THE SHOE

 

Johnny worked so hard , shuffling between varied menial jobs including newspaper vending, gardening, working at the pantry and anything that could make him a few cedis.
Unlike other students, he needed to fend for himself and put himself through school after the demise of his parents through a road accident at a very tender age. His uncles and aunts deemed it their birth right to shamelessly take over the hard earned property of his parents without any sense of responsibility towards the kids.
So in the end, he being the eldest of 3 siblings at the age of 13, he took over the reins of family head and leader to cater for himself and the younger siblings.

He has combined the menial jobs and his education so well that he was among the top ten students in his class.
Johnny had one desire, knowing that resources were always far and wide, to own a good shoe. He had worn all kinds of makeshift sandals, the most popular being sandals made out of car tires, thereby earning his the nickname “Iron legs”

Finally at his final grade at the junior high school, he had saved enough money to buy a good shoe for himself. His key priority with the shoe was durability, so a Clarks shoe was an obvious choice. John’ shoe size was 39, yet he chose a size 42. He had estimated that the shoe would last him at least 5 yrs.
So every morning, John will pack some rags in his oversized shoes and wear it with pride, craftily polished to reflect the rays of the sun.
Just one year down the line, John realized he no longer needed the rags to fill his shoe. His legs were growing faster than he anticipated, the hormones of teenage years were in full gear. By the second year, John’s legs had outgrown the shoes, wearing it had become very uncomfortable by the day. He took it to a cobbler to expand it, things became comfortable for a while, but his legs started to hurt just after 3 months.
He went to see the cobbler again, this time round the cobbler informed him that there was nothing he could do about it. His feet were now size 44, the beautiful Clark shoes could no longer support Johnny.
The cobbler said to Johnny, “you just have to let go this time”, Johnny with tears in his eyes replied, “but I have worked so hard just to have this shoe, I love this shoe so much, I can’t let it go”.
The cobbler replied, “it is your choice Johnny, either to cause permanent damage to your feet or bear the temporary pain of letting the shoe you love dearly go”.

As much as you feel sorry for little Johnny, many of us go through same dilemma at one point in our lives, whereby things we have worked hard for so many years no longer fits our purpose. It could be a job, relationship, marriage, business partnership, etc. We may do all we could to keep it; cry, huff, puff, throw tantrums, pray, bind demons and blame everyone else, but deep down you can hear the voice of the cobbler saying “it is time to let go”

It may have cost you so much to get this far, and the sense of wasted years and efforts will be something you will dread and will haunt you for a while, but the temporary pain you are going through cannot be compared to the permanent damage to your life if you don’t let go.

From the desk of ROL

 

#366WisdomKeys #rolandoforispeaks

 

Photo credit:http://www.spencerclick.com

THE ESCAPE

The mid eighties was extremely difficult period for my mum, a failing marriage stared in her face, she looked beaten down physically and psychologically, aside these she also bore the heavy scars of the trying economic challenges Ghana was facing at the time.

For her, the only way out of this ridicule was divorce, after all our elders say, “if you go and it doesn’t work out, come back home”

 By the stroke of a miracle, the family elders managed to reunite my mum and dad again, and then I was conceived, hell broke loose between my parents again and within some few months, each defaulted to their previous stance of divorce.

My mum was still young, and still had her life ahead of her; the only challenge was that she was pregnant. She knew how to take care of such “nuisance situations” so she decided to get rid of me and move on with her life. 

One evening her curiosity was drawn to a group of Pentecostals who were evangelizing on our streets, she listened to the program intently and then gave her life to Christ. That was how I missed the cruel appointment with the abortion specialist the following day.

My mum was now saved and with a renewed sense of hope she decided to keep her pregnancy, endure the ridicule, hardship and give birth to me that fateful Sunday on November.

At the end my parents finally got divorced a few years after I was born, each going on to pursue what they felt was the best use of their life on this earth.

But I was given a chance to life by a determined mother, something that gives me the assurance that I am here for a particular reason.  Today, mum sees me and she is proud of me, she is eternally grateful for not disposing me in her heightened peak of pain and inconvenience.

