Blog, FEATURES, Lifestyle

Success Journey XXI: On ‘Cruise’

When you’re on a computer (screen) you’re more likely to be consuming than creating. So much of what’s online isn’t valuable — it’s just clutter. And if you’re reading too much of it you don’t have space for creativity and original thought. ~Tero Isokauppila As I’ve come to understand it, cruise is the local parlance Nigerians use to describe ‘having fun’ online. It can be anything really and for clarity let me say here that it is not trolling. The former is usually to elicit a response while the latter is usually a response. Most people troll others for attention, revenge, and in my case sadism. It can be part of cruise but it is actually worse. It is idiocy. Yes, you read right, idiocy, that’s what it is. After reading Gary Bishop’s Unf*ck Yourself I decided to communicate in a more relatable manner. Now back to cruise. You wake up and see nothing better to do and you decide to post some bullsh*t for! You see a caption and post your warped opinion without reading through the! You post nonsense to malign a person, group, or tribe…cruise! You post a pornographic thread to attract attention to the rubbish you intend to! You post a claim that contradicts studies and well-researched positions from authorities…cruise! The examples are endless and most of us are guilty of this. We post nonsense that can’t be rationally defended and we call it cruise. It is not. It is silly and unproductive and it’s time to curtail your cruise. We have a responsibility to make cyberspace and by extension society a better place by putting out useful, positive content. I know our online activities are often reflex actions as we practically live on the internet these days. Still, that doesn’t mean they can’t be controlled gradually and with time eliminated entirely if we so desire. Consider the time and words you waste in catching cruise. If you spend over 3 hours daily arguing over trivial issues on social media like the average African, it means you likely waste about 1–2k words daily. Those words can be put to better use for a story, an article, or even a novel. Hemmingway wrote only 500 words daily and that is when he has a project. Guess what? It usually takes him about 4 hours! Think about the time we waste too. Time is the most valuable and irreplaceable resource that can be used to learn something new and helpful. Choose a skill and start learning it. Learn a second language or learn graphic design, video editing etc. Just start learning something that will help you create rather than consume. No knowledge gained is lost and there are many online resources that offer free and affordable knowledge acquisition. I always use myself as an example. Now check this out. If you write 1500 words weekly you would have written a 200-page draft in one year. In January 2022, I started writing this series with the aim of churning out enough to publish a book by the end of the year. If you aim for the sky and hit an eagle that is considered bullseye in every measure. I’ll be damned if I don’t have at least a draft by the end of 2023. So you see, it’s achievable. Also, in the last month or so that I left Facebook, I started the Adobe Indesign course. It’s a 16-week online course but I’m already halfway through. I attribute this to having more time and it’s likely the course designers considered time wasted online in setting the course duration. Either way, it’s a win-win for me. I should add that certification to my portfolio in a month’s time. I am not saying you quit entirely but I said curtail. Moreover, we can’t possibly drop habits like this entirely. It’s just like asking me to stop elbow bending. Impossible! I will drink but moderation will always be the key. There are no shortcuts to these things as old habits die hard but with gradual additions, we can considerably replace them with new ones. It won’t be easy but it’s doable. After all, anything that comes easy is usually not worthwhile. So come on, give it a shot. Not later, not tomorrow but now.

