Success

Lordstone picks up an EDUCOM AWARD

To the glory of God, he said, “I can boldly say, my decision to resign from the banking industry to pursue my purposed career as a Purpose Driven Career Coach, Learning Strategist and Temperament Mgt. Counsellor, has indeed paid off by been declared the winner for the EDUCATIONAL BOOK AWARD category at the just ended NATIONAL EDUCOM AWARDS organised by NEOGENICS EDUCATION.”

The ceremony was held at the Holiday Inn hotel at Accra Airport City on the 27th August, 2016. The ceremony was well attended with very important personalities from different backgrounds who have dedicated their time, energy and resources in ensuring the betterment of Ghana’s educational sector and the quality of teaching and learning in our school system in diverse ways.

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Brief background:

During his university education, he had a serious health challenge, which prevented him from consistently attending lectures for two good years; nonetheless, he graduated with Second Class Upper in BSc. Business Administration; Banking and Finance option.

This feat he believed was as a result of non-traditional approaches he adopted in learning lecture notes coupled with prayer. With his passion in encouraging and guiding people with information he knows is of relevance to their progress, he took the courage to write letters to some heads of schools to be given the permission to  empower the learning skills and abilities of Senior High School students within the period he was waiting for the National Service postings. Unfortunately, none of the heads gave him the opportunity.

 

Exploits and Testimonies:

However, during a presentation with the 2010/2011 final year HND Accounting students at Wa Polytechnic; where he did his National Service, the feedback of whether he had a pamphlet they could get access to, motivated him to write his first book titled “LEARNING STRATEGIES: THE ACT OF APPLYING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS” to benefit students irrespective of their location in Ghana.

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Since the release of this book in August, 2014 the learning experiences of students who have read it has improved and reflected in their exams results. There is this particular student (Gershon Yevunya) who called among many, to testify to that effect, hence nominated him for the National Educom Awards when it was opened. Interestingly, as God may have it planned, he called him just this Tuesday, 29th August, that he had gotten admission to the University of Education, Winneba and had just finished paying his admission fees. This is indeed, a complete testimony of how the book has transformed his learning experience from exams results of F9’s to B2’s.

Aaron continues to say that, he believes one vital missing link among others in our education delivery approach is not teaching students how to learn. Teachers assume the fact that because they have taught them, they should learn to understand. Unfortunately, it does not work that way.  The mind engages in processes to be able to arrive at an understanding of a subject matter. When these processes are not synchronised effectively and efficiently with the brain, there will be a gap which will affect the proper interpretation of the subject matter. The book therefore was written to empower effective use of the mind using Critical Thinking Skills approach in learning and to motivate students not to easily give up irrespective of the challenges they may be confronted with in their educational pursuits.

 

This award is enough encouragement to continue with the National Learning Strategies Seminar tours he has embarked on under the YOUTH ARENA NETWORK organisation, to empower the learning skills and abilities of students’ especially in remote regions, thereby, helping bridge the wide exams failure rates by Senior High School candidates; he said.

 

Thanks go to the award organisers; Neogenics Education for such an important initiative to recognise persons contributing their quote towards quality education delivery in Ghana.

 

Aaron Lordstone Kpogo

Author of two books (Learning Strategies: The Act Of Applying Critical Thinking Skills,  & Purpose Driven Career and The Appropriate Course To Study.

www.youtharenanetwork.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/aaronlordstone