I just want to encourage you not to make “obvious and convenient decisions in your life” to fuel short term interests. It is not whether you feel it is your right, choice, etc., but whether it is in line with the word of God. What you consider today as inconvenience may be your only breakthrough tomorrow. So live by conviction, not by convenience.

Allow God to take the wheel of your life today, despite the struggles you are going through and you will be glad you did if you look back in the future.

 

 From the desk of ROL

God bless you

#rolandoforispeaks #366WisdomKeys

 

 

 

Image courtesy:   http://escapegames/ca

THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT – How I accidentally became an Enterpreneur

It was in 2006, school had reopened and students were reluctantly trickling in at the University Campus.
By divine intervention, I had barely gotten my fees. I packed the few items I had in my bag, armed with 5 liters of shito; it was time for survival again.

The money that had been raised for me was just enough to pay for my accommodation and tuition fees. I would be left with GHs 50 and there was no hope of immediate imbursement from home. This amount would have barely sustained me for two weeks, leaving me broke for the subsequent 14 weeks. The thought of hunger sent shivers up my spine. It was also not in my DNA to beg, especially for food. As I kept pondering on what to do, “I thought to myself, “every student on campus will need exercise books to take lecture notes, why don’t I buy books and sell on campus?”

So I went to the Accra central market, and found a wholesaler who gave me a sweet deal for the exercise books. I loaded the medium size “Ghana Must Go” bag and continued to take Public transport to the university campus.

On getting to campus, I found it extremely embarrassing to go to my colleagues and sell exercise books. After two days of hesitation, I mustered courage, packed some of the books in my back pack and entered the first room, after the usual pleasantries, I mentioned to the occupants that I have exercise books to sell, the first comment from one of the guys, really broke my heart, he was like” eii Roland, has it gotten to that? What kind of poverty in your family will drive you to sell books?” I almost cried. This comment got all his friends bursting into uncontrollable laughter. I just kept me calm and then asked,” So boss, how many copies of the book will you buy?” he gleefully replied, “chale give me 10 books for now. All his roommates and their female friends also bought at least 10 books each. Moving into the subsequent rooms was much easier, before I could cover half of the first floor; all my books had been bought!

I counted my revenue and realized I had made 100% profit! Wow! I immediately phoned a friend who was to arrive on campus the following day to go to my wholesaler and buy me two more books.

 The books arrived the following day, and they all got finished in 24 hours.

Just then some colleagues came to my room to enquire if I also sold pen drives, I replied, I can get you pen drives, but you have to pay 50% upfront. I received the monies, sent it to another good friend in Accra who knew where to get the best pen drives for the lowest of prizes at the Kojo Thompson road.

Two days later, I supplied the pen drives and made more than 80% margins and my prizes were still competitive.

Before I realized, I had a thriving business in my hands, dealing in stationery, computers and accessories. I also bought a number of printers and gave it to other students to run printing services. We then shared the profit .That is how I accidentally stepped into the corridors of entrepreneurship. I registered my first company, Narolak Concepts. 

I made more than enough money to sustain my education for the rest of my University years. I continued the business after school and at a point felt the need to acquire some corporate experience before going back to entrepreneurship.

So you see, there is always a way out, you have so much in you to meet your current and future needs without begging! Go out there with that little idea, you will be despised, mocked but at the end you will make it. See you t the top.
#rolandoforispeaks #366WisdomKeys

THE KEYS & THE DOOR

It was one Sunday afternoon when after returning from Church, i heared Chinedu,my next door neighbor violently banging the doors to his mansion, he looked frustrated and drained after hours of this fruitless endeavor. I got curious after a while and had to sneak into Chinedu’s compound. I approached him and asked, Chinese , but where are your keys? 
To my surprise, Chinese told me the keys are in his pocket! What!! I exclaimed! So why don’t you just open the door with the keys in your pocket? 

