Always comparing yourself with someone else.
Thinking too much.
Not expressing yourself enough.
Arguing all the time.
Trying to please friends.
Living a sedentary life.
No passion.
Wanting a perfect life.
Reading too many novels.
Watching too many movies.
Always busy.
Avoiding mistakes.
Having a boss.
School fees.
Too much drama in your relationship.
Mirrors. Especially standing mirrors.
Knowing too much.
Big goals.


Living is more than just being alive. Living can be a full-time job. Or an obsession. 

An easy life is impossible, but a simple life is possible. And it's the kind of life that will do us the most good. One with few complications. There will always be LASTMA, In-laws and School fees (yours or a dependent's). But you can get rid of your obsession with perfection. You can reduce the drama in your relationship. You can set small and more manageable goals. You can live a more active life. You can start blogging to free up your mind, express yourself more and discover the fountain within. You can stop watching too many movies. Begin to work at something you are passionate about. Stop trying to please friends. And stop looking in the mirror everyday. Stop complaining; it can be very hard to stop, though. Avoid getting into unproductive arguments. Write as much as you think, even if it's in your personal journal. It will prevent you from over-thinking. And you should never ever compare yourself with someone else; don't even listen to people that do that for you.

Soon, you'll begin to see your life get simpler. And if you're lucky, easier too.

Last week, I finally replaced my 6 years old Sony VAIO laptop. It had been my only laptop for 6 years (kk, would be 6 this June).

Today's post is not about my laptop. But about your laptop, the one you intend buying.


A laptop is meant to make your life easy. And not add to your burdens. I will be listing all you need to consider about a laptop and in the order you should consider them, from high priority to low priority.

  1. Design. Trust me, the design of a laptop matters the most. I love everything about my old laptop, design-wise. It's by a company that's got hype: Sony. The physical design and finishing is so good I'm always proud to bring out the laptop. The keyboard is one of a kind; the best I have used on any computer/laptop. Even better than the one on my new laptop. Design ranks the highest when getting something as personal as a laptop. When I stare at the special shiny x-Brite screen of that Sony VAIO, I get inspiration and feel like working forever. It's that powerful.
  2. Local Warranty. I've seen the nightmares the lack of a local Apple store has caused people. You can't fix even the smallest fault, and you begin to think of sending the laptop to a friend in UK or US to help take it to an Apple store. And you'll get charged for it since you've got no valid warranty. Warranty matters a lot. And that's the reason I didn't buy another Sony VAIO but Samsung Activ book. When the charger of my Sony VAIO went bad, I couldn't get a replacement in the whole of Computer Village. Then when the motherboard got fried, I could even see a used Sony VAIO of same model to buy. I had to buy another model and transplant the working parts of mine into it. And that one looked like it had multiple accidents over the course of a miserable life. Like the previous owner wanted to ruin it. I felt like I lost a very dear pet. Local warranty matters a lot.
  3. CPU. Now we've got to the innards. Of all the specs a laptop has, only the CPU cannot be upgraded. You will need to buy another laptop or send it to the manufacturers to get the CPU upgraded. So if you see 2 laptops you love and one has a higher CPU than the other, please go for the one with the higher CPU. RAM can be upgraded, and cheaply. Hard disk can be upgraded. CPU cannot be upgraded.
  4. Battery life. Yeah, battery life. As a Nigerian, you shouldn't get a laptop that will constantly remind you of PHCN. Get one with at least 4hours juice. Even if you're sure of getting an extended life battery, the ones that stick out of laptops and is the most visible part of a laptop. It's doing the laptop design a disservice. And there are now laptops with 6, 8 and 11 hours battery life. Samsung Activ 9 Plus has got 11 hours battery life.
  5. RAM. Despite all I said about the RAM being upgrade-able, it still matters at the point of purchase. I'm a true geek, yet it wasn't until after 5 years that I upgraded by laptop's RAM. I've never meant someone who bought a new laptop at Mega Plaza VI and went straight to Computer Village to have the RAM upgraded. Some people even leave the sticky thin plastic film on the laptop screen and body. Nobody wants to start unscrewing a laptop he just bought. So inbuilt RAM matters. Get one with not less than 4GB RAM. Except you are buying a tablet.
  6. Hard Disk. Same argument applies to hard disk as I laid out for RAM. If you are the media heavy guy. You might skip the 128GB SSD laptops, if you don't always want to carry an external hard disk about. The SSD (Solid State Device) memory drives consume less power and are lightning fast; the reason must super slim ultra books have them. But if you have to always carry about an external disk for your personal  and work files, what's the use of the slimness. There are other slim laptops that have 1,000GB hard disk and even cost less. But if you are like me. You don't have music or videos or a continent of files, you'll benefit more by going for the SSD ones. All my life, I have never exhausted a 160GB hard disk. My PC has only Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Free Download Manager and Google Chrome. All other software were pre-installed. And I seldom click on them. Oh, I installed Thunderbird recently, I couldn't afford the Microsoft Office and Business pack that comes with Outlook. I hear there's now an addendum in the book of life. You'll be asked, "Is the WinZip on your laptop paid for or pirated?" Only God knows who suggested it be included.
  7. Keyboard. Though this was intended to be under consideration 1 (Design), I have to single it out because it's got some unique features beyond just design. Have you seen laptops with Arabic keyboards? That's how I know people who were gifted a laptop. Because, I don't think anyone will go to the ATM, withdraw a big chunk of his hard-earned money and then go buy a laptop with a non-English keyboard. But there are the more subtle points of consideration. I do a lot of number crunching, so I made sure I got a laptop with a numpad. I'm so used to the numpad that I can type out numbers without looking at the keyboard. And very fast.
  8. Every other thing. Yeah, every other thing can now be considered. E.g. the number of USB ports, the position of the DVD drive and so on.
Finally, don't forget that they are just my honest opinions. 

