Tag Archives: Mindset

Cool or Not Cool – To be or not to be?

Hello people, your blogger is back with yet another odd topic with a strong message. Some things to note before reading:

  1. This post if for young people

  2. Young is any age you want it to be

What is cool? What is not cool? A very hard question to answer, if you ask me.

It’s so unfortunate that we live in a time and age where nobody really asks this important question and so we fall for anything believing its ‘cool’.

The dictionary won’t give us a modern definition of the word cool as relates to things we do but I’ll give it a shot.

In this first 2 decades of the 21st century, we view cool as something to die for; something worth admiration; something worth reckoning with; something we want to emulate; something worth our energy investment.

Now that isn’t bad at all. It isn’t bad looking for things to emulate or be involved in; in fact it’s very good but when we pick useless things like we’ve been doing in recent years, then we begin to do stuff that are uncool in name of being ‘cool’. From the definition, it’s no wonder that celebrities rule the world in our day; they set the standards of cool and we follow them like sheep and do what they’re doing without even questioning if it’s cool or not. I find it very depressing that in this generation, we’ve lost the ability to question the intelligence of things.

Now that I’ve made my point, I would like to take us 100 years back. For those of us in Nigeria, 100 years ago is too far to have records but 80 years ago, let me tell you what cool was. Cool was being actively involved in the fight for independence. Cool was using the intellect you had acquired to play your active role in the aiding of and at the same time bringing down the Colonial Administration. For those in the Western World especially Britain and America, cool was leaving your family and even school to join the army. Cool was getting on mission ships loaded to Africa and come to educate our ancestors. Cool was inventing stuff and being the next revolutionists. If the concept of cool had been lost right from the beginning, there would be no internet, no television, no computer, no telephone, no Bill Gates and Steve Jobs with Microsoft and Apple respectively; all these things we enjoy now wouldn’t have been if the wonderful men and women of the 1980’s to 1999 didn’t know what cool was. In America, if the wonderful men and women of the 1950’s didn’t know what cool was, there would still be racial segregation in America, there would have been no Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcom X or Rosa Parks or Maya Angelou; these people although Americans are the reasons Blacks have voices today world-wide.

We live in a bad generation; technology has become so advanced that we have become complacent with the way things are. We no longer live with a war-time mind-set even though there are flames all around us, we live with a peace time mind set which is ironical. Technology has made us so satisfied we no longer think of how we can help, but we want to live in the moment till the chaos around envelopes us.

Cool is not being okay with the way things are and developing new and better things. Cool is not lying to ourselves that everything has been invented but finding new things or improving on those already invented.

Cool was MLK. Martin Luther King Jr. lived for only 39 years but by the time he died, he had a PH.D, a Nobel Prize and he played the key role in ending most of racial segregation in the America. America has had 44 Presidents of which more than half are dead but MLK not even a white talk more of a President has a public holiday every year celebrated in honour not just in America where it is celebrated officially, but unofficially in every other black nation.

Cool was Nelson Mandela choosing to spend 27 years in Prison, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana some years also, just to see their countries freedom.

Cool is Malala Yousofzai who won a Nobel Prize at just age 17. Cool is Nigerian Zuriel Oduwole who is currently travelling around the world as a public speaker. Cool is a young lady i follow on social media; Wadi Ben-Hirki who has a foundation and is fighting for various issues including female education. I follow a twitter page called Trends of Nigeria they advertise cool stuff from artists making various expert works from all types of materials to recently the video of a student here in Nigeria who made a drone and it actually flew and landed! Cool is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichiee and many other Nigerian writers who currently travels around speaking out on world issues.

But you and I reading this, what have we done? What have we done that is cool? Those of you reading this in your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, what have you done that is cool? Those of you who are still young and agile, what do you plan to do that is cool instead of the nonsense of the 21st Century? What mark have you made on humanity? There are plenty problems in Nigeria alone to solve but what are we doing? Do you know the uneducated majority will be our problems in the future?

There are some things I challenge seriously and wonder where we dropped our brains. I heard of this new clothing line by Kanye West – What do they do? They make clothes with rips everywhere and yet we spend 10’s of Dollars we could use for a better cause to purchase them. Excuse me, if you wear clothes torn everywhere what different are you from the poor almajiri boys and mad people we see in the market? Or even worst, what different are we from our 20th Century ancestors who we regard as the uncivilized ones? Let me answer. The only difference between you and those almajiri boys is that while their clothes tore due to use, you bought torn clothes making you even madder!

I don’t listen to Nigerian music and it’s for a reason. Music is harmonic pleasing sound – Good music is music that teaches a message but the music in the Nigerian mainstream is something else. What’s cool about a song that has barely 6 lines of lyrics and no message with raucous videos displaying voluptuous content? No wonder the rate of immorality increase by the day! I don’t blame the artists though, it isn’t their fault. Anytime a new artist, a nobody with no connections tries to make a song with perfect sense and wonderful lyrics, they don’t sell; why? Because we don’t question our intelligence and automatically write them off. I have very few artists I respect in Nigeria people like Timi Dakolo, Waje, which kind because they know what it means to preach a message with your songs. From Dakolo’s totally sensible Love songs for his wife to Wajes new inspirational track Mountain that’s music and they’re doing something cool!

There’s gang violence everywhere in Chicago and artists like Lecrae and Derek Minor make music for this gang kids, to keep them out. That’s cool!

