Category Archives: Lifestyle

Start the year with Alikoto Clothing!

Christmas is over… everything is back to normal. I don’t get suffocated in traffics like the days preceding the holidays. Yeah… I hate traffic… both vehicular and human. I doubt if there is anyone out there who cherishes them but you never know because we are all different.

Before the holidays, people went shopping for clothes, shoes, bags and any other thing you can possibly think of. I got myself some African shirts. Oh yeah, I love African shirts, shoes, bags, sandals and anything made in Africa by an African since they are unique, simple and define me better. I have been a fan of African dresses ever since I was born. Why? Because my parents made me wear them all the time and I am more proud of them for that. I have come to love African dresses and I know the best from the rest when I see them.

“The finest clothing made is a person’s skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this,” said Mark Twain. I always tell people that a person’s self-esteem is sometimes directly proportional to the clothes he wears. As I was shopping before the holidays, I saw samples of the dresses of Alikoto Clothing online. They are on facebook, twitter and tumblr. Seeing an item online is different from seeing it in person so I called and booked an appointment. Nothing comes close to the service and hospitality they deliver when you call them.

I saw the clothes… different designs, different colors, different shades and different sizes. Gentlemen, you are going to be surprised by how unique these shirts are. The quality and naturalness are unrivaled.

Let me state five reasons why I love them:

  • They are 100% natural be them cotton, nylon, silk or polyester.
  • They are comfortable.
  • They are reasonably priced.
  • They look very hip.
  • They can be washed with the hand or machine.

I must say that Alikoto clothing connotes uniqueness, quality and timeless beauty. I am covered for the first quarter of the New Year. I will surely go back for more as they keep on making new and cool dresses for men and women. Did I tell you that, I got compliments from a lot of ladies when I wore one to church on Christmas Day? I was the envy of most of the guys.

Alikoto Clothing can be found on facebook, twitter and tumblr. Talk about a clothing line that’s also tech-savvy and loves social media. You can also call them on (233) 269-138-021. As I celebrate the New Year, I am going to do that in style…… thanks to Alikoto Clothing. Don’t be left out, guys!

“Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.”  – Epictetus

NO ADMITTANCE? I didn’t see that!

That's the spirit!

Research, work, writing…. it has been a very busy moment in my life and I love it because I always want to be on the move. I was reading last night and a story touched my heart and mind. I decided to share and then say a thing or two that got me thinking.
Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert.  After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked “NO ADMITTANCE.”

When the houselights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.
In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his
left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obbligato.

Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. And the audience was mesmerized.

The first question that comes to mind is……. Can you be like this mother? Do you encourage people to be the best or you drag them down? Are you jealous when people are making it? If you are then I have bad news for you….. no matter how much you dress jealousy up, it isn’t cute. Most of us always criticize instead of building and inspiring others. We got the negative mentality more than the positive. I always ask people why they think negative before positive.  Dad: “Kofi, I want you to give a speech on my birthday.” Kofi then starts thinking, “What if I make a mistake? What if I gbaa?” The positive leaves his mind instantly. Instead of thinking, “I have to make the best of this situation and make daddy proud of me.”

The woman could have discouraged the son easily. “You suck at that. Put the piano down and go and play football.” She didn’t do that. She wanted to rather inspire the son. There are people in your life who need a little inspiration or motivation. Yes….they do! You may not know but when you say something nice to someone, it helps make their day.  A simple smile makes people’s day. Learn to show happiness because it is contagious.

Another golden nugget in this story is that, the boy also never gave up. He ignored the “NO ADMITTANCE” sign and moved on. He didn’t let what was written scare him from exploring. It was his zeal…. his passion to play the piano. That enthusiasm urged him to go past the sign. The “NO ADMITTANCE” sign represents stumbling blocks in our lives. We face them all the time. Yes we do! It is up to us to make good use of them. While others use the blocks as stepping stones, many of us hit the blocks and retreat. If you really want to be great, ignore the “NO ADMITTANCE” in your life. They come in varied forms. It could be someone’s words. “You can’t do this. You can’t do that.” People are full of negativity. They easily rub on us so watch out the kind of people you share your dreams with. They could easily tell you to back off but will steal your dream.

Ignore certain people. Ignore certain circumstances that stifle your growth and move on. It could be pretty difficult. The boy saw the crowd. I believe there were thousands of people but he wasn’t moved. It was a moment that most of us would have crumbled but he wasn’t perturbed in even the least of ways. He was focused on ONLY the piano and he got to it and started playing.

