Tag Archive | Article

The Art of Brevity

When I was asked to give a comment for just one minute in a seminar I attended last month, I remembered the art of brevity and decided to use adjectives for my comment: “Awesome, superb, and eye-opening,” I said.

The audience was stunned. They were wondering how I could be brief and still make sense at the same. The reality is, I’ve been learning the art of brevity for years now. I’ve been learning how to tell long story in a superb short ways. And I’m getting better.

But the key secret is that you must know and understand what you want to discuss or talk about. If you can’t say it in five minutes, you can never say it in fifty minutes. That simply shows that you don’t understand what you’re talking about. You’ll ramble, babble and mumble for most of the time and never get to a substantial conclusion.

The art of brevity is a skill. If you could learn it, it’ll make you stand out among others. Seth Godin​ is a master in this art. I gulp all his content (writings, videos, and so on) just to learn the art of brevity from him.

The only way to master the art of brevity is to understand your niche that if you explain to a five-year-old kid, he’ll understand. Go learn this art today. Stay simple. Go!

-MOAB © 2015

Curiosity isn’t dead: Ask questions

When I was a kid, I asked so many questions but many of my questions were answered with slaps—which means ‘shut up’—don’t ask anything again. Your questions might not be answered with slaps if you were born in a developed country but I bet you’ll be scolded if you dare ask some questions.

Either being slapped or scolded, my point is your curiosity has been stifled ever since you were a kid. This has also followed you to your adolescent that you believe asking questions is a sin.

If you want to make hay, walk in the path to making a difference, then you must bring back your curiosity. Don’t joke with words like, “Why? Who? How? And When?” These words are question amplifiers. For example, have you asked who named the colors? Why is the color green green and not yellow?

Curiosity isn’t dead. It’s part of us. And it’s there for a reason. To question our existence, to question our purpose, to question things that seemed mystery to us. So, ask questions as many as possible. Because curiosity is alive. Make yours live.

Excerpt from my book: “Make Hay: The Only Path to Making a Difference”
-MOAB © 2015

Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”

–Terry Pratchett

I was once one of those people who believed that writer’s block exists. I told myself this lie for years thinking it’s normal to be blocked. But I’ve never told myself that I have talker’s block because it doesn’t exist.

Writer’s block is another way of saying I’m lazy and I don’t want to write. Being blocked means you don’t want to write the same way you tell your friends when they asked you about something you’re not comfortable with, then you keep mute. You’re not blocked from talking, are you? You just don’t want to talk.

The same is true for writing. As long as you can still talk, write. As long as the phone rings and you answer the call, write. It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect or not. Most of our talks aren’t perfect either. There are many hmm’s, huh’s, haa’s and ‘I think’ in our talks and they never stopped us from talking. They never stopped us from passing vital information to others because they’re part of communication. And writing itself is communication in written form. Don’t be afraid to say your hmm’s, huh’s, haa’s and ‘I think’ in your writing.

If you believe that you have to be right all the time, you won’t say a word. And this is why many people have writer’s block. Because they wanted to be right; they wanted to write something that makes perfect sense.

I’ve learned that most of the things I write are things I never thought would resonate with people. Many of them have changed people’s lives and I’m proud that I wrote them. Sometimes, a single sentence born out of a random thought can inspire people and create change. So write, write, and write until you feel there’s no more to write. Go!

-MOAB © 2015

Leave the Wrong Story

“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” –Mo Willems

Many people find it hard to admit that they’re in the wrong story. By wrong story, I mean the people we associate with. Because, after all, we’re all stories in the first place. Our relatives, friends, colleagues, mates, and acquaintances are stories we can’t live without. But, whenever you find yourself in the wrong story, it’s time to call it quit. It’s time to leave and find a story that suits your aspiration.

Believe me, this is the problem that many people struggle with. And most times, they don’t even know that they’re in the wrong story because of the evanescent benefit and pleasure they gain in the story. It takes self-awareness, courage to recognize that one is in the wrong story.