Blog, FEATURES, Lifestyle

Success Journey XIX

On Writing And Attention Span. How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live. The above quote by Thoreau in his vote of confidence for writers like me who decided to take on the craft a little late in life always inspires me. I can tap into my wealth of experience and produce stories for the rest of my life if only I can find the time and put pen to paper. A friend once asked, “Cmoni where do you get all these posts you write?” “From my head” was my sarcastic reply. “Of course, I know it’s from your head but how do you come up with the ideas?”. Oh, that? “Bros I read a lot”. “You, Cmoni, read a lot? How do you have time to read when you are on social media arguing with us every day?”. “Hahahaha bros I de read o, I don’t only read but I also study. Have you forgotten I just completed a diploma recently? It was one full academic year of blended learning. But I get where you are coming from so I will tell you, but not now. I will put it down in writing so as to answer your question practically”. So here goes. I read a lot. And I read everything and everywhere. I read the news, social media commentary, books and mags. I often read the dailies first when I walk into the library. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts even more. When I jog I play music but when I walk I listen to texts. I read in the loo, bus, train and plane. Still, in addition to regular reading, a good writer should be a good observer. I’ve always known this but following two writers (Julia Cameron & Natalie Goldberg) who markedly influenced my creative journey reinforced this belief. So oftentimes when I walk along the River Lee banks, I deliberately observe. I can stop for minutes to watch a dog play fetch with its owner or take time to feed the ducks and admire their silky white plumes. On one occasion I noticed an otter which was displaying its swimming skills didn’t have whiskers or perhaps I wasn’t close enough to see it clearly. A lady that had been watching with me was equally unsure and said; “It could as well be a beaver”. “Well, it is possible but I believe beavers are usually larger than this” I replied. That brief incident prompted a simple google search to distinguish between the two furry creatures. Among other things I was amazed to learn that otters are mainly carnivores while beavers are herbivores. If I develop this experience and add the discoveries made I could have a full story of over 1000 words. If I want to write about a trending or particular topic, all I need to do is follow the argument and in a matter of hours I will come up with an article. I learned this doing my master’s degree in media studies. Australian writer Caitlin Johnstone did not only become prolific by deploying this tactic but has effectively carved a reputation and built a buxom audience. Despite knowing all these, I neither read nor write as much as I should or I’m capable of doing. I rarely concentrate and do deep reading except on weekends and for academic work. I also don’t write regularly as I keep pledging to do. But wait! Of course, I write daily and most of us write daily too. Yes, we chat, reply to emails and churn out thousands of words arguing over frivolous sociopolitical issues. If you add up the number of words we type daily you could have a book each month. Unfortunately, this form of writing is usually not effective. It is the by-product of the internet era where almost everything can be done through screen devices. This dependence on these tools of our age impacts our attention span and it would seem there’s no escape from this as technology proliferates even more. By way of definition, attention span is simply the amount of time spent concentrating on a task before becoming distracted. While distractibility occurs when attention is uncontrollably diverted to another activity or sensation. Thus focus becomes a problem. And I’m neither alone in this struggle nor am I the only one who is searching for a solution. So a few nights ago when I plugged on my earphones to savour my daily free blink from Blinkist I was treated to Attention Span, a book by @GloriaMark_PhD. It was so interesting that I listened twice. It is not as if I haven’t read books around this subject matter. I have studied minimalism, decluttering, mindset and all that but none has been this specific. That is why I am practically bouncing off the walls on this one. So I have just renewed my audible subscription to read the entire book and I promise to dissect and digest the contents as we progress in our Success Journey series. But let’s start with this YouTube interview.  Thanks for reading and see you next week.

Blog, Diaspora Diary., Lifestyle

Success Journey XVIII

The thing is that no knowledge gained is lost. I read accounting for a reason and never practised as a professional nor did I work in any financial institution. Frankly, I find debit and credit monotonous and tedious. However, the knowledge is there and has been of immense help in all my business dealings.

Blog, Lifestyle

Success Journey XII

If you have been following this series, I apologise for the hiatus. I thought my battle with COVID was over after the first symptoms abated but it stretched on for over 3 weeks. Consequently, I was overwhelmed by a backlog of academic work occasioned by the illness. However, I am fine now and can resume our weekly series. In Serie VIII, I wrote that some obstacles could possibly emerge as you build on your success habits. I outlined the 4 A’s; Anticipate, Allocate, Adapt, and Act as a strategy to deal with potential problems. It is a term borrowed from the Canadian neo-dimensional approach to improving effectiveness in the military. I also wrote about anticipating these problems. I will now go on to discuss the allocation of resources to tackle them as they arise. Firstly, I don’t believe in “expecting the worst”. It is a negative attitude to have. There is a marked difference between anticipating potential issues that may hinder your progress and expecting the worst. Having a positive mental attitude is wise advice and success conscious people are usually optimists. However, you have to be careful not to mix up the fantasy with optimism. It is equally as important to set a realistic schedule to achieve a worthwhile goal. That way, chances are that the obstacles that may come up will be surmountable because you are somewhat prepared to make the best out of the situation. All that is needed is a little resourcefulness and progress will be the likely result. I have a simple approach to problem-solving because it always comes down to 2 major resources, time and money. So what do I do? I often pick the upper limit in the proposed amount of budgeted money or time. If it’s a problem that money can solve. It is advisable to get an estimate from an expert if it’s beyond you. Then choose the upper limit. For instance, I recently did some repairs on my car. The dashboard indicator kept flashing red lights for the ABS sensor and at a point, I started seeing the warnings about driving stability. After running the diagnostics my electrician estimated that it could cost about €200 but might be up to €300 to fix. As is often the case with estimates, it turned out to be the higher estimate. Anticipating the worst meant that it was not a huge shock. I would have smiled more if the repair bill had been less than €300, but that’s still ok, the most important thing is getting the job done with the budgeted allocation. Do the same with time. Allocate more time and if you accomplish the task in less, then use the remainder for another worthwhile task. Now it becomes a problem when you exhaust the budgeted resources without finishing the job. Don’t worry, we will discuss this in our next strategy. For now, let’s try to internalise choosing the upper limit when we are faced with a budget for problem-solving.