He was even playing the simplest of songs….. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. It shows how he wasn’t an expert but was willing to learn and succeed.

 

Paderewski came on stage, saw the boy and told him, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” The fans must have been furious…. Yelling and screaming but this little boy heard them not. Do you hear the screams from your detractors? If you do, better get some headphones of positivity on. They would block you from the external forces of defeat.

When you set on the path to be who you want to be, there will always be that “helping hand.” It’s something about life. You may not believe it but we tend to meet guardian angels in humanly forms. Just when you think there is no way something can be done, you get help from somewhere else. A door closes, another opens but this happens only when you take a step. Take the first step!

Whatever your situation in life and history…. however outrageous, however desperate… DON’T QUIT. There is always a solution. You have the power to transform any problem into a way to mesmerize your audience…

Just mesmerize them! More Vim!!

11 things I learned on 11/11/11

 

I do not regret growing older because it’s a privilege denied to many. I pick lessons from whatever life throws at me. I believe everyone does the same. We gather a lot of valuable lessons from what happens each day of our lives. The positive things come with their lessons… so do the negative. Today is 11th November, 2011 or 11/11/11 and below are a few of the things I have learned……

#1 I have learned that I should tell my mom, dad and loved ones that I appreciate them more often than I do.

#2 I have learned that it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular because they make a difference.

#3 I have learned that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile. It makes their day and brightens mine as well.

#4 I have learned that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to make sure I surround myself with people smarter than I am.

#5 I have learned one very interesting thing about money…..  It doesn’t buy class.

#6 I have learned that no matter how serious life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to joke around with. It makes you feel normal and takes off the pressure.

#7 I have learned that life is tough but I am tougher!

#8 I have learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve my looks.

#9 I have learned that when I harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

#10 I have learned that you CAN NOT please everyone.

#11 I have learned that people still believe in false prophets and thought the world would end today: 11/11/11

Share with us what you have also learned about life. Thank you.

You are not unimportant!

 

 

This is a story from India during the colonial days. Most of the people in the village worked as peasants for the village landlord and got a very small share of the crops and a token money in return for the hard work they put all day in the field.

One year the village witnessed one of the severest droughts ever. The crop failed and the villagers did not get anything in return from the landlord. Most of the villagers fled to the cities.

One of the villagers was particularly in a very bad state. His wife was suffering from malaria and in the absence of food or money, he was desperate.

One day he was sitting under the village tree and was thinking desperately about ways to get some money somehow so that he can take his wife and his children to the town, where he knew that somehow he would get some work. He then saw his cow wandering nearby munching the dried up patches of grass and bushes.

He suddenly had a thought to sell his cow. “Surely someone would like to buy her,” he thought.
The next day, early morning he started for the market. There, he stood under a tree and explained his plight to anyone who came and requested them to buy his cow. Nobody seemed to be the least interested.

The day wore by. The sun relentlessly shown on the barren landscape!

With sweat drenched dirty clothes and in the poor state of health he was in, he was looking a picture of the misery. As evening was approaching, he was losing all hope he had started with.
Then a merchant passed him. He looked at the peasant and with a sudden drive of compassion decided to help him sell the cow.

He asked a few questions and then, in a loud voice full of enthusiasm, he announced to the passersby, “Ladies and gentlemen, never let go an opportunity like this. This cow here, gives two bucketfuls of milk every day, morning and evening. Do not be mistaken by her health. It is just because she has recently given birth to a young calf.

This animal is of such an exceptional breed that last year she had won a prize during the agricultural exhibition of the neighboring village. My friend here has come to an urgent situation and is willing to part with her for a price that seems to me ridiculous for such a prize animal. Who amongst you realize that an opportunity like this does not come every day?”

Meanwhile, a small crowd gathered around them all willing to buy the animal. They all wanted to know the price. The merchant asked the peasant, “Well my friend, what is the price you expect? We have several buyers here”.

The peasant stood up and with head held high, declared with pride and arrogance, “This animal is mine. She is too good to be sold. I shall keep her.”

The first that comes to my mind is that we do not appreciate sufficiently what we have. Health, children, girlfriend or boyfriend etc, we take them all for granted without rejoicing each day for our luck. There are certain things that we feel we have a right to. We forget that certain people lack all those things.

