I find that a lot of people are not fans of making resolutions. However, we go through experiences which form a part of who we are and part of what we aspire to be. For me, 2012 was a big year for me and I came into 2013 determined to take stock of my past and forge ahead, trying to be a better person. I’d like to share some of them with you and I hope that as you walk with me, you’d take stock of your past year with a bid to make some great positive strides this year.
-The power of the focused mind: In 2012, I learnt a very important lesson and it was this “Anything is possible as long as you keep a focused mind.” You see, 2012 was a great year for career-wise. I’m thankful to God for the many opportunities that came my way. I’m also very thankful for the mind-set I was in. Although there are other important factors, I found that your success is predominantly down to you, so I tried to convert as many opportunities into achievements. Having a focused mind also makes it easier to accept the amount of work load involved – the no days off, 15 hour working days were tough, but nothing worthwhile comes easy.
-The intimate commune with God: For a long time, I never missed a day of church and I hate to admit it, but after the service, done and dusted, I was good to go. I would say my prayers in the morning and at night like I had done since childhood, but I honestly didn’t spend enough time talking to God. I considered myself religious – because I went to church every Sunday, but I eventually had to admit that most times it would go in one ear and come out the other. So 2013 is all about going back to the very basics and building a good relationship with God.
- The value of “Me Time”: Getting pampered, shopping, socializing and making time for things you enjoy is definitely good; but I recently discovered the importance of spending time with my own thoughts. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it honestly works for me.
Life in Lagos, actually Nigeria as a whole is stressful – traffic, bad roads, work load and so on constantly has a lot of us in an ‘irritable’ state, and de-stressing is key. I start by getting off my BB, Twitter and switching off my phone if possible. Then I just find a quiet place, take a few deep breaths, relax my mind. I basically switch off and try to let go of all the things stressing me, making me angry/upset etcetera, then I take stock of the things I’m grateful for and move on to refocusing my mind on my goals.
-The nothingness of hear-say: All too often, we don’t give others the opportunity of a first-impression – I used to do that a lot. For example, if there was someone I’d never met but had heard of, I would have already judged them before they had said one word to me. I truly learnt that lesson after having a few people that I had recently met admitting that they thought I was a certain way even before meeting me. A lot of the times I would hear ‘I thought you were stuck-up, a few people have told me you are…but now that I know you, I realize you aren’t’. People talk a lot, and let’s be honest the information isn’t always accurate, so I’ve learnt to find out by myself and make my own opinions, taking all the sensible pre-cautions of course.
- True & Lasting Friendships: A few friendships ended for me in 2011/ 2012 which was quite sad. It’s true that over time we all lose some friends that we thought would be in our lives forever, but sometimes you wonder if you did all you could to save certain friendships. For some friendships that ended, it was easy for me to say ‘Well that’s life’, but eventually I started questioning what kind of friend I had been. So in 2013, I plan to be a better friend, to listen more and to care more. I want to build true and lasting friendships.
-The useful thick skin: I’ve always known that surviving in the entertainment industry in Nigeria is not easy. I knew this before, but in 2012 I learnt this on a new level…like on a PhD level! Some of the things I’ve read about myself…WOW!! Nasty comments/stories on everything from my weight to my fake accent to the fact that I did certain ‘favours’ to get to where I am. Yes, the negative attention comes with the territory, but it’s not something one can get used to overnight. I’m all for constructive criticism, but sadly there are people that seem to find satisfaction in spewing hate. It definitely affected me in early 2012, but I learnt that if I wanted to successfully continue in this field (and keep my sanity ) one of the most important things to do is to be impermeable to the negativity and basically do me. So I drastically reduced my blog reading, ignored the negativity on social media and also accepted that people who go out of their way to be nasty/spiteful are most likely unhappy with their own lives.
- Being less jaded: I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, and I think being in love is one of the best feelings on earth – when it’s reciprocated of course. However, like most young women in Nigeria I’ve been through a few negative experiences and have heard many horror stories about dating in Nigeria that I’m jaded (/ˈjādid: The end result of having a steady flow of negative experiences, disappointment, and unfulfillment eventually leading to accepted disillusionment). I’ve met a few seemingly ‘eligible bachelors’ over the last 18 months, but before the 2nd or 3rd date I had managed to convince myself that they were no different from the guys we all hear horror stories about, and before you know it I’ve ended things. So in 2013, I’ll be doing my best to stop being jaded – be cautious of course, but still give things a good chance.
-The accuracy of basic instincts: I need to listen more to that little voice that says ‘Hmm Toolz, think this idea through one more time before moving forward’. I have found that 9 times out of 10 it’s usually right so I’m going with my gut this year.
-The beauty of giving back: I didn’t do well in this area in 2012. My charity/give back projects, unfortunately, took a back seat in 2012 because of inadequate time and improper planning. However, I firmly believe that if you really are determined to do something you’ll make the time to do it even if it means losing a few hours sleep here and there.
-Bringing sexy back: I love my curves, but it would be nice to have to suck belle less, spend less on Spanx and not worry about certain camera angles making you look bad. So 2013 is about successfully working on the areas I’m unhappy with – getting the super taut tummy, lithe limbs while still being curvy. Wish me luck abeg and if it all goes well I’d love to do a 2014 calendar or a 4-part photo-shoot!
-The Mayans were sooo wrong!
Which important lessons did you learn in 2012, and what do you aim to achieve in 2013?
ToolzO is an award-winning on-air personality who currently presents ‘The Midday Show with Toolz’ on the Beat 99.9FM and the Juice for NdaniTV. You can find out more about Toolz by visiting www.ToolzO.net