21 Lessons I Learned In 21 Years of Living

Experience, they say, is the best teacher and I can be said to have been thoroughly tutored during my little course of study in this epic school called Life.
That being said, it isn't far-fetched to attest to the fact that I have indeed had a fair share of my own lessons as well as the trials, set-backs and rewards that come with it accordingly.

    Looking back at what I was— or rather, could have been before 26th of May, 1995 makes me wonder what life would have looked like if I was totally excused to a lacuna of solitude; all by myself with absolutely no one to bug me at all. Free. Independent. And in total oblivion to the absurdities of life. Mum's womb was a perfect definition of absolute tranquility until the gates to life swung open and the welcoming bells rang loud ushering me into a whole new dimension of what my very own existence meant.

    Life is good nonetheless. Twenty-one years is more than enough time for me to see for myself. It was actually worth coming to, I must say, and I'd do that over again if I had the power to. I'm indeed thankful for my coming into existence and today being the 21st anniversary of my setting foot on planet earth, here are the solid and cogent lessons life taught me:

Credit: Observationdeck.kinja.com

1. Here for a while, here for a reason: Earth. What a mysterious place to be. One has to wonder how and why all these even came into existence in the first place. As a pretty much little creature that I was back then, all life meant to me was to feed, play, cry, poop and then go to bed only to wake up to repeat the same cycle over again. Hmm... Sweet life, isn't it? My parents could clean up all my stinky poop for the rest of their lives for all I cared, my life was royalty and that's all that mattered. At least that was what I thought as a boy, but now I know better to realize that things are not like that anymore. Today, life means more to me than just eating, playing, crying, pooping and going to bed. If I live like that at this age and time, I'll be on the road to my own grave. The same applies to you. The very fact you have it all at your beck and call doesn't really mean it would remain that way forever. Learn to be useful to yourself . Acquire independence as an attribute before it comes down on you uninvited. If you don't learn to be useful to yourself, someone somewhere is learning how to make you useful to himself. I know you don't want that, do you? Lead a livable life for yourself now that time permits it.

Life is really short. That's one reason why you must struggle to attain fulfillment in every area of your life before you kiss this world goodbye. (and remember, kids are coming oooo)

2. Life is a journey, not a race: Nothing compares to my love for sports; nothing ever did, nothing ever will. The competition is always fun  of course especially whenever your side comes out victorious. Victory is beautiful. The ecstatic feeling is unrivaled. Life however is no sport. Everyone has his own start and stop, your pace (or lack of) is not measured in reference to another thereby having a sort of "reward" given based on the relational turn out at the end. No, whenever you compare your achievements with that of another, you unwittingly subject yourself to his very own progression thus limiting yours. The only person you should compete and compare yourself with is the person you were yesterday.

Life as a race involves being all by yourself and aiming for an illusional "finish line" while life as a journey involves learning to work together with others in order to achieve common goals....

3. Never mistake your talent for a skill: Phew! Where do I start? I had a really hard time understanding this particular subject and I must say that life gave me too many carryovers on this. I was overwhelmingly talented from a very young age in so many areas of life that I had a hard time pin-pointing where to lay my hands on and specialize. At first, it felt like I was some sort of guru or Da Vinci's reincarnate but hell no. Life was just testing me and my overfed pride didn't let me notice that. I was good at music, art (theatre and graphical), magic, soccer, athletics and so much more that I can't even remember anymore but having a talent that I could honestly say I had mastered became an inner war. I needed to avert an awful future looming ahead by getting what I truly loved, starting there and working on it because I was fast becoming a jag of all trade, mastering none at all. So I went for..... ALL! (You guessed wrong). It was as confusing as that. That was the hardest war I ever fought as a human being and trust me, it isn't fully over yet. That is why today you'd see me come here to write some posts and tomorrow I'm in the studio recording some songs for release and then later I'm back unto some Web or App developing project.... It goes on and on. At face value, I'm multi-talented, diversified or whatever but in reality, I'm without focus and if I go on like this, I could end up like the hunter who tries killing two birds with a stone and ends up losing both.

