2016 was a good year. I do not know if it was better than the year 2015, but it was a good year. It was a good year because of lessons learned. I made a couple of important realizations this year, that should make 2017 a better year for me. And the experiences I went through, will go on to produce results in the future, if I play my cards right.
The things I’m about to share with you were things I kind of already knew, but I was not always aware of. Nevertheless, the year 2016 reminded about these things. And as a result, I will remain aware of these things hereon out, as compared to before.
As you read, pay attention to my stories and see what lessons you can pick for yourself. So without wasting much time, here are the 6 things that I realized in the year 2016.
1. Some people actually feel intimidated by me
I had a falling out with a relative that made me ask myself an important question. The event made me reflect, and after much sober reflections, I had to ask:
Do I act like I am so intelligent, that I think everyone else is a fool?
I asked friends and some family members, and I got a mixture of answers. The majority of people said that though I may be intelligent, they really did not see me placing others as “beneath” me. I normally do not have friends who will say whatever they think I want to hear. So I am pretty confident about their responses.
After collecting the answers, two people actually thought that this was true about me. So I had to think hard about myself, and how I presented myself to people. I also thought back to a similar experience I had in the past. It resulted in several major (and emotional) conflicts between myself and a good old friend of mine.
And then I came to one realization! Some people actually feel intimidated by me! Whaat!?
But it actually had less to do with me, and more to do with what went on inside their heads. It was usually because they had a complex about themselves; an inferiority complex. Those others who did not think less of themselves, did not seem to think that I saw other “unintelligent beings” as “fools”. The reasons they thought that way about me, was because of how they saw themselves and how they taught about themselves.
It was a relief to know that it was more about them, than it was about me. But it also feels cool in a way, to realize that some people really do feel intimidated by me. It means that I have got some things right about life. No?
- You really cannot control how people think about you
- What people think about you says more about them, than it does about you (although you have a role to play too)
- What people think about you is none of your business, and please do not make it your problem
2. When that’s all we can see, we tend to major on the minors
There are times when people tend to major or focus on minor issues, rather than the major issues that require attention. I used to think that it was a problem of misplaced priorities. Well, in a way, it is. When you do not get your priorities right, you can focus on minor issues, rather than major issues. I call it majoring on the minors.
It is like say, a car that has engine problems but then you focus on a scratch on the brake pedals. How trivial is that? And this was how I always described the problem with the Nigerian government over the past few tenures. But what do I know about running a country? Nothing!
Nevertheless, I too have found myself majoring on minor issues, over major issues. Thankfully, I was mindful enough to catch myself doing this. And so I had to ask “why?”. Why was I so focused on the irrelevancies, instead of the crucial stuff? What I realized was that the minor issue was about all that I could see at that moment.
Realizing this, I opened my mind’s eye to the bigger picture, and I could see much more.
So the next time someone tends to major on the minors, do them a favor by expanding their perspective on the subject matter. But I cannot guarantee that this will work.
Once there was a family with an issue with their spoiled child. The child was spoiled, and they were completely blind to the this fact. All they could see was that the child drank and smoked, and that this was “bad habit”. I know of responsible people who have do drink and smoke regularly. And so as bad as drinking and smoking may be, these were really minor issues when compared to the real problem at hand.
What I could see was a child brought up without discipline (parenting by default). What they could see was a child influenced by peer pressure into drinking and smoking. Or at least, their complaints pointed in that direction.
So sometimes, when that’s all we can see, we tend to major on the minors. I too am guilty of this and the solution I propose, is broadened perspective. If you cannot see any other solution to a problem, then perhaps it is time to change your perspective.
3. Saying “No!” does not make you a bad person
As much as you want to help others and be nice, there are things that you really do not have to do. And choosing not to do them, does not in any way make you a bad person. This was a hard pill for me to swallow because I can sometimes live for others.
Someone once described me a “suicidal” because of this character. He said I could give my life for people. Figuratively, that may be true. There have been countless times when I would put myself under, for someone else. And the funny part was that it felt good!
But it was not always a good feeling, knowing that I could be happier by just saying “No!”. I really did not have to say yes, but it would not be nice to say no. Or at least, that was what I thought. But then, those who I say yes to, tend to say no to me when I am the one asking. Ironically, I did not think it was “not nice” of them to say no, even when I often say yes.
With the tables turned, that also applies to me. If saying no to me does not make them bad, then saying no to them also does not make me bad. We all have choices, and we are not obligated to say yes all the time. Unless of course, it is an obligation or responsibility that you have to bear. Then you have to say yes when you really mean no.
Nevertheless, you can be nice and still say no. And that does not make you a bad person.
