UNDERSTANDING THE 7 LEVELS OF FRIENDSHIP

7 LEVELS OF FRIENDSHIP

Have you ever heard where two people who did not know each other got hooked to get married by a third party/mutual friend?
I know I have. In my line of work I have seen quite a number of these sort of relationships.
Some of them are long-distance relationships and they are so distant they never met before they got hooked.
Some others get intimate on social media without even meeting each other. In some cases these kind of relationships work, but from my experience I have seen that this is the exception and not the rule. 
To build anything on the exception is usually a recipe for disaster.
So the rule of thumb is you pass through a trajectory of different cadres or levels of friendship that will then culminate in marriage.
There are 7 levels of friendship on the curve that leads to marriage.
In this article we look take a detailed look at each of them.

LEVEL 1:- STRANGER
A person at this level is not obviously not a friend, but considering that everything going forward is built on it it is a good place to start.
Considering that everyone you have ever met in your life started off as a stranger we might as well add this as the first.
We meet people at different places; on our first day at school or in the class where we attended a professional course, on the airplane or in a taxi cab, in a shopping mall or at the hair salon, we meet people everyday and most of them are total strangers to us. 
Usually some of these strangers fit into an appraisal system we have coded in our minds that we instinctively deploy when we see people we do not know. 
We tend to unconsciously pass everyone we encounter through this mental appraisal mould and we run them through the parameters of our specifications.
If for instance you are a man (full blooded man that is) or a woman and you saw a lady or guy you did not know you would appraise her/him on the basis of your preferences with regard to her/his  height, build, face, shape, the way she/he sounds, and any other standard you hold. In a matter of seconds she/he  would have been weighed on your mental scale and on the basis of your appraisal (many times on a scale of 1-10) you will decide whether the individual is worth a second look. 
There might be times when the situation does not give you the time nor latitude to properly appraise the person at first glance but  generally everyone starts at this point.
Depending on what the chemistry is like and the terms of engagement you might exchange numbers, addresses, and other personal details

LEVEL 2:- ACQUAINTANCE
This level is the second and although the person is not quite yet your buddy and still has a way to go before he/she can become your chum you can at least identify him/her as an acquaintance. An acquaintance is a person one knows slightly, such a person is a contact but is not qualified to be referred to as a friend. 
They might be people whose personal details you may or may not have, but they are definitely people you will recognize and be familiar with. It could be that lady you always “run into” at the hair salon (we probably need to start asking you what in the world a full grown man like you keeps looking for at a hair salon, she probably wonders too, or doesn’t) or at the shopping mall. It could be that guy you see every now and then when you are hanging with your girls at your favorite place. The thing that is usually a common denominator in all such cases is that you know or at least can recognize them.

LEVEL 3: SPARSE FRIENDSHIP
I call this level a sparse friendship because it is the sort of friendship where you meet up with someone today and after a really long while he/she is out of the picture. This person is never really in the zone and is more like a kind of “now you see me now you don’t” kinda person, if you know what I mean.
You bump into this person when you happen to be in his/her city or area, and this bumping into each other is mostly accidental.
Now sometimes it might not be accidental as one party is really trying to see if something can come out of it but the other party is not as committed to or interested in what the first wants.
So if you are at this level of friendship with someone you both might have gone beyond the acquaintance level but there still is work to do if either party is interested in pushing it.

LEVEL 4: CASUAL FRIENDSHIP
So at this level the ice is thinning but there is no heat just yet. You are at the point where you say- “Who knows? Let’s see how things go”. And so you and your target (some of you probably feel like you are hunters now) are casual friends; you can call ourselves pals at this point and you probably know some stuff about each other that is more than just objective. You know some of the other person’s likes and dislikes, you know their hobbies, favorite sports team, political affiliations and so on; you know at least enough to have a decent conversation.
At this point I will bring in a brief interlude here so I can talk about something that is really important in friendship.
It’s called Disclosure. In every relationship there must be disclosure but this usually happens at different phases that are mostly in consonance with varying levels of friendship.
Let me explain. There are- 3 STAGES OF DISCLOSURE
I call them- the vision stage, the retrospect stage, and the moment stage.
Whoever you are disclosing to would ordinarily have to qualify for each succeeding stage of disclosure. Each stage of disclosure corresponds with some levels of friendship.
The vision stage is usually a disclosure of what a person wants to do in the future. The retrospect stage is the disclosure of certain things that have happened in the past. Then the moment stage speaks entirely about what is presently happening in a person’s life.
**There are requirements for each stage of disclosure (see the end of the page)

LEVEL FIVE: CLOSE FRIENDSHIP
This is where you guys are really chummy with each other. You are close friends and have hit deeper levels of disclosure. You know lots of subjective stuff about each other and might have gotten to the point where you are ready to take the plunge; however you must at this point also ensure no one friend zones you without being ready to make the big commitment. If you are a girl and the guy isn’t ready to pop the question or y’all just have not gotten to that stage where you are both ready to commit then he shouldn’t be taking you around everywhere like a colonial master.
However the truth is if you have a group of people from the opposite sex who fit the profile of close friends then you have a beautiful pool to pick from when it’s time to get settled. It really is a good place to be.

LEVEL SIX: INTIMACY
The etymology of the word “intimacy” points us to the Greek word “intimos” which literally means innermost. At this point the friendship is where people are “naked and not ashamed”.
 Usually when we hear the word “intimacy” most people think of sexual interactions but there are different types of intimacy that would eventually lead to sexual intimacy that will be worthwhile.
There is spiritual intimacy and emotional intimacy, before physical intimacy. At the level of intimacy both individuals bare all to each other and it’s a union of hearts as both beat as one. There is a level of understanding that comes at this level and this understanding is so deep that each party is able to predict the other’s next move.
There is such an amity, a kindred spirit, and affinity between both people at this point that the level of detailed knowledge each has of the other will lead very logically to only one conclusion.

LEVEL 7: MARRIAGE
Marriage can occur before any form of intimacy is built, and more intimacy will definitely be built as the proper building blocks are laid so it isn’t necessarily as though intimacy preceding marriage automatically translates to no intimacy after marriage. If the marriage is properly established intimacy will keep increasing, and it should too because it is expected that the couple will get closer to each other as their love matures.
 Although we have not said that any marriage that does not go through the 7 level sequence will not succeed it goes without saying that those who follow it are more inclined to have a good marriage than those that do not.

I trust this article was helpful. I am looking forward to your questions, comments, and suggestions. Help spread this blog to all your links and friends.
Cheers and God bless.

**When you attend any of our “Life on Target” relationship life class conferences or buy our “Life on Target” relationship life class materials we will help you run these tests and tell you in a much more detailed form exactly what these stages entail and which level of friendship they correspond with.

5 LEVELS OF LEADERSHIP

LEADING FROM THE MIDDLE: 5 LEVELS OF LEADERSHIP 

There are 5 levels of leadership. The level you are on determines the degree of effectiveness of your leadership. 
POSITION: The first and lowest level of leadership is the level of Position.

In reality this is not actually leadership, it is more an opportunity to get leadership. 

If we understand the nature of leadership we will understand why Position is not really leadership. Why it isn’t leadership is that positions are given but leadership is not given, it is earned.
Positions come through a variety of ways, but leadership comes through just one way.
Positions can be given in organizations for instance; if a person has developed his capacity to the extent where he can function consistently at a certain level in his industry he will naturally fit into certain types of posts or positions. 

But leadership cannot be given in and by any organization.

People can be given positions by birth.
For instance the monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth, has her first son Charles, as the Prince of Wales.
He did nothing to attain that.
He will become monarch after her death. 
He did nothing to attain that.
That is the nature of position; but that is not the nature of leadership and as we will see position does not mean leadership.

To illustrate the above point might I ask you a question?
 “Have you had a teacher at school when you were little, or a boss at your workplace who you didn’t like very much but whose instructions you nevertheless carried out because he or she was ahead of you?”
Maybe you have, and if you did obey them it would possibly be because you felt like you had no choice.
Now envision a scenario where you meet that same person again, let’s call her Mrs. Brown; so you meet Mrs. Brown but this time outside of the usual environment, probably after you left your previous workplace where you had her as the obnoxious boss; and let’s say you just managed to bump into her someplace else, in a mall or other public place. 

Now what would you do if she gave you the same sort of instructions and in the same tone as she used to give while you worked under her? 
If you were a polite person you would probably just smile and walk away, and if you aren’t you would give her a piece of your mind; most likely a huge chunk that she wouldn’t forget in a hurry.
The reason for this is quite simple; what she had over you was a position and not leadership. She lost her position and so lost the ability to give you any instructions. 

This is why people who remain on the level of Position find it difficult to work with volunteers; volunteers know they are not duty bound to follow just anyone and so they will only follow those that have influence (more on that soon) over them.
Now if all you have over a person is a position then you don’t have leadership. 

PERMISSION: This is where genuine leadership begins and is the point at which influence is exercised.
If you remember our discussion on “Understanding Leadership” you will recall that we defined leadership very simply as “influence”.
 The level of Permission is that point where people begin to willingly follow you and submit to you of their volition. It is that point where you have started exerting influence over them. 
The level of Permission is based on relationship. At this level people will follow you because they like you and because you have influence over them. 

Most of us are usually influenced by people we either aspire to be like or by people who show care and concern for our welfare. We tend to model ourselves after people that inspire us and trust that those who show concern for us have our interests at heart and so we normally won’t have any reservations following them or listening to their counsel.

A leader on this level works to connect with his people, and he does this by increasing his emotional intelligence; as he builds this he gets to create more positive energy in the environment and people tend to gravitate towards him. Trust usually grows at this point and as it does it leads to respect.
So when a person begins to influence other people he has entered this level of leadership.

This is basically what permission is all about, and this is really where real leadership begins.

