD IN THIS AGE AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

The Mess Of Our Age

We need information to survive in this age. But it is information that is killing us. The arrival of the information age has brought in a knowledge-based society that is driven by high tech technology. Information can now be churned up at blinding frequencies, disseminated in a matter of seconds to viewers and audience in all over the world and the impact felt almost immediately. There is an information glut. We have become ‘informationally’ overweight and we risk long-term devastating consequences  We are like the overfed, overweight child drowning in the pool of ‘information food’ and vomitus. Call it information obesity. Infobesity it is. We are experiencing on a daily basis, apart from the toxicity of green house gases, an infotoxication- information toxicity as the Wikipedia article puts it.

But the problem of information overload is not new: it has has an age-old history. To quote the holy writ, Ecclesiastes 12:12:

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many book  there is  no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

And in the 1st Century AD, Seneca says:

distringit librorum multitudo 
(the abundance of books is distraction)

Ann Blair says that that signs of information overload were already present in the the accumulation of manuscripts in pre-modern cultures which were further accelerated by the introduction of printing in the 15th-century Europe by Gutenberg. Printing made available a huge number of books and ultimately lowered the cost of books. Books were no longer concentrated in the hands of the elite. The average person now had access to the information as well. However, the rate at which information could be read, digested and remembered could not keep pace with the rate at which information, through books, was being churned out. To cope with the situation came in aids of various kinds- copying relevant passages of books and hiring people to take notes. But the problem as it was then is nothing compared to the now of information age. The problem of information overload has only has been magnified to the nth degree in this age of the internet and new digital technologies.The 2017 statistics, Things That Happen On The Internet Every 60 Second gives the following absolutely incredible highlights:

  • More than 168 million emails are sent
  • 695,000 status updates and 510,040 comments are published on Facebook
  • Google serves more that 694,445 search queries
  • 370,000+ minutes of voice calls done by Skype users
  • 20,000 new posts are published on Tumblr
  • 13,000+ hours of music streaming flows from Pandora
  • More than 13,000 iPhone apps are downloaded
  • 6,600 images are published on Flickr
  • 600 videos (about 25 hours of content) are uploaded to YouTube

Things that happen on Internet Every 60 Seconds 2017 Statistics

Infographic by- GO-Gulf.com
How We Are Being Messed Up

“…a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention…”
― Herbert A. Simon

Attention is a personal resource that is scarce-subject to opportunity costs like every other scarce commodity. We can only focus on a few things at a time and only so much. But the drag of information from various quarter on our attention is creating a bad culture- a culture of distraction where our minds flitter from one thing to the next. You are working, hoping to finish a task on time when a push notifications beckons for your attention. And the allure to see what it is is almost irresistible. What if this is an opportunity I will miss? As you take a peek, a series of e-mail arrives. You shrug and decide to ‘see’ and then before you are done with the e-mails, arrives notifications from Facebook . And it’s your longtime friend abroad who has sent a post. You feel like you must see this. You tell yourself that since you have started attending to these information already, you had better finish. But the deception is a sneaky one. Before you know it, you have spent over three hours on the social media and your priority work is not done. And then guilt and self-loathing steps in, setting you up for another cycle of the addictive behaviour. Does the experience sounds familiar?

I was heartbroken sometime ago when a national exam body in Nigeria lamented how the social media is responsible for the failure rates of student in the country. Could a seemingly harmless distraction from reading be responsible for stealing the futures of our generation? I ache. The impact then is not harmless as one might think. A study  corroborating this dismal fact states in a likewise dismal tone that children who spend much of their time online find it harder to concentrate in class, are permanently distracted and have shorter attention spans. The report concludes that the children with the poorest grades at school are the ones who spent most time on social networking.

And it is not only individuals who are facing the menace of attention deficits due to information overload. Huge corporations and national economies are not left out. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found after careful observation that the typical office worker is interrupted or switches tasks, on average, every three minutes and five seconds. And it can take 23 minutes and 15 seconds just to get back to where they left off. Jonathan Spira, author of  “Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization,” estimates that interruptions and information overload eat up 28 billion wasted hours a year, at a loss of almost $1 trillion to the U.S. economy.

