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BEGIN BEING: Stop Merely Dreaming; Start Seriously Being

30 Aug

Event: Youngsters Leadership Masterclass

Theme: BEGIN BEING

Venue: The Polytechnic, Ibadan

Date: Saturday, 27th August, 2016

Speaker: David O. Lawal

 

YLM

Manuscript:

DISTURBING OBSERVATIONS

 

1. Some weeks ago, I was discussing with my lovely mum. My cousin was there. The subject was my annual Excellent Youngsters Conference, the EYC. Preparing for this year’s EYC, EYC 2016, has been particularly challenging — more challenging than when we had EYC 2013, EYC 2014, and last year, EYC 2015. So, I was sharing my heart with mum.

 

When I was done talking, mum started to give some advice. Then suddenly, my cousin interrupted her with a sigh of deep concern, and said to me: “Why not forget about having the EYC this year? Next year is there. I mean, you are still young.”

 

Did he just say that I am still young? I thought for 2 to 3 seconds. Then I shot back at him, with words similar to these: “I’m still young? Wrong! You see, I read history. Many great men had started to do really great things before they turned 20. Charles Spurgeon had preached over 600 sermons before he turned 16. I am 22! Will be 23 in December. I haven’t even preached about 100 sermons yet. I’m not young. I am not very young. I refuse to think that I am young.”

 

 

Before November, God willing, we shall have EYC 2016. I dare not postpone it to next year — because I don’t think I am very young. Instead, I think I don’t have much time. My life isn’t very long. And by the grace of God, I must write books and speak at more conferences. I must make some sustainable impact on this generation before I shortly breathe my last.

 

 

I am so sad that many Nigerian youngsters don’t think or talk like that. At age 17 (plus or minus), they’re still thinking they’re too young, too small, too insignificant to begin to live their dreams and make impact. That disturbs me a lot. And I hope that no one will walk away from today’s Masterclass feeling too young to begin to make a difference.

 

2. Last week, I heard a lady say, “What I really want to do with my life is help poor and ignorant people who battle serious illnesses. I pity them so much. I believe I can use my knowledge of health to help them in some way.” Then she went on to mention some amazing things she would want to do. I was right beside her, seriously nodding my head and saying, “That’s really, really interesting.”

 

When she finished sharing her dream, I said, “That’s amazing. How about now? How do you intend to begin right now?”

 

She grinned. “Now? No o. I don’t know enough nau. I’m still learning.”

 

“You don’t need to know much. You can start in some small way. That’d certainly make some real difference,” I replied.

 

“Now, ehn —” she said, “I just like to eat, sleep, watch movies. Me, ehn, I noh like wahala o.”

 

Think about that. How many young people do you know who talk like that? And does that bother you at all? It bothers me deeply.

 

3. Almost every day, I ask my friends (offline and online): “How is your day going?” or, “How was your day?” The answer I get from teenagers most of the time is, “Boring.”

 

“Boring?” I always wonder. Then I ask: “What have you done so far today?”

 

Then they give a typical but surprising response: “After school, I played game, watched a movie, and slept. Now I’m chatting.”

 

And they’re having a boring day?! How come? How come you’re having fun and you’re still bored? Well, I don’t know.

 

But I know that I’m so disturbed by the fact that many young people today are doing nothing significant with their life — are indeed wasting their youthfulness — because they think they’re too young; because they believe they don’t know enough; because they’re having some very boring fun.

 

 

FOUNDATIONAL PHILOSOPHIES

 

Ponder these, and figure them out — you surely can figure them out. And if you pay careful attention, you’ll figure them out before I’m done talking.

 

  • Age isn’t the ultimate dividing line (in life and leadership); inaction is.
  • Sixty-Fifteen of Significance: Isaiah 60:15
  • Apostle Paul said to young Pastor Timothy: “Let no man despise thy youth, but be . . .”
  • As he thinks, so he is. If he thinks about nothing, he’s nothing! If he thinks poorly about life, he lives poorly. But if he thinks well, deeply, excellently about life, he lives an excellently deep life well. (Many young folks don’t think — beyond academic books. And they’re throwing their life away to trifles!)
  • The earlier you discover yourself, and daily improve yourself, the earlier you’ll sense success.

 

MY CONVICTION:

Kids who never walk when they are babies may never walk well the rest of their life. Likewise, young people who will not begin to seriously practice leadership right now may never attain to leadership excellence the rest of their life.

