The mind is the most powerful tool that humans possess, it can be used to help you attain success or it can take you to the depths of failure. You must learn to use your mind to its optimal level if you want to live life on a new level. The mind is the key to success.
Become the master of your mind or it shall rule you. What you think about is what you will bring about into your life, you must see yourself as who you want to become. So think thoughts of success and go confidently in the direction of your dreams and know that you have what it takes. So believe in yourself, you are capable of more than you know.
You may not realise it, but the mind is very powerful. It is unlimited in potential. You can create anything you desire just by letting…
1. Stay active; don’t retire. Those who give up the things they love doing and do well lose their purpose in life. That’s why it’s so important to keep doing things of value, making progress, bringing beauty or utility to others, helping out, and shaping the world around you, even after your “official” professional activity has ended.
2. Take it slow. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to the quality of life. As the old saying goes, “Walk slowly and you’ll go far.” When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.
3. Don’t fill your stomach. Less is more when it comes to eating for long life, too. According to the 80 percent rule, in order to stay healthier longer, we should eat a little less than our hunger demands instead of stuffing ourselves.
4. Surround yourself with good friends. Friends are the best medicine…
What tastes of sweet honey to us is bitter to the unbeliever. Paul describes the cross as “foolishness to the perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18). That is why we must know the Gospel, live the Gospel, and, most importantly, share the Gospel.
For those of us who know Christ, two simple words hold the key to life everlasting: The Gospel.
This phrase is like sweet honey to those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. To believe the Gospel means that we have peace with God, that we have a heavenly Father, and that we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom. Believing the Gospel means that regardless of what happens in this lifetime, we can rest in the beautiful and perfect plan of a sovereign, infinite, all-powerful God.
However, what tastes of sweet honey to us is bitter to the unbeliever. Paul describes the cross as “foolishness to…
Nigeria has been producing traditional, handmade, beautiful fabric designs for centuries. But preservers of the ancient art say modern manufacturing and cheap Chinese imports threaten this way of life.
Kano’s Kofar Mata dye pit is one of the last surviving hand-coloring textile makers in Nigeria.
Over the years, the workers at the pit have become fewer and fewer due to reduced patronage.
Mamood Abubakar bends over the one-meter deep dye pit in a continuous dipping process that produces rich indigo fabrics.
Abubakar has done this for the last 70 years to earn a living and sustain the tradition, but as he gets older, he worries about the future of the trade.
“This place has been around for more than 500 years,” Abubakar said.
“Arabs, Whites, and people from all over Africa come here because this business is not a small one. We expect that the youth should desire to be part of it so that when we are gone, they will replace us,” he said
Not far from the Kofar Mata Dye pit is the Kantin Kwari Textile Market, the largest in Nigeria.
Ismaila Abdullahi, a designer at the market, says cheap Chinese manufacturing means it doesn’t make good business sense to produce textiles locally.
“The progress we have made in this business is that we now have our own graphic designer, who draws the designs and sends them to China for them to produce the textiles and send back to us,” he said.
Hamma Kwajaffa, the director general of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers’ Association, blames the decline in locally made fabrics on Chinese imports, which he says are often smuggled into the country.
“They take our designs and go to China and bring it to sell it cheaper. Five yards like this, they will sell it for 1,000 naira, while our factories cannot produce this product at less than 3,000 naira. Because these smugglers, they have no workers, they don’t pay taxes, they don’t add any value, so they can afford to sell it cheaper,” he said.
Nigeria’s Central Bank said last month that it has provided cotton producers with more than $300 million in loans in recent years to support the domestic textile industry, once Africa’s largest.
In 2017, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, filling in for the president, ordered the government to give priority to products made in Nigeria when buying uniforms and footwear.
John Adaji, the president of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, says the policy needs to be expanded.
“South Africa had a policy on textile and it simply said, ‘Buy South African — wear South African.’ And they have a tax in force that enforces that. So, it is government. Government must be seen to provide an enabling ground for business,” he said.
Craftsman Abubakar says the government should buy their handmade fabrics and export them to the world if they want these traditional Nigerian textiles to survive.
Thirty-Seven men, many of them married, were commissioned as Catechists at the Catechetical Training Centre, Malumfashi, Katsina State, Northwest Nigeria.
