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WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?

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The orthodox definition of success is attainment of fame, wealth or power. A successful person is usually one with a large bank account, famous or powerful. As children, we hand pick these iconic successful persons in our societies and carve our dreams in the direction of attaining a status equal to or higher than those of these moguls we idolized. Our society taught us that once we did not have an exorbitant bank account, then we missed the achievement mark. In order to give you an understanding of what I am talking about, I will define wealth as commonly stated; it is a state of having much money. If success as society defines is dependent on the notes saved in the bank; what then is the baseline and limit of success. Aren’t numbers infinite? When does the pursuit end? When will enough be enough? Look around you and take a look at all the people in this mad race for success. When you get down to the real deal, are their lives that enviable? Are they really happy? The sad definition society has placed on success is ruining the lives of many people. It is breeding this dangerous ruthlessness which destroys everything in its way. Today’s success is based on a relativity theory. It is based on this numerical comparison of possessions; as such the competition is more of an egoistic match for addition than a purpose driven journey towards a positive contribution to society. The messy success we chase today seeks to covet; it is envious, dubious, deceitful and actually restless. It is an era of do anything possible for the next buck. Though the numbers increase, we move on to a stage where we need more numbers to catch up with our competitors. At the end of the day, what was the essence of this pursuit? Was ones whole life to resolve around increasing numbers in a bank? When you leave this world, what would one say was your contribution?
In a time when everyone appears soulless, we must redefine success. The future belongs to those who will go out of their way to give the next generation a reason to hope. Record this in your mind today, any success one gets at the cost of one’s self respect, integrity and principle is not success. What will profit you to gain this world at the expense of your soul? To be genuinely successful, strive not to be the first, strive to be the best you can be. There is a big difference; I will show you. I always wanted to spend my whole life studying. I even aspired to attain Nobel Prize. I competed with my peers for positions, prizes and honors. At some point I found myself in this uncomfortable position. I had worked hard. I had the great scores and all that, but it was getting me nowhere. At the end of the day, it just looked like another piece of paper that will get lost in time. At this critical point, several questions came to my mind. I asked myself what the certificates I had achieved and wanted to achieve meant to me. Were they anything more than labels, tittles and papers? Were all the schools to shut on me today, will I still keep learning? What was all this learning for? As a kid raised in Cameroon, I realized we get locked into this competition for trophies and tittles, but at the end of the day nothing of what we attain has any substance or value. All the degrees and titles we seem to be fighting for adds nothing to who we are or our nation. Why should a country with so many well educated people still be where it is? Are we striving to be first or to be best? First is a title, but best is an attitude. If the government won’t hire the youths of Cameroon; does that mean we won’t offer service of any kind to our nation. I would know that, I went through the tough process of unsuccessfully trying to attain a job. Nepotism, tribalism and corruption pursue the first and not the best. For a while I hated and criticized the government as many do; until I realized if I like several others do nothing but complain; nothing will change.
I have come to redefine success as that state one attains where they receive a remarkable ability to be more generous and loving towards their fellow man. Will genuine success increase your wealth? Yes it will. When the wealth you have is working for you and not you working for it, then you have succeeded. When you go to bed everyday knowing you did your best, you have succeeded. We have to learn to integrate into a functional world, but still be sensible enough to preserve our individuality. We have to define a singular success that brings us smiles and blissful rest at dusk. A matured and sensible success is one that not only enhances the good in us, but pushes us to desire genuine growth in others. A genuine success is void of envy, covetousness, insomnia, restlessness, discontent, unhappiness and unscrupulousness. Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents were used in a way that served others. You do not need to be part of a big process or thing in order to succeed, the smallest thing done out of honesty can get you there.
“Society today focuses so much on fitting into modern trends and being a part of a superior group or organization, that they forget how to be an individual. They forget how to set their own trends and create their own organizations. They forget that a superior being in one corporate organization, firm, or social club is far less substantial then being a genuine and original person of superiority to the entire world... And what some don't understand is that the simplest thing can alter the outcome of situations that can affect the entire world... A smile is contagious. Laughter strengthens the heart. Compassion saves lives. And patience can be the defining factor in making good decisions. The mind is a beautiful and powerful thing. Frame its painting and display it for the world to see and strain its muscles until they give out. You only have one life to live. Live it to the fullest. Fear nothing, embrace challenge, and hold no regrets." By Tyler Tureno
If achievement should ever be graded based on numbers, it should be on how many lives we touched and not the numbers we got sitting in a bank.
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.”
― Bessie Anderson Stanley
Redefine success. Write down you own success and start the journey to attaining it. Live in the success of truth.


