MISTAKES X FAILURE

What do you do when you make a mistake? What should you? This nifty post gives you an idea.

What do you do when you make a mistake or fail?

If you were me, you would hate yourself, wish it never happened and try so hard not to talk about it. Sometimes, that will prevent you from doing something great again.

If you are nodding your head right now, I have a word for you.

Do not beat yourself…

The microwave was a sizzling accidental discovery during a radar test. Sticky notes came out of a failed strong-adhesive project. The potato chips was an attempt to annoy an extremely fussy customer. The penicillin was a result of an accidental culture inoculation, and the x-ray and corn flakes were also accidental discoveries.

Do not take yourself too seriously. Seriously. Okay, I meant, do not beat yourself too much.

Rather, take a second look at your mistakes or failures. You may learn something phenomenal.

Take a second look.

You may learn something phenomenal.

Check out the Instagram info-graphic here.

mistakes@2x

Little lights

Big light, little light, we should all shine.

In retrospect, I think the childhood chorus “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine,” was curated to tell the child that there is a light within, a light of passion, of purpose, fueled by the intrinsic gifts the maker has deposited in all of us, it’s a reminder to let that light out regardless of how small he or she may feel.

Somehow, on the journey to adulthood, we tend to forget this.

As we all reach to attain the perfectionism our institutions have created in our hearts, the words, “You’re not good enough, you can’t do it, you don’t have what it takes.” burn their way into our minds and threaten to eat up what is left of our childhood wonder, faith and sense of adventure.

Like a little light, we consistently belittle the progress and the victuals we’ve earned in the journey so far in life, work and relationships. The weight of unrealistic expectations and our half-empty appraisal of ourselves makes us think we are never going to be prepared enough to offer much, and we think we need to have it all figured out before we can take a step in the direction of our dreams, or be a blessing to others. Often times, the feeling of inadequacy that comes with this perfectionism prevents us from believing in the process that has gotten us to where we are and venturing in faith into the things we are supposed to do. We doubt Gods ability to work in and through us.

We fail to remember that “in the dark world of doubt and mediocrity, even the smallest lamp and faintest light will illuminate hope.”

So I will not hide my light under a bushel anymore. I am a light. My source is divine. A light burns in me. It may be little or big, but I would shine. As I shine, I grow and then shine some more.

Will you join me?

A C R Y L I C on Primed Canvas | 8 X 10 inches | 08-14-2019

MY INSPIRATION

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
~‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

P.S. Check out my latest project here.
Thank you!

Run your own race

The pressure to perform can be as helpful as it is disastrous.

As a writer, I am torn between do it now and wait until it is perfect. For a long time, I was confused about what school of thought to pattern myself after because I didn’t want to offend the wisdom of either, as I respected and admired the work of people who swore by both.

I grew up in a time where the seven year old who makes 3.1 million dollars in first year of business and the seventy-five year old who wins a marathon got the spotlight shone on them while the thirty-five year old doing either gets a mere shrug. As a result, I have tried both – I produced work too quickly in a bid to rush up to spotlight but then realizing it wasn’t ready. Frustrated and guilt-ridden, I resorted to endlessly waiting for my work to be perfect or until I am ready.

Problem is, I never feel ready.

My perspective is broadening as I meet people everyday. The journey to purpose and significant work as creatives is often a path of undulating slopes and we grow through the process of a balance of learning and creating.

Don’t birth into the world a poorly written first draft at sixteen just because you will look cool doing it. I’d rather you give us an irresistible bestseller at twenty-two or thirty-five! You must remember that it is okay, yes, it is perfectly okay if you do not get there first or as early as you think you should. But it’s really terrible if you get there first or early and have nothing significant to offer, because you will be asked to stand aside.

There is an interesting story in the Bible (2 Samuel 18:30) where Kind David’s army commander, Joab, needed to get a message across to him. Ahimaaz thought he could run faster so off he went. He got to the king before the Cushite, who had the message, but because he had nothing to deliver, he was asked to stand aside. You see, the king will wait for the one who has something to offer, even if he arrives later.

