How to Use Mind Mapping for Your Next Writing Project

How to Use Mind Mapping for Your Next Writing Project

How to Use Mind Mapping for Your Next Writing Project
04
DECEMBER, 2017
Samuel Osho

In 2008, when I fell in love with reading, I was scared of voluminous books. Have you seen the Complete Sherlock Holmes book authored by Arthur Conan Doyle? I love crime novels and I have a soft spot for the ingenuity of the extraordinary sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. I have always wondered how authors like Stephen King, John C. Maxwell, Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling generated those storylines and lengthy texts. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers and Tipping Point, carved a mysterious niche for himself by building navigable bridges between scientific theories and real-life situations.

The scary point is how do they come up with these ideas? How do they find the time and energy to write those books? The mind is a treasure trove of ideas but pushing them out as books and articles can be a daunting task. Everyone makes use of different paths in scripting their articles but one method that really works for me is called Mind Mapping. It is a form of intense brainstorming for ideas that resonate with a topic you have in mind.
“The power of the writer is to capture the thoughts live and present them as they appeared in his mind.” – Bangambiki Habyarimana

In mind mapping, the first step is to set a time limit (usually 15 minutes) while you start creating a map of your ideas on a piece of blank paper or a blank whiteboard. Setting the time limit happens after you have concluded about the main idea you want to make the subject of your brainstorming. Perhaps, the writing of a novel, or a blog post or a non-fiction book. The rules for the mind mapping exercise are very simple.

 

Five Simple Steps

1. Visualize Your Desires

It’s all about brainstorming for paths and processes that can aid the development of an idea until it becomes a powerful and presentable product. Imagination creates room in the brain for the reality of your ideas. It’s more like setting those ideas and desires in motion through the eyes of the subconscious mind.

 

If you have a plan to write a non-fiction book on how to live a healthy lifestyle, you need to visualize how the book looks like, turn the pages and see how one chapter leads to the other. Everyone has the power of imagination but only a few harness it for the creation of innovative products.

2. Embrace all ideas

This is the time to write everything that comes to your mind. Create a room for all the words and phrases that come to your heart, allow them to find a space where they can call a home.

If you want to create branches, please don’t hesitate to do so. If you want to make a map or a web showing your thoughts, please go ahead. If there is anything you must do at this stage, you must write down everything you can remember about the subject matter.

3. Don’t judge yourself

Experts say that the creative part of your brain and the one for editing cannot work at the same time. If you attempt doing that, one will be to the detriment of the other.

 

Don’t judge or censor these ideas and don’t start giving them pet names. In this freedom of expression, your creativity will blossom beyond your imagination and you will be amazed.

4. Stick to the time

The essence of using a stopwatch is to help shut out all distractions and tell your brain that you are focused on achieving a single task at hand. Your productivity can take a quantum leap if you learn to do one thing at a time. Focus on the blank paper or board and fish out all the ideas swimming in your unique pool of intelligence. You can do this for 15 – 20 minutes.

5. Grouping your ideas

After the allotted time for brainstorming, you can be more critical in the choice of ideas that goes through the next stage. Remove all the irrelevant ideas and phrases. Create groups of ideas, phrases, and thoughts that are similar. And you can work on from here and make considerable progress.
To learn more about the act of mind mapping, let me guide you into the safe hands of bestselling author Tony Buzan. Another method, some writers employ in generating ideas is called free writing. This is a form of brainstorming process where you write all that comes to your mind during a time frame.
There is an example of a Mind Mapping exercise (pictured above) that I did for fifteen minutes; I used a whiteboard, you can use A4 paper and you can also tow a deeper path with your brainstorming exercise.
Have you used mind mapping in your previous writing projects?
In what other ways do you think mind mapping can help writers?

5 Effective Ways To Overcome Stage Fright

5 Effective Ways To Overcome Stage Fright

Five Effective Ways To Overcome Stage Fright
26
NOVEMBER, 2017
Samuel Osho

Get it right! It is normal for you to feel a gust of nervousness whenever you are called upon to speak in public. Do you hear the bumbling of butterflies in your stomach whenever you hold the microphone? It shows that you are human and a complete human being with a functional nervous system.

This reminds me of a line from American humorist, Mark Twain: “There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” This quote posits that all speakers are nervous or liars – meaning that the liars behave as if the nervousness is non-existent.