The Centre is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Northwest Nigeria. It admits and trains Catechists as first agents of evangelization. The candidates are drawn from different Catholic Dioceses in the country.
The 37 who were commissioned on Friday went through the formation for two years. They were taught the basics of many courses on evangelization, leadership, communication, the Sacraments and other doctrines of the Catholic Church.
At the graduation on Friday, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah enjoined them to try to represent the Church wherever they find themselves in the course of their service.
He also told them to ensure they put into practice all that they learnt in theory, adding that they should not allow mundane things to distract them from their commitment to God.
Their assignment Bishop Kukah said is not a rosy one as there will be times of sour grapes experiences. He appealed to the spouses of the catechists to support their husbands in the call they have taken upon themselves.
Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahavadi was assassinated near Tehran today. Here it is the final push for World War III, just like the Albert Pike playbook called for. And what better time to use it than now to avoid the embarrassing voter fraud exposure that fake news can no longer keep propped up. Whether by design or by chance this is taking place in real time now.
Chatter on the internet indicates blame is being placed on Israel but, no official statements have been made at the time of this posting. However, the former Prime Minister of Iran, Javad Zarif tweeted today that “Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators Iran calls on int’l community—and especially EU—to end their shameful…
The Nigerian government has continued its attacks on CNN after it reported on the shooting of protesters in the country, sayingthe American channel has been “grasping at straws in desperation” to justify its “inaccurate and unbalanced” coverage.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said in his latest tirade that the use of “unverified videos” and “non-adherence to the basic tenets of journalism” had landed the broadcaster in “trouble”.
CNN had earlier published its investigation on the Lekki shootings based on witness reports and videos that were geolocated from various protesters.
The Nigerian government wrote to the television to complain, demanding a review of the report.
On Thursday, CNN clarified the Lekki death toll it tweeted on October 23 which said that “at least 38 people were killed.”
In its clarification, the news network said the tweet “did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country”.
At a meeting on Friday with members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja, Mr Mohammed said, “since we sent our letter, CNN has been grasping at straws in desperation, to justify its inaccurate and unbalanced investigation.”
“But in the process, it is sinking more and more into professional infamy. Yesterday, November 26 that is, in the clearest indication yet of its confusion over the Lekki Toll Gate incident, CNN tried to clarify its tweet of October 23 by saying it never attributed the death toll of 38 to Amnesty International and that the tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country.”
Mr Mohammed said CNN’s tweet about the death toll was ambiguous.
“Instead of engaging in such panic, CNN should come clean by admitting that it goofed badly on the Lekki Toll Gate incident.
“But the big lesson to draw from CNN’s faux pas is that it magnifies the failure or inadequacy of our own broadcast organisations.
“In the wake of our spat with CNN, people are asking: Why didn’t our own broadcast stations take the lead in reporting the incident at Lekki? Why didn’t they take the lead in presenting an authentic narrative? Why must we allow the foreign broadcast stations, some of which didn’t even have correspondents on the ground, to dictate the pace, thus misleading the world?
“These are questions begging for answers and I think for BON, this must form part of their review of the coverage of the whole crisis.
Mr Mohammed restated his call for the regulation of social media which he claimed was used in the protest to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties, both public and private.
“This brings me to the issue of social media regulation. You must have heard about the hoopla this issue has generated in the media.
“Well, I want to confirm that we will definitely act to ensure the responsible use of social media. You may call that regulation.
“But that is not the same as stifling press freedom or free speech. No. Fake news and disinformation are not the same as free speech. This government has no plan to stifle free speech, neither do we have any intention of shutting down the internet.
“Social media has come to stay, and those who use it responsibly have nothing to fear.ADVERTISEMENT
“But we cannot give the same assurance to those who weaponise social media. By the way, the issue of regulating social media content is generating debate around the world, so Nigeria is not an exception,” he said.
“[T]here is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques.”
The recent confirmation of President Trump-appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett has resulted in its first significant Supreme Court outcome, and it relates to the first protected liberty specified in the Bill of Rights: the free exercise of religion.