It’s great if you do create masterpieces as early as you can, but if you can’t, it’s okay too. Do not let your performance be fraught with undue pressure to perform. The experience and maturity that comes with the diligence of mastery (or age as the case may be) is nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes, you may have brilliant ideas, but your character is not formed – it is important not to rush the process because the wisdom you gain from the experiences on the journey is as important as the destination.

Listen. Pay attention. Learn. Fine tune. Release. Then rinse and repeat.

You don’t have to get there early because no one is observing the time. Really. No one is.

It doesn’t matter who is there right now, they will step aside when someone with something significant arrives. You don’t have to get there first because it’s not a competition. You don’t have to wait till you feel you are ready, because what you need to do is to prepare and then share it when opportunity comes.

It’s often not about when you get there, it’s about what you have to offer.

If you fall short at an attempt, shake yourself up and do it again. My advise right now is to be a life long student. Take on opportunities as they come
Do it one at a time. Do not compare yourself to other’s journey. One of the reasons why I just pay attention to doing good work rather than fussing over when and where I am published is that I am on a unique race.

Imagine you’re an athlete. You’ve trained for so long. You are ready for the meet, then when you squat on the track, the marksman announces, “hey, everyone, today, you won’t be competing against the people on the other lanes. The’re a personal creative best you’ve been equipped to achieve at this time. Today’s race will be about how much you have applied yourself to your personal best or how much you have improved since your last record…”

That’s pretty much the life we live. You’re on the same track as everyone else in the word. But you’re not running the same race. Each person has a unique set of gifts and abilities and paths of purpose to benefit the world. It is your duty to find your purpose and pursue it’s achievement.

As long as you are alive, what matters is the impact you make on other people with your work and the peace and joy you experience through the process of growth on purpose.

The creative life is a long-distance, not a sprint. And if there is one thing to take out of this article, it is this –

run your own race with diligence.

P.S. Check out my latest project here. Thank you!

The propeller muse

I am immensely fascinated by what my drone does. As it soars high and reduces every intimidating landscape into the grand scheme of things, I appreciate how beautiful my world is.

But I am more fascinated by how it works. I’ll tell you why.

It was a few months ago I realized that the propellers were very pertinent to an aircraft flying. I did a little experiment – my drone with its engine and motors powered up and running would not fly until I attached and tightened the propellers.

I got an insight from that.

Propellers are not the biggest part of an aircraft but they are very functional. A propeller is like a “spinning wing” that produces thrust – the force that lifts an aircraft in a forward direction.

Usually, the engine motors power the propellers for it to spin, so you’d say that without the engine, the propeller and by extension, the aircraft, can’t work.

Now, I’d say even with the engine running and motors powered on, the aircraft won’t fly without the propellers.

Here’s the learning point.

If your dream, goal or a certain project is an aircraft, passion, talent, knowledge or skill builds you an engine but each ounce of diligence and consistency poured into your work produces the force that intentionally lifts your project up and forwards towards completion.

drone_1.jpg

Without this, your dream will remain full of potential to fly but will not leave the ground For any sustained time.

If you want your dream or project to fly beyond mere talent and potential, you must attach and tighten the propellers of diligence and consistency.

Cheers!

Nudging on like a nomad… err, kind of.

I’ve been away from this blog for a long time. Little did I know, when I wrote the previous article on Productivity for 2018, that I was about to take a journey of my own through the icy winters of introspection. Thankfully, it’s warming up in here.

The Beginning

I remember when I typed my first story, not when I fell in love with words. It seems like yesterday, but it’s not.

Fourteen summers ago, I learned to use the computer. I had written a lot before then, but that year was when I was first introduced to the microsoft word and (yes!) the legendary comic sans font. My story, one good turn deserves another, was an adaptation of the Biblical “good Samaritan” parable, with the wounded traveler coincidentally given the opportunity to bless the “good Samaritan” at a later time.