If you are observant, you will notice that this nervous feeling also shows up when you are about to write an exam, talk to your boss, or ask a girl out. This feeling of fear is the result of a rush of adrenaline delivered to the body in a bid to successfully accomplish the task at hand.

The point is that nervousness is more physiological than psychological; it starts from the physiological point (heart rate, sweating, and so forth) before it leads to the psychological effects of feeling upset and nervous. I advise you to see fear as a normal physiological stimulus.

It is as simple as your body trying to help you, and it is your reaction to the help that will determine the result you get. What do you do with it? The most sensible step is to use it to your advantage. Don’t let the sudden surge of adrenaline toss you into the depths of nervousness. Instead, use it as the springboard to soar to the heights of impeccable delivery. It all depends on you. You can direct the surge into a profitable channel.

 

American public speaking instructor, Dale Carnegie, has a string of comforting words for you:

“The ability to conquer nervousness and speak with self-confidence is not difficult to acquire. It is not a gift bestowed by Providence on only a few rarely endowed individuals. Everyone can develop his own latent capacity if he has sufficient desire to do so.”

Having understood the physiological origin of nervousness and its psychological capability, we can explore ways of overcoming it. In agreement with the words of Carnegie, be fully aware that the power to defeat nervousness resides in you. I’ll share with you some practical and sure ways of using the natural adrenaline surge to your advantage.

 

The Five Effective Ways

1. Prepare Your Speech

Be prepared. If you go to the venue two hours ahead of the speaking engagement but with an empty head, you might end up not getting good results. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. German artist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, sums it up this way: “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”

Preparation is vital in public speaking and shows that you respect your audience. You don’t want them to go home empty handed without something new to hold on to.

Preparation Makes You Bold

Boldness comes naturally when you know what you want to talk about. I have seen folks preach a wonderful message from the pulpit in church and then later, have seen them stammer at a public discourse. This is because they felt confident and sound in the church message but knew next to nothing about the topic up for discussion at the public discourse. American author, Michael Mescon, emphasized the connection between stage fright and knowledge in a profound way: “Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you are talking about.”

Preparation entails doing elaborate research on the main subject of your speech by studying volumes of materials that can increase your knowledge. This usually includes reviewing potentially relevant quotations, statistics, biographical data, and transcripts. Be sure to separate facts from your opinions and ensure that the information is current and related to your topic.

Preparation Involves Background Check

Get your materials ready in advance, ranging from your visual aids to projectors (if any) to your index cards. The stage of preparation is very crucial and is synonymous with having a critical analysis of all the factors that can make your speech a success. If you’re not prepared and do not know what to talk about, you have just opened yourself to nervousness and it will enslave you until your time lapses.

Find out how many people will be speaking at the event. Will you be the first person to break the ice? Or will you be the last person to mount the podium after five other speakers? Check out the program for the speakers beforehand.

Ask yourself what you can do to get the attention of the audience, even if they are close to complete exhaustion, such as when you are the last speaker. Making a joke about being last can help ease the tension.

Find out how much time will be allotted to your speech. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, once said, “If I am given six hours to cut down a tree, I will use four to sharpen the ax head.” I hope you get the message. Preparation can never be overemphasized. Preparation of what to say and how to say it brings out the best in you.

“Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you are talking about.” – Michael Mescon

2. Practise The Speech

Even the pros practise and you should practise your speech too. I was surprised when I saw the picture of Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo on Facebook training on the pitch of the Santiago Bernabeu just the day following the glamorous win of his third FIFA Ballon D’Or, as the Best Footballer in the world in January 2015.  He had just won an illustrious individual award yet he was back on the pitch practicing the next day.

American communicator, Somers White, insisted that the success of a speech is determined long before the speaker mounts the podium, “90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the Speaker steps on the platform.”

In his illuminating book, How To Develop Self-confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking, Dale Carnegie revealed how some famous speakers prepared for their speeches.

“Lloyd George, when he was a member of a debating society in his hometown in Wales, often strolled along the lanes, talking and gesturing to the trees and fence posts. Lincoln, in his younger days, often walked a round trip of thirty or forty miles to hear a famous speaker like Breckenridge. He came home from these scenes so stirred, so determined to be a speaker that he gathered the other hired workers about him in the fields and, mounting a stump, he made speeches and told them stories.”