4. Never mistake a skill for a passion: In allusion to what I previously talked about,  a talent is an inborn gift that begins to surface with progression of age while a skill is a personally developed habit which in turn becomes a service that could be exchanged for money. Just about anyone can be talented but it takes absolute hard work and dedication to be skilled. That notwithstanding, one could be skilled at the wrong prospect. By "wrong" I don't refer to the profitability of the skill. Far from that, you could as well be skilled at a lucrative profession but flop abysmally while others who aren't even as good as you are excel at it. We can't be passionate about all our talents at the same time thus developing a talent you are not really passionate about into a skill would only lead you into being skilled at the wrong profession. So what motivates you into your skill acquisition? Money? Fame? Passion? I guess it's time you went to the drawing board for an inner analysis.

As Dad used to say, if money is the only driving force behind your accomplishments, you will never be satisfied. (bless his soul)

5. Times are freaking hard! "E no easy!" my countrymen would say which is an exclamation that voices out how difficult situations can be some times. Being an example myself, the early parts of this year was one hell of a time for me and my family. From financial difficulties to health challenges, name it. To top it all up, Dad passed way on February. Hard times must come, we just can't do without them. These are what defines a human being; the ability to survive amidst pain and severe challenges without giving up. One of my success coaches would tell me "If you haven't witnessed any challenges yet, you should be on your mother's bosoms suckling". That's a fact. Challenges are like pot-holes or bumps in a road journey so if you haven't galloped yet, you've barely even started at all. Unfortunately, just about too many people get entangled in these pot-holes and give up on the trip itself. There are times I felt like even dying when I got terribly bombarded with so many debilitating problems. But I'm thankful nonetheless that it all contributes to the development of a better me.

Gold, as the saying goes, passes through fire to become precious therefore you should start seeing your problems and challenges, from today, as the transition from raw matter into pure gold!

6. Carry your own cross: As crass as it may sound, it is absolutely true. Contrary to how it may seem at face value, I'm not trying to inculcate the "I don't care" attitude or any form of self-centeredness in anyone. Hell no. Please care as much you can for those you love, there's nothing better than sharing your happiness with people around you and being a helping hand. However, learn to mind your business sometimes. It makes no sense trying to please everyone around you even to the point of your own displeasure, it will only make you a miserable person. Live to express, not impress. Put yourself first before anyone else;  help, please and impress yourself first before anyone else as long as your personal pleasure is a legit and moral one. One thing is for sure: people will come in and go out of your life including the ones you love but you will always remain you, and when the time comes to be laid six feet below, you are going to your grave alone.

7. Make money, lots of it: *Sigh* sometimes I pick up a cash note and whilst examining its content, I'm totally awe-struck at how this little piece of paper could change the world so fast. That paper wields so much power in it that you could almost hear it shouting out words of command to men and they execute in no time. Money talks indeed. Every necessary amenity of life succumbs to its commanding tone. Food, shelter, clothing, education, fun, love, the list goes on and on. A man without that paper in his name must learn to endure embarrassment, insults, disdain, disloyalty and disrespect in order to pass through life in one piece. With that being said, it is necessary to do what it takes to earn a steady income when the time to face life comes knocking. Here's the catch nonetheless, as my countrymen would say, "you chop, make I chop" (you eat and I eat) in other words, try to be legit in whatever you do and make sure you do not exploit your fellow brother. It pays to be honest.

QUOTE: "Money is good for bribing yourself through the incoveniences of life" Gottfried Reinhardt (German Film producer, 1913 - 1994)

8. Make good friends, just a few: Like other organisms, we humans must get in contact with and develop fondness for like-breeds along the line. Successful people attained fulfillment as a result of the influence of the associations they made. However, there are always two sides of a coin therefore it should be noted that the type of people you roll with can either bring you to limelight or to your very own downfall. The earth is formed in such a way that everything is shaped based on the influence from and response to stimulus (which in this case refers to the motivation you draw from your peers and environment).Granted, it is absolutely unreasonable to assume the position of Santa Clause in the name making friends. The lesson here is "make friends" not "make nations" therefore just a few would do.