PERFORMANCE (PRODUCTION): 
The next level of leadership is production. People will be comfortable with you when they know you have concern for their welfare, and they might attempt to emulate you if you inspire them, but they will only respect you if you are productive. 
Most people do not argue with results; they respect results.
So what this level of leadership speaks of is RESULTS.
People will follow you at this level because of your track record.
How many times have we seen people that call themselves leaders but are all talk and no action? I am sure it is something you have seen a lot of, “leaders” who do not walk their talk. It is quite hard to respect a person who doesn’t produce results in any field he aims to command loyalty in; you realize that when a leader produces results he builds credibility and this is instructive because there are two components of credibility/trust- they are character and competence; if a person has character you can bank on his words, but then we also realize there are times when only character will not suffice; there are times when we must go beyond words. 
If for instance you are trustworthy in character I will have no qualms in handing over to you something precious to me in order for you to keep it safely for me, but if you have character but are not a competent driver it is not likely that I would give you my 2017 Sport Utility Vehicle to take out for a spin.
This applies in practically every endeavor in which we engage and so in politics for instance we can also  understand this if we see that as much as we might like some candidates in a particular election because of their mannerisms and charm,or even because of more serious things like their sense of probity and moral rectitude, when we want to elect leaders that will get the job done we look towards track records. We look for their competence and commit our trust to them on that basis. 

At this level of leadership in organizations work gets done and as a result motivation increases, profits improve, stagnation gets kicked out of the window and everyone gets more committed to the task at hand as they see the commitment and performance of the leader.
Everyone works seamlessly as a team and overall effectiveness goes up at this point.

PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT:-
This is leadership by reproduction. At this level the leader realizes that his successes will be measured not by how much he has personally accomplished but by how much the people that work with him have accomplished, and so he works at this point to raise manpower.

Someone once said “It is called ‘manpower’ because where there are no men there is no power”. 

A real leader knows that in order to expand his followership base, whether in boosting his clientele or subscribers or audience, he must first expand his leadership base. So his goal at this point is to identify and develop as many leaders as he possibly can by investing in them  and helping them through their growth phases.

A good leader knows it is more honorable to be a coach than it is to be a player. 

It is also much more productive. The reason is easy to grasp you see- when there are more leaders more of the overall objectives of the organization will be accomplished. Also where there are more leaders the top dog will be able to grow into other things as he will no longer be restricted with performing the tasks he has now developed people to handle. 
As you invest in people you will command a much higher level of loyalty as people will begin to follow you for what you have done for them. 

PERSONHOOD (PINNACLE): At this level of leadership the leader has become an institution and people will follow him for his reputation. People will follow you at this level because of the legacy you would have set.
This level requires you to stick with your principles at all costs; it will require you to give up a lot and sacrifice very much because this level of leadership focuses on posterity.
So what this means is that at this level a leader thinks generationally. He thinks in terms of what structures and systems to develop for succeeding sets of leaders as well as ways to ensure the organization remains relevant even in his absence and for many more years ahead. 
By the nature of this level of leadership there are many instances where the philosophy of leaders at this point become schools of thought. 
Think of Chairman Mao Zedong of Communist China and his Maoist movement. Maoism is today a political theory derived from the teachings of Mao Zedong and a substantial proportion of the Chinese ruling class are adherents of this philosophy.
There are so many other examples to draw from but I assume the point has been made thus far.

So, what level would you say you operate in?

SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE: A PRACTICAL LOOK AT HOW PARTS OF CULTURE IMPEDE NIGERIA

In the two installments of the article- “Swimming Against the Tide: How Society determines our behavior and how to buck the trend” we established the fact that society and culture can shape the values, and by extension the behavior of its members.

We then went further to give the technical definitions of each of the Dimensions in Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory and to note the scores of some countries, in the framework we used for the analysis. 

Now I want us to see the practical implications of these for Nigeria.
Where the article mentioned above was basically descriptive this one will be more germane because we will be applying these thoughts in a much more relevant manner.

After applying them we will see why we must deliberately manage culture so we can accomplish what we want in the building of a better society and we will see why we must take very seriously the process of selecting those we allow to lead us.

Beyond the first impression we get when we hear the word “culture” (which usually evokes thoughts of our tribal affiliations) we need to realise there are other vistas the word alludes to and these include-
Domestic Culture, Organizational Culture, Societal Culture, National Culture and so on. 

Now it is imperative that we realize all these different types of culture are set by leadership. 
I cannot underscore the above point enough.

All types of culture are set and determined by leadership.

Think about this for instance; there are tribal practices that are transmitted from generation to generation and very few people ask how those traditions were developed in the first instance. What many have not considered is that much of what we have come to refer to as our culture today is usually the aggregate of the personal preferences of communal leaders from generations past.
One person’s preference for plump women for instance could have been traded to his son who would also trade it to his until it becomes a custom to have fattening rooms where brides are first sent before the marriage is consummated. And these things could happen without recourse to the preference or understanding of the recipients; young men who intend to get married in such communities could just find themselves saying “That’s the way it’s always been here, I don’t know why but I will just have to do what my forebears have done.”
Such people then invariably give in to what society expects of them; expectations that in many cases began with either one or just a handful of people.

It is the same thing with other forms of culture. I have seen dress codes in entire organizations determined by the personal preferences of the Chief Executives. Some people even go as far as deliberately looking and talking like some of these Executives, particularly if they are such as inspire confidence, respect, and admiration in those that follow them.
For this reason more than any other as much as lies within our power we must be deliberate in picking who leads us because it is that choice that will determine which sort of culture will influence us.

In Hofstede’s “Cultural Dimensions Theory” we find 6 Dimensions through which we can assess and understand the impact of a society on the values and behavior of its members. Geert Hofstede delineated the Power Distance Index, the Individualism vs Collectivism Index, the Uncertainty Avoidance Index, the Masculinity vs Femininity Index, the Long-Term Orientation vs Short-Term Orientation Index, and the Indulgence vs Restraint Index as the 6 Dimensions for cross-cultural communication and through which we can measure the effects of societies on their members.
The highest score on each dimension is 120 and the lowest 0.

Now let us take a practical look at how these Dimensions affect us, particularly in Nigeria, and how we can ensure we fight the trend to take us backward.

When I think of the Power Distance Index (PDI) and try to relate it to Nigeria I shake my head at how we have allowed the absence of values set our national culture.
A simple explanation of the PDI is it is an index that measures how the lower members of society expect and accept that power is unevenly distributed. 
It simply assesses how much of a gap there is between social classes and how those that make up the lower reaches of these classes relate to inequality in society.
If the PDI is high then it means that the members of lower classes accept and even actively enforce the fact that there are those that are “superior” to or ahead of them in society, but if the PDI is low then it implies that the members of lower classes reject that those in higher classes are either superior to or ahead of them.

Nigeria has a score of 80 and the U.S has a score of 40 for instance. This is why in Nigeria it is taken for granted that a person who was born before you, or has more money than you do, or has a political position over you, or is your leader at church or work is “superior” to you.
In Western societies with much lower scores such thoughts are unacceptable.
This is why you will find scenarios where a young lady will refer to another person who is old enough to be her mother by her first name (anathema to the average African). 
It is for this reason that you will find the average Yoruba man in Nigeria prostrate when greeting an elder, but the average Westerner will take the elder by his hand in a handshake, look him in the eye and ask “How are you?” sometimes with a tap on the back or on the head.
Having grown up in Nigeria I cannot forget the shock I felt when I first witnessed the above in the United States.
But its the culture. 

Part of the reason why this is so in very practical terms is a variety of reasons top of which is the degree of the sense of entitlement members of a society have.
The level of education, exposure, and mindset concerning the rights of members of a society will determine to a large extent what the score on the PDI will be for varying societies.
In a place where over half of the people live under the poverty line most people will not be as interested in challenging decisions of government as they would be in deifying those who dole out stipends to them to curry favor and votes.
In a place like Nigeria where politicians capitalise on the poverty level to use bags of rice and salt to buy votes the PDI level will be high, but in a place like the United States where the State is required by law to take care of its weaker members there is a greater sense of entitlement and providing basic amenities is not as revered as in places like Nigeria.

Another point here is to realise that most of those societies that are high on the PDI Scale are societies that have equalizers inbuilt in them. By equalizers I mean factors that most establish social equilibrium.
One such equalizer that a country like the U.S has is the fact that it is a nation of immigrants. Anyone who is not a Native American is an immigrant or the descendant of an immigrant. Now most Americans know this and are conscious of it so there is a sense of entitlement they have. The thought is something like “why does he have to lord it over me? Afterall we are all equal”

This fact is embodied in the Bill of Rights.
It is part of the Culture.

As we have said previously there are different types of culture and these are all set by leadership. Unfortunately in Nigeria on a national scale we have allowed men of base values who are bereft of honor set the values thus establishing the national culture. It no more is about how much integrity a person has or how knowledgeable a person is, it’s now more like how much money a person has or what position he occupies in government. Not many people seem to be interested in how the person gets the money or the position.

I have witnessed the angst people in a country like the United Kingdom feel when it appears their elected representatives depict an insular attitude or show in any way that they are more privileged than those that elected them to represent them.
I have heard from British voters who vote against a candidate they once voted for because he employed a driver.

One told me “who does he think he is employing a chauffeur to take him around, does he think he is better than the rest of us?”
I have been in the London Subway and seen MPs (Members of Parliament) riding the train. I understand that even the Prime Minister rides the train as well.
I saw David Cameron riding in a 2 or 3 car convoy when he was P.M, just like I saw Gordon Brown before him.

But in Nigeria, because of the national culture as seen in the PDI score not just political office holders, but even those still trying to woo voters to stand behind them, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry, will drive in large convoys terrorising hapless road users.
It is in Nigeria that we can find career politicians who have no relevance and make no contributions outside the corridors of power.
Simplicity is something totally alien to most political officeholders.

Everything is about a show of force.

It’s only animals that behave that way.

If you were nurtured in a society where the PDI score is high and you find that you have the tendency to make much of the hierarchical structure in such societies and boss people around or enforce the social stratification obtainable there you must now realize you need to embrace simplicity while you are in positions of power and authority and buck the trend of oppressive and strongman leadership.
The position is not an end in itself, it is simply a tool for service, and as leaders the people whom we serve must not be made to feel like outsiders or inferior.
That is not the way to effective leadership.

Another dimension Hofstede gave is the Individualism vs Collectivism Index (IDV). This measures in a society the extent of integration by its members into and their involvement in in-groups. 
When the score of a society is high on the IDV scale it means it is individualistic and when it is low it is collectivist.
Most Western countries are individualistic and most African, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries are collectivist.
Nigeria has a score of 30 and this indicates it is a collectivist society.