We watch movies every day and while some just keep with the so called ‘cool’ trends, others inspire us and leave us fuelled. That’s cool!

Black people are naturally talented people. All around the world black people are doing and have been doing revolutionary stuff but what are we doing? Why are we lying around mediocre when we were created to be meteoric?

I could ramble on and on about this topic but ill end here. I want you to think today. What could you possibly do that would leave a mark on humanity? What could you possibly do to create a change? What could you do that is cool?

Thank you for reading fam, i’ll see ya’ll next month!

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FREEDOM

Hello guys, its been exactly a month IKR ya’ll have missed your favourite blogger. We’ll I’m back. I’ve been fine thank you, just thinking and observing and today I finally have something to share.

So guys, today my blog post is going to be a little different. It consists of thoughts I have gathered all pertaining to one large topic FREEDOM. I’m going to make three points all relating to freedom. This thinking was actually sparked off by a group study of a poem at the American Corner in Jos (BTW one of the smartest concentration of people in one place at a time I’ve met) – I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou. Looking at the poem for the first time, you’ll automatically analyse it as one of those black civil rights movements era poems, but what I love about group discussions is they open your mind and make you think of other stuff. The stuff might not be directly related to the poem, but it sure sparks off thinking. That’s exactly what happened.

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So firstly, Freedom isn’t a condition it’s a personal decision. What do I mean? Its possible to be free with no restrictions and still be caged. Caged in a psychological prison. One thing that stood out in the poem is that while the caged bird sang, the free bird wasn’t singing. Now singing is an act of joy and hope; we see that very well In the Negro spirituals. The free bird is probably so free he has no joy again and instead of singing in his freedom, to ease his boredom he begins to compare with other birds. Now Competition is just one instant of how freedom is a mental decision but it is the most common in today’s world where we all want success at any cost. Last week, I remember watching President Trump of the USA speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast (BTW I’ve never really been anti-trump) and I must confess I was truly touched. Let me quote part of what he said to help me make my point.

“…We forget this–that the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success…I tell you that from somebody that has had material success and knows tremendous numbers of people with material success–the most material success. Many of those people are very, very miserable, unhappy people”

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Even though he was talking about faith, This coming out of a rich business man, a billionaire and a President of the Greatest Nation on Earth is really something. To hear him say that many rich friends of his are unhappy and miserable is enough proof that freedom is a thing of the mind. I’m not concluding but probably the reason this people are unhappy is because they are in a psychological prison. Let me give an illustration.

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You’re a business man, very rich but you aim to be the richest man in Africa. Now you’re so obsessed with being Africa’s richest that you’re perpetually sad, even when you make a great achievement, it dosen’t matter because your eyes are set on something else. You don’t have to be a business man, it can be a High School or College student who wants to be first, somebody who wants to be the most popular, etc but my point is because your eyes are fully there, you limit yourself to a cage and instead of happily singing and being happy with your financial or social or whatever freedom and security, you remain sad and bitter. In this case you’re so free you start competing with other free birds which is an unhealthy lifestyle and totally uncalled for. Also, its painful that some people in cages don’t sing. Instead they are so bitter in the cage and become so depressed that even when they get released they fly too low and remain mediocre till they die. So my first principle.

#Principle 1- Freedom is a thing of the mind

Now next, I know we’ll all rather be free birds than caged birds, agreed but if we don’t form a pseudo cage, things can get out of hand. What am I saying? Too much of everything is bad and freedom is no exception. There’s this story of Adonis a bird whose father warned him not to fly too high but in his arrogance, he did and his wings got burnt. In my metaphor-attempt, Adonis wanted to be too free and so he pushed the limits. I’ve seen many people who wished for freedom and when they got it they blew it off, they lost themselves, some their sanity, some their purity, some have become hooked to some social vices and depressingly ultimately, some lose their lives. What point am I driving at, most of us reading this are ‘free’ people but even in our freedom we have to impose some disciplines some form pseudo caging on ourselves to maintain our freedom and to keep singing. So let me state my second principle.

#Principle 2 – Freedom without discipline is a road back to bondage.

Thirdly, Now being in a cage – a cage is any form of restriction imposed on you by higher authority be it academic or what, you need to have the right mindset. There are 2 probable mindsets you can have. Firstly, you can decide within you to observe how other free birds fall and get injured and sing of how you’ll do it differently or you can just sing of freedom and extreme freedom.

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What’s the difference, when the first type get out, they fly well and enjoy their lives singing and the second type fly to all the limits till they get burnt and fall. Many of us are in some form of cage, some in Secondary boarding schools-some in Private Tertiary institutions-some still in their parents houses but what defines our freedom and helps us not to be like Adonis is our mindset in the cage and what kind of freedom we sing about. So Principle 3

#Principle 3 – The right kind of freedom is determined by our attitude in the cage.

So those are my thoughts about freedom and I hope we take it too heart. Those of you reading in some form of cage, have the right attitude, notice the pitfalls of others and avoid them and keep singing, those of you who are free, make sure you make some guidelines or you might just get caged back and those of you who are unhappy with where you are though free, stop looking too far and make up your mind to be content. If you need to know the secret to happiness, follow this link to a previous blog post and read http://wp.me/p7KVz0-4s

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Thanks fam for reading, a 1000 words plus wow. I’m getting better at this. See you when next I see you maybe another month.