9. Read good books: Some battles are fought better with the pen than with swords. Garnished with some measure of experience, experiment and exposure, wonderful books have been written for the sole purpose of endowing individuals with the knowledge needed for personal development. There are health books, spiritual books, personal finance books, and so on penned down by successful  people who have undergone a series of trial and error, successes and failures; relating directly to what they address in their write-ups and these could in turn equip a reader with the right information in regards to that field. We are in the information age where those with the right information rule thus if you're quite lazy about these books, rethink...

10. Take the lead: Fear. Low self-esteem. Shame. When will these ever stop destroying our race? What could be blamed for these anomalies? Law? Environmental factor? Ego? What actually? Some days ago, I remember coming back from an outing or so and approaching my district, there was this young man lying on the roadside and breathing as though he was at the point of death. People gathered quite alright but absolutely no one raised finger to help this chap and all they could say was "Na wah o (this is serious)... this government is too bad... Is he mad? Is he possessed?" and trusting Nigerians well on that, the mob only grew larger but no helping hand still. I crossed over to get a better view of what was happening and immediately I saw him upclose, I knew he needed help urgently. I raised my voice audibly for everyone to hear me clearly, "Let's help this man nau! What if he dies?", the first reply I got was really disheartening, "If anything do am na your head e dey o" (if anything happens to him [afterwards], you'll take the blame). Without wasting any further time, I got to where he laid and with the help of my friend picked him up, carried him across so as to leave the road and all the crowd could do was follow us. After successfully taking him across and putting him on a sitting position, he begged for water which he was given immediately and that was when he began to narrate his ordeal. He was putting on this "The Lord's Chosen" apron so it added credence to the fact that he must have been coming from Ijesha (the church's HQ)... *Sigh* he was trekking from Ijesha to Abarunje but gassed out at Ejigbo... Without boring you with the rest of the sad story, the point I am trying to pass across is this: most humans are too afraid to take the lead; the first and defining action. If I hadn't taken that step, they would have probably left the guy to die there. However, that action taken prompted subsequent actions and money was donated among ourselves in order to take him home, feed him and so on. He ate there with us and was even given a takeaway to carry along, and while he boarded the bus that'd take him home, he just kept on praying and blessing until his vehicle went into vanishing point. This shows that these people are actually kindhearted and willing to help but the fear of "the unknown" inhibited their desires to take the right action to save the situation. What does this teach you? A lot of humans have goals, dreams, beliefs, plans, et cetera, but have been deterred from attaining achievement due to the disbelief, fear, low self-esteem and shame. Take the lead today, stand out, go get it like a boss would and never give way to ineffectualness.

11. Your trust is your asset: The naivety of the human brain stinks to the high heavens when this subject is in discourse. Right from the cradle stage, man has always rocked the saddle-back of false wisdom into collision course with eventual ridicule  as "wise" as we are! With all the gods, techs, intellect and information at our disposal, we are no different from forest animals easily caught in parlour-made traps. Point is, we trust too easily. Even the most paranoid of us all fall for the cheapest of schemes. Oftentimes blinded by emotions and sentiment, man alters every principle guiding commonsense in the course of satisfying a sort of personal lust or greed which in turn gets capitalized on and boomerangs. Your trust is gold, refined gold at that, thus treat it as you'd treat gold if you have one. It's ok to have your reservations about everything; get paranoid sometimes, listen to your intuition (your gut feeling is usually right 90% of the time), be versed in whatever you want to get yourself into and never allow sentiments, emotions or personal greed come in the way of proper thinking. Even the Devil disguises himself as an angel of light, says Paul in the Bible. Be very observant of everything you see around you and take note of all. You just don't know when every detail will come in handy.

12. Keep your mouth shut! Oh yeah! This is my favourite part. Hello there, please shut the hell up! We know you know it all, just shut it there, please! A leaking mouth deserves no food, my brother would say. A loose tongue can never become successful. The mouth is the exit door your brain takes to pee thus it shouldn't be open always. (hello grandma lol) There are those who find it difficult to contain awareness, knowledge, excitement and so on. Learn the art of  keeping secrets. Be discreet. No one wants to be associated with a blabber mouth. No one makes more enemies than these type of people. Learn to keep your mouth shut please... That's all I have to say on that.