Blog, Lifestyle

Success Journey IX

Where, when or how you start is not as important as starting. ~ Cmoni Last time in my weekly Success Journey Series I talked about the potential obstacles that may pop up as you navigate the path to achieving set tasks. I then suggested that anticipating these hiccups beforehand is the first step of a four-pronged strategy I call the 4 A’s; Anticipate, Allocate, Adapt, Act.  But before we proceed to how we allocate resources to tackling these problems permit me to digress a little, just a little for this week. We have scheduled a Talkshop On Success Through Self Development for the 20th of March 2022, so let me hype what we are trying to do here. And in my usual manner, some illustrations will give us a clearer perspective. When Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007, the then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave one of the most legendarily misjudged reactions in tech history. When asked about his thoughts on Apple’s new product, he laughed at the high-priced iPhone, saying it would not appeal to consumers because it lacked a physical keyboard. Of course, he was proven wrong, and his blunder made Microsoft appear to lose ground at a time the tech innovation curve was witnessing unprecedented competition. In that period Ms grew by about 22% while Apple’s value grew by over 4800%. Of course, there’s no way the most fanatical iPhone fan believes he is getting that much value more than what the average android phone offers, but the fact remains that the product or rather the company’s fortune grew geometrically. Seth Godin is a prolific blogger. In one of his podcasts, he said that he had just a couple of followers when he started blogging and less than 10 listeners for his weekly Akimbo podcast. Today, with close to 8000 blog posts, his blog is easily one of the most read in the world and records over half a million visits monthly. These are humongous figures but they are secondary factors really. You may be wondering what could be the primary factor. Here it is; Where, when or how you start is not as important as starting. Yes, Steve Jobs and Seth Godin had confidence. They believed in their ability and the quality of the product they had to offer. And as they commenced natural forces lined up in various forms to support their endeavour. With diligence, determination and consistency they surely got what they rightly deserved for their efforts. But if they hadn’t started all that would amount to nothing. The Cmonionline Talkshop is another branch of the journey we started with our 20-month-old essay competition and it will open the door for other branches to sprout. At my age, I have resolved to invest more resources in passion projects and social businesses that will impact people and the larger society. I don’t even want to dream of where we will be by next year. I am thinking of 10, 20 years from now! And it’s easy to understand what we are trying to achieve which was better elucidated in a previous essay. We want to create digital groups, tribes, and communities for knowledge and skill acquisition through collaboration. There is no expertise required. So if you have skills/experience to share you are welcome to reach us through our social media handles or at and we are happy to collaborate on this platform. Teachers and learners both learn along the line because learning is a lifelong process increasingly modelled around informal environments. So join us on Sunday 20th March 2022 by 3 pm, we will have fun while learning. What can be better than that?

Blog, Lifestyle

Success Journey VI.

It is necessary to state one important rule here; Unless there is a sudden urgency try and stick with the heirrachy as prioritised in your task list for these two reasons.

It gives you more control over your work/study period.
With time you adapt to it and will remember those tasks which you may have forgotten to write down in the morning.

Blog, Lifestyle

Success Journey IV.

There is no substitute for any time spent with nature as I wrote in a previous post. Seeing other people while walking gives an indescribable but relaxing feeling. The hi’s, nods and waves convey our innate capacity as peaceful, warm and friendly humans. 


My Journey: A Personal Story by Kingsley Moghalu.