He sighed and replied “bros, this is my own house, I don’t see why I need keys to enter the room I built with my own hands” This answer took me aback ,I could guess instantly that all was not well with my neighbor. It took another hour of exchanges, convincing and pleas before Chinedu finally handed me his keys. I then slotted the keys into his door and ta, it opened. I later arranged for him to go see a psychiatrist because of this incident as it appeared work & marriage stress was taking a toll on him.

As you read this I guess your first reaction was ” that guy Chinedu is nuts”

But hey, don’t be too quick to judge, reflect on this in your own life:

Keys are meant to open doors, not man power, shoutings, brute force or even idle prayers.
You didn’t doubt for a second that Chinedu had his mental faculties messed up and needed immediate medical attention as you read this incident.In the same vein, God gets really surprised when we cut a frustrated pose and vent our disappointments about doors which won’t open for us, meanwhile we have not put the keys which will open the doors to use.
The keys are the talents and gifts God has deposited in each of us without fail. He expects us to hone these talents and put them to use and then the doors of our blessings will be triggered.
The good book says” A man’s gift will make room for him”

So before you accuse God of your stagnant life, look into your pockets, take out the keys and insert them into the lock of your doors and access the blessings God has already provided for you

Everything you need in life to make you fulfilled is attached to the talent God has deposited in you.

Go for that door now and make yourself comfortable in your room of blessings.

Like Chinedu, God is asking you this very moment “Where are your Keys”
God bless you.
#rolandoforispeaks #366WisdomKeys

MY FAVORITE PRINCIPLES IN LIFE

1. Nobody owes you anything in life, not even your family or spouse, hence appreciate everything anyone ever does for you.

2.You have no idea what people go through to do you a favor, so whether it meets your expectation or not, be grateful.

3. Don’t settle for less in life. You deserve what you think you deserve. Avoid those who try to downgrade your ambitions.

4. You always have a choice, either to build your capacity to pursue your dreams or cut down your ambition to the size of your current resources.

5. Things are hardly not as they seem to be. There is always more to it than it meets the eye.

6. Don’t waste your time with naysayers, cut them off your life, for they are diseases which can destroy your seeds of success.

7. People are always watching you from afar, they just want to be sure you know what you are doing, and that you are not fake, before they jump on board your vision. So don’t give up

8. Avoid friends and family who don’t want to pay for your services, it is an expression that they undermine what you have.

9. Sustainable success never happens by chance, you must be intentional. As for failure, it is by default, you don’t need any effort to fail.

10. Cut out useless friends from your life, they are occupying a spot which could have been filled by a more productive person.

11. Beware of free things, anything you enjoy for free, someone had to pay for it.

12.Dont be afraid to put your talent out there, you never know who and what it will attract into your life.

Please share your favorite principles in life with me in the comments box.

#rolandoforispeaks #366WisdomKeys

THE CRUMBS DOGS

Let me tell you the story of an incident which happened over a decade ago.
I had completed my high school education and seeking the productive use of the idle time I had till University admissions begin.

I started working as a pupil teacher in Kpobiman, a village in the outskirts of Accra and later moved to my alma mater in mainland Nsawam as a primary 2 school teacher.

The experience was great as I found the curious kinds exciting to be with. I wrote poems for them, organized all sorts of competition,ranging from quiz, music, football, beauty contest,etc. to make learning more fun.

All of a sudden those kids who never liked learning started taking their lessons seriously. The truants started becoming punctual.Parents often times came to personally thank me for the improvement they are seeing in their kids.

But in all these, there was a big problem on my hand;the sheer jealousy of a senior pupil teacher, who had about twenty years of experience under his belt. In fact, he had taught me at a point when I was in primary school back then.
His problem was that he couldn’t accept the fact that,someone he taught as a kid is now rubbing shoulders with him as a staff.

