In my work as a speaker, corporate trainer and life coach, I focus on developing human potential. My aim is to help individuals and groups move beyond fear, self-doubt and limitation to achieve great success and experience a life full of purpose and meaning.
As a life coach, I call myself the Thought Dr.™ because I help clients identify destructive thoughts and replace them with empowered ones. I find that when clients start to heal their thinking, they naturally begin to change their lives for the better.
Just as anxious or pessimistic thinking hinder us at the personal level, it also hampers us in our national progress. Without a change in mindset, an individual repeats negative personal patterns. This holds true for nations as well. When we as a nation get stuck in dysfunctional cycles that undermine progress, we must become honest and look closely at our thinking. We must identify thoughts that breed poverty, permit disregard for human rights, encourage corruption and delay infrastructure development.
Here are a few key shifts in mindset that could open the doors to greater progress for Nigeria.
1. We must move from judging others to seeing the good in them.
Have you ever taken the time to watch ordinary interactions on the street or in the workplace? If you have, you have probably seen people treated as “less than” based on gender, attire, occupation, physical challenges, economic status or mode of transportation.
People who consider themselves “superior,” feel as if they are entitled to treat others rudely or dismiss them. These people are largely unaware of the way their words and actions are received. Disrespect stings and it carries a heavy cost. Not only do such judgments blind us, but they keep us from seeing the worth hidden within each person. They cause even deeper harm: judgmental attitudes, words and actions divide us. They breed anger and resentment.
Indira Gandhi captured a powerful truth when she said, “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” Why not extend our hand to others to see them and hear them, to treat them with respect? As we do, we will discover that we have been overlooking many talented individuals with ideas and skills that can help our communities grow. When we replace judgment with acceptance, we lay a foundation for bringing people together to help our nation move forward.
Affirm: I release judgment. I look for the good in people. I see what we have in common.
2. We must move from a “me-mentality” to a “we-mentality.”
Too many of us are caught in a self-centered focus on materialism. Of course, we all want to create abundance for ourselves and our families. This is natural. However, when material accumulation becomes our primary aim, we cheat ourselves. We miss out on the deep meaning that comes from connecting with a larger purpose. American President Theodore Roosevelt once told Americans, “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”
Trying to progress while leaving our Nigerian brothers and sisters behind to suffer will not work in the long run. We are all members of the same body. If there is hurt or infection in one part of the human body, the other parts of the body may function normally for a time. But the malaise will eventually spread. It will drain the energy and sense of wellness from the body as a whole.
We will build a better world when we work for our own improvement and at the same time do our part to bring others along with us. Let us begin to foster a “we-mentality” when it comes to material well-being and success. Using personal success to create opportunities for ourselves and others is not only possible, it is essential.
Affirm: I use my personal success to foster success for others.
3. We must move from cut-throat competition to healthy competition and collaboration.
Have you ever heard people wishing even praying that their competitors would fail? I have. And it saddens my spirit. Sabotage and back-stabbing produce mistrust and misfortune. We must remember that what we give out we bring back to ourselves. Why not to see the positives of competition?
Remember, “A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch and outpace (Ovid).“ When we compete in a healthy way, we naturally begin to hone our skills. Worthy rivals stimulate us to aim for higher levels of personal and professional excellence. As a basketball player, by facing players of equal or greater strength or skill, I improved my game. When they did well on the court, I had to raise my game to a new level. I watched their moves and learned valuable techniques I could adopt for myself. Players in better physical condition than I, showed me that I could increase my own strength and endurance. Healthy competition led me to greater achievement than I would have found on my own.
Viewed from this angle, competition fosters innovation and progress. Don’t curse others who are rising to excellence in your industry, offer them a silent blessing. See them as raising the bar and helping you to set your sights higher. Celebrate their achievements. Ask God to show you the joy of that comes from congratulating others on success and even participating in helping them reach it. Nigeria is a land of rich resources and immense potential. Look for ways to connect your dreams to the dreams of others so more of our brothers and sisters can improve their lives.
Affirm: I appreciate the skills of my competitors. I celebrate their success. As I compete in healthy ways, I raise my level of excellence.
4. We must move from “I can’t” to “Together we can.”
Are the challenges facing us here in Nigeria daunting? Yes, they are. They are so imposing that they make it imperative for us to join together. Rather than complaining or blaming one another for current conditions, we need to engage in solution-focused dialogue. As Robert F. Kennedy pointed out, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself. But each of us can work to change a small portion of events. In the total of all those acts, the history of this generation will be written.”
As they say, the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. If each of us will take our little steps each day, together we can journey more quickly and easily to the dreams we have for our nation.
My personal motto has become, “I do what I can with the resources I have to create positive change where I am RIGHT NOW.” This commitment is simple; it is also revolutionary. Each of us can find one issue we care about. Each of us can take a small step each day to make a difference. Just imagine what will happen if millions of Nigerians are taking one positive action every day. Let’s become the proof for a recent statement made by President Barack Obama, “Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.”
Will you commit to extending your hand and raising your voice?
Affirm: Together we can. My part in positive change is essential. I do what I can with the resources I have to make positive change RIGHT NOW.
Food For Thought
“I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
— Edward Everett Hale
Patricia G. Omoqui 2010,
All Rights Reserved
Patricia Omoqui, the Thought Dr.™, is an internationally recognized inspirational speaker, life coach and author. Patricia’s mission in life is to inspire people to move beyond fear so they can reach their full potential.
To share your thoughts about this article, please email Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her at her website: www.patriciaomoqui.com .