“How Stupidity Saved My Life” by Okechukwu Ofili

One of the questions I get asked all the time is “How did Stupidity Save Your Life?” Finally I get to share the answer with

Nigeria…it all started in JSS2…

I moved my eyes to the class ranking tab. “Twenty seventh out of thirty!” At this point I flipped the card to make sure that I was not reading someone else’s report. But the name was all too familiar; even my commonly misspelled middle name was correct.

Once again I felt as if the world was crumbling down on top of me. The last person I wanted to see was my mum. If there was anyone who was adept at wielding a piece of stick to inflict physical and mental pain on a child, it was my mum. I had many memories of her stick as I was growing up, memories that left my heart in my mouth. Most salient was my 1989 encounter on the balcony of our two-story duplex….

My name cut through the air like an explosion. When my mum took time out of her day to fully enunciate every letter in my name, it was a sign that something was wrong. Immediately, dogs scampered away quietly, the wind changed direction, and moving cars came to a halt. I ran upstairs towards the sound of my name—from my experience, the faster you got within the vicinity of my mum, the less angry she would be, but only marginally….

”Yes Mum…” was my reply, but before I could finish I was interrupted by the sound of a stick moving through the air at high velocity…smack! Hit after hit. In the middle of it all, I realized that some Good Samaritan had informed her about my unapproved visit to the candy store. She was clearly upset. She asked me why I had disobeyed her…but when I attempted to respond I was told to keep quiet and the intensity of her beatings increased. She repeated the same question, and this time I kept quiet, but unfortunately she informed me I was being rude and told me to respond when being talked to. I realized that I was undergoing a type of psychological warfare that had no end in sight.

So I did what most experienced flogged children would do; I ducked into a corner in order to mitigate the intensity of the thrashing I was receiving. The time-tested duck-into-a-corner move proved effective. In the corner it was difficult for her to swing her four-foot-long cane effectively. The more she swung, the more she hit the wall, and with the unintentional wall contact the stick snapped! Apparently, the cane had either reached its Ultimate Stress, accentuated by the inanimate objects it had inadvertently encountered, or my mum had inflicted so much force with the cane, that when it contacted the wall, its Equivalent Stress from the tensile bending force component had exceeded the safety factor for which the cane was designed….and whether from material fatigue or sudden failure, the cane snapped!

I cracked a sly smile; I had outsmarted my mum. And then it happened. I called it the “DURAPLAST effect.” From the corner of my eye, and with the speed and dexterity only seen in the movies, my mum, in one swift motion and before the cracked cane had even touched the ground, whisked one of her DURAPLAST-made slippers off her foot and proceeded to whack me with it. My mum had outsmarted me. By getting into the corner, I had ensured no escape route for myself, and with a shorter and more flexible weapon, my mum was able to inflict maximum pain. I had no way to escape, I was trapped! But then, as suddenly as it had started, it ended. My tear glands had run out of tears and my head was pounding. I looked at my palms and saw the word DURAPLAST engraved in red lettering…it was over and I had survived.

So here I was, six years later, stuck in a scenario that could lead to another severe beating from my mum. Clutching my terrible report card, the question echoed through my head: Would I survive another beating from my mum? At this point, my heart was pulsating uncontrollably. What was a typical two-hour journey from Ogun State to Lagos State now seemed like an eternity. I was petrified. What was my Mum going to do when she saw my abysmal results? In sharp contrast, my older brother happened to perennially rank at the top of his class—and even when he slipped to second, my mum would throw a tantrum. Existing under the academic shadow of my brother was difficult; I was constantly compared with him by my parents and friends. The wrinkled report card I now held in my hand was a reflection of the sharp discrepancy that existed between us. I was surely in for a death sentence!

I finally arrived home. Whispering a silent prayer of protection to God, I proceeded to the kitchen where my Mum was cutting vegetables with a sharp knife. I nervously handed over my results, expecting nothing short of a beating topped off with a vegetable knife stabbing! But instead there was silence; she said and did nothing. Not even an “I am disappointed in you” speech or a “don’t watch television for a month” punishment. Nothing!

The silence was so powerful that it tore down my veil of stupidity and I actually felt angry. Why wasn’t she upset? I had just gone from an average to a below-average student, yet she did not react. And that angered me! Deep inside I felt a loss of pride: How did I get here and how could I get beyond this point? As I sat on my bed later that night, I continued to reflect on what had just happened. For years I had looked at myself as an average student; I wondered what would happen if I somehow believed I was brilliant…would it make a difference?

Motivated by dogmatic determination stemming from that moment in the kitchen I changed my attitude towards school. I began sitting in the front of the class, a place usually reserved for the nerds. I soon realized that the teachers said a lot more things in the front. All of a sudden things became clearer, Mathematics became easier and even English essays felt better than the DURAPLAST effect. I seemed to be motivated by an invisible force urging me to do things I never thought I could, such as actually asking questions in class. Questions, which I thought were stupid were noted as brilliant by my teachers and my grades gradually improved. A large reason for the improvement was my persistent study habit, even when the lights went out I was still up studying and the one thing that kept me going at night was the silence of the night. An all too familiar silence that triggered an impulse in me to keep going…

