To Fan an Old Flame III

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Sorry femmes, I know this part has taken quite a while. I hope you’ll forgive me though after you read the end **winks*.

….continued from last edition

“Are you having problems with your computer?” someone beside her said. His voice had a soft, boyish tone and he was peeking at her from behind white-rimmed eye glasses. Christie nodded reluctantly, wondering what this boy with a face covered with reddish acne could do to help her.

“Try restarting the system. It is probably frozen,” he said.

Christie wondered why she hadn’t thought about that earlier. She thanked him and reached down to find the power off button. She almost felt embarrassed when she couldn’t find it and was about to tell him that when Frank reached across her legs and switched off the system manually.

Shortly after that he restarted the computer and within moments it was working properly. Christie said a very grateful thank you to him and started browsing the internet. She wondered if that slight smile on his face was him blushing or if he was just happy he could fix the problem. She ran into another hitch within a few minutes. She couldn’t find any document on Google search related to the topic she was doing the assignment on. Frank quickly came to her rescue again, even drawing up his chair closer to her screen. He assured her that he was very good at finding stuff on the internet and got right to it. Within a few minutes he had found five documents that were closely related to her assignment and she did the assignment quickly. Christie was all smiles as she thanked him. Again, there was that shy smile on his face.

Having found what she came for, Christie pulled her seat back and made to leave. Frank nearly fell off his seat as he stood up at the same time. He blushed, “Are you ready to leave?” Christie would have wanted to roll her eyes and say something sarcastic but she held her tongue and said yes. She had to be nice to someone that just saved her from spending a whole day at the computer centre. “Okay, I’m done too,” He said.

Christie walked out of the hall silently and he walked beside her, saying nothing. Occasionally Christie would glance at him and catch him watching her. He would look away quickly, the pimples on his face seeming more reddish each time he blushed. She decided to break the ice. “Which way are you going?”

He scratched his head and laughed nervously, “I’m not even sure. I just wanted to walk you back to your hostel.”

“I’m not even going to my hostel. I’m on my way to Abubakar Hall. I’m organizing a programme there tonight.”

“Then I’ll walk you there.”

Christie would have protested but she saw no harm in it so she let him walk her. The only problem she had with him was that he didn’t talk much. Christie had been called ‘radio-without-battery’ a good number of times and was yet to find someone who could match her in the number of words she spoke per minute. She had been told countless times that she would end up marrying someone quiet or else there would be trouble yet she just couldn’t stand dating a quiet guy talk less of marrying one. Thinking about dating, Christie knew she had to dismiss Frank soon. She didn’t like the way he was tailing her and something told her he was minutes away from gathering courage to ask her out.

Christie chuckled slightly as she remembered the last episode she had endured the night before. She had been walking to her hostel when she heard someone calling out to her, “Excuse me…excuse me,” the voice said. She had stopped abruptly and a short, stocky guy who had been hot on her heels bumped into her. “Yes?” Christie said, flippantly.

“Erm…erm…” He stammered.

“How can I help you?” Christie was about to walk away.

He suddenly grabbed her arm and said, “Shakespeare said, if music be the food of love, play on.”

Christie was too shocked to respond immediately and he took the cue to give a second one, “Aristotle said….” Christie burst into raucous laughter and quickly walked away. She couldn’t wait to tell her friends about the guy who must have rehearsed those ridiculous lines for hours, waiting for the girl that would fall for it.

She laughed softly under her breath and Frank asked her what amused her so. “Nothing much, I just remembered something that happened last night.” Christie shook her head slightly and giggled again. Then she realised that they were approaching the hall for the event. She knew she had to say something quickly and get rid of him. She was grateful for his help but she was already tired of his silence.

To be continued…

To Fan an Old Flame II

The second part you’ve been waiting for is finally here. If you missed the beginning part of To Fan an Old Flame then click here to read it.

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Continued from last edition.

Christie gasped in surprise as recognition flooded his face while her mind flashed back to that day 7 years ago when she had first met Frank.

It was on the first of October. Christie could still remember that day vividly. Firstly, because she had been appointed (it was more like she had volunteered) to organize an Independence Day celebration dinner for her fellowship that evening. The day had started with a flurry of activities and her to-do list still had thousands of un-ticked items awaiting her attention. Christie was good at organizing events and she in fact lived for it. It was one of the reasons why she had suggested that they should hold an event to commemorate the Independence Day in church wearing different shades of green and white. She had planned a grand event with notable guest speakers from other churches and popular music artistes. Perspiration beaded her forehead as she remembered yet another task she was yet to perfect in preparation for that evening. The flowers for the decoration were yet to be delivered. She dabbed at her forehead with her white handkerchief as she barked orders to her assistant to call the lady who was to deliver the flowers. Anybody watching her would think that Christie was under enormous pressure but on the contrary she was enjoying every bit of it. She was born to be in the limelight and being in charge of people gave her an extra burst of joy no one could understand.

