Thursday, December 31, 2015

How to Make 2016 Memorable and Impactful

’'A man without a vision for his future, always returns to his past.’’
Happy New Year! How I love beginnings! A wise man (King Solomon) once remarked in the book of Ecclesiastes that ‘’the end of a matter is better than its beginning’’. However, there’s something about a fresh start that never fails to energize me.
You need to begin this year with ‘’fire in your belly’’ – with the conviction that it could very well be your ‘’best year ever.’’ Here are some ideas on how to make 2016 memorable and impactful for you:
Look In
There are limiting beliefs that stop us from achieving our fullest potential. Some of these limiting beliefs are below:
  • Beliefs about yourself: 
    • I have big bones – I can never be slim
    • I love junk food – I could never make healthy eating choices
    • I don’t have an MBA – I can’t start a business
  • Beliefs about others:
    • Women are too emotional – I could never understand them
    • Men are shallow – I can’t share my feelings with them
    • My boss is evil – nothing I do could ever please him/her
  • Beliefs about the world:
    • I’m in the Third World – nothing I do could ever be world-class
    • The world is evil – things just keep getting worse
    • You can’t get a job without the ‘’right’’ connections
You need to identify these limiting beliefs and replace them with positive affirmations:
  • Affirmations about yourself:
    • With the proper exercise, I can attain the body of my dreams
    • With self-discipline and willpower, I can change my diet
    • Even if I don’t have an MBA, I can acquire business knowledge through self-education
  • Affirmations about others
    • I can be patient with women and learn to understand them
    • I can be open with my man and help him become more sensitive
    • I can improve my relationship with my boss – or get a job with a better boss
  • Affirmations about the world
    • Technological advancements are breaking down the barriers between countries – anything is possible
    • There are good people in the world – heroes as well as villains
    • People are getting good jobs every day – so can I
Look Back
You need to ‘’close the books of 2015’’ before you can strategize for 2016. Looking back, identify:
  • Achievements: What happened in 2015 that I am proud of?
  • Failures: What happened in 2015 that I regret?
  • Lessons learned: What critical factors contributed to my achievements and failures and what can I learn from these?
Look Forward
Set goals for the year. For best results, keep the following in mind:
  • Set goals in every area of your life: For a balanced life, you should have goals in every major life domain:
    • Health: Diet, exercise, fitness
    • Relationships: Family, friends, romantic relationships
    • Career: Work, education
    • Spiritual life: Prayer, worship
    • Hobbies: Sports, writing, art, music
    • Finances: Income, expenses, savings, investments
  • Ensure that these are AACTION goals: Michael Hyatt developed the following AACTION framework for goal setting. Your goals should be:
    • Actionable: Begin with a verb
    • Aligned: Fit your season of life, values and other goals
    • Challenging: Set high enough to demand your best effort
    • Time-bound: Have a specific date for achievement
    • Inspiring: Not boring
    • Objective: Include criteria to evaluate progress
    • Narrow: Specific, not broad or general
  • Identify 5-10 motivations for each goal: When you get into the ‘’messy middle’’ of your journey, these motivations will remind you of the reason why these goals are important and will give you the determination to press on.
  • Determine the ‘’Next Action’’ that will move your goal forward: Don’t overthink the process of attaining your goals. Identify the next action that’s required to make your dream a reality. Schedule each action in your calendar.
  • Review your goals every week: Or daily, if possible
  • Pick a theme for the year: 2016 can be your Year of Enlightenment, Prosperity, Peace, Wisdom etc. You can also pick a theme song and play it on the days you need a bit of inspiration.
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Six Questions with Doctor Ameenah Hassan

Amina Muhammad Hassan earned her MBBS in April 2006 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.  
Ready, Set, ...
 She subsequently worked at:  
- Uthman Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto - Internship
- King of Kings Specialist Hospital, Asaga, Ohafia, Abia State - 8 months of NYSC
- Kawo General Hospital, Kaduna state - last 3 months of NYSC
and since then, she's been with the 

- Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of King Fahd Women and Children's Hospital, Gusau, Zamfara State. She is currently the Head of Clinical Services in the hospital. 
An old photo: Zamfara is quiet
Some more-recent photos HERE

Alongside this, she serves as 
- a State Trainer in the Malaria Action Programme for States (MAPS) 
- a master trainer mentor for MNCH2 (Maternal, Newborn and Child Health 2)

She is a member, and former Zamfara state treasurer, of the Nigerian Medical Association.
She is married, and enjoys taking walks and admiring nature in her spare time.

