Eight Fascinating Facts About Ingvar Kamprad and IKEA

Eight Fascinating Facts About Ingvar Kamprad and IKEA

Eight Fascinating Facts About Ingvar Kamprad and IKEA
28
JANUARY, 2018
Samuel Osho

As furniture subtly crept into our daily lives, a unique entrepreneur from Sweden made life easy for humanity. Kamprad blessed the world with Billy bookshelves, Friheten sofas, Kallax shelf units, Lack side tables and many more. Ingvar Kamprad, the brain behind the outstanding success of IKEA, a furniture-making company, has died at the age of 91.

According to his family, he died “peacefully” in his sleep on January 27, 2018. He left quietly but the echoes of his footsteps as he departed has woken everyone in the neighbourhood.

 

As the world pay tributes, I am here to share about the ingenuity of a young industrious man who climbed the slippery ladder of wealth with a fortune made from furniture. I am naturally attracted to creative and innovative people – Kamprad, a trailblazer belongs to this clan.

 

I want to write about the ambience of intelligence and creativity that beam with smiles when you stroll into a store full of IKEA furniture. I want to add letters to the simplicity that flows from the frugal life of the Swedish business magnate and the excellence he left behind for unborn generations.
He molded a company that “cares” about the needs of the common man who can’t do without a piece of furniture. Kamprad started a revolution that has outlived him – you can set-up your furniture (chairs, sofas, wardrobes, cupboards) yourself from a flat-pack in 45 minutes. He pioneered the flat-pack furniture series – an innovation that raised him shoulder high above his competitors.
Here are some interesting facts about the exceptional business tycoon.
The Eight Fascinating Facts

1. Kamprad made his first business deal at age five.

At a young age of five, Kamprad started developing his entrepreneurial skills by selling matches in his village, Smalad. He started this business when he discovered that he could buy matches in bulk at a cheap price from Stockholm and make appreciable profits from sales.

The farm boy with a bicycle at seven traveled to neighbouring fields to sell his matches. He later expanded his line of goods by selling fish, Christmas decorations, ballpoint pens, seeds, and pencils.

2. He started IKEA at age 17.

Kamprad started IKEA in 1943, four years into the bloody World War II. He used some money he got from his father as a gift for performing well at his studies despite his dyslexia. He started out by selling carbon copies of his Uncle Ernst’s kitchen table. Five years later, he diversified his product lines and added furniture. He retired as CEO in 1988 and stepped down from the company’s board in 2013 at the age of 87.

3. Kamprad lived a frugal life.

Despite the success of his company, he was the billionaire with a reputation for penny-pinching and an epitome of extreme frugality. During the inventory of his estate in 2013, it was reported that he had only two cars – a 2008 Skoda and a 1993 Volvo 240. He was known for flying economy class and shopping for second-hand clothes at flea markets.

 

4. He was the second richest person in Europe.

According to The Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the worth of Kamprad before his death was $59billion. At the time of his death, he ranked as the second richest man in Europe behind Amancio Ortega and only seven men were ahead of him on the world map.

5. Kamprad left Sweden so he could pay lower taxes.

In a bid to reduce his taxes, Kamprad left Sweden for Denmark in 1973 and eventually settled for Switzerland in 1976. He lived in Switzerland for 38 years before returning home in 2014.
“Creativity and believing in your work is absolutely a necessary part of success.” – Ingvar Kamprad
Before I conclude, let’s look at some interesting facts about his multi-billion dollar company, IKEA.

6. IKEA is an acronym.

The first two letters of IKEA originates from his names – Ingvar and Kamprad while the two remaining letters came from the name of the farm he grew up, Elmtaryd, and the nearby village, Agunnaryd. His love for Sweden can be seen in the two main colors of IKEA which can be found on the Swedish national flag – blue and yellow. He placed Sweden on the world map.

 

7. IKEA is the world’s largest consumer of wood.

The furniture-making company has grown over the years with a total of 412 stores in 49 countries. To meet the demands of their ever-increasing customers, they munch wood and consumes 1% of the world’s supply of wood.