I have a business card. It reads: Michael Olafusi, Microsoft Excel & VBA Consultant.
The VBA part is pure programming. Therefore, I am a programmer.


Today, I'll be telling you about the programmer's mindset and how you can benefit from it.

A programmer is someone, like you and me, who knows a computer language so well enough to make his own computer programs. And those of us that studied engineering in the university would have tried our hands on at least one computer language before. But most of us do not become fluent enough to make our own (not assignment mandated) computer programs.

I have tried my hands on FORTRAN (once made a funny game with it), BASIC, C, C++, C#, VB.Net, Java and Linux Bash. Java was almost like French to me. I gave it an unfair amount of attention and investment with very little to show for it. I used C for my final year project, to program a micro-controller. I can't remember doing anything on BASIC beyond school work. I almost read an entire book on C++, but didn't code anything useful. With the help of the guy I owe this blog to, David Olaniyan, I began trying out C# towards the end of my University days. He later went on to represent Nigeria in Microsoft Imagine Cup at New York. He told me about blogging on one Saturday in 2009 and I began blogging that very day. 

However, the computer language I became fluent in is VB.Net. I once made a PC suite for my Nokia phone from scratch using VB.Net. I could connect to my phone via bluetooth or cable, load recharge cards via it, send SMS, read SMS, and initiate phone calls from it. But it had an extra cool feature. I could connect to other phones that had their bluetooth on and freak the owner out. I could even switch off the phone from my tool. It was that cool.

I still use VB but the one custom made for Microsoft Office Applications: VBA. I now make programs that help people in their day to day business data analysis life. I even help foreign clients with projects as varied as Stock Analysis programs and inventory management.

So what is the programmer's mindset?

  1. End in Mind. When a client tells me about his problem, I begin visualizing the end result. What the tool I will build him would do. Not bothering about how it would do it or even if it was achievable. 
  2. Independent Chunks. I break down the programming project into independent chunks. Ones I can build and test separately but in the end will all work together to form the big program the client wants.
  3. Error Handling. I begin imagining all the possible mistakes the user can make while interacting with my program, and I trap them. I make it as user friendly and intelligent as possible. It would even correct some predictable errors you make.
  4. My Fault. One thing programming teaches is: It makes you accept your faults. You can't argue with a compiler. Even if you're cocksure, the only option is to accept the fault. So whenever I run a program now and it works, and I run it tomorrow and it doesn't work. I won't start cursing the computer or banging the table with the keyboard. I simply tell myself that I must have done something wrong, and then patiently proceed to find and fix the issue.
  5. No Arrogance. In fact, it's believed that all good programmers are humble. A lawyer can be boastful and arrogant to intimidate the opposition and validate the high fees he's charging. But if your job involves sitting in front of a PC screen with hundreds/thousands of lines of code, humility will seep into your life. When a single misplaced semi comma can cause you sleepless nights, you wouldn't want to tempt anyone into making life unbearable for you. Shift + Delete of a vital library file is all they need do to make your life miserable.
  6. Live by Faith. If you program for a living, then you are living by faith. Programmers are the most prayerful. Oftentimes, we plug and pray. Or run and pray. Whenever I run a freshly made program, I'm always praying. Sometimes, a client wants something you've not done before and you just have to faith it. That's why programmers often code overnight; it begins with once I can get this part done with I'll go to sleep. And end up staying up all night on it. If we could plan/know how many hours it would take to get a program working we would just spread it well across several days, like other people. But we don't know; we live by faith.
  7. Always Ask For help. A good programmer never re-invents the wheel. He always ask for help. What will take you days of intensive coding to make might be online for free, shared by some kind soul. Most programmers are kind and sharing. 
  8. Make Few Promises. Programmers seldom make promises. We know that so many things are beyond our control, we only assure you of our best.
  9. Find Patterns. What I love most is a problem that has an easily recognizable pattern. It makes programming life extremely easy. Whenever I'm with a client, I'm always asking questions that will establish if the problem I'm to solve has a reliable pattern. I don't want them calling me to tweak the program every now and then.
  10. Passion. All good programmers put passion into their work. It's the only way to work. Programming is so boring money is not enough to keep you at it. You will have to give up sleep on some days and food on some afternoons.
  11. Cool headed. When a comma can make or break your program, being cool headed is not an option. It's a survival trait. 
And how can you benefit from having a similar mindset?
It's quite obvious. In all our dealings we need to always have the end in mind. It saves us from future trauma. 
We all need to learn how to break complex tasks into simple more manageable chunks.
We all need to give allowance for other people's mistakes/errors.
It's good to always know that you can be wrong even when you don't know how.
Be humble. It's a sign of greatness.
Live more by faith. Take up tasks that stretch your abilities and creativity.
Always ask for help. Even when you know it all, you can afford to do it all.
Don't make rash promises.
Learn to identify patterns. See the signs.
Put passion into whatever you do. Do more of what you have passion for.
Be Cool, Calm and Collected. Like me.