After months of dogmatic and determined studying the brown packet moment came again. This time the packet felt lighter and seemingly brighter, I had come out 7th out of a class of 30, but I was not satisfied, 7th wasn’t even good enough for me. I wanted to be at the top, number one. Suffice it to say I never achieved my goal of being number one in any of my classes but I left high-school as the best chemistry student, best technical drawing student and the best mathematics student. Took my school to the finals of a national science competition and set a school record for the most number of A’s in our Cambridge O-level exams. I continued with my ferocious tenacity for excellence at my A-level school, setting the best record ever at that time for an A-level entrance exam, despite falling sick with typhoid fever during the examination period. I ended up gaining admission to the University of Houston where I had 5 straight semesters with a perfect GPA and graduated Summa Cum Laude in Mechanical Engineering. Receiving recognition along the way as the 2004 homecoming king; an award given for Academic Excellence, Outstanding Leadership and exemplary Service to the Community, the highest award in the University at that time. Great accomplishments that were created from the loud and often silent winds of change that carried me away from the islands of mediocrity onto the shores of excellence, gathering along the way words that would define and guide me through out life

“turn your moments of silent disappointments and failures into loud moments of triumph, and don’t ever accept average at work, life or in anything; understanding that nothing in this life comes easy.”~ Okechukwu Ofili

***

Excerpt from the book, “How Stupidity Changed My Life
Ofili is an award winning motivational speaker, author, life coach and entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on twitter , facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!”

“How Stupidity Changed My Life” is Available in Silverbird Book Stores across the nation, Terra Culture, Quintessence, Laterna, The Hub Media Bookstore & online.

****
Calling all Speakers, Authors, Coaches, Consultants and Business Owners. Do you want to learn the right way to BRAND your business and position yourself for success? Do you want to know how to GROW your client base? Do you want to learn how to EXPLODE your speaking career and business? Do you want to learn how to deliver powerful PRESENTATIONS that inspires and engages the audience?
Then register for Ofili’s Extreme Marketing Bootcamp taking place at the FOUR POINTS HOTEL by SHERATON on October 15th. Register TODAY at http://ofilispeaks.com/Get-Extreme
For event questions call 0703 670 5305 or via blackberry Pin: 32A137F8

NOTE: Attendance is limited to the first 30 registrants to ensure that the CLASS number is kept at an optimal level. If you put off reserving your room, you will have to pay *a lot* more money for the same room.

195 Comments on “How Stupidity Saved My Life” by Okechukwu Ofili
  • Kach September 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

    This got me!

  • U-min September 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Interesting story…more grease sir..

  • mie September 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

    all i can say is that he is a cutiee :D

    • Ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 11:57 am

      =) the miracles of Adobe Photoshop

      • kechiwam September 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        seriously, I used to think you were taller, till I saw some pics of you standing with other people at some convention or something.

  • Demmy September 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Very interesting story. :)

  • Lucy September 5, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Wow! This is a true inspirational piece. I’m highly motivated.

  • dewowo September 5, 2011 at 11:58 am

    i had a similar experience too. my mum sometimes beats me for 3 hours non stop. i am better off today. thanks Oke for sharing….

    • Ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      Dang! 3 hours! Your Mum is strong. But sha thanks for reading and thanks for sharing. Those moments make us better citizens and more successful.

  • Aibee September 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    The part about his mother beating him sounds strangely familiar. I was beaten for different reasons. Instead of the Duraplast effect, I had the blows and slaps effect. One thing I’m taking away from this is when others give up on you, do not give up on yourself. I guess his mother had given up on him by the time she got the result and didn’t even say anything. Thank God stupidity saved your life. I’m definitely putting this book on my purchase and read list for September 2011.

    Bella, what’s his twitter handle?

  • Ofili September 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Aibee…my twitter handle is @ofilispeaks thanks for the support

  • Ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Aibee…my twitter handle is @ofilispeaks thanks for the support

  • cooldeter September 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    its quite touching. i leanrt a lot from this as a mother. beating isn’t all dat is needed. very inspirational. i love ur piece. muah

  • Sunnshyn September 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I cn relate 2 this so well.. ∂ only difference Į̸s: Im still struggling, not good @ anything yet. But Im determined and I knw some day its all gon b better. †HªŋKs Oke. Bless U!

  • dewowo September 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    things have changed now, we spank kids now rather than beat them and have them super spoilt.

  • Yuddie September 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    What a great writer you are! I felt present during your beatings and subconsiously my physical body slightly docked in anticipation of the beating you would receive when you handed in your report card… But more deeply moving is your story and your decision to share it with the world! You should be very proud of yourself! Something tells me there’ll be many more chapters to this story… Legendary chapters that will exceed the best dreams you’ve dreamt for yourself! Keep on!

  • samsie September 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Hmmm…too many comments I have.but I will say one between the pointed pink shoes my mum used to beat us andmy fathers silence or one liner “I’m disappointed in you”I think the latter worked more academic magic.and well the former served in later years to keep me out of trouble in university ..all in all..I think you are making the best of very simple lessons and some money too.

  • Pius Anyiador September 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Ofili, you beat me to writting d classic story of my life. I made it up to the 3rd best graduating student in my class (even in the University). I just want to say a big thank you to our Mums. They are great women. Mine (A teacher by profession) is on her from Lagos to Benin right now after taking care of my guys (Two sons) for 6 weeks of their almost 8 weeks holiday. She still discipline kids but with a GrandMa’s touch. I will certainly get the book.

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      lol…you should still write it…it could be How Stupidity part II…thanks for the connection on twitter as well. Already following you and looking forward to your tweets.

  • Tomisin September 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    What a foine brother. Cute cute….