Wikipedia article on Information Overload quotes A December 2007 New York Times blog post which described e-mail as “a $650 billion drag on the economy.”

With information overload also comes the inability to make quality decisions. Surrounded by huge amount of information that are so conflicting, we face an information shock that paralyzes us. We are unable to choose from various alternatives.  Our anxiety to take the best decision in the face of the glut mounts and inevitably becomes counterproductive to our best intent. In the end, we must make decisions; we must take a decision because the world will not stand still for us to sort through the melee of information confronting us. The confusion at having  served conflicting, contradictory information eventually leads us on a path to poor judgement and decisions.

 

That man is led primarily by emotions and not by reason is further accentuated by the information glut of the information age. If you think I am incorrect to say man is largely governed by emotions, tell me then how reasonable it is for a person to buy a bottle of Pepsi because his favorite artiste NIcki Minaj advertised it?

A Google search will fetch all articles on the internet to confirm one’s bias. One cannot think of anything that has no article for or against it on the internet. I was amazed myself when I discovered this. I found out that there was virtually no topic that I could think of that has not being written about on the internet. Try it yourself. Think of anything- just anything! Do a Google search and prove the fact yourself. This discovery leaves man at his whims. Everything is relative. Nothing is ever correct or wrong. We are validating the saying in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” A morally relativistic society where anything goes is an unenviable one tethering on the brink of a precipice.

 

What We Can Do About The Mess

One thing: we cannot afford allow ourselves to be swallowed up by information overload. If we are to live happy and productive lives, our attention must be regained and directed at that which matters. A splintered mind is a splintered life and at best good for nothing and worth nothing. A mind divided among conflicting ideas is a injurious to our mental health.

To study and raise awareness about the problem and provide solutions, the Information Overload Research Group (www.iorgforum.org) was created by interested parties from the corporate and academic worlds.The group quotes Huffington post ‘8 Tips For Avoiding Information Overload’. The blog post was based on what nine readers said works for them:

  1. Skip the alerts

“I’ve disabled my social media and email app alerts. I only log in when I have spare time [versus] every moment my phone dings. It helps you stay centered and on task.” ― Brandi Garrigus 

  1. Personalize your feeds

“I make personal news feeds so I can choose exactly what kind of ‘posts’ I want to see pop up on my page. I have ‘High School friends,’ ‘Politics,’ ‘Local Photographers,’ ‘News and Weather’ and other feeds so I can ignore crazies when need be.” ― Donna Weckerly 

  1. Log off

“I log off for a week once a month and read, paint and cook instead.” ― Tashika Shah

  1. Prioritize

“The secret is to scroll on by ― some people’s postings are not personal and some news [is] sensationalized and written with an agenda… Scroll on by and filter… And prioritize. Urgent and important have key differences.” ― Bevon Bernard

  1. Read books

“I read a book on my Kindle for Mac to break up the [Facebook] madness. Works for me…” ― Ralph Guay

“I go back to reading my book to clear my mind.” ― Frances Quinn

  1. Unfollow and unsubscribe  

“I clear email subscriptions at least once a week… On social media, I skim and regularly clear out pages posting excessive clickbait, sensationalist/outrageous fake news or articles. I actively seek out three to four news sites ― and unfollow personal feeds that work my nerves.” ― Nikole Hester

  1. Let it go 

“Sometimes. You. Just. Have. To. Stop. Take a breath. Let it go. I like to put feeds into categories. Family comes first.” ― Laura Liebel 

  1. Clean house 

“I used to have over 900 friends and well over 1,500 ‘liked’ pages. I got too involved in everything I felt like I was losing myself. I spent almost four hours un-friending and un-liking things. It feels so much better to only see my close family and friends’ items.” ― Sharon Trobaugh

The impact of information overload does not spare anyone of us. The consequences attending information overload can be more devastating than we think. It requires that we look deeply into the matter and see how our lives are being shaped negatively by it. I  have determined to do same. We must win this war of information against us. We must convert information from being our enemy to our friend; to something all-benefical. We must, If we care. For ourselves.

Have a great day.

Please post your comments below and let me know what you think. Please subscribe to have my posts emailed directly to you.

