This blog was created to serve as an inspiration to all who read aspire, to love and to live a life of purpose.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Making Difficult Decisions: 5 Tips

Hey Everyone,

Happy Friday! I hope you all are ready for the weekend. My friend Ije is coming to spend the weekend with me. So, we're making it a girls weekend. Yippie!

Anyway, today I thought to share with you a few tips that have helped me make every life changing decision I have made. One of the toughest aspects of growing up is having to make decisions on your own. We grow up counting down to when we'll be able to finally make our decisions, when we want. But now we're finally here, we realize that its not so easy after all.
Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant.  ~Anthony Robbins
My mom always tells the story of a conversation I had with her when I was about 5 years old. That day, she and my dad were relaxing in the parlor at night time. They had just been served dinner and my mom was enjoying a glass of Baileys Irish Cream with hers. I remember wishing I could just taste it but knowing the answer will be no, I didn't bother asking. Instead, after sitting in the corner staring at her for a couple of minutes, I said, "Mommy you're so lucky". She said "How so, baby?" I said "Because you get to eat and drink what you want, go where you want, and do what you want to do. I can't wait till I can do that too". Needless to say, my parents had a good laugh at my expense that evening.

Now that time is here and its not as much fun as I thought it'd be. I, like most of us young adults, are having to make decisions about our life path. These "difficult" decisions range from  further education, to choice of a life partner, to where to live, as well as career decisions. And knowing that every decision we make will have a consequence is the scariest part. But to accelerate, you have to make tough decisions, most of which are not soo safe-proof.

So if or/and when you struggle with making any kind of decision, maybe these tips I use will help you in some way.

1.) Pray about it- There's nothing too big or too little to say a prayer about. I pray about the littlest things because I know God wants to guide every detail in my life. After I graduated law school and passed the bar, I got accepted to pursue a Masters of Law degree while my mates went on to start making the lawyer money. I was not sure whether to go back to school or whether to take a break. At the time, it seemed like such a hefty decision because I had to decide whether pursuing another degree was a waste of my time and money. I had to pray about it and wait for signs pointing me in the right direction. The thing about praying before making a decision is that even if you never see a apparent sign pointing in either direction, prayer gives a sense of confidence knowing that, if you pay attention closely to your pure instincts void of any selfish human desires you have, God won't let you make the wrong decision.
Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.  ~Anso Coetzer
2.) Take the time to weigh your options- Sometimes when decisions need to be made, we either procrastinate or make them in a haste. I'm guilty of making hasty decisions. *covers face* That's because I hate being in limbo about anything. To me, its either its black or its white and it has to be colored immediately! Yea, that doesn't always work... I've been learning recently that not all decisions have to be made immediately. If you can afford to, take your time and decipher the options. In fact, set quiet time aside to relax and write down on a piece of paper, the pros and cons of each decision. This will help you make a better decision. For me, I'm more relaxed just before bed when I'm listening to Pandora (90s R & B). That's when I make majority of my difficult decisions....and it helps.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when you're weighing the pros and cons....
- Which option is better in the long run?
-What are the consequences of each option?
-Which one makes the most sense, logically?
-Which will make me happier?

3.) Get another opinion- Like my older sister Oby always says, "no man is an island". While your life decisions primarily affect you, in some ways, it will also affect that of your close loved ones. In order to make a sound decision, sometimes you need a few opinions. And I repeat a FEW opinions. Ideally, three perspectives. Because getting opinions is a dicey issue because it is so easy to get the wrong one, its important that these opinions are not from just anyone.

If you're not sure who is worthy of an opinion, here's a test I set for myself. In order to qualify to give you an opinion about an important life decision, the adviser must have at least 2 of the following 3 criteria;
(a.) Has undoubtedly proven over and over again to have your best interest at heart (no haters or negative people allowed),
(b.) Has been in your predicament and/or has SUCCESSFULLY made a similar life decision in the past,
(c.) Is someone you highly respect for their wisdom e.g. a mentor, a parent or an older family member

Remember, you are just asking for an opinion, nothing more. Just something to think about when you weigh the options (see number 2)

4.) Make a decision that you know you'll be at peace with- A few years ago, I was speaking with an old friend who said something I could never forget.  He said, "only right decisions give peace". Ever since, I started applying that to my life, it has made difficult decisions easier to make. If you make a decision that will give you sleepless nights, it is the wrong one. I was talking to one of my friends a couple of days ago and she just went through a break-up. She told me the moment she broke off the relationship, her shoulders felt lighter. Now thats quintessential peace.

5.) Get acquainted with the consequences of your decision- For every action, there's a consequence. You have to be ready to accept and handle the consequence of any decision you make. This actually brings peace because the moment you become friends with your decision, you feel ready to take the next step: The decision. There's no doubt, every decision is a risk of some sort. But don't forget, without risks, your life will be on standstill.