  • Maxine September 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Well, you know I’m an ardent fan of yours.
    I think you’re particularly blessed to have gotten your ‘a-ha’ moment that early in life and I am glad for & admiring of the fact that you’re doing amazing things with your gifts especially by paying them forward.

    Keep up the good work and more of God’s blessings.

    I’lll holla when I publish my book. ;-)

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      lol…thanks for the BB support. And let me know when you drop your book!

  • pamela Evbota September 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I am reading the book presently and I am having a blast. Never put yourself down learn from your mess. After all our life lessons is percular to us as indiviuals and we should learn from them. Thanks for making your mess a message of encouragment to others like me.

  • Alexandra alexander September 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Inspiring piece… I can relate to this but being the only marine chemistry student left in my class, all i can say is that everyone is a genuis but if u judge a fish by its ability to swim, then it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid!

  • torpedo mascaw September 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    this book is soo inspiring that i believe it should be standard literature for our secondary schools and to any individual who has ever dreamed of being better than the circumstances life has thrown you! a typical ‘if life throws u lemons, then make lemonade” kinda book! nice one and bravo to the author.

  • kechiwam September 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    this is the excerpt that made me a fan, stumbled upon it about a year ago and couldn’t stop laughing. when mother’s are ready to thrash, you can’t escape it.
    Always enjoy his blogs and doodling.

  • tolu September 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    hey good write up is your mum Mrs Ofili she was a teacher at Grange primary sch? you hav a brother Azuka? Also how can i contact you if i could get you to speak at my church abt your experiences? i run the enpowerment dept at my church. Pls it would mean alot thanks

  • Idagu September 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Great way to turn a personal story into an interesting discussion. I liked the way you explained your story, right words that depicts pictures and aids comprehension. I look forward to doing same with my personal story soon, to inspire others to greatness. See you at the oct event. Will be there live. @pesng(my twitter account)

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      Sup Idagu! Looking forward to seeing you at the October event. Stay cool and thanks for the support!

  • Beeci September 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    i can totally relate with this… this was how I turned around my lot in mathematics in Secondary…prior to that point in time, I had always failed maths… not the average kind of failure… the F9 kind of failure and everyone had given up on me, then I suddenly decided to give it my best shot and I never had anything less than a distinction till i graduated…I will say, it all starts from the mind and on that note… I’m getting this book!

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      “it all starts with the mind…” I could not have said it any better.

  • naz September 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    this book, this book!! I MUST GET THIS BOOK. just hope it does not take forever to get to me in uk.
    I’m a youth coach, so i’m excited getting new stuff for my niche. All the best bro :)

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      Mention Bella Naija in your UK order and you’ll get free shipping =)

      • naz September 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        awesome!! thanks..

  • cathy September 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    good one. truly inspiring

  • Olori September 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    So I have a baby brother who just came 22nd in a class of 27persons. I’m going to share this story with him cos I love him so much. Thanks a lot for sharing…

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      Your welcome Olori! I trust it will have an impact in some special way.

  • One Naija Girl September 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    This really got me and I can totally relate. My mum and your mum share some great similarities. Great job and may you keep souring higher. GOD BLESS YOU.

  • Lala September 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Hmm. Nice

  • Ola September 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Very nice and interesting. You have thought me how to become a better parent. Thank you for sharing!

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm

      If you want I can send you a pair of duraplast slippers for your KIDS…free of charge! lol…

      • Ola September 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm

        Lol…..that would be nice. It wouldn’t take CPS one week to come knocking on my door!

  • derahills September 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    My mom perfected the art of communicating with her eyes, pierceingly loud and clear. My Dad did all the beating until he realised we were scared of him even when he was just joking. So when my mom says ” Wait till your father gets back for your punishment”, he would come back and tell her to do it herself. Ah! those days and even though i taught they were cruel i know we needed that at the time.

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      We definitely needed the beatings…lol…as long as it is not abusive and the intention is well meaning. “My mom perfected the art of communicating with her eyes” <– feel you on that

      • adepeju marian September 9, 2011 at 12:44 am

        yes o…..i strongly support…but den technology of 2day is not helpin @ all bsisdes der’z twitter, facebook mobile, netlog, dis nd dat….i guess more beatin is needed den

  • esther September 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Dats luvly n inspirational

  • Alexandra alexander September 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Oops! I meant “ability to climb a tree”

  • Onyx September 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve lived that experience, man. Of knowing you’re disappointing your parents by under-performing and having the brilliant sibling to always silently resent whilst you live in their shadow…

    Took my O’levels in a Federal Sec. School and finished wt average abilities, average ambitions and average grades. My WAEC grades were 2 ‘As’, 2 ‘Cs’, 2 ‘Ps’ and 2 ‘Fs’ exactly. If it was left to me, I’d have tried to make my way into Uni to study something completely irrelevant wt those grades because I just didnt know enough to care. But my mum had enough of my attitude and forced me to repeat that SS-3 year. And the light dawned during that year, I repeated it successfully and finished with 7 ‘As’ and 2 ‘Cs’. Went on to become a successful Lawyer…

    As cliche as it sounds, the truth remains that the only thing limiting you is yourself and your ability to dream…

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      Wow! What an ispiring story Onyx. You definitely should share that in an article. And I definitely agree “the only thing limiting you is yourself and your ability to dream…” well said!