Check out my last post ‘Overcoming Success

OVERCOMING SUCCESS

Success is sweet only for today.
-David Abioye (davidabioye.org.ng)

Yep. I didn’t make a mistake with that title. Overcoming Success. Many of us know one or two about overcoming failure. Failure, that undesirable thing that makes you feel like shit. You want to get rid of it. You don’t want it to ever dog your footsteps. You want all your stories told and ended without a taint or hint of failure. We hate failure. And in some sense rightly so. But in my previous post, Failure Is A Situation, Never A Person, we learn that failure is part of the learning curve. It is the foundation upon which most successes are built. We learn too that we can make failure work for us. Read that post to learn more.

The advantages of success are obvious. That is why we all want it. The recognition, fame, monetary rewards, more freedom- all else. But like failure, success comes with its own challenges. Success, more than failure has the capacity to strangle you if not handled well. We have heard of celebrities who go from grass to grace only to return to the grass again. How pathetic! This matter presses upon us urgently. We must learn how to handle success. We must learn how to manage success. We must learn how to survive success. It is not only celebrities are immune to the downside of success; companies that were once a household name have lost relevance and disappeared into oblivion. How did that happen? In our personal lives as well, there are successes we once enjoyed with are no longer there. Perhaps, you lost weight and got into shape, or you won prizes in school, or you made certain amounts of money that you once dreamed of, or you got promoted. Name it. But now they have become part of history- of good old days. And you know, it happens with religious movements too. In the Christian circle, there were once fiery movements and revivals which are no longer with us today. In a sentence, they lost relevance.

Coach Rick Pitino says in book, Success Is a Choice: Ten Steps To Overachieving in Business and Life,

Success can be a minefield, full of hidden obstacles and booby traps just waiting to trip you up. Success never comes sugar coated with guarantees of longevity. A few missteps, a few moments of letting down our guard- this is a poisonous pill that, if swallowed, can turn long-striven-for success into overnight failure.

Why Does It Happen?

Why does success destroy most people? Why does it fritter away in the hands of some? We examine four major reasons:
1.They developed hydrocephalus(!) Well for the non-medical persons, hydrocephalus is a medical condition in which a person (mostly infants) have a rapid growth of the head with a small face. Big head! And there goes oft-quoted saying: “Pride goes before a fall.” The temptation to pride is appealing to the human nature. Pride comes in insidiously and is something that must be watched against. Being successful does not make one different in essence from another. I love the first part of 1 Corinthians 4:7, where Paul put this questions to the Corinthians who were puffed up, “Who make thee to differ from another?” You might have been changed in the process of achieving your goals, (for example, you eliminated some bad habits which others still grapple with) but that does not mean you have become special above others. Success is based on principles. And principles are universal. Anyone who puts the principles to work will get the same result. And anyone who works with better principles will get better results. It almost that simple. The exceptions are rare. Thus, a self-inflated sense of importance is merely a deception. Some, drunk with the poison of their success lose their sense of reason and morality and attempt things that are clearly destructive. Take for example, the celebrity athlete who goes on a partying spree after winning a title. He drinks himself to stupor, starts a promiscuous lifestyle or goes on drugs. He compromises future successes in so doing. The poison of success he takes might eventually cut his life short. It has happened many times.

2.They became satisfied. They felt that they have reached the end of their journey, so they rested on their laurels. And? Others passed them by. So they lost their once cherished success. They decided to take it easy and they fell back into the bad habits which they overcame in the process of achieving the success they dreamed of. They stopped improving and moving forward. They ended their journey abruptly. They undid their success and undid themselves.

3.They listened to sycophants. Success brings all kinds of people around you- all kinds of them. Some of these people will sincerely love you- perhaps a few of them . Others might be saboteurs- those who are jealous of you and hate you and want to bring you down. And others still come around you to curry your favor. They do not really have your interest at heart. They are after you for what they can get out of you. Once they get it, they leave. They come in the guise of being your praise singers. They tell you what you want to hear and not what you should hear. I think they are more dangerous than your haters because they cannot easily be identified. Their presence blurs the distinction between the good and bad people. If you listen to them enough, you begin soak in their words; so you lose balance and fall. It is only the truth that can set free. If you don’t love the truth, you are prey to these kinds of people.

