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Character


Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny”- Lao Tzu

Based on this quote, character is the summation of who you are. It starts from your thought life to the formation of your habits which in turn shapes who you are. Will love to read your definition of character when you comment. Character is very essential, because it reveals your destiny. Destiny is not a mystery- if you want to know yours or another’s, look at the character, that is key.

Today, let us look at some truths on character that could give us a macro view on this all important subject:

1. Character is not the same as reputation 

Character is not your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are, but character is what you really are. Character is who you are when nobody is looking. It is who you are when you are not on stage. I have heard couples bemoan the fact when the marriage turns sour that, “I thought he or she had character”. I normally respond to that in my thoughts, “he or she is a character but never had one: huge difference”. In most replationships, especially at the beginning, reputation will play off till you subject that relationship to time to see the cracks in the person’s reputation and that is when the real him or her shows up- character. I am not an expert on relationships, but one advice to give is take your time when forming one. Let the relationship be tested and don’t swoon too much into “Lala-Land”. It is one thing to be praised in public that you are a man of honesty and integrity, it is another when you are by yourself with no press, and tempted to “cook the books”. D.L. Moody said it best, “character is who you are in the dark”.

2. Character is also determined by your network.

Heard this phrase as a child, “show me your friend and I will show you your character”. Every human has five strong influences that will shape your upbringing on this earth, and one of them is company. Traits and habits can be learnt and passed on. Maybe, it is time to audit your relationships this week and trace why some habits, whether positive or negative are reoccurring in your life presently. A series of habits is the last stage in forming your character according to Tzu. When I look at my life personally, one good trait I developed was writing notes. I didn’t use to write notes and saw no need for that, until one day, I sat by a friend in Sunday School called Solomon who was always writing. As our friendship developed, I saw the benefits of writing in him. Perhaps without him and learning that from him, I would not be here today penning a blog. I met this guy in my pre-teens, though life has taken us in different directions, one of the many positives I picked from him is documenting and I am grateful for that. We thought our parents were the fun police when they told us not to hang around or play with certain people. In hindsight, what they were really telling us is the people you play with today could end up forming your character which will predict your destiny. Your network indeed determines your net worth.

3. Character can be reshaped

There is nothing as a permanent character. To me, I see it very temporary. You can be good today, bad tomorrow; optimistic today, pessimistic tomorrow; grateful today, ungrateful tomorrow. Why do I say that? Because the first step to forming a character, whether positive or negative, has to do with your thought life- what words are you reading, what conversations do you have and what images are you watching. Basically, your information base is where your thoughts are formed. When one undergoes a criminal investigation, one of the things the detectives do is to find out his knowledge base, hence seize his laptop, go through his library, screen his phone conversations and check his financial statements (which speaks of what he is passionate about) among many more. Your knowledge base tells a lot about you- by this assessment they build your profile to tell your character and that is a clue to whether you are a suspect in their case or not. All that I am saying is, if your thought life changes, it will go a long way in determining your character. 

Let me end with this quote again. Perhaps, today will be a good time to muse on what changes we all need to make when it comes to character:

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny”- Lao Tzu

Will like to read your comments because your feedback means a lot to me. Please don’t also forget to like, share or subscribe to this blog.

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love 

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Integrity

I thought I understood this word till I came across this word, Structural Integrity Test which has to do with testing an existing stricture’s ability to carry the assigned load limit. In a sense, the existing structure is being tested for its wholeness.

It is so funny how little things can flick the light bulb in our heads. From that day, I understood why integrity is wholeness. The root word for integrity is from the Latin adjective, integer. In Maths, an integer is divisible by 2 if its last digit is 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8. It is considered a whole number

Integrity is when the thoughts of our minds, the desires of our hearts and our actions are integrated. That is a state of wholeness. So for instance, when I think of making a call, I don’t just desire or want to do it, but will also follow through with my action by calling. In this part of the world I live in, the elections will be next year, and the buzz word we will hear from every politician is, “I am a man or woman of integrity”

So, the question is how I do become a man or woman of integrity? Let me share this quote:

“Integrity is not a given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self discipline, inner trust and a decision to be relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives”

According to John Maxwell, self discipline, inner trust and most importantly, a decision to be honest can make us people of integrity

Mediate on how these three qualities can be enhanced in your personal life. The development of these three will lead us down the route to integrity

May we indeed be people of wholeness. I wish you a happy new month

I will like to read your thoughts on this. Your feedback is deeply appreciated. Please don’t forget to like, share or subscribe to this blog

Till we meet again…

Peace & Love

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Introspection 

Introspection simply means to look into or examine yourself (thanks, dictionary😊). Sometimes, it has to do with examining your feelings or your mental state.