I was privileged to attend primary school with kids who had wealthy parents from whom I was exposed to many foreign-authored books, my favorites being books by Enid Blyton and R.L. Stine. Though I never traveled out of Nigeria until my twenties, I dreamed of marshmallows, lemonades and kids club houses. I also read my ample share of African works like Sugar girl, Mother’s Choice, Tunde on the run, Without a silver spoon, Arrow of God, Bottled Leopard, The virtuous woman, Things fall apart, The incorruptible judge, Too cold for comfort, The passport of Mallam Ilia… (I really feel nostalgic right now). I sincerely think I read every book my young self could lay hands upon.

Saying I enjoyed (I still do!) stories is an understatement.

“The Lord gave the word: great is the company of those that published it.” Psalm 68:11 KJV

As I read, I wrote. I created worlds in my mind, then painted them on paper. I did some folk tales, romance (yes!), sci-fi and detective stories, many of which have been lost to time. I enrolled in writing competitions and joined the young writers club fresh out of primary school. When I found msword (as we called it), I was glued but not in destructive ways. It was years before the diffusion of the communication pathways. Connection was not nearly seamless as it has been made today by the internet, electronic devices and social media. We didn’t have a PC at home so the only way to share my story was to print it out and physically distribute. So, Yes, I did print out stories and articles and share with people at church and school.

Journey to Publication

I looked onto publication early in life but didn’t know how to go about it. Self-publishing was not a new concept in Nigeria, and except for landing a deal with traditional educational publishers like Macmillian, Spectrum, Evans, University Press and Heineman, anyone who wanted to be an author just wrote and printed it at a press. I saw many of these independent authors with great story concepts churn out subpar books due to careless editing, typos and poor design, a far cry from the foreign standards I adored. Though it would be many years before I published my first book, Donut, I can say it pleasantly surprised a lot of critics.

My introduction to the world of computer design followed a similar framework. I loved to draw and I was good at it. My earliest fascination was the Marvel Superhero Universe and the Herge’s Adventures of Tin Tin issues. I created heroes, drew comics, and made paper crafts until the summer of 2005 when I attended a month-long training in graphic design while waiting to transfer to a public senior school. I was naturally excited about the electronic art media form, hence my journey into graphic design and publishing. It was glaring that the intersection of my literary and artistic interest were not a coincidence and passion for a fulfilling life had found a medium to blossom.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life has always been to me an adventure on an uncharted terrain and I have been guided on this journey of dutiful delights, even when I didn’t realize it.

Over time, as the internet connected the world, I was able to follow many acclaimed writers, designers and artists’ journeys through their blogs and correspondence. I wanted to write words that struck chords in readers hearts, so I looked up authors that were currently where I wanted to be. I learned a lot by reading and browsing in cyber cafes before I got any personal devices. As I wrote for periodicals, served on editorial boards, entered and won contests, blogged on and off, I steadily grew with this passion. I have written two books (one print and one online), published a handful of authors through Studio 13:52; and there are WIPs and many more ideas in the warmer.

I started Studio 13:52 because I wanted to make a statement that quality can be done in resource-limited environment, and to help authors and creatives give quality output to their message. Project after project, I am convinced that if we can focus on doing our creative best, we will thrive.

I have also started projects that have failed (for many reasons), but I have not backed down. I have rushed some decisions and stalled at other crossroads but I am encouraged by the trail blazers who have experienced life in different places (good and bad) and pulled through, reinventing or realizing themselves in the process. I know that those who are able to continue moving forward are those who refuse to give up.

Over the last two years, I feel my creative life has slowed. I don’t want to say much about it now, because I’m still gleaning on my silent phase. But I know that I still need to learn a lot about writing, art, the business of creativity and how to live with creative passion as life happens.

The Bridge

The fruits of transformative creativity is bigger than any one of its creators, however, it draws deeply from the wells of the creator’s life.

My creative journey has been hard, fraught with struggles with resistance, fear and self-doubt. The indiscipline of passion has also made it a long arduous road. However, I am glad because I am still here – renewing my learning and doing creed, and reopening the windows to the vistas afroeseen. With a prayer, deep love for the creative life, a functuional tribe and God’s big backing, I will step on water again and feel my heart beat again.