4.They lost focus. Success comes with a lot of things to manage that can create stress- the media demanding for your attention, people waiting in line for your attention, saboteurs spreading false news about you, several opportunities knocking at your door, etc. The successful person things who cannot keep things and in check will become overwhelmed and burnt out. The achiever who does understand that his life consists not only of career but of other aspects as well will sink. Eventually, failure in other aspects of his life will encroach on his success and swallow it up. It is almost impossible these days to hear of a celebrity actor or actress whose marriage is not in shambles. Success comes with sacrifice. And some might just be too costly if the success will not be sustained in the long run. This is not to discourage thinking and dreaming big, but the costs must be weighed.

How To Overcome

1.Celebrate success. Rejoice and acknowledge that you have a worthwhile achievement but indulge yourself. Admit that success came because you worked for it and not because of luck. Show gratitude for all those who have contributed to your success one or another. Thank God.
2.Set new goals. Success is a journey and not a destination. Catch new vision. Strive to work harder and be more efficient. Dispose success for the next level. Renew your motivation and commitment to better than before.
3.Learn from your success. Learn from the failures you had along the way. Take inventory of the steps or methods that made you a success you can replicate them to produce the same result. If you cannot make the steps or methods better, at least use them again.
4.Keep things in balance. Life is not one-sided. You have your spiritual life, family life, financial life, your health, etc. not only your business or career. Make adjustments to ensure an area does not succeed to the detriment of another. Read books on the different aspects to know what changes to make to keep things in balance.
5.Support others. There are others who want to succeed as well. Be a mentor to them. Inspire them. Share the lessons you have learned with them.

Further reading:
1.Rick Pitino. Success is a Choice. Ten Steps To Overachieving In Business And Life. Broadway books. 1997
2.Karyn Greenstreet. How To Manage Success. Blog post at www.passionforbusiness.com
3.David Abioye. Managing Success. Blog post at www.davidabioye.org.ng

ENTER FLOW STATE: HOW TO BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE IN 2018

Flow State: What is it?

Have you ever engaged in an activity and wondered at the end of it how the time flew? Or ever being engaged in an activity that you lost consciousness of time? I’m sure you have had these kinds of experience even if once in a while. At that time, you were thoroughly enjoying yourself so that time stood at attention for your sake- or so it seems. During those times you are in mental state termed by psychologists as the flow state.

According to positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi who coined the term in 1975, he defined flow state as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” Flow state is also described as ‘being in the zone’.

When you are in the flow state, you lose consciousness of time, environment and all else except the work you are on. You are fully immersed, totally absorbed, paying attention fully- nothing else matters. You could have performed that activity for the whole day except that your mom or dad or someone else interrupted you. Don’t you wish every task was like that? You wish your coursework in school will engage your attention like that.

Typically, people enter flow state when they are pursuing an activity that is meaningful to them; when they are intrinsically motivated and not coerced by some external force. And often these activities that put people in flow state are usually low-priority activities, the ones that do not contribute to personal development or future prospects. Take for example, the teenager who plays video game all day to the neglect of his schoolwork. Or the employee who gets distracted from his work and finds himself chatting on Facebook.

How can one transfer this misplaced flow state to really important things? What if one could enter flow state in what really matters? Is this possible? Sure. Though flow state is desirable, we seem to enter it in rare moments. By learning the principles undergirding it, we can hack our brains to get into the flow state.

Motivation and Purpose

Psychologists have conducted extensive research and found out that humans are more intrinsically motivated in doing what what they do than by extrinsic means. Psychologist Edward Deci (quoted in Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us) says, human beings have an “inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore and to learn.”

That is, the employee who enjoys his job and gives his best at it is not doing so primarily because of the large paycheck or job security but because his job satisfies a deeper inner need like: the enjoyment of the job itself, a sense of making a contribution to the good of the society or growing personally.

Internal drives or desires are really the motive for giving one’s best to a task and ultimately being a flow state. Thus, being intrinsically motivated about a task or activity is key achieving and maintaining flow state.

To become intrinsically motivated, one must discover the reason for being. Call it vocation or life’s work or purpose. You must discover what you are going to spend the rest of your life doing or living for. This is what you must discover for yourself–not something to be externally imposed. The student forced by his parents to read law finds he has no interest in his coursework. He reads to get by and to please his parent. He hopes for the day when he will be released from his prison to do what his heart is really after.

