Life Mastery, Mystery

Vanity of Vanities

“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” Viktor E. Frankl, Austrian Neurologist, Survivor of the Holocaust & Author of Man’s Search for Meaning.
After years of much learning through observation, research and experimentation, the wisest king who ever lived made a simple yet troubling conclusion on life: “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12:8). Unlike Frankl, this is not the musings of a suffering sage, this is the wisdom of a pleasure-seeking monarch. Solomon lived in a time of peace and he gave expression to whatever desire he had. Apart from being the king of Israel, he built such an impeccable organization that drew the attention of distant civilizations, that came en masse to witness the rarity of his intelligence, and his palace became a museum of sort for political excursions.
Hence, it is neither poverty nor fatality that made Solomon to pen this brutally candid treatise on the meaninglessness that chokes all of life and sucks out any kind of enduring pleasure or fulfilment in it. This was a man in his right senses. Fully engaged in the business of steering a kingdom and perhaps producing blueprints for political advancement, yet his innermost being could not dismiss a deep-seated dissatisfaction he had with life.
Vanity or meaninglessness is an inescapable reality that challenges your experience of life, regardless of your position, status, education, religion, race, culture etc. It seems to me that once you are born into this world, the question of meaning begins to confront you at some point in life and it never leaves you until you settle it. Usually, when this inner craving for meaning begins, we misrepresent it as a desire for something we don’t have like a job, house, car, spouse, children, vacation, wealth, position, education, status and so on.
Your experience of life by now, should have proven you wrong except that you will not learn that lesson with one or a few instances in your own experience. You will maintain that you are feeling like that because there is something else that you don’t have. And when you get that thing, you will be excited! Your dream is coming to pass. But “…oh no, the feeling is back!” The dream becomes a nightmare. “Why am I feeling like this in spite of having ‘this and that’?
You feel like that because you think the things you get in life (as listed previously) are the producers of joy and fulfilment (the two key indicators of meaning/purpose). Even as beautiful as positive relationships can be (which happens to be more satisfactory than personal achievements), that in themselves cannot clear the dark cloud of vanity that rests forcefully on the human spirit. There is something beyond this cloud, beyond this darkness that has the answer to the persistent tugging upon your heart, the struggle to understand life, even your own life, and perhaps to reconcile the paradoxes of life.
What is that thing?
Light. Not just enlightenment but divine illumination. The human soul has great potentialities and it does get some glimmers of light every once in a while. But the problem with that is, this light is not sufficient to clear the cloud of uncertainty and vanity off of your spirit. These kinds of lights are lights that helps you to make sense of life within the status quo or larger context of darkness. That’s like having a lit candle or torchlight to see your way in the house at night when there is no electricity. If there is power supply, then in the context of the house, there is no darkness, but what about outside the house? Even with the streetlights and all the lighting systems of modern and postmodern civilization, they do not deal with the larger darkness. They only take care of the immediate need for sight (vision) but does not change the night to day.
Philosophers, psychologists and scientists generally have some good things to say and have made great contributions to the experience of life but you must know that this is offering a little light in the larger context of darkness. Although, with these great disciplines, man has discovered a lot about himself and his environment, yet he has not resolved the mystery of his reason for being. The questions of “Who am I?” (identity), “Why am I here?” (purpose), “Where am I going?” (destiny) are questions that require a penetrating illumination from above the cloud of vanity that buffets man. When this illumination occurs, there is a link between heaven and earth, and a privileged “trafficking” will commence that totally shorts out the “vanity of vanities” that afflict mankind. The only thing that has penetrated this globalized sense of meaninglessness, and has pierced the unfortunate cloud of vanity upon humanity is the cross.
The cross of Jesus Christ, creating a permanent vertical link between you and heaven, that horizontally (instantly) goes into your past to deal with the hurts, painful memories, sufferings and adversity, removing its sting and poison from afflicting you in the present, and charts a course of destiny ahead of you that does not only meet your expectations but exceeds your longing for joy, fulfilment and purposefulness.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

Picture Credit: grantcardone tv

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Encouragement, Life Mastery, Personal Growth

Creating your own Personal Economy in the Midst of the Current World Situation

Times are NOT tough!

Most people will rather be realistic about general economic trends and conditions that are actually quite gloomy, but neglect their own personal economies, which function by the law of their own thinking, not the issues of the world situation. 

There are always 2 economies in any given time in the world situation: 

(1.) Personal Economy 

(2.) National/General Economy

What is a Personal Economy?

This is a state of profitability (or lack of) arising from thoughts of progress, matched with intentional plans, to create the “intensity of focus” required to breakthrough all odds and achieve the desired experience.

What is a National/General Economy?

Mostly, it is an aggregate of all personal economies. Most people are pessimists, and realistically so. They insist that they are simply telling the truth. Hence, whole economies of nations are an aggregation of that poor version of truth.

