Sunday, 28 December 2014

New Year’s Fresh Start



During New Year, hopes are high, change is very possible and possibilities are many. At New Year’s Eve church services we are admonished to realize our resolutions and make our lives better in the coming year as compared to the former. Prophecies upon prophecies billow from the church room. Hopes are high and everyone is full of energy to change and let his/her world rock! It always seems like that passion will never fade but all too soon, many backslide as if New Year’s Eve never happened.
 I must say, for most people in this world, fantasy is what we want but reality is what we get. Wishful thinking is not enough even with a “magic” portion from someone divine. It is actions that get things done and not sleeping and dreaming. Dreams will remain in your head until they become goals. Goals (plan of action or intention) are what you reach or realize.
Personally, I don’t like to make much noise about New Year’s Day because I believe each new day gives us a fresh start. But for some reasons a New Year obviously and easily inspire and encourage people to make improvement in their lives. Technically there is no difference between the fresh start of a December morning and that of a morning in January. However it is the norm or ritual, people are more motivated to better themselves in January. That is not bad, though not the best! New Year [celebration] is not going away any soon. God has given it to men to set special days and seasons (Gen 1:14). I’m sure New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve will be with us for a very long time.
So then, how do you start afresh in the coming year? Do you pray hard! Or do you do die-hard stuffs? Do you ask for the blessing of a prophet, a pastor or a priest? All those (things mentioned above) are necessary and good but your daily decisions will determine at the end of the day whether your life will be better in the New Year as compared to the old one. You just don’t have to look at the mistakes of the past and wish your life will become better the next year. Your wishes mean nothing if you don’t have a blue-print to ameliorate your life. And your blue-print must be elaborate to keep you pushing ahead when all others are giving up!
Unfortunately, God will never plan for you, you can wait ages but He wouldn’t.
How do you make your future bigger than your past?
First, retrospect and identify. If you don’t know where you coming from, you will surely end up anywhere. The man that doesn’t know his history does not have any future. Before you enter the New Year or just when you have entered the New Year take time to reflect on your life so far. Identify where, why and how you made mistakes in the past. Admitting your mistakes is the first step to take for change. If you are not ready to accept your mistakes then you are not ready to make amends and grow thereby. Therefore, identifying the when, why and how you made mistakes in the past through retrospection is the first step in your journey of improvements.
Secondly, make a decision to change the way you do things. It is preposterous to do the same thing and expect different results. It does not matter the number of prophecies or blessing you’ve receive from the man of God, if you don’t change the way you do your things you will only make a mockery of those blessings and prophecies. The prophecies or blessings provide the force-field to help easily change your ways. Yet you can fight the force-field by not complying. To have a better life this New Year you must change the way you do things daily in the coming year. It is your daily activities and decisions that determine the kind of life you will have in the long run. The things you do daily without even thinking is what normally chart the course of your life. Accordingly, you must have a daily plan to have a better year. Growth or improvement doesn’t happen at once, unless sometimes you are referring to some forms of miracles. Growth and improvements don’t happen automatically, instantly or by accident, diligent efforts over time produce them. Even with miracles, it is your daily activities that will determine whether you preserve or lose that miracle at the end of the day (see Gal. 5:1). What you normally get instantly or through a miracle you must go back and developed the necessary characteristics to guard or keep lest you lose it. But what you achieve or get through diligent efforts over time you would have already had developed the necessary character, fortitude or spirit to guard or keep it by the time you get it. Whether it is your marriage, life, ministry, career, business, family that you want to improve, you must know how and what you will do differently daily, then weekly and monthly this time around to get that results you so desire.
Thirdly, measure your progression. You cannot achieve what you cannot measure. At every point in time you should know where you are with respect to your journey of improvement. If you don’t know where you are, you wouldn’t know where you’re getting to. Rather, you will roam aimlessly, wasting precious time, energy and resources. Hence, make it a point to know how you are doing well with your change plan. This means that your goals must be measurable. Assuming it is your relationship with God that you want to improve this New Year. You will usually set the targets of reading the whole Bible, developing your intimacy with the Holy Spirit through prayer and fasting, and evangelizing this New Year. Let’s say reading the whole Bible in one year is preponderant among the rest. In that case, you should know how many chapters of the Scriptures you will read daily, weekly and monthly. With that, you can measure whether you are making progress or retrogressing. If you can’t measure your progress then obviously you are not serious about growth, change and improvements this (new) year.
Lastly, don’t just fuel your passion but develop the right habits. Passion drives our actions and inactions. As a matter of fact, passion is what get us all started. As you approach the New Year or even during New Year’s Eve church service, the passion for change is fresh and extremely high due to the messages and prophecies we hear but that passion fades with time. In reality, information fuels our passion which turns to drive our decisions. Since these same messages (we hear on New Year’s Eve) don’t follow us everywhere we go the passion with which we promised to be different persons in the New Year fades away with time. You can choose to fuel your passion by listening to or making yourself hear the messages or prophecies (or the likes) that kicked your passion into motion, over and over. But sometimes passion just dies and it’s never the same irrespective of the information available to resurrect it. So this is the trick: instead of depending on your emotions or passion for the moment to drive your actions, develop the right habits! Your habit make you do the things you do daily without even thinking about them. They are not fickle. Habits stick around for so long. Habits are difficult to lose. Habits are stronger than desires. Passion or emotions do change. When the passion dies out and the “high-feeling” has taken an exist will you throw in the towel? You will only stick around if you have developed the requisite character – the winning character. That passion or high feeling may get you started and make you set lofty resolutions but it will leave you when the going gets though. It is only discipline – practising the right habits – that will take you to the finish line.
If you are ready for and serious about change, let’s hit the ground running!


Copyright © 2014, Jacob Nana Kwesi Dapaah.

All Rights Reserved. Any duplication, transfer or manipulation of the content of this article without prior permission is prohibited.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

What Success is Not



Success inspire many thoughts, preponderant among them is financial success. Money must not be the measure for everything. In today’s world if you have a nice house, a car, a spouse, kids, and a good job, you are deem successful. Almost everyone is struggling to hit that mark; they say men will respect you for these! But is that true success? Don’t get me wrong. It is not bad to want to have kids, a partner, and a good job etcetera, in this life. I wouldn’t reject these “blessings” when they come my way.
The truth is that having what I have listed above is good, but it does not define true success well.  Jesus of Nazareth puts it this way: "Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be." (Luke 2:15, GNB) The Bible in Basic English of the same scripture asserts, “Take care to keep yourselves free from the desire for property; for a man's life is not made up of the number of things which he has.” 
If true success simply meant, ‘the ability to achieve and gain possessions’, then someway somehow everyone is a success. We can believe that because at any point in time everyone achieves something and get some sort of possessions hence we can say that there are no failures in this world. But we all know that is not true. We have heard stories of and know people who are extremely accomplished professionally or have vast riches or opportunities yet are still incredibly unhappy. Most people spend their last penny and efforts on winning that lottery; only to win and end up miserable after some few years.
If being famous meant success, then very few will gain the respect of God. Being known by many is not bad but it really does not add much to your life, one can be famous and yet look miserable and feel empty. It is better to have a few genuine friends than a million fans. Which one do you prefer?
True success is making things happen for others by applying the best of our efforts – things that are positive and valuable. If it has to do with success then it must help and make the life of someone better – someone closer and dear to us – and that can happen without you been famous or having vast wealth. Success is not just about personal achievements; rather it is the conscious effort to add value to others, most especially those that are closest and important to you. You can gain that needed respect, cheers and importance from those closest to you.
You can be a star in your own backyard. Chose to brighten the corner where you are. Though you may not be famous in your country, you will be a star in the sight of God and those closest to you like never before when you truly succeed. True success is doing or achieving your daily agenda. Apply diligent effort over time in your own small way with those closest to you in mind. Such efforts can bring mind-blowing success. If you gain the cheers of a thousand acquaintances and you lose the cheers of family, friends and other love ones you have lost it.
I believe successful people are those that wrap the definition of success around those they loved most and are most important in their lives. Such people include these loved ones in their daily agenda and they do those agenda. Daily doing such goals will bring you that recognition, reward and respect from the people who relate to you on a face-to-face basis, your family. Such recognition, reward and respect are more precious than a rustless medal that easily gathers dust from a million fans you will never get to meet. Which one do you prefer; the fickle love and cheers of a million fans or the respect and love of those who matter most? Fulfillment lies in those who are closer and not those who are afar. Who are you paying much attention to?
Copyright © 2014, Jacob Nana Kwesi Dapaah.

All Rights Reserved. Any duplication, transfer or manipulation of the content of this article without prior permission is prohibited.

Friday, 15 August 2014

HUMILITY: A RARE TRAIT OF LEADERS

Photo Credit: faithgateway.com


What most people don’t know is that humanity or humaneness is not humility.  The fact that you are benevolent or compassionate towards others doesn’t in any way suggest you are humble. This is because you might just be taking advantage of your benevolence just to show off. However, humble people easily share.
Humility is a rare character in this machismo world where everyone wants to show off his/her ability to manipulate everything and everyone around him/her. Nevertheless, being humble is not about being coward and kowtowing at the whims of everyone around. Neither is it being at the beck and call of anyone whom you believe is superior. The average leader is expected to be rugged, aggressive, courageous; maybe assertive, and a no-nonsense type, but humility is also indispensable.
Many leaders see themselves far superior and as demigods who are worthy of worship by all and sundry. Contrary, a great leader is one who knows who he is in the sight of God. He doesn’t consider him or herself less or more than what God has made him or her to be. Humble leaders know their place in the eyes of God and others. They are those who are consistently acknowledging God for their blessings and others for their successes. Humility is not denying or devaluing your strengths but a genuine and consistent acknowledgement of your weaknesses and asking for help when you need one. A humble leader knows where he/she is strong and where he/she is not. There is no better advice than what is found in Philippians 2:3 of the Holy Bible, it says, Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Another version put it this way: “Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves.”
Humble leadership is demonstrated in so many ways. Key among the traits of a humble leader is his or her detestation of drawing attention to only him or herself. Humble leaders remain comfortable and confident even when others around them succeed. Great leaders allow their achievements to speak for themselves rather than draw attention to their status and strength. Every leader need to understand that greatness is not just in showing off his or her abilities but rather daily acknowledging the contribution of others to his or her success story.
With a little dose of humility, a leader will welcome constructive criticism and make amends because ceaselessly they understand their need for such criticism; after all we all have some weaknesses.
God’s Word translation of the Holy Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:24, “People should be concerned about others and not just about themselves.” This is one of the greatest traits of humble leaders. They are ever willing to celebrate the successes or breakthrough of others since the personal success of their team members mean so much to them. Humble leaders don’t see the growth of others as a threat.
Leaders with big hearts see the successes of others as an added advantage to their organizations, ministries or life. They find it necessary to invest or prepare others for success. Rather do everything; leaders with humility choose to give others the platform to shine and they have no fear in taking such a step.
C. S. Lewis says: “As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” Pride comes when we are rewarded, recognized and get all famous for our achievements. But self-conceit or pride comes before a fall. Humility is the cure for pride.
Many cannot handle big-time successes especially those who don’t believe in God. That is the case because they seem not to get anyone far superior to themselves to pass on the ‘glory’ to. As a result their successes become a trap unto them, choking them unto failure.  
If you develop the habit of giving honour to whom honour is due, success will not affect you negatively. Giving people who matter the necessary recognition due them is the only antidote to loftiness. God gives grace to the humble but the proud he brings down. Daily giving God credit for his manifold blessing and publicly appreciating others for their contribution and place in your success story naturally provides room for more growth. It is so because it makes you feel like you haven’t arrived yet. Such a habit can psych you up to pursue greater heights.
Pride that gets into the head can be very destructive. Swollen headedness can also slow you down; it can be a weight that militates against chalking up other successes. Remember success is not just a one-time thing but something that happens over and over again, and pride will not make you win always!
Copyright © 2014, Jacob Nana Kwesi Dapaah.

All Rights Reserved. Any duplication, transfer or manipulation of the content of this article without prior permission is prohibited.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Are Relationships Easy?



Different people can connect

When it comes to relationships; the fantasies of many go wild; especially if it has to do with a love relationship. Many people watch too many movies or read too many romantic novels. What many forget is that these works of fiction or even non-fiction are fabrications of creative people. They are works of great directors who perhaps want to sell their imagination or something like that.
The scenes of these movies are normally shot again and again; the pages of the novels rewritten severally until the desired art are achieved. They are mostly a step away or far from reality. We don’t get to rehearse or even go back in time to undo or redo our activities or decisions to fit perfection.
If you allow the course of your relationships to be dictated by movies, you will end up like the movies. Your relationship will miscarry or expire in no time. Marriage, family and close relationships are not easy.
 Every relationship is work and demands effort. Relationships require intentional decisions. You can’t just do things anyhow and expect things to go your way. Things won’t go your way because you want them to, you must work to make things go your way. No two people are the same and that makes relating to others quite challenging.
Relationships are easy to start, but intricate and “expensive” to maintain, even friendship. Most people are interested in lifelong relationship journeys, and not a momentarily one, but many are reluctant to pay the price. If you want your relationships not to take a nosedive when the going get though, but last a lifetime, you must do things differently. If you don’t want to experience what the masses experience then you must isolate yourself from the masses by changing your strategy and approach in life.
1)    Enter a relationship with a realistic view and expectation
Many enter relationships, friendships or marriages expecting everything to go well. That is not bad in itself. Of course being optimistic disposes one to do and attract positive things, but optimism without a little dose of anticipation of evil is great tomfoolery.
For some couples, because they love each other, they consider their relationship as indestructible. They expect good things to happen to them on a silver platter, but such fantasies are far from realities. Most people’s expectations are fabricated upon skewed information from telenovelas, movies or soap operas. As such, their relationships are founded on shaky grounds. Even friendships are not easy. It is easy to make one but way difficult to keep.
 The best way to approach any relationship is to enter it expecting problems. It is only when you expect problems that you will develop the necessary schemes (ahead of time) to get through when the storms set in.