+233 (0)242548430

Life minus love equals zero


Roger James Hamilton with 3 gold medals this week, Michael Phelps is now equaling the 2,168 year old record set by Leonidas of Rhodes (in 152 BC) for the most individual Olympic gold medals and has a chance to beat it with his two final races this Thursday (200m IM) and Friday (100m fly).
This is all the more incredible, given the story of his 2 year climb from the verge of suicide, which I wrote in July. Here is Michael’s story from rock-bottom:
One night in September 2014, less than 2 years ago, Michael’s world came crashing down when he got arrested for drink driving. He says “I thought the world would just be better off without me. I figured that was the best thing to do – just end my life.”
Struggling to come out of retirement for one more Olympics, Michael’s training wasn’t going well. So he had headed out to the Horseshoe Casino to binge on alcohol and poker. At 1am his Range Rover was pulled over by police and he was arrested.
It was the second arrest for DUI in 10 years. After the first time he was publicly shamed and promised he would never do it again. Now it looked like his chances of making a comeback were over.
Out the next day on bail, he locked himself in his house for the next 72 hours, texting to his agent “I don’t want to be alive anymore.”
What caused the breakdown? After his 4th Olympics in London, Michael was crowned “the most successful Olympian in history” with 18 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze Olympic medals. He said “It’s like we dreamed the biggest dream we could possibly dream and we got there. What do we do now?”
In the two years after the Olympics, he went from the highest high to the lowest low, losing all purpose and meaning in life. Then, in 2012 he told his coach, Bob Bowman, that he wanted to try for the Rio Olympics, despite being older than any other competitor.
They started training, but Bob said “It was very difficult for him to get back in shape. I think he got discouraged. I got discouraged.”
That discouragement led to the night of his arrest and Michael wanting to kill himself.
What flipped the switch from self destruction to his record-breaking success today?
One of the first people that Michael called when he was arrested was his friend, retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Ray said “I basically told him, ‘Okay, everything has a purpose, and now, guess what? It’s time to wake up.’ ” and he gave Michael a copy of Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”.
Despite facing 18 months probation with a one year suspended sentence, and suspension from the US swimming team, Michael was moved enough by what Ray said that he stepped away from the pool, took the book and checked into a rehab centre.
At the centre, he soon became known as “Preacher Mike” as he would begin each day by reading a chapter of “The Purpose Driven Life”.
That then led to him reading more books like Viktor E Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and Joseph Murphy’s “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind”. Instead of focusing on his body, he focused on his mind and spirit.
Michael left the clinic a changed man. Within months, he had asked his girlfriend, Nichole Johnson, to marry him. A year later, this May, they had a baby boy, Boomer.
As for the training, Michael got back in the pool with a new energy.
Realising that what he did out of the water affected him enormously in the water, he said of his previous life: “I tried to fake it, pretty much. That’s what I was doing.” and of his life today, “I’m just living a freer, happier life now. I don’t feel like I’m carrying weights around anymore.”
Michael was the youngest competitor to ever swim in the Olympics, and now he is also be the oldest to ever swim in the Olympics (At 31 he is 2 years older than the 2nd oldest at the Rio Games). Asked how he feels, he says “I’m thankful, I’m sitting here alive today.”
Maybe you haven’t risen as high as Michael, or fallen as low.
But what new purpose could transform your own success and fulfilment in life today?
What could you do differently out of the water, which would change what you do in the water?
It’s never too later, and you’re never too old.
“Life minus love equals zero.”
~ Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Original July 1st post here: http://bit.ly/
2aNjvHG )

Atiemo’s 5-in-1 book

I was once informed about a young lady who said she did not read Ghanaian authors. As a writer and Ghanaian myself, this didn’t go down too well with me. But I am also a pragmatist and that means I face facts. This lady is not that different from any typical Ghanaian. For us anything made in Ghana or by Ghanaian is not good enough. She will choose Paulo Coelho over Albert Ocran any day as perhaps she will choose Stacy Adams over Doris Okraku– nothing unusual there.


I am not a promoter of affirmative action. If you are at a disadvantage it is an opportunity to surprise everyone. If you can’t bring the element of surprise (the only advantage you have under the circumstances) with you, you are normal and that is simply not good enough. But a person who makes such blanket statements is also saying that she has read most Ghanaian authors and has found them not worthy of her precious reading time. I do not believe this is the case with our lady friend and clearly her wrong judgment has done nothing but deny her the life transforming experience possible when you read an author who understands your setting. Whiles I could mention many young Ghanaian authors my focus in this review is Sam Zeph Atiemo’s Embracing You Inner Courage.

I met Sam Zeph Atiemo recently at the Ghana’s premier university where we were both facilitators of a seminar on Agri-prenuership. Nothing prepared me for the surprises that awaited. He spoke extemporously with a firm grip on what was clearly a passion and a life mission. He had an idea; conscious entrepreneurship.   After his presentation, I could not wait to review his book; Embracing Your Inner Courage.

No book I have read in a long time is this packed. It has 5 parts, 31 chapters and 220 pages. As the author himself put it, “this books is five books in one. It inspires me every time I read it so I know it will inspire others”. With countless anecdotes from the author’s own experience as a successful entrepreneur in three countries and two continents, the book can fairly be described as semi-biographic.

The first part treats Passion, Planning, Massive action, Commitment and fulfillment n that order. The book literally captures the whole spectrum of personal development with its 31 chapters establishing it as a natural route to entrepreneurship. Having established the basis for entrepreneurship as a means to eliminate poverty, something he called an indictment on the continent due to her many natural resources, he makes an outstanding case for the establishment of his own Business Factor Initiative For Africa where he provides consultancy among other services for entrepreneurs.