      • Rayne September 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

        Marry me…Please?…**Batting Eyelashes** ;-)

  • Afronubia September 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Good thing you turned out ok, Too much details about the whole beating thing. I believe in not sparing the rod but giving readers a blow by blow account of your beatings seems sadistic. A few strokes of the bulala and a good talking-to should suffice. You wanna discipline not abuse your kids. Well done on your achievements btw.

  • Tiki September 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    nice one! My mother used to be Discipline Mistress at a public secondary school where beating was allowed, so she had lots of practice! Her favorite was the cable used for electrical connections which has 7 filaments inside…the memory still makes me flinch! But what hurt even more was my dad, who was adept at telling you how disappointed he was…suffice to say between the physical and mental beating, I stayed at the top of my class throughout primary and secondary school, and despite a rocky start finished admirably in Uni! Nice stor, Ofili.

    BN, by the way I’m a bit confused now…some mentions read’…stupidity changed…’, and others ‘…stupidity saved…’ which is it?

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

      We once had a housemaster that used the hose of the air-conditioner to inflict his whippings…craziness =/

  • blcompere September 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    The purpose of life is to have a life of purpose. Ofili I owe you for the commencement of my book. I once got expelled from Secondary School but the irony is that the supposed downturn became the first day of the best days of my life. See you on the 15th.

  • Ngozi September 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    This story is quite inspiring. No matter how many times i read and re-read your book, it’s good to get a daily dose of inspiration like this.
    Thanks Ofili :) and yes you are a cutie

  • alesha September 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    lol-great read too. I like the title. *wink*

  • chibuzor L. Nwaezeapu September 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Good and easy read, a fact finders dream.
    Get a copy and sign up to be edutained

  • Pizzazz September 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Can’t wait to read the book! Sounds like there’s lesson learnt from every experience. Thumbs up!

  • cheekie September 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Def getting d book!

  • Chinwe September 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    One of the best books I’ve read…thanks Ofili for being an amazing writer and blessing to others.

  • pretty September 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Keep up the good work ,my fellow Toastmaster.
    You are so talented.
    If you haven’t got your copy of how stupidity saved my life, go get it and read it.

  • Nogo September 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Wow that was so well written and inspiring! xx

  • Angel September 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Wow very touching and a motivated story…Thanks for sharing n keep up the good job :)

  • vW September 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    #nowcheckingouthisblog,followingontwitter
    Heard of ofilispeaks on Twitter, buh neva thot necessary to follow.
    I’m inspired!

  • Uju September 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Love it! This makes me want to re read my book! I love the fact that not only can I identify with the experiences, but that there is also a lesson to be learned. Rereading is definitely on my to do list.

  • chichi September 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    LMao @ I soon realized that the teachers said a lot more things in the front. Nice read

  • Ayomide Akinkugbe September 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Ha! Mr. Ofili, you just saved my day with your story ‘how stupidity saved my life’. Good one. reminds me of that Maya Angelou’s line ” I would let the things that happen to me change but not reduce me” :)

  • mimi September 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    hi

  • mimi September 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    hmm..dis really touched me..its such an eye openner 4me..da last few sememsters ive done really bad with carryovers and ma parents dnt kno..cos i aint gt da face 2 show dem cos i kno wat will happen 2 me..so ive resulted 2 nt goin home..and tryin 2 pay ma fees maself…lately ive been in da same state u were wen ur mom gave u da cold shoulder..and tank u so much its so meant 4 me.. *teary*..i promoise schul will neva b da same 4 me wen i gt back dis semester…*tears*

  • jay September 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Beautiful inspiring story. I knew you had to have an engineering background when you used the stress and tensile properties analogy on the cane your mom used on you….brilliant! You just gained one more fan. Thanks

    • ofilispeaks September 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Engineers sticking together. What engineering did you study?

      • jay September 6, 2011 at 11:17 am

        I studied polymer engineering. You do write very well for an engineer, i must say. more power to your elbow.

  • mimi September 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    ppleactually tink am brilliant and its even more depressin 2 tink am nofin close 2 wat am tot and ought 2 b..am so ready 2 “turn my moments of silent disappointments and failures into loud moments of triumph, and wnt ever accept average at work, life or in anything; understanding that nothing in this life comes easy.”~ dats my goal

  • Awolola nikashia September 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Your story is an inspiration to me and others that are reading this….the sky is certainly not a limit for you.nicely done :)

  • Femmy-D September 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Great writing style bro, I could mentally picture ur mum wooping you ….. I’m def going to get a copy of your book ASAP

  • jezz September 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    ….and everyone is a motivational speaker

    • Onyx September 6, 2011 at 8:09 am

      “Motivate = give an incentive for action”.

      Everyone can be motivational speakers as long as people out there need that extra push to move forward. You may motivate a loved one, someone else motivates 100 in a church congregation, another motivates 1000 in an conference room. What’s your beef exactly?

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:55 am

      everyone is a motivational speaker in someway =)

  • Effect September 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    This article brought memories to me. I had similar experience but from my dad. Even when I had studied for my exams, the fear of being brutally beaten gripped me to the point where I couldn’t remember anything anymore. It all changed when I came home one time with another pathetic result and he didn’t say a word. The look of disappointment stuck to my memory and I made a vow to myself that I will make him proud, most especially for him to be proud of me. And by sheer determination and by God’s help, I improved gradually and gained 8As in an O/Levels, straight As in my A/Levels, 1st class U/G and distinction in my masters. I am now working for a top bank in the UK. Everytime he visits or I go back home on holiday, he can’t do without showing me off to his friends.

