20 Oct 2014

Let's Practice - Givology

If you want to know that is, it's simply the art of giving we all know what it mean's to give and the definition of "ology" is a subject of study/branch of knowledge so of course Givology would be the study of the art of giving, which would of course inspire the act of giving.

Those that read my blog regularly, albeit I must confess that I've been a lazy blogger so far will note that I prefer to only write on inspiration or if you like when I feel like it, otherwise I feel that my words will sound contrived and not at all like me.

Secondly I do not see myself as a blogger but rather a writer practicing her craft and the blog allows me to be self indulgent because it simply a platform for my creative expression, anyway I digress.

I saw a little picture on the net with the term "Givology" and immediately I feel I needed to write sumfink! 

So, to my mind I feel that each and every one of us already practice Givology, we buy gifts for the people that we care about, especially for special occasions; weddings, birthdays, Easter, prom, Christmas etc, etc  we give of our time, possessions, knowledge/expertise even our bodies in some instances, thing is what kind of givers are we?

Are we giving to receive?
Are we coerced into giving, giving under duress?
Are we thinking about what we are giving and why we are giving it?'s 

You may be thinking uh? what she on about now? 
The thing is, I'm always thinking outta left field, it's just me I can't really help myself because it's who I am.

If someone has a special occasion/event and you give them a present, do you expect one in return or do you take joy from the simple act of giving?
Does etiquette demand that you give to receive?
Does the gift you receive have to be commensurate with what you received?
Is it okay to give money? Yes Oh I hear the Africans cry, but are monetary/cash gifts event/culture specific and if that's the case how much money do you give someone without ending up looking like either cheap, embarrassed or both?

And what about?

Recycling gifts, as in second hand gifts (not stuff bought from the charity shop) but those dodgy nipple warmers that someone bought you last Christmas because they thought it would be funny, so you decide, you'll wrap them up real pretty and give it to your Nan and when she asks, "what is it?" you say, Nan! it a nipple warmer all the celebs dogs wear em! and she says can I have them instead? 

And what about giving of your time?
I know that this is a big deal and sometimes we don't realise that the things that you can't put a price on are the most valuable!
Time given to family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues.... what about strangers? would you give them the time of day if they asked? I've seen people walk straight past being asked the time day!
What am I talking about, I've been that girl!
I asked someone the time many many years ago before mobile phones, and of course I wasn't wearing a watch and he walked straight past me hurriedly as if I was gonna rob him!

Did you ever think that giving someone the time of day is an actual act of giving and not just a turn of phrase!

Anyway, I'm running out of steam so I'll wrap this up.

I read somewhere a few weeks ago that we should learn to, give without remembering and receive without forgetting (Brian Tracey).

I loved that quote soo much and it resonated with me as something to work on personally.
The actual quote comes from  a poet called Elizabeth Bibesco, 1897-1945 

“Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.” 

My thoughts are to generally apply more thought when you're giving, don't be afraid to ask someone what they want whether it be tangible or not. You'll be surprised to find out that a lot of people prefer to be asked rather than receive a gift that's not functional/dodgy!

If I had a pound for the number of times that folks said to me, I really didn't know what to get you!, well if you asked I could have told you! and in addition to that I really feel that people shouldn't feel embarrassed if they can't rise to the occasion as it were. 

The process of giving should be as enjoyable as receiving. I think.

I love presents as much as the next person but I really like it when someone does something different or thinks outside the box.

Guys if you make dinner for your woman she'll appreciate it more than that perfume you got from the Perfume shop, because it shows that thought, activity and effort went into that gift and moreover it's a gift you share together. This can apply to friends and family as well.

If you want to recycle gifts, better to pass on things that you would like to receive yourself as a simple rule, don't dump your junk on someone else, it makes you look cheap and that's never a good look.

Rather than just throwing stuff out if it's in good condition find out if there's someone you know who'd like it, they won't be offended or give it to the charity shop, Americans call it Goodwill.

The intangible gifts as I touched on previously are the ones that create what I call memory stamps; little pockets of memories that you'll never forget, gifts you can use over and over again.

