Editor’s note: Nicholas Oluwaseyi, the NAIJ.com partner blogger, examines five simple rules that could help people kick start their ride to greatness.
More details in NAIJ.com’s step-by-step guide for guest bloggers.
Often times you might look up to the top people in a particular field and start rationalising how big steps they've taken. But I want to tell you that they did not take big steps on their ride to excellence but they only take little steps that count each day.
People undergoing training
Looking at the Olympics medal standings and other top sporting events records, it's always obvious that the difference between a gold medalist and a bronze medalist isn't always more than seconds. Seconds, you say but they matter! It could make you write your name into history or not.
If you've ever added more salt than you should have to a food you'll really know the value of little things. A little added extra salt can spoil the whole cooking food you've been sweating upon for hours.
A student who had worked hard during the preparatory weeks for an exam knows that a single mark can make a big difference between an A and a B.
The effect of little in a human embryological development is very obvious. Week three through eight is very important to the child’s development that a little bit of teratogenic from the mother can cause a long lasting congenital disease for the unborn. A little mistake isn't taken for granted in medical school because we've been taught how little matters.
Little matters my dear friend. You could have heard the sentence - little drops of water make the mighty oceans. From when you sleep, to when you wake up, to what you eat daily contribute a lot to your everyday ride to excellence.
You only need to make little decisions to move on your journey everyday. Changing a vocabulary you use everyday can change everything about your life and take you from average to excellence.
Growing up, I had many dreams; from wanting to be a footballer to being a pilot to being a doctor to being a football club doctor to being a great instrumentalist to being one of the greatest writers of all time and so on like you also had too.
I caught the interest for football at a very early age, by age 5 my brothers were already taking me to football field and football viewing centers. Both of them were good footballer in our local team then before they both diverted from footballing to something else. So I made up my mind, I could be a footballer one day.
And truly God blessed me with footballing skills that by primary 4 I was not only the best in my school but I was awarded the most valuable player in a footballing competition between schools in my locality. You can call me a local champion, but deep inside of me I knew I had some football within. How I left football for Medicine is a talk for another day, but follow gently because I'm driving at point.
After my football dreams started looking blur I said I wanted to be a pilot. I made paper kite and flew them then and I thought I can fly an aeroplane one day! I moved on from that from wanting to be a Doctor. I lived in a subset of a town, so you can imagine how that looks like.
We had a few literate living around us and I witnessed how poor kids suffer from poor health due to ignorance and poverty. This was part of things that fueled my pursuit of becoming a doctor, so I can return to the rural environment one day and make the little kids smile and live their dreams too.
There was one major obstacle, however, to my becoming a doctor and a writer which were dreams I later pursued. It wasn't finances, even though I can't say my family is of the first class part of the economy, we could afford 3 square meals a day and we got good education even though we had days things weren't good enough but God always provided. It was my temper - anger, I think that's the best way I can put it.
You may not know if you're just knowing me because God has worked it out of my life. You might call me another Ben Carson, I wouldn't argue. But it nearly got the best of me and killed my dreams.
I could erupt anywhere then and to anybody. I could be happy in a moment and the next second I could burst out and in the next few minutes I'm back to normal. One thing about the anger was it always last for seconds, but it was destroying me. It was little but catastrophic.
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There was a day, Mum was to take me out but she said she can't again. I can't vividly remember why, but the reason was reasonable. So I started boiling and yelping, I was furious and the anger was running down my nerves. I was screaming at her, I went to the parlour, took the key why nobody was there and I hid it.
They kept asking who took the key to the door; I wasn't talking until they concluded I was the one. The fight lasted few minutes and Mum was delayed for her appointment. One thing about this arger of mine was that it only lasted few minutes after which I would enter into a state of depression, the same person I got angry with I will have the feeling to beg the person.
There were days I threatened my parents that I'll burn their certificates if they don't grant my request. But those were just the least ones, the one that changed everything was the one I had to myself the day I failed my entrance examination into the university.
