Tag Archive | Stories

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

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We Don’t Need Your Grammar; We Only Need Your Story

write-it-downI know many people with mind-blowing stories. Their stories always captivate my heart whenever I listen to them. But here is the problem: they won’t write their stories for others to read. They’re afraid that their grammar sucks. That people will not read their stories if it’s full of grammatical errors.

Many bestselling authors are not grammar gurus. Even Steven Pressfield admitted that he’s still struggling to differentiate between “it’s” and “its.” And you know what? He’s written many books and many of them are bestsellers.

I wonder why people are so conscious of their grammar more than their stories. Your story is you. It doesn’t need any grammar to make a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that basic grammar should be ignored. But my point is this: grammar does not make good story.

No one has ever said: “that story is inspiring because of its grammar.” It’s inspiring because it’s your story. Because of the connection and the message it passes across. Story connects us together as human beings. And that’s why you must write yours for us to read. We don’t need your grammar; we only need your story.

Don’t be afraid to write your story because you don’t know who it might inspire. Will you start writing your story today? I’d love to hear from you. Go!
-MOAB © 2015

Take Care of Yourself First

I wonder why people think this is selfishness. I had thought the same too for a while but I was wrong. I came to this realization after a lot of travel on the airplane. Every time I listen to the pre-flight safety instruction, my reaction is always the same (fear, anxiety and whatnot). But there’s something that got me thinking in the flight attendant’s instruction which is—put on your oxygen mask first before you help others (kids).

I kept asking myself, “why?”  In my last travel, I came up with a succinct answer. Because if you run out of oxygen, you won’t be able to help others with their oxygen mask. This literally means that you can’t give what you don’t have.

This principle applies to our daily lives not only on airplanes. If you don’t take care of yourself very well, you won’t have the strength to take care of others. I’m not saying that you should lose empathy and be totally selfish, but my point is you can’t make a difference if you’re not changing yourself. When you’re alright, there are chances that others will be, too.

Don’t ignore yourself when you need help yourself.  Just take care of yourself first. If you do this with the hope of helping others, then you’ll go places (make a difference and create change).

–MOAB © 2015

Help Me Write a Book: One True Sentence

“One sentence is often all it takes to convey your truth. And each one of us has a sentence that we carry with us –whether it is a line from a novel, a verse of poetry, a song lyric, a personal mantra, words of wisdom from a loved one, or a simple string of words that bring you meaning. We take this “one true sentence” with us on our travels, drawing inspiration, motivation, and solace in times of trouble.”  –Amanda Festa

On the first day of this year, an idea struck me and I couldn’t help myself but to start this idea. It kept roaring in my head until I took the leap. This idea was simple but I was afraid to start because I might drop it at the middle of the ocean. I punched fear in the face and get started.

What’s this idea? It’s to write one true sentence every day. A sentence that comes from the heart and it must be less or not more than 125 characters.

Does this sound crazy? Absolutely. Is this idea new and fresh? Of course, not. But we can revive old things to become new and that’s called creativity.

I can’t do this all alone. Good things always involve other people in order to make it happen. And that’s why I need your help to spread this idea across and beyond my reach.

This is what I’m doing…for each true sentence, I’m writing the story behind it and why it came to being.

This is my first one true sentence that I wrote on January 1st:

Blessed are those who act on their good intentions. #1truesentence

I have written more till date…and still writing

Why am I doing this? It’s because I believe one true sentence can make a difference. And, of course, behind every one true sentence, there are long stories filled with reality, inspiration, life-changing nuggets, and empathy.

What are you going to do?

Write one true sentence that comes from the heart and it should be less or not more than 125 characters. Get yourself a journal, scribble it on paper, or post it on Facebook or on Twitter. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #1truesentence and let the idea spread like a virus.

Are you in? If yes, then let’s do this together. Because it’s not books that change people, it’s those one true sentences in books that touch lives and change people. Yours, too, can make a difference.

-MOAB © 2015

Age Has Never Been One of the Criteria of Creating Change

I once read a story about one courageous lad but I can’t remember the source. Here it goes:

A group of people visited a king to complain about the situation in their city. Among them were young and old folks. When they reached the king’s palace, none of them could speak. They were afraid that something might happen to them if they do. Then a young boy of 12 years old stood up, took the lead, and confronted the king.

departmentThe king told him to stay back and let the oldest among them to speak on their behalf. The young kid refused and said something like this: “If age was one of the criteria for choosing king, you won’t be the king now because there are people who are older, full of wisdom and experiences than you but they chose you.” When the king heard this, he was perplexed by the reality of this kid’s statement. He then allowed the kid to speak for the group.

You see, you’ve been lying to yourself and making invalid excuses that you’re not old enough to start something. Age has never been one of the criteria you need to start something or create something amazing, and it will never be. All you need is the confidence to start, the bravery to lead and the curiosity to ask good questions. What are you waiting for? Start now!

-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

 

Motivation: Who Will You Give It To?

Some days ago, a goal captured my attention when the loud voice of my friend chanting “goal!” echoed. Don’t ask me the name of the teams, because I wasn’t watching. I only saw the goal part.

The game was tense as my friend explained. Almost going goalless, then a young player got a pass and scored the lonely goal in the match. After scoring the goal, he started running in jubilation towards another direction while his team mates were running after him. Excited, they were.

Photo Credit: Krissy Venosdale (flickr.com)

Photo Credit: Krissy Venosdale (flickr.com)

I was thinking, “where’s he running to?” At least he should celebrate with his team mates first or thank the player that gave him the pass, but he didn’t do that. He was running towards the direction of his coach. He hugged his coach, which I think means “thank you.”

I wonder why he had to run to his coach. I wonder why he didn’t celebrate with his teammates. There must be something behind his gesture, I thought. After so much thought,I came up with this: the coach believed in him, encouraged him, and gave him a trial. The result? He scored a goal and become awesome. And that’s why he ran to his coach.

Now, over to you: who will you encourage, motivate, and instill confidence to become awesome? You don’t have to be a coach to do that. A single write-up could make the difference. A single speech could make the difference. Even just a text of 140 characters could make the difference. Look for that person that you believe in his/her potential and encourage the person. Because if you do, you’re also motivating and encouraging yourself to become awesome. I believe you’re awesome, so find other people to tell this. Let’s do this together.
-MOAB  © 2014