 

 

8. IKEA has a store on every continent except South America.

Well, there is an IKEA store in the Dominican Republic and this part of the world is often considered as the Carribean. Hopefully, South America will get an IKEA store soon.

 

Source: Store locations by continent as at Aug. 2016 (www.ikea.com)
In conclusion, this is the story of a young farm boy from the village of Smalad that rose through the ranks of life to become one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Kamprad’s life teaches about the discipline to stay focused on an idea until it blossoms.

It unravels the power of an idea successfully birthed by a visionary leader that understood the essence of consistency. I hope this inspires you to chase success pants down and remain undaunted in the face of challenges until you lay hold of greatness.

Welcome to 2018: What Will You Do Differently?

Welcome to 2018: What Will You Do Differently?

Welcome to 2018: What Will You Do Differently?
02
JANUARY, 2018
Samuel Osho
I started the new year in the midst of brethren, we prayed and worshipped Yahweh until 2018 strolled in like a new baby in swaddling clothes.

 

The whole ground reverberated because of the enormity of the ecstasy that filled the auditorium. The tremulous energy was inundating, to say the least.
I only wish that our determination to succeed this year would wear the same regalia as our physical acrobatics. Unfortunately, only a few carry the grit of the first minute of 2018 into the second day of the year.
New year resolutions crash even before the first day gets completed. 
The year 2018 will chart the same route just like its siblings – 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 if we keep doing the same things over and over again.
Sadly, you must have heard this before but its true – “Nothing happens until you change.” However, “change” is relative and means different things to all of us.

 

What will you do differently this year? 
Will you reduce the number of hours you waste on social media? 
Will you increase the number of hours you use for personal meditation, retrospection, and thinking? 
Will you read those dusty books on your shelf? 
Will you write that pending book? 
Will you create that blog? 
Will you start that business and give wings to your creative ideas? 
Will you start that saving scheme? 
Will you enroll in that online course?
The world is waiting… And time is ticking away.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. It’s just like saying that Arsenal FC will win the English Premier League when Arsene Wenger is still at the helm of affairs with his rigid tactics.

 

It’s not going to work. (Smiles)
Cheers to a prosperous 2018!
So, what’s the point of my admonition?
I have heard the mantras/prophecies for this year – “My year of awakening,” “My year of greater glory,” “My year of divine speed,” “My year of abundance.” […]
But these words may become slogans that fail to appear in your life if you fail to do one thing to your plans.

 

Execution!
I mean ruthless execution.  

 

It implies chasing your life goals with tenacity like today is going to be your last day on earth.
Create a plan for the new year with a room for the changes you want to implement. The plans will come alive when you take action – execution!
Planning and execution work hand-in-hand for the realization of your goals.
In addition, as you start the new year, there are two things you should watch carefully – comparison with others and negative people. 

The Two Things You Should Do

1. Stop Comparison
I know you have some fears, doubts, and worries but I am glad to tell you that your worries will die a natural death when you no longer measure your success based on the achievements of your colleagues. Social media fuels comparison because we often believe the manicured lies and pedicured deception. Friends, comparison shuts down the revving engines of euphoria within you. Comparison focuses on the needless things and manhandles your peace of mind.

 

When comparison and competition is your motivation, moments of rejoicing with others may become seasons of depression. Stop it! It kills you and renders your potential to pennies because you no longer focus on the strength within. So, what should be my motivation? Find your motivation in the scrolls of your purpose; let your purpose in life be your yardstick to measure success and progress. Oh! You want to leave a legacy here on earth; let that motivate you and spur you on to greater heights. Yes, it’s very possible!
“Negative people are very toxic, say goodbye to them because you can no longer be their clients.”
2. Stay Happy and Shut Out Negative People
I want you to choose a new path where there is no room for any form of complaints or space for murmurs. Climb to a unique terrain where you leap for joy and jump with a grateful heart. In the midst of this newly found cheerfulness lies the power to conquer new grounds and surmount the mountains of challenges.
In 2018, learn how to make yourself happy by doing the things that bring out the best in you. The happiest moments of your life are not in your past, they are days of ecstasy waiting to be lived in your future. The more you realize how beautiful your future is, the quicker you forget your irreparable past. Be happy and learn to shut out negative people. Negative people are very toxic, say goodbye to them because you can no longer be their clients.
In conclusion, avoid comparison, shut down negative vibes, find out what needs to change in your life, create a plan, and be intentional about executing your plan.