The lessons

Sometimes, the hard thing is not finding new ideas, but to fall out of love with the old idea.

Growing up, I had a lot of ideas. As I grew older, I could not get one pinned down. At some point, I was beginning to think I had ADD. I am not getting much done as I would love to due to lack of focus. And as an unknown source says, “if you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”

I realize that I have been beating the air in many ways, trying to learn all I can, and building my portfolio to include all possible creative interests. I have been listening to tons of podcasts, reading many blog articles, books on many subjects that interest me and I have come up with one problem – I am overwhelmed.

My voracious and absentminded consumption has shifted my attention away from focusing on creating. I need to slow down. I need to focus on one single thing and build it for a long time. I need to collaborate with people and allow their expertise to fuel my life as we create together. From here on now, I am quitting the non-specific learning race. I am focusing on being one thing.

While I have learned to visit creative spaces like the library and museums more consistently to interact with inspiration from my world, I am learning to stay indoor intentionally and create!

This is time to focus.

The Next steps

The eatyourdonut blog will be put on hiatus for a while – until it is time for the next Donut-related project which will likely be an expanded edition of Donut. Meanwhile, a follow-up Initiative launches soon and I’m so excited about it!

My life is becoming simpler – and you can be sure that when I am not studying, working or spending time with family or friends, or collaborating with people to create wonderful things, I will be here, blogging about life, purpose and creaivity.

New Beginnings

Creativity to me is a tool for transformation, which works its way into the human soul, shapes perspectives and influences action in a way no other medium can.

I am a Missionary Creative. I love to write. I love to create beautiful things and help others do the same. I love to creative transformative work which will help others learn about and live a fulfilling and purposeful Life. To Connect. Learn. Grow. Shine.

My hiatus is ending and I am nudging on, to the next big thing.

So watch out!

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

P.S. Follow HeirWalk on instagram @heirwalk

Creativity tips for a productive 2018: Part 1

Want to make 2018 a productive year? Read my selected Creativity Tips before 2017 ends.

Hello Writer and Creative,

If you live in the real world, you will agree with me that great feats are hardly achieved accidentally. Historical and current examples of men and women who have done great things with their lives show us that more often than we realize, excellence requires intentional diligence and consistency.

A few days ago, I posted the image below on my Instagram:

IMG_1356

As we pack shop out of 2017, I felt everyone needed a reminder to introspectively evaluate 2017 and plan to maximize the opportunities of 2018 (because there will be lots of them). If you still think that opportunity comes once in a lifetime, you need to read my last post here.

“2018 is going to be a great year for the intentional creative.”

In 2018, I want to be a better writer, an intentional creative and an enthusiastic learner. I have been researching tips on how this can be possible and I felt to share with you what I found proven and practical. In this post, I will be sharing a trait I observed is present in all successful writers and creatives, called Consistency.

Consistency.

You probably know that one of the secrets to staying fresh and energetic is to write on a regular schedule (and the most consistent example is daily), and though every good book on writing maintains this as crème de la crème of writing advice, most writers find it difficult to practice. Yet, I can with near certainty, say that more than half of wannabe and accomplished authors will add any form of this golden word to their new year resolutions as 2018 draws near.

So what can we do about this?

They say, it all starts in the mind. I agree.

Start by agreeing with the fact that you will not find the time to write. The time to write will not show up like a lost toy you found inside the sofa while spring cleaning the house nor will you find it like a digger in a gold mine. You will have to create the time. Understanding this is the beginning of successful hustle. Though it feels good to bask in the delights of the few and far between child prodigy stories that have not gotten us anywhere than make us dreamers and wishers without any fire in our bones, I’d say that in 2018, start working on your craft. Whether you are talented or not, you need to put in the work.

I was not known to be the coolest guy in elementary, or high school (at least I didn’t think so), but I was known to be the guy that was very gifted in the arts. Anyone who wanted something drawn in school, or painted at church came to me. Friends who needed essays written, re-written or edited came to me. I have worked on many books, magazines, design projects for individuals and organizations since high school and I am a published author. Some have called me a naturally talented creative.