Gifts of time 
Gifts of truth
Gift of trust - to give someone your trust is a BIG DEAL!
Gifts of friendship
Gifts of Kindness
Gifts of Knowledge/wisdom/advise 
Gifts of Freedom
Gifts of Expertise/ability
Gifts of love
Gifts of body - not just intimacy but organ donation as well
Gifts of Nature
Gifts of the Almighty!

I could go on ...

The Givology logo that inspired me to write this is from an organisation whose motto is give to learn and learn to give, check them out here www.givology.org

Givology did  not pay me to write this post and I'm not affiliated with them.

Today I receive a gift! Say it and Believe It!



30 Sep 2014

Love Recounted - A Blog Novella By Anne Usanga Akpan

Her Eyes were the brightest shade of Amber he'd ever seen, damn he didn't know what it was but shit ... she had him wide open, just like that! without a word, a glance, without whatever. Damn she didn't, hadn't even noticed his presence.....what to do?

Mensae was in a fix, he had never been in this kinda situation before, women threw their Victoria Secrets at him for Lawd's sake and he always had them begging for more cause he put in work and he was a man about his business for sure but this. This was some new kinda crazy that he wasn't sure he knew how to deal with.

He was the playa to define all playaz! damn he frigging put the P in playa and that was no joke but all of a sudden dem eyes got him thinking about a diamond ring, he was thinking major ice, carrots like bugs bunny would like, something she would show all her friends, that would make them mad crazy with envy, and then he caught himself mid thought realised that he was on some crazy shit and made a mental note to cut down on the weed because shit like this just didn't happen to him! and to even entertain thoughts like this for some female even one that had him mesmerized and thinking crazy thoughts would do his image no good, no good at all. For God's sake he had video vixens, hood rats, chicken heads and some real bourgeois sistren that looked like they stepped off the cover of Ebony and Black Beauty on speed dial, one of the many perks of being in the music business, everyone and their mother wanted to be in the music business and all he had to do was say Sony Records and they were all over him!, women and men alike. The women became his playmates and the men his buddies if he felt them worthy, every once in a while he did actually meet someone that had real talent but back to those amber eyes.

No matter how he tried he couldn't look away and the sheer craziness of the situation made him laugh out loud. "Share the joke, he heard a voice say" and Sweet Jesus, if her voice wasn't the sweetest, smoothest sound he'd ever heard. In that instant he wondered if she could sing and what it would sound like for her to sing his name in different melodies and different languages. Well.... she demanded, care to share what's so funny?. He looked at her and said I just remembered a joke my friend from back home told me and it cracked me up proper! I can see she that she smiled, so share it with me. Mensae looked around to notice that other people in the store were interested in their conversation and what he had to say, he'd gone into HMV  to see how the artists on his record label were doing in the charts. He looked into the amber eyes and said, I'll share, if you tell me your name but not here, because I don't want someone else to go viral on my joke, before it even leaves my lips people be tweeting it and shit as if it was there's. That made her laugh, a sound that he knew wanted to hear again and again.

My name is Luma she said, and with that, she had him wide open!

©9javatar 2014

If you like this and would like the story to continue let me know. Thanks.

11 Jul 2014

How Do You Define Success?

My Question today is How do You define Success? In the fast food society in which we live in today and depending on where you come from Success is normally equated with financial success. That means lots of  money in the bank, a good home, nice clothes and being able to enjoy the finer things in life and all the trimmings that accompany it.

I come from Nigeria and in Nigeria success is equated with finance. It's just that plain and simple, however there are soo many people that chase financial success and the accumulation of material wealth to their own detriment and they loose their souls in the process. Yes folks what you see in Nollywood is not always fiction, sometimes these stories are based on real lives and real situations.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking wealth, how could I. I'm a 9ja girl through and through and I do love the good things of life just like anyone else, but in my case I feel that money should enable you to have a better standard of life not to be in competition with others. There's too much emphasis on material wealth in our neck of the woods.

Having said this everyone has a different definition of success and I've always admired a left sided point of view, you know, thinking alternatively in a way that people may see as being outside the box.