Have you ever woken up in the morning and you just don't feel happy. Your tolerance level is almost zero. You suddenly find a lot of things irritating. And most puzzling of all, you can't find any reason for being this way. Well, welcome to Reality. 


The year before I got into the university, I got a mail that I had won a lottery: $1,500. Everything looked so real I printed it and contacted my uncle in the US to help with the account I could have them wire the money to. But he had just moved to US then and wasn't well established enough to help. So I had to let it go. Then some years later, after I have gotten more similar mails, I was amazed by how easily I fell for the scam. How did I believe that I won in a lottery I did not play in.

In 2007, I bought into the IPO of Mutual Benefits Assurance. Then it went from N0.60 to N5.52 in about one year. That's almost 10 fold gain. About 1,000% rate of return. If I had borrowed or stolen N100 million, it would have become N1 billion and even the people I stole from would be happy with me. They would even supply me more stealing opportunities. Thank God I didn't steal or borrow, I simply put in all the money I have in another promising stock. And lost everything. 

So, why do I say what we know sometimes doesn't matter? 

It's because in reality, oftentimes, what we know is one thing and what we do is something else. And it's only after a couple of experiences that what we do begin to fully reflect what we know. 

It's like making your first car purchase. You've researched it and know everything about the car. The day before you bought the car, you could convince a panel of 100 learned men on why that car is the right one for you. You've got all the knowledge you need. Then you make the purchase; you buy the car. And you suddenly begin to take what everyone say about the car seriously. Even what a passing school child says. Every good thing they say makes you feel good, as if you never knew it. And every bad thing they say gets at you. 
Nothing has changed in your knowledge level between the day before the purchase and the day after the purchase. Yet there's this disturbing gap between what you know and what you do. But as you buy one or two more cars, help friends and relatives with their car purchase, that gap almost disappears.

That is what Experience does. It bridges the gap between what we know and what we do. And that's what I'm going to talk more on.

Do you remember how you felt wearing your first suit?
Do you remember how you felt when you wore high heels for the first time?
Do you remember how you felt your first time on a flight?
Do you remember how you felt the first time you gave a formal speech?
Do you remember how you felt the first time you tried swimming?
Do you remember how you felt the first time you worked on a very important official task?
Do you remember how you felt during your first interview?
Do you remember how you felt having a discussion with your first crush?

I hope you'll agree with me that what you knew mattered very little. You kept looking out for everyone wearing a suit and trying to do a comparison. Most of the trouble you had with the high heels were mental than physical. You just couldn't sit still till you boarded the plane. You stood up for the formal speech but your mind remained on the seat. Nothing you had read about swimming was working the way you expected. You kept making yourself look stupid to your boss and senior colleagues. And your first interview, you really wished you could redo it; even that same day. You still can't make sense of how you felt in front of someone who is just flesh and blood like you.

And it's like this for almost every major activity we take up. Just that the sad part is most of us ignore this reality. We go online to read all we could about fixing our car, making a speech, swimming, etc. and are surprised when reality doesn't meet with our expectations.

When you pay someone to paint your house. You could have done it yourself or even better with special tips from Google. In theory. In reality, you'd do worse. You are also paying for experience. The part all the knowledge in the world cannot bestow on you.

And that's what makes the difference between a librarian and a lecturer. A lecturer and a consultant. A consultant and a politician. It's how far they take the knowledge they have. The amount of experience they heap on it. That's what matters. Not the knowledge.

I'm sorry if my frequent talk about taking my part-time biz full-time makes it look like I have a terrible day job. 


Here's the truth.
I work as the Service Delivery Lead and Switch Engineer for a Telecoms company. According to NCC, we are the biggest landline telephone service provider in Nigeria. And I work right in the core of our telephony section. 

As the Service Delivery guy I get to interface between the project managers and the marketing team. I manage the company's CRM. Automated a lot of stuff. Made a lot of trackers and progress dashboards. I have to know the progress status of every project from the day it was approved till the day it was completed. I have to also archive all vital documents relating to each project. But the most interesting part is arbitrating between the marketing team and the technical team. It makes me feel very important.

Then as the Switch guy, it's like playing the role of God. Just the same way we see God as the last resort, we Switch guys get that privileged status too. I work on an exchange that switches hundreds of thousands of calls daily. I joined the Switch team as a Data Analyst to make sense of the lots of system log reports. I did a lot of coding to automate reports that analyze thousands of traffic records. But we are so family-like in the team that I ended up becoming a Switch configuration engineer too. And the fun part of being in Switch is that no one argues with you. You know so much that whatever you say has got to be right. You are at the back end; you make things work. 