Guess what? It doesn’t matter.

It does not matter because I have met people who are not “naturally talented” but are now well-respected experts in the career they chose, simply because they put in the work! Interestingly, I also discovered that many people who are considered ungifted are just lost. Wait until they find their path and realize the power consistency.

Adobe Spark

While you cannot overemphasize the importance of a consistent practice of craft, your writing does not need to be perfect. What prospective medical student thinks he can perform open heart surgeries while still taking pre-med biology?

It’s… wait for it... the stupid one.

Sounds harsh, but it’s true! And I’m not saying the writer who thinks he can produce a masterpiece fresh off the start is stupid. I am just saying it’s okay if your first few compositions are not perfect. So, step one – Decide to consistently practice your craft – every day in 2018. How?

Just do it.

I know it sounds cliche, but the moment you remember you have to write, just write. The world will not end, and surely that episode of Stranger Things you are watching will wait.

Sometimes this writing practice will not always have a purpose other than to hone your craft.

We often wish every stroke of our pen or clang of the keyboard results in a masterpiece that will be adored by millions. Writers who consider themselves missionaries – who favor a specific sub-genre or theme – more often than others fall prey to this mindset. That is why we stare at the blank screen or paper and wait – for the muse – but end up writing nothing. You do not always have to write according to your selected theme. Your writing practice today may merely be to fathom the world sanctimonious – by finding ten synonyms or antonyms and using it in different ways within a conversation. On other days, it may be putting a backstory into your lead character’s life. Sometimes, it may be reading a prose written by someone you respect or writing the draft of the story you aren’t sure how it’s going to end. Sometimes, its using computer-generated writing prompts!

Quality is often extracted from quantity.

I secretly wish everything I create becomes a masterpiece, but I know that nothing in life works like that. We celebrate the great artists, composers, and writers of old but do you realize that for every famous work of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simon, there are hundreds of paintings that weren’t so famous? Have you seen how many sketchbooks accomplished artists keep? Ever heard of rough drafts? No one sees those, yet they form the foundation for masterpieces and bestsellers.

Adobe Spark (1)

The thought that the world has to see everything you write is the beginning of frustration, because, truthfully, we usually start with nonsense. Get used to it. One of the most celebrated American writers of the last two centuries, Ray Bradbury reportedly said “every writer has a million bad words in them.  The sooner you get through that first million, the faster you get to the words worth sharing.” Another writer, Malcolm Gladwell proposed that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed to become world-class in any field. While I do not necessarily fix an arbitrary number to it, I agree with the attitude of consistent deliberate practice behind those words. The sooner you can get beyond 10,000 words or 10,000 hours, the earlier you can start creating enthralling masterpieces.

The movie Starwars was not shot a few hours after the scriptwriter came up with the story – it surely took months and years of work! An accomplished athlete is not one who stumbles onto the Olympics but spends hours practicing for the games.

So why should your writing be different?

I will pause here so you can digest the words above. Tomorrow, we will dive deep into the nitty-gritty of Consistency. Stay creative!

Cheers!

Toluwanimi

Take your work seriously! (The principle of Creative Diligence)

Hi dear readers!

I’m especially excited to be sharing this post today. It has sat in my blog drafts for months because the post wasn’t ripe yet, but the recent turn of events in my life has spurred me to reopen this muse.

I am so passionate about this principle I am learning every day and I think you need to see this, especially if you consider yourself to be a creative. This article is a little lengthy but I assure you – it’s worth reading to the end.

My post is not an attack on the wonderful professions of medicine, law, engineering, economics and many more which have immensely contributed to the progress in our world today – and professionals will continue to break grounds. So, if you are very passionate about your professional or conventional path, this post is not for you. However, you are welcome to glean the principle for application in any area of your life.

My post is tailored to the innate creative who is stuck in the stereotype.

If you consider yourself to be a creative in thought or in practice – if wonderful ideas daily tug your mind seams and threaten to burst forth, if your hands are tremulous until you have penned down those lines of prose or those sketches, if you have been misunderstood by family and friends and repeatedly accused of daydreaming or being unserious, this post is for you.