The second reason why Christie would not forget that day in a hurry was what brought her in contact with Frank in the first place. She had been in the middle of supervising the seating arrangement when she suddenly remembered that she had an assignment to turn in the next day. The course was an elective course in computer application and the lecturer involved was very strict. The papers were to be submitted at 8 am the next day and it had been rumoured that the lecturer was known to use his assignments as tests so she knew she had to act fast. Christie quickly called Juliana, her immediate assistant for the purpose of organizing the dinner and asked her to hold forth while she rushed out to get something done.

Stopping by at her room in the three-storey hostel building, Christie picked up the notebook where she had written the questions and rushed to the University Cyber Cafe. It was in those days when computers were still novelty. Computer centres were few and people who had some form of expertise in the use of computers were even fewer. The big hall which housed about thirty computers was quite full and Christie was still contemplating whether to leave the place and find an alternative when someone stood up from his seat and she quickly took his place.

Christie looked behind her and saw the number of people that were still waiting for a chance to use a free system and felt very favoured. She smiled to herself and moved her cursor to click on the internet browser. At first, when the cursor didn’t move, she wiped her sweaty palms on her skirt, wondering why she felt that it would help in any way. Within the next few minutes of trying to move the mouse she realised that she may not have been very lucky to have gotten that free computer after all.

“Are you having problems with your computer?” Someone beside her asked. His voice had a soft, boyish tone and he was peeking at her from behind white-rimmed eye glasses. Christie nodded reluctantly, wondering what this boy with a face covered with reddish acne could do to help her.

To be continued…

Watch out for the next part of To Fan an Old Flame. You’re sure going to love it! 🙂

To fan an old flame

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As Christie walked briskly down the street that bright Monday morning, hurrying to her new office, she couldn’t help wondering if it was just her or if everybody was staring at her like they knew she was new in town. It didn’t help matters that she had to ask for direction each time she took a couple of steps. It was her first day at her new job and she didn’t want to miss a single turn and have to retrace her steps. That would cause a setback in her plans to arrive very early at the office.

Christie stood in front of the high rise building that housed the company she would soon call hers and took a deep breath. She wasn’t nervous, rather she was excited but taking a deep breath seemed like the natural thing to do before starting the first step into the rest of her working life. She took the elevator to the sixth floor as she had been told. When she came out of the elevator, she plastered a smile on her face and walked up to the security man at the door.

“Good morning, my name is Christie. I was asked to resume duties here as a Brand Marketing Associate. Can you please point me in the direction of the Human Resources Office? Thank you.” In three quick sentences she had introduced herself and what she was there for. Christie had often been told that she spoke as briskly as she walked but she couldn’t understand why people were slow to understand her and frankly couldn’t even think about slowing down her speech for anybody. The security man looked stunned as though the effort he had expended on trying to understand her articulate speech had completely worn him out. He simply motioned to her to walk in and pointed at a lady sitting behind the counter in the centre of the reception hall.

“Good morning,” Christie still had that cool, self-assured smile on her face.

“How may I help you?” The lady behind the counter adjusted the collar of her black suit and propped the receiver of an intercom between her right ear and shoulder and spoke into the mouth piece as she typed, still staring at the monitor of her computer.

“My name is Christie Eze, I was asked to resume duties today as….” Christie broke off her sentence as the lady pointed towards her right. Christie’s first instinct was to ask if there was a no-speaking policy in the firm. First it was the security man and now the receptionist. She wondered what the reaction of the next person she was to meet would be. “Excuse me, where did you say…” The lady pointed in the same direction again, more forcefully this time as if someone had just stepped on her toes and she continued speaking to the person on the other end of the line.

Christie hissed softly. She wasn’t about to let her good mood get dampened by any old lady with a bad work attitude. She walked in the direction the lady had pointed at and took a turn until the end of the corridor. Then she saw two doors on one side and one on the other side. On closer look, she saw that the two doors led to the elevators while the second door seemed like the door to an office. There was no need asking any further questions. Christie had already asked enough questions to last her a life time. She simply rapped twice on the door and stepped into the impressive office. There was a man standing behind the mahogany desk near the large windows overlooking a magnificent view of the city. The man was talking on the phone and looking down through the window.