    Reading your article brought tears to my eyes but they are tears of joy. I have been blessed and i’m sure others will be blessed too. I will follow you on twitter and add you on BB.

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

      wow…that is so touching…we had almost the exact same background and upbringing. Maybe I might visit your bank in the UK =)

  • Naijamum in L. September 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I should get my sons to read this because they think I’m a ‘domestic terrorist’ LOL

    Seriously though, I like the message.

    My ‘mothering mantra’ is that ‘No one is born stupid’ and I am not willing to hear ‘I cant’ from my boys. Harsh? maybe…but I am not willing to raise quitters.

    If I can return to university – after 3 kids – and graduate with a 1st and top of my cohort. I dont want to hear excuses

    Well done

    • Effect September 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      LOL at domestic terrorist. I believe children can realised their potentials when being driven in love not cruel/unkind approach (not trying to sound judgemental ma). Just that I had similar experience with my folks and it took God’s help and sheer determination and wanting to prove to my dad that I am not stupid that brought me to a place of success today. I used to be very frightened of what my dad would do that even when I had studied hard and by the time I got to the examination hall, I already had temporary amnesia, lol!

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:18 am

      Thanks…and thanks to you for raising 3 kids and going to school at the same time….that is amazingly impressive!

  • zee September 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Wow, Nice. Out of curiosity, what of ur dad, U didnt say much about him?

  • mimi September 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    post my comment ooooo

  • Andymario September 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    My Mum Often say…”True hard work never kills it can only make you a better person” …….This is key and what plays the most role is self motivation.
    Your success story is exemplary and highly inspiring……Keep reaching out……. YNWA….

  • Enu-p September 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Ofili rocks! I knew u were a brainy in Corona :0)

    What I love the most about this book is its simplicity. Even if u don’t love reading, the pages turn really fast. It’s an amazing read and you’ll be motivated (definitely) when you’re done reading so it’s a must have book!! And yaaay, I have a signed copy! :0)

  • thehelp September 5, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    lol @ the “DURAPLAST effect”
    tnk God that made a better person outta you…..nice story

  • Aijay September 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    i don’t think that his mother gave up on him when she became silent after seeing his result because mothers never give up on their children. at some point, they know when the caning and slapping stop having the normal effect so they either switch to silent treatments or emotional blackmail…………….i experienced the silent treatment from my dad when i wrote jamb after secondary school and didn’t score enough to read the course i wanted to study in the university, i still gained admission that year but studied another course and all through my 5 years in school i never forgot the look of disappointment on his face and how despite how he obviously felt, he didn’t say a word. in the end i was one of the students that graduated with the best result. thanx Ofili for your story, will definitely look for your book and follow you on twitter……..and you are really cute

  • Purpleicious Babe September 5, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Niceeee… I pray the book fulfills purpose as intended and makes a positive impact.

    I like the fact u are approachable and I believe you will inspire many,many, many and many people and also considered a a good moral model…

    African Mums and their disciplines has paid off.. THANK GOD.. PROUD MAMAS…

    http://lifeinstagesdoz.blogspot.com

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Sup Purpleicious Babe! I love that name…I am hopeful and praying for the same…AMEN

  • Lola X September 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Great read!

    Lola x, London
    http://Lola-x.blogspot.com

  • che September 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    hi ofili, please what is the name of your blog. i would love to follow you. tanx

  • Tyn September 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Excellent narration. I love your choice of words – really powerful.
    As for the story, I had a similar experience. It’s just that I wasn’t beaten for academic reasons. My dad is the most intelligent man I know as far as I am concerned… When I was in primary school, I used to do really well in school but unfortunately at some point, I dropped when I got into secondary school. It took like two years to gain admission into college. And then he told me “you used to be a really smart kid, I was proud of you but I don’t know what has happened to you”
    These words hit me deep in my heart that I had to sit up. With that determination, I got serious with my studies and I’ve been on scholarship for a while. In my senior year now, been on Honor’s Lists hoping to graduate in the Spring with University Honors or even a Cum Laude.
    In essence, certain situations are meant to ‘ginger’ us to become better beings.
    GREAT JOB!

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

      “certain situations are meant to ‘ginger’ us to become better beings.” true that! And sometimes it takes words or lack of words to get us going.

  • Aba, Accra September 6, 2011 at 12:33 am

    wow!!! bless u, bless u, bless u! im so forever going to remember this. im sharing!!! :))

  • chillysauce September 6, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Nice one Ofili…d beatings…. chai.. but it was all for d best.God bless

  • Didi September 6, 2011 at 7:13 am

    I’m thinking your mum’s Ma’am Ofili of d Nigerian Navy. My mum’s friend. I think at some point in every African child’s life, we all can relate with this. I never got the ‘cane lashing’ rather it was tongue lashing and because i detest the heart wrenching words that came out of my mum’s mouth whenever I had fallen below standard, I strove for excellence. Then, it was more to shut her up and prove them wrong but now I look at my degrees and smile satisfactorily. Not because I ‘shut them up’ but because I overcame the feeling of self pity and lack of self worth. The tongue lashing has made me who I am. A success. It only boils down to our ability to discover our diamond covered in dirt. Lovely article!

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:32 am

      Thanks Didi…as you said the tongue lashing works just as well and it leaves no scars on your body =)

  • Didi September 6, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Ma’am Ofili’s son of d Nig Navy? Beautiful, beautiful write up!