Your purpose can be found in what your heart craves to do- the longing that will not go long after everything crowding your heart goes. What is that thing you want to do with and for the rest of your life? What is that will wake you in the morning and keep you late at night? What do you dream of? In 1962, Clare Boothe Luce, one of the first women to serve in the U.S. Congress offered some advice to President John F. Kennedy. “A great man,” she told him, “is one sentence.” Abraham Lincoln’s sentence was: “He preserved the union and freed the slaves.”  Daniel Pink recommends asking yourself the big question: “What’s your sentence?” Let me put it for you: “What is the one sentence that will be said of you? What do you want to be remembered for?”

Getting Better

Discovering your sentence- your purpose is one thing. And pursuing purpose is another. Pursuing purpose is a daily thing. You set goals daily and seek to achieve them. And this where ‘flow’ come in. Entering the flow state requires that you are constantly challenging yourself. You desire to improve and do better than yesterday.

The brain seeks novelty , unpredictably and complexity. The yearning to grow, to be better is innate. And we must pay attention and do something about it. When we lapse into routine, when work is no longer providing stimulus for growth, we enter into a state of tedium. Our minds flitter from one thing to the other, we are enter into a self-reflection and our work and productivity suffers. We are distracted because we are bored.

The key thing here is to constantly raise the bar on your performance; to keep getting better and better at what you do- in the thing that is in line with your purpose. Strive to improve a little each day. In other words, seek mastery. Read my blog post: Go For Goals and Grow for further understanding on goal-setting.

Daniel Pink recommends five steps in becoming better and achieving mastery which I digest here for you:
1.Remember that deliberate practice has one objective: to improve performance. Anders Ericsson has said: “Deliberate practice is about changing your performance, setting new goals and straining yourself to reach a bit higher each time.”
2.Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repetition matters. Great athlete repeat to perfection.
3.Seek constant, critical feedback.
4.Focus ruthlessly on where you need help. That is, work on your weaknesses rather than on your strength only.
5.Prepare for the process to be mentally and physically exhausting. This might sound contradictory to the idea of flow state but on closer look, it is not. An activity that is mentally and physically demanding becomes more easier and enjoying as you persist it. Ask how great players like Serena Williams keep on with hard practice to stay on top of their game. They enjoy hard practice!

Finding Your Flow Times

And, there are certain times of the day when we are more easily able to enter the flow state. All times of the day are not alike for everyone. Some do better in the mornings, others in the afternoons or evenings. Monitor yourselves and find out what times of the day you perform optimally. Schedule high priority activities during those times. For me, my best times are very early in the morning. Find out yours.

In summary, flow state or ‘being in the zone’ guarantees optimal performance. So this year 2018, make it a business to enter your flow state.

Please post your comments below and let me know what you think. Please subscribe to have my posts emailed directly to you.  Have a great day.

Further Reading:

1.Flow State: What it is https://www.huffingtonpost.com/alayna-kennedy/flow-state-what-it-is-and_b_9607084.html

2.Hack Into Your Flow State And Quintuple Your Productivity. https://www.fastcompany.com/3031052/how-to-hack-into-your-flow-state-and-quintuple-your-productivity

WINNING AGAINST DEPRESSION

DEPRESSED?

Feeling depressed? Battling feelings of guilt, rejection, hopelessness and fatigue? You are not alone. And you can win this war. Read on.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 300 million people suffer from depression globally. According to Mayo Clinic,

Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

I agree with Dr. Scott Hannen (author of the book, Healing By Design), that only a small percentage of people actually suffer from true clinical depression. He says, (and I totally agree with him) it is unfortunate that the medical community fails to note the causes of depression and treats symptoms of depression with drugs and medications instead. Many people are medicated for depression without ever addressing the root cause of the condition.

I believe everyone goes through period when he/she feels down, miserable or disinterested. But it can be dangerous to let such a state persist for long. When allow depression to persist, a host of other problems can arise such as physical and mental breakdown, divorce and even suicide. We need to deal with the underlying cause(s). We can beat depression.

