Opinion: To Be At Your Best In 2022 – By Ayo Oyoze Baje


“Your potential is unlimited. Aspire to a higher place. Believe in your abilities, in your tasks, in your judgment”– Bryan Adams.

Big congratulations to you, my dearly beloved readers-my ever faithful friends and fantastic fans, to be alive, hale and hearty to witness the beginning of yet another year. For us to have survived the chequered year, 2021 with the upsurge in the killings of innocent citizens across the land, several preventable accidents and the creeping in on us of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19 virus is a true feat! Our survival can only be attributed to the sheer, limitless grace of God and all the glory goes back to Him.

The New Year, 2022 presents before us all, yet again vast and varied opportunities in different fields of human endeavour. More like an empty canvas before an artist, the picture you eventually paint on it would depend largely on your vision, your dreams, desires, encounters and experiences. Their influences on you as well as the ideas that sprout out of your fertile imagination, which you ACT upon will go a long way towards shaping the events and the success thereof.

The other significant factor for success is your ability to adapt and quickly too, to the changes the digital age has foisted on us all. As renowned scientist Charles Darwin rightly noted in his Evolution Theory via his work, ‘The Origin of Species’ in 1859 “evolution happens by natural selection. As a consequence those individuals most suited to their environment survive and, given enough time, the species will gradually evolve”. It is apt and applicable to the 21st Century, Nigeria.

 For instance, virtual meetings via Skype or Zoom have taken over from that of physical ones. So, are online lectures on virtually every topic under the sun. Digital marketing and e-commerce have made billionaires out of simple-hearted men. If you are in doubt, ask Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, and the richest person in the world with a $278 billion net worth. Others are Bernard Arnault and family ($199.6b), Jeff Bezos(196.5b) and Bill Gates ($138.6b).

Good enough, our own Aliko Dangote was named the richest man in Africa for the tenth time in a row, for the year 2021, with an estimated net worth of $12.1 billion, according to Forbes. That is the power of Information Technology(IT) for you.

In fact, Jack Ma, the fourth richest Chinese man has this to say: “Without internet, there would have been no Jack Ma, and no Alibaba or Taobao.” Think about it. As at October 2021, he had a net worth of $42.3 billion and ranked 32nd richest man in the world by Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

How much are you worth, my dear brother and sister? That is the million-naira question one has to keep asking himself/herself once in a while. Money may not be everything, but as the Holy Bible explicitly states, it answers everything!(Ecclesiastes 10 verse 19). So, where do we begin from?

The best point to start with is to connect fully with God, our maker. He knows why you are here and for whatever purpose. He will assist you to understand yourself much better. Who are you in the real sense of it? What unique mission has God brought you here to achieve? What are your natural endowments; your talents and innate abilities? What do you enjoy doing so effortlessly that gives you self-satisfaction? Have your educational career and experiences positioned you along this line? What problems can you solve with your aptitudes? What value can you add to human existence? Until you are able to answer these all-important questions, you may end up like the rudderless boat swept up and down by the seasonal tides.

The next factor is our mindset. Have you read the most inspiring life trajectory of Freddie Figgers? He is the African-American who was abandoned by the mother next to a dumpster (a large rubbish container) in rural Florida, hours after he was born! That was back in 1989. As fate would have it he was taken in by the couple, Nathan and Betty Figgers, who lived in nearby Quincy, Fla.

They adopted him and sent him to school where other children bullied and called him “dumpster baby”. But he never gave up. He was given his first computer at the age of nine when it was discovered that he had a knack for repairing computers. Interestingly, that turned him into an inventor, entrepreneur and telecoms millionaire. As at 2021, the dumpster baby is currently worth an estimated $70 million!

Here is his piece of advice to other people: “Don’t let your circumstances define who you are.” It does not matter where you find yourself today. As I often advise our current set of political leaders, who so much love to blame their predecessors for their foibles and failures, “great people do not give excuses for failure, they find the reasons to succeed”. Late Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore and Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda have shown the power of what a positive mindset can do.

As reflected in my book: ‘Goodbye to Poverty’ you must master your mindset to become an achiever. According to Earl Nightingale: “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” Similarly, Aneta Cruz states that: “Your mind is your greatest power. Use it well.”

So, to make a success of 2022 means that you have to always see a half-filled cup of water rather a half-emptied one. The next step is to be a problem-solver. Stop complaining every day about problems without making the required efforts to be solution -providers. In the timeless words of Engineer Titi Omo-Ettu, a Fellow of the Society of Nigerian Engineers: “Our new generation of engineers should accept responsibility that they are the solution providers of today. They must read widely, train continuously and synergize with other professionals. To make this effective, they should work in teams. They should see their environment as their constituency, communicate effectively, be fair and ethical and learn to choose wisely”. You do not have to be an engineer to drink from this fountain of knowledge.

  This is not the time for self-deceit. This is not the period to look back at your past mistakes and keep blaming yourself or others and dwelling on them. No! You must look deep inwards and out of sober reflections ask yourself the critical questions before you make those all-important New Year resolutions. What are your capabilities and limitations too? Are you at the right place doing the right things? Life is dynamic and you must be ready to move forward with it.

    Interestingly, 2022 will don different colours and flavours from the previous year. We should all be prepared for series of protests, beginning with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC gearing up for that against increase in the pump price of fuel.What about all manner of taxes coming up along with delayed salaries as Nigeria’s debts become an unbearable burden?

There will be waves of escalating tension on the political spectrum far ahead of 2023 general elections because our politicians want power to satisfy the Self and not the State. But new opportunities will spring up for printers, event organizers, advertisers, entertainers, fuel marketers and transporters. You must therefore, be sensitive to the happenings in your environment and muster the capacity to maximize the economic benefits derivable thereof.

Insecurity will not go away with a wave of the hand. No! With the current administration not willing to name and shame the sponsors of terrorism and both Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho alleging threats to their safety, inter-ethnic conflicts may rear their ugly heads. Food shortages will persist. It means therefore, that efforts at boosting local food production will increase.  Be prepared to join the fray, beginning with home gardening. Simply put, you have to discover who you are, capitalize on your abilities, overcome your weaknesses, be ready to take risks and be disciplined to achieve your goals according to your timeline. Surround yourself with positive people. Look for the seeds of success inside every problem. Never be easily discouraged by daunting obstacles but take them as stepping stones to move on to the higher ground. Take that first step now! For, as the Peak Milk advert goes, the answer is in you! Welcome to 2022, the year of limitless possibilities.

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