Collectivist societies have many benefits, but when they are not managed properly can also present problems and disadvantages.

We find that in collectivist societies there is a greater tendency that more consideration is given to tribal affiliations and clannish connections than to most other factors. The challenge is that in most areas of national or community life where the grade is low (indicating it is a collectivist society) merit tends to be sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity because clannish thinking is the norm.
In a place like Nigeria where loyalty is more towards tribal and ethnic nationalism than towards many other considerations we find that it is not unusual for people to be asked what their surnames are or where they come from before they get employed or promoted.
This is more often than not the bane of such societies.
Nepotism becomes prevalent, and this more often than not opens the door to corruption.
If you are prone to such bigotry you must deliberately fight it. Most people do not understand the utter evils of tribalism and racism.
We won’t get into that today, but suffice it to say that one must buck that trend if one finds one is clannish.

The next dimension is the Long-Term Orientation vs Short-Term Orientation Index (LTO). As you can see the terms are self-explanatory and highly descriptive. So the questions here are basically about whether the society adopts a long-term or a short-term approach in planning and execution. 
Societies with a high degree in this index (long-term) are pragmatic societies who rather than being uncomfortable with societal change and treating it with suspicion hold to generating innovations in the long term and being pragmatic with problem solving.  Societies with a low degree here (short-term) are normative societies who are mainly traditional and are usually uncomfortable with change.
Such societies tend to be comfortable with what they are used to and do not deliberately institutionalize the pursuit of innovations. 

Imagine China with a score of 118 over 120.

You take a look at all they do and realize they are very long term oriented in their thinking. 
When a Chinese man goes to the West to visit or school he usually is not going there for mere pleasure, more often than not he would be going there to see what knowledge he can gain so he can take back to his country to implement.
The Chinese have a long term plan for virtually every sector of society. 
Looking at China’s rise in science since at least 2002 we see that China is the second largest producer of scientific papers after the United States and 4 factors have been stipulated to favor China’s continued rise and eventual dominance in global science: a large population and human capital base, a labor market favoring academic meritocracy, a large diaspora of Chinese-origin scientists, and a centralized government willing to invest in science.
They invest in science and technology and have a selection process for picking the best potential scientists from their infancy, they then place them in facilities deliberately equipped to groom them to become world class scientists.

It’s the same thing in sports. Take gymnastics for instance- At the London Olympics in the summer of 2012 China came second in the Olympic Table after racking up an astonishing 88 medals- 38 of which were gold. 
An academy called the Ningjin Acrobatics School was founded in 1959 deliberately for the purpose of developing world class gymnasts. Most of the students at the Academy begin as early as 4 years of age and start training with the hope they will be recruited into the national team.

In Nanning there is another sports school that has just one word hung on its walls- “GOLD” 
As a Daily Mail correspondent said “Charges are often taught by rote that their mission in life is to beat the Americans and all-comers to the top of the podium.”

There are many such sports schools and academies in China designed to ensure they keep churning out world class athletes.
 
In basketball China is playing out a 100 year plan for global dominance that has already started producing results half-way into it. The likes of Yao Ming, Wang Zhizhi, Yi Jianlian and Sun Yue are notable basketball stars in China and the U.S, with Yao Ming in particular, the former 7 foot 7 inch center  for the Houston Rockets being the poster boy for the new wave of Chinese basketball superstars.
In a book titled “Operation Yao Ming”, author Brook Larmer said the Chinese government convinced Yao’s parents, both basketball players and fitness experts, to get married so they would produce a world class athlete. After this Yao was given special treatment to enable him become one of the best basketball players.
It is this concerted effort with a long term agenda that we find consistently in practically everything the Chinese do.

Now let us contrast this with our beloved Nigeria; with a score of 13 over the maximum 120 we have a clear measurement of how ephemeral the decisions we take are and the mindset of impermanence employed by policy makers and “leaders of thought”.
Both at the Federal and State levels we find this same short-termism in practically everything. Billions of naira are spent to undertake and flag off projects by each administration and at the expiration of the tenure we find situations where successor administrations come in and either abandon them completely or go further to dismantle what has already been put in place.
All these at the cost of the taxpayers.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) based in France, had, in a study aimed at ranking the world’s cities most exposed to coastal flooding, revealed that Lagos was at the risk of being submerged in the next 50 years. The sea levels have risen far beyond the projected 20 centimeters especially with the melting of polar caps in the North and South poles, and not much seems to have been done to effect a change in this pattern.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has projected a conservative rise in ocean levels of 65 cm by the year 2100 and this has since been adjusted to over 100cm. Yet in Nigeria there does not seem to be concrete data on the amount of rainfall that has caused the recent deluges in Lagos and there is insufficient knowledge as to what can catalyze the estimated forecast.
This is just where we find ourselves in Nigeria. Short Term thinking in practically everything.
And it is this sort of mindset that pervades much of our decisions and our decision making process. 

Another Dimension is the Indulgence vs Restraint Index (IND).
This basically measures how much a society invests in pleasure and is comfort driven.
With a score of 84 in Nigeria we come quite high and this is evidenced by the manner in which the average Nigerian spends money and what he or she spends it on.
A society that is given to ostentation and status symbols is prone to throwing money around very easily and throwing that money around on trivialities.
Not many can forget “projects” like FESTAC 77 that added very little value in human capacity development or the building of any other resource.
There are places in Nigeria where it is almost customary to borrow money to host parties that are not for the celebration of any occasion.
People will hire cars, suits, and regalia to put on a show even when there is absolutely no need for that.
When any society has more pleasure spots than learning and development centers it is more the rule than the exception for very little of significance to come out of such a society. In fact it is anomalous for anything of relevance to come out from it, and for this reason we must learn the virtue of temperance, delaying self-gratification. 
In Nigeria the prevalent mindset is one of gratification without production, while strong and virile societies put production before gratification. 
There is much work to do to change this, but it can be done, make no mistake about that. 

The next dimension in the Cultural Dimensions Theory is the Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI). This refers to the extent to which members of a culture or society are uncomfortable with unknown or inexplicable circumstances/situations and how their  belief systems and religious/cultural institutions either avoid or handle these situations. It also refers to how a society deals with unexpected outcomes.
Societies that score a high degree in this index have stiff codes of conduct, guidelines, and laws. They rely on the premise that one truth explains everything that exists and there is no room for relativism.
A lower degree in this index shows a society that imposes fewer regulations and is more accepting of divergent thoughts/ideas. 
So what this shows is that countries high in this Index are usually more religious and superstitious than those who are low in it and those who are low in the Index seem to be more liberal and tolerant of divergent views.
Although not as high as a lot of Middle Eastern and Latin American countries Nigeria is nonetheless still marginally high with a score of 55 on the UAI.
Not as high as it once was it would seem a hybrid of liberalization, modernization, and westernization has begun to make its mark as the Nigerian society, though still largely superstitious, is not as superstitious as it used to be. 
Then when we think about how we handle unexpected outcomes we can take the case of the water levels rising and the potential submerging of coastal cities like Lagos as an example. In a place like Nigeria we will have housing development and real estate people building more housing units in the same areas that are flood prone and even building them over water canals and drainage systems. We are likely not to have a care about climate change as everything is in God’s hands and we will somehow be protected from the forecasted submerging.
That is just the mentality we have in a place like Nigeria.
And this is the mentality we must change. 

We can change our country if we will first work on changing ourselves one person at a time. Then we must demand for the right type of leaders to set our culture.

LEADERSHIP SERIES: UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP

UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP

One of the most interesting topics for me is the subject of Leadership. Before I took up the appellations of  “Life Coach” and “Leadership Consultant” I had discovered that helping people discover and develop leadership was something I was very passionate about and it was something that was central to my being.

So, we are about to engage in a topic that resonates very greatly with me.

We will start here with a definition of leadership.
Leadership expert John Maxwell has summed it into one word. He has very simply defined it as “influence.” 
That is essentially what leadership is- Influence.
At the risk of sounding a little more technical I will give my definition of Leadership as “the art of influencing people to act out of their volition towards the attainment or accomplishment of a collective objective.”

Read that definition again. Then let’s unpack it. 

The first thing you will notice there is that Leadership is an art; it is first a skill that needs to be developed before it is anything else. 

I do not accept that leaders are born.

While there are people who are born with traits that can be developed to make them effective leaders I believe genuine leaders are made, and this is largely because when exposed to the necessary environment and guided properly ANYONE can become a leader.

The next component you will notice in our definition is the word “Influence.” 
Real leadership is not merely authority or some sort of position anyone has over another person; real leadership is influence. It is the ability to exercise the sort of clout and leverage that precludes constraint and is void of coercion over another person or persons.
The minute compulsion is involved in any process it ceases to be leadership driven or guided. 
Authority evokes images of force and compulsion, but Influence is quite different- it evokes thoughts of willingness.
When Authority is involved people act because they have to, but when Influence is involved people act because they want to. 
When all a person has over someone else is a position you can safely note that what he has is authority, but like we will see in a later article authority is not an end in itself but simply a means. In fact, authority is an opportunity to build influence. Authority is a means to Influence.
So, we need to ask ourselves a pertinent question at this juncture- “How can one build influence?”
There might be very many ways through which we can build influence but through my years of personal study and experience in the art of leadership I have come to see that I can synopsize or encapsulate these into about three major ways- 

(1) Living a life that is exemplary and is a model to others
(2) Being genuinely concerned about people
(3) Getting others to understand they have a future in what you are doing 

The first key to building Influence over people is the power of an example. If others see in you what they want to become it will be very easy for them to follow you. If they see their future in you they will have little hesitation in modeling themselves after what you do and say, and this is where a moral burden comes on the aspiring leader. Trust, once violated, becomes harder to build, and so every leader has the obligation to ensure he does not violate the trust reposed in him by those that aspire to be like him.