Practise, practise, and practise! Practising is a sure antidote to your spell of nervousness. Just like Lloyd George, you can talk to the trees in your backyard and make gestures at the pedestrian lights on the walkway while going to work. Absorb the material as much as you can. You can even rehearse in front of your family members or close friends. Whenever possible, practise with the podium or a platform you are likely to use for the live delivery of your speech – this goes a long way to prepare your subconscious mind for the work at hand. Imagine yourself giving the speech and act it out.

3. Make Your Audience a Circle of Friends

Be early. Punctuality is the soul of business—perhaps the soul of public speaking too. In my first days of public speaking, I would go early to the venue and make friends. It is easier to speak with a group of friends than with a band of strangers. You feel comfortable and more at home while talking with them. This is a helpful pointer for starters in the industry of public speaking.

Going early to the event will remove any surprise that you might possibly encounter. It helps you understand your audience, and adjust beforehand if adjustment is needed in your speech to suit their social class or literacy level. Arriving early will also help you to have a feel of the platform/podium as you envision yourself standing there, ready to give your speech.

This rule has saved me several times because the audience often related to me as a part of them because I was yet to be introduced. Later on, when you are weaned from the fangs of stage fright and nervousness, you might not need to do this anymore.

4. Find The Smiling Face

In December 2012, as an intern in Schlumberger Nigeria, I knew I had to give a presentation on a tool to a group of field engineers and specialists. They were experts and they were also my managers. I had all the excuses in the world to panic and be nervous.

Having prepared well for the presentation, I stepped out to face the audience, about sixty people in number. I started changing gazes and speaking to every area of the room when I noticed a man sitting in the second row of the middle column. What caught my attention was the decorous smile which painted his face creating lovely ridges and contours.

Whenever I was about to succumb to the monster of nervousness, I would look at his face and strength would surge through me. This was when I discovered the power of a smiling face and how far it could go in boosting your confidence.

You’ll always have one person with a smiling face in the audience who is interested in your speech. Locate that light and harness the energy for your use. It is like getting a cookie at the beginning of the speech, and you delicately munch on it until the very last word.

5. Relax and Speak Like a King

Speeding through your speech is likely to accentuate your nervousness. Don’t be in a rush to start your speech. Take a deep breath and let the rays of your eyes acclimatize with the eyeballs of your audience.

Relax and speak like a King and a Queen, like that special person they have been waiting for. Whenever I take a deep breath, it is tantamount to letting out the wind of nervousness and mounting the wings of confidence.

Finally, if these methods are practically applied, then your stage fright and nervousness will be a thing of the past. I have used these methods and they have been of tremendous help, especially when I am to engage an entirely new audience.
It is your turn to share with me. I am curious! How did you overcome stage fright? Have you tried any of these five ways in the past?

How Active Reading Changed My Life: 7 Things That Happened To Me

How Active Reading Changed My Life: 7 Things That Happened To Me

How Active Reading Changed My Life: 7 Things That Happened To Me
12
NOVEMBER, 2017
Samuel Osho
You have heard that readers are leaders. You have heard that reading makes you intelligent. If you are a public speaker, you must have been told that reading makes you a better speaker. And I am pretty sure that writers must have heard a million times that reading makes their pens smarter. These assertions are true but there is more.

 

American novelist and 1954 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” From my personal voyage, I totally agree that good books are loyal friends and they keep the company of the wise. I love reading good books. Reading is an activity that refuels and rewires the brain.
When you read fiction books, you learn to live in the world of the characters and travel to new places. Reading a non-fiction book opens your mind to new insights from unique wells of knowledge that can make your life better. I have been married to good books for about a decade and the impact of reading in my life is mind-blowing.
To be honest, before engaging in active reading, I was that young lad who was inherently shy and always scared of criticism. I was helplessly battered by an inferiority complex and lacked the energy to sustain intellectual conversations with people.
Asides my school books, I was a complete novice and to make matters worse, I loathed movies. These three traits perfectly describe my personality before engaging in active reading:
  • Timid:
I was that smart but diffident kid that sits at the back of the class. Everything about me including my grades spoke eloquently except my lips. They were sealed by timidity. Provided the discussion is out of the spheres of science, I was a complete ignoramus. There was really nothing to say due to lack of exposure.
  • Lack of self-worth:
I lacked the dignity of believing in my worth as a person. Inferiority complex dealt with my personality and made me a fragile soul. I was that moody guy pummeled by the actions and inactions of others like a ball in a pendulum. I was a people pleaser and never believed in myself.
  • Terrible at communication:
Communication can be tough for shallow minds. The two most popular media of communication – writing and speaking, places a demand on your reservoir of knowledge and drains you. I was terrible at both writing and speaking and would always find a way of running away from them. Worst of all, I struggled with engaging in simple conversations because I was always afraid of making grammatical blunders. To earn a modicum of respect, I kept my mouth shut and watched others unleash their thoughts and ideas.
In 2007, shortly after graduation from high school, my Dad gave me a book, “You Can Make A Difference” by American author Tony Campolo. And that was the turning point! The book appeared to me as a mirror that showed all my flaws, weaknesses, pain-points and shortcomings.
 