  • MissKay September 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

    WOW! Very inspirational! Thank you for this! Goes perfectly with what i always tell people: nobody was just handed intelligence from day 1- we build it! for some it takes longer, and for others it takes a shorter time; for some it is harder, & for others it is easier. You have to find where it is you are and put yourself at the “push” button of your own life. i am 18 & i really dont ever remember my parents beating me for grades or anything, but i remember always beating myself even up till today……. just like it didnt take mama’s killing to bring Mr. Ofili to his senses, so it is with everyone- doesnt matter where it starts for you (mama’s hand, or papa’s cane) , because one day the cane will break, or mama’s hand will get tired- so you must finish it for yourself & stop waiting. This story is definitely an eye opener for all who are waiting for the beating , so that they can instead decide to beat their own selves, & keep it moving on the path of improvement and positivity!

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:35 am

      “one day the cane will break, or mama’s hand will get tired- so you must finish it for yourself & stop waiting.” could not have said it better…we have to carry ourself across the finish line.

  • Jay September 6, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Motivational piece. Well written BUT u get asked how stupidity saved ur life ALL THE TIME? Interesting…

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:32 am

      Yep…every time people see the book with me…that is the first question they ask.

  • Bukky Asaolu Omifolaji September 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Amazing story which i can relate to totally. My mum was a teacher while my father, a lecturer who later became an anglican priest. Growing up with so much beatings especially from my mother who got used to using whatever was available to pass on her message straightened me up so quickly. I still have some of the scars of my “colition with the broom”. Thank God i turn out alright with the drive to make my parents proud of me is still pushing me uptil today with my completeng 2 masters degree within 4 years while raising 3 young children and working full time. I now appreciate my mum for all the tough love that i was given.
    Being a psychotherapist, I avoid smacking my children. I try to continually find balance from the extremes of Nija ways and the casualness of western ways of discplining/raising children.I use my eyes to talk to my children, i give them lots of warnings and i pray for them. I also found agreement between my husband and i as per raising/disciplining our children very helpful.
    Thanks for sharing your experience Ofili.

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 9:17 am

      Bukky thanks for sharing. I think you raise a very important point…sometimes the Nigerian system is too extreme and the Western system too relaxed…but finding a balance between both will make for well rounded and developed children.

  • Tope September 6, 2011 at 8:43 am

    true talk…had the same turnaround in like SS2…it wasn’t cane-induced though ;p

  • Ada September 6, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Love the book. Good to see it being featured on Bellanaija. Ofili u need to show Abj peeps some love though.

  • goodness September 6, 2011 at 10:12 am

    It is a good one. welldone bro.

  • IGBOFILLE September 6, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I cant remember the last time I read a very long write up on this blog but this was just so interesting I read it all. Kudos Ofili. When you have a teacher as a mother, you must definitely know the sound of a cane and the rhythm of the dance. My mom beat me wella, especially because she didnt want her only girl to spoil and she did a great job, today I see her as a very strong woman. Her discipline made me very strong and determined too.

    • ofilispeaks September 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

      yay! Glad you finished it all. This is my first article on Bella…hopefully I get to write more and more =)

  • Kenneth Ibegwam September 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Now its touching when I can see stories, that I can relate to. Okechukwu has developed a Mastery of being able to make you relate with his tales!Everytime I read from Oke I learn something new! Hoping to attend this bootcamp, when I eventually read this book I certainly will grow in wisdom!

  • pynk September 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

    something that folks can connect to. Good job Ofili. Your piece resonated.

  • Minki September 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I Am Currently Reading The Book, How Stupidity Saved My life. And It Is Indeed A Breath Of Fresh Air… It definately Brings Back Memories Good, Bad And The Gobetweens.Lol! The Morals Are Obvious And Truthful, I Definately Have A Few Changes To Make. Thanks OFILI…xxx

  • Oma September 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Wow!
    This is an incredible piece.
    I write inspirational but i have a whole lot to learn from you.
    You have indeed inspired me with this piece.
    Cant make it to the seminar but i will get the book.
    Thank you so much for this
    http://lifethroughomaseyes.blogspot.com

  • Elaine September 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Really interesting read. I read it with an outsider’s perspective. Fortunately for me I was the exceptional child that my siblings grew under the shadow of. Your story helped me to think about how they must have felt growing up and the kind of psychological stress they went through whenever they were compared to me. I will definitely reach out to them (we are all grown now and successful in our different career paths) to discuss how they felt while growing up. By the way, the story is very similar to Ben Carson’s “Gifted Hands” which goes to show that we are shaped by our beliefs about ourselves and what we can achieve not just our genes and the physical environment we grow in

  • uisimportant September 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    wow inspiring story…..my siblings must read this
    and am mos’def getting the book

  • Aisha JR September 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Impressive. Quite reminiscent of Paulo Coelho, guess I gotta get my hand on this.

  • NNENNE September 6, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Beautiful story presented in a creative way.

  • Baby Dee September 6, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    My Parents never typically beat my sisters and I. I can say in my 30 yrs, my Dad only beat me twice. One, was because i bit my older sister because of 20 kobo in the 1980′s and the second time was because i decided to walk home from School because the driver did not arrive on time. Instead of my parents to be happy i made it home alive (this was the gbomo gbomo era), my dad beat the crap out of me and transferred me to a school in Gbagada. That being said, my Dad did not need to beat us. All he needed to say was come and sit down lets talk about what you did. My dad is an orator and can talk the life out of someone. Each time we had a “talk”, i left the sitting room crying and with a firm believe that i was adopted and i was a poor step child being maltreated by evil parents.
    I however will not trade my childhood for anything. I look back now and thank God for my parents.
    Great Job Ofili. I would certainly buy your book. Is it on Amazon or how can i buy it from in the U.S ?