You don’t have to think long or hard before you realize that every aspect of daily living thrives on creativity. We all have, time and again, benefited immensely from the imagination of creatives – from writers, artists, broadcasters, podcasters, musicians, movie producers, photographers, publishers, writers, audiovisual content creators to app developers/programmers, video game creators, animators, scientific innovators and tech gurus. Yet, the age-old conventional stereotypes have classified these pursuits in many people’s hearts as mere hobbies or at best side-gigs.

Growing up in Nigeria, I can authoritatively say that one of the surest point of parent-teen tension is when the JAMB* forms are about to be filled. Chances are higher that the typical parent will be more delighted to hear the child has chosen to be a doctor rather than a creative designer, and a few teens have, sadly, had guardians stand over their shoulder as they filled the forms so they would pick their parents unfulfilled dreams.

Very little has changed over the years, as many people feel that the professional careers, while difficult, promises financial security upon graduation. I agree. The admission requirements into college for “professional” disciplines are stringent and the competition remains record high. I also agree – I went to Medical School! The discipline exerted by the professors, the structure of the discipline, the rigors of the long years of study and the importance of the subject of the discipline (human life in Medicine for example) makes the professions very noble. I agree.

On the flip side, many perceive the creative path to be flippant, not requiring diligence and surely not noble enough to be a career path or a full-time thing. For parents who fear for their children, you will have a hard time convincing them that art is more than a childhood hobby, possibly because it is usually associated with beauty, intrigue, exhilaration, its results appeal to the soul and seems to be mostly enjoyable to the consumer, and the creators seems to be having a fun time creating, they conclude that the process should not require diligence.

Somehow, I think this mindset has slowly crept into the minds of creatives and non-conventional people like me that we seem to be complacent and submit ourselves to the cage of stereotype. We are not taking our creative crafts as seriously as we should and we feel very ashamed about it among family and friends.

We believe the lie that it’s just a hobby. Come off it, creative one!

Statistics show that the creative industry is a major driver for economic growth. In America for example, the creative industry contributed $698 billion to the nation’s economy and 4.7 million jobs (a 2015 report of the the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts). I can only assume that many other countries have similar data.

Think about an area of your daily life where the creative industry is not relevant? A “special” area that creativity cannot help? I’d like to see your findings in the comments below.

The myth of the starving artist is over (thank you Jeff Goins for that!) Certainly, the myth of the “unserious” is past due too. Now is time to wake up, hone your craft, launch your dream and bring beauty and impact to our world with the power of your trans-formative creativity. The potential of your creativity is only limited to the extent of your imagination and tenacity of your diligence.

The creative industry wields so much power and it requires diligence! The creative path is more self-directed as opposed to the profession, but it doesn’t take away an ounce of diligence required to thrive and create beautiful work. In fact, it should inform it.

A doctor, lawyer or any other professional will always be respected and at least be able to pay the bills but I will dare say that what makes these career paths prestigious is the thoroughness that is constructed within the fabric of training and the impact these professions have on the world.

And Creativity has that! SURELY.

I have heard of families torn apart by a promising child’s revelation that he wants to go into some form of creative industry. I feel the pain writers go through to conceptualize the many ideas that brims into overflow in their wild minds. I see the disappointment in the faces of parents when their children take on a paintbrush rather than a scalpel, and the colicky pain that surges though the hearts of a misunderstood creative.

Do you say that a writer, artist or musician (or whatever kind of creative you are) has no impact or is less important in our world?

I don’t think so.

Rather, I opine that not many unconventional people have given due diligence to pursue their paths with dignity so the society does not see it. We do not take ourselves seriously so the world emulates us!

Here, I speak to you, creative one. Gone are the days of waiting for inspiration and complacency on talent. Tim Notke is spot-on when he says that “hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.”

