Why You Shouldn't Read Motivational Books And Read More Skills Imparting Books

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A lot of us underestimate the odds stacked against us for being a Nigeria-based Nigerian. We feel we know enough and are skilled enough and deserve much more than what we are currently getting. And are even sure that we will do better if we move to a more developed country.

image: centives.net

It is true that we deserve better, but it is mostly because we are currently getting almost nothing in Nigeria. No social amenities and no state assistance. Even the armed robber in Nigeria deserves more than he is getting (and a healthy jail too). It's also true that you will do much better by quitting Nigeria to start a new life in a more developed country. But it will be because they have a better system and pay a higher (minimum) wage.

Let's follow the life journey of two typical Nigerians. One is born to parents based in Nigeria and the other is born to parents based in the US. They are born on the same day with equal potential.

The Nigerian based one grows up speaking both his native language and English. He attends a regular school with regular and mostly incompetent teachers. His English is not a quarter as good as that of the one based in the US. He heads to the university and learns subjects the world has stopped regarding as relevant over 40 years ago. He is exposed to so very little globally relevant stuff. All his idea of how a train ought to work comes from the TV and books. He has to read books to see the things the other one in the US grew up with. His education is much poorer. His relevant knowledge base insufficient, thanks to our educational system. His access to resources very limited, thanks to the government. His understanding of the world, very narrow. His ambitions, mainly to get out or earn a living.

The US based one grows up speaking English with the huge benefit of learning from the native speakers. He attends a community school with free tuition. He benefits from one of the best educational system in the world. He learns things relevant in the world and relevant to his future opportunities. He is exposed to the height of human inventiveness and has his mind stretched a thousand times more than the Nigerian based one. His access to resources is like an ocean compared to the Nigerian based one's puddle. His ambitions are comparable to that of anyone in the world. He grew up soaking in the higher quality knowledge and attitude that exists in his environment. He picks up relevant skills and knowledge from the society that the Nigerian based one doesn't know exist. The only problem he has is fitting in whenever he comes visiting his Nigerian based cousins.

These two people can be compared to someone growing up in a cattle rearing rural community in Borno state and the other growing up in Lagos state. Obviously, one would end up with more relevant and marketable skills than the other just because of the environment he grew up in. Now imagine the Borno guy buying motivational books written by Lagosians who make their living from giving motivational talks. How is that going to reduce his disadvantages? He is not going to learn a better and more modern way of farming. He is not going to have access to the resources that makes it possible for the Lagos one to become a full-time motivational speaker/writer. Now imagine that all the farmers in Borno state start buying motivational books from Lagos rather than reading books that will improve their business productivity and give them relevant skills. And as it is with partial nature, one or two will make it as a motivational speaker than the rest. But overall, they would have all been better if they didn't read motivational books but read more skills imparting books.

And that is what I see happening around me daily. I see people who should be building their skills spending the little they have on motivational books and building castles in the air. They have forgotten that the odds against them are of the sort that feeling good and positive thinking alone can't overcome. They do not consider that they need to put in a lot of good efforts and positive actions to get on the same pedestal the writers of the books started with. They are like the Borno farmers, and for the very few whose lives would be changed for good by the books, the entire group would have fared worse than if they had all read more skills imparting books.

If you are a Nigerian and have lived all your life in Nigeria, you should read more skills imparting and eye-opening books than motivational books. It's going to take people with the hard skills required to build the infrastructure, the system and the society we all admire in the developed countries.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you but will like to add reading leadership, psychology and emotion intelligence enhancing books are equally good companions to "hard skills" books.


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