 

I perceived so strongly in my heart that Campolo had me in mind when he wrote the book because it did not only talk about my challenges but also offered solutions to them. He showed me why I felt inferior to others, why I always chose to follow the crowd and why my lips were sealed. Before I got to the last page, my inferiority complex encountered a natural death and I was free.
 
What happened to me? Just a book? Yes, one good book brought liberation to my soul.
 
And what was the next thing I did? I searched for more books and read voraciously. At that time, I had a very close schoolmate who lived two blocks away from my house, he was an addicted reader that consumes all manners of books in print. We became very close friends and made reading one of our hobbies.
 
That’s one single decision I have come to eternally cherish. Reading became my strongest addiction. Anyways, I am very proud of it even though I have earned funny names like bookworm and nerd.
 
After reading Campolo’s book, I pounced on novels and found a special taste for thrillers and science fiction. In the novels of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook, I learnt about topics such as medicine and public health.
 
While rummaging through novels by John Grisham, I understood the meaning of words like subpoena, probono, affidavit, and other legal terms. I was intrigued by the problem-solving instincts of Dr. Watson’s fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, and fascinated by the solutions of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s mystery novels.
 
Reading books made boldness surge through my veins; it was like putting on a switch in my brain. Let me show you some of the things that happened to me when I started reading actively:
7 Amazing Things That Happened To Me

1. Increased Concentration

Reading good books sharpened my ability to concentrate on tasks and get them completed. It takes a lot of discipline and concentration to pick a book and finish reading it. When I started active reading, phones and tablets with social media were not in vogue. Grabbing a book was my way of getting entertained.

Now, it’s more difficult to read a book because of the multitude of distractions here and there. My concentration levels increased because of reading. You just need to sit and concentrate, one book at a time and it gets better.

2. Increased Vocabulary Bank

New words will be your friends if you are an active reader. My vocabulary bank increased with the daily deposit of new words, new phrases, and new statements. I also saw how these authors used these words which informed my use of new words in my conversations with people.

3. Better Writer

I became a better writer after giving myself to reading. After delving into active reading, it influenced my writing skills positively. Writing became easier because I had access to a plethora of words that aptly describe my thoughts. Above all, reading makes it possible for you to know the minds of other successful authors and you can explore their writing styles.

4. Better Speaker

In speaking, you communicate what is within you to others. It can be exhaustive and could be an arduous task if you don’t know what to say. Active reading made a better speaker out of my timid frame. With reading, I consistently filled my reservoir of knowledge with the insight of others.

Hence, I could engage more people in inspiring conversations without burning out. The inspiring words of American poet, Ralph Wado Emerson comes to mind: “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”

5. Access To Solutions

My adventure with books went beyond corridors of novels to the front porches of non-fiction books. Books are treasure troves. No wonder, American entrepreneur, Walt Disney opined that “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on treasure island.”

Reading of biographies, autobiographies, and self-help has shown me on numerous occasions that one can find help in books. If you are persistent enough, you can find solutions to your challenges in a book. In books, I found ways of becoming a better speaker, I learnt the rudiments of financial literacy and ultimately, how to be the best version of myself.

“Ordinary people have big TVs. Extraordinary people have big libraries.” – Robin Sharma

6. Increased Imaginative Power

When you read beautiful novels that are works of ingenuity and creativity, it has a magical effect on your brain. On several occasions, I try to create the scenes of the stories that I read in books. This is an activity that trains your brain and mind to use the power of imagination. In the realms of imagination, I don’t only create new things but I also birth them.