The second key to building Influence over people is a compound one. It is a mixture of Empathy- the ability to relate to and associate vicariously with the pains of others, Compassion- understanding and having a desire to ameliorate the pains of others, and Care- feeling concern for and interest in others. 
All these three can be substituted for Emotional Intelligence. 
Emotional Intelligence can be defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express ones emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships resourcefully and empathetically. It is the capability of individuals to recognize the interplay of emotions both in themselves and in others, to label them appropriately, and to use the information to guide thinking and behavior in a bid to adapt to different environments and achieve ones goals.
 It takes emotional intelligence to build influence, and anyone who cannot empathize with others and then act in a compassionate way towards them cannot build influence.

Even the corporate world has started making a distinction.
We now hear about two types of ethics people are taught to distinguish between; Character Ethics, and Personality Ethics.
Character Ethics refers to teaching people and helping them imbibe inner values when dealing with others; for instance there are now modules that attempt to show employees the benefits of loving clients and being genuinely pleasant to them, and these training methods attempt to inculcate and imbue in them these values.
Personality Ethics on the other hand are all about teaching people to develop cosmetic/aesthetic values when dealing with others; so some employees in several organizations are taught to smile even when they might dislike a person. It’s a bit like a “fake it if you can’t make it” type of thing.
But beyond the workplace and in life generally if you will learn to really care for people it will be easy to build influence over them and to get their allegiance.
It is not how much you know as much as it is how much you care that helps you develop influence over others.
People are more prone to following you if they are convinced you have their interests at heart. 

The third key to building Influence is what I’ll just call Vision Ownership. When a person can get others to own his vision he will be able to very effortlessly build influence over them. If people will follow you without let, hindrance or reservations they will do so because they see their future in where you are going. If they see you are headed in the same direction as they are it will be very easy to have influence over them, and the average person will be more inclined to contribute his quota to the actualizing of anything he will benefit directly from.

This brings us to the next component of our definition. Leadership is the art of influencing people to act of their “volition”.
To act of their volition is for their actions to be voluntary. If a person feels compelled to do whatever he is doing at anytime then you could be exercising any number of things over him from intimidation, blackmail, and threats; any of all the aforementioned, but anything other than leadership.
Once people are not acting willingly anymore it is manipulation and not leadership that is being implemented.
If in your workplace, church, school, or any point of social activity where you have subordinates people under you feel like they are being compelled or manipulated then what you have over them is not leadership. 
If you had it once but have now resorted to such underhand tactics to keep it then you have lost it without even knowing.

The final component in the definition of Leadership I have given above is “collective”. Leadership is the art of influencing people to act of their own volition towards the attainment or accomplishment of a common goal or collective objective. 
This sort of brings us back to what we had earlier spoken about concerning how to build Influence. People will not follow you when they do not own your vision, and until they own your vision they will not see what you are trying to accomplish as theirs; they will not consider it a corporate or collective objective.
Leadership is not seen in a bid to attain an individual’s objective, it is seen in an attempt to accomplish a collective goal. So if you cannot sell your vision to others and get them to see their part in it, as well as what they stand to benefit from it, you cannot be an effective leader. 

Having defined Leadership we will now move to another important juncture in understanding it. 

There are 2 Dynamics in Leadership- The Visionary Dynamic, and the Responsive Dynamic in Leadership. These two are required in effective leadership but unfortunately most people tend to incline towards one or the other.
 Any person who learns to strike a balance and draw an equivalence between the two of them will be a very successful leader. 
The Visionary Dynamic is that part of leadership that is interested in attaining the objective.
Those who are more inclined towards this are usually fixated on the task and pay very little mind to the people who are critical in its accomplishment. What happens more often than not in this case is they accomplish the task but leave a litany of broken people who feel used. Usually the visionary oriented people damage others wittingly or unwittingly, and so when they have another task to accomplish they do not find those that previously worked with them willing to do so anymore as they would have lost all the goodwill they might once have held.
The Responsive Dynamic is that part of leadership that is focused on managing relationships. 
Those who are more inclined towards this are fixated on people and how they feel. The challenge here is that such people do not accomplish very much eventually; you probably are not going to get things done and deadlines met if you are a responsive oriented person or you commit to a responsive oriented person time bound objectives that will require team work. 
Such a person will spend all his time mothering and smothering people until the deadline passes; he is the regular Mr. Nice Guy who cares for people but the problem is he cares too much about people’s feelings to be of much use to them or the organization.

A good leader knows the right balance between the two and knows how to put the squeeze just enough on his people as well as the right moment to let it go.

If we place the two in a way in which they are inextricably intertwined we will have the right formula for effective leadership- Building bridges while accomplishing tasks.
The visionary oriented person builds walls and the responsive oriented person accomplishes very little tasks. But the good leader builds bridges while accomplishing tasks.

In the next article we will be looking at the 5 levels of leadership.
See you then.

SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE: HOW SOCIETY DETERMINES OUR BEHAVIOR, AND HOW TO BUCK THE TREND (Part II)

We began this series by speaking about the effects of culture on behavior and how to buck the trend if the behavior isn’t favorable.

We spoke about Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory and began to use it as a framework for analysis. We explored the 6 Dimensions and looked at 4 of them with some depth while I promised we would settle on the Power Distance Index, at least a little more than we did the others.

So we will begin this second Instalment by looking at the next Dimension before we settle on the PDI.

Indulgence vs. Restraint Index (IND) is the dimension that measures happiness and whether or not simple joys are fulfilled. It is the extent to which people try to control their appetites, desires and impulses. Indulgence is defined as “a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human desires related to enjoying life and having fun,” while Restraint is defined as “a society that controls gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms.” 
Indulgence scores are highest in Latin America, parts of Africa, the Anglo world and Nordic Europe; restraint is mostly found in East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Muslim world.
Nigeria’s score here of 84 is really high. 
People in societies classified by a high level of Indulgence generally exhibit a high level of willingness to satisfy their impulses and appetites with regard to their enjoyment of life. They are usually more optimistic about life and put premium on leisure and pleasure and as a result are not restrained from spending money as they please.
This is obviously the basis on which Nigerians were once called the happiest people on earth, but there is a big downside to the score on this dimension. Any society or individual that places gratification ahead of production or leisure ahead of work will stagnate at best and will in all likelihood retrogress in almost unquantifiable proportions.
The fixation on pleasure is what is responsible for the expending of large sums on frivolities and the constant frittering away of the collective patrimony on private and temporary interests rather than capital projects that will benefit the generality of people it is meant for.
In societies and countries like Nigeria that score high on this dimension consumerism and not production is the economic culture that is pervasive. This is very unfortunate because nobody gets rich by spending more than he produces.
So if you are an indigene of or resident in such a society you need to be deliberate in your resolve not to give in to the mentality of indulgence if you want to do anything meaningful with your life.
Temperance (the ability to delay gratification) is a discipline that becomes all the more important for an achiever who lives in any culture high in this dimension.

As we don’t have all the time to do a critical assessment of all 6 dimensions we will select one and use it in an exhaustive analysis of societal behavior, see how it affects us, and how to stop the tide from keeping us at a disadvantage.

Let’s analyze the Power Distance Index-
This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal and expresses/evaluates the attitudes of the various cultures in different societies towards these inequalities.
A higher degree of the Power Distance Index indicates that hierarchy is clearly established, social classifications on the basis of all indices of power (political power, economic power, religious power etc) are set and these standards are enforced in society, without doubt or reason. 
A lower degree of the Index signifies that the majority questions authority and attempts to distribute power to attain equality.
Such societies are generally more rebellious to authority.
In this dimension, inequality and power are both perceived from and measured by the followers, or the lower level. 

West Africa has an average score of 77, Nigeria in particular has a score of 80, and the Arab world has a score of 80, which means that in all the aforementioned places people accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. Hierarchy in an organization is seen as reflecting inherent qualities, centralization is popular, and subordinates expect to be told what to do. In this environment the ideal boss is a benevolent autocrat. 

While the Power Distance Index shows very high scores for Latin and Asian countries, African areas and the Arab world, the Anglo and Germanic countries, on the other hand, have a lower power distance (only 11 for Austria and 18 for Denmark).
The  United States has a 40 which is low compared to Guatemala (where the power distance is very high at 95) but still much higher than Israel where it is very low (13), so the United States is closer to the middle.
In Europe, power distance tends to be lower in northern countries and higher in southern and eastern parts: for example, 68 in Poland and 57 for Spain vs. 31 for Sweden and 35 for the United Kingdom.

America’s Power Distance Index is what causes it to want to unseat every “dictator” in the Middle East. By viewing the world through their lens they assume they are doing Iraq and all the other Islamic countries there a favor by 
 removing their leaders and instituting a form of government where accountability is given premium.
On the flip side, it becomes clearer why autocracy and tyranny seem to thrive in places like Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The Power Distance Index is much higher in places like the aforementioned because the culture is such that a hierarchical structure is very clearly defined.

Note the following statements very carefully:-
This is why the level of respect shown to elders and parents by western youth is inappropriate and even completely unthinkable to others. 
This is why, as far as many others are concerned, western women have very little understanding of and respect for the place and role of their husbands as the heads of their families.
It happens all the time; a young lady addressing people thirty years older than she is, people probably older than her parents, by their first names.
A young man challenging the authority of those that have been placed above him and even getting to the point of fighting them.

Israel has a Power Distance Index of 13. That is very low.
Most analysts and commentators speak favorably of something very common with Israeli culture- the concept of “chutzpah.” 
Chutzpah is audacity, temerity and flagrant boldness. Overriding confidence that does or says things in such a way that is shocking to others. 
Reading a very good book like the “Start Up Nation”, a lot of emphasis is placed on the concept and on how integral it is to the progress Israel has made as a modern state.
Every instruction is questioned to the letter, not for the sake of merely being rebellious but with the understanding that instructions that have no explanations do not help in building systems and processes that can be replicated.
The downside of the authoritarian manner children are raised in Africa to obey without questioning is that morale and initiative are likely to be low, the good thing though is that a measure of discipline and respect for authority is inevitable. However it would be much more productive if people understood how to strike a balance between both.
We must learn not to view all cases of subordinates questioning instructions as attempts to undermine our authority as superiors; no doubt there will always be rebellious people but the demigod status many leaders (political, institutional/organizational, religious, traditional etc) adopt in Africa leads to more rather than less rebellion, and the reason is quite simple really- human nature is such that repression only drives dissent underground where it foments and gains more steam.
But if leaders can engage their subordinates more often in a climate that is devoid of fear and any acrimony it will create the potential for a greater buy-in and thus multiply the loyalty of the subordinates as it increases their commitment to the cause. Good leaders know this, and the great ones have developed consummate skill in applying it.