 

Welcome to your best year yet!
It’s a new book with 12 new chapters and 365 new crispy pages. Write a story of impact with the ink of time.
Expect explosive and insightful conversations from me in 2018.

 

How do you think I can be of help to you this year?  
I am reviewing my content and strategies. Your answers and replies will go a long way. 
Thanks in anticipation.

 

 

Top 10 Inventions of 2017 That Will Inspire You

Top 10 Inventions of 2017 That Will Inspire You

Top 10 Inventions of 2017 That Will Inspire You
24
DECEMBER, 2017
Samuel Osho
The best of entrepreneurs and innovators embark on a personal journey to find viable solutions to their pains and challenges. When compared to an ordinary nagging consumer, innovators see opportunities for scalable businesses where others scream because of a pinch of discomfort. Technology is moving at a top speed and gradually leaving trails that can create a desirable future for its loyal disciples.

Every creative mind knows that the birth of anything valuable is painful – it involves deep thinking, resilience and commitment. I totally agree with American Industrialist, Henry Ford, when he shared his thoughts about the price of thinking: “Thinking is one of the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”

Irresistible innovation that is often embraced by the world is a product of deep thinking. As usual, we enjoyed some bytes of progress from the castles of technology in 2017 because some creative thinkers went to work.

Here are my top ten inventions of 2017 and I think every creative person out there needs to see this list.

The Top 10 Inventions

1. Fidget Spinners

The popularity of fidget spinners surged in 2017 that it caused a disruption in the way people “handle psychological stress and nervousness.” In classrooms and offices, fidget spinners assisted individuals to indulge in a mild form of distraction. It’s surprising how the “toys” received wide approval from the teeming populace. The craze translated to a spike in sales and revenue for its manufacturers.

 

Although there is no scientific evidence to substantiate the claims, a school of thought opines that the spinners help in the treatment of patients suffering from disorders such as ADHD and autism. As of 2017, the inventor of the fidget spinner is unknown and the status of the patent claims is unclear. At this point, I really don’t care if the inventor is Catherin Hettinger or Scott McCoskery, all that matters is the fact that a spinner is raking in sales from a generation that struggles with low attention span.
Photo Credit: DJI

2. DJI Spark

In the past one decade, the ubiquity of drones is on the increase and on the lips of every digitally inclined mind. Its versatility and multi-purpose nature have made it the target of individuals from diverse sectors. You can use drones for rescue operations, surveillance, relief missions and of course, to capture a cinematic and aerial view of a place either in video or photo formats.

 

The China-based company, DJI have a strong presence in the drone market and its recent release of DJI Spark at a giveaway price of $499USD has changed the way millennials take selfies. I recently operated a drone from the DJI family and I can testify to the cinematic wonder that these flying goblets create. Spark is a smart drone with an average flying time of 16 minutes; sensitive to gestures, easy to operate and free from shakes. It has very impressive features that ensure safe flight and harmless landing.
Photo Credit: Ember Technologies

3. Ember Mug

According to the Cosmopolitan, “Ember Mug is the Apple Watch of tumblers” and I totally agree with this assertion because of its well-thought-out design. Ember Mug gives coffee lovers a completely new experience where they get to have their beverage at the desired temperature. The mug keeps your coffee at the desired temperature for two hours on the go; it retains and regulates heat. Its aesthetic appeal and intelligence have made it the cynosure of all eyes.

 

The ceramic mug which has a charging saucer was launched on Nov. 9 and it’s available for sale in 4,600 U.S. Starbucks stores. The Ember Travel Mug won the 2017 IDSA IDEA industrial Design Awards. These are the inventions of Ember Technologies and the founder of the Los Angeles-based company, Clay Alexander, definitely had his thinking cap on to pull this off.

 

Photo Credit: The Verge

4. Linktree

For lovers of Instagram, the launch of Linktree is a big relief and a shortcut to having a bio that can house more than one link. Linktree is a web application that can help you add multiple custom links to your Instagram bio. It uses your Instagram handle to create one umbrella link that leads to the “tree of links.”

