By Japhet Davidson
Adetunbi Owolabi is a Nigeria-born realtor, entrepreneur, global leader, visionary and author. He is also the founder of Adetunbi Owo & Co- Real Estate and Construction Company and President of the International Youth Organization for Peace and Sustainability. A versatile young man whose mission is to promote positive philosophy of leadership and power of the people, Adetunbi, in this interview, shares his life experiences which motivated his new book, “Why Life Is So Hard”:
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up from a broken home and poor background in a country as ours was a tough experience and still one because it takes a lot to put your life together. It is not a nightmare anymore because my story won’t be the first or last, as terrible as my experience growing up was, there are people having it worse than I did, but the most important thing I would always tell people is don’t let your background or society break you, don’t let it decide your journey or future because there is a lot out there for those who are ready to go for it irrespective of your background or situation.
How has it shaped you into the man you are today?
Honestly, I would say experience is the best teacher of life, and there is no better investment than life experience, it takes experience to be anything one wants to become in life. The strength that I have today, the knowledge and understanding I share today was influenced due to my past and present experiences, either good or bad, experience helps in every individual growth if we are very conscious.
You just published your first book, “Why Life Is So Hard”. What inspired it?
Frankly speaking, life and my society inspired my book “Why Life Is So Hard” The title of my book is a question a lot of people would need an answer to which I was able to work on giving answers to all those unending questions. Growing up and getting to this level of life experience and understanding, I could categorically state that there are some situations in life that we human beings can’t control, you can only manage and live through it with understanding because we happen to live in a world of uncertainties and unending change.
Do you think being born and raised in a country like Nigeria already puts people at a disadvantage?
Certainly yes. Nigeria is an underdeveloped nation. We still have a long way to go before we can be on the same standard that gives an advantage to people born in developed nations.
How can Nigerians in Nigeria make their lives better and easier?
This is one of the important reasons I did work on my book titled Why Life Is So Hard, this is a question that needs a well-detailed answer which I have provided in my book. The book is in two parts, first part talks about why life is hard and ways to manage life’s hardship. The second part talks about a sustainable process to a successful life, the book will be available worldwide from April 4th.
How do you define success?
Well, my definition of success is quite simple. Success is not the amount of money you have in your account it is not just about how many businesses you have built. It is about every level you unlock and conquer in life. Life is a process with levels and stages, and for every level, you have achieved success. People have been successful in many ways in life without them knowing because they focus only on the big picture and it is celebrating your pace and small wins that lead to big wins but it is so sad today that a lot of people just want to found themselves doing those big things in life without going through the due life process.
As a young person, what principles would you say is universal for success?
You need to understand life and the society you live in, know what you want out of life, learn and seek what it takes to achieve that, surround yourself with right-minded people, this process always takes longer than people want which is why people get tired and fall out because of lack of understanding, it can be a long, lonely and very difficult process but opportunities and success in life always mix with difficulties. We also need to learn to network and connect with people, expose yourself to a different culture, minds, and places, all these are necessities that contribute to success, share your thoughts with people, connect with people that fall in line with your direction and mission which will help you in those lonely, long and difficult journeys.
Do you think the absence of this knowledge is what has given rise to mental health issues?
Absolutely yes in most cases.
You sound like a motivational speaker
No, I am not a motivational speaker, it is like calling A pastor or Imam who tries to help his or her members through life with religion a motivational speaker, they are leaders which is what I am. I am a Realtor, Author and a concerned youth leader who sees lots of gap in his society that needs to be filled and decides to play his role by contributing to help people in their mental state and confusion. It is with my burning desire to help as many as possible in my country, Africa and our world through life journey from the reality of things, experience and understanding, we all need one another to live a better life which is why I was inspired to work on my book titled Why Life Is So Hard
Many say Nigeria is only an incubator of dreams, do you believe so?
I don’t believe so, this is based on perspective and it is understandable because we live in a society with leaders who doesn’t care about the people, leaders who are meant to be serving the people are serving themselves and family, and this is the only problem that makes Nigerians see Nigeria as an incubator of dreams. But when you are in a society and you know the challenges of that society, you are only expected to think beyond those challenges, think outside the box because in challenges, there are opportunities if you are ready to learn and go for them. let me remind us that in this same country and system, people are living and achieving their dreams with a legit approach and ways. We Africans rely need to learn and be more reliance on ourselves, we need to be more innovative and creative which will help us all because it takes both the government and its people to build a nation.
What do you think we need to do as a people to change this notion?
First, we need to fix our mindset, stop consuming too much negativity, there as to be a re-orientation, we need to see life with so much positivity irrespective of the situation or bad society, until we are able to do this, we won’t be able to learn how to source for the opportunities and help needed to achieve our dreams and successes in life, invest positively in yourself. With social media presence today, it is so powerful that it can build you and at the same time destroy you, it depends on how you use it and what you spend your time-consuming.
What do you think young people need to do to live a productive and fulfilling life?
I would say young people need to accept their reality especially Nigerians in Nigeria, you need yourself a lot, we need to take control of ourselves and have a high level of understanding and perseverance based on the society we found ourselves. There are these factors most young youths doesn’t understand, knowing what they need from what they want, staying away from unhealthy competition and peer pressure which is most common today, this has led many lives into unnecessary pressure abs depression making life so hard for them, making people abandon and ignore the journey of positive productivity and fulfillment. We need to learn to stay true to ourselves, set goals and understand why you are setting those goals, have plans, and work our plans with a lot and a lot of Patience because life hits sometimes can make you want to disappear from the face of earth. Other important things are Focus and Diligence, there are too much negligences and mismanagement in our society which is so alarming, Consistency and unending learning are also key factors to a productive and fulfilling life.
How do you think the global pandemic has changed Real Estate in Nigeria?
The pandemic has affected lives and business productivity in most sectors. Some have the capacity to withstand the shocks. The telecommunications sector, for instance, has been the bright spot during the pandemic as business owners and individuals rely on technology for meetings and milestone celebrations. Sectors like real estate are among the affected industry, though this sector has been faced with difficulties since the 2015 recession, the sector has suffered both demand and supply challenges since then and now the pandemic even when we are not out of recession. We have been forced to adjust to the situation which is what business is about when found in a difficult situation, you leverage on those challenges and by that, we are operating with our momentum using all available sustainable options between homeowners, developers, and consumers.