7. Exposure

With books, I traveled to new places, I learnt about the cultures of other people and I embraced new perspectives about life. I discover new routes of thinking and that is a form of education. Reading exposed my mind to many things that were intellectually stimulating and heightened my curiosity.
I began to ask many questions and find answers to them. I was not surprised when the German-American author, Dr. Seuss Giesel said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.”
In conclusion, developing a habit of active reading will make you stand out amidst your peers and it’s the secret of highly effective people. It’s one of the smartest ways to speed up your personal growth along your career path or areas of interest. Read like your life depends on it and you will be handsomely rewarded by life. According to Worldometers’ counter based on statistics published by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), over 2.2 million new book titles have been published in 2017. That’s huge! In this new week, grab a new book and read. Active reading equals active learning!
Which book are you reading now? Which book is your next catch? Let me know in the comments section below. I am currently devouring Kiyosaki’s updated edition of Rich Dad Poor Dad which was published in April 2017.

8 Things To Consider Before Choosing a Mentor

8 Things To Consider Before Choosing a Mentor

8 Things To Consider Before Choosing a Mentor
05
NOVEMBER, 2017
Samuel Osho

Are you running on a full throttle towards your life goals but still feels like your view of the future is bleak? Seems like you are groping for light in a thick mist. Within you, lies a longing for a guide, a desire for a shoulder to lean on and a craving for a heart that cares deeply about your success. Maybe, it’s time for you to consider searching for a mentor.

As a student, a fledgling entrepreneur, a budding writer, a young leader, an artist or even an athlete, you don’t have to bear all the burden of success all by yourself. If you are humble enough to ask for help you will be amazed at the number of successful people willing to genuinely help you.

Previously, I shared about how you can be the best version of yourself and made mention of mentoring as one of the ways to make yourself highly valuable in your field. In my narrative of describing mentoring as a worthy enclave of knowledge and wisdom, I talked about some classic examples of mentoring that occupy beautiful pages in the books of history. From Aristotle’s powerful influence on the victorious reign of Alexander The Great to how Steve Jobs (former CEO of Apple Inc.) guided Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce) on the paths of excellence.

Perhaps, you have made up your mind to find a mentor but there are some questions you need to answer before taking the plunge.

 

The Eight Questions

1. What are my life goals?

Knowing your life goals is a must if you want to be successful in life. The goals serve as guides and milestones on the path to fulfillment. Inasmuch as mentoring will help you move faster towards your goals, you need to be clear about your goals and have them very close to your heart. The importance of having specific goals in life cannot be overemphasized because it gives you a sense of direction and boosts your self-confidence.

For strikers to score goals on a soccer field, they must be well acquainted with the goalposts. The same is true for anyone concerned about success – be familiar with your life goals. Before putting a call through to your potential mentor, make sure you find a valid answer to this question. You can visit Personality Lab to seek for help.

2. What do I want from a mentor?

It is very difficult for anyone to help you if you don’t know what you want. What exactly do you want from a mentor? You have to be super clear on this because it will guide the mentor in providing what you need. You have to think deeply about this before approaching anyone for mentoring or professional advice.
 
For instance, I want you to be my mentor in photography. To be more specific, I want to learn how about the depth of focus, lighting, and effects. That’s spot on!
You just need to hit the nail right on the head because some of your potential mentors are very busy people. Go straight to the point and know what you want to gain from the relationship.

 

3. In which area of my life do I need a mentor?

Mentors are usually experts with a track record of success in their fields. Your life is a huge project and you may need more than one mentor. You have to know which area of your life requires a mentor. Do you need an academic mentor? Do you desire a mentor for your small scale business? Is your emotional and spiritual life in dire need of a mentor?

It is an arduous task to demand mentoring for all areas of your life from a single person. No one knows it all but we are all gifted in certain areas of life. Focus maximizes the power of mentoring. Seek for an expert in an area you need help and ask for mentoring.

4. What is my definition of success?

The definition of success is subjective and defers based on personal tastes and perceptions. To someone, success may mean to make more money while to another it could mean garnering more positive influence. You must have a clear interpretation of what success means to you before reaching out to a potential mentor.