 

If you are a writer or a brand ambassador that’s concerned about the conversion of leads and engagement metrics from your Instagram profile, you can create a free Linktree account. This is a lovely invention and a social media tool that makes life easy for digital marketers.
Photo Credit: Nintendo

5. Nintendo Switch

Gaming just got better with the new release of a hybrid video gaming console from Nintendo. The extra-ordinary gaming console, Nintendo Switch, hit the stores in March 2017 and it was welcomed with a roaring applause. With the new console, you can game on the go with its hand-held tablet format and revert to the normal playing style with its docking station when you get home.

 

The console’s flexibility accommodates both single and multiple players because it has two controllers. Within nine months of its release, Nintendo has sold over 10 million units of Nintendo Switches.
Photo Credit: Engadget

6. Molekule

This is an air filter that does not only trap harmful air pollutants but also destroys them. The physical product made with the aim of helping millions of people breathe better and easier uses a major component called the coated nano-filter. The inventor, Dr. Yogi Goswami started the company with his daughter, Jaya Rao, and son, Dilip Goswami.

 

The price of the air filter is nearly $800 USD, plus $99 USD per year for new filters. Till date, Molekule has raised over $15 million from investors who believe in the dream.
“Thinking is one of the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford
Photo Credit: The Gadgeteer

7. Norton Core

This is more than just a WiFi router as it comes with security and parental control features to protect every device in the home, from PC to smart TVs. Norton Core is a high-performance router that utilizes advanced machine learning and Symantec’s global threat intelligence network to make your use of Internet a safe cruise.

 

If any device on the network gets a virus, the secure wireless router automatically shuts down the device in the similitude of a sick patient in need of a medical attention. If you have a myriad of smart devices connected to the Internet at home and in the office, then you need the intelligent Norton Core to be protected from hackers.

 

8. Tasty One Top

In 2017, the world got the smartest cooking assistant ever; a versatile appliance with an induction cooktop that looks like a hot plate but syncs with the Tasty smartphone app that contains a library of recipes of your most popular meals. The app in conjunction with the cooker guides the chef through the cooking process via a built-in sensor and a thermometer that tracks the cooking temperature.

 

This is a superb invention which is rare; it is going to change the way people learn how to cook their favorite meals. And above all, trying out new meals becomes easy even if you are an inexperienced chef.
Photo Credit: CNN

9. Oculus Go

Virtual Reality is now within your reach with Facebook’s Oculus Go. With no PC wires or extra gadgets attached, Oculus Go is an all-in-one VR headset made fit for you. This is a stand-alone computer that will blow your mind with a variety of spatial VR experience. It is set for release in early 2018 at a cheap price of $199 USD. You can pre-order here from authorized retailers.

 

It is portable and an intelligent attempt to make VR experience reachable to every technology enthusiast; designed with adjustable straps, breathable fabrics, and great lenses. You can literally immerse yourself in 1,000 VR games, social apps, 360-degree experiences, and more.
Photo Credit: The New Yorker

10. Ruggie Clock

This is a revolutionary clock for early risers; a simple but sophisticated reinvention of the traditional alarm clock. If you are tired of snoozing your alarms to steal more sleep on your bed, then you may need to trust the ingenuity packaged in the Ruggie clock. Ruggie clock was built to get you out of bed early because the sound of the clock won’t stop until you place your feet on the soft rug for three seconds.

 

It’s easy to set up; it has a touch activated LED display with powerful built-in speakers.

 

These inventions are bundles of inspirations to every creative mind or anyone that is poised to make a difference in a noisy world. I was humbled by the creativity embedded in these new inventions; kudos to the dogged inventors, the resilient research teams and unconventional product designers that made these things happen.

 

I am curious! I want to know your top three inventions of the year from this list.

 

What are your top three inventions of 2017 from this list? 

 

PS: All the inventions here were featured in TIME Magazine’s “25 Best Inventions of 2017” except Linktree and Ruggie Clock.

 Photo Credit: Tolu Babarinde (Featured Photo)

 

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?

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