    • ofilispeaks September 7, 2011 at 6:34 am

      hi Baby Dee…thank for sharing. Funny thing…the driver forgot to pick us once from Primary School and me and my brother walked home, and my Parents did not stress out…different worlds.

      For overseas you can get the book at http://ofilispeaks.com/read-book or on AMAZON. It is also on the kindle.

    • Uju G September 7, 2011 at 7:16 am

      LMAO!!! @ “Each time we had a “talk”, i left the sitting room crying and with a firm believe that i was adopted and i was a poor step child being maltreated by evil parents” … That sounds like my dad except i don’t have those funny thoughts … piercing words of wisdom.. all he needs to do is sit you down and have a few words with you .. and you will have a good re-think of your whole life .. lol … it paid off big time though .. back to the article – Great read .. beyond inspirational

    • Obi September 9, 2011 at 5:14 am

      lol. the walking home thing. That was actually the only time I remember a thrashing from my dad (my mom did most of it). He came to pick me up & I had decided to walk about an hour home that day. Hehe. I begged. I pleaded. It was a dreamless sleep that afternoon after that.

  • me September 7, 2011 at 6:10 am

    the way you use your words allows readers to imagine and picture themselves in the situation…very good writing skill…but im kinda curious to know Ofili but with the terror and fear at the thought of being beaten, no doubt even at the memory of it..i just wanted to ask though… would you beat your kids?..if you had any…?

  • vivian September 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Beautiful and well written story…reminds me of Ben Carson:-).

  • shola September 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    NICEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  • chichi September 8, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Duraplast!! that had me lmao!! great narrative, i felt like i was there! Thank you!!!

  • Anita September 8, 2011 at 10:01 am

    gonna buy the book, gonna read the book and gonna share this post on fb cos man I needed to read this. Thanks for the inspiration and Adobe Photoshop must have done a great job cos I’m totally crushing on you…

  • qhaycee September 8, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Nice write up.Ofili,i can relate 2 this.My parents beat me so silly dat i’v sworn never to lay hands on my kids(God help me with dat) and never to fear anybody born of a woman. Had a crazy uni experience,i swore to tear up lawschool and boy,did i read,went 2 d library everyday from inception to last day of lecture. Waiting for the result,praying that it turns out fine. Preparing 4 my masters though,and i can’t wait.

  • ty September 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I can relate to this too. In my SS1, i got 8% in mathematics at the end of first term. That was the first time i realised that I had been comfortable with the just ok…average student mentality such that i dont just put in extra efforts to my studies. For me, my dad helped me and taught me how to read to excel in classes and i never failed again infact I had A2 (was expecting A1 tho) in my WAEC mathematics. I went further to study Computer Science (where my major courses was Mathematics oriented). I was number three in the class of over 300 when i graduated with only 7 of us graduating with a 2-1. Like the writer said ‘Everything just suddenly became clearer!’

  • Yvonee September 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    what an inspirational write-up…. I didn’t get whipped as much as you did – flogging was rare in my house … thankfully my mum took the “wait-till-i get-you-there approach or if you don’t take your time, I will send you off to live with aunty so and so … and i will rather be flogged than go live with the said aunty lol…. Overall am glad your growing up experience pushed you to be a better person in life … that’s the whole point of the discipline we get as kids in naija. When they care enough to beat us or punish us, we usually get more rebellious despite being scared of whatever punishment we might be awarded with. But once they give us the am-deeply-disappointed-in-you look or they tune us out, we immediately sit up and try our very best to get their attention again…. (it must be a psychological thing lol). The good thing is at the end of the day, no matter how far away we travel from home, we have our childhood discipline with us and that alone keeps us on our toes at all times … by the way, congrats on ur achievements… It’s not easy esp. considering how hard Engineering/college education is here in the US – at least for those who actually want to study … and thank you for sharing your story with the world =)

  • Anthony Otuya-Ndubishi September 8, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Interestingly Brilliant…. Truly Inspirational!

  • Obi September 9, 2011 at 5:01 am

    I wasn’t beaten too often but the ones I got can never be forgotten. “I’m disappointed in you” brought tears to my eyes faster than any cane could ever do; I even became hardened that when flogged in school, I was ‘unmoved’. My case in school: was an A student who midway in secondary school became lazy, began to lose motivation and though I maintained a good report/ cumulative grade, I made some foolish choices. I was schooling away from home & failed to do something vital: discuss my schooling with my parents. They tried, asked, but because my grades were still good, I thought I was doing okay, till I started Uni. You see, I had dropped further maths after the compulsory SS1 with further maths. First semester in Uni & I flunked VGD (vectors geometry & dynamics). I couldn’t grasp the basic principles. I knew I could do it, but I lacked the foundation. Had I discussed my intentions of dropping further maths in secondary school, my parents would have frowned at it and since I was already doing well at it, I would have continued. But I dropped it cos I wanted less classes so I could have more free time. Well, needless to say, I paid for my choices. Many years later, I regret my choice, but I realize I have the rest of my life to make better choices.