Do you both have the same illustration of success?  This is highly imperative because mentoring becomes incredibly productive when there is a unity of interests between the mentee and the mentor. If the perception of success by both parties is the same, it enhances cohesion and forms a formidable team.

5. What is the profile of my ideal mentor?

In any endeavor, clarity inspires speed and a sense of direction. You must create the personality profile of your ideal mentor(s). What is their occupation? What is the level of success they have achieved? What are they passionate about? What keeps them awake at night? What are their life goals? Which kind of books do they read? Who are their role models? What inspires them? Having an imaginative portrait of your ideal mentor guides your search and shows you where you can find them.
“Study anyone who is great, and you will find that they apprenticed to a master or several masters. Therefore, if you want to achieve greatness, renown, and superlative success, you must apprentice to a master.” – Robert Allen

6. Have I done my homework?

It’s appalling to misconstrue mentoring for spoon feeding. According to the English novelist, Edward Forster, “Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” Mentoring works for people who take responsibilities for their personal lives. A mentor is a guide who offers information that is absent on the Internet.

For instance, you want a mentor for your public speaking life. Have you done adequate research about public speaking? What are the personal steps you have taken in improving yourself? You have to meet your mentor midway by doing your homework. A mentor walks in when you have exhausted your channels of knowledge and learning. Doing your homework makes you attractive and presents you as hardworking, diligent and assiduous. Mentors love to work with people of this ilk.

7. How can I be of help?

Mentoring is a two-way street. It’s clear that you need the help of a mentor but what can you do to be of help. Let it be a symbiotic relationship; add significant value to the lives of your mentors. Think of one service you can render to them in return for their generosity of knowledge. This is not compulsory but it’s a necessary lubricant that will foster a fruitful relationship between both parties. Don’t be a liability to your mentor but be an asset.

 

8. Is this the right time?

While it is important to reach out to mentors you also need to be sure if you are ready for it. Is this the right time to seek for a mentor? In making critical decisions, timing is of great essence. As rightly put by American Leadership Expert, John C. Maxwell, “The timing of your decision is just as important as the decision you make.”

Is this the time to seek for mentoring in managing your organization? The key factor that usually influences timing is the magnitude of your personal research and the amount of energy you have invested in the cause for which you require mentoring. Before calling for the help of others, have you done your homework?

Now that you have answered these questions. You may go ahead and seek the consent of your potential mentor. I have attached a sample letter of request that you can send to initiate the mentoring process.
This is a sample script demanding for President Barack Obama’s hand in mentorship. Feel free to use this script when reaching out to your potential mentor.

 

Hello President Obama,
I am Samuel Osho. We are yet to meet. And I know you have a busy and tight schedule, so I will be brief. I lead an international not-for-profit organization based in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The organization seeks to build powerful leaders and effective communicators from young minds. Over the years, your life has been a huge source of inspiration to me and millions across the world. Your riveting speeches are soothing springs of comfort and your exemplary leadership while you served as the President of the United States for eight years is wowing.
From your book, “Dreams From My Father,” I noticed that you faced some challenges when you were first starting out. Well, here I am in those early stages and trying so hard to figure things out. President Obama, I would really appreciate it if you would consider being my mentor. All that would mean is spending ten minutes on the phone with me once in a month, so I could ask you a few questions. I would really appreciate it. Would you be open to that?
Thank you.
Samuel Osho.

 

It’s your turn to share your thoughts. Which of these eight questions do you regard as the most important? Which other questions do you think one must answer before choosing a mentor?

How To Be The Best Version of Yourself Without Burning Out

How To Be The Best Version of Yourself Without Burning Out

How To Be The Best Version of Yourself Without Burning Out

22

OCTOBER, 2017

Samuel Osho

The reason why you will empty your pockets to acquire a milligram of diamond and trample on a tonne of molded clay is because your instincts are configured to appreciate value. The stark reason why you place printed papers called currencies in vaults and dump another random paper in the sitting room for everyone to see is value.