A typical day at work involves me getting to work late. Though not every day. Then I power on my work PC. It's like no other PC in the entire company; special thanks to the geek part of me. I log in to the Exchange configuration terminals. I start Outlook. By now the phones would have been ringing. About 8 telephone lines are terminated on my desk phone. And you will (almost) never get a busy tone when you call any of them. The phone is configured to hunt with the phone on the desk next to mine, which I have to pick when the owner is not on sit. And so you could say I've got 2 desk phones and 8 phone lines. Occasionally, the phones will ring from one call to another. When I first joined I was having headache every day. It was extremely difficult concentrating on any task. Desk phones have the most annoying ring tones and mine have no silence setting. So in between picking phone calls, I reply to mails, run some configurations, do some data analysis, go for lunch, do more configurations, continue my data analysis, reply to mails. Then when it's 5:30pm, I take out time to write an article or do some personal stuff and still pick calls and fix issues that can't wait till the next day. I close between 6:00pm and 8:00pm.

It's the kind of job I enjoy: very tasking and mentally stimulating. And I have got the loveliest colleagues anyone can have, the best boss in the world and a big office. And I'm not kidding about the boss part. He gets us gifts every time he travels to his home country. The Hugo Boss Orange EDT I currently use is a gift from him. And have you imagined calling your boss to help out with a weekend job because his house is closer to the office than yours? Well, come to my department and you won't need to imagine to see it happen. By the way, did I tell you he is also the GM Technical (CTO)?

I'm one of the few people who make new year resolutions. They work for me. I still remember the one I made in 2005. It was a resolution to stop underlining and highlighting bible verses. My bible then was a sight to see. I had some chapters completely underlined with a black pen. Then some verses in them highlighted with a yellow marker. And then part of those highlighted verses marked with a * in front. I was ashamed of myself. So that year I made a resolution to stop marking my bible. And till today, I'm still faithful to that resolution.

I remember another one, a much tougher one. In 2007, I made a new year resolution to stop complaining, negatively criticizing and grumbling. It was a tough one. There were lots of things to complain about. And I had already formed a habit of giving stinging criticism. I struggled throughout that year to keep to that resolution. And the struggle crept into 2008. And popped-up occasionally in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In the end I won. And it has been the best new year resolution I have made. I love the new me it made of me.

And so this year I made a new year resolution. A resolution to live a more focused life. 


So far these are the steps I've taken:
  1. I sent a new year message to all the people I worked for in 2013, and I told them that my specialization is in MS Excel and they shouldn't consider me for non-Excel jobs. Slightly crazy. But that's what I did in a less direct manner.
  2. I cancelled my monthly Gold Membership subscription on I have so many books I want to re-read or finish. I won't be buying new audiobooks till I'm done.
  3. I stopped bidding for freelance projects on, and I'm focusing on the local market. Just as I have defined my niche, I'm also defining my reach. 
  4. I now tell people that I'm not interested in job openings. My current job is going to be the last.
  5. I'm more frank.
And so far, I think it's going to be an easy year for me. Resolution-wise.

Have you heard the song "Let Her Go" by Passenger?

It's the best song I've heard in a very long time. And I bought it. Just that song. 


But I found the story of the singer captivating too. It's of the type we all know and expect from successful people. Find what you love doing; give it your all and the sky will be the limit. And we frown on every success gotten any other way. We don't sincerely praise successful children of super rich men; we only envy their money and privileged opportunities.

Then, I considered my state. I'm fortunate to have regular parents. I have found what I love doing. But that's where I stopped. Somehow, giving it my all comes with a very high risk of starvation. I'm finding it extremely hard to make it more than a hobby. In fact, keeping it as a hobby is already difficult. For me, staying alive is getting in the way of my living fully.

Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. To know who you want to be and not be able become him. To spend half of every day in pursuit of a life you do not want. Standing at that junction in life where you have to choose between to become someone or to do something.

I know I can't stand at that junction forever. Soon, I will have to close one of the two doors, forever. I will have to take one of the two paths and never look back. I don't know which I will end up taking. I only know the one I truly want. 

One day in 2009, I saw a friend taking french lessons on his computer. I though it was cool. I joined and every task was easy. French must be very easy and fun. And so I thought within me, "This will be fun and rewarding. I hear girls like guys that can speak french. And I might land a dream job with UN."

It's almost 5 years now. It hasn't been fun. I haven't come across any reward. When I went for a UN job interview, I was told to come back in 2 years. The only consolation so far is that girls do like guys that speak french. And that is before they find out that you stammer terribly after the first 3 sentences.


Of all the things I have learnt in my life, french is the hardest and most expensive. And I still haven't learnt it. I have attended Alliance Francaise Ikeja and VI. Centre Culturel Francais Abuja. Bon Berger College, Cotonou for immersion programme. Bought Harry Porter, the french version. Bought L'Avare. Memorized the words in Collins Pocket French to English dictionary. Bought secondary school french textbooks and workbooks (On y va). Paid a fellow French graduate corper half of my NYSC allowee to teach me French. I spent hours combing training attendance sheets at NYSC camp to find a French graduate. I found him. Copied his details. 3 months later I went in search of him and gave him an offer he could not refuse. Then I would travel thrice a week to his place of deployment for french classes.