 

ROOT CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

The underlying causes of depression can relate to the body and/or mind.

The Body: Suppression and Fatigue

In relation to the body, Dr. Scott Hannen, in his book Healing By Design states that suppression as one condition that mimics depression. He gives the definition of suppression as “prohibiting or stopping activities; to exclude from consciousness; to keep from giving vent to.” When people eat food that gives less energy than the body needs to fulfill all of its functions, the body suppresses some normal activities in order to fulfill those that are vital to life. Eating foods that give less energy foods such starchy and sugary foods leads to suppression. Also, some foods like coffee, refined grains, sugary food, etc. overstimulate the body to expend its energy to exhaustion. When the body is suppressed we feel fatigued and depressed. Our brain and emotions are affected so that we think negative thoughts and feel sad. The key here is to identify these low-energy and stimulating foods and eliminate them from our diet. They might just be the reason for your symptoms of depression.

You need rest. Fatigue is a cause of depression. When we are tired and worn out from the day’s activities or from changes that cause stress, our minds and emotions are affected. Our decision making is impaired. We need to learn how to relieve stress and recover strength. When we refuse to take needed rest, we will eventually breakdown.

Mind: Oppression and Misbeliefs

When the mind is weighed down by worries and cares, it is termed oppression. Life will always present us with challenges. Life will always offers us a mixture of good, bad and ugly events. And we cannot predict with certainty what life will bring us in the next moment; but the key thing is that we can control our responses so that life’s events so that they don’t adversely affect our emotional and mental states.

Oppression of the mind can be caused by misbeliefs. That is, the untruth we tell ourselves. We all talk to ourselves-the thing psychologist call self-talk. Self-talk is the inner monologue that goes on inside of us. We are continually having conversations with ourselves whether we know it or not. This conversation runs on throughout the day and determine our behavior and our actions. When our self-talk is influenced by misbeliefs (that is, untruth), we suffer mentally and emotionally. Misbeliefs are at the root of negative thinking and negative self-talks. To be free from depression, we have to consciously examine our self-talk to find out the misbeliefs underlying them and then replace them.

William Backus and Marie Chapian, in their book, Telling Yourself The Truth, wrote that depression begins when negative self-talk founded on misbeliefs follows activating events such as failure, divorce, loss, sickness, etc. They identified three misbeliefs that usually accompany negative self-talk. They term it the depressive triad. For example a college student who fails a course may tell himself: “Boy, you are so dumb. You failed that course. What are you doing in college anyway? Look at all the time and money you are wasting. You’ll never make!” The self-talk and misbeliefs  form a triad that can be identified:

  • Person devalues self: “Boy you are so dumb.”
  • Person devalues situation: “Life is hell for me. Nothing works for me. I don’t know why I get out of bed!”
  • Person devalues his prospects for the future: “You will never make it!” “I will never amount to anything in life. Life is hopeless.”

 

THE WAY OUT

To deal with depression, we have to consciously examine our self-talk. We bring our inner conversation to the foreground, listen to them, examine them and replace the lies with truth. William and Marie advises: “Listen to your self-talk and then engage in some honest and daring truth-telling.”

For example, when you are hurt, you admit the hurt. You don’t deny the fact by saying, “I don’t care. I will not allow myself to be hurt.” Rather you say the truth about your situation– “Yes, I feel hurt. I feel unpleasant about this.” We are created with emotions. Emotions are like the pain you feel when you cut your finger. It will be stupid to deny that you do not feel pain when in fact you are in pains. But again, we don’t end our self-talk by merely acknowledging the truth about our emotions and situations. We continue the truth-telling.

  • “I have lost some money and I feel hurt, but this is not the end of the world for me.
  • “I am not going to lie to myself that I am not angry. I am angry. But I can control my anger in a healthy manner.

One major lie we usually tell ourselves is that we cannot live without a person, or an object or belief. The truth is what when we lose something or someone, we can go on and live a happy life if we are ready to make necessary adjustments. So get out of the lie that someone or something is indispensable. Perhaps, someone you love died or your fiance left you or you lost some money in a venture, you can move on with life. Acknowledge the pain but by all means be determined to move on.