My brother recently left the company he had worked with for 6 years. It was a big decision because granted, the new job paid more, leaving a secure job in this economy is a big risk. He struggled with the idea for a bit, weighed the pros and cons, and talked to a few trusted people about it. However, the day he made his decision he told me he decided to leave because he had realized to move forward in his career, he had to take risks and "own" the consequences of the risks.
Progress always involves risks.  You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.  ~Frederick B. Wilcox
You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.  ~Wayne Gretzky
Take risks:  if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.  ~Author Unknown
There you have it...5 tips to making difficult decisions easier. No matter what you do, please do not be plagued with indecision...indecision breeds staleness and a stale life is wasted.
Life is the sum of all your choices.  ~Albert Camus 
Do not plant your dreams in the field of indecision, where nothing ever grows but the weeds of "what-if."  ~Dodinsky,
If you have any other tips that have helped you make difficult decisions, please do share. I assume, I have many more decisions I'm yet to make in life and I'm excited to learn from my readers. 
Have a great weekend and Stay Inspired...... :-)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Couples Who Inspire- Richard and Mildred Loving Edition

Hey everyone! Some new pictures of Richard and Mildred Loving just got published courtesy of I was so excited to see these photos because having studied thier case Loving v. Virginia in law school, it felt good to put faces to the landmark case. What I found especially inspiring about this couple's love story is that despite the fact that, as you and I could imagine, it must have been extremely challenging, the Lovings stuck it out....I tell you, there's nothing like it!

Incase you didn't know the story of the Lovings, here's a brief recap.....

Richard (a white man) and Mildred (an African American woman) were originally from Virginia where interracial marriage was illegal under the Racial Integrity Act. In order to evade the ramifications of the law, they went to DC where interracial marriage had been made legal, to get married in June 1958. When they got back to Virginia, they were snatched from thier beds by the police and indicted for marrying out of the state and then returning to Virginia. Apparently, it was illegal to do that as well.  They lost in the lower court. Specifically, the trial judge said:
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.
Say What?!?!?!?
Anyway, from 1959, the Lovings continually fought an uphill legal battle. In 1967, their case made it to the Supreme Court which ruled in thier favor stating that the Virginia law banning interracial marriage violated the constitution. In the court's own words, 
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

Unfortunately, Richard died 8 years after the decision, in a car accident in 1975. Mildred died of Pneumonia in 2008. But their inspirational legacy will always live on. The couple had three children; Peggy, Sidney and Donald.
Of course, despite the Loving decision which set to dismantle all laws that ban marriage based on race and superseding ones, we all know racism is still a big issue in today's world. God help us all.  
Here are photos of Mr. and Mrs. Loving and their beautiful family. Their last name "Loving" couldn't be more fitting :-) Enjoy!
Don't you just LOVE love? *big smile* Stay Inspired......
*For more about Loving v. Virginiaask Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Your Value is Your Realization

Hey everyone, I hope your week has been productive thus far. Mine has NOT! I’m still slowly crawling out of jetlag….This is the downside of taking a whole month for vacation. My body is back to reality but my mind seems to still be on vacation **yawn**. I’ve given my mind till Sunday to come back or else, I’m disowning it and buying a new one. Ha! I kid I kid :-)

So! Here’s the thesis of my post today, “Knowing your value breeds success in life.” 
We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light. ~Mary Dunbar
Self-value is not rooted in beauty, professional achievement or in an ability to familiarize with people whom you consider more “valuable” than yourself.  Self-worth will not be found in the mirror or on your resume. If you doubt me, please explain to me why perfectly beautiful and intelligent women stay in abusive or unfaithful relationships? 
**Crickets** Exactly! Self-worth can only be found within….
Ladies, Ladies, Ladies, if you don’t know your worth, how do you expect any man to? A common exemplary scenario is when us women play the “waiting” game.  How long will you “date” a man before he is willing to commit to being your “boyfriend”? What we sometimes fail to realize is just how fragile the term “boyfriend” really is. I mean, it could be broken with simple words “Its over”, “I’m done”, “I don’t think this is working out”, etc. If you wait this long for him to commit to being your boyfriend, how much longer do you think you’ll wait for him to make you his fiancĂ©? Then, how long do you think you’ll need to wait for him to set a wedding date? 

If you start waiting at such an early stage, you will continue to do so.  If he won’t make such a light commitment, then how do you expect him to make heavier ones? Don’t let anyone tell you any different…if a man doesn’t want to keep you, sleeping with him, cooking for him and “silently hoping” for an epiphany will not get you your fairytale. #JustSaying

You will be only be used as long as you let yourself be used. Human beings are flawed, that’s why they are human beings. No matter how much you think a person “cares” for you, if they know your value but realize you are oblivious to it, they most likely would not be the one to make you aware of it, as long as they benefit from it. So when people successfully “use” you, don’t blame them, blame yourself.
YOU should be YOUR #1 fan. Consider yourself your own lawyer…advocate your case all through life….Believe your beautiful. Believe you’re smart. Believe you’re capable. Believe your worthy. Most importantly, believe this- there can never be another YOU.  If you truly believe that, it’s the one thing no one can take away from you.

Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide. ~Marva Collins
Whoever you are, there is some younger person who thinks you are perfect. There is some work that will never be done if you don't do it. There is someone who would miss you if you were gone. There is a place that you alone can fill. ~Jacob M. Braude
Besides, when you believe those things about yourself, humbly ofcourse, it will be apparent in the way you carry yourself, the way you talk and eventually in the way people see you. Believe it or not, your confidence in yourself is what inspires others’ confidence in you. People will treat you how you treat yourself. Its simple logic: if you think you are a loser, you will carry yourself like a loser and people will see that and treat you like a loser.
"The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others." ~Dr Sonya Friedman
It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to. ~W.C. Fields
Remember, the only person who is absolutely required to love you unconditionally is you. I ask again, If you cant do that job, why should anyone else?
Accept everything about yourself - I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end - no apologies, no regrets. 
~Clark Moustakas
So, its 2012, make “self-worth” priority in your life. Learn to love and appreciate yourself and what you can offer to those who love you. Trust me, from it success in life and relationships flows. Self worth breeds more self worth. Your belief in your value is your motivation to  to take bold steps and to take risks in pursuit of your goals in life, the achievement of which will further boost your self worth. Get it? :-)

The strongest single factor in acquiring abundance is self-esteem: believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it. ~ Jerry Gillies

All that you need is deep within you waiting to unfold and reveal itself. All you have to do is be still and take time to seek for what is within and you will surely find it. ~Eileen Caddy
I must say knowing your self-worth does not mean being arrogant. Here’s the difference…knowing self-worth requires quiet confidence in your value and involves seeking happiness from things that make you special. On the other hand, arrogance is loud confidence and is a result of finding happiness in the flaws of others. See the difference? 

With that said, I leave you with one of my favorite poems. Its written by Dan Coppersmith and is excerpted from a book called The Elusive Here & Now

Only You
No one on Earth

Exists quite like you

And no one is able

To do what you do

The person you are

The talents you bear

Gifts that only

You can share

Only you have learned

From the things you’ve done

Gaining perspective

From the battles you’ve won

Times when you’ve lost

Have been priceless too

The lessons contribute

To what makes you you
The rest of the world

Can’t see through your eyes

Which is why your insight

Is such a prize

Because you are you

There are lives you affect

Much more than you

Would ever expect
The things you do

The things you say

Send ripples throughout

The Milky Way

You’re unique, amazing

Like no one else

You have the exclusive

On being yourself.
Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Stay Inspired....and pray for me as I seek to bring my mind back from vacation, where it is currently lounging in pajamas not wanting to do anything productive :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jesus v. Religion?

I came across this video yesterday. Its pretty thought-provoking and has sparked a lot of debate in the past couple days. Let me know what you think.

Stay Inspired :-)

My Trip to Nigeria: Sights & Sounds

Hi Everyone!

Like I promised, here are some pictures from Nigeria. You may ask, "what did you do with yourself for a full month in Nigeria?" Short story is this- I reconnected with old friends, I met new ones, I celebrated my birthday (the first I've spent in Nigeria since my sweet 16), I spent time with my best friend, I slept, I ate, I drove (scary!), I danced, I learned new things, enjoyed old favorite foods, sampled new ones, I watched movies, I reflected, my sister Ogo had her traditional marriage ceremony, I traveled and most importantly, I spent quality time with my was the first time in 3 years the whole clan was together. I miss it. My body is back from Nigeria but I need to bring my mind back. *covers face*.

I took 750 pictures! (don't judge). I selected a few to post on here; a little bit from every thing I did. I hope it tells the vividly true story of a memorable vacation that needs an encore! Enjoy!

First day in Abuja
My ride or die friend/lil sis Nelo
My oh so yummy Bday cake
Nelo & I at Club Play
With my bigsis Obs
Love this cutie!
With my friend Oge
Driving in Nigeria? Chaos. Scary. iSurvived!
My big sis Og
My baby sisters Nazo & Dera
My baby bro KK
Friends from high school; Ify & Gusta
My best friend Chioma & I
With my sisters :-)
Og & her husband at her traditional marriage ceremony
Bride & I
My best friend's birthday
At Og's trad

Good food!
My friend Ify. Hadn't seen her since 2000 or so

The complete VNDT clan :-)
My big bro Uz

Did I already say I had a blast? Incase I didn't, let me say it again; I had the time of my life! AND I'm going back soon 0_0.

Hugs & kisses to all those who made my trip worth it. Love you all.

Hope you enjoyed the pics.

Stay Inspired :-)