I joined online language exchange communities. I made new friends. Especially Sarah, the best friend anyone can have. I have more French movies than English movies. I have more French music than English music. I listen to french radio a lot. I have lots of books on French grammar. I have lots of apps on my phone for learning French. I even had my phone language changed to French until it got me into trouble. 

In all, I ended up with interesting stories of how I'm learning French. But with almost nothing to show for it. It's a terrible state to be in. You can't quit because of all you've invested in it. And you aren't making any real progress. More than all the apps I have bought on iTunes are French apps. I read French books like I've got an exam in focus. I listen to French radio as if I can remember more than a word of what was said. I even bought an internet radio app on iTunes and Google Play. I bought audio books too. French is like a black hole to me: sucking all it can get from me. 

But I'm not deterred. I'll keep giving it all I can. I know that someday I'll win this battle. I will be come fluent in French. And to celebrate it, I will make a resolution to read only French books and watch only French movies for a year. And set aside about 2 months income/salary for it.

Have you read my One Life Goal?

Leonardo da Vinci is the main inspiration for it.
He lived an extraordinary life. The kind of life I hope to live. If I could regard any man as perfect, it would be him.

Leonardo da Vinci was born 15th of April, 1452. Like most other great men, there was nothing great about his birth, family and early life. What was most special about him is that he never stopped growing. He poured himself into all that interested him. And lived fully. He used every talent he had. He didn't try to fit in anywhere. He gave his thoughts wings and his hands tools. He thought and worked. 

He was a very caring and simple man. He loved everyone and was kind to even birds. He would buy caged birds just to free them. He was a vegetarian. He couldn't stand the killing of animals for food. He had an apprentice who was always stealing from him and lying to him, yet he remained kind to him. Took him back every time he had spent all the money he took off with. He even included him in his will. He's the kindest man I have ever read about.

I don't want to give a narrative of his biography because he's slightly more than human to me. He is the epitome of simplicity. Even when Michelangelo called him incompetent and lazy, he wasn't offended. He was the perfect mix of brain and energy. Calm, caring and creative.

He fed his childhood curiosity throughout his lifetime. His rules and life principles were not formed in his head and to be followed religiously. They were written in his kind heart, and expressed gently. 

You can read more about his creativity here. He's regarded as the most creative man that ever lived. 


Next to Jesus, there are other 3 people whose lives greatly shaped mine. Leonardo da Vinci, Samuel Clemens Langhorne and Steve Jobs. I have already talked about Samuel Clemens Langhorne (aka Mark Twain). And today I'll be talking about Steve Jobs.

First of all, I need to let you know that just as diamond isn't found floating in it's purest form on the cleanest river, but is found in thick dirt with an awkward shape. So also are the world's most inspiring people. They are not the symbol of the ideal man we all have in mind. But they are always the best of their kind. Special beyond comprehension and creative beyond description. And that's the only way to describe Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955. His mum and dad were unmarried, and students at the University of Wisconsin, USA. His mum's family wouldn't let them marry. So they put the baby up for adoption. He was adopted by Paul Jobs and Clara Jobs. His new dad was a Mechanic/Carpenter and the new mum an Accountant. He lived a regular life. Nothing special about his upbringing or family.

But as he grew up he began examining his life. Soon, he concluded that going to University wasn't his own decision and he saw little value in it. He dropped out. And it was at that point that his life took a unique turn. He began doing only the things had strong passion for. He was too young to worry about money and too smart to work full-time for someone else. He was obsessed with creating something of value and doing it in the most beautiful way possible. And that was how Apple came to be. He found someone who was technically smarter than him and they began Apple Computer Company. And as you know, the rest is history.

They built the first personal computer. They hired Bill Gates and gave him one of his earliest big breaks. They did things people thought impossible. They kept setting new standards and ended up creating an entirely new industry. 

But the real inspiration is in the path he took. He dropped out of college when it was not a fashionable thing to do. He wanted a life he chose, not one decided for him. He put all his energy into building things. And when he started Apple, no one took him and the company serious. One of the founding partners pulled out early on because he saw no future for the company. He had numerous troubles getting needed fund. Almost everyone he talked to thought he was crazy. But he was so determined and persistent that people began to take him more seriously. They saw the drive and couldn't but give him a chance. And he went on to build the world's most innovative company. Twice.

What inspires me the most about him is that he focused on just one thing: creating. He never cared about money or public perception. He did his own thinking and followed his own gut. Even when he was ousted from Apple, he took his life earnings and started another company. He spent almost everything because of his obsession with high quality and creativity before the company started turning profits.

And here is the best inspirational presentation on Steve Jobs, I could find. 

I'm a member of Lighthouse Toastmasters Club. I have been a member since October 2011. I have been the Club's Sergeant-at-arms, Secretary, and now, the VP Membership. I have only missed meetings thrice since joining. But I have only given 6 prepared speeches. One of my mentees has already completed the Competent Communicators Speech projects, all 10 of them. And the VP Education is not happy with me. I take about 6 months to give 1 speech. And I'm becoming a bad influence on my mentees. In fact, she has stopped giving me mentees.

That's me at the extreme left.