Just imagine if you were born in a war-torn country…. Just imagine if you were born with no hands and no feet. We have to be grateful for what we have be it little, crooked or ugly because someone is dying to have that.

Sometimes it is necessary to have the look of others in order to become conscious of the value of what we have. We do not take the pain to explain the advantages of our proposal and often our remuneration is less because we do not make this effort towards the proposal.

 

One very thing is that, the man got to know the worth of the cow. Do you know your worth? You are not unimportant. You are worth more than you think. You could be going through a rough patch now. You could be down. You could be heartbroken but you are not unimportant. You are worth more! You are important to someone!! Someone looks up to you for inspiration. Someone looks up to you for ideas. It could be a younger brother or sister. It could be a neighbor. It could be a friend… just know that you are important and important to someone.

“Depression and self-pity seldom attracts anybody. Be enthusiastic and the whole world will look up to you. You can win only if you love what you have.” -Amit Kumar

 

Ladies, 7 Virtues that could make you “perfect” marriage material!


It has been a month of weddings for me. I attend one every week.  I have observed how my boys are picking their wives now. It isn’t about beauty anymore. Conversations have been about how great the women are and not how beautiful they are. I am not a fan of weddings because I prefer a simple yet magnificent traditional marriage ceremony with a pastor present to bless it as it’s done in the church. Anyways that is me.

Guys, have you ever dated a girl you were crazy about but wished you could change that one little thing about her? What was it? Have you kicked yourself afterwards because you and your honey shared almost everything in common, yet you still broke up? So what do you really need to look for in a woman in order to build a successful marriage when ‘Miss Right’ comes along? And what does a lady need to be a ‘Miss Right’ in this computer world? I see myself talking to both sexes now. Do I change the title of the article then? Oh it doesn’t matter so let’s move on.

1.       Faith

The faith of a lady is important to guys. You ask a million ladies what they want in their ideal man and most of them will talk about a God fearing person. The same goes for the men though they don’t talk about it that much. Every guy wants a lady who knows her Creator, who believes in God and who will help his children follow the same steps. Whether the guy is a Christian or Muslim, he expects the lady to have faith in her Maker. A sense of self you might call it; a reason for living. It also includes beliefs about ethics, the importance of family, stability and, religion. For example, a purpose for life, optimism, an acceptance of others, integrity, honesty, responsibility and other similar social values. Guys don’t marry the “club girls.” They just “use” them and dump them when it’s time to settle down. Trust me, it’s the truth. Have faith. Stand for something so that you don’t fall for anything.

2.       Attraction

Physical and sexual compatibility mean different things to different people. For some, it means the physical act itself, perhaps something kinky and wild, while for others romance and intimacy play an important part. A few traits to keep in mind when looking for a missus might be her level of interest in sex, romance, foreplay, love, sexual variations and assertiveness, monogamy, communication, risk taking, playfulness, awareness of STDs and physical appearance. Every man will look for that sexual chemistry before he marries a lady. I have seen my father counsel a lot of people and he doesn’t mince words when it comes to sex. It is the engine of every marriage. Ladies, be attractive and that does not mean put on excessive make up and wear skimpy dresses. No. That turns men off because you look like a clown when you do that. Emphasis on excessive!

3.       Mothering

If you are talking about marriage, then there will be the topic of babies most often than not. It comes with it. Guys want to see if the ladies they want to marry will be good mothers. The way you treat your siblings or your neighbor’s wards will speak volumes to your guy. He wants to know that children love you and they want to come to you.  Every guy wants a lady who can be strict when need be. One who can tell children or siblings to stop doing something that is wrong. One who can motivate siblings to do something positive when they don’t have the urge to do it. Simply demonstrate that you can be a good mother.

4.       Health

Every guy wants a woman who cares for her body: a woman who prepares healthy food for her family.  One who would not be sick always or most of the time because she doesn’t care about her health. Health is wealth.  If you are always sick, it means the finances of the family would be drained. Ladies, start taking good care of your body. Exercise, eat healthy food and avoid a lot of junk. Visit the doctor every now and then. It will amaze you to know that most ladies do not know the way to the gynecologist. It’s imperative that you see the gynecologist at least once a year. I can talk about health the whole day so let’s move on. We will visit this some other time.