 

You are your most valuable asset. Your life, your mind, your brain, your body, and your skills are the most valuable things you have. In this fast-paced world, your ability to grow, to learn, to become better is unlimited. Simply put, you can be the best version of yourself if you are willing to make the investments. In fact, it is a rule of thumb in personal development as clearly stated by American bestselling author Brian Tracy that anyone interested in a lifelong success should endeavor to invest at least 3 percent of their incomes into their lives for deliberate learning.
Every human is like a script or a slate. What people get to celebrate is the value you add to that script. It is not how old or archaic the script is, it is a matter of how valuable it is. Hence, it is a struggle to move up the ladder of success when you fail to constantly add values to yourself. When you experience promotion in your place of work, it is simply an appreciation for the worth of the value embedded in you.

 

Anyone who embarks on the journey of life racing like a deer without restraints but forgets to constantly increase his value is aiming for a catastrophe; it is a race to embrace disgrace. It will lead to a burnout.
Therefore, it is highly imperative to explore ways by which you can add more value to your life without experiencing a burnout. I will share three habits of highly valuable people that have been proven to yield bountiful results over the years.

 

The Three Super Habits

Read Good Books

One of the smartest ways of standing out of the crowd in your chosen field is to read good books. Reading good books is probably one of the cheapest ways to garner knowledge. Some of the world’s highly successful people have one common habit – reading. The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, reads an average of 50 books every year. Another shining star in the billionaire’s club, Warren Buffet is a chronic reader, he once confessed that in the early days of his career, he spends 80% of his day reading. That’s huge! The list of lifelong bookworms is endless – Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Charlie Munger but they seem to be some of the world’s smartest investors and inventors.
One of my mentors once shared with me that the first thing he consults when faced with a challenge is a good book that offers a proven solution. Good books provide answers to your questions; they offer comfort amid chaos. When you have answers to the questions of your colleagues and clients, you become “the chief consultant.” As a result, you ultimately become outstanding in performance and effectiveness. That’s the way to be the best.

 

Books can change your life. Huffingpost contributor, Himay Zepeda, authored an article that enumerated 7 ways books can change your life. He shared passionately about how reading good books can add confidence, self-knowledge, humility, empathy, and joy to the life of a voracious reader. In fact, American author, Anna Quindlen wrote a book titled “How Reading Changed My Life” to show the world that reading has the power to change lives.
Conclusively, the smartest people read good books. Smart people look for shortcuts and reading is a way of condensing timeframes. They don’t just have a pile of books on their shelf but they read and practice the new things they learnt. Knowing more increases your earning power and sets you up to be the best.
Action Point: Surf the net and look for books that can broaden your horizon in your chosen field. Buy them, get a comfy place, get a marker and start reading. 

Take Online Courses

Education is no longer locked in classrooms or serving a prison term behind university gates. Technology is constantly removing all the obstacles that hinder access to quality education. The Internet is a treasure trove of resources that can enhance your competencies in any chosen field. Education just got cheaper with the availability of different online learning platforms. If you can’t afford college and university tuition fees, you really don’t need to break the bank to gain mastery of some certain skills. The Internet can be your teacher even if all you have is YouTube.

However, asides from YouTube, the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs) is a gamechanger that has the capacity to positively impact the learning experience of Internet users. The popular MOOCs include the following: Udacity, Udemy, Teachable, Skillshare, Shaw Academy, EdX, Coursera, FutureLearn, Class Central, iVersity and much more. These sites serve as homes to a host of courses ranging from data analysis to human resource management to programming to photography to fitness. Using a keyword search, you can find one or two courses that will add more value to your life and career. Majority of these courses are self-paced which means you can take the classes at your convenient times.
Action Point: Visit at least three out of the digital learning websites mentioned above and register for a course that really resonates with your passion.

 

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines.” – Charlie Munger

Find Mentors

English Mathematician, Isaac Newton, has this to say about mentoring: “If I have seen farther than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” In a world where everyone claims to be self-made, mentoring is gradually fading away and it is one of the profound ways to forge ahead quickly in life. Your mentors can be your role models but not all your role models are your mentors because mentoring requires an active relationship between both parties. Mentoring creates a channel for the smooth exchange of ideas and insights between a mentor (usually an expert) and a mentee (a young professional).