Take a look again at all the 6 Dimensions and see where you will need to buck the trend.

SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE: HOW SOCIETY DETERMINES OUR BEHAVIOR, AND HOW TO BUCK THE TREND

SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE: HOW SOCIETY DETERMINES OUR BEHAVIOR, AND HOW TO BUCK THE TREND

Different societies, just like different individuals, have different ways they view and relate with the world. It’s the concept of the colored sunglasses at play. 
We tend to view the world not the way it is but the way we are; and it is this view of the world that determines our aspirations, prejudices, and patterns of behavior. It is this view that determines how we interact with our world. 
When we think of the foreign policies of nations and how they interact with other nations it becomes apparent that just like it is a determinant of how individuals interact it also is of how nations interact.
How often have we seen situations like this- 
The United States invades Iraq to “liberate” the country and “enthrone democracy.” Afterwards the U.S President declares “Mission Accomplished”; but except that mission was to throw Iraq into a series of intractable crises that has caused a regression of monumental proportions it is anything but accomplished. 
The above is just one case out of a plethora of interventions that have been a demonstration of Western foreign policy in other climes and cultures. 
The U.S foreign policy in particular is premised on what it believes the rules of engagement with other nations should be. In most cases a determining factor in these rules of engagement is what they think is good for other countries.

This has led to failed attempts by Western countries to impose on others and several of those other countries to adopt what they think will be an improvement on their cultures and methods of administration, and this has produced Asian, African, and Middle Eastern kids who sag their jeans, eat McDonald’s lunches, and listen to the likes of Rick Ross and Jay Z.
This has led to attempts at implementing in Gulf States and Africa a Western brand of democracy, and these attempts are made without recourse to the unique circumstances and conditions of different societies. So we try to copy what was not designed for us and we fail.
We fail because we do not appreciate that the things we try to adopt were tailor made for those we try to copy them from.
We fail because we do not understand that people groups behave differently and this behavior leads us to create models that best suit our uniqueness. What may work for one may not necessarily work for another.

So why do people behave the way they do? Why are certain types of behavior prevalent in certain places and why are these behavior types as well as different perspectives unique to different cultures?

The purpose of this article is to first highlight the fact that culture is a major factor in determining how individuals and nations relate with themselves and others, both positively and negatively. And then we will veer into using this to understand how we can ensure we do not let our immediate environments hinder us from attaining what we have the potential to.

There is an interesting theory propounded  by a man named Geert Hofstede.
He is responsible for what is called the “Cultural Dimensions Theory”; it is a framework for cross-cultural communication and it very expertly describes the effects of a society’s culture on the values of its members, and how these values relate to behavior, using a structure derived from factor analysis. 
The theory proposes six dimensions along which cultural values could be analyzed: individualism-collectivism; uncertainty avoidance; power distance (strength of social hierarchy), masculinity-femininity (task orientation versus person-orientation), long-term orientation versus short-term orientation,and indulgence versus self-restraint.

Now, I will crave your indulgence and ask that you please follow me as this article is extremely important in understanding your behavior and how to change the trajectory if it is heading the wrong way. I will do my utmost to ensure it is not technical and that it is easy to understand.
Let’s run through each of these six dimensions-

Power Distance Index (PDI) deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal and thus it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us.
Power Distance Index is defined as “the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions, organizations, communities, societies, and countries expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.”
So the PDI is essentially the way different societies cope with inequality.  We will explain this in full detail and use it as a framework for understanding the subject matter of this discourse later.

Individualism vs. Collectivism Index (IDV) explores the “degree to which people in a society are integrated into groups.” 
The core objective of this dimension is the measurement of the degree of interdependence a society maintains over its members.
Individualistic societies have loose ties that often only cover nuclear families and relate an individual to his/her immediate family. This dimension evaluates whether people’s self-image is measured in terms of “I” or “we.” 
 Collectivism on the other hand describes a society in which tightly-integrated relationships tie extended families and even go beyond those to bind kinsmen into in-groups. Now these in-groups place a very high premium on loyalty, this loyalty overrides even societal rules and regulations and leads to a position where each member is required to take care of and support each other when a conflict arises with another group.
In collectivist societies offense leads to shame and loss of face, while employer/employee relationships tend to be viewed in moral terms just like in family settings. Then the hiring and promotion of individuals in the workplace tend to take into account the nature and composition of the employee’s in-group as well as his position in it. 
So it is not uncommon to see within collectivist societies that the families and communities a person is a part of are taken into account on an equal footing with his qualifications.
The danger here is that a clannish mentality or paradigm might be deployed where it should not and this would lead to nepotism and not meritocracy.

North America and Europe can be considered as individualistic with relatively high scores (an 80 for Canada and 91 points for the United States show they are highly individualistic societies). In contrast, Asia, Africa and Latin America have strongly collectivist values: Colombia scores only 13 points on the IDV scale and Indonesia 14. Nigeria with 30 points is more individualistic and is not as collectivist as Guatemala with 6 points, yet is far more collectivist than Western countries.

When we see this scale it becomes clear to us that some societies are more community oriented than others while others are more individualistic.

We understand for example how Nigerians have a tendency to shift their loyalties to their ethnic nationalities and how this trend must be deliberately fought against and resisted if significant progress will be made in any society, community, family or organization.
We also see how behavior patterns vary and how these can affect how people interface with each other. Think about marriage for instance.
A man who picks a bride from a Northern European or North American culture is not likely to have the same level of scrutiny and invasion of privacy as one who picks a bride from the Middle East, Africa, or Latin America. In the same vein the person who picks a wife from a more collectivist society is more likely to have access to a communal social support system than one who picks a wife from a more individualistic society. They are more likely to have more people empathizing with and supporting them than the couple from a more individualistic culture.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)  is defined as “a society’s tolerance for ambiguity.” It measures how people either embrace or avert something unexpected or unknown; it evaluates the extent to which societies either accept or repel from an occurrence or event that is not consistent with the status quo. The question here would be something like this- “since we cannot know the future in certain terms should we try to control the future or should we just go with the flow and sing ‘Que. sera sera, whatever will be will be..?'”
So this refers to the extent to which members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown circumstances/situations and have created beliefs and institutions in a bid to either avoid or handle them.
As one writer has put it “Societies that score a high degree in this index opt for stiff codes of behavior, guidelines, laws, and generally rely on absolute Truth, or the belief that one lone Truth dictates everything and people know what it is. A lower degree in this index shows more acceptance of differing thoughts/ideas. Society tends to impose fewer regulations, ambiguity is more accustomed to, and the environment is more free-flowing.”
Uncertainty avoidance scores are the highest in Latin American countries, Southern and Eastern Europe countries, Japan, and certain parts of Africa. Nigeria scores a 55 on the UAI scale, but the results are much lower for Anglo and Nordic countries.
So this explains why a country like Nigeria is not that open to divergent ideas that are not in consonance with the prevalent moral thought and traditions.
This shows us why Western European and North American countries are more pliant in their belief systems and are not as religious as Africans, Asians and Latin Americans.

Masculinity vs. Femininity Index (MAS) defines masculinity as “a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success,” while femininity refers to  “a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life.” People in the respective societies tend to display different values. 
A high score on this dimension is referred to as masculine while a low score is referred to as feminine.
A high score indicates that the society is driven by hard work, competition, achievements, and success- and success will be defined by who comes out tops or is best placed through school and up to the organizations he/she works in.  A low score indicates that what is most important in that society is quality of life and care for others. 
In feminine societies, both men and women are primed to share modest and caring views. But in more masculine societies, women are more emphatic and competitive, even though less emphatic than men. Invariably, in masculine societies people still recognize a gap between male and female values.
The fundamental difference in both societies is what motivates people between wanting to be the best at what you do (masculinity) and liking what you do (femininity)
Masculinity is extremely low in Nordic countries. Norway scores 8 and Sweden only 5. In contrast, Masculinity is very high in Japan (95), and in European countries like Hungary, Austria and Switzerland influenced by German culture. In the Anglo world, masculinity scores are relatively high with 66 for the United Kingdom for example. Latin countries present contrasting scores: for example Venezuela has a 73-point score whereas Chile’s is only 28. Africa is generally high, and Nigeria’s score on this scale is 60; this makes it a masculine society. And such a society is work oriented with a requirement for managers to be assertive, firm, and decisive because the emphasis is on competition and performance. 

Long-Term Orientation vs. Short-Term Orientation Index (LTO) evaluates the connection of the past with the present and assesses how past practices influence future actions or challenges. 
This dimension evaluates how every culture must maintain links with its past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future. A lower degree in this index (short-term) points at normative societies where traditions are honored and kept, mostly to the detriment of innovations. Societies with a high degree in this index (long-term) are pragmatic societies who instead of holding societal change with suspicion in the way the normative societies do view the ability to adapt and be pragmatic in problem-solving as a necessity. They plan in advance and mostly engage in a tactic called “reverse problem-solving” by anticipating future challenges and developing solutions to them even before they come up.
Traditions are usually only of as much value to them as how much they help the society evolve and develop contextually and circumstantially.
Research has shown that a poor country that is short-term oriented usually has little to no economic development, while long-term oriented countries continue to develop.
High long term orientation scores are typically found in East Asia, with China having 118, Hong Kong 96 and Japan 88. They are moderate in Eastern and Western Europe, and low in many parts of the Muslim world, Africa and Latin America. 

Nigeria has an abysmal score of 13 which shows it is normative with a high inclination to tradition and a small propensity to save and plan for the future.
Think about that, with a score of 13 it is now perfectly understandable why a whole country with over 180 million citizens does not have accurate data to plan with. With a rating like that on such a critical score it is now understandable when one sees the amount of mediocrity that has pervaded the different strata of leadership in Nigeria, and it is apparent that short-termism  is something to fight against if you are a Nigerian that wants to buck the trend.

We will continue this in another Instalment.