Don’t neglect the signs of the wrong story if you ever see one. I repeat, leave the wrong story. No matter who the person is, if the story is not adding value to your life, leave. Simple as that. Go!
-MOAB © 2015

The 1 Star Reviews

I have been reading customer reviews on Amazon (both the books I’ve read and the ones I’d like to read). I don’t bother reading much about the 5 star reviews, because, of course, they’re awesome. So I moved to the 1 star reviews and read what people are saying. “This book is terrible,” a customer said. “Don’t waste your money and time,” another customer wrote. And many others like that.

Some people who are trying to be constructive wrote why they don’t like the book they’re giving 1 star review. What struck me most is that there are 1 star reviews for the books that I’d love to read again and again, the books that I’d recommend to friends and family because they’re good books. But for some people, they’re not good books. This really got me thinking about our endeavors in life (business, writing books, creative ideas, and whatnot) that many people will not like them. And that’s fine because our endeavors are not for everybody.

Those who give our works 1 star reviews don’t hate us. The only problem is that our ideas don’t resonate with them for one reason or the other. After all, your endeavor isn’t for everybody. Don’t let the comments, criticism of others stop you from doing your work. Your work doesn’t have to make sense for everybody, if it makes sense to you and a few people I think that’s enough. Change doesn’t start with a large crowd. It starts with an individual.

-MOAB © 2014

Many Languages, One World

images1.0: INTRODUCTION

What would the world look like if there is only one language? Some might say– it would be a perfect place and eradicate parochial attitude while some might say we could talk with no restrictions and there would be no misunderstandings, and others would say it would be so boring.

For me, it would be so boring and we would all be thinking in the same way, and there would be less diversity, and therefore less creativity in the world. More conflicts would occur more than the current ones we are encountering across the globe. We would never appreciate each other, we would never tolerate each other, and we would never welcome diversity in all forms.

This paper explains the ideas of global citizenship and explores the role of multilingual ability in fostering it.

2.0: THE IDEAS OF GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP

There are many concepts and ideas of “Global Citizenship”. Many scholars and institutions have defined and discussed the ideas behind it, and there are many critics, too.

Global citizenship is the status to admit that one does not belong to a particular country, working selflessly to defend humanity as a whole. It is to accept and respect other people who do not share the same nationality as yours. Being a global citizen is to tolerate other people’s ideology and philosophy including their languages, cultures, customs, religions, and traditions. For me, this is enough for a young mind to assimilate and understand easily.

I was born and brought up in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, where many tribes and different ethnic groups across the country travelled to Lagos to make ends meet. There are more than 250 ethnic groups and there are also over 500 languages in Nigeria, [1] and Lagos is a home for many ethnic groups. Having grown up in Nigeria for 20 years, I cannot categorically consider myself a global citizen in spite of the diversity in Nigeria. A global citizen needs to travel beyond its country, learn other people’s language and understand the way of life of other people that is different from his.

An institution in the United States defines what being a global citizen mean on its website and it goes thus: To be a global citizen, one is knowledgeable of peoples, customs and cultures in regions of the world beyond one’s own; understands the interdependence that holds both promise and peril for the future of the global community; and is committed to combining one’s learning with a dedication to foster a liveable, sustainable world. [2]

Global citizenship has its place in education, human rights, mobility, and global awareness. That is, the ability to be able to migrate to any place of one’s choice, thinking beyond one’s national background, treating others equally ,and feeling responsible for others wherever they are.

2.1: QUALITIES OF A GLOBAL CITIZEN

Having defined the ideas and understanding of global citizenship above, there are qualities that a global citizen must possess. Below are the qualities a case study states:

 

  • Open minded/open to other ways of thinking
  • Culturally sensitive
  • Non-judgmental
  • Respective
  • View everyone as equal
  • Willing to help others
  • Well-educated/information seeking
  • Participate in advocacy work
  • Awareness
  • Practice cultural relativism
  • Well-traveled (some participants explicitly said this was not a necessary quality)
  • Accepting
  • Good listener
  • Positive – “need to believe change is possible”
  • Possess a strong cultural background of one’s own
  • Ability to think in terms of communities
  • Critical thinker
  • Impartial
  • Compassionate
  • Possess a “deeply rooted feeling of responsibility to others”
  • Recognize one’s own lens
  • Humility [3]

All the above mentioned qualities are embedded in a global citizen with multilingual ability.