In fact, this word came to me (around last month) when I was listening to a speaker giving a talk on The Power of Becoming. He just mentioned the word at random, and I thought to myself, “that will be an interesting topic to write on”. So in fairness, this was not planned way ahead of time to write on.

On Saturday, I had a late night phone call from someone who needed help finding a place to stay after been evicted. As I was talking on the phone, I had flashbacks of helping people in the same predicament and the like, then later, they will take the advantage and be ungrateful. I was feeling very used like it had happened in the past and felt like my fingers were about to be burned again.

Honestly, looking back in hindsight, the response to this guy’s plea was cold. When we hanged up, I was very quiet and then my mind drifted away in the company of my wife. She later asked whether it was the best response, and if we could do something to help even if we are taken for granted again or hurt (she read my thoughts).

Let me state this disclaimer: I am not an advocate of been taken advantage of, or been treated like a doormat. That is tantamount to emotional abuse. Sometimes, firm stances are good, even if it makes you look callous. The truth is, you are not but may seem like that in the heat of the moment. Howbeit, learn to decipher between a genuine need and one that wants to make a buck out of you. The problem is when we have allowed so many people to make a buck out of us, when the ones with genuine needs show up, we recoil and retreat to our nest. In my instance, a past bad experience was clouding my judgment in being Christlike, which was wrong on my part.

The following day, I was searching inwardly to know why I gave that response. I found three things which triggered that response, and one of them was my emotional energy was almost deplete. When it gets to that level, thank God I know how to refill to make sure I don’t drive on “red”.

The morale to this story is had I not had an honest introspective look, I wouldn’t have helped myself to become a better man, and that destructive path of coldness and aloofness will still have trail-blazed regardless. In life, you will never get the answers to many of life’s questions and cannot control the outcome of outward circumstances either. What is within your control is how you act, behave or think. That is not a mystery.

Please take time to invest in yourself by knowing the real you. Take an honest, hard look at yourself and ask questions; perhaps some uncomfortable ones too. Introspection gives you an inward look or tour of your inner man- the real you. You will know and discover much after this exercise.

Let me end with this scripture I have come to love from the Psalmist, David:

Examine me, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns!” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:23‬ ‭NET‬‬

May this also be your prayer! Will love to read your feedback on this. It means a lot to me. Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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A restrained life

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…” PROVERBS‬ ‭29:18‬ ‭NASB‬‬

For the past two weeks, we have looked at the subject matter on vision. We have defined it and looked at the nature of vision. Today, we want to turn our thoughts on how a vision lets you live a restrained life. I know the title doesn’t sound too appealing, but let us dig deeper.

When we talk of a restrained life, it is very different from a restricted life. A restrained life is not a restricted life. A restrained life has more to do with narrowing your options and living a focused life in attainment of a mission. The restricted life, on the other hand, has more to do with barriers or impediments that halts your progress.

To live an unrestrained life is to live a disorderly life with no boundaries- a misdirected life. Living a life without restraints has temporary pleasure, but a permanent sense of defeat and regret which sometimes becomes difficult to get over. I want to share my thoughts on why a restrained life is not a restricted one

1. A restrained life keeps you focused on what you are good at

The mirage is we can be good at anything. The bottom line is that is not always the case. I think we can be exceptionally good at some things but not good at everything. When you are restrained in your passions, thoughts and dreams concerning a task, it helps you to focus on that particular thing that needs to be done. With that, you channel all your energies into developing the strengths for that particular task you are doing. Life is too expensive to spread yourself too thin- jack of all trades, master at nothing. It is better to attempt two things where you score 9 out of 10 than to to do ten things, where your highest score in all ten is 4.5 out of 10. Maximize your strengths by cutting down the number of tasks and focus on a few to hit peak performance

2. A restrained life keeps you from having a roving eye

Some people’s attention span is short. All it takes for their plans to change is talk to a friend or go on social media. A life without restraints believes life is too short and one needs to be adventurous. That is not adventure, but misdirected energy. People who easily change on their task easily gas out! Changing upon changing of things can be energy draining and time wasting. I will liken that to moving houses. If you have been involved in this, you can bear me witness that it’s time consuming and energy draining. Can you imagine doing that every two weeks? I believe in adventure and taking chances, but do that in the venture you are called to do and once that is completed, move on to the next one. There are times when life will demand you do two or three things at a go, because you are good at it. The general rule is not many are good at multi tasking, so take your time and tackle one venture after the other. Without a burning desire for your vision, chances are you can live a very unrestrained life seizing everything as an opportunity, realizing later down the road you were only in a fool’s paradise. That is a painful awakening