In a 5-4 ruling late Wednesday night, the Supreme Court backed a religious challenge to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions limiting attendance at religious services. The majority ruling blocks enforcement of the restrictions while the applicants pursue appellate review. The ruling highlights the lack of evidence that the applicants — the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, two Jewish synagogues, and an Orthodox Jewish organization — have contributed to the spread of the virus and questions the rationale of the specifics of Cuomo’s restrictions, which limited services to just 10 and 25 occupants for red and orange zones, respectively.
“Not only is there no evidence that the applicants have contributed to the spread of COVID–19 but there are many other less restrictive rules that could be adopted to minimize the risk to those attending religious services,” the decision reads. “Among other things, the maximum attendance at a religious service could be tied to the size of the church or synagogue. Almost all of the 26 Diocese churches immediately affected by the Executive Order can seat at least 500 people, about 14 can accommodate at least 700, and 2 can seat over 1,000. Similarly, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills can seat up to 400. It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000–seat church or 400–seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows.”
“Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area,” the ruling asserts. “But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. Before allowing this to occur, we have a duty to conduct a serious examination of the need for such a drastic measure.”
“The applicants have made the showing needed to obtain relief, and there is no reason why they should bear the risk of suffering further irreparable harm in the event of another reclassification,” the ruling concludes. “For these reasons, we hold that enforcement of the Governor’s severe restrictions on the applicants’ religious services must be enjoined.”
In his concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch, the first of Trump’s three Supreme Court appointments, writes, “Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis. At a minimum, that Amendment prohibits government officials from treating religious exercises worse than comparable secular activities, unless they are pursuing a compelling interest and using the least restrictive means available. … Yet recently, during the COVID pandemic, certain States seem to have ignored these long-settled principles. Today’s case supplies just the latest example.”
“It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques,” he concludes.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second appointee, concurs, concluding: “On this record, the applicants have shown: a likelihood that the Court would grant certiorari and reverse; irreparable harm; and that the equities favor injunctive relief. I therefore vote to grant the applications for temporary injunctive relief until the Court of Appeals in December, and then this Court as appropriate, can more fully consider the merits.”
Notably, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined in dissent with the three progressive members of the Court. “I would not grant injunctive relief under the present circumstances,” his dissent begins. “There is simply no need to do so. After the Diocese and Agudath Israel filed their applications, the Governor revised the designations of the affected areas. None of the houses of worship identified in the applications is now subject to any fixed numerical restrictions. At these locations, the applicants can hold services with up to 50% of capacity, which is at least as favorable as the relief they currently seek.”
The majority ruling rejects Roberts’ and the three liberal judges’ argument that the matter is moot because the circumstances have changed, contending: “The dissenting opinions argue that we should withhold relief because the relevant circumstances have now changed. After the applicants asked this Court for relief, the Governor reclassified the areas in question from orange to yellow, and this change means that the applicants may hold services at 50% of their maximum occupancy. The dis- sents would deny relief at this time but allow the Diocese and Agudath Israel to renew their requests if this recent reclassification is reversed. There is no justification for that proposed course of action. It is clear that this matter is not moot.”
As noted by The New York Times, Supreme Court’s ruling is “at odds” with its previous rulings concerning church attendance restrictions in California and Nevada, delivered in May and July, respectively, in which the court declined to back similar challenges. Justice Barrett was confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 26 in a 52-48 vote.
The Greater Good Science Center offers a plethora of information on this subject. In a white paper titled, “The Science of Gratitude” (2018), they outline several benefits to gratitude practice.
For the individual:
increased happiness and positive mood
more satisfaction with life
less likely to experience burnout
better physical health
lower levels of cellular inflammation
encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom
increases prosocial behaviors
may help employees’ effectiveness
may increase job satisfaction
Emmons & Mishra (2011) explored many of the above benefits in “Why gratitude enhances well-being: What we know, what we need to know.” They concluded that there is “considerable evidence that gratitude builds social resources by strengthening relationships and promoting prosocial actions.” As you continue reading, you will discover more support for making gratitude a habit.