See you then.

WHAT HATE SPEECH IS NOT

WHAT HATE SPEECH IS NOT

This will be a very simple and straight to the point kind of article.
Considering that this Blog is essentially a life class module we will delve into something that is a bit discordant even though it affects all who are Nigerians reading this.

The most important resource on earth is the human resource. As difficult as it is to deal with many human beings anyone who has a passion for and has worked in the field of human resource management and capacity building for any length of time will acquiesce to the fact that the most fulfilling thing on earth is making deposits in people and seeing them come good.
It is knowing you have actually been instrumental in the transformation of another individual.

 I have been involved professionally in human resource development for at least 15 years and I have had the opportunity to meet all sorts of people from all kinds of backgrounds. There are difficult ones, but there are many more good people. In fact, I can authoritatively state that there are good people from everywhere.
I have personally witnessed them.

For this reason I find people who are bigoted very parochial. Having grown up in the South-West Nigerian mega city of Lagos I have a lot of Yoruba friends and know a good proportion of Muslims, including from the North of Nigeria, although I am indigenously Igbo and a Christian from the South-East of Nigeria.
Understanding what I know now about the average human being I consider
anyone who judges a person on the basis of what he cannot change a malevolent and divisive bigot.

No decent or reasonable person castigates a person over what he or she cannot change.
It is for this reason that the most myopic and disgusting people are racists, tribalists, misogynists and the like.
All those that use social stratification and differences in social phenomena to quell their insecurities by claiming false superiority are the most base of humanity.

YOU DO NOT JUDGE OR CONDEMN ANYONE, ESPECIALLY OVER WHAT A PERSON CANNOT CHANGE…
And these include Race, Tribe, Gender, Physical Deformities and so on.

Although I have not added religion or “sexual orientation” to that list I believe nobody has the right to condemn anyone else over anything at all, including the aforementioned two. 
But the reason I have not put them in the category above is not because people should be condemned for either of them but because I believe religion and sexual orientation are both personal choices (I know some will not agree with me and if a person feels a homosexual urge or other form of sexual perversion like sexual attractions to children, animals or corpses it is pure perversion and can be handled should they choose to have it handled) and a person can change either.

I will get back to the above later.

Having pointed out my disdain for those who are critical of others for the sake of it, and those who antagonize others over what they cannot change I want to make a very clear point here- I do criticise. 

But what I criticise is institutions. 
Unfortunately there are those who think it is hate speech to do so.

On his return from an extended medical leave in the United Kingdom the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, was rushed on set to read the Riot Act to millions of Nigerians who eagerly waited some sort of communication from their President. He came on and true to script (the script of some individuals and not the script of the masses) admonished Nigerians to toe the path of unity and promised that those who questioned this path would be summarily dealt with.
He understandably said Nigeria’s unity was non-negotiable.
No reasonable Nigerian would expect him to say anything less, but considering the intensity of the acrimonious tide that has bathed the country thus far it would have been advisable to have drawn a distinction between “negotiable” and “debatable”.

The Federal Government seems to have placed a blanket ban on any sort of speech that is critical to the government of the country as well as anything it views to be even remotely inimical to the unity of the country.
There are some who also share the view that any sort of criticism (whether constructive or destructive) against the government or against any institution is “hate speech”.

I earlier said I criticize institutions. 
Institutions do not mean only government. Let me explain.

I criticise the contradictions and extremist tendencies of religions when they put people’s lives or their way of life at risk, for instance like some elements in Islam, but I acknowledge there are many very good people who are Muslims. 
I will NEVER condemn anyone merely for the faith he chooses to practice, particularly when it does not affect the liberties of others.

I support people’s rights to their actions (as long as they harm no other person) although I may not support some of those actions. For instance, while I respect people’s rights to their sexual preference and will never condemn anyone on that basis I still will never support any such lifestyle.
Anyone has the right to find his/her sexual satisfaction in anything as long as it does not disturb another.
I will not begrudge you that right although I am convinced it is NOT a right but a wrong.
Just because it might be legal doesn’t make it moral.
I believe there is a moral code put in the conscience of every human being to guide him in the right direction.
Borrowing a leaf from God I respect people’s rights to their lifestyles although I might not approve of that lifestyle.
A person has a right to be an atheist or freethinker, a homosexual or bisexual, or any other thing they might want but I also have a right not to support that lifestyle.
Like I said earlier, God respects people’s rights and this is why He will not impose Himself on anyone. He wants everyone to know Him and willingly follow Him and although He knows not everyone will He still will not compel anyone to.
But the fact that He will allow people make up their minds to go to hell if they choose to does not mean He supports or endorses anyone going to hell. It is not His wish. But be that as it may it is still the way He works.
I like that style and have adopted it.
I will love people the way God loves them and always strive to make a distinction between the act and the actor.

My reservations and dislike are channelled towards institutions, lifestyles and systems, NEVER towards people.

I criticise atheism because it is a godless and soulless contraption that will spawn more tinder for hell. Although I consider that they are deluded and blind to the Truth I still love atheists and it is my desire to do what I can to help deliver them from the fires of perdition.

I love humanity, but I hate all things that attempt to deride and pervert humanity.
I hate oppression, injustice, deception, perversion, nepotism, inequity and all the evils I have elucidated above.
Especially when they are institutionalized. 

I will speak against them.
That is NOT hate speech….

I will speak about and demand better conditions of living and the need for everyone to come together and have a meeting to arrive at a unanimous decision for our collective destiny.
That is not hate speech.

I read a beautiful article by one Tayo Oke in a Nigerian daily (Punch Newspapers. September 5th, 2017) and I will put up some excerpts from it-

“The ruling elites in this country, with the quiescence of the mainstream media, fearful of the rising tide of demand for devolution of powers, have done the law-abiding citizens of this great country a great disservice by conflating legitimate political agitation, and ‘hate speech’…the Ministry of Information and Culture has since been airing advertisements on the horrors of ‘hate speech’…the premise upon which this benevolent ‘public information’ effort is based is seriously flawed, and is potentially dangerous. It is like a landlord who chooses to evict (rather than talk to) a recalcitrant tenant loaded with a gallon of petrol and a match in his hand.
What happens next to that house does not even bear thinking about for all concerned…..
Nigeria’s nationality question is not one of territory, but one of governability. It will remain (so) until it is resolved through a Sovereign National Conference of all ethnic affiliations, at the end of which the people would have spoken. 
That said, I am conscious of the fact that although it may well be shared by millions of others in the country, this is only one person’s view being set out here.
 It is equally important to acknowledge the fact that there may well be other equally large number of people with an interest in maintaining the status quo under the guise of ‘protecting Nigeria’s unity’. Others, still may wish to recreate their own latter day version of the Berlin Conference (the partitioning and slicing up of Nigeria into independent entities) here and now. If this is so, we need to hear the argument in either of these directions so it can be debunked. We cannot maintain Nigeria’s unity by stifling the voices of dissent, and hiding behind the nebulous epithet of ‘hate speech’…When a speech challenges authority and the status quo we baulk and sniff at its audacity and ‘divisiveness’. Why? Because that takes us into the realm of power and politics; the exclusive preserve of the ruling elites, or, so they think…
Contestation of ideas and controversy over who gets what, where and when do not amount to ‘hate speech’; it is the bread and butter of modern democratic politics. By putting a blanket ban on ‘hate speech’, the Nigerian establishment may be gathering for dinner on a powder keg. Apart from that, there is no gainsaying that any attempt to silence dissent would simply drive it underground. The police and other security agencies have been ordered to be on the lookout for perpetrators of ‘hate speech’…
For those who wish to use this to muzzle the quest for devolution of power in this country, I only wish they would heed Victor Hugo’s timeless aphorism: ‘There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.'”

THE CONCEPT OF DEJA VU (Part 2)

THE CONCEPT OF DEJA VU (Part II): OTHER “EXPLANATIONS”

We began this series on understanding the phenomenon of Deja Vu by pointing out the various potential explanations I heard a group of people giving over this phenomenon. 

We first defined Deja Vu, and one of the definitions we gave of it was- “…a feeling of familiarity that is brought about after the sensation that a person has been through the exact same sequence of things he is presently passing through.” And in the first installment we saw how the concepts of Monism and Pluralism fail to explain Deja Vu, because the best way to understand the world is through a dualist perspective. 
Another explanation proffered for the occurrence of Deja Vu in that group talk was the “Multiverse Theory”. 
Let us just give a brief overview of the multiverse thesis- from www.allaboutscience.org:-

“The multiverse concept is founded upon the idea that what we have hitherto considered to be ‘the universe’ is but a small component of a vast assemblage of universes. According to the multiverse thesis, each universe may differ with regards to their physical laws, in such a way that all conceivable constants and laws are represented in a universe somewhere. The hypothesis is intimately associated with the so-called Anthropic Principle, which states that our own existence acts as a selection principle determining which properties of the universe we can observe. That is to say, any observed properties of the universe which may at first seem to be astonishingly improbable can only be seen in their true perspective after we realize that other properties couldn’t be observed by us, since we can only observe properties of the universe which are conducive to our own existence. The Anthropic Principle is thus used by many people, often in conjunction with the Multiverse principle, to show why we shouldn’t be surprised at the astonishingly improbable fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life…”

Let me pick it up from here. 
So the multiverse theory basically states that the universe we all live in is just one of many other universes, and all the things we observe in our universe are a result of a selection principle that makes us only able to take note of phenomena that apply to us as human beings. The implication is that there is really nothing that is ruled out because even if we are able to thoroughly explore this universe in which we belong we still will never know all there is to know because there are other universes running concurrently.

Now, the interesting little twist the people in that discussion group put into this was the thought that the multiverse was a number of many different universes all running simultaneously with different versions of the same individual existing and living parallel lives all at the same time. By way of illustration, let’s assume you are Mr. A and you obviously live on planet Earth in the Milky Way galaxy which is one of many galaxies in our universe, according to this theory you will have as many equivalents (different versions of you) as there are universes, and each version of you will be living out his life in a different and specific universe at the very same time. All of these supposed versions are connected in some way.
So they try to explain Deja Vu as recalling in your universe something that had happened to another version of you in another universe.

