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CrystalQuest Adventures

…towards equipping the total man!

Month

November 2013

The power of focus!

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In his classic book ‘The Effective Executive’, Peter F. Drucker introduced the concept of ‘posteriorities’ into management. He said “the reason why so few executives concentrate is the difficulty of setting ‘posteriorities’— that is, deciding what tasks not to tackle— and of sticking to the decision. Most executives don’t have problems setting priorities at all. They know that this or that task is not a first priority but giving it a posteriority is risky. What one has relegated may turn out to be the competitor’s triumph. There is usually no guarantee that it will not explode into the hottest or most dangerous issue”. Setting a posteriority can be very unpleasant especially because it is always somebody else’s priority. It however takes great courage to not just identify but also act only on what is truly important. Jack of all trade they say, is a master of none but in today’s ‘you can have it all’ world, it takes real guts to be able to focus as we are often torn apart by seemingly urgent priorities such that doing a little of this and that becomes the order and nothing truly gets done at the end of the day. Even after discerning what our priorities should be, being effective requires one to be able to focus on the predetermined order of actions and not get carried away trying to take on too many tasks at a go.

Living a good and balanced life entails being able to discover purpose, plan towards its fulfillment and be disciplined enough to do what is needful per time. He who fails to plan, plan to fail but it is not just enough to plan, having the courage to see it through is what separate the achievers. The power of focus can not be overemphasized when it comes to this. Every task should be carried out in order importance and how they impact our expected end results while others should for the time being be tagged posteriorities and should so be treated irrespective of whatever or however tempting they may seem. Mastery of oneself is key to fulfilling destiny because therein lies the power and courage to set great goals, the discernment and diligence to know what to do and the rugged determination to act and stay focused. I’ll be suggesting some simple steps to staying focused in our next piece but I challenge you today to dare to dream, dare to pursue your dreams and dare to stay focused! You’re lifted!

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Who is an educated man?

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I read an article today that really had a profound effect on me. The story was told of a fifth grader that was once asked to define what it means to be educated. This kid got on her feet, chuckled and defined an educated man as ‘one who never does any work’. As I ponder over the content of the discourse, I came to realize this kid unconsciously embodied in her answer a blatant truth. The article goes further to explain that “the biggest and best part of life lies in supplying yourself the things you need and to be able to earn a living is quite as necessary as getting education. This, in a way emphasizes the need for a curriculum that will embrace earning a living and mental growth and have them move together hand in hand”. He stressed that “the best way to learn to be useful is to be useful. To take a young man from life for some four to six years and send him to college in order to educate him for life that he may thereafter be useful is to run a grave risk that you will not get him back into life”.

As much as I believe education is so vital to development, I also subscribe to the idea of men earning a living while getting the education because it’s like the reason our colleges are constantly graduating incompetent people is our inability to inculcate doing things with talking and formulating theories about them. In a country like ours that pays so much lip service to education, the situation is even a far cry from what obtains in some other parts of the world. Our schools and colleges churn out en masse ‘half baked’ or in some cases ‘unbaked’ graduate year in, year out. These graduate then had to compete for the very few available jobs in the market. As a result of the large turnout, employers had to resort to even in some cases unrealistic standards during recruitment. Some are eventually recruited by whatever means and a larger percentage then left to roam the streets looking for non existing jobs. Their obvious flawed education and inability to direct their energies into useful channels while feeding their expanding minds in schools thus reducing their chances of taking their destinies into their own hands for the man who can weld life and education together is actually the one that has ‘real education’.

I have always argued that the reason why a substantial percentage of the movers and shakers of our world are without college degrees is simply because life, which is greater than college, reviews your theoretical education, quietly ignores them and then test your requisite ability to apply such knowledge to practical issues. This, I guess is life’s way of making us realize that our vicious belief that education is one thing and life is another is null, void and of no effect. There is nothing wonderful about a college professor except perhaps his density in an area of his specialty outside of which he is likely to be very lopsided. This explains why some of these professors are even deemed unfit to hold administrative positions in their respective colleges. Real education entails not just being knowledgeable about specific subjects but also being able to practically adapt such acquired insights to solving life’s unending puzzles.

The Nigerian situation is such a pathetic case in question. Our education is in shambles. School are not conducive for learning. Basic infrastructures, materials and equipments practically non-existent and when they exist, outdated. Our single effort at combining talking, learning and doing thing, the Industrial Training Scheme is grossly inadequate and poorly coordinated. Students spend a huge chunk of the period looking for placement into industries that eventually absorbed them for maybe three or four months and they ended up learning little or nothing at all. Most of these companies, maybe due to the students’ incompetence and/or their trying to cut down on idle time do not even allow students handle their equipments long enough grasp operating and maintenance procedures as the case may be. There is therefore, an urgent need to completely overhaul our system of education. We need to provide infrastructures that will enhance learning, develop curricular that will plug all loopholes in the current ones and then inculcate financial and entrepreneurial/on-the-job training such that our schools will evolve men big enough to captain both education and industry. Providing ‘real education’ where schools’ curricular has work directly in line with education will positively transform our socio-economic national life and consequently place us in an enviable position among the comity of nations.

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