So I have been thinking really hard about it. Why am I finding it extremely hard to give a speech?

And today, I'll be sharing the answer in form of a regular Toastmasters Speech. In fact, I'll be delivering it to you as the Speech 1 I should have given. What we call the Ice Breaker's speech.

And here it is: The Toastmasters Speech I'll never give. I have titled it: The Real Me.

The Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and guests.
We run away all the time to avoid coming face to face with ourselves. Author, anonymous.

Some of us are created as generalists. And others are created as specialists. The main difference is that the specialists are extremely good at a few things and terrible at everything else. While the generalists are able to acquire proficiency at any skill they desire, and are usually average at every other things.

Unfortunately, I fall into the Specialist category. And it's a misfortune Toastmasters constantly remind me of. I'm mandated to give a speech. A speech that will be very engaging. One that won't make you snore. It's the same as telling me to not talk about the things I'm most passionate about. Because you'll find them extremely boring.

Then I must put some life into my speech. Make it very passionate. Use body gestures. Use voice modulations. And use pauses creatively.  And these are my biggest pain as a Toastmaster. I don't do any of this in real life. If you see me talking passionately, it must that I'm under the influence of a drug. Or there's an Evaluator to please. And as for body gestures; I'm used to moving only my lips when talking. The only real life situations I use body gestures are when conversing with a deaf man and whenever I'm trying to speak French. And voice modulations. I'm yet to figure out what a preacher will say that will make me genuinely scream at the top of my voice. Even while I was drowning in a river in Bayelsa state, I wasn't screaming. I was just there with my hands up and sinking. Even when I try hard to fake being excited, shouting for joy has always been beyond me. Even the less strenuous voice modulations, ones that involve subtle change of speech tone to give more effect to the words spoken has always been irrelevant to me in my day-to-day life. I let my choice of words create whatever effect I want, and not the way I say those words.

So every time you see me behind this lectern giving a speech you can relate to, modulating my voice, moving from one side of the lectern to the other, generously using my hands, and doing a mini drama to give you a speech that wins your applause. You can be sure that it is not me you are seeing. The real me will do nothing of that sort.

So who is the real me?

If the world was perfect, I wouldn't be here giving this speech. I wouldn't even join a Toastmasters. I would be in a big electronics lab making embedded systems. Hacking hardware and automating all I could. Because the real me is an extreme introvert who loves making things do more than they were originally designed to do. Who loves building new things and automating mundane tasks. And that's why I love programming. A 15mins phone call gives me headache, but 8 hours of writing codes makes me energized and happy.

The real me is not the one right in front of you giving this speech. The real me is lost. Perhaps, forever.

The Toastmaster.

I'm on a queue at ParknShop, the attendant is taking longer than usual to attend to me. I feel like telling her, "You are wasting my time."
You are at Lekki toll gate, the queue is not moving. You let your car horn do the screaming, "You are wasting my time."

Then one day I thought about it. Most times, I'm not in a hurry to go do something else. In fact, I often go ahead to waste my time some other way. 

Being busy and always in a hurry is, perhaps, the only way we waste our time. We simply fill it with activities. We seldom use the opportunity a delaying attendant and the queue at the toll gate give us to stop and take a break. To break free from ceaseless activities.

I'm not suggesting that you begin evaluating your life in those random short time. I'm saying you should just try to shutdown. Take your mind of everything. Enjoy the moment in silence; silence of mind and actions.


And what will you gain by doing this?
I don't know. But I can assure you that you won't gain anything by always being a hurry. Ceaselessly acting.

So next time you are stuck in a queue, don't scream: "You're wasting my time."
Take it as a Godsend opportunity to shutdown and refresh your mind in the golden river of silence.

To trust someone is to have to confidence in that person, that he won't suddenly change his mind.


I've heard people discuss trust. Even on radio. And sometimes, when I listen on their discussions I wonder if they are being sincere and human. They talk about principles and rules of deciding if someone can be trusted or not. They relate their numerous experiences, involving a breach of trust.

I wonder if they have ever asked themselves this question: "Have I never suddenly changed my mind before?"

The truth is that trusting someone is an act of faith. You are taking a big leap. Everyone of us has changed his mind suddenly before. And we all of have our very convincing reasons for it. But regardless of reason, trust is dependent on staying true to your promise. Which is beyond any human. There will be situations, life threatening situations, that will make us instantly abandon a promise.

It's true that some people are experts at encountering circumstances that make them renege on their promises. The weather can be enough reason for them to breach a trust. Yet, there is none of us who can say he's 100% sure of fulfilling whatever he promises. Even the bible admonishes us to say, "If God wills, I will do..." Being 100% sure of what he would do was the Rich man's main fault, who's barn yielded much increase. He forgot that he needed to be alive to do them and that his very life was not his.

So when we are severe on someone for not fulfilling a promise, we should remember that he is only human. And we are human too. Everyone of us is not worthy to be trusted; we all suddenly change our minds.

Rather we should learn to manage our expectations. Even from ourselves. Understand that no one can be relied completely on. That every act of trust we make is an act of faith.

Last weekend, I spent the entire Saturday and Sunday making a dynamic Excel dashboard that creates a PowerPoint presentation slide in the end. It was no small task; I had just two days to get it done. 