Back in Queen's College where we were classmates from January 1991- June 1996, Amina was often class captain and when she became a house captain, as expected her Obong House was swiftly transformed into a winner at inspections and sports. 
SS3Y Class Photo in 1996: Ameenah is second from left, with face obscured by Fatima's head (precursor surgical mask? :) I made sure my face got in :) @3rdLeft
I remember her as a Muslim person of principle.   

Also, I think it was she who started the trend in our class of going regularly to the library to enjoy the reference books on the upper floor, that is, not just when we had homework.  I came to enjoy the habit very much too. 

I badly wanted to ask her a few questions for only my fourth ever Six-Questions feature:

1. Tell us a story about the oldest person you've met at work. And the youngest? 
 The oldest patient I've attended to was a 60-year-old woman with uterovaginal prolapse, we managed her successfully.  
The youngest was a neonate born with ambiguous genitalia, we referred [this child] to the teaching hospital in Zaria.
[Ask Google/Wikipedia, like I did :) ]

2. What are the two biggest solvable problems you encounter regularly at work? 
Late-coming especially the HMIS staff,  
Attitude - we generally need to be proactive.
3. Three things we should all do for better health? 
Eat healthy, laugh a lot and exercise.
4. How did you decide to become a medical doctor? 
I initially wanted to read accounting, like my Dad. 
The turning point was JSCE Book-Keeping [back in 1993, as a JS3 / 9th-grade student.] It got me tied up in knots, lol.   
At that point I decided to save lives instead.  All I had to do was pass JAMB so I got admission in ABU Zaria.

5. What is the meaning of life? 
Life is a gift. Cherish it and make the best use of it, irrespective of the circumstances.  
The Doc with her handsome baby.
6. Does Nigeria need more doctors?
Where I work the ratio is one doctor to 40 [patients] averagely, this can be overwhelming.  
A conducive working environment and more hands will help.  
[Today, it's New Year's Eve] I saw outpatients and now I'm in theatre to perform an elective Cesarean section, and work still continues after the surgery.

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Another Christmas ...

“Can any of you mention something of importance that did not exist fifty years ago?” she asked. One bright lad in the front row raised his hand eagerly and said, “Me!”*[1]

The frenzy of Christmas in Nigeria cannot be captured in writing. The sense of contest is palpable—to acquire the best gifts, clothes and looks, (and for some, the right ring on the right finger—or is it the left now?). The ladies want to look more colourful, and shinier, the guys want to show off the latest models of cars and phones.  Prices hit the roof because merchants are determined to make as much profit as they can before the “season” is over. It appears each person is out to get “things” that would either slake their sense of self-satisfaction or make them appear more impressive before others, or both. The story is the same, each year, every Christmas.

But then, is Christmas not about people? Indeed it is about A PERSON—Christ who came to “be” among us to show us the way to God and in so doing showed us just how much He loved us. Why is He celebrated? What’s so special about Him? Did He have the most expensive and finest of cars? Or investments to rival those of the Warren Buffets of this world? Why is He such a Super Star?

Christ was born to be Wonderful, the Counsellor and the Prince of Peace. And it is because He excelled in His “be-ing” that He has been celebrated for centuries past and will be for years to come. What did He have while on earth? Not even a place to lay His head; the son of a carpenter, he was by all means counted among the “have-nots” but this is what was said about Him “No one ever spoke like this man,” “He has done all things well.”

He excelled in the purpose for which He was born—that’s why He has His name in Neon lights.
This holiday season gives each of us an opportunity to reflect on our way of be-ing in this world.  Instead of placing all our energies on what and how much we can get this Christmas, the question should rather be, how can we “be” this Christmas? What must we do to become better than we have been? How can we become more, in fact, the best, of what we were born to be?

Having all the enviable goodies will mean absolutely nothing, until we take the time to recognizse and live our purpose (which is always tied to our being, not our possessions). Unless we take the time for this kind of soul searching, we will only be immersed deeper into the quicksand of avarice.    
Have yourself a very merry Christmas and BE AMAZING.

*First published on Nahla Donna

* Anthony de Mello, “The Prayer of the Frog” Vol. 1, pg. 177.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Big Boy, Big Girl

"Big opportunities open up when you build relationships with the right people, invest your time in your highest leverage activities and are a person who solves problems."

in Making Your First Million Is Easy if you Follow These Five Steps
At least follow two ;)
What are your two?  Mine are...
... ...