5.     Service

Men want women who can serve their family, friends and neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. A lady who is charitable in everything she does. We are in a generation where most ladies do not even know how to cook. Most men are fans of food. They love food and they love good food for that matter. Also, we are in a generation where service by women is frowned upon. If a woman is able to serve her family and friends or the guy’s family and friends when they are around, she is perfect marriage material. You win guys over when they are watching football and you bring them water or biscuits or food. Your boyfriend will be so proud of you and his friends will constantly tell him how awesome you are. Service is really vital.

6.       Finances

The best wife seeks her husband’s approval before making big purchases and spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items that her family needs and not any junk. I know most ladies will fight what I just said but it is very important. If you want to be the one that every guy would want to marry, take note. How a lady spends her money speaks volumes about her.  We are in a generation where most ladies do not know the meaning of an investment. Every dime is spent on clothes, shoes and expensive weave-on. If the way you handle money is nothing to write home about then you are in big trouble because those little papers make a lot of difference to every man under the sun.  I remember asking some ladies if they had EPACK or MFUND accounts and they had no knowledge about them yet they were looking for husbands. Some didn’t even have bank accounts and they are graduates. Money matters affect everyone. How a woman handles money can tell a lot about her and could make the difference between a comfortable life and an existence in poverty, so it’s important to be compatible in this area too. Pay attention to spending style, lifestyle, personal and professional goals, retirement plans, savings and ideas about money and debt in general.

7.       Industry

 Every guy wants a woman who works willingly with her hands. We are no more in the times of “housewives.” I know some guys still cherish that especially the rich ones but that is just an exception to the rule. Nothing that makes you better marriage material than having a job. Don’t be lazy. Find a decent job. If you are in school, make sure you give it your best. It’s important you become your own woman not someone who will depend on a guy for even sanitary pads at the end of the month. Be confident because confidence is sexy and study all the time. Ladies who learn how to make pastries, interior decor etc aside their careers are awesome. You can be one of them. I have been the “best man” for four weddings and I must confess I have seen a lot. Be an industrious lady and most men will fall at your feet but never let work overcome your duty to your home and family. Family comes first!

A lady who is perfect marriage material creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her. She is sociable and people love her. That’s the kind of woman every gentleman wants to marry. That is inner beauty. Outer beauty is great but not all that important when it comes to marriage. It’s all about what you are going to live with for the rest of your life. How a woman thinks about the world she inhabits and how she interacts day to day are important signs of long-term mutual compatibility. Some women are casual observers of life while others thrive on being aggressive personalities. Most men want the lady who would make a home lively and fun. No added stress to that which comes with work.

If you want to avoid any neurological or/and cardiovascular disease, you go for what will give you the greatest peace of mind. These are just my opinions. Please let us hear about yours.

Because you make a difference!

The past week has been full of lessons for me. Life has always been the best of my professors. I keep on learning and I know you are too. Let me start by sharing a story with you.

A professor was in the habit of giving his students a little gift at the end of the school year – a blue ribbon with the words “Who I Am Makes A Difference®” printed in gold letters on the ribbon.
As he gave each student their ribbon, he explained why he had appreciated teaching them, and why his course had been different because that particular student had been present.

One day it occurred to him to see what effect this little custom would have on the community. He gave each student 3 blue ribbons instead of one, and told each of them to give one ribbon to someone they knew who, in their opinion “made a difference.” He also told them to give the two other ribbons to that same person, with instructions to hand them out to others who had made a difference. After that the students were to come back and report what happened.

One student who had a part-time job gave his ribbon to his boss, a grumpy fellow who nevertheless appreciated the honor.

“I admire everything you’ve done,” the student said to his boss. “I think you’re a creative genius and a real fair guy. Will you allow me to pin this blue ribbon on your shirt as a sign of my appreciation?”

The boy’s boss was surprised but also pleased. “Yeah, sure, why not?” he said.

“And will you take these two other ribbons,” the student continued, “and give them to someone you think makes a difference, like I did for you? It’s for a project we’re doing at school.”

“All right,” the boss replied.

That night the boss returned home wearing the purple ribbon on his shirt. He greeted his 14 year old son and said, “Something strange happened to me today. One of my employees gave me this ribbon. See what’s written on it? ‘Because you make a difference.’ He gave me another ribbon just like it and told me to give it to someone who’s made a difference for me, someone who is very special and means a lot to me.

