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As an involuntary youth leader and an impact General in a society of social ‘orphans’; since we lost our heads of governments who ought to be our social parents to greed, corruption and irresponsibility, I have taken it upon myself to teach my generation basic nuggets required to achieve unprecedented heights of success.

Essentially, the youth time is the time of life when one is young: the time when a young person has not yet become an adult in means and responsibility. My focus is on this set because they still have the future, the time and the raw energy to make a success of their lives!

Perhaps the greatest challenge of every youth in today’s Nigeria is how to succeed given the current harsh economic condition which indices includes mass unemployment, helplessness, natural death of ideas and attendant criminality. Success seems somewhat of a mystical, distant and mysterious creature to many of us, it seems evasive and unrealisable but it is very attainable If only we can learn how to succeed. Achieving success in life is a skill that can be learnt.

We the youth of the oil-rich black giant of Africa hear stories of success, but majority of us haven’t seen or experienced it ourselves. This aura of fear that we appropriate to the concept of success encumbers our respective ability to do what needs to be done to succeed especially in an insanely erratic socio-economic environment like ours where everything is capable of killing one’s lofty dreams.

We the youth not only focus on that end goal of success, but often become frustrated when we realize that we are yet to reach it. This explains the hasty ‘instant’ nature of today’s youth. We desire progress without process. We want money without work all because of our fear of failure and lack of success-achieving understanding.

We are running a marathon as if it were a sprint and burn out after the first 100metres. Our major problem is lack of perseverance! We forget that everything in life takes time! We want to take instant delivery of a product we ordered and paid for online forgetting that it must be packed, bound, sent to the courier agent, shipped or flown to our destination and we must sign for it on receipt! Everything worthwhile in life takes the process of time. Its easy to know why we haven’t succeeded: Maybe we simply lack patience. Maybe we lack willpower. However, I believe its likely that most of the youth fail to succeed because they simply do not understand the formula for success. We imagine it to be a complex formula of such that we would see in the laboratory. That is not the case. I have therefore broken down the ‘formula’ for success into ten distinct, individual steps to success, which in practice become elongated depending on a number of factors. Here are the ten simple steps to success in life:

  1. Know your Creator!

“Man can achieve by effort, but it takes God to truly succeed!”- ‘Tosin Ayo

This step comes in first because its the hallmark and fundamental ingredient of success! The God-factor is so important in life because we are not on a sole journey of meaningless expedition, we are here on a mission assigned to us by the Supreme Deity! Man will continually grope in the darkest wilderness of self-contradiction until he realises that his success is inexorably bound to his faith in God! The labourers labour in vain without God’s support! Without God’s input and approval, every effort to succeed is in futility! Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and every other thing (success) shall be added unto you! Find Christ before you find work and He will grant you success over your work!

  1. Know who you are and where you are!

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This is a personal discovery and stock-taking destiny process! Who you are is a revelation of your personality, talent and composition and this will give you a revelation of who you were meant to be! Don’t be a bricklayer If you were formed to be a Cleric or every structure you build will collapse on you!

Life is pleasurable and success is achievable when you do what you were made to do and earn a living; make a profession from the talent of your natural strength! Do not desire to be a broadcaster If you have a defect in speech or attempt to be a Lawyer, Teacher or Preacher when you can’t even express yourself or articulate your thoughts!

Two dates are important in the life of every youth: the day you were born and the day you discovered why! Of these two dates, the day you discover why you were born is the most important! Your plan is what you wish to do, God’s purpose is what you were born to do! What you must discover is God’s purpose for your creation decipherable by the kind of talents deposited into you and the special features He created you with!

Man is like a vehicle and the manufacturer is like God, if a vehicle is created for car-race, its features will include a turbo engine, anti-crash, high speedometer, multiple air-bags, airtightness, spherical bum and point airtip, considerable weight, et al…If you were made to fly, God will give you wings! It is not just your desire that you discover, but God’s design for your creation based on your abilities!

Before you can figure out where you want to go and how you want to get there, you must get a good understanding of where you are at the moment. Who are you as a person? What are your character traits? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What is your financial situation? How is your social life? Can it help what you want to do? Can a shy person be an effective public speaker? Can a thoughtless, unreading, lazy person be an excellent writer? How is your health? You must get to know yourself inside out in order to understand the task in front of you fully and know what to make of it.

If you do not know where you stand, there is no possible way of knowing in what direction you must travel to get to where you wish to go. There are many ways of getting to know oneself- all of which require two things: time and some alone time. Meditate! You do not need to lock yourself up for a year and remove yourself from humanity, but you do need to spend time reflecting on your thoughts and actions in solitude.

  1. Know where you want to go!

“The objective of a dream isn’t for it to end after you’ve awoken, but rather to continue dreaming, and in essence, manifest it.”- Aaron Caresosa Gallego

Note that the operative word is not where you wish to go! This step comes here because unless you know who you are and where you are in life, there is no way of making a proper decision as to where you ought to go. If you do not truly know yourself, then you cannot make a good decision in such respects. Your major goal should be a dream that you know is achievable even if statistically improbable.

Impossible is only what you deem so. If there is even the slightest possibility that it could happen, then it is enough for you to dream it to reality. No dream is too big or too small if it is what you know that you want for yourself based on your abilities.

  1. Make your plan plain in black and white!

“Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.”- Harold B. Melchart

Now that you know yourself and you know where you want to go, it is time to make a plan. How can you best get from the present to your future? What needs to be done in order for you to become the person you wish to become and to find yourself living the life that you want to live? Sit down with pen in hand and write down your plan. The faintest pen is sharper than the smartest brain! Concretize your plan and reduce it to black and white so you can run with it and see how well you are doing with implementing it!