 

In addition, it is possible for you to have more than one mentor, you can have mentors for different areas of your life. You can have a leadership mentor that helps in building your leadership skills. A tactical mentor can assist in improving your entrepreneurial skills so you can make better decisions as a business owner. A spiritual mentor can be of great help in ensuring you have a sound spiritual and emotional health. There are some classic examples of mentoring or “apprentice pairing” that we often overlook and they are as follows:
  • Socrates mentored Plato.
  • Aristotle mentored Alexander The Great.
  • Thomas Edison mentored Henry Ford.
  • George Wythe mentored Thomas Jefferson.
  • Benjamin Graham mentored Warren Buffet.
  • Steve Jobs mentored Marc Benioff.
  • Larry Page mentored Marissa Myers.

 

 

Unfortunately, mentoring is becoming unpopular because people think they can handle all the pressures alone. They are too proud and think they don’t need the help of anyone. Some even think it is a sheer waste of time and efforts. Some just loathe the idea of staying accountable to someone else. You can learn many things that are absent on the Internet from an experienced mentor. Mentoring is a support system when it seems like everything is going haywire. Don’t carry the burden alone but seek help by finding a suitable mentor.
However, to maximize mentoring, you must be willing to step out of your shell, be proactive and ready to invest in a healthy and active relationship. Do your personal homework before asking questions. Ask questions only when you are genuinely not clear on what step to take.
Action Point: Get a mentor in your chosen field today. If you find it difficult to locate one, use online services such as MicroMentorAllen Mentoring, Envelop, Mogul, and iMentor. Connect with a mentor today and add more value to yourself. 

 

 

Roll up your sleeves, lace your boots and take a deep breath as you add values to yourself – a value added is a step closer to success. Read good books, enrol for online courses and find inspiring mentors.
Let me know your thoughts, which of the three action points do you want to implement right away? How has any of the three action points helped you in the past?

 

Four Tips on Managing the Fear of Making Mistakes

Four Tips on Managing the Fear of Making Mistakes

Don’t be Scared of Making Mistakes

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – Irish playwright and co-founder of London School of Economics, George Bernard Shaw
Creativity and innovation will not jump on men who are not ready to jump at new challenges ignoring the gaping hole of mistakes.

Break out of monotony

Doing the same thing over and over again without an iota of innovation will only birth immovable structures of monotony. Often times, a monotonous life is borne out of complacency and complete satisfaction with the present status quo. No new changes, no aspirations, no goals, no expectations, and no new challenges implies standing like a solemn sculpture in the public square of life.
Sculptures are only celebrated once and that is during the commissioning, the sculpture is left naked in the glare of the public to be beaten by the rain and washed by the winds. Only a newcomer in the city gets to celebrate the awesomeness of the sculpture at first sight and forgets about it in two days because there is nothing new.
Why live a life so stale like a week-old ginger bread kept in a fridge? The reason why most people remain where they are is because they are scared of making mistakes when setting out to do new things.

When you are no longer scared of making mistakes, you can finally run into the open arms of creativity.

Mistakes come in the middle of garnering experiences

Men furnished and polished in the deserts of experiences had their own fair share of mistakes. It is just expedient for you to learn from your mistakes at some point in time in the journey of life. Mistakes don’t reduce your self esteem or remove from your personality, it only equips you for the future ahead. You really don’t want anyone to make jest of you when you make mistakes. They will only do that once and the one lesson you have learnt can be used over and over again. You are definitely a step ahead!
It is as simple as if you don’t want to make any mistake, then don’t try doing anything at all. If I were you, I would rather try and if perhaps there is a mistake, I have learnt something new.

Learn from your mistakes

Beware of making the same mistake again and again; it shows lack of progress. If at all you make a mistake, let it be once and for all. No need to do it all over again before learning. Don’t repeat that class in the school of life, learn the lessons, embrace its knowledge and display its wisdom in your daily activities.

Mistakes can hurt you but make sure you learn from them

Make your mistakes now

Make your mistakes early in life when you are still unknown, don’t wait till when the world is beckoning on you for viable solutions to their problems. Nobody will crucify you now but when you are up there at the top of the cliff expected to shine and you give excuses to remain dull and drab, then there is a big problem.
Men clothed with garbs of excellence once had stains of mistake spotted all over their garment. A shining garment will not be appreciated if it has not been once riddled with stains and blemishes.
Today, advance fearlessly towards your challenges knowing that you can never learn less,  you can only learn more. It is better to make mistakes anonymously than to make mistakes as a superstar, a role model, a celebrity, a mentor.
You can share some of the mistakes you made in the past with me and don’t hold back the lessons you learnt from them.

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