Passion is a highly efficient fuel for performance regardless of your field and this book starts first by igniting it within the reader. This is a useful technique because with passion one can achieve anything. It achieves this through the many probing questions that seem to pop out of nowhere while reading the book. Answer the questions and you begin to see a new you emerge.

The great thing about the author is that he is a practicing entrepreneur with years of experience and several ventures under his belt. He understands the Ghanaian experience and interprets them with astounding accuracy. 

An unsual portrait of leadership

Peak Performance makes leaders. Peak performers are people who because of integrity with themselves, always function from strength and are always in possession of a vision that others find difficult to comprehend. Because of this, they are often leaders—they chart a new course that others must follow. There appears to be a huge misunderstanding about what leadership really is. Papa Oyedepo described it in the most interesting way and I paraphrase;

most people think leadership is about being promoted or elected into a position.  The answer is more complex than that. It is about doing something more than others in a particular field so that others don’t have a choice but to follow your example. They must fight to catch up with you. You must lead the way by taking humanity to its next level of evolution.

It is not surprising that the proponent of this idea built the largest Church auditorium in the world in a so-called third world country. He epitomizes leadership and he is certainly a peak performer. In this regard, men like Steve jobs can clearly be described as leaders not because he headed an organization, but more because of the nature of the things that came into existence because of him and how people did not have a choice but to emulate. He led the way with the ipod, the ipad and a host of other products. In effect, he had a leadership/Peak Performance mindset because there was nothing he touched that didn’t become the new standard and this appeared to happen by default. Whiles a lot have been said by experts about his leadership style and how others will fail if they followed his pattern; little has been said about his advantage as performance conscious individual. If you always lead, people do not really have a choice but to follow. Creating leading products made him a magnet of people. Everyone is attracted to success, greatness and the visions that make them possible. So much so, that even “Hitler and Stalin” had followers.



I submit to you that; if you lead the way with everything you do, people will not have a choice but to follow. The biggest thing about Steve Jobs may not be his people management skills. Yet those who worked with him are always inspired by his need to break new grounds. For that they are driven enough to follow him and he never failed to bring them to the promise land as long as they accept the challenge of the journey. If Steve is building something, you know you want to see it. Things are not that different for Papa Oyedepo as he has had his fair share of criticism regarding his people management skills. I had the privilege of sitting in a leadership class handled by the Apostle General of Royal House Chapel Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah recently. Those traits were clearly present as his very words left all participants in a challenged frame of mind. He demands everyone to be the best—you have to be stupid to not want to be your best.  The crux of the matter is simple, true leaders by their very need to break new grounds will cause a useful discomfort somehow. But those uncomfortable moments are moments of impartation and those who survive it become leaders in their own right.

So that we can easily see what can be described as an effective leader and efficient leader. There is a difference between a person who got into a position and a person who actually lead the way with something they did. When a person is appointed or elected into a position, we are able to tell whether they maintained the status quo or brought us to a new level of development.

In the case of Africa, we cannot afford any more efficient leaders. We need true leaders as we seem to be stuck in one place barely even meeting the standard.  The nature of any group is a reflection of its leadership. Being stuck in one place in a matter of time transmogrifies into retrogression because nature doesn’t have the space for it. It is the reason why you will soon find snakes in your lawn when you abandon it for too long and find spiders and all kinds of co-inhabitants in your house when you leave it unattended for too long. #spidup #hopemanexhortations

How to rise after every ‘failure’