Take your creative work as seriously as a physician would take his procedures and patients or an attorney will take her depositions or court hearings…

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

You may not be a street sweeper but Martin Luther King Jnr has you covered when he says that “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

If you’re called to be a writer, painter, artist, musician, or minister (yes, this applies to spiritual ministers too) in any aspect, you must realize that your generation needs you as much as it needs the doctors, engineers, lawyers and other professionals. So, the least you can do is to dignify your strategic societal position by pursuing your path not like a hobby but with much diligence and thoroughness as a conventional professional would.

Even though there are fewer formal options of training, take your calling serious, study and learn all you can from the best mentors you can find. Spend un-clocked hours honing your craft and chart paths for posterity. Show up to work even when you aren’t inspired and Sit under the Muse till wonderful ideas drop in your spirit.

Creativity is tagged unconventional for a reason – Learn to chart the trail and set your milestones as you go.

When you become an authority in this, doctors will pay to view your exhibitions. Your books will touch millions and cross more borders than you will. Lawyers will use your words as anecdotes. Engineers will pay to listen to you. Intelligent Business school graduates will queue to apply for positions at your successful start-up. Professionals will sit under your voice and listen to you deliver counsel and your compositions will sanitize the most insane minds.

“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29

If you give due diligence in your work, you will stand tall among peers and kings and command confidence.

Please, carry your calling with dignity and you will see what fulfillment lies in a job well done!

You are important. The world needs you!

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

P.S. If this post does not make sense to you, then you are conventional, but it’s okay! But at least, you can be diligent in whatever path your life will take and you MUST respect the unconventional people in your life.

*JAMB – former name of the University entry exam in my home country, Nigeria.

Don’t lose heart

What to do when the day to day requirements of purpose is not always as exciting or scintillating as the envisioned end point.

A vision is exciting. A well-laid out strategy is exhilarating. A picture of the many lives your work will touch is enough to get you started, but the day to day requirements of purpose is not always as exciting, and surely not as scintillating as the envisioned end point. 

Before you abandon that path of purpose, that calling, or that project because it doesn’t feel as exhilarating as when you first envisioned it, it involves too many days of back breaking work or terribly slow wait times, remember that the beauty of gold is appreciated and enjoyed only when it has been extracted from its ore and refined. I do not need to tell you how undesired the process is.

A beautiful vision is pleasant to behold, but a few moments later, when your expectations fail to come through, it can easily be buried under a thick dark cloud. This surely doesn’t mean that the vision is purely your conjecture. It only means that you’re started on the real process of birthing – the bittersweet labor. 

There will be lag days, there will be incredibly slow and boring phases. You will feel like you’re pushing against a wall. Promised funding will roll in sluggishly or not at all. People will not always be willing. Your first prototype might fail. Expectations might be dashed and the mediocre on the other side will scorn. 

You will be demotivated and feel very useless at those times when the process becomes a monotonous routine. When this happens, know that you are under the fire that is meant to refine you and your work, not graze you into ashes. 

At this time, you need to put in writing the big picture and the reason why you are doing this, since it’s likely the thick cloud will block the horizon. Then put in the work because this is what you have to do. Do not seek repose in alternatives.

As you keep working, Pray and Don’t lose heart.

The cloud will clear and you will see yourself rise to the rank of the accomplished.

To a purpose fulfilled, 

Toluwanimi

Inspired by Colossians 4:2, Luke 18:1 (surprisingly).

Do… or Do not.

My epidemiology professor includes this quote in a number of his class slides… and has succeeded in getting this wedged in my mind. Good thing though, because I have fallen into the “I’ll try” rut, time and again.

On introspection, I realize that words/phrases like “I’ll try..” “Someday, I’ll do it..” or “hopefully” are comfortable ways of expressing complacency, non-commitment, fear or outright laziness/lassitude.

Someday, I’ll start saving. 

I’ll try coming earlier to work. 

Hopefully in the future, I will enroll for that class/start the business.

Maybe I’ll try to speak to him. 

Sounds familiar?


It’s easy for our timid minds to form various humble-sounding phrases to deflect the reality of duty and responsibility for greatness in life. An epic combination is – hopefully someday, I’ll try to write everyday and maybe publish a book – or something like that.