A nation is an abstract entity until it makes its people responsible for their own lives. And by the way, that includes those in government. Input must be equal to (or at least commensurate to) output or else the unfair exchange being created by many government officials (especially in Africa), will keep the people at an unfortunately low level of industrial creativity, and moral production of values, required to uplift it to a place of contribution, among the committee of nations. 

The mentality that perpetuates poverty

Getting something for nothing is a good way to make a nation bankrupt in due time. This mentality is the menace that has imprisoned many African leaders and their people. The quality of leader(s) a nation has may be a divine assessment of the general condition of the people. Hence, the prevailing negative behaviour of the people is usually the poverty of virtues they have to deal with in their leader. 

Now, the leaders are already there. What can you really do about it? With the mammoth problems facing most African nations, the best response is not a protest because that in itself is self-defeating. Energy is misdirected when you “protest” rather than “process” the issues on a personal level, so that you can ask questions that can save you from the common consequences for irresponsibility that confronts the “unthinking” masses.

The only proactive solution is to turn inward and deal with your inward poverty. Your goal is NOT to transform your nation; your goal is to transform yourself. When you become prosperous inwardly, then there is hope for those in your circle of influence and eventually your nation. 

“Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” (Job 38:36)

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord , searching all the inward parts of the belly (Proverbs 20:27)

Wisdom has been providentially kept in the inward parts, and it is the spirit of man that is enlightened by God, that can search it out. This is essentially the wisdom to discern the Truth (Psalm 51:6, John 14:6, 18:37-38).

Your personal economy is your personal responsibility, and does not require any government legislation to prosper. The only necessary legislation is that of your mind.

Your prevailing thought is a law to your being

Under God, you can pass a law of prosperity in the province of your affairs and no external circumstance can violate such a clear principle, as long as you hold it sacrosanct. Living within the eternal principles of God is a sure way of gaining and retaining such a mastery of life’s affairs. He has supreme and unchallengeable authority over all things, and He has given man the privilege to share that authority, within a given term of reference, to put the earth in a continuous state of order and prosperity.

He has made all things to produce after its kind, even you. So, you can only produce after the kind of thinking that has gained ascendancy in your mind. Every organization will produce after the kind of people who work to make it functional. Which means, the aggregate thought of the people at work in an organization will likely determine its productivity and profitability.

Yet, there is a critical thought to consider: a single rotten apple in a basket of fresh ones is enough to make the others rotten in due time. So, we see that one person with a consistent thought of ill will toward an organization may cause some damages to it, unless there is a deliberate crossing of positive thought from others, that does not relent in seeking the good of the group. And yet, we may discover that the company only breaks through, when the unrelenting positive thinking finally withdraws the negative person from the team. 

Thoughts cannot be seen, but they are important. Every one you see is a moving mass of thought, which is potential energy to create any experience in line with the charge of that thought – positive or negative

Discovering your Personal Economy

Personal Economy deals with the amount of inner prosperity required of anyone to realize their potential, to cultivate relationships, and to serve their generation. This is what it means to fulfill destiny. And there are two main factors for gaining inward prosperity:

(1.) Know the Creator (2.) Know thyself

Just like it will be child’s play for you to think that you know a product more than the manufacturer, it is child’s play INDEED for anyone to think he can know himself without knowing the Creator. Yes, sometimes people can know somethings about themselves without knowing the Creator. But that is based on the residual knowledge available in every human soul. 

That residual knowledge is not sufficient to produce that inward prosperity required to create a formidable Personal Economy. In fact, let me be honest with you, that residual knowledge is actually there to keep you panting/asking for answers to the questions of life: Questions of Origin, Meaning, Morality and Destiny* are the deepest questions anyone can ask. 

This is not a matter of religion; it is a matter of life. To have the necessary inward prosperity to master your life and to serve your generation, you need to answer the nagging questions of your heart. Before you can completely find yourself, you must find God. When you find Him, He will calm the ragging storm of your soul, and you can begin to live from inside out. That is when you are ready to build your own Personal Economy, which will be robust and formidable enough to thrive, irrespective of the prevailing global economic conditions. 

* Ravi Zacharias

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

Picture credit: HSBC Premier, Emilys quotes

faith, Life Mastery, Personal Growth

Ephesians 2:10

Good works are the works already done by God. Any work that is not done by God is not good and it will not bring glory to God. God has done all the works He needs to do and He has rested from His labours. It is now time for me to discern the LORD and the portion of what He has done that He intends/plans to materially fulfill through me.

Revelation is the means by which I can discover what God has done and is ready to physically implement or manifest in the world. Rest is the condition necessary for me to receive this crucial revelation of His purposes for my life and generation.

Rest is a state of calm, serenity and security. if I will tap consistently into the mind of God, I must be secured in the love of God for me. I must be so secured that there will be no basis for comparisons – comparing myself with other sons of the kingdom.

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That’s why I must never boast. Not of works lest any man should boast. It is just by grace! I don’t determine what I become in God; He decides. He chooses me (and that is what it means to be predestined) to carry out an aspect of His plans and He simply channels His thoughts, ideas and all the raw materials required to produce physically what God has already done in the Spirit.

