Thursday, 20 October 2016

Moneywise 19: The Power of purpose and provision


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Celebrity Blogger Gbenga Dan Asabe with Nigeria Rap Act, MI 

We resumed our discussion on Moniplexes after my Mentor had shared some personal experiences with us. He suddenly fired a question at Dele. “My friend, I want you to be as frank as possible with me on this question. If you are not sincere in your answer it would be like the case of a patient who misinforms his doctor about the symptoms he noticed in his system. Of course, you can guess the outcome!

“What was your motive for coming to London? What drove you here? Was it money or the desire to realize your career goal? And let me ask you this: Assuming money is not going to be a problem again, I mean if God says He will guarantee your financial prosperity irrespective of the career you choose, would you still work with your former employer if he offered to re-absorb you?”

I was waiting for what Dele would say. My Mentor also paused, waiting for Dele’s answer. But something strange started to happen. Tears started to ‘stream down Dele’s face. He wasn’t far away from sobbing out loud. I was a bit surprised at the turn of events.
“Don’t worry. Just go ahead and pour out your heart. Allow God to do the healing”, my Mentor soothed Dele. I felt a little bit of unease myself. Eventually, Dele regained his composure, wiped off his tears and began to speak.
“Sir, I believe God is using you to address an issue of concern to me. Let me be frank with you sir. I came to London twelve years ago not to achieve any particular career aspiration. I was driven here from pressure at home—the need to make money and be able to assist my relatives. I was particularly scared that with the way things were going, I might not be able to take care of my mum before she died. I wanted to make money by all means even if it involved washing corpses, which I did for some time. But I was lucky I got a good job early enough. As my wife said, I made good money, but I was not fulfilled. I realized that I had a passion in something else other than the job I was doing. I feel more at peace with myself anytime I am behind my piano composing music. At a point, I lost interest in the job. I was not concentrating. So, I was not surprised at all that I was sacked. I saw it coming. Honestly at that point, I wanted to return to Nigeria, but I was thinking of the embarrassment I would face going home without money to do what I would like to do. I resorted to drinking and partying just to suppress the deep sense of emptiness I felt in me. What I am saying sir, is that even if I am asked to resume on a salary twice what I was earning, I won’t go. I want to do something meaningful with my life. I particularly long to go back to Nigeria”

“What dampened my spirit the more was when I saw a former Deputy Managing Director of a mortgage firm in Nigeria, engaged as a security man in a shoes shop in the United States; I also saw a few professors from top Nigerian universities doing menial jobs. Before travelling to the U.S., I had distinguished myself as business writer and reporter. I had obtained my Master’s Degree and obtained relevant training in financial journalism. I was just wondering if I was going to throwaway all my experience, all the good will I had built, bury my dream of becoming a journalist of repute and begin to work as a waiter”

 
I could read a sense of relief on Dele’s face. “Thank you for being honest with yourself”, my Mentor said. “I asked those questions for a number of reasons. Our God is a purpose-driven God. He created everybody to achieve a particular purpose while on earth. You can’t find satisfaction until you discover God’s purpose in your life and begin to pursue it with all your strength. Money cannot give you satisfaction. Your wife cannot either. Material possessions cannot answer to your true happiness. You only find satisfaction by staying in the centre of God’s assignment for your life. That is the only thing that matters in this world really”.
“I think I should ask my friend if he would not mind to share the experience he shared with me some time ago. It will throw some light on my message” he concluded as he turned to me.

I was a bit taken unawares and hesitated a bit. “Do you want me to share it on your behalf?” my Mentor asked when he notice my hesitation.
 “No”, I said, “let me share it directly”.

The Story of my story

I began my story. “I have come to realize that God uses different experiences to shape our character. Sometimes he can use pain to bring us back into the center of His will for us.
One prayer that had occupied my mind from 1992 when I joined a national news magazine as Business Editor was that God should make it possible for me to travel abroad especially the United States of America. I dreamt about it and meditated over it. The request always topped my prayer points and God answered my prayer in an interesting way. While with that magazine, I introduced a business column which was meant to satisfy my own area of interest since the magazine had a bent on general interest stories. It was a pull-out designed to focus on business reporting in an interesting way. The concept caught on immediately. Advertisers latched on to it. The section still features in the magazine.
Unknown to me, a lady at the United States Information Service (USIS) had read every edition of the pull-out and was impressed. One morning, in 1995, I got a note from this lady inviting me for a breakfast meeting. I honored it. She asked me generally about financial journalism, an area in which she said she had strong interest. I went there prepared. At the end of the chat, she asked whether I had been to the U.S before. I laughed, telling her that I had not even been to Benin Republic. We both laughed as we parted company.