I had missed a schooling year due to the injury I had when I was very young and I changed schools. I went to like 4 primary schools so time wasn't there even though our education was quite fast in my family.
So I failed and my personality was dashed. In the house, school, church I thought that evening there wasn't anything for me again. I took the knife that evening and said to die is better to face the failure. I went to a far place from home and everyone was looking for me. I returned home 10 pm since around past 5 pm in the evening.
But I didn't kill myself, before I could reach where I was going my anger has died down which made me thought - so I could have ruined myself within few seconds of anger.
I wept till I slept that night. Even though it got reduced there, it didn't finally left. There was a day, a lady was quoting verses from the books of Proverbs showing me how foolish I am to be an angry person. She wasn't trying to help as you are thinking she was only taking the chance to kill me and she got the loop hole that day. But indeed I went back and check the verses and that was the turning point.
God thought me silence. If I'm boiling I should just keep quiet, silence is golden. I learnt to say okay at angry moments and it became my favorite word. Many of my friends didn't know why I love that word, but it was pivotal to my life.
I should have been died by then or be where somewhere else. But that one word OKAY has saved me in many angry moments. Learning to say that word turned me into a new person. Probably it's only new vocabulary you need to add to your everyday life to start off your ride to excellence. I learnt to say OKAY and anger which was something that kept me at an average level left. Little things matter.
My English grammatical life changed when I learnt to start reading at least 50 words a day and I then moved on gradually till I started reading 2000 words everyday. My writing life kicked started when I started writing 50 words everyday and now everyday I write nothing less than 2000 words and I'm not stopping there.
In two years of disciplined, weekly reading, I went from the absolute bottom of my class to the top- in almost every subject
Ben Carson MD as a role model
Dr Ben Carson started reading two books a week and stopped watching TV day long and everything changed.
The difference between extraordinary and ordinary is the extra. All you need to kickstart your excellence ride isn't something big, it's something little.
It starts from deciding to sleep at the right time and waking up refreshed to speak to God. Probably you wake up weak every morning and feel weak to pray and go to work, don't push the whole responsibility to the devil.
All it may need is to review your sleeping plan and make little changes. Or do you sleep when praying? It's not devil always! You can't expect to sleep late and wake up early again and not sleep off. God isn't a magician; He made you to take care of your physical body too. So a little twist in your sleeping plan can change your communion life forever and change your walk with God forever.
Probably you're obese and looking for a way forward and you're looking for a big way out, I want to tell you with little daily ride on your excellence journey you can lose the weight! Changing your diet plan can change everything. Talking a walk around the neighborhood everyday will do you a lot of benefits. Replace high cholesterol food with vegetables, fruit and low cholesterol foods, walk around 30 minutes daily. Excellence is making good daily little choices.
If you're struggling with your Bible study life, you don't have to start reading a whole Bible chapter everyday. Start with 5 verses, go on to 10 verses and you'll see the tremendous ways your life will make within few days.
I've a rule called rule of 5, in it are 5 things you must do daily to take a ride to excellence.
These are the rule of five:
What’s the rule of 5?
Picture a tree in your backyard that needs to be cut down. If you grab an axe and take five good swings at the tree each day, eventually you will chop it down. It may take a month to fell a small tree, while a big tree may take years to topple. The size of the tree isn’t the issue; the real question is whether or not you diligently take five swings at it every day.
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Over the next week, carve out time to consider these rules. Use them to create your own Rule of 5. Then, for the next month, take five minutes in the morning, and another five minutes at the end of the day, to review your Rule of 5. This simple exercise will sharpen your focus and speed your progress toward excellence:
1. Make God first
2. Drink deeply from books (Bible and other life inspiring Books)
3. Make friendship a fine art
4. Sharpen your talent
5. One word strategy - speak positively to yourself.
If you can start doing these from now on, I bet you in the next few years the effect will turn out big.
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