Deciding it would be rude to interrupt, Christie stood patiently in front of the large desk, wondering where it must have been imported from because there was no way she would believe that something that perfect could have been made in Nigeria. There was also a set of settees made from fine leather on both sides. Everything in the office reeked of class and good taste. The man behind the desk chose that moment to turn around, while he was still talking on the phone, to see who had just walked into his office. Christie gasped in surprise as recognition flooded his face while her mind flashed back to that day 7 years ago when she had first met Frank.

To be continued….

Click here to read the rest of the story…

Part II, Part III, Part IV Part V

What blogging teaches us about leadership

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I saw a headline today about the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, doing something unconventional. Most of us in this part of the world would consider it outrageous and simply unbelievable. He went out as a taxi driver in order to get first hand information on what people really think. While laughing and comparing it to our Nigerian situation it occurred to me how similar it was to the topic I was planning to write on – blogging and leadership.

Blogging and leadership sound like two completely unrelated issues yet they are so related. I’ve read a good number of blogs and each time I found myself impressed by what people are able to come up with I’m so inspired by the creativity and the beauty of the human mind. It was while I was reading a blog post that I was inspired to see the correlation between blogging and leadership. Without mincing words I’m just going to say that bloggers are either leaders or potential leaders and here’s 12 reasons why.

#1. Bloggers make better writers: Bloggers are writers already you say and right you are but isn’t it true that you learn by doing? Remember how many times you were made to copy and write the letters of the alphabets from A – Z as a kid? I remember thinking then that I already knew how to write those letters by heart and I didn’t see why I had to write them over and over again. With the benefit of hindsight now I understand that it was necessary to make me more confident in my abilities such that I didn’t have to even think about whether I was doing it right anymore for I was 100% certain. I always used to love writing. I would write any and everything that I could think about. Now I have found that by blogging I am able to write better, think faster, be more accurate in my grammatical expressions and of course more confident in my writing.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. We learn leadership by doing. You cannot be a leader in your mind. To be a good leader, you must successfully lead a handful of people and on to the next stage of a bigger number until you become very comfortable and confident in your leadership abilities. The more you lead the better you become at leading.

#2. Build your circle of Influence: Every successful blogger has a circle of influence because by writing you consistently project your ideas to your audience and if they agree with you, their mindset will be influenced. This is why you find people flocking to life-coaches and inspirational blogs. People are seeking for ideas and solutions and when you provide these on your blog you build your circle of influence.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A good leader must be a good influencer. You lead by inspiration and influence. People look up to you for inspiration and when they begin to do things you expect of them even in your absence then you can say that you have successfully influenced them.

#3. Bloggers are followers: One of the first things I learnt about blogging was that to be a successful blogger you have to follow other bloggers except you are already a celebrity of course. It follows the basic rules of nature that to receive you have to give. Your blog followership does not grow by wishful thinking but by actively following and interacting with other bloggers. You get new insights, opinions and of course they might get to follow you back if they like what you have to offer. In that way your blog community grows and you become a successful blogger because with a greater number of followers you will have a greater influence on both your followers and those following them.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A good leader must first be a good follower. A good leader leads by inspiration and not by commands. A good follower is one that helps the leader to achieve his mission successfully. It would be much easier to get your followers to follow you the way you want if you already have a good idea on how to follow others.

#4. By blogging you learn more about a group of people: Bloggers spend most of their time sharing their ideas and insights with their readers. Every idea you genuinely write on enables you to broaden your knowledge because readers may give a different insight to what you are writing about when they make comments on your post. Some readers may share their experiences with you and open your mind to some information you never had. In addition, it may help you to know what to write about next, what ideas to espouse depending on the kind of audience you have. Some A-list companies spend so much time and money testing out their products in focus groups. As a blogger, achieving this type of insight is a natural byproduct of your day-to-day routine

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A successful leader has to understand the people he is leading to know their needs, their expectations and the best way to serve them for every leader is essentially a servant. The same way a blogger learns about her audience and tailors her works to suit their needs, so also should a leader learn the needs of his people.