As a young man out of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Enugu Campus) in the mid-80s, I consciously sought and acquired experience that would position me for leadership on the world stage and in my country. First I did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) assignment as a Legal Officer at Shell Nigeria HQ in Lagos. First class global multinational. Dominant in Nigeria’s petroleum industry. I worked hard as a “Corper” and was kept very professionally busy by my supervisors Dr. V.O. Achimu the Company Secretary and Head of Legal, and Mrs. Efe Omole, a senior corporate lawyer in Shell. Then I joined Newswatch, founded by Nigeria’s most influential journalists of that era, the quartet Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, and Yakubu Mohammed, as its general counsel. In media, ’twas THE PLACE. To further internationalize my CV, and doubling as a lawyer/journalist, I became a special correspondent for influential foreign newspapers and magazines of the era such as South magazine, Christian Science Monitor, and Africa News (today’s AllAfrica Global Media). But I wanted, as I put it on my CV as my goal, “a career of distinction in international affairs”. Possibly in the Nigerian Foreign Service, following the footsteps of my now-deceased dad, but preferably in an international organization like the United Nations, Commonwealth Secretariat, or in the Organization of African Unity (now African Union ). That meant, at the very least, getting a master’s degree. From where? I thought it through, and had been advised by my own research and by mentors that one of the best moves for such a career was to obtain a master’s from the prestigious Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA. I applied while working at Newswatch. I was admitted in 1990, but could not afford the $25,000 tuition fee. But I was determined. I deferred the admission by one year, and started looking for money. All the rich businessmen I approached turned me down. Frustrated, I wrote to Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, immediate past Foreign Minister of Nigeria in the Ibrahim Babangida government. Akinyemi was an alumnus of The Fletcher School, having obtained his master’s degree there in 1966 and then gone on to Oxford University for his Ph.D. He replied and gave me an appointment to see him (no email then, everything was by snail mail! so all this took several days!). I met him in his office then on Victoria Island, introduced myself and submitted my CV. He read it with interest, and was impressed. “Well, young man”, he said, “I don’t have the kind of money that will enable me pay your fees, but I’m impressed you were admitted to The Fletcher School. I will write to the school and recommend you for some sort of support and let’s see how they respond”. I was relieved. This “Big Man” did not know the struggling young man from Adam, but had given me audience and was actually trying to help. “God, I am in your hands” I prayed silently. He asked me to come back & take a copy of the letter he wrote. I did. In two short, powerfully constructed paragraphs of his letter addressed to Professor Jeswald Salacuse, Dean of The Fletcher School at the time, Akinyemi introduced me as “a future leader in Africa”, and said my impressive CV at the young age of 27 was an indicator of this assessment in his view. He then asked the school to consider me for financial support to enrol. Two months later I received a letter from Fletcher awarding me the Joan Gillespie Fellowship for identified future leaders from India, Nigeria and Algeria. Now to get a visa and leave. Ray Ekpu, my boss at Newswatch, and Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, Managing Director of The Guardian at the time, introduced me to the United States Embassy in Nigeria. The American Embassy was impressed with my admission to The Fletcher School , a training ground for many American and world leaders in diplomacy, politics, business, and military and security affairs. The embassy asked me to send over my passport but not bother to come physically to their office in Victoria Island, Lagos. They stamped my student visa and on top of it, awarded me a travel grant that covered my air travel ticket to the US! When I arrived at Tufts University, the world opened up. I worked hard to excel academically and survive financially, serving two professors as their research assistant and somewhat envious of the American students from wealthy homes who had credit cards given them by their parents and did not need to work. From The Fletcher School I joined the UN, my dream career. I started as a junior Associate Officer and rose to the rank of Director and later served on a special assignment at the political rank of Under-Secretary-General. From conflict resolution and nation building assignments in Cambodia, at UN Headquarters in New York on the Angola, Rwanda and Somalia Desks under the supervision of Kofi Annan, back to the field in Croatia and later as Legal Adviser and Spokesman of the International Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, and then to the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland as Head of the Global Partnerships and Resource Mobilization Team at the $20 billion Global Fund in which I also played risk management roles, it was a versatile, satisfying and successful career. In 2006 while I was based in Geneva with WHO, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed me a member of the high-level Redesign Panel on the UN Internal Justice System. Working at UN HQ in New York for six months with Mary Gaudron , our chairperson and an Australian Supreme Court Justice, Louise Otis, Canadian Appeals Court Judge, eminent Egyptian international lawyer Professor Ahmed El-Kosheri, and Diego Garcia Sayan, former Foreign Minister of Peru, we overhauled the internal dispute resolution (between staff and management), accountability and transparency framework governing the world body’s 60,000 staff around the world as a

Essays, Writers

My 26 Week Adventure With by Oluwatimilehin Folarin.