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was ‘too stupid to learn anything’. He was fired from his first two jobs for being ‘non-productive’. As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps”. wow!
The first thing you must understand about failure is that there is no such thing as failure. Surprised? You do not have to be. Yes, I said it! There is no such thing as failure except that which you call failure. ‘Failure’ as we have come to understand it is a term used to refer to a loss or inability to achieve a goal, however, take a break now and let’s think about it this way.
Everything that exists today was given its name and expression by somebody or a group in the past, based on their perception or feeling about that thing. What I am saying is that, ‘failure’ as we have come to accept was somebody’s definition and therefore, you and I are under no obligation to accept their interpretation. We must resist the trap of defining and measuring ourselves by other people’s standards because they chose to see themselves as failures. You were created uniquely. Yes, no two people in this world are the same, not even identical twins. Unconventional? Yes, unconventional!
Coming, many of our forebears decided to see ‘failure’ as negative because they felt like losers when they experienced a ‘predicament’; meanwhile, history has countless records of men and women who rose from supposed defeat to supernormal success.  Let me emphasize here that we are not failures because we face temporary defeat. Rather, we fail when we refuse to leave the mess behind and move forward to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
It is important that you realize that you are solely responsible for controlling your daily circumstances and not be controlled by them. For instance, failing to pass a job Interview is not enough reason to declare yourself a failure. Your inability to secure the Contract does not mean you are a failure. Get back to the drawing board, believe that you can succeed, do not waiver in your belief, and take action again.
My friend, I want you to say to yourself right now that you are not a failure. Believe what you just said and know in your heart that you will be able to achieve your vision. Never say ‘never’. Accept the challenges that come your way, continue to look out for opportunities, never call yourself a failure, never see other people as failures. We may experience temporary defeats but it does not in any way certify us as failures.
It is interesting to know that many times people ‘fail’ even before they begin. They question their own dreams and ability to execute a task, thus, a negative message is immediately sent to the subconscious part of the brain to ‘go and sleep as no good will come out of their efforts’.  This mindset keeps him at point zero and despite abounding opportunities and the acres of diamond in his backyard; he would not be able to exert himself fully to a cause.
So, the next time someone tells you ‘This is not possible, it cannot be done’ Look at him or her confidently, eyeball to eyeball and tell him/her to ‘fuck off’. The next time you are tempted to tell yourself it’s not possible, tell that voice to shut up and ‘fuck off’. Get on your feet and get to work.
Remember, Victory may be like a hesitant woman but with persistence, you will woo her to your side. Make it happen! Refuse to die!!!

Refuse to Die

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
Calvin Coolidge
Helen Keller, at the age of 19 months, became deaf and blind. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her vision. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree going on to become an author, political activist and lecturer. 

Think about this for a moment. If someone you loved were trapped in a building, would you stop trying to rescue them if the front door were locked? Wouldn’t you try other ways and means, the windows, the roof, and every opening, right?

The reason why many people fail in their endeavours is because they know more about failure than about success. Bad news sells faster, they say, and people subscribe to it without giving much thought. The media bombards us with stories of wars, deaths, collapsed businesses, high commodity prices, and ailing economies.
We are told of how worse the economy has become, yet there are inspiring stories of individuals and organisations influencing change in significant ways in their communities.
We are made to believe that all is falling apart, and therefore, many people discount the need to invest their best efforts in their endeavours. Afterall, ‘everybody go die’, ‘dollar dey die’, ‘government dey chop chop’, ‘everything is falling apart’ they say. This negativity is poisonous and it travels faster than the venom from a snake’s bite. ‘The losers’ mantra’ is how i call it and how they sink into our deepest thoughts is pathetic, burying our very flickers of hope.
Little, however, is shown and told of the many success stories littered across the landscape of Africa, of the people improving their lives through gainful employment, of young people volunteering in their communities. My grandmother built her houses from the sale of ‘Kenkey’ and fried fish in the sixties. Her diligence and determination accounted chiefly for her success.

Ladies and gentlemen, there are a thousand reasons to fail but a thousand and one reasons to succeed, and you are the constant in that equation. Give yourself no reason to fail because conditions seem to be against you. That is the more reason why you ought to be resilient.

You need not have everything to begin a project but you need to gather much confidence and resoluteness. These virtues are drawn from within. The biggest excuses I hear are “I don’t have enough money”, “I don’t have enough time,” “I’m too busy”, “I don’t want to travel,” Shut the fuck up! Nobody has ever had everything and nobody will ever have everything. All those whose lives you admire did not have everything either yet they took the first step nevertheless.

If you know how to write songs, start serious writing, keep writing and then do everything possible to get your songs out there. Take advantage of Youtube. Youtube? Yes, Youtube, you need not have a professional camera. You can begin with the 4 megapizel camera of your mobile phone. Go to one radio station. If they turn you down, go to the next and the next and tell them about your songs. Rejection is why you should push further. Do it! Do it!! Do it until you succeed. Never give up! Never!!

Young people of today give themselves beautiful reasons to be idle. Many of them are interested in short-cuts without mastering a skill. A lot more are frustrated because they are not realising what they were thought formal education would bestow them; to secure a white collar, green collar, gold collar kind of job after graduation. This conventional mentality has left many in a hole as unemployment figures continue to soar.