Today I'm going to share with you an Excel feature that can make your Excel life easier. It helped me a lot in making that Excel dashboard. And it's also a smarter way to work with Excel. It's called Named Range.

And here's how you use it.

As you expect, I have made a sample data for illustration. It's a sales report for a fruit grocery store.

Named Range allows me to group all the Product cells together and give them a name. And do likewise for the Unit Price and Quantity.

So let's do that for the Products. Highlight the Fruits, from Banana to Strawberry.

Click on Formulas tab, and Name Manger.

The Name Manager settings box will pop up.

Click on New.

It will automatically detect the cells you highlighted as the Range and give the Range the name Banana.

Click on OK. And you'll be taken back to the initial settings box, but now with the Banana Named Range.

Do the same for the other fields.

You can safely close the Name Manager box.

It's now time to put the named ranges to use. To begin working smarter on Excel.

Remember that in the original table, the Sales Amount hasn't been computed. 

Now we are going to compute it for each product, in a smart way.

For the Banana, just key in the formula: =Unit_Price*Quantity

And copy it down, to Strawberry.

And now you're using Excel as a Pro. 20 years from now, your Excel sheet will make sense without you racking your brain.

Anytime you look at the formulas, they will always make sense.

And the best part is they make writing Excel macros more fun. You don't have to update your codes every time you change the positions of data in the Excel sheet or add new entries. Just update the named range, and you are done.

In fact, I'm now working on a big Excel macro to automate a giant report. And you can be sure that I'll be using named ranges.

The best life you can have is the one of doing what you really really want to do. A life spent in pursuit of your dreams.


These are what happen when you follow your dreams:

  1. You become very creative. Dreams require you to do what no one has done before. And necessity, they say, is the mother of creation. As you start small and keep building your dream, you'll begin to exude creativity like you've never done before.
  2. You begin to life fully. Our dreams are the embodiment of our true self, true desires and hopes. Following them is the surest way to living a fulfilled life.
  3. You become the best at what you do. It's natural that you'll become extremely good at what you focus almost all your energy on. And when it's tied to a burning desire like a life dream, you're definitely going to become the best at it.
  4. You begin to attract people that will help you live your dreams. People are moved more by actions that words. When they see, by your actions, that you've extremely focused and diligent, they will be more willing to give you any help you need.
  5. You age gracefully. The only gray-haired folks that are fun to be with are the active, creative, non-grumbling ones. Going after a dream that is life-long will make you creative till the day you die. And you'll always be relevant and fun to be with. And many people's life coach.
  6. You become unstoppable. Or have the feeling of being unstoppable. Because your drive comes from within. Nothing external can quench it.
  7. You become unique. And in a way you'll be very proud of.
  8. You'll live a happier life. Following your dreams is like growing happiness under your feet, rather than seeking it in the way people treat or value you. You can't follow your dream and be sad about it. The people that have the most Eureka moments are those following their dreams.
  9. Finally, it's the best way to live life. It puts you in the league of the world's greatest: people who charted their own course.
It's never too early or too late to follow your dreams.

Tomorrow is Valentine. 
It's not too late to plan a surprise for your val. And if you don't have a val, don't feel sad. I don't have one too. It's my preferred choice. But if you don't have a val and don't know why or didn't make it that way. Then you should spend tonight in a prayer vigil.

So let's talk about love, today. What it means to love.


Unfortunately, you can't define love. You can only feel it. When you love someone, there's nothing they can do to make you stop loving them. One of its truest form is that feeling mothers have for their children. Even when the child sets his heart on following a path of shame and evil. The father might disown him, but never the mother. If there's only one person that visits the world's most notorious criminal in his prison cell, you can be sure it is his mother.

And that is what it means to love. If you truly love someone, you'll stand by that person through thick and thin. There will be disagreements, fights, complaints, and every other thing that plagues relationships. But you both know that in the end, you're inseparable. 

And for most of us, this kind of love doesn't come upon us like a cupid's arrow. Or like it came upon Romeo and Juliet. We have to cultivate it. Consciously make it grow to the point where it's strong enough to outlive its objects. That's why much fewer marriages break after the 20th anniversary. 

To love is to be inseparable. It could exist between two bosom friends. A brother and a sister. A father and a son. Always a mother and her child. A boy and a girl. A man and God. A wife and her husband. 

There's no formula to it. There are no principles. There's no trying to be a better person. It's not about being tolerant or considerate. It's not about being sweet and kind. It's not about constant communication. It's beyond all these. It's simply being inseparable. No pretense. No formality. No butterflies. No shooting stars. Just that plain feeling of attachment that transcends all. 

And for most of us, it's not about finding that special someone. It's about making someone the special one.

Happy Valentine in advance!

To be honest means to be truthful in words and deeds. 

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as it sounds. It's hard because it will require most of us to change our characters. If you are someone who is a perfectionist, extremely hard to please. You will have a tough time having a healthy relationship with your spouse, if you decide to be honest always. The only way out is to stop being a perfectionist. 