  It was the second time in three years my elder brother will be saturating the house with boxes filled with awards. “Your food is on the table,” my mother in a bright tone welcomed him in grand style. Despite keen competitions from students in the most prestigious government-owned school in Ogun State, David found his way to clinch the glory once again in Abeokuta Grammar School’s annual essay writing competition. To my greatest surprise, pulling off his shirt, rather than heading to the dining room, David navigated his way to the reading table to check out the meaning of some new words he heard that day. His thirst for learning is second to none. I had to swallow my pride that day as I accepted his long-proposed offer to be my mentor. I, for one, have always felt I excel in anything I lay my hands on, but not in written communication.  My ability to successfully communicate my thoughts, ideas and passion through words and expression seemed to be like a mountain that cannot be levelled. However, I didn’t realize all I needed was a coach who could help me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Regrettably, procrastination wrestled with me ceaselessly. Anytime my brother gives me task to accomplish, I will fall short of the deadline. Shortly, I transited to writing 500-word essay effortlessly. It was like heaven on earth for me in the writing world until I attempted to put in for essay competitions. Losing out in the first round of Ivypanda and WISCE essay competitions drove away my zeal for writing. It was a bright Thursday. Surfing the internet after successfully getting home on a busy Kuto market day, my brain could not but direct me to the soft bouncing and well-laid bed in my room. After responding to so many unanswered messages on my Facebook account, I was going through my timeline till I stumbled on a post from which I paid less attention to. Days passed by and my eyes had another contact with a post from, but this time, it was a broadcast about the weekly essay competition that was kick-starting. I was intrigued! The second topic out of the three set of topics caught my attention. I meticulously took my time to write on “my takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic.’’ Sadly, my effort was not enough to displace all other participants for me to be the pioneer winner of the contest, but I was compensated with a cash prize from one of the judges. Without any iota of doubt, after my first experience with weekly challenge, I could envisage that I would need to modify my approach to writing and critical thinking. I invested time to learn more skills in different genres of writing. As a critical thinker and not-too-bad writer, I thought I had a better understanding of creative expression until I lost out consecutively in weeks that followed. However, upon the repeated losses, I realized I would have to challenge myself more and explore the depths my writing could reach. This paved way for me as my essay titled “connecting the dots of the labours of our heroes past,” won the week 5 of the prestigious essay contest. Beyond winning, I set my gaze on how to fully explore other diverse areas of writing by painstakingly reading the entry of each participants and jotting down new creative styles I find out. Creative writing made me realize there were no limits on the number of words when it comes to expressing my thoughts, feelings or opinion about a subject matter. I could convey how I feel a thousand different ways, and I mastered the act of perfection in my written words. I became a more proficient writer, and not only did my words contain more depth and soul, but my writing entered a whole new different arena I didn’t realize it was possible.   New circumstances always make me a bit nervy and my first set of essays in the weekly essay writing competition organised by cmonionline were no exception. It took me a very long time to articulate words for my chosen topics, but I knew that the more I practise, the better I will become. Writing has always been one of the things I desire to gain mastery over, nevertheless, the initial step anytime I pick up my pen to write or laptop to type has been my daunting enemy. Coming up with a fantastic content in less than a week is the leading challenge since my journey with started. Once I do not start the day the topics are being published, my chances of submitting my entry for that week is close to zero. Moreover, since I started the writing competition with cmonionline, I have learnt that it is more than a competition that drives me to stay up all night, I have also developed my ability to critically analyse arguments and creatively express myself in academic, social or political setting. More importantly, with the different weekly topics from cmonionline essay competition, I have learnt to strategically choose my battles and maximize my strengths. When I think of the learning process I have been through in the past few months, I realize learning something new can be a scary experience. Before I got to know about cmonionline weekly essay challenge, I could choose any topic and write well on it. On the flip side, if I am given a topic, it will be harder to make the essay enjoyable to read. But now, whether I formulate a topic or I’m given a theme to write on, my essay will be flowing with milk and honey. Cmonionline has taught me to have the spirit of persistence, consistency and endurance to achieve my desired goal of becoming an adept writer. We learn from mistakes and nobody is perfect. Writing essay competitions is a good example. I enjoy receiving feedback from cmonionline because

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