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Observations of a Young Nigerian Female . Powered by Blogger.

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I am young, "normal" and I like to write. People say I eat too much, people don't know what they are saying.

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Personal Development is Like Soup

 I like soup. But that’s not what this piece is about.

I used to be a terrible cook. My husband will never admit it but he knows it’s true. I used to be very easily distracted, so I’d be writing an article in my head while cooking Oha soup and more times than I can count, there would be so much Achi in the soup that I’d have to pour a bucket of water in it to make it lighter, which often resulted in the soup becoming like rivers of living waters.

Why am I talking about soup? Because just as it’s possible to be bad at cooking, it’s very possible to be bad at personal development. So the problem sometimes is not that you’re not engaging in personal development, but that you’re just bad at it.

Is being bad at something a reason to stop doing it? Of course not! It’s a prompt to learn how to do it better, and that’s what I want to teach you in this article.

Here are some mistakes you might be making:

  1. What’s the first thing you do when you decide to make a pot of soup? I used to just decide, go into the kitchen, start cooking and then most times have to stop halfway to run out and buy random things. 

It may seem ridiculous, but I did that and you might also be doing it in your personal development journey. 

When you’ve decided to improve yourself, what’s the first thing you do? Buy a popular course and start studying? It sounds like a good step, but sometimes, it’s not.

The first thing you should do when you decided to develop yourself is;

  1. Write out goals. What do you want to cook? What are you trying to become? E.g I want to become an individual who writes incredible copies to help businesses sell their products.

  2. Write out your strengths. What skills do you already have? 

  3. Write out the things you need to learn to reach your goal. What ingredients do you need to buy? You don’t want to remember there’s no crayfish when you’ve already started adding vegetables and made Eba.

  4. Find out where you can get resources for the new things you need to learn. Can you get the prawns on your street or are you going to need to take a taxi to the supermarket? Do you have taxi fare? Is there an alternative to the supermarket?

For me, this part meant finding youtube channels that could teach the things I needed to know for free. Because I couldn’t afford to pay for courses. Because I was broke.

2. The next thing I should have been doing when cooking was eliminating distractions. But no, I had to have a novel propped up by the sink as I cooked. This led to more mishaps than I could name. How does this apply to personal development? When you’re on a journey of personal development, you need to know that not everything is for you. For me, it meant that I had to adjust my priorities. Going to bed early or staying up late to watch movies with my roommates wasn’t going to work, because I was on a path that needed me to put in extra effort.

3. Another aspect of eliminating distractions is sticking to one thing. I had a choice to study writing or study digital marketing when I started my personal development journey. You might be wondering why I couldn’t just do both. Let me tell you why.

I pride myself as a multitasker, but multitasking is something I try not to do anymore when it comes to cooking. Why? Because once while I was trying to cook two pots of soup simultaneously, I put pepper twice in one pot and not at all in the other pot. I didn’t remember where I put in pepper the first time so one pot had a double dose of pepper and the other one did not have any.

Stick to one subject at a time. If you try to learn two things simultaneously, you won’t be able to get the best of either of them. One at a time. Move on to the next thing when you’ve gained some mastery of the first.

4. Too many cooks will most certainly spoil the broth. I wish this wasn’t true, but I have dear friends who are affected by this. I can tell you for sure that a person who asks for advice from too many people hardly ever achieves anything worthwhile. I’ve seen this happen and it makes me really sad. For this reason, when people ask me for advice then come back to re-discuss the advice because they talked to 3 other people and are now conflicted, I often pull back.

So, here’s my advice. Ask for advice from people who are knowledgeable, then take action. The biggest enemy of action is multiple counsel; you’ll become overwhelmed and paralyzed.

If I were to ask 5 people the best way to cook Oha Soup, I’d get 5 different techniques. When you ask too many people for advice, you get too many potentially conflicting ideas and you also find it difficult to come up with your own ideas because your head is filled with other people’s ideas. That’s a very bad place to be.

5. Get a mentor. I didn’t always believe in mentors, and to an extent, I still don’t. I do believe in having “senior friends” though. I have different people who I can ask questions about different things depending on their areas of strength. I have a UX guy, a marketing sis, a tech bro, a brand communications guy, a business development girl, and so on.

You might be wondering why you need humans when you have youtube. Well, let me tell you a story. While learning to cook native meals that I know my husband loves, I found a youtube channel, Usekwu Igbo. They had all the recipes but my Onugbu soup never tasted quite right no matter how carefully I watched the videos. So one day, I called up my mother-in-law and asked her how she cooked hers. That was all it took for me to cook good Onugbu soup.

Here’s another instance; when I started learning to write code (HTML and CSS), I followed the videos exactly, step by step. Yet, my code did not run. It wasn’t until I showed my code to a friend who is a developer that I realized I was using the wrong type of brackets, and because of the tutor’s accent, I would never have known.

Connect with people who have gone ahead on the path. People, not one person. Why? Because different people are good at different things. If I’m trying to cook Ukwa, I’ll call my mother-in-law; if I’m trying to cook curry sauce, I’ll call my mom; if I’m trying to make an English breakfast, I’ll call my friend, Camille. Take advantage of your network and stop taking advice on everything from everybody.

If you’re currently on the journey of personal development or you’re about to start, make it clear what you want to become. There are a lot of paths out there and they are all glamorous. Know what you want, create your curriculum (map, recipe, manual, whatever resonates with you), and follow it with the help of your friends. 

Keep in mind that soup does not have to be expensive to be delicious; and personal development does not have to be expensive to be effective. If my grandmother can make incredibly delicious soup without modern technology or fancy spices, you can develop yourself without spending your inheritance.

I love personal development because it can change your life. If you do it the right way, it’ll change yours.

May God guide you.

*Please google the words in italics or leave a comment and I'll explain what they refer to.

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1 comment:

  1. This was insightful! Thank you for sharing. Truly,we don’t have to break a bank to begin our journey of self development,we just have to thirst for self improvement and strive for it. As little as a change in our daily habits,we will be one step closer. Once again,thank you for sharing💞


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