“The following month, I got a hand written note from the lady, asking me to forward my curriculum vitae to her. I did. To my surprise, she sent another note three months later saying that she had forwarded my work and CV to the U.S. and was happy to announce that I had been selected to travel to the US to participate in a programme they call the International Visitors’ Programme. Words could not express my joy”.

“She asked me to forward my passport to her so she could process the visa for my trip. Unfortunately, it was a period the Nigerian passport was difficult to get. I did not have any then. I ran everywhere to secure a passport without success. By the time I got one in Abuja eventually, it was already too late for me to travel for the programme. I was demoralized but she made me a promise that as long as she was at the US Embassy in Nigeria, she would not recommend any other person for the programme until I had participated in it. She kept her promise. The following year, which was 1996, I got her invitation again. This time around I had everything I needed. So, I travelled to the United States after overcoming some difficulties with the Nigerian Immigration Service as journalists had a tough time travelling out of the country for whatever reason under the Abacha government. In April 1996, I joined twelve other individuals from around the world for a tour of the U.S. I was the· only Nigerian on the programme. It was an enthralling experience. We toured six states and visited several U.S government agencies. I had the opportunity of meeting journalists in different parts of that country. We were accommodated by many interesting families in different parts of the U.S. In all the states we visited, we were lodged in five-star hotels, all expenses borne by the U.S government. It was a life-changing experience”.
“Altogether, we spent five weeks as guests of the U.S government. However, at the end of the programme, I took a decision to stay behind to accomplish two things. One, to cool off a bit and stay away from the harsh political environment at home and, two, to see if I could get a good job to take care of my embarrassing financial position then. After the programme, I toured seven other states different from the ones we had visited. I still had some good money from what I saved from the stipend we were given by our host. I was so excited about what I was seeing and felt good with myself. Eventually, I settled down in Boston, Massachusetts, with my uncle. Then, a few things started to happen. My uncle had managed to get a job for me in a supermarket as an attendant. While in the shop one day, my eyes strayed to a book on a shelf. It was Awaken the Giant Within, by Anthony Robbins. I bought the book. It was a Friday. On Saturday, I went to a pool side to read the book. I had not read more than two chapters in the book before I began to feel some unease in my spirit. I just could not contain the insight oozing out of the book. Then suddenly, it appeared as if I heard a voice saying: ‘this is not the place of my assignment for you’. The voice echoed again and again. I could not read any further. I just stood up and went to the house. I locked myself inside the house and read more of the book as I took time to reflect on so many things.  What dampened my spirit the more was when I saw a former Deputy Managing Director of a mortgage firm in Nigeria, engaged as a security man in a shoes shop in the United States; I also saw a few professors from top Nigerian universities doing menial jobs. Before travelling to the U.S., I had distinguished myself as business writer and reporter. I had obtained my Master’s Degree and obtained relevant training in financial journalism. I was just wondering if I was going to throwaway all my experience, all the good will I had built, bury my dream of becoming a journalist of repute and begin to work as a waiter. There was a revolt inside me. And that voice came again: ‘This is not my place of assignment for you. I have a role for you in Nigeria.’
My uncle came in shortly after that and I told him without mincing words that I would be leaving for Nigeria the following week. He was shocked beyond words. I stopped going to that supermarket. We used the rest of the week to shop. And the following Saturday, he drove me to Logan Airport where I boarded a Lufthansa plane to Nigeria.
I felt a deep sense of relief when I came back to Nigeria. The following month, I resigned my appointment with the magazine where I worked and locked myself inside my room for three months just meditating and asking for direction. And the direction came. I picked a job at a national newspaper and a few years after, the privilege to join others to set up a financial newspaper from which I started another one called moneywise came. I have found fulfillment beyond what I imagined. I have travelled to many countries of the world and won an international award. I have built many quality local and international contacts that have been of tremendous value to me”. I concluded.

“That is moving. You took a bold decision. I wish you could share your story with those in Nigeria who want to travel abroad by all means”. Dele said.
“Thank you my friend, that is the message I was trying to preach to you Dele”, my Mentor intoned. “God has an assignment for every human He created. You will not find fulfillment until you locate that assignment and commit yourself to achieving it. Sometimes, God’s assignment for you can be geographical. You have to stay exactly where He wants you to stay to fulfill His assignment for you. And if you rebel, He can use pain to bring you back. Working where God has not assigned you is the fourth symptom of moniplexes. I will leave you to reflect more on the question I asked you”, my Mentor stopped again. We decided to close for the day to resume the following day. 

(Excerpts from the book: “THE MILLIONAIRES CAPSULES” by AYO AROWOLO. Read “How to know the state of your health” tomorrow on this blog)

Ayo Arowolo, Publisher The Millionaires' Capsules

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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