4. Not everyone you consider a friend, considers you a friend too
This is something that I have known for quite a while now. However, it was not a part of my active knowledge. I do not know if that term is correct. But what I mean is that, I was not always aware of this truth.
As “somehow” this may sound, it is actually true, and I started to realize this in the last decade or so. There are people who you consider as “a friend”, but they do not consider you in the same way. What I was reminded this year was that “friendship” means different things to different people. Pretty much like “love”, everyone has their own definitions.
My first real life experience of this was when I had a crush on a Tanzanian woman back in the year 2013. I told her how I felt about her and her reply was… I am sorry, I do not feel the same way about you. But we can still be friends. She friend-zoned me!
Related (VIDEO): One Truth About The Friend-zone
Yes, she put me in the friend-zone, but that was not the end of our relationship. What I discovered later was that we both had different meanings to the word “friends” when she said we can still be friends.
I take my friendships seriously, and I take time to build deep and meaningful relationships with those I consider as friends. That to me meant keeping in touch regularly, and visiting each other from time to time.
I really do not know what it meant to be friends with her, but it certainly did not include regular contact or visits. We spoke once in a while, or whenever she needed something from me. She would visit occasionally, but with my neighbors who were her friends. Perhaps I expected too much after being placed in the friend-zone.
Now when I read an article that explained the friendship meant different things to different people, it became clear to me. You too must have realized this. If you are asked to count your “friends”, and you asked those who you counted to also count their friends… not all of them will count you as a friend.
It might be a harsh, but it is the unfortunate truth called reality.
5. I was the problem with my businesses
It seemed that one of my businesses (DeQeo Consulting) was having problems. But after talking with a few people about it, I came to realized something. I was the problem with my businesses, and nothing else! If I fixed me, everything else with the business will start to fall into place.
Why was this? Because I and the business were one and the same. I mean, until now, even though I intend to make the business work without me, it has not been separate from myself. I understand the concept of building a company to be a separate entity from one’s own self. That way, if the company has issues, they do not rub off on you. And the reverse should also be the case.
However, I have not been focused enough to grow the company (yes, it is actually a company) beyond just myself. What is the result? If I have problems, the company will also have problems. And since I am still trying to get my footing again since I left the 9 to 5 world, things have been rough for me. This in turn, has been affecting my businesses.
After realizing this, my priority became to either fix myself enough to run the company like I once did before. Or somehow grow the company to the point where it does not depend on me completely. Even so, I have not been able to accomplish this because I lack focus.
So if your business relies solely on you, you just might be the problem with your business. Like I realized… when you fix yourself, you fix your business. And one advice: Once you eventually do, setup a company that can function with or without you!
6. Cliques are bad for networking at social events
I read an article that talked about ways to be a networking superstar at social and other events. When it comes to building your network, especially at events, you would want to maximize your chances. And this article said that having friends around you all the time, limits your chances of networking with new friends, partners and other prospects. This is something that I can confirm from an event I attended back in the year 2013.
I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar on Branding that the Eski Şehir University organizes every year. It is called “Brand Marker”, and I attended the 2013 event which ran for five days at Istanbul.
On my way back, I happened to miss my flight from Istanbul back to Northern Cyprus. So I had to spend the night at the airport, waiting for the next available flight the next morning.
While waiting at the airport, one of the ladies from the event came to keep me company for a couple of minutes before catching her flight back to Azerbaijan. Imagine that we spent 5 days together at the same event, but never got acquainted! Why?
Well, she explained that she had always wanted to approach me but I was always with my clique! And guess what? She was the second person from the same event, that told me the same thing! Whaat!?
Right from the first day, I and my friends from Cyprus (the ladies in the picture above) moved together. Although we lodged at different rooms, we always moved together and sat together. By day two, we became six in number (including the other guy in the picture)! And I think that as we grew numbers, it became more difficult for others to approach any of us individually.
The article was damn right! Hanging with my friends (or clique) through the five days of the event, limited my chances of making new friends. At the end of the event, I had made friends with a few guys (my room mates), and two other ladies. Perhaps if I were alone most of the time, I would have met with more people. Perhaps.
Now the lesson will stick with me for a long time. Having friends around you all the time can limit your chances of networking with new friends, partners and other prospects, while at a conference, seminar or other networking events. It was an article I read in 2016, but I already had the experience to learn from in 2013.
So there you have it. They may not be profound lessons, but these are the things I learned in 2016 that I can share with you. Take them and apply to your life wisely.
Can you relate with any of these stories? If so, I would like to know what you think.
Please share in the comments below. Thanks.