A Look at the Research on Showing Gratitude
Showing gratitude is not merely saying, “thank you.” Wong and Brown (2017) asked how gratitude affects us mentally and physically. Their study involved assigning students into three groups:
Group one wrote a gratitude letter to another person every week for three weeks. Group two wrote about their thoughts and feelings about negative experiences. Group three didn’t write anything. All three groups received counseling services. Group one reported “significantly better mental health four and 12 weeks” after the intervention ended. Their findings also suggest that a combined gratitude practice/counseling approach is more beneficial than counseling alone.
The researchers analyzed their findings to figure out how gratitude has these effects. They determined that gratitude does four things:
Gratitude disconnects us from toxic, negative emotions and the ruminating that often accompanies them. Writing a letter “shifts our attention” so that our focus is on positive emotions.
Expressing gratitude helps us even if we don’t explicitly share it with someone. We’re happier and more satisfied with life because we completed the exercise.
The positive effects of gratitude writing compound like interest. You might not notice the benefit of a daily or weekly practice, but after several weeks and months, you will.
A gratitude practice trains the brain to be more in tune with experiencing gratitude — a positive plus a positive, equal more positives.
Their findings echo research done by Emmons and many others.
Bartlett & DeSteno (2006) found there is a positive relationship between kind, helpful behavior, and feeling grateful. In, “Gratitude and prosocial behavior: Helping when it costs you,” they discuss this connection in great detail. Throughout three studies they determined,
Gratitude facilitates helping behavior,
Grateful people help the people who helped them (benefactors) and strangers similarly, and
Reminding people who helped them (a benefactor) still increased helping behavior exhibited toward strangers. The reciprocity norm wasn’t a factor.
Dickens and DeSteno (2018) found an association between self-control (patience) and gratitude. Grateful people delay future rewards to a higher degree than ungrateful people. The researchers point out that this has implications for more than one’s finances. Increasing levels of gratitude also could help people positively affect health-related behaviors.
Not all the research supports positive outcomes. Sansone & Sansone (2010) highlight four studies that “temper the association between gratitude and well-being.“
In, “Gratitude and hedonic and eudaimonic well-being in Vietnam war veterans,” Kashdan and colleagues (2006) found that trait gratitude had a relationship with well-being, but only among participants with PTSD. Trait gratitude is defined as “an enduring personality characteristic that describes or determines an individual’s behavior across a range of situations” (APA, n.d.).
Researcher Patricia Henrie (2006) explored the affects daily gratitude journaling has on well-being and adjusting to divorce. The study included middle-aged women, all of whom belonged to and practiced the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). In “The effects of gratitude on divorce adjustment and well-being of middle-aged divorced women,” Henrie found that participants in her treatment groups experienced no improvement in life satisfaction.
Sansone and Sansone (2010) write that participants in Ozimkowski’s 2007 study wrote and delivered a letter to someone in their lives whom they’d never thanked. The study titled, “The gratitude visit in children and adolescents: an investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being” revealed that writing and delivering a gratitude letter did not enhance well-being among children and adolescents. Ozimkowski’s dissertation, cited by 14 other researchers, was unavailable at the time of this writing (Google Scholar, n.d.).
Gurel Kirgiz (2007) investigated whether experimentally-induced gratitude influences affect and temporary self-construal. The results, outlined in “Effects of gratitude on subjective well-being, self-construal, and memory” suggest that state gratitude does not have a relationship with well-being, but that trait gratitude does. State gratitude is defined as one’s present or current level of gratitude.
Robert Emmons (2010), the preeminent scholar in this field, makes the argument that gratitude allows a person to:
Gratitude research is on-going by experts worldwide.
When gratitude fails
As easy as gratitude is to put into practice, there is one thing that can get in the way of it ‘going viral:’ Ingratitude. Emmons (2013) offers the following characteristics of ingratitude:
excessive sense of self-importance
unquenchable need for admiration and approval
sense of entitlement
Some might recognize these as traits describing a narcissistic personality. Philosopher David Hume (1739) wrote, “Of all crimes that human creatures are capable of committing, the most horrid and unnatural is ingratitude.”
Researcher Thomas Gilovich (2017) describes ingratitude as the result of “adaptation, dwelling on negatives, and skewed perceptions of hardships.” In Enemies of Gratitude, Gilovich explains how and why these three experiences interfere with one’s ability to express gratitude. In addition to this, he offers ways to combat these enemies.