One person's view of success may be bringing up good mannered children who have good manners and possess the fear of God as well as respect for their elders ( this is worth more than silver of gold IMO).
I think this would definitely be a measure of success i.e successful parenting, especially in a society where some children know the price of everything but appreciate the value of nothing.

Another persons definition of success may be achieving and attaining the completion of a lifetime's ambition.
I would definitely fall into this category as there are many things that I was born to do which I have as yet not achieved. The fulfillment of these goals would be to me a mark of success to me, i.e; fulfilling lifelong ambitions.

In other cases it may be achieving goals (these obviously vary per person); weight targets, sports targets, career goals, life journeys etc.

In addition to this I just want to add that while all of us want to achieve some level of financial success, in my case enough money in the bank not to be a slave to the wage anymore and actually enjoy my life in any way that I deem fit. Money in and of itself cannot make you happy especially if you're unhappy to start with.

Success will bring with it it's own particular/unique problems, be prepared for this in everything that you do, be aware of the fact that people's attitudes towards will change, haters and lovers will come out of the wood work. If you are not grounded and if you do not have a true sense of who you are to begin with you may loose your way or not even recognise your metamorphosis. Surround yourself with old friends and family!

You define your own success in life and you also define the way in which you come to your success, remember that we all tread a different path in life, so do not measure yourself by another person's definition of success!

26 Oct 2013


Celebrate! There's no one in this universe that is exactly like you. You are unique! Not your personality nor your genes are exactly the same with someone else's. Know and accept thyself, and to thine own self be true!

Identify your limitations and improve your positive areas. Don't force yourself to be someone you are not and cannot be. Don't confuse yourself with the flooding consumer products around you and tailor yourself according to trends or fashion that would alter your personality. What's on trend may not work for you, and may, eventually, make you look and feel funny. More so, it may not last for what's your money's worth. Be careful when you choose to wear trends that do not speak to your soul in pursuit for beauty and gaining attraction. What really matters is that what we wear or use will give us confidence and enhance us. Be the person that is entirely you and responsible enough for your development.

If you notice, fashion is a cycle. So never throw out items that you love even if it means not wearing them for awhile and its taking up your time, money and/or space  keeping them from mice and cockroaches. What you've painfully preserved and kept for a lifetime or so will one day surprise you as it will become fashionable again at some point in the fashion world anyone over 25 knows this is true!. 

The fashion world is periodically experiencing a retro/recycle and there you are with a wardrobe full of original retro/vintage pieces, which you can easily coordinate with what's on the trend and makes you spend less, or nothing at all. All you need is a little imagination and ingenuity. You'll see that each time you wear an old piece it's a revelation and will inspire you for the day. 

Being a fashion style icon is more than just following trends and it doesn't mean you have to be famous either. It's mostly about just being your stylish self, the unique and original you. You can equip your wardrobe through the years with things that best fit your budget and personality, reflect your personality, and speak silently of who you are without being hassled. Trust your intuition as you look at yourself in the mirror.

The truth is, we do not know how we are perceived by others and it doesn't even matter because self confidence is the key!. Definitely, we would like others to see us as beautiful, smart, secure and confident, yet when it comes to qualifying what is seen as beautiful there are unending claims as to what is the definition of beauty! It chnages endlessly in the media and to my mind "Beauty will always remain in the eye of the beholder!". 

When beauty is perceived by the first impression it earns, it is also most often qualified when looked at from the viewers point of view. Idealists who struggles on identifying what is beautiful and what is not usually look at beauty as something that comes from within i.e something innate not just looks!. 

Do you feel that you are not beautiful enough? If you ever do recognize that there is one Supreme Being that gives us inspiration in declaring that all his creation was made perfect!. Yes that's true, you can take it to the bank!

Wake up daily and strive for your own perfection!. There are values we have grown up with that we sometimes forget to apply when situations are presented in front of us. Everyday is a gift and a chance to renew ourselves and exercise the lessons we often overlook. 