    • ofilispeaks September 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      Wow…that is a powerful man! Thanks a lot for sharing. I could not stand Further Maths myself, but I pushed myself because it was deemed as the hardest subject in class…and I felt that if I did well I would prove a point. I survived…lol

  • MsKay September 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Hi, trying to email you thru yahoo…what address do i use?

  • daize September 9, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    such an excellent piece my story is equally similar. our mothers should be given kudos cuz they mould us

  • Mickie September 10, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Awesome!!.. Sir I am usually not a Bella Naija person but somehow I stumbled on this. Luckily,growing up,I never got any of those slaps or beatings from my mum but nice & kind words all shrouded in the mystery of the holy books. I will love to read this book. How can I buy it online. I’m not in Lagos but will love to get more insights about this session. Is there a chance of getting them in DVD or tapes? I can be reached on my listed e-address. Many thanks

  • Alimatu September 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Congrats Ofili, I Loved the I AM!!! I SAVED IT AS MY COMP SCREENSAVER!!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

  • oyedamola September 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Glad to have people who still believe in beating, without my mom’s afternoon spanking I doubt if I would have made anything useful of my life.Nice write up, wish you all the best things you deserve in life.

  • Rose'Eva September 11, 2011 at 5:28 am

    How did you get a perfect GPA for 5 straight semesters?
    What’s the secret? I really wanna know.

    • ofilispeaks September 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      lol….lots of sleepless night and focus.

      PS: a little bit of luck =)

  • Woman September 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Really nice, soooo true. There’s nothing we can’t achieve if we try :)

  • toni September 11, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    yikes you’re pretty long winded and use a lot of big GRE/SAT words lol yet i love the point you’re making im the opposite i fell from excellence to mediocrity im now struggling to piece it all back together this is a great pick me up article. thank you.

  • "Iffy" Ify September 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I love this article…Congrats Ofili! You are doing big things…big ups! Many more blessings on the way.
    Come back to houston. Everyone misses you!

  • Dr Emeka September 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Beautiful post brother! I especially got drawn to ‘no matter how grand and complex your ideas are if you do nothing you’ll get nothing’. Testament to how much we never achieve with wishful thinking.

  • mecheng September 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    really nice, Ofili
    i’m studying to become a mechanical engineer & found this hilarious
    “its Equivalent Stress from the tensile bending force component had exceeded the safety factor for which the cane was designed….and whether from material fatigue or sudden failure, the cane snapped!”
    like they actually think of such while ‘designing’
    well written

  • Tarry September 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Tears welled up in my eyes at reading this inspirational story. Reminded me of my Dad and how his beating and word had shaped my attitude towards life and education. My mum “spiritual matron” did the counseling and praying. If you’re through in the beating room, you automatically graduate to the counseling and prayer room….lol. Make me wanna write a poem for them both. I am from a very “humbly” background. Did not go to the very best school, did not have the exotic kinda childhood often dreamt about. But i can tell you i am a good Manager and i manage the best team in a multinational organization all to the wonderful works of my Parent. One word from my Dad i can hardly let go “There are too many nobodies in today’s world, count yourself out of the wroth”

    Ofili you are a very good writer and i will get my from Lanterna this weekend. ciao

  • princess Dumebi September 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    i have read the book and even bought for my friends, its a very inspiring book. more people, especially adolescents need to read it. kudos

  • afila September 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Really nice story Offili, I especially love your language. I hope you’re also writing fiction. I’d like to read a work of fiction from you.

  • kemi September 30, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    what’s your twitter address? I would love to follow ya on twitter, keep up the good work, very inspiring read. wow! Kudos to ya

  • peace November 24, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    i just stumbled across ur book yesterday and as it’s to be expected, the caption captivated me! Well, i’d like to say that the excerpts from the book coupled with the awesome reviews have made it more pressing for me to get one (although as per student levels, e go tay small before i fit afford am sha!)
    Your experience reminds me of a very long time ago when i flopped in my quantitative aptitude homework and my dad for the first time (and last time) whipped the living hell outta my system, infact, till i left primary 6 i never got anything less than a perfect score in that subject. Although i didnt come 1st in any of my classes, i became the first girl in my school’s history to have the highest overall score both in my federal and state common entrance!
    I sent a friend request on facebook, please holler back.

  • Vee December 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    the comments are much, but i can relate it to myself, but in this case its my dad, i still recall his dreaded short cane and “I AM DISSAPOINTED IN YOU”. I still recall an incident in my pry1 where i had to stay awake till 2am learning my spelling and dictation. All these said and done, i am still struggling cos i lost my self confdence, thanks to his constant comparism with my super duper brainy sister. I love your story, and you look cute too

  • Salosong April 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I need help Ofili!!!i’m totally confused and helpless.

  • wumi August 21, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    men…so lucky,i grew up in a family where beating was forbidden by mumsy…ma grandpa never beat her once and she turned out real good…she believed in the same too…her kind words were worth it.she believed in our abilities.i was above average in sec skul…loved to read but maths…was a wreck..mumsy nnever for once gave up.she gave me a hint on breaking the jinx…practice maths every day..and boy o boy did i clear my ssce??my maths past questions were in shreds…but at d university..,i relented and nearly wrecked my gpa….i was so lax and even wit d most little reading,i made a 2-1….was so discouraging and i still feel i made one of the wrongest choices ever but now ur story has given me hope…thanks to my ever faithful devouring pal…he sent me d link and now…i reawaken d dream of making a better lyf out of my past and write a book about my mother some day….i love that woman….God bless U Mama…God bless u Okechukwu Ofili…

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