Most people prefer the safe haven of blaming all else but themselves for their circumstance. They are yet to realise that their success depended mostly on themselves and their actions or inactions. They do not understand that where there is a will, there is a way. The earlier they realised this, the better.

Meet Esi Owusu, intelligent and charming, a Fine Arts graduate, who intends to run an Arts gallery. The funds in her bank account is only enough to buy porridge for a few days. She sends her works to potential buyers but each gave her sermons on why they couldn’t buy. Those who thought she had a brilliant idea gave her one option; that she agreed to a sexual barter.
Esi is discouraged, doubts her own innate abilities. She contemplates taking up any available job offer just to make ends meet. She is also frustrated, continually judging herself in the light of the temporary setbacks, and measuring her real worth by a piece of certificate. She finds a job as a teller in a rural bank. Should Esi, in the hustle and bustle of work in a bank forget her real passion; she will very likely end up living out a life of regret.  
Esi must come to the realisation of her life’s task. She must give herself no reason to fail in this task. She must not look at others except to draw inspiration from those who are making it happen in their own lives. She must give herself no excuse to fail but to continually ask herself what she can do to better her lot and her society. She must begin to build a career around her ability to paint creative emotional scenes. She must begin today, not tomorrow. Yes, today!
Victory may be like a hesitant woman but with persistence, you will woo her to your side. Make it happen! Refuse to die!!

Stop playing the blame game

“It is the act of an ill-instructed man to blame others for his own bad condition; it is the act of one who has begun to be instructed, to lay the blame on himself; and of one whose instruction is completed, neither to blame another, nor himself” Epictetus, The Enchiridion.
I have this uncle who blames everything on everybody and every living creature. He takes every opportunity to blame his wife, children, siblings and everything in sight for his woes. He has been imprisoned thrice in his lifetime and still less than fifty years old. He has been placed in police counter-backs not less than a one hundred times. If the Guinness World Book of Records recognized such feats, this uncle I’m referring to would be considered a superstar.
He has been embarrassed times without number in the presence of his wife and kids by all kinds of people, young and old, for duping them of huge sums of money under the pretense of providing them accommodation. This man is only fourty-five years of age, with one wife and four children, the oldest being seventeen years of age and the youngest only two.
He is a lover of alcohol, an addict actually. He gives his relatives sleepless nights from raining curses, insults and everything in-between. If you lived six houses away, you could hear his voice, swearing by heaven and earth; by his dead parents and by every single thing in sight. This daily act of his continues till past midnight. He blames everybody and everything including mosquitoes for only God knows why. This is the posture and attitude of many of us.
We are not ready to confront our fears for fear of failure, but are quick to blame everything and everybody. We try very hard to hide our inefficiencies by being loud and blame our shortfalls on others, including unseen spirits. Many ladies today blame their failed relationships on men and vice versa, without spending time to identify the cracks in their virtues leading to the often avoidable separations. You spend to the last dowry the resources of all the men you have dated, yet do not understand why your relationships do not last. An inflated ego clouds one’s perception of his true state.
We are quick to blame others for our woes, an action which is often an attempt to hide our insecurities and silent hidden fears. Fear eats up its victims from the inside and prevents him from pursuing those things that matter most. The good news however is that we can be liberated if we begin to believe that change is first and foremost internal before it reflects externally.
For instance, you can never overcome your fear of meeting people if you think that everybody you meet thinks ill of you. You will never be able to able to succeed in business if you continue to blame the woes of the economy on the rich while holding on to the perception that all successful people attained it through spiritual and or dishonest means (a notion widely held among many people in many parts of Africa). Success is the result of a combination of factors including hard work, identifying and grabbing opportunities, persistence and consistence among others.
Even in the game of sports, some people blame their team’s loss on the referee, the weather, even unseen forces et cetera. How pathetic!
A Chinese proverb says ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now’. My friend, forget the bullshit and crap excuses lazy people preach all over the place, rather, push your ambitions forward by taking a step today. Leave the naysayers behind, those who complain never amount to nothing. Those who blame everything on everybody are not ready to take on the world, as all they are doing actually is to scamper around nothing.
Stay focused, take the bull by the horn, be honest with yourself and let go all the distractions in your mind, pursue the things that matter most to you with all innermost desire.
Remember, victory may be like a hesitant woman but with persistence, you will woo her to your side. Make it happen! Refuse to die!!!

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