“I had a pretty hard day, but on the way home I said to myself, ‘There’s only one person I want to give this ribbon to.’ I know I tell you off a lot because you don’t work hard enough at school, because all you think about is going out and having fun with your friends, because your room’s always a mess… But tonight I want to tell you that you are very very important to me. You and your mother make all the difference in my life, and I’d like you to accept this blue ribbon as a sign of my love. I don’t tell you I love you very often, not nearly enough, I know. But I do love you, and I think you’re a wonderful kid!”

As soon as he stopped talking his son burst into tears. His whole body shook with sobs. His father took him in his arms and held him close, saying, “That’s okay, it’s all right. Did I say something wrong?”

“No Dad.” his son replied, “It’s just that… I decided I was going to kill myself. I was going to do it tomorrow. I had it all planned out. I wanted to kill myself because I was sure you didn’t like me, even though I tried hard to be good. Now that’s all changed…” 

Now these are the three things I would like to share with you from the story:

 

You are one lucky fellow!

You may not know this but you are very lucky.  At this moment, there is someone somewhere who is wishing to be like you. Don’t be surprised. That’s how the world is. You may not like what is happening in your life. You may be depressed and all that but someone is wishing to be in that very position you are in. Have you ever thought about this: what if I was born in Somalia? You wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it. Famine, drought, hardship would have been your pals. Wherever you are, whatever situation you find yourself in, count it all joy.

 

You make a difference!

And yes you make a difference in someone’s life. You may not know it but you are a role model to someone. It could be your niece, nephew, son, daughter, a facebook friend or a follower on twitter. Someone somewhere draws inspiration from you. Someone somewhere gets a smile on the face as soon as he/she sees you. Whatever you are doing, put it at the back of your mind that it is affecting the life of another…… so do the right thing! There is inside you all of the potential to be whatever you want to be all of the energy to do whatever you want to do. Imagine yourself as you would like to be…. doing what you want to do and each day, take one step towards your dream. Though at times it may seem too difficult to continue, hold on to your dream because you make a difference in someone’s life.

 

 

You don’t have to give up!

Stressed, depressed, sad……add the rest. We can go on and name all the negative things that come our way. These are part of life and we cannot avoid them. We always face them and will always do as long as we have life. We get rid of all these emotions when we are in our tombs. Until then, you will lose a family member and get sad….you will lose that job or contract and be depressed….you will be heartbroken and feel like the world is coming to an end BUT the message is clear….DO NOT GIVE UP!

Entertain not the ideas of suicide. Embrace hope and face the future because you are born for greater things! There may be times when you feel as if you have taken a million steps towards your dreams, and acted on your plans, only to find yourself in the same place that you began from. At times like this, you must not give up. You must continue on. Though you may feel lost, bewildered and alone, continue to believe in yourself. Do not allow discouragement and doubt to blur your vision and wash away your dreams. Visualize your way beyond the detours, standstills and obstacles.

You will realize your dreams.

 

Share with us what you learned from this post. God bless you!

6 things we learned from the UK riots

I am at it again. I always pick positives from the worst of situations. Here are 6 things I learned from the UK riots.

 

#1 When a neighbor’s beard is burning, fetch water and protect yours

Ok, do you remember what the British press said before the world cup in South Africa? Africa was deemed a jungle… where people eat each other. A place where civilization is nothing to write home about….. a place where no football match could be held. Some people even still think Africa is a country. Hmmm…. South Africa was lambasted for all the wrong reasons. In less than a year, the London Olympic Games start. Need I say more? When your neighbor is down, don’t kick him but rather help lift him up. The UK press should take a cue from this. It’s a lesson. A very important one!

 

#2 Nothing is as it seems

Do you also remember the Royal wedding? It drew the attention of people far and near. The whole world was glued to television sets. Everyone, especially ladies, marveled at the sight of the wedding. My timeline was blazing hot on that very day. You would have thought that everything was perfect in London and in the UK as a whole. A glamorous wedding and one of the most watched in the history of the world. Then there was the phone scandal. That dominated the newspapers and television stations for a while.  As soon as that ended….  BOOOOM….  a riot in Tottenham spread to Manchester and many parts of Britain. The bottom line is, accept who you are. Don’t wish to be like any other because nothing is as it seems. We all have our fair share of skeletons and problems.

#3 Quest for money + web 2.0 = Virtual communities!