#5. Become an Expert in Your Field: We already know that most successful blogs usually focus on an area of expertise. People hardly blog on just about anything. Your blog has to have a specific theme. So we have people blogging in different sectors of human activities; from lifestyle to fashion, photography, food, religion, spirituality, personal journeys, health and what have you. Blogging helps you to build a brand and become an expert in your field. Just like #1 says about learning by doing, by blogging you become better at the area you write about and with time an expert in that area.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. To be a good leader, you will be more of an inspiration to your followers when you are very knowledgeable in the area you are leading them on. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if you had to ask your followers questions all the time, revealing your incompetence and ineptitude. Do you know what it is to work with a leader who has no knowledge of the field he is leading you on? A simple task may take years to complete.

#6. Build a Network: one of the benefits of blogging is the opportunity of meeting people with similar interests and like minds. Lots of good friendships have developed from blogging. How much easier is it to know someone when you can easily tell her character from her writing? By building an online community of friends you increase your network and knowledge of other people and cultures because we are talking about a global audience.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. Your leadership ability can be greatly influenced by your network. For instance, if you need information about a certain practice in India, you could ask one of your community of bloggers from that region to give you some insight. This of course gets simpler when you have built a level of trust.

#7. Talk to Your Idols: Through blogging you can form a relationship with  people you look up to. Supposing you always wanted to become a professional photographer and you follow a notable photographer’s blog, from constantly commenting and bouncing off ideas with her she may become interested in getting to meet you. That way your dream of meeting your idol will be actualized.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. Most successful leaders started by learning from their mentors, someone that has succeeded in the field they are in. like the biblical Elijah – Elisha relationship, you can become a better leader by learning from the master in your field himself.

#8. Express Yourself: Perhaps one of the most exciting benefits of blogging is the opportunity to express yourself. You may be living in a region where you find it difficult or even dangerous to express yourself so blogging (perhaps anonymously) becomes a good outlet for you. Even just writing your thoughts could be very therapeutic. Also, you may get the opportunity to express your views on a political, social or religious issue through blogging.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A good leader should be able to express herself articulately. By expressing your expectations or intentions to your followers effectively, you reduce the risk of improper implementation of your ideas.

#9. Help Others: The single most important reason for blogging should be to provide help to others. It is either you are providing access to information or opinion on topics or inspiration.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. Successful business owners will tell you that they began their business on areas in which people require help. The umbrella maker started making umbrellas because people needed to protect themselves from sunlight or rain. The supermarket owner knows that people would find it so much more convenient if they could pick all the things they need in one place. To succeed in leadership, you should focus on providing help for people and the rest will naturally following suit.

#10. Build Trust Online: As I stated in my last post, a lot of potential employers may check your profile online. By blogging on positive issues you will make people develop trust in you even before meeting you.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. To make a good leader, you should be able to obtain the trust of those following you. Also, it would be of much benefit to you to maintain a clean online personality.

#11. Research: The importance of research to a blogger cannot be overemphasized. You can hardly write about a topic you have limited knowledge of. So how do you increase your knowledge? Extensive research on the topic you wish to write about will make you a more reliable source and a better writer.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. To be a good leader you should be able to search for information and increase your knowledge of your area. The more knowledgeable you are as a leader, the more respect you will garner from your followers.

#12. Patience and Growth: Bloggers are just about the most patient people on earth. This is because there is hardly any blog that grows suddenly. It is a gradual process. As the blogger grows so does the blog.

So what has that got to do with leadership? It is simple. A good leader does not expect to become successful over-night. It is a gradual process of growth. Give yourself room for mistakes and know that a couple of years from now you will be better at what you do.

With all these who can help but say that bloggers make the best leaders? And just in case you are still wondering why I used the illustration of the Prime Minister of Norway at the beginning of my post, I did so because his actions reveal the positive characters that should be adopted by a good leader – listening to the people he is leading. So blog-away and develop the leader within you.

Femmetotale

Just a little Toxin

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“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

You know what toxins are? They are those little substances you introduce into your system whether knowingly or by chance. Sometimes they may seem harmless, just a bunch of substances that may be ejected from your system when ‘you do your thing’ later on. There are also other toxins that are introduced into your system, not by you this time but by other people around you. The funny thing is that you might never even know when those toxins get into your system and cloud up your mind, your heart, your blood vessels and shoot up your blood pressure. Don’t act so shocked, you’re guilty of spreading these toxins to others too. So, these toxins are just jumping around waiting for whose body to accumulate in until they form a large army strong enough to bring a hefty man down to the ground.