3.0: FOSTERING GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP THROUGH MULTILINGUAL ABILITY

The 21st century has presented us with opportunities to be able to connect to each other and learn other people’s language easily. There are more than 7000 living languages in the world as of today. [4]To have another language is to possess a second soul.” says Charlemagne. I agree with Charlemagne on this quote because one who possesses more than one language could live anywhere other than his home country. The ability to speak and understand other people’s language makes one to be more tolerant than others who are monolingual. It also reduces prejudices, misunderstandings, and misconceptions of intent. I cannot consider any one who is monolingual a full global citizen. For without understanding other people’s language, there will be some elements of misunderstanding which could break one of the qualities of being a global citizen.

3.1: MULTILINGUAL ABILITY BRINGS OPEN MINDNESS

I have been studying in the Ukraine now for the past 5 years and I have also traveled to other European countries like Poland and Germany, which has made me to understand people more than before. My interaction with other nationalities during my studies and travels has made me to be an open-minded person. I don’t judge people’s character based on their nationalities rather I dialogue, discuss, and hear their views about the world. If I don’t understand their language, I will be very afraid to contact them, I will be very defensive and angry if they are talking and laughing on their own even though, they are not talking about me. And, even they are talking about me; I can reply them back and correct any misconceptions they had about me in the first place. The ability to understand other foreign language is very vital in order to play the role of global citizenship.

A polyglot is very open minded because with the ability of speaking more than one language he is able to conceive the truth as what it is pertaining to other nationalities, he is able to defend other nationalities anywhere because he knows and understand their language. For him to understand their language, he has access to understand the nature of the people whose language he studied. This makes him a free-man, a global citizen. He doesn’t think his country is superior over others; he is ready to learn from other nationalities and tolerate them as much as he can and that is one of the roles of language in fostering global citizenship.

3.2: MULTILINGUAL ABILITY MAKES SOMEONE TO BE NON-JUDGMENTAL

Understanding other people’s language makes one to be non-judgmental. How? A comical incident happened to a friend who lives and studies in Germany. He had lived and studied in the Ukraine for 5 years before leaving for Germany. He speaks Yoruba, English, Russian, and now learning German in Germany. While he was doing some shopping in a store, a kid pointed to him speaking Russian language, “Mama, see; why is he black?” My friend chuckled and replied him, “I am just black.” The kid was surprised that he could understand what he was saying. His mom and the kid both laughed and they asked my friend where he learned Russian language. The kid also understands German language, too. After the incident, my friend was wondering if he didn’t understand what the kid said, he could have thought the kid was chanting hatred words to him, he could have thought the kid is a racist. But, after many years in the Ukraine, he understood the curiosity of children asking their parents why black men are black. Language matters for someone who considers himself a global citizen because it makes him understand people better, and able to study them. Due to the multilingual ability of my friend, he understands the world more than it is, he is not being judgmental, but instead; he replied in a comfortable funny way.

3.3: MULTILINGUAL ABILITY MAKES SOMEONE TO RESPECT OTHERS

Respect is very important in our daily dealings with people.  So how can multilingual ability make someone to respect others than the rest? A polyglot has the cultural insight of a community and he knows how respect is been perceived there. How Nigerians view respect is different from how the Ukrainians or Americans view it. Although, there is a general view and perspective of respect all over the world, but each country has its own view of it, too. In Nigeria, we don’t call elders by their first name and it is very rude to do so. But, if an American comes to Nigeria or an American who understands my native language, Yoruba, he will quickly apply the same rule of respect because he knows and understands my language and of course, he is not a monolingual.