2)    Expect more from yourself, expect less from the other.
Most people enter into relationships with a twisted view of the benefits without regard to the terms and conditions of engagement. It is only when you give that you get. Don’t enter a relationship looking at what is at stake for you and how you will get that benefit by all means. Direct such focus unto yourself instead. Focus on ways you can offer by all means.
Approach each relationship with the commitment to contribute your quota, making less your expectation of the other. Of course, you deserve better treatment too. But it is what you give in a relationship that you normally get. If you are giving nothing then expect nothing.


3)    Pursue
Lifelong relationships require efforts and commitments. They require intentional decisions. That means resolving to take responsibility for the growth of the relationship. Entering any relationship is not getting to a destination. It is the beginning of the journey. It is actually the beginning of the learning. You might make mistakes but you shouldn’t stop there. You have to decide to make learning and growing a daily affair.
Instead of waiting or expecting to be pursued, rather go after the other person. Desiring another person is necessary if we are to enjoy any relationship. We must regularly engage such desires if we want to enjoy loving someone. Intimacy only comes when couples, partner or friends pursue each other   relentlessly.

4)    Balance your life
You can’t expect to reap where you haven’t sown, at least not in relationships. The priorities and spending of a person determine who she/he is and who he/she will become.  Our priorities and spending vividly reflect where we want to end up. You cannot spend all your energies and time on your career and spend less of that on your relationships and expect them (your relationships) to be indestructible. You must balance your life if you want to win at your career and win at your relationships too. Simply put, you must approach relationships just as you will approach a career you want to be successful at.


5)    Develop the right perspective about success
Overnight success is rare and those who experience it have normally taken daily decisions that got them there or have been working behind the scene. True success is not that lifetime opportunity (that comes to change your life forever suddenly). True success doesn’t come immediately or automatically; applying diligent effort over time, brings them. Success does not come when you meet the right person (who will connect you to something big) or help you make enough money.
 Success is not even working h-a-r-d! The truth is that success no matter how one will define it, will never take away ones worries, problems or challenges.
Money is not a miracle. We hear stories, again and again, of people who are highly accomplished professionally and are stinkingly rich but are miserably unhappy. Money does not bring happiness. You can be rich and famous and yet have problems or challenges that refuse to go away. Money like the Bible said, “answers all things”. (Ecclesiastes 10:19) But what the Bible didn’t say is that answers money brings last forever.
Don’t wait to be successful in other areas of your life before you pay attention to your relationships. Pay attention to what is necessary and important. Refuse to procrastinate or postpone doing what is apt. True success is daily doing the right things. It is daily applying diligent effort over time with our love ones in mind. It applying our best effort at being our best to family, friends and those we have relationships with. You can be successful by winning everyday; achieving your goals daily. Making decisions daily base on germane values and priorities can produce those little results that will amalgamate to make you that big shot.
 Relationships like any venture demands the right investments to produce desired results. Don’t wait for tomorrow to invest in important relationships. You can win at your relationships daily by setting daily goals and doing them. It is better to be respected by those closest to you compared to fans miles away.

You can choose to win at everything; or lose at some and win at some. Winning one step at a time is the best way to succeed at everything. Family, marriage, close relationship and friendship   aren’t easy.  With a resolve to stay committed and a developed strategy for the tough times, you should be able to tackle any problem that comes up. 

Copyright © 2014, Jacob Nana Kwesi Dapaah.

All Rights Reserved. Any duplication, transfer or manipulation of the content of this article without prior permission is prohibited.
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