It’s been a while since I last wrote in the Teen Talk category of Ọlaedo – the meat and bones of this blog. So here’s something I’ve put together for today:
In today’s post, I stress the importance of asking ourselves, as tweens, teens and even adults, the hard questions.
I believe that everyone frequently comes to that point in their life when they ask themselves: What am I even doing? What am I living for? What gets me up from bed every morning? How am I living my life every day in respect to what I hope to achieve in life?
… and a score of other related questions. Towards the ending of last year, I resolved to make a new list of my priorities from time to time, so as to keep them up-to-date with the changes in my life.
But let me not give away the gist of this post just yet.
It’s important to ask ourselves the hard questions, but it’s even more important to answer them honestly and transparently. I may not be able to think up all the questions we need to ask ourselves, because people and their lives are different. But here are some questions we should ask ourselves from time-to-time:
What do I want to achieve in life?
It’s the same as asking: What do I want out of my life? Everyone has a sum-total dream or goal for their life.
Correction: Everyone should have a laid down purpose for their life.
But it’s sad that many people don’t. Maybe they once did, but now they really don’t know anymore. Maybe they’re just going with the flow of things and seeing where they’ll find themselves.
You might have pledged to become something professionally, or maybe have pledged to do something for society, or have pledged to achieve something you know will make an impact in your generation, no matter the size. But that might have been some time ago.
As we grow, change and get into new environments, we experience challenges in our mentalities, and many times, these challenges prevail and change our mentalities. When such a thing happens, we are to sit down and reason out whether or not the change is positive or negative
As a person, there should be that ultimate dream you wish to achieve. It is important to identify what that is early enough, so that your younger (teen) years can be used to lay the foundation for the work that will begin in the prime of your youth.
But who’s limiting? You can be or do whatever you want to, whenever you want to. In our age and time, there are few limits to success.
The takeaway from this is: Sit down and think of what you want to do with your life. You might have done this before, but if you feel like you have undergone some changes in your mentality and that path doesn’t suit you anymore, it’s okay to make a change.
Just make sure you are happy with your life’s goal.
What actions am I taking every day in order to achieve my life’s goal?
It’s not enough to map out your life’s goal; you should also break that goal down into mini-goals that you achieve every day in respect to the big one.
I know I sound like a motivational book. But that’s the truth.
Take for example: I want to be a software engineer. I realised that I don’t have to wait till I’m in university till I start learning the concepts of programming and how to write code. So, I took up learning to code with lecture videos on different programming languages. I may not be getting the same experience as a person going for physical coding classes, but my endeavour is of benefit to me; I find that, during Computer Science classes in school, I have already learnt many of the things I’m being taught, through my coding tutorial videos.
It’s a step – maybe a small one – to achieving my life’s goal.
Whether professionally or humanitarianly, whatever you want to achieve in life should begin TODAY, no matter how small.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with [today’s] step.
What are my values and principles?
I learned what values are from a book tittled The Power of Self-Confidence by Brian Tracy. From what he explained, I can say that values are pillars which hold all your actions; they are those traits or aspects of your life that you cannot compromise for anything, no matter what.
And of course, if you have values, you have to have them in order of importance.
I’ll explain the next heading.👇🏿
‘Principles’ is kind of like my synonym for values. Principles are like your personal Ten Commandments, or a personal constitution. You do not break the rules of your principles no matter what.
So values are like aspects of your life that you arrange in order of importance and make decisions in respect to how important one aspect is to you over the other. While principles are the rules you’ve laid down for yourself to guide your life.
Values and principles are important because they guide our lives. There is a sense of pride that comes about whenever we act according to them, and this continuous sense of pride should exist in order to keep us believing in ourselves and taking us through every day.
Do I prioritize?
Like I said I would, I’ll explain ‘prioritizing’ here. Prioritizing comes about when you’re making your values list, or when you’re just making a list of your priorities.
I didn’t state this earlier, but, taking an example from my values list, your values list can be something like this:
Continuous best standard education
Going by this list of values, it means that in a time when I’m to choose between my friends and, maybe, continuing my education abroad, I would have to choose my education. It means that if I had to choose between doing something of my will I ‘think’ will make me happy and something of God’s will I ‘believe’ will make me happy, I’ll have to pick what God wants first. Why? Because God never gives us more than we can handle; He teaches us, sometimes, with adversity.
So, back to the point. You just need to get some (I’ll call them) traits that summarize aspects of your life and order them according to importance. These will help you whenever you need to make tough decisions. I never forget my values, and they haven’t changed since I defined them in 2019.
Of course, yours can change if necessary, but make sure that the change is for good, that it will make you a better person as you live by them.
And when you come to priorities, they are the sentence form of values. An excerpt from my latest priorities list is:
Being a better person (personal growth)
My values and self-confidence (personal life)
Usually, your priorities should be a reflection of your values, because your values are – should be – the backbone, the foundation of all your actions.
Prioritization is important at frequent intervals because we, as well as the pattern of our lives, are constantly undergoing change. I advise to make a list of your priorities at least at the beginning of every month. It will help you to take on the month with a sense of control and purposefulness. And if it seems your priorities are still the same, it’s okay to leave them as they are. The most important thing is keeping to them.
And – talking honestly – I may not have perfected the fine art of prioritizing, or even always sticking to my priorities, but I really do try; I try because I believe prioritizing is a good cause to chase after.
Who are my friends?
Who-are-your-friends? What kind of people do you associate with? What do you look for when choosing close friends? Can you tell the difference between fake friends and true friends?
These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself now.
From my JSS3 (that should be, like, eighth grade in the American school system, I guess), I told myself that my classmates, the people my age I relate most frequently with, were of little benefit to me, because they cared about the wrong things. As a result, I shut myself out of conversations with those of them I knew were of little benefit, and only talked to a few people about non-academics-related things. I did have a classmate who was a close friend, though, but he was only good for talking about career-related, academics or school-related things, and he was also a boy. I could never really talk to him about, y’know… personal stuff.
But it was ironic, though, that my best friend later on was a boy. I made him my best friend still in JSS3. I was drawn to him majorly because of his coding knowledge. I still say this with pride that: he dared me to take up here-and-now coding; meaning, he made me see that I didn’t have to be in university before I could begin writing code. So, our friendship sprang up from the mutual ground of the quest for coding knowledge… and has continued till today – although not as strong as it was back then. 😥
So the point of this whole narration was that you should be brave enough to decide what kind of people will actually benefit you if they come into your life. I’m not saying you should shut every other type of person out – that was a mistake I made back then that I have corrected. All I’m saying is to choose those friends that you will keep close and those that will be far, in order to avoid corruption and/or diversion.
What kind of relationships am I getting into?
I suppose you must have guesstimated (can’t believe this is a word 🤯) what will be contained in this heading.
Yes, at that point in our lives when we will, we will begin to feel for someone, and a relationship might start to bud. Decide early if you’re ready to have a serious relationship, so you don’t go playing with someone’s heart 💔 and wasting their time.
I highly recommend you check out my post, Don’t Settle for Less. After reading it, I know you’ll be convinced of the importance of setting standards for the kind of relationship you wish to have.
Look before you leap. Nowadays, people with true intentions are becoming harder and harder to find. Look well before you pour out your heart and life and time and opportunities at the expense of a person.
As always, I recommend prioritization, and discovering first who you are and what YOU want out of YOUR life, before you begin to lean on someone else.
Am I academics-inclined, skill-inclined or talent-inclined?
Yes. A very important heading to discuss. The failure of most people stems from the fact that they do not know their inclination.
By default, parents want their children to be academics-inclined, and that is why they send us to school. But as the years go by, our true inclinations surface, and it is only the discerning, brave people who realise them and make a shift.
The academics-inclined person dreams of becoming some professional, like a doctor, lawyer, geologist, software engineer, 👧🏿✌🏿 or any profession that involves study and training in order to actualize.
The skill-inclined person does not really focus on academics or study or stuff like that. He only learns the skills he needs for his profession. Such a person could go on to become a baker, a furniture maker, a hair-dresser, a fashion designer, a crafts-maker, a salesman, or even an electronics expert of some sort. All skill–inclined people need is to learn the skills they require or are interested in, and they’re happy doing what interests them.
The work of the talent–inclined person originates from within. Before any advanced formal education, such a person already begins to show special prowess or expertise in doing something. And out of their love for something that feels natural and easy for them, they go on to pursue that career or line of study. Talent-inclined people often go on to become dancers, writers, 👧🏿✌🏿 artists, hair-dressers, bakers, crafts-makers, comedians, musicians, actors, makeup artists (who are also artists) and many more. The main thing here is that their career choices stem out from their natural, default likings and expert abilities.
BuuUUUUt. Before you begin to claim that you are skill-inclined and not academics-inclined, or whatever, carefully examine yourself and tell yourself the truth. I believe that the academics-inclination is the hardest to pursue, but we should not run away from something and begin to make excuses against it just because it seems hard.
The joy is always in the chase… the struggles of the chase, that is.
Do I believe in God and/or religion?
Notwithstanding the stereotypes that exist in our society (when speaking from a Nigerian’s perspective), we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in God and/or religion.
I hear many people say nowadays that they are ‘agnostic’, some others say they believe God exists, but they don’t believe in religion, others say they don’t see the need in going to church, others challenge the doctrines of whatever church or religious institution they wish, and some others, like me, stick to their religion and live by it the best they can because it gives them satisfaction.
The truth of the matter is that humans were created for supplication. A person must always feel the need to acknowledge a supreme or controlling force for certain things happening in his life. It just puts us in perspective.
Nowadays, there is more freedom for things like these, people now define their religiosity. That’s fine. Even God gave us the freedom to choose. Ask yourself whether or not you believe in God or religion and give reasons why, so that you can convince yourself, and anyone who asks you, on the reasons for your decision.
What do I see as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?
I was discussing with my best friend two Sundays ago, and he told me that the best way to live my life is to: do what I know is right and don’t do what I know is wrong.
I still marvel at how wise that boy’s words always seem to sound to me.
Define what you believe is ‘wrong’ and ‘right’, and live accordingly. Always remember to be honest, and to try your best.
Who are the important people in my life, and how am I reciprocating their impact on me?
The heading is self-explanatory. There must be people who impact positively in your life, in whatever aspect. Make sure that their love, care and support is not one-sided. Anyone who cares for and supports you should be important in your life. Always make them see that their care and support are being acknowledged, and try your best to show them the same in return.
Remember that no man is an island. We’re all in this together. You can’t do it alone, so don’t push away the people who love, care and support you by being so self-centered. Pay attention to everyone.
Love’s repaid by love alone.
And after a ton of finger movements over my keyboard, and a million typing errors, I reserve the right to say that this post is done. I know it’s long (if you were so polite to read it all till the end), but I also know it’s not boring. (Yup. I said it.)
So be brave enough to ask and keep asking yourself these questions, and answer them truthfully. You’ll be amazed at how much more organized your life will be, how much clearer your vision will be, and how much more fulfilled you’ll feel as you take on every day.
Yup. Still sounding like a motivational book.
P.S. I guess you’ve noticed my featured image.