This man maligned me on a daily basis, concocted all sorts of theories about how I was negatively influencing the kids with my attitude,dressing etc. The headmaster began to get tired of the man’s incessant complaints and once called me to his office and said to me” Roland, I know you are a great chap, just ignore the old man and do your job”

The senior pupil teacher kept his barrage of lies about me until one day, when it was two days to vacation, he invited me to his desk. He said to me” let me be very blunt with you, your performance as a pupil teacher has been very abysmal, there have been lots of calls by the other staff and parents that you should be sacked, I am just coming from the headmaster’s office who sought my counsel on what to do with you.
The good news is that I have managed to plead on your behalf that you should be given another term as a teacher. Within this period I am personally going to coach, guide and mentor you and bring some sanity into you to enable you become an effective teacher” I smiled broadly, knowing that all what he was saying were lies and thanked him anyway for his”fatherly gesture of having my back”

Then the D day came, it was vacation time, after the kids were dispersed from assembly, I walked with swag to the man’s desk and said” ” can I have a quick word with you” he said” sure, I am there for you, little brother” .I then mentioned to him that I wasn’t coming back to the school the following term because I was leaving for the University the following week to pursue a BSc. in Engineering.

The man’s jaws dropped and couldn’t utter a word for a minute. I thanked him for ” all he had done” for me and left him to drool.

So you see, he was maligning me all these while because he thought I had the same ambitions as he. He wasn’t feeling comfortable because of all the attention I was getting, so thought it was his divine right to “pull me down”
What he didn’t get was that I wasn’t aiming for crumbs in life, I have my eyes on owning the bakery itself and having loaves of bread for myself and those who come my way.

You will meet such people at your workplace, who will try and malign you because of their insecurities. Their insecurities are borne out of their own incompetence. Instead of investing time to improve themselves, they will rather direct their attention to discredit you and make you look bad in front of key stakeholders.
What they don’t get is that, it is just a transition , you are like an aeroplane, after you taxi for a while, you will take off the ground and take your place in the skies.

So allow them to bark , for they are crumbs dogs.
Go for the loaf and don’t stop until you own the bakery itself.

From the desk of ROL
#rolandoforispeaks #366WisdomKeys

THE LID

Kobby was a graduate from Harvard with distinction, when returned to Ghana, landing a lucrative job with one of the Telco’s wasn’t difficult at all. Due to his depth of strategy and strong market insights, he quickly rose through the ranks and by his 5th year he was a director.

His father, popularly known as Uncle James, travelled to Accra to seek medical attention, so moved in to Kobby’s residence .In the three weeks he spent with his son, he noticed that Kobby always found an excuse not to go the church on Sundays. He would claim he had some key assignments to complete, a teleconference with some business partners or meeting the key industry players- of course on the golf pitches.

His father, knowing how Kobby had loved the Lord and was so committed to Jesus since his childhood days couldn’t help but confront Kobby.

It was one Saturday afternoon, Uncle James asked his son to have a quick word with him at the balcony.

The old man, who had chilled some fizzy drinks opened one for himself and did same for Kobby.

Just as Kobby was about to take a sip, Uncle James asked him to hold on. He took the bottle from his son and gave him another one. Kobby was quite curious and asked the father the reason for his action, the old man smiled and promised to explain in the evening at dinner. They had their usual father and son talks which included the ever unpopular subject of when Kobby will finally settle down with a wife.

Kobby went to town to take care of a few engagements and returned eagerly to his home to hear out the reasons behind James’s actions in the morning.

When he got home, he found his father at the balcony reading his bible. The moment the father saw him, he pulled a drink for himself and none for his son.

Kobby looking perplexed asked the old man to give him a bottle also. Uncle James giggled and told Kobby to look to the left corner of the balcony. There, Kobby realized the bottle his father opened for him but asked him not to drink was still sitting at the corner since morning. James then asked Kobby to rather drink the contents of opened bottle.

Kobby, who was visibly getting agitated, protested “No Way! I can’t drink from a bottle without a lid. This has been exposed to the elements since morning; it has lost its carbonation and will taste very bland. Who knows what the flies have deposited inside this dink?”

Uncle James couldn’t help but to laugh uncontrollably.

Kobby took the chance to grab a new bottle for him and then said to his father, can you stop this rude joke and tell me what is going on?

His father calmed down and with a sly look asked Kobby whether he could see any visible difference between the drink which had no lid and the ones which had lids?