 

And what do I mean by “begin being”? I’ve already mentioned what I mean as my aim for this talk. But let me remind you.

By “begin being,” I’m not thinking about “being” as a noun. I’m not saying, “Start to exist!” You already exist. No orator can speak you into existence. In fact, God didn’t speak you into existence. He went to work on you. He created you beautifully and wonderfully to be a significant member of humanity. You now exist; you exist as God’s masterpiece.

 

But I’m thinking about “being” as a verb. I’m thinking of being as . . .

. . . having the quality,

. . . expressing the identity,

. . . possessing the nature,

. . . fulfilling the role . . .

. . . of that very significant, and very beautiful, and very wonderful individual that God has made you to be.

So, when I say, “begin being,” I’m really saying, Stop merely dreaming about how significant, and how wonderful, and how creative you can be — and start seriously being significant, start seriously being wonderful, start seriously being creative . . . no matter how young (or old) you are!

 

 

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?

Really, I don’t know what exactly you want to be. God knows best. You know better. Everyone else knows least; most people don’t even have any clue. And I don’t want you to think that you don’t know what you want to be.

And if you really don’t know, please don’t think that you can’t know what you want to be. You can. You don’t need any High Priest to tell you what it is you want to be. It doesn’t even need some technical explanations.

Know as first principle that you were designed for no greater purpose — created for no more specific purpose — than to glorify God and to be of benefit to mankind. Anything essentially different, even if you read it from a book on Purpose, is a myth.

Therefore, you can be anything you really, really want to be — so long that ambition passes these two tests:

 

  1. Will my being this glorify God?
  1. Will my being this benefit mankind?

 

And it has to pass both tests.

 

If it passes test #2 alone, then that’s not what you were designed to be.

 

But if you have an ambition in your heart that passes both tests, that’s it! Go ahead. Begin to seriously BE that writer, that speaker, that counselor — whatever — you want to be. And from today, always introduce yourself as I do: “Hello, I’m David Lawal. I am a writer, a conference speaker, and a youngsters leadership and personal development coach.” Let nothing stop you. Nothing at all.

 

 

“I MUST BEGIN BEING RIGHT NOW”

I love what Jesus said: “I must do the work of my heavenly Father while it is day, because the night comes, when no man can work.” (paraphrased)

Doesn’t that sound like: “I must be what God permits me to be NOW that I’m young, because I’m not getting younger; and as I grow older, the lesser my chance gets”?

Now, let me assume that we all want to be leaders. I may not know what exactly some of us want to be, but I know that over 90% of us want to be leaders. I’m sure that none of us dreams to be a slave. True leadership is sharing in God’s nature. It glorifies Him. It benefits mankind.

My concern for about 5 years now is that most young people merely dream about leadership. Very few seriously practice leadership. But I believe that young people — particularly teenagers — must begin to seriously practice leadership right now, once they turn 15.

 

Why? And why must you begin to be what you want to be? Let’s answer that question — for you and for me — right now.

 

You must BEGIN BEING right now because . . .

 

1. The Law of Diminishing Intent (“The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it”) is real.

My friend Muyiwa Ogagbayi believes that the Law of Diminishing Intent can be deadly. “It’s responsible for the acceptance of mediocrity, the loss of belief in one’s potential, and the loss of drive,” he once observed. The Law of Diminishing Intent is real! It crashes on many, many people. And it’s the reason we don’t have very many excellent leaders today. Many did not put in the effort to get off mum’s laps, stand on their feet, and attempt to walk the leadership walk, when they were leadership toddlers.

 

2. Once you approach age 30, you will begin to SETTLE into the most recurring pattern of your life.

What pattern of life will you want to settle into?

A life of recurring unfulfilled dreams — of thinking, “If it’s any big, then I cannot achieve it” — that limits your mind and keeps you small?

Or . . .

A life of recurring fulfilled dreams — of thinking, “If it’s too small, I won’t achieve it” — that enlarges your mind and takes you higher?

 

3. Those who’ve started become friends and partners to those who’ve started.

And from that friendship and partnership, transformational information, resources, opportunities (and so on) flow. You won’t get all those — even if you get them, you won’t value them much — until you have “begun being.”

 

4. Early starters (who never quit) shock the world.

And if you shock the world once, the world will want to hear from you again and again.