First, remember to be honest, courteous, helpful, polite: say please , thank you, and sorry. These are elementary and oftentimes overlooked values that when exercised constantly, work wonders and become second nature. If you find these too basic, just imagine when the same are not done for you. 

Second, smile. Smiling is very powerful. It's proven effective on both the smiler and the smilee. It won't cost you a penny and it works wonders on getting results!, you'll earn friends that smile back at you, enough to make your dayand load lighter. Try it and find out what difference a smile can make. 

Third, listen. It may be to your advantage of learning from the speaker rather than telling others what you know and you won't realize how much comfort you can give to another by just listening to what s/he is letting off. 

Fourth, pay compliment. Ever hear the phrase, "Flattery will get you everywhere!" well it;s true! You will feel secure and confident by giving away a sense of self-confidence and security to others. 

Fifth, work according to the golden rule, "Do unto others as you'd like done unto You!" 
If all of us could abide by this, what a different world we may be living in right now. 

Finally, live according to your budget. I know that it's hard and I struggle with this myself! because we're surrounded by soo much stuff and there's always something new on the market. Try to buy only what is needed amd what you can afford when you wish to upgrade your wardrobe and be truthful, thoughtful about considering clothes, jewelry and accessories. Overspending may rob you of your peaceful nights' sleep and ruin your self-confidence and yiu may not enjoy your purchases, even worse there's the dreaded buyers remorse!.These timeless values will always carry you through earning the appreciation and respect of those around you who really care about you and you may save money too!.

Don't worry about the ups and downs of trends and fashion. Upgrade your wardrobe as far as your budget allows. Just be yourself and surround yourself or find yourself in the company of people you want to be, people who you can learn from, folks you admire. Strive to sport a personality that could bring smiles and laughter, attract positivity, look confident and secure, win friends. Wear a smile to be forever be on trend. You are what fashion is all about. If somehow you feel insufficient, read and research and don't be afraid to ask for help. There are numerous books on self help yourself with and the internet is flooded with useful information which may be just right for you and what you need. 

Achieve a balanced personality with discipline, dedication, determination and persistence. Be aware of choices that may have put you in doubtful circumstances. Take action on the information that best suits your situation. 

Remember that you if you keep doing the same things you'll keep getting the same results. Here's to being yourself no matter what your style is!

11 Aug 2013

Questions to ask yourself before you die? by Chin Pham

Did I live? 
Did I love? 
Did I matter? 

Would you be able to give a resounding YES! to each of them?

Even though it’s scary, sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not immortal and that life can be fleeting, slipping through our fingers before we know it. No matter how young or how old we are, we need to make the best of it now.

So ask yourself these questions today (inspired by Brendon Burchard):

1. Did I live?

Did I live without fear? Did I challenge myself everyday and push myself out of my comfort zone? Did I embrace my own uniqueness and authenticity without consideration of how anyone would judge me? Did I attempt to go after my dreams? Did I make my mark on this world?

If you are not doing these things, start living today by:
  • Savoring each special moment you have with someone, whether it be a friend, loved one, or a stranger
  • Focusing on the present and not fearing the future nor regretting the past
  • Putting things in perspective. We dwell so much on the minute, negative aspects of our lives when at the end of the day, they don’t really matter all that much
  • Being in the present and enjoying the soft breeze tickling your skin or dancing to that song on your iPod that never fails to get you up and grooving
  • Facing your fears, however small or large
  • Traveling the world
  • Finding the courage within you to believe in your dreams and go after them
I know I have lived when I can face my fears everyday with the belief that I have nothing to lose. 

2. Did I love?

Did I love passionately? Did I love effortlessly, without reservation, and without holding back? Did I love without fear of the consequences and give myself fully to those whom I loved?

Even in relationships that have ended, there were beautiful moments. So start loving today by:
  • Savoring each precious moment between you and the other person
  • Appreciating every butterfly in your stomach
  • Letting your heart expand with love for your friends, family, and significant other
  • Relishing every touch, kiss, smile, whisper of affection, and every contented sigh that love brings us
  • Falling for someone foolishly and uninhibitedly
  • Loving unconditionally
I know I've loved when I’ve fallen for someone even if I ended up losing them in the end.