C’mon, you know that will never happen!

This applies to every aspect of life, relationships, business, day job or passion. 

These non-committal expressions puts you and other party in a limbo that never recedes until you grow weary and forget. Reflect and compare the words you have said that includes “try, someday or hopefully” with those you said with an emphatic yes, I will/know/believe or set a definite date and got to work on it. The difference in the results are strikingly significant.

“Say Yes or No. Every other thing is nonsense.” Jesus said (well, at least, my idea of what he said in Matthew 5:37)

When I wanted to publish Donut(when I really got serious about it), I believed it, set a definite time frame, got to work despite challenges and achieved it by God’s grace. What you must know is that there are also many other things I have “tried” to do that haven’t left the “I’ll try someday” phase. Hopefully, someday, I’ll get to it! LOL!

Why do we do this? 

Laziness? Lassitude? Discouragement? Procrastination? Non-commitment? I don’t know, really but I do know that thoughts and words are indicators of the state of the heart.

Ah, Yes, there will be challenges (if you are planning to do anything meaningful with your life, expect resistance already!), but the difference between mediocrity and excellence will always be between DO or Do NOT, there is no try.

Best,

Toluwanimi

The in-between

eachday

Hello.

I wrote this article a long time ago, but it didn’t just seem right to post yet. Until yesterday.

I remember the excitement and immense feeling of fulfillment that overwhelmed me when I got my MB;BS from the foremost Nigerian Medical School at Ibadan.

It was just like yesterday.

 

I also remember the day “Donut” was released. Great gratitude that my words finally came to print before the whole world.

On those days, amidst the fanfare, I got a moment to consider the words scribbled behind the medical anatomy atlas my aunt gave to me in Pre-clinical school:

“The secret to my future lies in my daily activities.”

I don’t know where she got those words from, and where the textbook is at present, but those words have resonated ever since…

…that each day leading to the “big days” matter. A whole lot.

Everyone longs for the pay day – the day you finally acquire that degree. The day you tie the knots with the lady of your dreams. The day you release your book. And so on.

As good as that is, we must remember that the journey to the big day is twice as fulfilling and more important as the destination. Setting sight on the goal, but living one day at a time, on purpose, ensures that you enjoy the details.

Each day you scribble the words for that novel in progress, each lecture in that college, each day you pray – all lead to the big days of reward. Those are the days of learning diligence, of building capacity in the dark so that you can fare well when the spotlight comes.

I discovered that, most of people that fall on their faces after they become famous stumbled upon greatness. The journey wasn’t intentional.

When you look for the reward at the end and pay undue attention to it, every day in-between might be boring. Knowing your paycheck is arriving at the next weekend can be demoralizing to your daily tasks at your job. If care isn’t taken, you tend to mentally skip fourteen days, busy dreaming about the pay day rather than putting the best into your work. Enjoy your work and a paycheck is a given.

Setting inordinate affection on the publisher’s royalty might stifle the novelist creativity because it makes you lose the art of work. Hence, work becomes boring, and your creative bank is a shutdown because you are not intentional with each day. Enjoy where the story takes you and you can be sure your royalty is paid.

Lamenting about your spiritual targets can make you depressed. Fellowship daily and you’ll soar beyond your expectations.

Remember that the future (whatever it is you set sight upon) is a result of your daily activities. And while setting your sights on the end is good, you will learn a lot each day leading to the end.

When you immerse yourself joyfully into your work (academics, business, job, art, that book you’re writing etc.), the good days, and the not too good days will become ingredients in the pot, which spices up your life, rather than obstacles in your way.

Having failed at preventing you from discovering purpose, camping unrealistically at the endpoint is another strategy of the enemy to make you a mediocre.

Now, Psalms 90:12 makes more sense to me:

“Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” MSG

It is sufficient to know and believe that the end is good. But the in-between days, leading up to the end, makes for the journey that will become a story later, and, honestly, that is what makes life beautiful.

Learn the wisdom of process because that is the legacy you will leave behind for posterity. Enjoy your work and apply this to every area of your life.

Count each day, because Each day counts.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi