THE TRUE DEFINITION OF WEALTH (3/4)

NIYI ADESANYA’S DEFINITION:

In the past week, I was privileged to be invited by a friend to attend a Conference organized by Pastor Ezekiel Atang’s God’s House of Refuge, one of the fastest growing new generation churches in Akwa Ibom State. It was a 4-day programme with the theme “Taking Responsibility”. A renowned speaker in Nigeria Niyi Adesanya was scheduled to speak the day I visited, Thursday Evening.

He spoke for about 2 hours expatiating on a particular verse of the Bible that is usually misunderstood and even abused – “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” KJV (Deuteronomy 8:18)

He gave us the Hebrew interpretation of the key words in the passage, namely: Power, Wealth, Covenant, and Fathers. For the purpose of our study, I am only going to concentrate on the first two.

He defined “Power” as “capacity” and “Wealth as “a force of men, means, and other resources”, according to the original Hebrew meanings of these words.

Substituting these interpretations into the definition, we would have something close to this: 

“But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee (the capacity) to get (the force of men, mean and other resources), that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”

This definition alone is enough to break some of the myths you may have harbored on wealth. First, it makes us understand that there is more to “Wealth” than money in the bank or cash at hand. In fact, money is not even mentioned. Second, it tells us that it is wrong to pray and fast for God to make us wealthy or “open doors of wealth” for us because that power already resides within us. It does not make sense asking God for what he has already given you, don’t you think so? He said “I HAVE GIVEN YOU…” not “I WILL give you….”

Which therefore means that if you are still struggling with your finances, the answer to your predicament lies within you. God, and to a lesser extent, the devil, have absolutely nothing to do with it. You are the one limiting yourself and allowing your beliefs to hold you down.

Let us break this definition down a little further according to the insights and divine revelation I received at that seminar.

  1. CAPACITY:

When God says, He has given you “the Capacity” to do something, do you really understand what that means? Capacity means “the total amount that can be contained or produced, or (especially of a person or organization) the ability to do a particular thing”. It means that you have that ability within you to make it happen. God has given it to you already. All you need to is to obtain the appropriate knowledge you need to activate it and then you’re good to go.

At the same time, you are not expected to do it all on your own so that when “when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein….and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of (financial) bondage… And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.” (See Deuteronomy 8:11-20, emphasis are mine).

I am sure this is where many Christians get it all wrong. Some of them are of the belief that getting wealthy is actually bad because it will make one proud, pompous and eventually forget God in the long run. 

Well, while this is true, I would say it is no cause for alarm because God already foresaw this, which is why he warned us in the above-quoted passage to be very careful when wealth comes and to always acknowledge God as the source of our wealth. The sooner you let go of the mindset that “wealth is evil in/of itself, the sooner you will open yourself up to the life of abundance that God has in store for every one of His children.

I think that is where the two rich men in Jesus’ parables of Luke 12:16-21 and Luke 16:19-31 got it all wrong. The Rich Fool in the first passage was accused of not remembering God laying up treasure to himself and not being rich towards God (vs 21) while the second rich man forgot God as well as his fellow man, Lazarus to the extent of denying him even the crumbs from his table. It is this pride of theirs that led to their downfall and destruction. Od is no respecter of persons. Wealth is not a license to forget God, live extravagantly and begin to oppress other people. God gave us wealth “that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers” and for us to multiply same for his glory (see Parable of Talents, Matt. 25:14). Expect more on this in the last segment of this series.

On the other hand, there are many rich men of God in the Bible that remembered God and used their wealth to accomplish great things for God and their generation. Think about father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, King David, King Solomon and all the good Kings of Israel, to mention but a few. These are the people we emulate and measure ourselves to.

The Capacity to make wealth that God has given us is in no way something we should abuse. God has warned against that and there are grave consequences for forgetting God after we’ve become wealthy. We have to always remember that what “capacity” really means is that “with God- all things are possible” and you “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth you”. It is not going to be by your power alone.

 

  1. FORCE OF MEN, MEANS AND OTHER RESOURCES:

I can still remember Mr. Adesanya saying that if he is suddenly dropped anywhere in Uyo with absolutely nothing on him, he can never be stranded. He will only make one or two phone calls and within hours, he will be on a flight to where he wanted to go. This one really made an impression on me. It goes on to confirm my saying that money is not all there is to wealth.

How is your relationship with your fellow man? How many quality people do you know? If you get lost, how many people will organize a search party for you?

In other words, what is the wealth of your “force of men”? It has been said that your Network is your Net worth. The rich spend a lot of time building their network and connections because they know that no one is indispensable. The poor on the other hand repel others with their poor mindset and negative outlook on life. They carry the impression of “a Jack of all trade, master of all”.

I do hear some pastors say that “the key to your destiny is in someone’s hand”, “pray for God to connect you with your destiny helper”, etc. These statements are true to some extent.

No man is an island. You can’t be successful on your own. You need “other people” and “other people’s resources”. These resources may include their money, knowledge, their own connections and network, etc. It is by creating and establishing a cordial business relationship with everyone that crosses your path that you can truly appreciate the beauty of “the force of men, means, and other resources”.

How do you build a force of men?

Start by getting to really know people for who they are. Get their contact details and know at least one or two things about their friends. Let them know that they can count on you anytime they need your help and imply that you want to be able to count on them as well. Watch out for each other’s back and keep one another informed of amazing opportunities that could be useful to yourselves.

Means is defined as an instrument or condition for attaining a purpose. This means that wealth is given to you to use for greater good, not as a status.

Other Resources could refer to a variety of things ranging from gold, silver, precious minerals, real estate, paper investment or other forms of income-generating asset.

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Letter to Young Nigeria Degree Holders

Throw Away That Degree Otherwise You Will Die Poor

Most of the educated people in Nigeria are poor. Majority of the educated earn less than N55,000 for a salary before tax and other deductions. When the deductions are put into consideration, the net salary comes to around N50,000.

The net salary then suffers from loan deductions of up to N15,000 leaving the salary at around N35,000. The landlord then demands his N15,000 and monthly shopping takes away N10,000 leaving one with a N10,000. The bus will demand for N300 going to and from work and relatives get another N2,500. The whole salary is gone and borrowed money starts operating. The borrowed money includes short loans and salary advances.

The difference between poverty and prosperity is property. A prosperous person has property to his name while a poverty-stricken person has no property to show. Using this understanding, therefore, most of the degree holders are poverty-stricken, borrowing money to buy chicken and chips, pizza, and a car.

The biggest excuse for getting paid such low amounts of money and having to sit and work for another person for 30 days is THE DEGREE that one possesses and that’s all. This has made most of the degree holders very poor to poverty-stricken and will die that way most likely.

A degree holder does not know how to generate money unless that money is generated for the employer. A degree holder is so dependent on the salary that he can do anything to get a job but will not think of starting a business of his own to employ others.

Interesting Facts!

1. A degree holder is not prepared to sell chips but is very happy to work for hungry lion (companies).

2. A degree holder is not prepared to sell popcorn in the street but is very happy to work for Dangote outlet in the city and mum river-sides.

3. A degree holder is not prepared to sell second-hand clothes but is very happy to be employed by Zenith Bank which the business of selling stocks and looking for customers in a scorching Sun.

4. A degree holder is not prepared to make N150,000 monthly doing his own business but is very happy to work at the till in a bank getting paid N25,000.

5. A degree holder is not prepared to start a company and grow it in two to three years but will spend three years searching for a job.

6. A degree holder is not prepared to sell food to students but will be happy to be reporting to a boss with no qualifications as Office Assistant as long as he is paid N30,000 for a salary.

7. A degree holder is so eager to get out of this country and work in another country than spend the time to develop his own country.

8. A degree holder staying in a foreign land (Nigerian) is very keen to condemn Nigeria but never contributing to the development of this country.

9. A Nigerian degree holder would rather sweep the streets of London or USA than start a business to make money in her fatherland – others work in people’s homes doing some work (cleaners).

10. A degree holder in Nigeria will watch porn on his laptop but never sit to write a book using the same laptop to sell and make money.

11. A degree holder will blame the government for lack of jobs even after he was on government bursary for him to have his degree.

12. Nigeria is blessed with young people who have master’s degree and others are doctors in different technical fields such as IT and Engineering but all of them have failed to create a cartoon character or develop a movie from the same instead very happy to buy Tom and Jerry for their children thereby promoting American and UK.

A school I visit, there is a man that is of a very humble background. He does not speak English but sells Coke, Fanta and Sprite at N80 each making a profit of N10 on each drink. He also sells chips at N50 making a profit of N17 on each portion. Not less than 80 students buy chips and a drink every single day. This means he makes a profit of N27 for a drink and chips and a total profit of N2,160 per day…every single day. In ten days he makes a profit of N21,600 in twenty days N43,200 and in thirty days N64,800.

The degree holder working in a bank at the till gets a salary of N45,000 every month.

Why are the degree holders poor?

Because they have decided to pride themselves in a degree and failed to think better than a man who does not have even a certificate to his name.

Degree holders spend their time liking articles on LinkedIn and Facebook but never have any care in the world to implement what they like. Poverty starts from the mind, a mind that just likes things but never to implement those things.

If you want to progress, keep that degree and start thinking better than someone without a degree. There’s no white collar Job anywhere bro!

Be prepared to get your hands dirty and work like an ox for your business. Your hard work will pay off.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Letter from a Concerned friend!

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OBYLA FOTOKLAZIC: the WHY and the HOW

If you have read my last story on how I had to turn down my international admission into University of Nebraska, Lincoln, you will have known that the second most valuable lesson I learned from that experience was that “I am responsible for my own success“. In this post, I am going to show you how I began to take responsibility for my life immediately after I faced that setback.

When it dawned on me that going abroad was not going to work as at that time, I had no choice but to pick myself up, get dusted and re-strategize because no matter what happens life must continue. Already, I had missed my aptitude test, so I had to stay at home for the whole of the 2012/2013 Academic session. This, of course, was still part of my earlier plan to have at least a year break after high school before forwarding my studies.

During the one year I was to stay at home, I wanted to use it to rediscover and rebuild myself after all the stress of high school external exams. Neither was I going to stay idle because there is no such word in my dictionary.

I still had an eye for Architecture so I had to do everything to at least have an idea of what awaits me. From my study of the Course, I found out that besides thinking and planning spaces, Architects have a thing for visuals and graphics. I learnt that Photography could help me appreciate Aesthetics as well as capture memories of building which can serve as inspiration later on in my work. Immediately, I just knew what I had to do – learn and master Photography.


For the first time in my life, I had to become an apprentice. To some people, that might sound like a strange thing for an introverted “bookworm” to do. But having trained myself to be resilient and adaptable (an important and necessary attribute of an Entrepreneur), I did not have a hard time making the decision to do what it takes to acquire the Photography skill.

Finding a tutor was not a hard job either. Who else was better qualified than one Mr. Iboro Archibong? I had always admired his entrepreneurial spirit from a distance. I later found out that he was not only the best and most respected Photographer in Ikot Ekpene, he had gained some amount of authority and influence in the state as well. That alone made my apprenticeship a great wealth of valueless experience outside Photography itself. He is a very disciplined, focused and courageous person with a great sense of humor – which really appealed to me.

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Elliott Erwitt


After payment of the tuition fees, I got started precisely around December 2012 for a 3-month apprenticeship contract. I got started immediately. Every morning, after dropping my mom off at school, I would shuttle to his house so we could go out for field jobs. I tried my best to be obedient and loyal in serving my boss. Sometimes, I would help to fetch water for the family using wheelbarrow while waiting for our outing time. Whenever I erred and he was irate, I would tender my unreserved apologies even when I was right. These apprentice experiences did a lot to shape my character. I had a sweet taste of what apprentices sent to “learn a trade” (maybe because they couldn’t catch up academically) went through. And believe me, though it was sometimes painful, I truly enjoyed it.

During the period of tutelage, I learned a lot about photography from this genius. He was/is so good that he will dominate the market in every occasion he went to. Whenever we arrived at a function, I could diagnose with my 6th sense what I call “the fear of Iby” in other Photographers and it made me feel proud and optimistic about our success. They knew that his hustling spirit, resilience, and determination was way beyond their comprehension. The quality of his pictures was simply incomparable even with the Nikon D40 Camera. When I asked him about the bigger, higher grades of cameras that the others were using, he would tell me, “Obot, look… This job is not really about the model of camera. A great tool in the hands of a bad operator equals poor results. With this camera, I can make 2x the amount of money they make.” I was a living witness to that.

“Obot you have to be serious with this business. You see, this camera you are handling can take you to anywhere in the world. With this camera, you can have access to the Government house and stand face to face with the Governor. You can COMMAND him to stand or sit well so as to give him a great shot and he will quickly obey. That is how powerful the Camera can make you.”

 —- Mr. Iby (my boss)




It might interest you to know that he never allowed me to touch the camera for the first few weeks. I only learned how to operate the SELPHY® portable printer, print pictures and sell them to the people. It was here that I mastered “the art of selling” – outside the walls of a classroom. It was later on that I started to take shots with the camera and before long, my mom was able to acquire one for me. At the end of each day’s job, I would make account of all of the income to him and he’ll sometimes give me some pocket money.

The young photographer in action.

With my motorcycle and camera bag, I was ready to conquer the world, create and preserve memories, make people smile and make my wallet fat.

In addition, I got to shed off a whole lot of the bad side of being a chronic introvert as I was forced by the nature of my job to meet and relate with complete strangers. It was here that lost my shyness and gained the courage to initiate and close business deals with anyone. As I watched and followed my boss, I grew my social life to great heights. Photography has endeared me to a whole lot of people. Time will fail me to narrate every one of my apprenticeship experience, but I believe you now have an idea of what the life of an entrepreneur looks like. At around April, I had to end our contract because my admission at University of Uyo was calling. Before sending me off, my boss gave me some words of advice and prayed for me.

My first Business card

As I mentioned earlier, the major reason for going into Photography was to get myself prepared for a successful career in Architecture. However, before I completed my tutelage, my goal was expanded. I was bitten by the “Entrepreneurship Bug”. What else did you expect after being taught by such a capitalistic boss? I realized that with my newly acquired skill, I could make a fortune in school. I was already dreaming of the extra pocket money I will be able to make with my camera and it made a lot of sense to me. Even before gaining my freedom, I began going out for independent job offers and believe me, a new me was born. I officially became an adult at age 17. For the first time in my life, I was able to experience the pains and joys of “making money”.



From that moment, I began to see and appreciate the commercial side of Photography. I got a name for my business: OBYLA FOTOKLAZIC with the motto, “Preserving Precious Memories”. I got a friend to design a business card for me and BOOM, I became a professional Photographer.

To cut a long story short, I want to say that acquiring the skill of photography has really helped me here in school. There used to be times when money was not forthcoming from home and I would be broke to the core. Instead of borrowing or begging, I will simply pick up my Photography kits and burst into wherever an occasion was going on and the rest is history.



Interestingly enough, while so many students were losing money on our Matriculation day, I was able to make close to N15,000. It sounds kind of awkward to be hustling on my Matric day, right? But as the Entrepreneur I had grown to become, I didn’t mind what people would say. I put my camera to work and it was worth it. As time went on, people began to know me both in and outside me department and sometimes had to turn down some jobs so that I could concentrate on my studies.

TODAY, as I launch my Photography Brand – OBYLA PHOTOKLAZIC – Preserving Precious Memories, I give all glory and honor to God for having helped me thus far to build my Entrepreneurial skills through Photography. I also want to acknowledge and appreciate my boss who made this possible and my sweet mummy who sponsored me.

A new chapter has just begun in my Photography Business and I can only say, “the best is yet to come.”

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YOU CAN’T DO THAT!

“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Albert Einstein. Have you ever heard those words above - YOU CAN'T DO THAT? If you've ever set out to…

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