This sounds pretty nice and mystical except for some apparent flaws in that argument.

One of such flaws would of course be that as a scientific construct it falls flat against basic scientific procedure.

The same article continues- 
“Without a scientifically rigorous means by which such a multiverse concept can be tested, verified and falsified, the idea remains as but a conjecture — a fudge factor invoked merely to evade the apparent design of our cosmos. In addition, the idea suffers from a number of scientific difficulties and problems — but a handful of which are discussed herein. 
Whereas one knows that one universe exists, one does not — nor can — know whether more than one universe exists. Once observers exist in universe A, the theory of general relativity indicates that the space-time envelope of that universe can never overlap the space-time envelope of any other possibly existing universe. In other words, even if God made ten universes, we would forever lack the scientific means to detect any universe besides our own. The sample size of universes therefore is limited to one. Thus, the only rational option is that there exists only one universe and that God exquisitely designed the universe for the benefit of mankind.”

The scientific means to detect parallel universes does not exist so such a thought will remain at the level of speculation.

But I find that an even more rudimentary flaw in this argument is this- it will not be possible for different versions of an individual to live at the same time in different universes while having the same experiences happening simultaneously and still be able to have the memory of a certain experience that has happened to an equivalent in another universe. Strictly following the multiverse logic this argument will defeat itself because since you cannot have a memory of something that is either yet to happen or is presently happening it will make no sense to imply that a version of Mr. A would have done something in a parallel universe before another version of Mr. A does it in another universe if they are both meant to be occurring at the same time.
So, if we rule out the multiverse theory as being responsible for Deja Vu could there be other explanations?

Someone else came up with an intelligent presentation of what he believed was responsible for the Deja Vu phenomenon- Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.
According to Wikipedia “Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a chronic disorder of the nervous system characterized by recurrent, unprovoked focal seizures that originate in the temporal lobe of the brain and last about one or two minutes. TLE is the most common form of epilepsy with focal seizures. People with TLE may experience simple partial seizures that only affect the temporal lobe or complex partial seizures that spread to other regions of the brain.”

One type of TLE is classified into simple partial seizures and complex partial seizures and among other things symptoms of simple partial seizures include amnesia and déjà Vu according to them.
Now all these sound nice and scientific but for one thing. 
I will explain what that thing is-
Arthur Funkhouser (PhD) has done over a period of years an in-depth study of and an extensive research into the concept of deja vu and made some interesting observations and classifications. 
Funkhouser states that there are three forms of déjà vu: déjà vecu, déjà senti, and déjà visite. 
“Déjà vecu is most similar to the widely acknowledged definition of déjà vu. It is the feeling that the present scenario has been experienced in the past – the details are identical and it is possible to predict what will happen next. While in the midst of déjà vecu, the detail of the experience is astounding, and the person is conscious that the present scenario conforms to their memory of it. Déjà senti is best described as an act of reminiscing, triggered by a thought or a voice. It is distinguished from déjà vecu by the following: 1. it is primarily a mental occurrence, 2. there are no existing precognitive aspects where the person has the ability to foretell an action and 3. it often times escapes the person’s memory afterwards.  Déjà visite, unlike the other forms of déjà, is overtly physical or geographical. The experience is associated with a location, familiar inanimate objects, or a particular situation. Commonly it is experienced as the feeling of a location seeming familiar, despite the fact that it is, in the present, a new experience. Furthermore, Funkhouser adds to the phenomena of déjà vu by mentioning that it is possible to experience the interplay of all three forms of déjà vu and other phenomena exist, which closely resemble this synthesis.”

Now, the most common type of deja Vu among the three listed by Funkhouser is déjà vecu. This one in addition to producing an awareness that the present being experienced has occurred previously also makes the person passing through the experience able to predict exactly what next would happen.
And this is where the flaw in the Temporal Lobe Epilepsy explanation shows up. 
How does a seizure, any type of seizure or mental/physiological condition,  enable a person predict, most times in the exact sequence, the nature and order of things that are about to follow?
In these cases we see they are not mere prognostications but actually predictions.
It just makes no sense to claim any physical or psychological ailment could be responsible for the ability of a human to foretell a set of actions or phenomena in the exact sequence especially when they have absolutely no or very little control over them.

And so I now offer my thoughts on what is responsible for the phenomenon of deja Vu.

Man is a very interesting creature. He transcends every other creature and even those that do not believe in Intelligent Design and the supernatural will readily assent to the fact that human beings are in a different class of being to animals in several respects.
Although materialists might scoff at this even when they clearly do not have the answers it is apparent that man has a deeper dimension of existence and reality than do animals.
Man is essentially a spirit being, he has a soul and he lives in a body. In the soul there lie the mind, emotions and willpower, but these are faculties that belong to the human spirit, and it is the human spirit that is the real man.
As a result of this all human beings, whether they know it or not, exist in a spiritual realm. It is the physical body that exists in time and changes with time, but time in and of itself does not change the human spirit; this is because the human spirit exists in a realm without calibration. The human spirit exists in the realm of eternity. As a result of this there are things the human spirit knows and information it is privy to that the human mind has no access to.
In fact, through my experiences and the studies I have done I have come to the conclusion that just like the body carries the DNA that carries the coding of everything in a person’s past with regard to where he is from the human spirit has a coding as a result of its connection with the unseen world that has everything in a person’s future and where he is going to.
In fact a portion of the Bible clearly highlights this-

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” 
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (New International Version)

The “human heart” the above scripture speaks of is the human spirit. The implication of this is everything that has to do with my future is coded in my spirit.
Now I am convinced that what we call déjà Vu is an occasional glimpse into what has already been deposited in the human spirit concerning certain things that are yet to happen. They seem to have happened because in eternity there is no past, present, or future; there is no five years ago or five years later in the spiritual realm. Invariably everything is an endless sea of “now”, so the human spirit has the tendency to treat everything as now. But when it occurs we have a feeling that this has happened before, because in a sense it already has.
So phenomena like these occur as windows are opened connecting  and the human spirit to the human mind and transmitting thoughts from the former to the latter.

This is what I am convinced is the explanation of the phenomenon of deja Vu. 

THE CONCEPT OF DEJA VU: MONISM, PLURALISM, AND DUALISM

Deja Vu is a French term, which literally means “already seen”. It is the phenomenon of having the strong inkling that something you are currently experiencing has already been experienced before. It is a feeling of familiarity that is brought about after the sensation that a person has been through the exact same sequence of things he is presently passing through. 

Some of you reading this right now might have been in a situation for example where you found yourself maybe at a restaurant you had never been to before yet recognizing to the last detail everything that took place including the guy ordering food in a red shirt accompanied by the lady with a yellow tank top and brown hair and you said to yourself “Wait a second, this has happened before. I have been here before”.
It probably is not the same as above that happened to you but you might have been through a similar situation where you felt that this was familiar.

I almost see someone nodding her head in acknowledgment.

So let’s talk about this phenomenon and see how we can explain it as there are obviously people who have questions on it. 

I was directed to and saw an interesting post on the phenomenon of Deja Vu, and I saw several people in their comments to the original article speculating on what could be the explanation behind it.
Some spoke about Monism and Pluralism, while others suggested it was the “Multiverse Theory” that is most appropriate in explaining it. Yet another introduced the possibility of the person who has such occurrences being a sufferer of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). 

I looked with interest at the variety of potential explanations they each put forward and told myself it would be good to unpack these and see what they all mean. 
I will break the unveiling of this concept and its nature into installments and will run it as a series.

This will be the first installment. 

So, let us start by taking a look  at the first suggested explanation for Deja Vu- “Monism and Pluralism”

Monism is the metaphysical and theological view that all is one, that there are no fundamental divisions, and that a unified set of laws underlie all of nature. Monism denies a distinction between body and soul, matter and spirit, and object and subject.
Everything according to the monist has one source, and for most of them it is the mind. Metaphysical thoughts like “mind over matter” and the “law of attraction” are largely monist thoughts.

Pluralism at the other extreme sees life as being a result of a multiplicity of factors. Religions like Hinduism that offer a plethora of gods for each circumstance and situation are patterned after pluralist thought.
In Epistemology “pluralism is the claim that there are several conflicting but still true descriptions of the world, and that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life”.
We see that this train of thought is popular with traditionalists and adherents of polytheistic religions.

In Ethics, pluralism is “the supposition that there are many independent sources of value and that there is no single truth, even in moral matters.” What is right for one does not have to be right for the other.
Invariably what this means is that Pluralism is essentially the same as Relativism when it comes to Ethics.
Let me break down what that means. It literally means that nothing is right or wrong as there are no absolutes. Everything is right and wrong and both concepts are relative to who is asking, the situation in which he finds himself and what he stands to gain.
It is then neither right nor is it wrong to take another person’s spouse as yours as truth is relative. If it feels good then just do it.

I will gloss over the confusion in those patterns of thought.

The best way to understand life and existence is through a dualist perspective. 
Dualism, in it’s moral sense, has been defined as the belief of the conflict between the benevolent and the malevolent. It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work. 
The dualist perspective distinguishes between good and evil, spirit and matter, and soul/spirit and body.

Think of spirit and matter for a second.
In the book of Genesis there are two words used in the creation process. The first Aramaic word used in the creation process is the word “Bara”; that word shows up throughout the first chapter in Genesis and is what is used for practically everything created, including man in chapter 1:27.
It means to “create” or make out of nothing tangible.
So we see that man was created in the first chapter, but when we look at the second chapter we see that the Bible records that man was then formed out of the dust of the earth (chapter 2:7).
When a casual observer takes a look at the creation story he assumes there is a contradiction as it looks as though man was created twice. 
There is no contradiction, yet man was created twice. 
Understand that two different words were used.
The second word is the Aramaic word “Asah” and it means to make out of pre-existing material. This is the word defined as “formed” in chapter 2:7.

