By Bayo Adeyinka
Life is a school from which you only graduate when you die. The greatest certificate you will get out of life is one they collect on your behalf and that is a death certificate.
1. Read Books
Read extensively. Don’t limit yourself to your course of study. A reader is a leader and you’re the sum total of the books you have read. Read about philosophy. Read about motivation. Read about leadership. Read biographies of others. Peter J. Daniels said his life was changed after he read 2,000 biographies. Read about the arts and geography. John D. Rockefeller once said people can take all his wealth but they should leave his books but within 3 years, he’ll make all the wealth back again.
Your life will be shaped by the books you have read. When you read, you develop your mind. Your mind is a terrible thing to waste. Read for about 2-3 hours everyday. You have all the time now.
2. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We don’t know everything and neither do you. We all know in part. People who change the world ask questions. They don’t flow with the status quo. Inventing any new thing starts with asking questions: why? How? Where? When? What? The man who invented the aircraft asked questions. The man who invented the vaccine for tuberculosis asked questions. Thomas Edison asked several questions before he could come up with the light bulb. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. Query things you don’t understand. Modern societies are built on asking questions and seeking answers.
3. Be Yourself
Don’t copy others. Be yourself. When you copy others, the best you can be is a photocopy.
There are too many fake people out there- don’t increase the number. Be genuine.
Don’t be bothered about peer pressure or what others think about you. It is your life. Don’t live it according to the opinion of others. It is your opinion that matters.
Don’t please others to displease yourself.
4. Surround Yourself With Who You Want To Become
Choose your circle of friends and association carefully. Show me your friend and I will tell you who you will become. Iron sharpens iron and a man sharpens the countenance of his friends.
You are a reflection of your five closest friends. Look at those who surround you: what are their values? Who are their role models? What do they like? Be careful who you associate with.
5. Have A Role Model
There must be someone you look up to. There must be someone who fires you up or inspires you.
Life cannot be lived in isolation. Be careful of the man who is self made and has no role model. Having a role model doesn’t mean you hero-worship. It doesn’t mean you adopt everything about them. Take the values you love out of their lives and adapt. Role models are not flawless. They are also human.
6. Don’t Do Drugs
Run away from drugs. Drugs affect your mental health. Once you start, it’s easy to get addicted. It becomes a life long battle except God helps you.
Substance abuse will mess you up and destroy your life. Avoid codeine, marijuana, weed, crack, hashish, ecstasy, angel dust, cocaine, heroine,metc.
7. Be Ready To Admit You Were Wrong
No one knows it all so there will be times you need to admit your ignorance.
Be open minded. Say I was wrong- it’s a magical word. Don’t be arrogant. Many people carry on in the arrogance of their ignorance.
8. Work On Your Communication Skills
Know how to write a letter. It’s one of the greatest skills you will ever need. Know how to write proper text messages. You need these skills to stay ahead of the crowd. Watch your punctuation and spelling.
Learn how to speak and listen. They are life skills that will help you.
9. Have Clear Cut Goals In Life
Ask yourself who you want to be in life.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years? In 20 years?
What kind of life do you want to live? Write your goals down very clearly and pursue them.
10. Remember God
No matter your level of achievement, remember there is the Divine.
Don’t be too busy for God.
The spiritual controls the physical and is even more real than the physical.
Spend time to pray. Spend time in communion with God. Let your spiritual values guide your work ethics and your life.
At the end of the day, life is vanity upon vanity.
Eccl 12:13: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man.
-Adeyinka gave this talk on Friday 16 December 2016 to a group of about 30 teenagers at a camp meeting organized by an NGO, Tender Hearts.