Write down several stepping-stones along the way- mini goals. These mini goals will serve as markers and will help you stay motivated as you reach one after the other. Keep in mind, however, that your plan must be flexible and mutable. Nothing can be set in stone because life does not allow for such rigid measures especially in Nigeria. Your plan must allow for the necessity of adaption, adoption, modification and adaptation. When things are not working according to plan, either modify your plan or magnify your skills!

  1. Take Action!

“Build, therefore, your own world. As fast as you conform your life to the pure idea in your mind, that will unfold its great proportions.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now that you know where it is that you want to go and you have a general idea of how to get there, it is time to get moving. Now, when I say take action I do not mean to take your time to warm up, stretch and then do one or two things off your 1000-item checklist. You need to take life by the balls and act as if your life depends on it- because, in reality, it does. Be desperately active! Grab the opportunity in time by its balls with all your moxie and seriousness!

Your life literally depends on the actions that you choose to take or fail to take. What you are today is a reflection of the actions you took yesterday and the decisions you make today will determine what you will become tomorrow! You have a reason to do what you want to do, but you are likely not to go ahead and do it for sheer laziness or fear. Whatever your reason not to act full-heartedly, it is in bad light. This is your life; no one will live it for you. You must remain hardworking; eschew laziness! A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of arms: Your mates become your mentor!

  1. Re-assess!

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – André Paul Guillaume Gide

Now that you have taken action and reached your first stepping-stone, it is time to reassess the situation. Have the circumstances changed? Does your plan need to be adjusted? Maybe your goal itself needs to be adjusted. Life is one big lesson, the longer you live, the more you learn about yourself, what you want and how the world works.

There is no shame in adjusting your plan or scrapping it entirely. The most important thing is that you are happy and moving, have a goal and a plan of reaching it. It is better to change your plan due to change of circumstance than to have no plan at all! After moving along through your plan, you may find yourself a bit lost. You may have come to realize that what you believed was right for you, isn’t. That is okay- in life it is the journey that really matters. You live and you learn.

Your goals in life will change and alter as you grow. Do not be afraid of never finding your purpose, it will present itself over time- but do not waste time waiting. You must act on what you believe at the moment to be your correct path. The path that you are traveling will reveal the correct direction as you walk along it; staying stagnant and complacent will give you nothing!

  1. Press Harder with focus and make an impact!

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” – Steve Jobs

After reassessing your situation, you must come to a conclusion: either your plan is working or it is not. If it is, then it is time to press even harder. You must build momentum in order to keep moving when the times get tough- there always comes a time when they will. Stay focused and energetic- focus on the passion that is building up inside of you. The more you work toward your dreams, the more passionate you will be of attaining them.

  1. Be calmly stern when slowed down by failure!

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping-stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”- Johnny Cash

We must occasionally take a step back before we can take two steps forward; don’t let that sway you. If you noticed that the plan you laid out for yourself is not working the way you hoped it would (failure), just go back to the drawing board and figure out how you should proceed. Do not continue to follow down a path you know for a fact will not lead you where you wish to go. Perseverance on a futile dream is foolishness!

Life is a learning process filled with mistakes. No one gets things right the first time around- in fact, it usually takes more attempts than you would be willing to count. I read the Biography of 20 American Billionaires and discovered all of them tried 17different things before 1 worked! The important thing is not to give up and to keep searching, keep moving towards your goal. Every failure is a lesson learned and a step in the right direction. You do not fail, you only learn how not to do it!

  1. Desire to get lucky!

“Man can change his destiny — not by wishing for it, but by working for it.”- Swami Chinmayananda

Many people would prefer not to admit the element of luck but its as real as daylight! Many people would like to hold the false belief that their lives are fully in their control. They aren’t. Nothing in our world is certain and nothing happens only because we will it so. Do you see better-trained and brilliant but unsuccessful people around you? The difference is luck! We all need some luck in the parlance of the moralist and the free-thinkers and the grace of God in the language of the righteous. This is the reality!

We need the universe to play out in our favour, not because we need it in order to act or to move in the right direction, but to beat the competition. We live in a competitive, fast evolving world where each person is trying to make something of themselves or at least a good majority of us are attempting to do so. There is much tragedy in the world and much negativity.

It is the grace of God that makes the difference! No one can do anything great in all the world without divine approval! This life does not answer to effort, it answers to grace! It doesn’t answer to human power alone but supernatural enablement! It takes the grace of God to be at right place at the nick of time- that is opportunity! You need preparation however to make your grace meaningful!

Why or how this works I do not pretend to know but ask successful people and they will surely tell you that luck played a part in their success. However, you cannot simply sit back to watch your life go away and hope that luck takes you all the way to the top of the success mountain. Hard work and dedication to the life you wish to lead is the only way to make your dreams a reality.

God will not do for you what you can do for yourself! God promised to bless the work of our hands, but If there is no work in your hand, you leave Him nothing to bless! Blessed emptiness is multiple emptiness!

  1. Never give up on your dream to succeed!

“Life is a swinging pendulum, its a race, a battle, a movement and a journey, it goes back and forth, to succeed, you must keep moving and never press the brakes!”- ‘Tosin Ayo.

Life is a journey, to get to your destination, you require planning, learning, reassessing, repeating and persevering until you reach your goal. Don’t look at life as a straight journey; it has many twists, dips, bends and turns. Often you may find that you have to make a U-turn but you must keep moving. Don’t get disgruntled, life is about making such mistakes and learning from them.

Enjoy the moments as they are given to you, live in them and never quit. If you give up on yourself, who will make you succeed? Enjoy this life while you have it and make the best use of it the best way you possibly can. May your youth be blessed as success attends your way. You will make it!

-‘Tosin Ayo,

(The ‘word bank’).

Olu Mabel

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