God first created from and in the intangible realm, and then made in the tangible physical realm. He formed in the tangible realm what He first created in the intangible.
Everything we see exists in two dimensions- the tangible and the intangible. 
God first created things in the intangible 4th dimensional world before manifesting the things He created in the tangible 3 dimensional world we live in. 
And that is the pattern God uses with everything He does. Remember the following statement- GOD FINISHES EVERYTHING BEFORE HE STARTS IT.  
Everything is created twice. 
It is first created in the spiritual realm before it is created physically,  just like the translating of a script to a movie; the script is first conceived and written, after it is ended then it begins.
There is an invisible and intangible world, this invisible world has a higher level of traffic than the tangible and physical world in which we live. 
Some people scoff at suggestions like these but it does not change the fact that there are many more things that exist that cannot be seen than there are that can. 

On a handkerchief or face towel exists more bacteria than there are human beings in most major and densely populated cities yet it was only recently equipment was developed to pick up on those previously invisible beings we now call bacteria, germs, viruses and microbes. 
A man could be sick with a fever and be vibrating with intensity and people would not know what was wrong with him, but it would be those almost invisible beings that would be responsible for the issue. 
There is a spirit world and there is a physical world. Spirits exist and since life abhors vacuum everyone at some point or the other is under the influence of the invisible. 
The Holy Spirit can take control of people and function through them, and evil spirits/demons can also take control of people and function through them. People tend to manifest the characteristics of what spirit is in control of them.  Demons in control of people is a bit like a car whose driver has been kidnapped and thrown into the trunk by a violent criminal who then begins to drive the car very roughly in his bid to evade law enforcement.
The car will take on the nature and characteristics of the driver.
Being driven by a responsible person the car will stop at traffic lights and stop signs and will keep within the speed limit, but when a drunk, a junkie, or an erratic person takes control of the same car it literally becomes a dangerous weapon that can put everyone at risk.
The same car but different characteristics with different drivers.
The same way it is with human beings. People are like cars being driven by different drivers, some cars being driven by several different drivers at different times.

This is not to put every errant behavior or act on the activities of demons but to point out that they do exist as do other spirits like angels. They exist and exercise different levels of influence over the physical world. This is what dualism is about.

Yet dualism in its purest form (or absolute dualism) does not explain the supremacy of God over the devil.
In the context of the problem of evil, evil is not the opposite of good, rather it is just the absence of good. Evil has no existence in itself anymore than darkness exists in itself. Darkness is not as much an independent phenomenon as it is the absence of light. 
Where there is no light there is darkness, and where there is no good there is evil.

C.S Lewis referred to evil as a parasite, this is because he viewed evil as something that cannot exist without good to provide it with existence. That is a very good way of looking at it.
Absolute dualism is not a proper representation of what exists between God and the devil, this is because if we consider the law of equals and opposites we realize that for something to have an opposite it must first have an equal. God and Satan (aka Lucifer) are not opposites; this is because God has no equal, thus no opposite. 
A more appropriate comparison would be between Michael the archangel, rather than God, and Lucifer the devil.
So the dualism I subscribe to is not Absolute Dualism but Limited Dualism- the type of dualism where the devil attempts to frustrate God’s plan but only because of the Freewill given by God and the duration He allows it last for. 
Monism and Pluralism do not explain the concept of Deja Vu; it is actually Dualism that does and in subsequent articles we will understand just how this works.
We will continue this series in the next installment. You do not want to miss it for anything.  

THE LAW OF TIME PERSPECTIVE AND THE PERSPECTIVE OF TIME

THE LAW OF TIME PERSPECTIVE AND THE PERSPECTIVE OF TIME

“To find the real value of anything divide it by eternity”- Dr. Ferdinand Nweke

There is a law I have a certain fondness for, it is called the “Law of Time Perspective”. 
The reasoning behind it is a very simple one. It very plainly states that the longer one spends in planning for an event or occurrence the higher the chances that one will be successful in that venture.
The explanation of this is quite simple; if for instance two people are going for a job interview in two weeks it stands to reason that the person who starts preparing for it a week ahead would have a higher chance of success than the one who starts preparing on the day of the interview. 
This law is one of the most profound principles of success operated on a regular basis by many who might not even know the technical definition of what they are doing.
As we progress in this article we will see how this has a direct bearing on our lives and efforts.

Now let us talk a bit about the perspective of time.
We know that there are things that serve as equalizers in life and these to some extent create an equal playing ground and even field for all human beings; for instance there is nobody who has a different type of oxygen to inhale from what others have, nor is there anyone who will die with any part of his wealth regardless of how affluent he might have been in life.
In the same way there is neither a person allocated 23 hours each day nor is there any given 25 hours of a day. The President of the United States has 24 hours each day, so does the most impoverished pauper in the Third World of the Third World. 
Every single person has the same amount of empty golden boxes delivered on a daily basis to him or her, and it is only that person that has the choice to decide what they are filled with.

One of the greatest resources available to humanity is Time, and one major thing that distinguishes success stories from failures is what they do with their time. 
The successful person spends time with greater economy than he would spend money because he realizes that although time is free it is still one of the most perishable commodities available on earth. 
Once it’s lost there’s no getting it back. 
Time is an ephemeral resource- more so than we actually know.

Life expectancy in North America is between 79 and 81 years of age.
Nigeria on the other hand is lower- much lower.
With a current life expectancy of 54.07 years, Nigeria is ranked  216 in the world, and 16th in Africa. Thirty seven years ago,  average life expectancy in Nigeria was 44.74 years, ranking 58th in the world and 21st in Africa.

(Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/02/average-life-expectancy-increasing-slowly-nigeria/)

So let’s say you are American or Canadian and you are reading this article at the age of 30, and let’s take for granted that you will live until you are 80 years of age, this would mean you have only 50 years ahead of you. Now though 50 years might look like a long time it is nowhere near as long as you would think.
And if you are a 30 year old Nigerian reading this and the statistics we have above are anything to go by then many other Nigerians your age have just over 24 years left on earth. 
Now, let’s see if we can strike some sort of balance between the two ranges and pick a random figure like 70.
If you are 25 years old now and we take for granted you will live till you are 70 then you have just 45 years left to do anything with your life. 

Ask yourself what you did with the last 25; did you invest those years or waste them?
Let’s assume you spend 7 hours sleeping each day, 1 hour in the bathroom, 2 hours in buying condiments, making your food, eating it, and doing the dishes afterwards, 3 hours in your closest relationships (family in particular), 8 hours on the job, 1 hour on social media and the internet and 1 hour in unforeseen circumstances; a breakdown should be something like the following-

(1) Sleep……………………………………………07 hours
(2) Personal Hygiene……………………….01 hour
(3) Eating…………………………………………02 hours
(4) Relationships……………………………..03 hours
(5) Vocation……………………………………..08 hours
(6) Social Media………………………………..01 hour
(7) Unforeseen…………………………………..01 hour
                                                                          ________
                                                                              23 hours

The implication of the above is if you diligently use the rest of your time you will have just 1 hour left to use your time to gain eternal value.
Remember we started this by speaking about the law of Time Perspective; the longer you spend preparing for a significant objective the higher your chances at being successful in that task. 
If we understand that time was given to us to make something of eternal consequence then we will develop a different mindset.

Following our example above-
 If you are 25 and you will live till you are 70 you have (1/24 x 45 years=) 1.8 years actually available to prepare for and accomplish this objective of your life. 
If you are 30 you have (1/24 x 40 years=) 1.6 years available; 
If you are 40 years of age right now you have (1/24 x 30 years=) 1.2 years
And if you are  50 years today you have (1/24 x 20 years=) 0.8 years to do what you have to do.

A cursory look at the nature of time immediately reveals one major characteristic-  it is a means and not an end.

Time was given for a higher purpose, and its worth will only be measured by how much of it was used for that purpose. 
Now when we overlay this with the principle of time perspective we spoke about earlier the point at issue then becomes whether we have started preparing for the reason we were given time.
So what is the reason for time?

ETERNITY: THE REASON FOR TIME
Eternity speaks of Permanence. There is no change of status in eternity. Choices can only be made in the realm of time, not the realm of eternity, so choice ends when time does.
Time will end just like it began. Once upon a time there was no time. As difficult as it may seem to believe and understand this there was actually a time when there was no time.
Time is a creation and an invention of Divinity and it had a beginning-

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF TIME”
2 Timothy 1:9

So Time is a creation like all others…it had a first day and it will have a last.
Some day time will end in the same way that it began
 The reason why we have mentioned this is because there is potentially an eternal value for everything that was created, including Time. There is a purpose for everything that was created, including Time. 
But the challenge is that where purpose is not known abuse is inevitable. 
So, what is the purpose of Time?

God dwells in eternity and not in time; time is a punctuation of eternity and it was created for one purpose- God has a program and Time exists for God to run His program with the rest of creation.
Let’s “evaluate Time against the backdrop of Eternity.”
The phrase you have just read is actually a misstatement and misrepresentation because one can never actually evaluate time against the backdrop of eternity.
But for the purpose of this article let us just assume Eternity is one quadrillion  (1,000,000,000,000,000) years.
No reasonable person who understands this would spend only 1 hour everyday of the rest of his life preparing for one quadrillion years.

If the time spent on this side of life will affect and determine what happens on the other very significantly and if we use our frame of reference to imagine that we have just 70 years to prepare for one quadrillion then we must realize the import of every wasted second.
If we call the estimated 70 years we will spend on earth “finite years” and the one quadrillion we have carved out as our sample size “infinite years” we will be able to have an idea what each unit of finite time is worth when compared with its infinite counterpart.
(i) We have 1 finite year to prepare for 1,428,571,000,000,000 infinite years
(ii) We have 1 day to prepare for 39,139,000,000,000 infinite years
(iii) We have 1 hour to prepare for 1,631,000,000,000 infinite years
(iv) We have 1 minute to prepare for 27,183,333,333 infinite years
(v) We have 1 second to prepare for 453,055,555 infinite years

Think about the numbers you have above. 

Imagine that for every second I do not make profitable use of here on earth it amounts to the loss of an opportunity to contribute to that which will cover at the very least 453,055,555 infinite years.
Imagine that anyone who has wasted a second of your time has literally robbed you of a minimum of the above stated vast amount of time. 

With respect to the foregoing I then suggest that one of the resources we must be most ruthless in apportioning is Time.
This resource is imperative, it is so critical that the management of it is a major sign of wisdom-

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”
(Ephesians 5:15-16)

‘So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12)

So I would like to ask this question- “What are you doing with your time?”