3. A restrained life highlights your weaknesses

How? By doing what you are doing shows what you are also not good at. A good lawyer may perhaps be a bad medical doctor. Many law students have a glaring weakness in Mathematics. Medical students are considered to be among the brainiest of the bunch, but will have weaknesses in many fields which they don’t study like English Literature, History, Political Science and the like. Most medics don’t like too much reading, they prefer calculations and analysis. A vision highlights your strengths, but also your weaknesses. It protects you to play according to your strengths and reject any “opportunities” which will expose your weakness. Your weakness is there to build on and helps in character building. Your weakness should not be exhibited on a platform to serve others because it helps nobody. There are some people who live in “La-La Land” deceiving themselves and their audience that they are cut out for EVERY job, but the scores tell a different story. A vision helps narrow that perspective

I trust you got something out of today’s read? A blessed week to you all. Keep winning!

Will love to read your thoughts and comments on this. Your feedback means a lot to me. Please don’t also forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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The nature of a vision 

“And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk‬ ‭2:2-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Hello, trust we all enjoyed this past weekend? Mine was very hot, sunny, sticky & sweaty. It’s all good- part of the summer fun, I guess!

Today’s quote is a biblical account of God showing a vision to Habakkuk of what was going to happen to his people. They were to go into captivity under the oppressive Babylonian regime.

I want to highlight three words underlined here: write, make it plain and read. Although this Bible passage is not addressing a subject on vision casting, there are some elements we can infer from to talk about the nature of a vision

1. Write– the first step to a vision is documenting. Some have never had a vision. Where is it written? Most have wishes but not a vision. Anytime, you write a wish down, it moves to becoming a vision. I have come to realize that people generally don’t like writing. Writing is a discipline that needs to be cultivated. After God showed the future of the people of Judah to Habakkuk in the preceding chapter, he told Habakkuk in this chapter to write what he saw down. Believe in writing and start small- writing a line or two lines down every week. Whatever you feel, aspire or think to do, start writing it. The more you write, you spark a creative thought to that idea

2. Make it plain– a vision should be simple- straight to the point, easy to remember. Don’t jumble too many words into a vision, it becomes overwhelming and harder to achieve. It is difficult to reduce your vision into a line or two; it calls for a lot of critical thinking. For example, the church I belong to has an easy to remember line as the vision: “Gospel for everyone, church for every community”. If you ask any parishioner of that setting, he or she will be able to rattle it off their head. In my opinion, a vision shouldn’t be more than two lines. Out of your vision, you begin to outline your mission which can come in many steps to achieve that.

3. Reads it– the people in Habakkuk’s time had to be in the know of their future predicament. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to them, because God told them through a vision. What do I mean by reading? Focusing, giving your time and energy to the vision. It is one thing to write, another to devote your time to the fulfillment of that vision. ‘Reading’ your vision requires discipline on your part

Let me end with a personal example. I longed to speak to people beyond my sphere of influence and reach more people. I realized the way to do that was through writing. I had to decide what will I write on a Monday which is the first day of a working week to ANYONE reading. My vision was born for Pencilled Thoughts which is “inspiring and transforming one person at a time through writing“. I had to develop a mission statement for this blog which is “looking at life’s day to day issues through a biblical worldview”. So I have goals born out of this mission which is personal, but will let you in on one: in my first year, I wanted to pen down thirty articles, which I did

I hope you are encouraged today to go the extra mile in whatever journey you are on. Add +1 to whatever you are doing this week.

Please, I will like to read your comments and thoughts on this one. Your feedback means a lot to me. Don’t forget to also like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again

Peace & Love

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Vision


“Vision is a mental picture or portrait of a preferable and desirable future communicated by the Holy Spirit which becomes your pursuit”- Rev. Richard Kwarteng-Siaw

I hope you had a great week? In this part of our world, it was a holiday, so I had a longer weekend. Today, let us turn our thoughts on the subject of vision. I have read on and heard a lot on this particular subject, but this definition I quoted is by far the best one in my book. 