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Still trying to find your passion? What ANNOYS you?

I'm feeling a little under the weather today, but I had to go out twice to sort out an electricity billing matter.

I didn't like the early afternoon heat,
but how lovely it was when I stepped into the shade, say, of someone's streetside shop.
Why can't we keep the heat where we want it (in micropower plants, in boilers, and so on) and have shade where we want it (in our homes, offices, wherever we are)?

Is that not what science and engineering have been doing for years? Helping us control energy?
Science aside, how about hats?  With state-of-the-art HAT technology, I could stay nice and comfy in 30degree heat.
Ventilation at home too, of course.  But back to those micropower plants - how - maybe reflectors combined with solar cells?  And lots of trees to complete the shading effect?

For the electric billing, what annoyed me so much was that this was my second visit, and then I had to wait, and then the customer service rep did me dis-service by asking me to get even more paperwork and come again.

So I feigned a fit (they're never really real, are they) and said I would need to see her manager because their processes suck (she wouldn't like me to see her manager, I could see in her eyes), and it is HER job to make this easy;
and then I tried but the new paperwork probably doesn't exist, and it's all a scam anyway, and that got me thinking:

1. ask google, because there'd be many sites telling me how to pay my power bill without dealing with all the human nonsense - and I have asked, and I have found these sites explaining "how to buy IKEDC units power" etc
2. ask someone to investigate where this money is going.  My actual power usage would cost a laughably small amount, say 600naira per month.
My 40 units since installation just ran out after 3 1/2 weeks, and I read online that the per unit rate is N12.50, and that it will be increased soon - Merry Christmas - and that there's a monthly service charge in addition to the usage charges of about N750 per month.
For years I've paid about 3,000 naira per month, occasionally we've had to pay larger lump sums (we share a bill of which I pay 1/3 or so) , and supposedly I owe another 70,000 a third of over 200,000.  I'm required to pay 20,000 of that sum before being allowed to pay on the new meter.  And now I have to run around to pay this into separate mysterious accounts.
You see why we need investigators?
You see why the new president tried to mandate a single account for the nation's treasury?  Because clever clever people create separate accounts, and would insult the customers doubly by making them runaround and file paperwork to feed them?  Meanwhile, I bet the electricity "company" itself is starving while Mrs. or Mr. Somebody has a racket running?
But what about the prepaid cards?  Can't I just buy a card, say 5k or 10k as advertised and be done with this payment nonsense for 6 months at least?  I'm not sure.  I've searched around the internet...maybe the systems aren't up and running yet.

I would beware of online payment portals, it's too easy to set up a fake one, and entering card data online on ANY NIGERIA PORTAL is at the very best an invitation to get defrauded at some point.  I'm still trying to get a response from the Central Bank from an old fraud case.  The bank won't refund, to which I say but if you're not liable then you have no incentive to protect my card/account which I didn't use in any special way anyhow, only used at ATMs and shops.  Now I no longer use the card at shops - I withdraw cash first and take that to the point of sale.  It's a shame.
As you can see, there's a bit of anger here.  What am I going to do about it?
First, I'm going to do the human nonsense, this is Nigeria after all: I'll get some units on my prepaid electricity card by the buddy system, screw the backpayment.

I'll hope there's an exposé at some point that tells poor residents not to pay the inflated amounts into the strange Zenith Bank accounts or wherever.  It's so not fair; these people can't buy any luxuries for Christmas and have to save it all to feed the power scam.
I'll wear a raffia hat sometimes even if it's not fashionable.  It's the logical thing to do, it IS.
I'll go to the beach and enjoy the country.
Do you know how perfect it is in the morning and evening when it's a mild 25ish degrees and just leafy paradise?
I'll try to be an engineer and train engineers that re-think society, that create the type of energy management that I described here: comfort, power, sustainability, in a comprehensive design.

I'm still trying to find my passion - to find the word to describe it.  But talking about things and getting people to locate their anger is part of it.  Blogging?  Policy (Social engineering?)  Engineering itself?  Even fashion? And urban design.  Definitely teaching.

But the passion, should it be one thing? 