3.0: MULTILINGUAL ABILITY MAKES SOMEONE TO BE MORE COMPASSIONATE

Whatever language we speak—English, Chinese, Hindi, Swahili, or Arapaho— helps to define us personally and identify the community we belong to. But the fact that we can talk at all, the fact that we have a language, is inextricably bound up with our humanity. To be human is to use language, and to talk is to be a person. [5]

For the fact that someone acknowledges that to be able to speak a language is to be human automatically means that, one will be more compassionate to others who doesn’t speak one’s language. It’s a recognition that one must care and cater for others in spite of one’s language differences. Some monolinguals can be exceptional in this, but those who understand more than one language will appreciate and show more compassion by talking to others in the language they most cherished and loved.

3.0: CONCLUSION

The peoples of the world are one people, enriched by individual differences, united by the common bond of humanity. The diversity of the Global Community is its greatest strength; understanding and respect are its greatest gifts. [6]

As the biologist and author Lewis wrote: The gift of language is the single human trait that marks us all genetically, setting us apart from the rest of life. Language is, like nest-building or hive-making, the universal and biologically specific of human beings. We engage in it communally, compulsively, and automatically. We cannot be human without it, if we were to be separated from it our minds would die, as surely as bees lost from the hive. [7]

My journey to the Ukraine gave me more exposure and understanding to view the world better than when I was in Nigeria. Living and studying with the Ukrainians and other nationalities has given me more insights to other people’s culture and customs. My perspective of the world now is totally different; I am more tolerant, non-judgmental, open-minded, impartial, positive thinking, and more compassionate than before. With the languages I understand, I can relate with people all over the world and this is why multilingual ability is very important in global citizenship.

 

4.0: REFERENCES

  1. There are more than 250 ethnic groups and there are also over 500 languages in Nigeria

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigeria#Language

  1. — Santa Monica College definition of Global Citizenship, adopted 2008

http://www.smc.edu/GlobalCitizenship/Pages/default.aspx

  1. Global Citizenship Perspectives: A Case Study of the WUSC International Seminar

Table Two: Qualities of a Global Citizen………………………………………………..13

http://devcase.org/documents/global-citizenship-perspectives.pdf

  1. Languages of the World

http://www.ethnologue.com/world

  1. John Algeo “The Origins and Development of the English Language” p. 44
  2. Global Citizens Network’s philosophy

https://www.globalcitizens.org/

  1. John Algeo (Lives of a Cell 89) “The Origins and Development of the English Language “ p.44

I wrote this paper for the U.N last year, but didn’t submit it because it was required that I write it in one of U.N languages other than English.

MOAB © 2013

 

Names Are More Than Identity

The common belief of the people is that names are only meant to be our identity (to know who is who). But I think names are more than that. Names are not only our identity but the significance of our present life and after our demise.

Tell me what comes to mind when you hear the names of the past great men like Muhammad (peace be upon him), Jesus (peace be upon him), Gandhi, Mandela, Newton, and Einstein, just to name a few? I bet, you’ll come up with the best adjective to describe these folks–heroic, peaceful, loving, kind, creative, and many other good ones. Their names hold gravity that people named their kids after them. Why? Because of the life they lived.

Some names are synonymous to the best adjective one could ever imagine while some names are synonymous to something we won’t like to say out loud. When you hear some names, you feel great because the flag bearers are/were great. A proverb says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Are you living a life of legacy, a life worth emulating by the present and future generations? What difference would your name make in people’s lives?
Don’t despair: if you think it’s too late to start living a worthy life, or to leave a good name, then I’m telling you now it’s not. In fact, if you’re reading this post to this extent, you’ve a good name to leave. Trust me, you can. All the good names you’ve heard and loved; all of them had their past and yet, they made a good turning point and their names were written on a golden marble. Yours, too, can be written on it.

Start now. Fight for something (right cause). Believe in something (something that’ll bring change). Leave a significant (a good name). Be kind and be peaceful. Are you ready? Hit the Like button…as a resolution.