Kobby replied, daddy, I am not a child, “you can’t see any difference but you can know they are not the same when you taste them”

The father replied, “good one there son. Now watch this” He pulled out another bottle with the lid on and placed it by the side of the opened bottle. He then shook the table and both drinks fell down.

Immediately the one without the lid spilled out all its contents, messing up the floor, but the one with a lid was still intact, with all its content.

The father said to his son, I just wanted to teach you a little lesson in life.

At this stage in your life, Christ may not seem as very important to you. You have all your networks, connections and very good at the job you do. I know you keep asking yourself, what do I need Christ for? Though you don’t say it with your lips, it is evident from the way you frequently neglect church service for golfing on Sundays. But one thing you must know is that Christ is just the lid that keeps all our contents together, protecting as from the evil elements in the world and most importantly, ensuring that when we fall down, we don’t lose who we are, but rather come back stronger. Do you remember how one of your friends committed suicide recently because he had lost huge money in some bad investments? It was because he didn’t have the lid on in his dark moments.

In conclusion, the father said, don’t take the lid of the bottle for granted. Though it is hardly recognized, without it, the contents of the bottle are useless.

Kobby couldn’t help the tears coming from his eyes, as he realized how he was slowly been separated from the things of God because of the success he was enjoying.

He knelt down and asked God to forgive me for taking him for granted.

The following day, he was the first to dress up for church. Kobby and his dad enjoyed a good service. When they returned, it was time to say good bye to his old man, who was due to return to the village.

Uncle James entered the bus to Kumasi, knowing that his son, Kobby will never take the lid for granted. 

That lid is Jesus Christ. Give your life to him now, and if you’ve already given your life to him, take your relationship with him serious.

 

God richly bless you

From the desk of ROL

 

#366Wisdom Keys #rolandoforispeaks

 

 

NB Image credit:http://www.keywordsuggests.com

IS WORKPLACE FULFILMENT AN ILLUSION?

I once encountered a brother who was so irate about his work. He believed his employers didn’t have his interest at heart. After 10 years of doing the same role, there isn’t any clear indication of promotion happening for him any time soon. To make matters worse, he had a terrible boss, who does not care about the well being of his staff.

Those who seemed to progress according to him were the politicians and bootlickers, pouncing on the patronage nature of his working environment to advance their parochial interest, often to the detriment of the overall business.

This brother came across as one of the good guys, diligent and faithful at his job., except that recently he finds work meaningless and is getting increasingly frustrated as a result.

After listening to his narration, I just asked one question? “What is the most valuable thing in your life?” He quickly replied that it was his family, he then with the speed of lightning took out his phone out of his pocket and showed me a picture of his beautiful wife and two adorable daughters. It was obvious they meant a lot to him.

I went ahead to ask him, “what gives you the greatest joy?” He again answered gleefully that it was his ability to adequately provide for his family , support his local church and caring for the needy.

I replied, that is great. So does your work help  you in anyway to achieve these things that gives you joy?

He nodded in affirmation. Of course, I am well paid, and I can afford a comfortable life and care for the needy because I have a stable income from my workplace.

 

Beautiful woman resting on the grass in a park

Source: http://www.springforward.com

 

I then said to him. I think you have been looking for fulfillment in the wrong places all these while, and that is why you feel frustrated and demoralized. You have  been expecting fulfillment to come from your workplace, but the truth is that it rarely happens, especially when you are employed by someone else.

But the truth is that in many instances, our jobs serve as means to enable us afford and maintain the most valuable things to us in life, in your case, it is your family. So see work as means to an end, and not an end itself.

He quickly wore a bright smile of relief and nodded  his bald head endlessly. He caught the revelation after all, that all this while, he had sought fulfillment in the wrong places.

I will urge you, my reader to reflect on this and ensure that going forward, you will see your work as something that enables you to pursue the things that truly matter in life.

Corporations come and go, some fold up, lay employees off  or gets acquired by fierce rivals.it is great if you find joy and fulfilment at your workplace, but that is not the real deal.

 

service-fulfilment-header3Source:http://www.fitbyte.com

 

The uncertainties and pressures at work is so unbearable that if you don’t guard your heart, it can get to you and steal your joy from you.

Never allow that to happen, whatever your hands find doing, do it with all your might , stop the murmur and complaining and make sure that you make time for the things that matters most to you in life.

Have a blessed day.
From the desk of ROL

OUR FRIENDS IN LOWER PLACES

Dedicated to everyone who has encouraged me in my blogging journey- I really apprciate your kind words.

 

There is that innate desire for every rational human to want to progress in life. One key determinant factor of how far we can progress in life is dependent on the people in our lives. – Who you know and who knows you.

Interestingly our quest to build the right relationships tends to be very lopsided, always focusing our time and attention on men and women of influence who have what we desire and can easily be a blessing to us. I refer to them as friends in higher places.

However, God has a crude sense of humor, where our best is brought forth only when we also relate well to those who are below us in the social ladder and most of the times may be dependent on us for their very survival in one form or another.

I want us to examine the extraordinary biblical account of the Syrian Army Commander by name Naaman. This man was the envy of his colleagues in the field of combat, wealth and accolades. He was astute, influential and very powerful in his days. Unfortunately he had a nagging issue which stole his joy and made him feel insecure and incomplete on the inside. I suspect he felt that his achievements would compensate for his shortfall, but the more he progressed, the more he realized that this was far from the truth.

I am sure you can also relate Naaman’s issue to your personal life. Perhaps there is this one thing you are believing God for a miracle for years and despite all your achievements and promotions in life you still feel miserable on the inside because of that one thing. It could be a difficult marriage or spouse, a wayward child, a sick parent, weakness et childlessness, etc. that tends to mar all what you have achieved in life.

 

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People too are cruel, they won’t hesitate to remind you of that particular weakness and would even describe you as “that man with the wayward son” or the “woman with the runaway husband”. In a way it makes them feel good but ends up devastating your very being. But such is life.

In the case of Naaman, it was that lingering leprosy, though hidden from many, continued to eat him up both physically and emotionally. He had come to accept it that he couldn’t have it all in life and something must always give in.

But such thoughts are contrary to the purposes and intents of God. For God does not delight in our deficiencies. What joy will a good father get from a suffering child? In fact the bible clearly declares that God delights in the prosperity of his children and He indeed wants us to have it all.

So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, – 1Corinthians 3:21

Naaman with all his wisdom, wealth and power was ignorant about the fact that he could have it all! It took a poor Jewish maidservant, who happened to chance on her master’s predicament to inform his wife that her master could be delivered from that bondage of leprosy.

And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy

2 Kings 5:2-3

Once Naaman got wind of this information from the Jewish servant, he took the steps to meet the prophet Elisha, and the rest is history. In the end he ended up with a superior skin than he could ever envisage.

 

In the end, Naaman was not delivered from his leprosy because of the influential people he knew, but because a poor servant who depended on him for her livelihood. I can also bet that the girl had empathy for her master, because Naaman and his wife were good to her and treated her with respect and dignity, albeit she was just a common maidservant.

So I will encourage you to treat people very well, especially those who seemingly don’t have much to give to you. For you never know. You will never know where your next breakthrough will come from. And perhaps, that nagging limitation in that particular area of your life, which seems to get worse, the more you try to break free from it will be healed by virtue of one recommendation from a friend in lower places.

 

Stay blessed and Keep Winning in Jesus name

 

From the desk of ROL

 

NB: Image credits:

https://i.ytimg.com

http://img11.deviantart.net/

THE DANGERS OF MURMURING

Anytime  I complainedI complicated my pain

The sense of helplessness drove me insane

Then I decided never to complain

And my energy surged like a train

Felt the refreshing of the rain

Alas, I am no longer slain

by the sword of of my complaints

Lo,the mountains have become a plain

My fear goes down the drain

The winds of praise scatter them like grains

I lift my eyes, with confidence and faith

And all of a sudden I can see, there is so much to gain.

#rolandoforispeaks #shortblog. #poetry