Just before you start wondering what I’m rambling about or if I’ve suddenly acquired a degree in medicine let me paint a little picture of how much these toxins affect our lives even without our knowing it. Early in the morning, you’re all dressed and ready to start the day suddenly you can’t find your shoes. You’re so certain you took it off at the door of your room and your first suspect is your sister who denies seeing it. Since you don’t want to be late, you pull out the next option which is your least favourite pair and storm out of the house. You have a presentation to make that day and feel you would have been more confident in that pair of shoe you couldn’t find. You got on a bus to go to work and because you’re still very angry with your sis for denying taking your shoes, you don’t even notice when you step on someone’s feet. He erupts like an enraged bull, ready to charge at you with his large horns. He calls you all sorts of derogatory names (ashewo, to start with), abusing your mother, your father, your grand and great grand-parents.  You apologize, wondering why he’s so angry. You didn’t even march him with your stiletto heels which you would have worn that morning if your sister hadn’t hidden it. You didn’t see the pain in his eyes or the brokenness in his face due to the disappointing call he just got that morning. His friend that was supposed to lend him money had disappointed him. He used to be an easy going person before he lost his job in a bank due to the recapitalization policy that affected his employers. Now, he just doesn’t care who he vents his anger on. He’s at war with the whole world. On your own part, you are so sure your day has been poisoned by his reaction. In fact, the period within which you were searching for your shoes was the prelude that ushered in the disasters for that day, never mind that his reaction may have been worse if you had worn the stilettos you couldn’t find that morning. Your toxins were already accumulating before he dumped his extra on you. Later that night when you get home, your sister meets you at the door with the pair of shoes in her hand. She had found it at the back door. Then you remember that you had been so tired the evening you last wore those shoes that you flung them off at the back door, eager to get to your room and sleep.

Do you get the picture now? Do you see how toxins come into our lives sometimes with little or no efforts from us? It’s just crazy how we stir up stress in our lives. I once told a friend that we’ll be amazed how high our blood pressure could get over some insignificant things. Many people are hurting or in trouble and are seeking for whom to transfer their aggressions on. It hits you everywhere as long as you make some sort of human interaction. It could be from that market woman that abused you when you were bargaining with her. You had no way of knowing that her husband had brought in a second wife into her house the day before. Maybe it was that security man that banged the gate in your face before you could tell him the name of the person you wanted to visit in his office. You had no way of knowing that he had not been paid his salary for three months. Or maybe it was the girl at the fast-food joint that kept attending to people behind you while you tried without success to get her to attend to you and you became really maaad. You had no way of knowing that she had been on her feet all day and had not eating anything since the night before, and there you were looking like you didn’t have a care in the world. I could go on and on but I’m sure you can even think of one toxin that had been dumped on you today.

A popular adage says that you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head but you can prevent it from perching on your head. We can’t always stop people from transferring their toxins on us but we sure can stop those toxins from sitting in our minds. I know it’s annoying to have someone rain abuses on you for stepping on his foot especially when you’ve apologized sincerely. If you’re the emotional type it may even make you cry and it can mess up your whole day. As for me, I always try to remind myself that there is nothing I can do about what someone does to me. I can only deal with how I react. So these days, I’m quick to notice when I’m allowing toxins to build up in my system over irrelevant things. I’m also quick to detect when someone is dumping her toxins on me and I try as much as possible to avoid it. So the next time anyone wants to dump his toxins on me, I’m going to smile and smile and smile until the devil is so mad he decides to burst out from hell…lol…no fear… that won’t happen until we’re in heaven.

Have a toxin-free day!

Femmetotale

Your break will come

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Some days are just like that. You wake up in the morning, stretch on your bed like a cat for a few moments and smile to yourself, ready to start the day. Then you start to notice that something is just not normal about the day. You draw your curtains and sniff in the cold air, fully expecting the darkness to give way to the light but you realize that something is definitely wrong. With every tinge of light, the dark clouds advance even more and it dawns on you that it’s going to be one of those dark rainy days. Just like that, your excitement that morning is replaced by a somber mood that lingers all through the day.

First you got to the office late because you couldn’t find your umbrella and even when you thought the rains had finally subsided and stepped outside, the torrents increased immediately as though it was waiting for you to fall into its traps. The day doesn’t get any better. Just because you arrived at the office late, you were unable to complete your task for that morning and you got a heavy dose of shouting from your irritable boss (there’s no way of telling whether there were ants in her chemise or something) and every other thing that day goes that way and you find yourself wishing you could just get a break from life. The job you’re doing is just that…a job. Somewhere your passion lies untended because you have to put food on your table first before thinking about living your dreams. You feel as though your dreams have been neatly packaged in a box and set adrift the sea that never flows backwards.

