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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Previously on UpNaira