Bills + Taxes = Hustling! Parents have a lot of bills to pay. As a result they leave the house very early in the morning and forget about their children. Children do not get the best of upbringing. They don’t learn anything that would benefit the society from their parents. The family system is almost dead. Facebook, twitter and Blackberry messenger are the lecturers of the modern generation. The internet teaches a lot. Time is spent on the web more than with parents or family. Our traditional communities are fading away giving room to the VIRTUAL. I could have 5000 friends on facebook but would really know about 500 of them personally. Attitudes are picked. Most of the people who rioted were children, teenagers and young adults. By 2020, there will be more virtual communities in the world than real ones with the advent of web 2.0 so your guess is as good as mine. Social media is awesome but it is about time parents and governments also joined in. E-government and I think e-parenting will go a long way to help curb certain situations. We must be responsible.

#4 Be prepared always because anything can happen

Life is full of surprises. No one knew this was going to happen. London is regarded as one of the most civilized cities in the world. You don’t expect people to be looting shoes and flat screens. Why on earth would someone loot a TV in London? But it happened. People whose shops have been looted are crying. I heard one man who said he doesn’t know how his family is going to survive because his shop is their only source of income. You never know what will strike so it’s imperative to prepare wherever you find yourself. I have this friend who always carries a toilet roll in his bag. Hope you understand what it means. He is always prepared because he has a very delicate stomach. Diarrhea is his friend.

 

#5 What happens at the North Pole affects those at the South

I was really sad when I read tweets from some people on my timeline. They didn’t care about what was happening in the UK. These people claim they don’t have families over there. You shouldn’t have a family before you know it’s going to affect you. Football fans were “rocked” last week. No EPL matches. I bet some of these unconcerned people on my timeline are football lovers. Ghana vs. Nigeria match was cancelled. Again, we never got to see the greatest rivals on the African continent “slaughter” each other.

Radio presenters, fans and footballers who left Ghana and Nigeria to witness the match lost a great deal. How much is the air fare again? Anyone? Now let me talk about this: Immigration is a political hot potato in British public discourse and always an important and sensitive election issue. These riots, which many allege were carried out mainly by young black men, clearly will feed into this narrative, with dire implications for race relations in the future. There will be extra security in the country now.  Police would be vigilant on the documentation of foreigners. Ghanaians who live in the UK illegally will be in trouble.

 

#6 Rise when you fall

After the riots, some volunteers have come together to clean up. It portrays a sense of togetherness. Life will throw things at you. Some of them could be insipid but your reaction matters more than anything. Don’t just stay on the ground when you fall, rise…. You are a star. Your downfall is not the end of your life. Rise and clean up!

Let’s keep on sharing. Tell us what you learned from the London/UK riots.

₵20 “Kufuor dollar”…… the day daddy made it change my life!

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When my dad called all his children to his room, I was a little bit perturbed. Why? Because I hadn’t finished reading the book he gave me. Once in a while the old man will give his children books to read. When you are done reading, he will ask you questions on what you have read. I thought it was going to be a similar experience. I have been playing FIFA 11 with my younger brothers and a friend all day.

 

We went to his room, made ourselves comfortable and that was when I started making up all the excuses I was going to give should he ask about the book.  My mom was seated on his left. I have three other siblings now (the eldest went into Abraham’s bosom some years ago. May he R.I.P)
My dad started off his speech by holding up a ₵20 note. He asked: “Who would like this ₵20 note. This is a real Kufuor dollar?”

Hands started going up. He said: “I am going to give this ₵20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”

He proceeded to crumple the cedi note up. He then asked:  “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, “what if I do this?”

He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.

“Now who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air. “My children, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth ₵20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless but no matter what have happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. To those who love you, you are priceless.

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know but by who we are. You are somebody. You really are. Do not let anyone make you think otherwise. Yes…. there are times you will feel depressed, repressed and oppressed but stay true to yourself. See yourself as that “Kufuor dollar” that was handled badly by my dad yet all his children craved for it.

 

It was a turning point in my life. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give up. Press on because victory is assured!

 

Who can say?….. Another version of the Chorkor Trotro!

 

 

There once was a very poor man living in a village who had a very fine horse. So fine, in fact, that the lord of the castle wanted to buy it but the old man always refused.

“To me this horse is not merely an animal. He’s a friend. How could I sell you my friend?”

One morning he went to the stable and found his horse gone. All the villagers said, “We told you! You should have sold your horse. Now he’s been stolen instead. What terrible luck.”