Jesus: When a teenager, He spoke — and doctors of the law were astonished. His spirit-and-life words still astonish us today.

Raymond Kurzweil: Astounded the I’ve Got A Secret TV show panelists in 1965. He designed a computer that composed music. Why he shocked the panelists? He was 17!

Youngest Rio 2016 Olympian: 13-year-old Nepalese swimmer, Guarika Singh. She won no medal in Rio. But gained media attention.

Young Pastor Ola Joseph Kolawole: News of his marriage (after 1028 days in courtship) to First Class Law graduate, Anu, on her graduation day shook the UK and Africa. 22,000+ Facebook likes and about 19,000 comments (!) to Pastor Ola’s “I Married You” post. Multiple shares and requests for republication. Friend requests. Interviews — and more interviews.

Is it now clear to you that age isn’t the ultimate dividing line (in life and leadership)? Inaction really is the limit.

 

 

 

OBSTACLES TO BEING

 

What’s holding many youngsters who want to “begin being” from actually being?

  • Shyness: The self-imposed bushel that hides the light of greatness. Lift it off!
  • Love of pleasure: Excessive and unproductive indulgence with games, movies, social media, sleep, online jokes. Redefine pleasure!
  • Doubt: Related to the fear of inexperience and inconsistency. Disregard it!

 

 

BREAKING THROUGH TO BEGIN BEING

(How to Begin Being?)

[Illustration of Afghanistan, American and Nigerian 24-year-olds: WhatsApp b/c]

 

1. Halt! Stop dreaming. Do an about-turn!

Quit leading a life of illegitimate dreams [example?] and unfulfilled dreams. There’s a life of consistent journey from fantasy to reality. Begin to lead this kind of life.

 

2. Always aim to complete “The Journey from Fantasy to Reality.”

The Talk-to-Walk Loop: Talk the talk. Walk the talk. Talk the walk. Walk the walk.

The rule is: Never stop talking as long as you keep walking; never stop walking as long as you keep talking.

 

3. Improvise courageously.

Improvisation is always a standard way to begin. (The DNA molecule model by Francis and Crick was first built with retort stands and colour cardboards.)

 

4. As you aim to be consistent, permit yourself to be consistently inconsistent until you become consistent.

Experiment. Take the baby steps. If you don’t walk now, you may never walk very excellently all your life. There are exceptions to this fact. But the exceptions are so, so few.

Understand that . . .

The question to ask isn’t: Will I be consistent?

The question to ask is: Am I willing to be consistently inconsistent until I become consistent?

 

 

*  *  *

 

On Thursday, I had the privilege to ask Pastor Ola Joseph Kolawole if he believes that starting early makes any difference. I hope that his response summarizes for you everything I’ve said thus far, and then inspire you to “begin being.” Listen to him:

Starting early is always a big plus in any venture… I started writing since I was like 8 years old. A teacher brought a group of pupils together between years 3 and 5 and formed a Press Club and I was made the editor-in-chief. That was when I started writing for people to read. (Been writing bits and pieces of short essays and articles before then. And I’ve always loved to read!)

Basically in the club, we wrote articles on centre spread leaves of notebooks and pinned them on the school’s notice board. (I remember doing a little art work to illustrate whatever I wrote on as well on the same page).

Then at age 10 (in High School), I started writing my first book (a collection of short dramas) but it got stolen somewhere along the line. At age 12, I started another book and titled it THE OVERREACHMENT (whatever that means… lol). Again, it got misplaced while I was almost done.

Then in my first year in Uni, (age 16), a friend saw a poem I wrote (which was just an ordinary poem as far as I’m concerned) … but she went on and on expressing her amazement about the crude piece. So I decided to start writing basically for her. . . . She would read and critique the things I wrote…

Then when I started reading Max Lucado books (at 17), I felt like ‘I want to start writing LIKE THIS!’ And I did start. He had a very good blend of story-telling, pun (playing on words) and fun…all with the basic element of God’s Word. So I opted for that style. And my first book was launched in 2010 (at age 19). As of today, I have 3 published hard copy books and 5 e-books. Over 150 Facebook notes… And loads of blog posts on my website. In any case, I still reckon that I’m yet to start writing and hopefully, I should start writing soon…

 

As Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” So, what makes you come alive? Go do it. That’s summarily how you can — right now —  begin to begin being.

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