Friday, October 7, 2022


I used to take the words of motivational speakers with a pinch of salt, for the simple reason that, in my opinion, some of them push people to breaking point. For example, a motivational speaker could tell you how, with just a single feather, he built a poultry that multiplied into over a thousand birds in a week or that, with ruptured tyres and no fuel, he drove from Lagos to Abuja in less than 9 hours!
It’s not as if I am saying we can’t use a motivational talk every now and then, no, the point is, when motivating people, we need to be realistic. Or how would one explain a situation where a motivational speaker wrote a book titled “How To Be A Millionaire In Two Weeks” and yet could not afford money to print the work?
This is the reason why, when my friend and sister Blessing Otagbo told me about the launching of her motivational book and her desire to have me review it, I reluctantly accepted to and even when I started reading, I did so with some level of disinterest.
However, the first few chapters blew me away. Digesting this debut book, and realizing how moving her personal story is, I began ruminating on the remarkable journey of this thing we call “book”, through the ages, since the invention of the printing press, and how powerful a tool it can be in changing someone’s mindset.
There was a time on this planet when there was no single copy of a book as we know it today, anywhere. That was prior to the evolution of the printing press, made famous by the Gutenberg Bible. All that existed before then were cuneiform writing, clay tablets, papyrus and so on.
Then came a time when only a very few people had access to and owned books; kings, scholars, religious people, the wealthy and the likes, and in fact, that was the time when in the entire world, all that existed were just a very few copies of books. To consult a library or access knowledge then, one had to travel, sometimes, for days.
But today, at just a few clicks, right where you are, there and then, at your fingertips, you could have access, relatively speaking, to all the libraries and some of the best book available in the world.
No wonder the late Dr. Carl Sagan, the American astronaut wrote about how one glance at a good book, one could readily be in the mind of another person, maybe someone dead for thousands of years ago, someone one may never meet, yet across the millennia, across cultures, the author could still speak, clearly and silently, inside one’s head, directly to one and one alone at that moment.
Writing, Sagan insisted, is the greatest of human invention because it binds peoples together, people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. True, there is a lot more to books and its power to restore or destroy, to make or mar, to save or set ablaze.
This is exactly what Blessing Otagbo has proven with her remarkable work. And with this, she has left a message in a bottle, a message of motivation, of consistence, of sheer perseverance, of faith in God and of her secret to success, not only for today’s generation, but for many more unborn. She has shown that for those who are going through all manner of challenges, especially in today’s Nigeria, they are not alone because someone has walked that path before them and they can come out of it.
Going through this eleven chapters’ book, I could not but agree with my uncle and friend Christopher Akinlade who, in his own review, pointed out the fact that three major points can be drawn from Blessing’s book namely; her very challenging childhood memoirs, her business growth advise to youths and her general advice to the reader, on the perfect outlook to life.
In her introduction she talked about her daunting childhood and the sheer determination to get an education despite the discouragements which sometimes included severe beating, from her aunt’s kids, those who should ordinarily be her protectors, explaining how she came by the name Blessing, which was something that came to her at an instant, by accident, without which she may have missed her chance at education since the teacher who was to enroll her into primary school could not pronounce her native name and she could not spell it either.
She also explained how the refusal of her aunty to pay her school fees pushed her into a life of economic independence and entrepreneurial life at a very young age of 9, when she would go into the bushes in those days, pick ripped pawpaw fruits, wash and hawk them by the road side. From Aponmu in Ondo State to Ososo in Edo State, to Lagos, from her aunties even to her own parents, the story was the same; “do not go to school because we can’t afford it”. But sheer perseverance and determination will not allow her take this advice and the same would ultimately see her through.
She based chapter 1 on Nigeria’s business mogul Aliko Dangote’s life philosophy, something that no doubt propelled the man into the colossus that he is in business today. She insists that to succeed, especially in business, one must imbibe the philosophy that; “Enjoyment and money making…don’t work together. You must choose one. And follow that one aggressively. You must reach a point before you start that enjoyment.”
She explains how a conscious decision can propel one to great success, insisting that one may not be blamed for the circumstances of one’s birth, whether one was born rich or poor, but one can certainly be blamed for how one end.
If you want to be successful, suspend sensual gratification and work very hard at it, understand also that failure is very possible, you can fail as many times as possible but never give in to self-defeat. Rise up as many times as you fall.
Life is a matter of choices she writes. Some choices we regret, others we’re proud of, some will haunt us forever, other we will relish forever, and even though every choice we make, makes us, one must never let anything take one’s happiness away, this, she insists is true perfection.
Writing about making the right decisions and understanding that life is like a canvas and we are all Picassos, she says what matters in creating the perfect picture is choosing the right and matching colours.
She spoke about apprenticeship and the need to seek experience especially in the face of Nigeria’s 6-3-3-4 educational system, a system she believes trains without adequately preparing one for challenges beyond book knowledge.
About depression she explains that the condition is perfectly treatable, and as a matter of fact it is “a dark night of the soul” following which there would come a “time of rebirth”. She however advised that avoiding societal gratification is the surest way to escape chances of depression. She mentioned a few of Nigeria’s biggest celebrities who suffered depression at one time but got better, insisting that the condition is not invincible.
She also touches on the age long mantra; “readers are leaders” explaining that when we read books, we connect personally with the lessons therein and feel them make an impact in our lives, and that she calls growth.
She emphasizes destructive effect of social media and how to avoid falling victim, and then went on to write about dreaming big dreams. She insisted that having a dream and working to actualize it… never giving up and making a living out of it should be the focus of the one who wants to “Become A Boss Faster Than You Think”.
Then in drawing the work to a close, she warns that it would be difficult to become a boss if one kept wrong company. She believes inferiority complex, lack of proper initiative, habitual timidity, covetousness, etc., are all fertile grounds upon which the longings for the wrong associations are deeply rooted, something one much guard against.
Finally, she urged the reader to be desperate for the right things, concluding the book with a prayer to God in the following words;
‘Dear Lord, fill my empty with your plenty; remind me constantly that when I abide in you there is always an overflow
This work is most definitely a must read for anyone who wants to reach the top in whatever field of choosing.
Albert Afeso AKANBI
Writer & Film-maker


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