Picture credit: biblia.com & agodman.com

Life Mastery, Personal Growth

Decision determines destiny

It is part of life to make decisions.
That simply implies acceptance and/or rejection of certain things, facts, elements, actions, reactions etcetera.

This we do everyday…this we have to do everyday…until we either arrive in destiny or become totally lost, away from the possibilities of purpose.

The opportunities available to us tomorrow are really contingent on our decisions today.

Every true decision must be followed with action. If you decide to be great, you will be, as long as you follow the ramifications (or requirements) of your decision.

Follow through…don’t drop out! From decision to destiny, it’s not a bed of roses. It takes a lot of action and diligence to show commitment to your chosen path. It takes a compelling vision and passion to push through all the bumps on the road to actualization.

If a dream means anything to you, you will follow through. You will not accept the connivance of unfavourable circumstances against your dream.

Remember, your dream represents a decision; a decison to pursue an ideal against all current odds, to ensure that what has been formed in your spirit becomes a fact in your experience.

Decide today what will form the object of your pursuit for the rest of your life. Of which its actualization is a showcase of your great destiny.

@olamidespeaks
TheExcellenceActivator

Life Mastery, Personal Growth, Work

Excellence

It begins with the arrangement of thoughts.

Arranging your thoughts in a particular sequence is what develops habits, skills and possibilities which ultimately leads to genius. There is really nothing like success or failure; everything is result and result is feedback.

There is nothing mysterious about where you are today.

Mysteries are usually ideas/realities that have eluded common thought. Even when man is unable to comprehend a matter, that does not make it incomprehensible. The only problem is the arrangement of thoughts…the habits of thinking we’ve been used to which can only deliver results at a certain level.

The point we are making here is this:

Result is basically arrangement of thoughts. One person is not getting ahead in life because he knows not how to boycott a life time of undesirable results.

“The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.” Ecclesiastes 10:15

He actually has a strategy for continuous exploits except that it’s in the outcome that creates pain not pleasure. He knows what he doesn’t want and he is quite apt at repeating the experience. He may even know what he wants in life but his ongoing affair with what he doesn’t want leaves him with little or no energy to create his desired outcome in his mind in order to pursue it with his goals and activities.

in order to create excellence, you must

1. Know yourself.

2. know what you have and where you are currently.

3. Know what you want and where you are going.

4. Take out everything (that is) out of the focus created by the first three points.

5. Keep at it…

6. …until your thoughts are immersed in your desired outcome.

7.Then you’ll see yourself attracting opportunities to fulfill your destiny.

That is genius!

Deciding where you want to go beforehand…

…enlisting your subconscious mind in that outcome by making it the predominant thought in your intelligence system…

…and doing ONLY the things that will take you forward in that direction until you are established as a master in that arena of contribution.

By that time, your thoughts are so arranged in a pattern that guarantees repeated mastery.

That is excellence!

Encouragement, Life Mastery, Reflections

How to handle grief

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Life is in seasons. Seasons are interspersed with events, opportunities and eventualities. We must learn to manage them as they come, especially the eventualities, but if we insist then experience (that second rate teacher) will have to take over from wisdom.

We all, most likely, have had to experience the passing of some one in our lives. Close friends, colleagues at work, family members and relatives! Usually, it is the strength of the bond that determines the depth of pain. What is a passing sorrow for one is understandably a searing agony for another.

But how do we handle these unceremonious moments? Its undesirability does not put us in the mood to prepare for it yet it beckons with expectation on our reaction. These are a few things I think we can do in trying moments like these:

1. Don’t hold back your grief.

While it might look mature to deny the deep pain you feel for your loss, it is quite immortal to mourn. It certainly will not raise the dead, but it will release the pain in your heart. And remember you are not really crying for the dead, you are actually mourning your own unpreparedness for death.

2. Next, channel your grief to refocus your life.

Usually, it is an opportunity for you to remember what is really important in life. No matter how strong you are, in moments like these, you are forced to rethink some of your ideals.

Use the emotional momentum that builds in your mind to move your life in the direction that counts for now and generations to come. Questions like “what will you be remembered for?” may sound archaic but it gets a new lease of life when you are not just philosophizing…when you seem to be summoned to give a compelling reason to Heaven’s Tribunal on why you should live for one more day!

3. Then, learn to stop grieving!

It can’t get simpler than that. Purpose is a perspective that never gets outdated. There is time for everything, the Preacher says. When it’s time to grieve, grieve. When it’s time to stop, please stop.
Apart from the fact that life didn’t come to a standstill for others… actually, you can’t grieve indefinitely. Whereas you might now be characterized with a special seriousness with life and living only for what matters, you must henceforth plug yourself into a mission that will outlive you.

You need to reap the fruit of wisdom at some point after every season of pain or else the pain will be an abuse on your mind.

Living your life to the full henceforth is not only a remedy for a past full of uninspiring activities but the remedial that compensates for the painful loss of a dear one.

– Written by Olamide OPEYEMI @olamidespeaks