13. Help yourself 'cos no one will: Oh yes, no one ever will. In a world where only the fittest survive, you are constantly exposed to hard times where you are all by yourself with absolutely no shoulder to lean on, it is no surprise that no one really gives a rat arse about what you eat, where you sleep and so on. Everyone has an individual war or problem he is looking out to conquer thus the last thing anyone wants is an addition to his own problems. The worst evil you can possibly do to yourself is to place your hopes on anyone at all for anything. Be your sole provider, be your own boss, be your own helper and you'll have absolutely nothing to worry about. When you are the source of your own joy, there'll be no one to be disappointed over. At the long run, you'd realize that everyone is just after his own pocket and nothing really much about you so wise up!

14. Think think think: It's a known fact that the world is ruled by those who think. Look around you, everything evolves around those who have a sufficient measure of intellectual energy to run the world. Napoleon Hill wrote "Think and grow rich" and at first glance the world thought he was nuts. It would shock you to know that even Bill Gate pays people to brainstorm for him. The ability to absorb, insinuate, plan and implement is what distinguishes us from other animals. Don't just sit there like some couch potato day dreaming about seeing a hundred million bucks on the ground while strolling across the streets and believe you are a thinker. Being a thinker involves gathering positive mental pictures from a realistic viewpoint and then working out exactly how you intend to bring that picture into real life. This brings us to the next lesson:

15. Set your goals right: "A man without a goal is a goat" So the saying goes. Every tech, every industry, every firm and every successful innovation or investment today exists as a result of pre-meditated, pre-planned and pre-scheduled goals brought into reality. There are no genees or wishing lamps that'll grant your wishes or flying carpets that'll take you places; you alone wield the power to transform your life from grass to grace (or the reverse thereof). Learn from your mentors (get one is you have none), research their methods, discover your passion, set your goals and work towards it. Here where I live, there's a proverb that says "Every hustler has a pay day", which means no matter how long or how tedious it may be, your pesistence will surely bring you to the doorpost of your fulfillment.

QUOTE: Year by year we are becoming better equipped to accomplish the things we strive for. but what are we actually striving for? Bertrand de Jouvenel (French political scientist, economist and journalist, 1903 - 1987)

16. No excuses: "The rich make money while the poor make excuses". There's always a way out to save yourself from taking the blame for your undoing. My parents caused it. My friends caused it. Oh that witch in the village did it.  My boss is too sussy for me. My spouse is too demanding. Oh please, enough already! These are excuses failures make. Real men and women own up to their actions, learn from them and move on thus making his misfortune a stepping stone. Why waste such mental energy concocting what next excuse to come up with when you could as well direct the same energy towards developing yourself from that very mistake. No man is immune to set backs. As a matter of fact, mistakes are mere stones; our individual response to them determine what they become to us: Steppingstones or stumbling blocks.

17. Creativity rules: A huge thank you to those guys who in their silent times thought over and then invented all the things we now enjoy. It wouldn't have been possible if these people to maintain the status quo of their time. Their desire to bring their imaginations into real life changed the world for good. Look at Computer and what it has done for humans during the course of history. Look at the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, copy and paste, e.t.c. They couldn't have been possible if not for their ability to come up with a unique concept and work towards it despite various criticisms. Enough of reinventing the wheels, get creative, be unique and make yourself stand out; shock the world if that's what it takes, don't let criticism mitigate your desires and dreams