I read an inspiring write up by Tyler Perry, a man whose name is synonymous with success in the world of television. He wrote about the years he spent as a shoe shiner, a car sales man with a dream which he almost never believed would one day come to pass. Today, he boasts of an empire and people wonder the secret of his success. He never knew that the years spent in struggle were preparing him for his future.

I also know a boy who had so much hopes and dreams for the future. Sometime in his teenage years, his dreams were thwarted and he found himself in a strange land, a slave with no hope or future. The story got worse and the storm clouds of his life darkened even more. Somewhere in his heart, he held a candle of hope, refusing to give up on his dreams or his beliefs. He didn’t allow his circumstances to define him and he held tenaciously to his faith. Did he know that the period he spent in the prison was preparing him for a lifetime of administration and governance of a great nation? Did he know that the people he met in the prison were the ones that would introduce him to his destiny? Did he have any idea how his vision would come to pass? Before you give up hope just remember that the one who has the manual for your life knows your end and he promises that it will be beautiful. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jer. 29:11.

Some days are just like that. The rains keep pouring and it doesn’t seem like it will ever stop. Are you at that point when life starts to look so bleak and it seems like you will never get a break? Are your dark clouds getting even darker and the story of your life seems to have no happy ending? Now is the time to remind yourself that your break will come. The night does not last forever. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. Rejoice for as sure as the dawn, your break will surely come.

Femmetotale

To take a stand

take_a_standI was that kind of girl and some times I think I still am. I loved to sit on the fence. Wow, what peaceful, problemless (if there’s a word like that) existence it was. I didn’t have to worry about anyone disagreeing with me. I didn’t have to offend anyone. I didn’t have to make any explanations. I was good at being the only opinionless person. In fact, the first time I learned the meaning of the word, lukewarm I was very happy. Not too hot and not too cold. Suited me just fine. That was many years ago. Today, I have learned that there is no such word in existence (problemless and opinionlessness, I mean).

As we advance in life, several situations will always arise where we will be required to take a stand. It cannot be avoided. No matter, what sometimes, we can’t avoid offending someone because someone must be offended by our actions or inaction. If  you express an opinion that is against  someone else’s opinion then she would be offended and even if you decide not to express your opinion, someone would surely be offended by your failure to say something. Being grown up entails being able to take a stand. You must always stand for something.

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Unfortunately, it’s not possible to please everyone and taking a stand sometimes means standing alone. Your loved ones and your friends may not agree with you. What then do you do? Is there any way to avoid taking a stand? Yes there is and I am happy to announce to you that the only way to do that would be to live on an island away from civilization and other human beings. 

Those guys in the bible, you know the ones with those long difficult-to-pronounce names; Shedrach, Meshack and Abednego (BTW I’ve met ppl bearing the first two names but I’m yet to meet anyone called Abednego…hmm) those guys were really radical guys that took a stand despite the danger. I sometimes prefer to read it as a bible story and imagine that the fiery furnace was just a touch of computer graphics here and there but…it was as real as the story. What would I have done in their shoes? Hmm…your guess is as good as mine. I don’t think I would have done anything different from what you would have done. That’s where the issue of strong convictions come into play. They must have been pretty convinced about what they believed in to take such a stand. So, what do you believe in? Are your convictions strong enough for you to take a stand? If no, then I have to tell you that you are lukewarm.

It is not possible to be lukewarm or sit on the fence. In fact you will be worse off being lukewarm. Check out what I found out about being lukewarm that made me learn to take a stand kia kia! I was forced to change my mind about it when I read Rev. 3 about the lukewarm church. Mehn… I had to quickly take a stand.  The early Christians chose to take a stand even at the point of death. Most of us have never even faced a life and death situation for the sake of our faith and yet we hide what we believe. Surprisingly, it is easier to hear someone say, ‘I don’t believe that there is a God in heaven than it is to hear someone say, I believe in God.” Just for the sake of not sounding too churchy or the fear of being ostracized by our peers, we’d rather not say it. I sometimes wonder if God would be as ashamed of us as we are to admit our follower-ship  of him but then I know He is not like man and He sees things differently from us.

With the benefit of hindsight now I just laugh when I think about the dread of pressure from peers. We are always so preoccupied with thoughts of what will people say that we would rather act like them.The funny thing is that we always act like we want to be different from our peers, to stand out and accomplish great things yet when the chips are down our mouths get frozen. In fact, the only way you can distinguish yourself from others is by being different. Learn to take a stand and to take the lead. Now may be your only chance to take a stand.

Femmetotale