To win against depression long-term, we need to have a purpose for living. We are created by God to have a sense of direction in life. We need to have something that drives us daily; to want to make us get out of bed every morning. Without purpose, life becomes a boring chore and at best something  meaningless. Our purpose for living will inform our dreams of who we want to be, what we want to do and have. Then we set goals, short-term and long-term and follow through to achieve our dreams. See yesterday’s post: Go For Goals And Grow.

But we need to be careful not to run into troubles here. Our self-worth or self-esteem should never be determined by what we have accomplished or not. Mike Murdock, in his book, Wisdom For Winning says it better. He said:

 He who majors on achievements will find his thrills short-lived; but the child of God who majors on his relationship with the Father will find the well of joy endless…springing up with new victories daily.

We need a relationship with God. As a Christian, I know I am important; not because of my accomplishments but because God loves me unconditionally. He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins and for yours too. This mindset frees me from the need to perform in order to be important or loved. There are many great people with astounding accomplishments and possessions who were not free from the grips of depression. Many committed suicide. The story of Elvis Presley is a sad one in this regard.

Also, to win against depression, we need to have a positive attitude towards life. Life is not all thorny. It is both rosy and thorny. Life is not always winter; it is a mixture of other seasons as well–winter, summer, autumn and spring. Life is not always downs. There are also ups. In times of adversity, we need to tell ourselves that “this too shall pass” and we will again enjoy prosperity. Refuse the talk of defeat because what we verbalize will affect our thoughts and emotions. We need to remind ourselves too that our depression is not permanent. We can recover if we take necessary steps.

I sincerely hope this post helps someone suffering from depression. You can recover and be happy again.

Please post your comments below and let me know what you think. Please subscribe to have my posts emailed directly to you. Have a great day.

GO FOR GOALS AND GROW

I believe you have dreams. Everyone has dreams. Because we are designed to dream. Like I have read somewhere, dream is cheap. Everyone is free to dream because it is free. But what distinguishes a serious, successful person from a mere dreamer is the willingness to take steps, that is, incremental steps towards achieving what dreams he has in mind. As humans we want to grow. We want to believe that we are capable of greater things than we have seen ourselves do, that there is more to us that we realize. We truly want to believe that. And it is not far-fetched. Because? It’s true. We all have capacity for great things. We are capable of more than we realize. But to realize what we are capable of, we not only have to dream, we need a very important ingredient: G-O-A-L-S! Goals. It is one thing that separate the overachiever from the underachiever. The underachiever is content with mere flights of fancy; the overachiever maps out his way to bring into concrete reality his flights of fancy. A goal is simply a plan of action to reach your dream. It is, put another way, your strategy. Your dream needs a strategy. Like Rick Pitino wrote in his book, Success Is A Choice, dreams are where we want to end up. Goals are how we get there.

It is always tempting (at least, I know from personal experience) to dream and set out bringing it to reality without mapping out a plan of action. But what military general doesn’t map out a plan of attack to win a battle? We think it is too cumbersome taking time to plan and set goals. We’d rather want to get on with it; to begin work immediately. We think time spent planning and setting goals is time wasted. But only when we begin to hit obstacles that we could have navigated around, do we begin to know that something is not right. Something is not right. But it might not be with your dream itself but with your approach. Like someone said, “time spent planning is not wasted time.” You have probably made some New Year resolutions at the beginning of this year like most do. That’s good. But have you thought about the necessary steps to achieve your resolutions, your dreams, at the end of the year 2018? If your dreams means anything to you, you must establish plan of actions that involves what you must do DAILY to reach your dreams. Your long-term success will depend on your daily routine. John C. Maxwell wrote, in his book, Put Your Dream To The Test, “The secret to your success is found in your daily agenda.” Your daily successes link up together to make your dreams come true. So figure out how to make everyday count. Eliminate the irrelevancies that will not contribute to the achievement of your dreams. Stay focused on the steps to your dreams.