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The 3W Compass of Life

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My greatest compass in life has been the three W questions;
Who I am?
Where do I come from?
And where am going to?
Do you really know and understand who you are? Are you just floating about like a feather in the wind? Genuinely being who you are is more important that what others expect you to be. Who you are will show in what you do. When you are certain of who you are, you can’t be ashamed of how someone else sees you. Who you are is your conviction of the real and true you. If you spend so much time pretending to be someone else, you will soon forget who you are. You have a unique finger and footprint. That should tell you something. The world is like a giant paper, and we are like pencils…as we walk the earth we leave messages on the earth. The constructiveness of our movements determines if the messages we live behind will be read, understood and remembered. Determining who you are is actually finding your center and focus. It is finding you root in this world. The more you know who you are and what you want, the fewer things will upset you. You just have to own who you are, that is your identity in this world. What makes you different is what makes you beautiful. Market the real you to the world. Do not let the crap this world is selling drive you into hiding your true identity. The art of understanding who you are, sets rules and grounds for decisions on; friendships, relationships, career, spirituality and a lot more. Living with the flow means anyone and anything is allowed in your life.
Realizing who you are gives you that center and focus that draws reasonable boundaries. You start recruiting people and things into your life that will build the person you know yourself to be. If you don’t know who you are or have forgotten who you are, it’s time to start finding that person. Return to the things you genuinely love, visit the activities that gladdened your heart…In the truth of doing the things you know you were born to do, you will find yourself. When you do, never forget who you are.
Where do you come from? Yeah I guess you will start naming a country, a village and so on. That’s not the answer to that question. Where do you come from? What does the place you come from mean to you? What does the place you come from stand for? What role did that place play in your life? What are your attachments to that place? What devotion do you have towards that place? What values have you derived from that origin? Do you ever ask yourself such questions?  “It is always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you are going…”Anthony Burgess. The country, town, village or families we come from tells us a lot about ourselves. That was not just a place, it meant something. Most times we derive our future journeys based on how we defined where we came from. This is of great importance to us as humans. Our restraints, values, tolerance and a lot of other attributes we bear are derived from where we came from. Where you come from tells you a story from 2 dimensions; the good and the bad. The negatives of where we come from and the positives of where we come from played a role in our growth. I know you may be thinking, what does where I come from have to do with anything in my present life. Where you come from represents your roots. You may or may not like where you come from, but it represents your essences/foundation. You always have to remember your roots because they are the foundation of your life and the wings of your future. A person without knowledge of their past, origin and culture lacks a foundation. You may be an orphan, a refugee and so on; but have in mind that the society you were nurtured in offered you a foundation. Strong roots will definitely produce many beautiful leaves and healthy fruits.
As Africans, I think many of the problems we are facing today stems from the fact that most of us have lost touch with our roots especially our leaders. Without deep roots even the lightest wind of adversity will blow us away. Assets such as patriotism, cultural pride, cultural preservation, nation building and much more are expressly embedded in the firm attachment of our roots to the land of our substance. The reason we find ourselves lost is because we did not understand our foundation. You can not define your destination without clearly understanding where you come from. I live in Cameroon and I come from Cameroon. If I have to move from Cameroon to Ghana, I must first know where exactly I am in Cameroon and from there I will know how to locate the airport and board a plane for Ghana. If I have to blindly wonder of in Cameroon to find the airport, there are two possibilities; I may never find the airport or I may take an unusually long time before finding my destination. Roots don’t need to define you, they are a reminder of how you started and as such set up the needed momentum for you to launch into a clearly defined future. As you will walk forward, you will have to look back at where you came from, in order to be grateful and inspired. Understanding the history of the people you came from is important. That history should tell you what you should not repeat and also help you identify what works so you will never let go of it. When you truly understand where you come from, you can then define where you are going.
Where are you going? Has your life any direction? Where you came from had no power to define who you are, but where you are going will be expression of who you are and thus will clearly define you. Where you are going is your destination and purpose. Once your purpose is clear, you can bring out the paper and map out strategic goals that will get you to your destination. The glow on our lives is not so much in our destination, but the many beautiful little goals we get to achieve to get to that final destination. The struggles of the journey, the milestones and the conquests all blend in to spruce up our existence. If you really want to understand the importance of having no defined destination, wake up one morning and walk about aimlessly with no direction. You did not put any thought or planning into that walk. You paid no attention to the path or the things along the way, because the path didn’t matter as you have no particular destination in mind. That is just how life works. When we live without a compass or focus, we put little or no effort into whatever we do. We tend to face our studies, career and life in general with no enthusiasm when we have no specific point of focus. A destination offers you a vision and a dream.
Maturity is attained when we grasp a clear understanding of who we are and where we come from and translate that into a purposeful destination. These are very easy reading from paper, that actually living it out in practically. Take a walk or sit in an open space alone, think of your family, and community. What were the values you picked up from them? Are those values ones that motivate you and set out principles for you to live by? Who do you really think you are? Are you fun, outgoing, a leader or an innovator? When you leave or you public circles and find yourself alone, what is your view of yourself? Are you living a life scripted by someone else? Have you any conviction about your life? Why are you here? When you wake up every day from bed, what motivates you? Are you dead while you are living? Do you live just to whine the time till your breath stops? When all this is over, what will someone remember you for? Get serious and get answers to these questions. Your life is meaningful, you were meant to leave a mark on this earth. You are relevant to the world, the fact that you don’t see that yet, does not make it untrue. We were not just created to breathe and die; if that were the case, so much work and ingenuity would not have been invested into our being. Find your essence of existence and unleash that miracle into the world. Heal someone, teach someone, comfort someone, touch someone, in fact, be someone.
“You have a fingerprint that no one else has, to leave an imprint that no one else can leave.” Keith Craft


