By Prisca Sam-Duru
Babatunde George Ojo-Olubiyo popularly known as Sri George, is a writer, inspirational speaker and a psychologist. He is the Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Sri Worlds of Inspirational and Transformational entertainment, a platform through which he helps youths and individuals realise and develop their God-given potentials to better their lives and society.
In this interview, Sri George who has over the years, sponsored, supported and organised motivational, inspirational and transformational programmes in Radio and TV stations in the country, tells us more about how he has remained committed to helping to reorganise the Nigeria educational sector with his articles, videos, mentorship workshops, etc. Excerpt:
You seem to have a lot going on, tell us how it all began; as a writer, motivational speaker?
Long ago, I wanted to be a motivational speaker, I was around 25 years and I was motivated by listening to speakers in the likes of Les Brown. I actually discovered my path one hundred percent at 26. But when I got into the business and started studying more, I discovered that beyond a motivational speaker is an inspirational person, and beyond that is a transformational person, which most people refer to as a coach because they help you get rid of habits that are limiting you, and transform you.
I have a famous quote which is “Do not pay attention to anything that does not uplift you” So as time went on, I got to the consciousness level that if I take things serious, I can transform my life and I can transform other people’s life. Then, I began to read books. I read a lot of books; I’ve lost count of how many. To add to the knowledge I was gathering through reading, I decided to understudy the former President of PMAN, Mr Bolaji Rosiji in his networking company; there, they encouraged speakers and that was where my career began. Note that I was always working with people and never worked for people.
At what point did you take to writing?
I have always been someone who writes. Right from when I was a child, I wrote poetry, I wrote about my experiences, inspirational and motivational thoughts about life, philosophy because I’m exposed to Eastern philosophy and many others. So writing has always been part of me but then I had to reconstruct it in a way that it inspires people. My works presently are mostly articles and I’m working on a book for secondary school students. The whole idea is to help them organise their minds so that when they are out of school they can materialise their desires. It’s very possible to still be in school and become millionaires. We’ve got to teach students how to make money in school. So, we are committed to teaching children how to think positively, encourage creativity and believe in themselves. These are things schools don’t teach and that’s why we have taken up the task. We started with public schools in Oyo State and we are distributing Vision Boards to help them in that regard.
How have reading and writing helped change your narratives…?
On a very high level because now, I look at things differently. They’ve helped me a lot in understanding human psychology as well as understanding Nigerian psychology. You know Nigeria has the way it works; it’s different from international way. Reading and writing have made me not just to survive but thrive in an environment where poverty is high, regardless of the opportunities that are around us in abundance.
Reading has taken me to places beyond geographical locations, it has taken me to the mars, moon. It has made me come to the realisation that everything is possible; because the people I consume their contents are people who have demonstrated results. I’m talking about Napoleon Hill, Wilson Woodrow, former president of the United States of America, etc, these people were practical. (Picks up a book) This is “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. It took Napoleon 20 years to put this book together and he studied the life of 500 of the most wealthy and successful men, the giants, he studied them as a scientist will study an object. This should be taught in schools. And then in business, reading has helped me to excel. In personal life, it has made me have sympathy and compassion for humans; it has changed my perception. The only reason I’m able to do what I’m doing today is because I’ve read somewhere that I can do it having seen someone who has demonstrated results. Reading and mentorship will help children and people do better.
Why incorporate entertainment in your mentorship programmes?
Formerly we coined our project as Inspirational entertainment because we thought that the entertainment industry has a very direct penetration into the subconscious mind of people. This is why it is embedded in our plan. So, we work with celebrities and people who are in the entertainment industry so that we can gain acceptability because Nigerians love entertainment. So, we use entertainment as a great tool to affect the minds of the people. Here in Nigeria, entertainers are seen as demigods.
So how would you rate the entertainment industry so far?
I think Nollywood is a work in progress. We must not forget that this industry was started by individuals without any support from government. There’s no proper system against piracy. I read somewhere I think on twitter where someone said that it’s only in Nigeria that you do a movie and when you have health issues, you have to beg for donations; no royalties. The music industry is trying but they need to work on content. They are polluting consciousness of people with the kind of content they have. It’s too superficial. Being a celebrity has to do with you using some kind of hypnotism. You hypnotize people, you don’t force someone to do something but the way you behave with that will make people imitate you. We need to work on the content.
You teach students practical steps to becoming successful entrepreneurs…?
That’s the core of what we do and to very Nigerian, whether you like it or not, the world has changed. There are no jobs in Nigeria and the shocking thing is that majority of the graduates are unemployable. This is no longer the industrial age where you have to build structures. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you must use technology and understand human psychology. The best thing you should understand is the psychology of the people who are going to patronise you. If you understand how you will connect with them, you will be unstoppable.
How was growing up?
I grew up in a more or less spiritual organisation. My parents practiced Eastern philosophy, what we term to be Hinduism. They were Christians before actually and they were very creative. My Dad is a very creative person so is my mum who is into Adire making. My Dad carves and draws anything. He is a self-taught artist and recently travelled to India to learn more about carving and sculpturing. In terms of creativity, I think that also made me more of a perfectionist.
That is why I don’t believe in competition, it is foolish for me, collaboration is the key.