18. That little distraction called "opposite sex": *Shakes head* It's really crazy how people fall in "love" these days. You've barely achieved anything in life and all you can really think about is some fine-skinned belle walking around in blonde with some skin-tight attire showing off one hell of a cleavage looking so well like Nicki Minaj. Or wait, his husky baritone seems to take you to wonderland whenever this tall, bearded macho beau walks down the street with the gait of Chris Hemsworth. Humans are really hard to decode actually but it's fun all the same. You barely have the time and financial capacity to fend for yourself alone let alone affording another additional expense to your budget and list of worries. My lecturer once defined love as "...a misunderstanding between two fools" and I kinda agree with that. The human race is knee-deep in sheer folly; not just the regular folly but a sweet kind of foolishness. A necessary evil, they say. But it is nonetheless worth noting there isn't anything more distracting to one's personal success than his inability to control his quest for emotional satisfaction. As a matter of fact, your emotions are oftentimes in direct contrast to commonsense and reason, which are the paramount ingredient necessary for competent decision making... Don't get me wrong however, love is a beautiful thing and shouldn't be discouraged at all. But if you want a life of absolute focus and dedication without necessarily hurting people's feelings, emotional satisfaction shouldn't be a priority until certain level of fulfillment. However, if it is your goal to reach satisfaction in your love life whilst aiming for fulfillment, good luck with that; whatever rocks your boat.

19. Ideology, Discipline and Principle: A lexicon I once read defines conscience as the element in a personality that prompts an individual to act in harmony to what he believes to be right. So there we have it: what is "right"? What are the morals, doctrines and principles that shape your etiquette? From the craddle stage, man begins to make meaning of his surrounding based on his interpretation of what he sees happening and the control given to him by his guardian. No one is disciplined by default, it is learned and practised. The transition of the little human into adulthood is followed by series of experiences that guide him all through his lifetime. Having said that, it is noteworthy that the key factor behind the social development of our society today (or lack of) is as a result of the general approach towards collective attempts to set standards from which regulations are enacted. It is usually very difficult when one lacks a sufficient measure of independence of judgement and self-discipline but that notwithstanding, it an achieveable feat. Like I said earlier, read a lot of good books and have your understanding shaped into the right form because it is from our understanding words form, and in turn, actions, habits, character and destiny follow. Clearly, your destiny is shaped from your prevalent understanding of life and purpose. How then is the understanding shaped? Simple. Information. Your understanding is shaped from the nature of information you feed your mind with. This means in essense that constant exposure to the wrong information will give your life a bad direction and thus a bad destiny.

20. Never forget your roots: Seriously, I hope you weren't expecting the "when you make am, no forget your boy" (when you make it, don't forget your friend) yarn? Ha, hell no! You had better hustle hard and stop thinking like that already 'cos no one gives two f*%ks about you. When I say "roots" I mean your home, your origin. As a Nigerian, I can authoritatively tell you that if you don't know where you originate, you are lost. Every tree has a root, so do you. If Dad and Mum haven't told you yet, it's time you asked them. If they are not around anymore, well, it's not the end of the world, give yourself a root. In all things, just need where you can fall back to when the need and time comes..... For real!

21. Enjoy life to the fullest: Lastly and most importantly, the only person in the world that deserves your pampering, petting and spoiling is you. You came to this life to enjoy every moment, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's your world, flex it to the last, "chop" life well, make money, spend money, travel far and wide, and never give way to heart-break, recentment, hate, envy or disappointment, life is too short for that. You've been betrayed before? Let it off, move on.. Remember what I said earlier, when time comes to be laid six feet below, you are going to your grave alone ooo.

QUOTE: Grief and disappointment give rise to anger, anger to envy,envy to malice, and maliceto grief, till the whole cirle be completed. David Hume (Scottish philosopher and historian, 1711 - 1776) 

    In conclusion, there is no telling what next life may throw at me, but what's certain is that I'm in for some more lessons and real suspense in the years ahead, and hoping for the gift of life, next year will be another page of testimonies to what experience, the best teacher, has on the chalkboard. But for now, do have a great week ahead and I hope you had a wonderful time reading my little blabbing up there. Stay blessed and all the best...

Happy birthday Kriss!


  1. Nice write up and happy birthday Chris

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks a lot bro, hope you gained a lot from it?

  3. Really enjoyed reading this! I was hooked till the end. Happy happy birthday to you.

    1. Thanks a lot, pardon my late reply, I'm really glad you liked it.

  4. Beautiful Post... Seems I have seen you on nairaland before.

    1. Thanks a lot bro... I'm Reiyvinn on NL, you?

  5. Wow! This is one of the best posts I've ever read all my life!

  6. I guess if I read everything now there would be nothing to read again... Amma read it small small