I believe the true source of vision comes from God. Seek God in prayer for a vision. In all instances, the manufacturer knows more than the manufactured and in this case, there is no exception: the creator knows more than the creature. I am a man of faith and believe that this world and all that is in it including humanity was created by God. As much as it is good to know your strengths, talents and skills, sometimes these indicators are not the best at informing you your vision.

Vision starts as an idea in your mind and and birthed in your heart which becomes a sort of guidance or purpose for your very existence in life. When we talk about vision, it is imperative to talk about mission, goals and values. So what is a mission? It is the framework (plan) on what to do to accomplish the vision. To make your plan actionable, this is where goals come in. It is breaking the plan into bite size tasks which is measurable and also realistic. Values have to do with your conviction or beliefs. 

So in summation, we have understood that:

  • A vision is an idea
  • A mission is a plan
  • A goal is the action 
  • Values have to do with your personal conviction(s)

Next year’s summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan. The athlete competing has a vision (idea) to win the 100 meters gold medal. He states his mission (plan) to work 18 hours a week in fulfilment of that vision. He has a goal (action) of working 3 hrs in 6 days every week till the time of the event draws nigh. Out of the vision, he develops values (beliefs) which include discipline (waking up every morning putting in 3 hours), consistency (doing it six days week after week), a healthy diet (can’t eat or drink anything) among many others. Cited this example to bring today’s subject home.

I pray today’s post will not only inform but inspire you! Go for gold! Be encouraged if you don’t have a vision and decide today is the day to be intentional and on purpose. If you have one, you too, be encouraged and believe for the very best.

I value your feedback and let me thank all who take time to give it. It is encouraging and much appreciated! Last week’s post on Time received a great feedback. Most sent me texts on my personal phone and called me. Please do leave your comments here. I will prefer if it is posted here. Our community can learn from each other.

Please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog 

Till, I come your way again…

Peace & Love

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Time


“Use your time well, for these are evil days.” Ephesians 5:16‬ ‭CJB‬‬

Good to be on this platform again! Wow, we have just finished the first half of the year and now in the middle of week 27. I trust you have had a good first half? Within the twinkle of an eye, we will be wishing each other season’s greetings. Couldn’t post on Monday because I had writer’s block dealing with this post. I am determined to post this week hence the uncharacteristic timing

Let us talk about time. What about it? I must admit on a personal level that there is something about time I don’t get. It is difficult to place. What are your thoughts? For me, what I know is that, we have been put on this earth to be good stewards of our time. The managing of it well will determine your placement in this life.

The verse quoted above encouraged me and I want to bring it to this public forum. I believe how you use time also speaks of your level of wisdom. I heard an old wise man quipped, “there are three things you can do with time: you spend, waste or invest it, but the best option out of the three is to invest it”. I want to share my few thoughts on time

1. Time waits for no one– we have been given the gift of 86400 seconds which is equal to 1440 minutes and the same as 24 hours a day. Please, understand that when you lose one second of it, you cannot gain it back. The clock will tick away independent of how you feel; whether your tasks for the day have been completed or not, whether your deadlines have been met or not. Each and every day we grow old and get a day closer to our time of death. We have to learn to get in the rhythm of the day to make things happen sometimes. It may not be conducive, but the reality is time waits for no one

2.  Time is finite– you may disagree! Time has a beginning and an end on this earth. If time is infinite, will we have history and also talk about the future? You see, I am just thinking aloud on a concept I am still trying to understand. Time has a calendar and a time zone depending on the part of the earth you live. I heard a saying that, “the opportunity of a lifetime should be seized in the lifetime of that opportunity”. That statement changed how I viewed time from that day. Opportunities happen or stop under the element of time. That is also why human beings have a timeline. It is finite. It is not everlasting, else we will still be interacting with our great, great, great grandparents. The finiteness of time should inform our choices, our priorities, how we want our legacies written and so on. People who see time as infinite play around too much, not counting the consequences of such a perception.

3. You will never have enough of it– 24 hours in a day and that is it! Everything you have to do in a day including sleep is subjected to 24 hours. We have to be good timekeepers and time managers to maximize its usage. I believe all of us at one point felt, “today is not enough, I need more time”. This to me, makes time a mystery

Twenty six weeks gone! Left with another twenty six, what will you do with the rest of the time? What story are you writing with your life? What projects are you undertaking? Let me take this opportunity to wish you a better and greater second half! May God grace us with good health 

This is by far the most difficult post to write. My mind was really stretched and has gone places to scribble this opus. Hope I made some sense? I value your feedback and will like to read your thoughts. Please, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to this blog

Till I come your way again…

Peace & Love