Sadly, I'm not always honest. I'm always acting like I'm enjoying a boring conversation; but deep inside of me I won't mind a catastrophe happening to interrupt the conversation. I occasionally smile to ensure the disgust I'm feeling inside does not show on my face. I say thanks a lot of times when I don't mean it. And then there are the ones I'm really ashamed to talk about.

My aim is obviously not to show you how to be honest at all times. I'm not qualified to do that. My aim is to show you that honesty is truly the best policy. I have never regretted any moment I have been completely honest. Sincerely, I do feel sad once in a while after taking a honest action. I also frequently get criticized. But after sometime, I always realize that it was the best decision.

When you're honest, you're being true not just to others but also to yourself. When you are honest, you're doing the right thing. It may not be the most beneficial thing. You may be hastening someone's judgement/punishment or revealing secrets. But they will be well deserved judgement and secrets that shouldn't have existed in the first place.

Honesty is not an act, it's a way of life. It will require you to discover your true self and make hard changes. Because you will always be truthful, you will not want to be a part of a scheme that is shady. You will not want to keep a habit that you're not happy admitting. You will not want to keep friends that keep putting you in embarrassing situations. You will be extremely responsible, dependable and a man of verifiable integrity. The kind of person everyone wants to have important deals with. Even the people that complain about your frankness will be proud to know you and always willing to vouch for you. You will not have trouble getting anything from (almost) anyone, since they know that you are incapable of deceiving them. People will trust you and treat you special, in a very nice way.

Best of all, you'll have a spouse that trusts you; children that will be proud of you; business partners that will go great lengths for you; and everyone will be willing to recommend you.

1 year ago, if I had come across a blog with all the posts I now have on my blog and if the guy running the blog writes daily, I would be trying to contact him to show me how.

Today, I want to tell you that no matter how big your dream is or how tough the journey seems or how impossible your true desire is: Please give it a try. Don't think, "What if I fail?" Think, "What if I succeed, like Mike?"


If I end up not meeting my goal of writing an article a day for the rest of my life, it wouldn't be because I couldn't do it. I'm now 100% convinced I can. It would be because I got too old to type out the article. 8 months ago, I thought I was making a decision I can't pull through, pursing a goal that is doomed to failed. That the day I won't write an article is just by the corner, standing beside reality. And it's just a matter of time before I meet them both.
Now, I believe I have changed that reality.

Definitely, things didn't turn out as I was expecting. In fact, I wasn't expecting that I would still be churning out an article a day by today. I just wanted to give it a try, and if it was getting too difficult, I'd quit. Now, I'm paying monthly to use an email service that mails my daily posts to my esteemed readers. Since posting less technical and boring stuffs that rank high in google search, I have been getting less traffic and making much less advert revenue. I probably won't be getting a cheque from Google this month. I recently got a N20,000 Spectranet modem and paid extra N7,000 for 15GB data bundle. My monthly expense on keeping the blog up is now about N10,000. N7,000 for monthly internet and about N3,000/month for email service.

By the way, the Spectranet internet service is superb. I've used it in Lekki, Ikoyi, VI, Lagos Island, Obalende, Oworonsoki, Gbagada, Maryland, Ikeja, Agege, Oshodi, Dopemu, Iyana Ipaja, Oke-odo, Abule-Egba and Ahmaddiya. The speed is better than any other internet service I've used before, and consistent. I'll recommend it for anyone living in Lagos. You don't need to get the N20,000 MiFi modem. There are cheaper modems. Just that the MiFi one is small (can be put in a large pocket), has a 10hrs battery and allows you to connect your other devices wirelessly to internet.

What have I gained by giving my goal a try?
  1. I'm achieving what I was almost sure I would fail at -- writing an article daily
  2. I became true to myself. I stopped trying to separate all the different aspects of my life: Work, Facebook, Twitter, Business, Family, Friends and my Dreams. I consolidated them all. Though I still wish my colleagues at work and close relatives won't stumble on my blog. I rarely check my Facebook and Twitter for fear of seeing a comment by someone very close to me. But for once in my life, I'm taking a big step in trying to stop being a different person to different sets of people.
  3. Sometimes, I'm amazed by the creative articles I come up with. All my favorite authors are no longer superhuman. I now see myself in the same light I view them. I can feel my writing career growing wings.
  4. I'm now able to make real business decisions. Like choosing to write creative articles that won't fetch me traffic and keep pulling down my ad revenue over posting technical stuffs that are boring and will get me traffic and increased ad revenue. I used to think it would be an easy decision, until I actually had to face that fork in the road. I considered pulling the plug on some of the stuffs I was paying for to make the blog more friendly, since I wasn't going to be earning much anymore. After thinking hard and long about it. I decided to even spend more. And to apply that principle to other areas of my life. To separate value from earning potential. To spend more on value than just mere gain.
  5. I made new great friends: Nelo, Adeleke, Nosa, Sunday, Idowu, Austin, Ahmad, Sir Asuku, Ahmzy, Olatunji, Hussain, Don, Chichi, Ebubedike, Misbahu, Ugochukwu, Babs, Temi, Alabs, Adebayo, Ife, Ify, Adetollah, Dipupo & DJ White.
  6. Best of all, I now try more daring things. Like planning to resign to build my own biz.
So whatever big dream/goal you have, give it a try.