“Bad luck or good luck,” the old man said. “Who can say?”

Everyone laughed at him but 15 days later the horse returned, followed by a whole herd of wild horses. He had escaped from the stable, courted a young mare and returned with the rest of the herd following behind!

“What luck!” the villagers cried.

The old man and his son began training the wild horses but a week later the man’s son broke his leg trying to train one of the horses.

“Bad luck,” said his friends. “What are you going to do now without your son to help you? You who are already so poor.”

“Bad luck, good luck, who can say?” the old man replied. A few days later an army belonging to the lord of the land passed through the village and forced all the young men to become soldiers. All…… except the old man’s son because of his broken leg.

“How lucky you are,” the villagers cried. “All our children gone to war, but you’ve been able to keep your son. Our sons will probably be killed…”

The old man replied, “Bad luck, good luck… who can say?”

People ask me why I love the Chorkor Trotro TV series on TV3 in Ghana. I always tell them I learn from the awkward situations and not only from the best of situations. On the front of the Chorkor Trotro bus in the TV series is written “Let them say.” Let them say speaks volumes.

 

One day I will blog about that but what it simply means is that, let the people talk all they want but do your own talking. Never be misguided or misled or discouraged by what people say about you. The best way is to prove them wrong. Who can say? I bet no one. There are just three things I would like to talk about from the story…..not to bore you.

 

#1 What people say about you should not affect you negatively

I was at the airport yesterday and engaged myself in a conversation with a lady. She had come to wait for a friend who was coming to Ghana from Italy in a very beautiful dress. As we started talking I said something about friends that made her speak as if she was on drugs. She was talking like one controlled by a remote. Eddie Murphy could not have even spoken faster than her. She was coming from a wedding with the same dress. This lady buys clothes from a woman (Shop 1) in her neighborhood but a friend of hers advised her to buy from a different shop (Shop 2) because that shop had exotic clothes.

 

She listened and spent her savings on the new dress from the Shop 2. She went to the wedding and realized that she was the “lady gaga” of the event. Everyone including the couple had dressed in a simple but awesome way. She was telling me how her friend’s words made her lose money and also made her a laughing jackal at the wedding. If you listen to people all the time, you are bound for disgrace.

 

#2 Be who you are!

The man never changed who he was. He was a poor man…yes… but he knew who he was. He didn’t change because of what people said to him. He did not even sell his horse to the lord of the land. He valued the horse. We must value our integrity. Dignity is something thrown to the dogs lately. People don all sorts of things because of money. People sell their bodies, kill other human beings because of money but this man knew what it was to value something.

 

We have two ears. One is to listen and the other is to let the negative you hear out. All the negative things he heard entered in one ear and out in the other. He was not ready to be a different person. He was not ready to be ungrateful. He was still the man he used be. He carved a niche for himself as the man who was ever grateful. Bad luck or good luck….he was grateful.

 

#3 Don’t let circumstances change you!

I always say “this too shall pass” when I go through a difficult period. I have lived with this maxim for a long time. When I go through a bad phase of my life, I know it will surely end. No condition is permanent. When you are hungry, don’t kill yourself because eventually you will get food to eat.

When you are satisfied, don’t fool about because eventually you will go hungry.

 

Life is all about ups and downs. We just have to make an effort to stand the test of time. The poor man never made any circumstance change his belief. He believed in the fact that bad luck or good luck isn’t his to say. Even when his favorite horse left, it didn’t change him. When the son got hurt, it didn’t change him as well.
The future comes to us in bits and pieces. We never know what lies in store for us but if you always maintain a positive attitude the doors of chance remain open, and you will be a happier person.

 

Who can say? No one can say so don’t lose hope. Live by the Chorkor Trotro mantra.

 

Cracked pot: Isn’t it bro-mantic?

You are not useless

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only
half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak
out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws,
you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value
from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot and in his
compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want
you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path and this cheered it. But at the end of tile trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on YOUR side of the path but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Moral: We all have our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots.

Some of us don’t grow old gracefully, some are not so smart, some are tall, large and big, some bald, some physically challenged but it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look
for the good in them. There is a lot of good out there. There is a lot of good in you, bro.

Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life! Or as I like to think of it – If it’s not for the crackpots in my life, it would be pretty boring.

Thank you for being my crackpot friend 🙂


			
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