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Wikipedia : Simple Living

Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle.
  • These may include reducing one's possessions, generally referred to as Minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency, for example.
  • Simple living may be characterized by individuals being satisfied with what they have rather than want.[1][2]
  • Although asceticism generally promotes living simply and refraining from luxury and indulgence, not all proponents of simple living are ascetics.[3]
  • Simple living is distinct from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice.

Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn in 1942. Gandhi believed in a life of simplicity and self-sufficiency.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

A New Kind of News

But Women's Lives Are Human Lives Too. 

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Friday, November 13, 2015

When was the last time you won a scholarship?

I've been reading business tips on BellaNaija, and got a referral to check out this training programme that teaches SALES

It looks really good.
It's scheduled for all day (10am-4pm) next Friday and Saturday Nov 20-21, 2015 at the Omole/Ikeja office of Acceltage... 

If you want to get a 10k discount courtesy me @ UpNaira, drop a comment now (latest Nov 14th) stating why.  (Are you a business owner?  Sales professional?  Neither?  Why do you want/need this experience?)

One person will be chosen semi-randomly, and in addition to paying 10k of the fee on their behalf, I will request an additional discount of 10,000 naira from the training provider, and so if that is granted you will only need to pay about 10,000 naira.  Again, this looks like a really good programme, especially if you live on Lagos Mainland (Ikeja and co) 

Cheers.  Tell whoever you think may use this info.

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Monday, November 02, 2015

This applet will self-destruct in 72 hours

CODEGIRL is a documentary film that follows the story of 5,000 girls from 60 countries (including Nigeria) as they compete in the "Technovation" global entrepreneurship and coding competition.

Watch (at least watch the second half),
share (with the young girls and techies in your life),
and make sure you leave a comment about the cool ending.

Details: The girls have three months to develop an app that attempts to solve a problem in their local community. In the film, they size up their competition, interact with teachers and local mentors, learn to code, and pitch their ideas all in hopes of winning $10,000 in funding and support. REALLY COOL ENDING.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Because traffic is killing, because 5-days a week is so 20th century, because why is there a crater in the middle of the highway, because we may really need to make the meetings snappy, because weren't all these gadgets supposed to raise human productivity, because whatever happened to just chilling, because let's spread the work around so we won't have so many unemployed...

It's Thursday. We're almost there.
Then rinse, repeat.

Whose idea was the 40-hour workweek, anyway?  Hint, it's why we celebrate Worker's Day, aka my birthday :)

And how long before 40-hours-a-week goes the way of the pocket calculator? Hint: as soon as people decide they can tolerate the change.  Who would you be without a job, without the predictability of a daily commuteEverybody's doing it, so it must be right, right?
 Even CNBC, which must surely hold the usual mainstream business media bias, snuck in a story, courtesy of Larry Page's comments
Next time you get a query about skipping work to get that extra sleep, play with the kids, enjoy the neighbourhood, or just get a slow haircut and manicure, just point to this page or this one and tell'em: I'm in the Future.

Just kidding.
Sort of.
We're almost there.  
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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Do great things with the most productive devices on the planet

Microsoft's offering these new devices:
Surface book (the ultimate laptop), Surface Pro 4 (ultra-portable tablet),  Microsoft band (fitness wearable), and Lumia 950XL (the phone that works like a PC, with Windows 10)

Now you know.  Shop?
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Apply Now. Now.

Grooming For Greatness aims
  • To assist Fellows in mapping their own life-specific goals and ambitions.
  • To provide access to learning resources, leadership grooming, and top-notch mentoring 
  • To meet the demand across Africa for greater, meaningful interaction between leaders of industry and those who wish to follow in their footsteps.
Just click and apply (minimum age 25, deadline extended by one week) 
Trust me.

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Monday, September 07, 2015

50% of the world's population is under 30

...but you're never too old to be a Nigerian youth.

Apparently, there are 7 classes of job interview (weed-out-phase) candidates in Nigeria.    
The Older Candidates (Agadi ekwe nka) - The tests...are usually supposed to be for entry level jobs. Yet, I see men and women who are obviously in their late thirties or early forties at the venue...  The Big Boiz and Gehz - These people come with their cars, and are always blasting loud playing music. They are the people sitting in their A.C cars, eating ice cream...from The Seven Types of Recruitment Test Candidates in Nigeria. click and enjoy, too funny.

If that didn't make you laugh, then (tough customer) hold on tight, get to know Frank Donga, the perpetual job-seeker.   

from this humble beginning

he even tried for a loan

he sort of owns his own business

Yes, Frank Donga is an entrepreneur.
he tweets @frankdonga_
There are MORE FRANK DONGA VIDEOS  on the web.