The Effects Gratitude Has on Health
According to Julie Ray (2019) of the Gallup Organization, “The world took a negative turn in 2017, with global levels of stress, worry, sadness and pain hitting new highs.” How can this trend change for the better? Research demonstrates that one way is through practicing gratitude.
The following studies demonstrate the affect gratitude has on one’s mental and physical health.
Writing a gratitude letter and counting blessings had “high utility scores and were associated with substantial improvements in optimism” (Huffman, Dubois, Healy, Boehm, Kashdan, Celano, Denninger, & Lyubomirsky, 2014).
Gratitude letter writing leads to better mental health in adult populations seeking psychotherapy (Wong, Owen, Brown, Mcinnis, Toth, & Gilman, 2016).
Gratitude buffers people from stress and depression (Wood, Maltby, Gillett, Linley, & Joseph, 2008).
Positive reframing underlies the relationship between trait gratitude and a sense of coherence. A sense of coherence is how confident a person feels about potential life outcomes. It is the degree to which a person feels optimistic and in control of future events (Lambert, Graham, Fincham, & Stillman, 2009).
Patients who expressed optimism/gratitude two weeks after an acute coronary event had healthier hearts (Huffman, Beale, Beach, Celano, Belcher, Moore, Suarez, Gandhi, Motiwala, Gaggin, & Januzzi 2015).
Gratitude and spiritual well-being are related to positive affect, sleep quality, energy, self-efficacy, and lower cellular inflammation (Mills, Redwine, Wilson, Pung, Chinh, Greenberg, Lunde, Maisel, & Raisinghani, 2015).
Gratitude may enhance peace of mind, reduce rumination, and have a negative effect on depressive symptoms (Liang, Chen, Li, Wu, Wang, Zheng, & Zeng, 2018).
If a person could do only one thing to increase their health and happiness, expressing gratitude might be it. Martin Seligman, a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, has remarked, “when we take time to notice the things that go right – it means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day” (BrainyQuote, n.d.).
Every time a person expresses or receives gratitude, dopamine releases in the brain. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is produced in two areas of the brain: the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental. The former has to do with movement and speech, the latter with reward (Carter, 2009). When a person expresses or receives gratitude, dopamine releases, thus making a connection between the behavior and feeling good. The more a person practices gratitude, the more often dopamine releases.
I’m delighted to share with you matters close to my heart, ideas that I find stimulating, and some practical tips and leads that you might find useful. At the core, of course, you’ll find emotional intelligence. But my interests also go far beyond; you’ll get a taste of that range here. PLUS news you can put to use in your life or work – or in both. Please join me each month.
First, an announcement…
I am launching a podcast with Key Step Media! Called First Person Plural: EI & Beyond, this podcast promises to go beyond the theory of emotional intelligence, presenting an array of stories that illuminate how emotional intelligence is being put into action. Beginning November 23, Key Step Media is launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to cover the production costs for the first season, which will serve as a resource to those experiencing heightened levels of stress and uncertainty. Please consider donating.
Now, let’s dive in…
Emotional Intelligence in Our Current Crisis
These troubled times, with such great uncertainty and so much work done at a distance, certainly calls for us to handle our own emotions and to show empathy. Some tips:
Employees who are the most frazzled can be helped greatly when their boss shows them empathic concern. This might take a one-on-one conversation, ideally about the other person – how they are doing, what they hope for these days, and, perhaps, how you can help them.
Emotionally intelligent leaders inspire others to give their best. They can surface and help settle conflicts effectively. Tellingly, they see themselves as coaches and mentors for those who report to them – a performance review, for example, does not mean a harsh judgment, but rather an opportunity to give realistic feedback while offering ways for the person to improve.
Remember leadership in crisis starts with managing your own emotions. When psychologist Sigal Barsade, now at Wharton, was at the Yale School of Management she did a series of studies showing that when a team leader was in a positive, upbeat mood, members of the team caught that mood and performance went up. When the leader was downbeat, that mood spread on the team, too, and performance went down.
Emotionally intelligent leaders see themselves as team players, collaborating toward a common goal. The urge to get ahead for oneself, so powerful when people are individual contributors, gives way as you get a leadership position to shared, organizational goals.
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