Here are some facts to note about goals:

  1. Goals helps us to be disciplined. They establish priorities and makes us organized.
  2. Break down your dreams into as many components as possible.
  3. Write down the steps needed to achieve each component. Writing down goals helps us to face reality. Goals should be written down and followed.
  4. Setting and attaining short-term goals will fuel the desire for more achievement. So it is best to set short-term goals for what we want to achieve long-term. The evidence of little successes will bolster our confidence and motivation.
  5. Establish a daily routine to achieve your dreams. Consistency is more important than intermittent bursts of activity.
  6. When you have achieved a goal, raise the bar a little higher each time. After all, you are not interested in what you can already do, but in what more you can do. The goal is be a little better each time.
  7. Celebrate small successes. You are improving and that’s worth celebrating. Reward yourself but don’t indulge yourself. You are to celebrate success, leave it behind and go create another.

I recommend reading the blog post ‘Personal Growth Principle’ by Donald Latumahina at www.lifeoptimzer.org

You can read yesterday’s post Failure Is A Situation, Never A Person by clicking on the link.

Please post your comments below and let me know what you think. Have a great day.

FAILURE IS A SITUATION, NEVER A PERSON

Somebody out there is about to give up. But don’t. You can get up and try one more time.

Failure is a situation, never a person. (I took that line from John Mason’s book, Know Your Limits Then Ignore Them this morning). We tend to unconsciously link failure with our self-esteem. Our self-talk goes something like: “If I failed, then I must be a failure.” But such conclusion is all wrong. All wrong! Such belief will only hamper your ability to succeed in life. We must disconnect failure from our  self-worth. It might not be that easy but we can do it. Many a great man made many attempts before finally succeeding. While it is great to expect success, it is realistic to expect some failures along the way. In fact, great men are those who have gone through failure after failure without giving up. The famous story of Thomas Edison comes to mind. When asked about his failure at inventing a light bulb 1,000 times, he replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Every mistake you have made so far, every failure you have experience so far, can be a step forward-if you learn from them and refuse to quit.

It is said that Albert Einstein failed math as a student (I am not encouraging you to be a math-hater though), but he never gave up. And today, his name is synonymous with physics. There are many such stories of success after repeated failures that could be told to fill a tome.

I had the privilege of having an elderly man speak to me some heartfelt words yesterday. The words still linger in my mind. He said something that I will want to keep with me for the rest of my life. Here is what he said: “Defeat never comes to a man until he admits it.” That is, a man is not a failure, until he admits that he is one. A man may fail at a venture many times but that does not make him a failure.

The theme of this blog is about balance- balance in every sphere of life. Nature creates balance. Life creates balance. When balance is upset, problems result. For example, in high school biology, where there is an imbalance between the producers and consumers in a ecosystem, problems arise. Same thing too in life. You need a balance of successes and failures. Every successful person will have a fair share of failures or mistakes. After all, we are only imperfect humans in an imperfect world. In fact, the Bible says it so in Ecclesiastes 7:14:

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other…”

Here are some facts and lessons about failure that I have gleaned from my reading and experiences so far:

  1. It is better to fail than not try at all. Making mistakes or failing is proof that you are taking a step forward.
  2. Failure is feedback. Failure is an opportunity to learn and continue. Many successes were built from previous failures.
  3. Failure is a situation, never a person. Stop linking your failures without your self-worth. It keeps you down. Yes, failure can be emotionally devastating but you can get over those emotions by proper self-talk.
  4. It is not over until you give up. Get up and try again and again until you get it right.
  5. You can learn from the mistakes of others. You will not have the whole time in life to make all the mistakes you can make. Learn from the mistakes of others and minimize yours. A fool refuses to learn from the mistakes and failures of others. In fact, I keep my ears and eyes open to learn from the mistakes of others. Sometimes, I put myself in the shoes of another who has failed to see what I could have done differently. The great thing is that I learn not only for myself in so doing but for others as well.

Find a way to keep yourself motivated despite the failures you experience. In my own way, I read something motivational each day very early in the morning (say, 4 am) when my mind is still fresh and not yet filled with the clutter of the day’s activities. This year start a habit of encouraging yourself in the midst of life’s challenges. You might want to have a favorite motivational quote hung somewhere on the wall of your room where you can see it. Such small actions can make a very big difference in your motivation level.

In closing, I would like to quote Winston Churchill on this matter.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Try again. I believe you will succeed. It is your right to succeed.

Have a happy day.

Please post your comments below. Let me know what you think.