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DARE TO BE

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LET'S GROW AND PROJECT AFRICA

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Let’s fight for Africa and preserve the uniqueness or our heritage and culture. Other continents are known for what makes them unique. Let Africa be known for its uniqueness and not for being a culture copycat.
Taking a look at all the countries in Africa, it is evident that Africa is blessed with natural resources, great minds and hardworking people. However, some African’s are still under the illusion of greener pastures out of Africa and it would not be strange to see a master’s degree holder working as a security guard in Dubai.
Let’s continue to be true to ourselves and let people love us for who we really are.
Now a day, some indigenes of Africa go to eat at restaurants and have no idea of the food they just ordered because the names do not sound familiar. Let us continue to call fried potato by its name instead of confusing people with names such as French fries. Better still; let’s call it Cameroon fries, Ghanaian fries, Kenyan fries or African fries because it was fried in Africa and not in France.
Looking at creativity, we have great musicians, actors, actresses, painters, designers….. but we as Africans sometimes fail to promote our own. Some of us are fond of praising foreign artist and insulting African artist.
Taking a look at immigration, we have some Africans who have given up on life, because they were denied a visa to go to Europe, USA, Canada or Australia. It is also sad to see youths die in the sea or do funny things to get a green card, or enter a foreign land.  Success is found in us, and not necessarily in a country.  Furthermore, there is a massive exodus of youths out of Africa to other countries that took time to develop themselves such as India, China and Dubai. If we take time to invest in develop our continent, we would also attract youths from other countries as well.
 Let Africans at home and abroad invest in Africa even if they do not live to see the fruits of their labor, for the great nations we see today were not built in a day. Let us also promote our own and believe in ourselves.
We should have love for our continent, copy what will bring development to our continent while upholding its moral values and diversified culture for that is what makes us unique and proud as Africans. God bless Africa.

By Nahbila Venessa


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SOMEONE’S BEEN WHERE YOU ARE…

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Today I lie on my bed; I am exhausted and tired, I feel out of options, I feel like giving up, so many things going through my mind; so I choose to fly away…How? I choose to look at the lessons and not the problems…I can choose to die today, I can choose to cry today, I can choose to give up today, but I won’t…Why? The fibers of my being derived from the heritage of my roots keep kicking and as such there is always a fight left in me. Someone has been where I am, someone had been where you are; and today they are smiling and telling beautiful inspirational stories. I see my story, I see my inspiration, I see tomorrow coming with the sun…I will not hide or run…I will not shrivel and die…Where I am is part of a great story…where you are is part of a great story…Please do not give up…I am here and I am just like you…the world might not work for us today, but someday it will…Do not embrace depression…Do not embrace defeat…When all the storms blow away, you will have a beautiful story to tell…I am where you are and I am writing for all the people in the world who are where I am…; tired, weak and struggling…Your warrior is alive…Don’t stop fighting…You are not alone…Someone’s been where you are….

(DEDICATED TO ALL THE UNSEEN/UNKNOWN WARRIORS OUT THERE: KEEP FIGHTING)
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