References: World Median Age
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Friday, September 04, 2015

Linda Ikeji went through a lot

A lot of needless hardship.
It's a long story, juicy, inspirational, ...
 and I hope it makes you say, on behalf of struggling people all over Africa and the world:

Please read:
What inspired 'I'd Rather Be Self Made'...the day I was picked up by Special Fraud Unit...:-), at LindaIkeji's blog
"Before I became the popular blogger that I am today, I was a struggling entrepreneur. I started my modeling career in 1998 before I turned 18 and started my company Blackdove Communications in 2004 when I was just 23+. Blackdove was a modeling agency/events company and I operated from a 2-room office in Jibowu, Yaba for almost three years.

In 2006, I decided to try something that I'd always wanted to do - become a magazine publisher...

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Google's new CEO

Larry Page, co-founder (with Sergey Brin), steps down up as CEO of google:
"Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I've been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our Internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google."

Sergey and Larry become President and CEO respectively of a new super-company Alphabet ( that includes G for Google.
click for 1001 pictures

Everybody's talking about Sundar Pichai, the young nerd from Tamil Nadu.  

Advert: If you love technology backstories, join this IP Law course online, free, now,
Internet Giants: The Law and Technology of Media Platforms
offered by Coursera/U.Chicago

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Soft skills are just as important

and that is why I urge you to get fabulous.
Click to Download Issue One, it's really good
Twitter/Instagram: @fabulouscity_ , @fabulouscity_

Download Three Sisters, a novel
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What do you say?  How should you represent time off to prospective clients/employers?  Can mummy experience be an asset in work/business?
Also learn: You have a product, but will it change the world?  Can great style translate to great success?

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Josh is a Nigerian film too

When filmmaker Iram Parveen Bilal speaks,
savour the experience,
take notes,
 and share.

I hope more people get to see this visual feast of a movie.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The 10 Richest People of all time

According to Time, and after factoring in the time value of money, Microsoft's Bill Gates barely makes the list. 
We have Augustus Caesar and Genghis Khan, Indian and Chinese emperors, Carnegie and Rockefeller, and sitting at the top is an African king named Mansa Musa.  No girls.  See for yourself.
Mansa Musa I of Mali

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Really simple inventions

Let's talk about zippers and fasteners, glues and dyes:
This Japanese company is 80 years old and makes half the zippers on earth.
  Velcro was invented by an engineer fascinated at how plant parts got stuck to his clothes and his dog's fur.  One side is smooth VELvet, the other has CROtchet hooks - get it?
Dyes: the colour in the world's products
The idea for Post-It's came to a scientist in church - on the one hand his page-markers kept falling out of his hymn book, on the other hand there was an adhesive that was too weak to use as a reliable glue, he put them together and made a great success! 

Some questions:
How does one learn to pay attention i.e. to be creative?
Where are the opportunities for invention in our environment now - in the kitchen, at the office, through the window, on a website, in answer to a personal request? 
Where/when is the money - this year, next year, never, forever - and the desire to follow-through on good ideas? 

Book an appointment/seminar today :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What will happen to oil money?

SLS, the Central Bank Governor, told the nation that, based on what he had calculated... up to $20bn of the money was not accounted for...more in This Yam, This Goat, This Country: PwC on NNPC – Part 1
Abeokuta, January 2015

...Scatter The is not by force to have a national oil company...Since 1977 when it was established, the company has been a constant source of pain for the country.  My preference is for NNPC to be completely dismantled...And now is the best time to deal it a decisive blow from which it will never recover. More in This Yam, This Goat, This Country: Pwc On NNPC – Part 2

The Word On The Streets XIII: The Buhari Is Coming Edition
Lagos #Petrocalypse:
You are sitting in London and hearing there is fuel scarcity in Lagos...
I watched Nigerians, who are nothing if not resilient, wave the white flag of defeat to this one...
If you like high-profile gossip, you'll love The Word On The Streets XIII: The Buhari Is Coming Edition
Kano, April 1, 2015
Guest Post: Agenda For The Next Petroleum Minister
The Petroleum Industry Bill addresses many of the reforms anticipated for NNPC to perform...
In your view, is this reasonable, wishful thinking, or conservative even?  See an anonymous Agenda For The Next Petroleum Minister

See more like this at
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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Previously on UpNaira