3. Did I matter?

Did I make a difference in this world? Did I help others? Did I make others smile, laugh, or tremble with joy?

Start mattering today by:
  • Making someone’s day by giving them a compliment or helping a disabled person cross the street
  • Following your dreams and harnessing your skills and abilities to make a difference in the world. The world needs your special talents!
  • Doing what you love. Life is too short to do anything less
  • Playing your part in saving the planet and its inhabitants. Plant a tree. Recycle that bottle. Adopt a rescued animal at your local shelter.
  • Touching someone’s soul and lifting their spirits. Listen to them. Hold them. Help them. Be there for them.
I know I have mattered to each person I’ve helped, awakening the incredible power within them to feel empowered to go out into the world and create the life they’ve always wanted.

It is never too late to go back and start fresh and anew. It is never too late to find the courage and commitment within yourself to do something different in order to create the life you’ve always dreamed of. You only need to take the first step. 

If you are having trouble figuring out that first step, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the Universe or a trusted mentor or coach. Share with them your deepest dreams, desires, and longings. You deserve to live the best life possible, so start today!

7 Aug 2013

11 Practical Ways To Stop Procrastination - by Celestine Chua

Are you guilty of procrastination? I most definitely am. I came across this article by Celestine Chua on practical ways to stop procrastination. I will be applying these to my life I hope you find these tips useful as well.

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.
We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late.  And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier. The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.
Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps which I use to overcome procrastination with great success. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:
  1. Break your work into little steps. Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as – (1) Research (2) Deciding the topic (3) Creating the outline (4) Drafting the content (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10, (6) Revision (7) etc, suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.
  2. Change your environment. Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace. One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.
  3. Create a detailed timeline with specific deadlines. Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late. Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act. My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.
  4. Eliminate your procrastination pit-stops. If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate. Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you. I know some people will out of the way and delete/deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic/extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.
  5. Hang out with people who inspire you to take action.  I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs/Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies. Identify the people/friends/colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too. As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email/social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.
  6. Get a buddy. Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other. I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.
  7. Tell others about your goals. This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects. For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.
  8. Seek out someone who has already achieved the outcome. What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.
  9. Re-clarify your goals. If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that. Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not,what can you do about it?
  10. Stop over-complicating things. Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything. Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.
  11. Get a grip and just do it. At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day. Reality check: I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.
Which tips work best for you? Do you have your own personal tip to overcome procrastination? Please share with everyone in the comments section :)

6 Aug 2013

Learning is a Continuum!

This is my opinion and I say this because I believe and think that if you are receptive you sound always be in a state of learning; where you continue to receive and process new information which will inevitably enrich both your life and your life experiences.

Open up your life and mind to new possibilities, don't get stuck in a rut, challenge yourself with new experiences! in meeting new people you'll be surprised at what you could learn from people who you may not feel  are "People Like You"  folks who you would not chose to hang out with on an ordinary day.

Never tell yourself that you're too old or embarrassed to learn something new. More often than not we are too embarrassed to try new things for fear of looking stupid, messing up, failing etc but the truth is in my experience that fear prevents us from growing! It curbs are learning process and natural progression!

If we believe, which I do that we are all born to greatness, and that we all have our particular unique strengths which we've been gifted with. If we give in to fear and are not open to new learning we may miss vital experiences and opportunities for personal growth by either believing that "we know it all" or by being content in our current state, for fear of upsetting the apple cart!

This is my truth, I embrace new possibilities and continue to believe that the sky is the limit when it comes to achievement. I reach for the stars because I desire their brightness. I'm open to new knowledge, ideas and possibilities because I have not even scratched the surface of what I need to know as a human being. I desire the kindness of strangers because it helps me believe that there is still goodness in this world despite the negativity that's happening in and around the world. I believe in Love because it still makes the world go round and when hearts unite in love for good amazing things happen!. This is not just my romantic notion, remember Live Aid, Live 8 and Hope For Haiti!.

Believe in Learning and remember that learning, is getting to know that thing which you never knew you didn't know!