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Toby Nwazor: The Best Way to End the Year

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The year 2011 was a special one for me. It was my year of serving my fatherland. Surprisingly, it is still one of the most memorable years of my life. I remember arriving the orientation camp that hot afternoon to join a queue that seemed never to move. We shoved each other, sweated, greeted old friends and made new ones on that everlasting queue.

We were all excited to be in camp, or at least most of us. Two weeks later however, most of us had become fed up. The food served in the kitchen was not encouraging at all, and the numerous lectures held in the hall everyday had become boring.

To make matters worse, most of us had dug deep into the pocket money we came to camp with. This meant that the option of flexing in Mammy market had equally reduced drastically.

The soldiers too had become annoying. They derived joy in giving mass punishment to everyone for the flimsiest excuse. On top of all that, we still had to go to the field and do all kinds of exercises every morning. And that was after spending a lot of time on an endless queue trying to fetch water to take our baths.

After the second week, we just couldn’t wait to go home. So many people had already started grumbling and we were all waiting patiently for the last day.

Something unexpected however happened on the 20th day of camp. During our daily early morning parade, the camp commandant called me out to read a motivational speech. (Na me go find trouble submit my name say I fit do am o). My heart flew into my mouth when I heard my name, and I sincerely wished the ground would open and swallow me.

I had made some public presentations in the past, but the crowd in front of me that day was more than 3000 people. I was scared. Miraculously, I was able to build up my self confidence level and took up the challenge.

I delivered a very short speech titled “The Attitude of Gratitude” to this teeming crowd, and the result was like magic. Surprisingly the camp commandant, the NYSC officials and especially the corps members bought what I was selling.

I watched in awe as the atmosphere in the camp practically changed. From feeling fed-up everybody rather saw reasons to be thankful. Someone raised a song almost immediately and everybody responded positively. We spent the next few minutes rejoicing, singing, dancing and celebrating God for all he had done.

Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of that wonderful speech, so I can’t reproduce it. However I still remember the inspiration behind it. Yes, that is the magic word: remember. I merely helped everyone in camp remember those things we are grateful for.

Similarly friends, if you can sit to think, you can always find a reason to thank. Things may not have worked out the way you wanted, but I am sure you can still find a reason to be grateful. And an attitude of gratitude is what they say determines our altitude.

If you have lost anything, remember that you did not lose everything! If things are bad, remember that they could have been worse. And guess what? Life would still have continued.

I guess you know the hymn, “Count your blessings name them one by one”? It is not just to be sung, but to be practiced. Just like John Mason asked, “do you count your blessings, or do you think your blessings don’t count?”

Friends as the year comes to an end, sit down, think and write. Write down all the blessings you saw this year for which you are grateful. Think & write of all the times you have gone on a journey and you saw accidents, but you were not a part of it. Think of all the people who spent a major part of the year in a hospital.

Are your parents still alive? Do you have what to eat tomorrow? Do you still have clothes to wear? When was the last time your landlord ejected you because of your inability to pay the house rent? How many times did JAMB jam you before you finally got admission? It could have taken longer. How many times have you been molested by armed robbers? Etc.

My people say that “E kelee dike na nke omere, o mekwa ozo” (if you thank a great man for what he did, he will do another one).

So please, sit back, reminisce, write and thank!

If you don’t have a job, be grateful for being employable. If you still haven’t gotten admission, be grateful for being qualified. If you still don’t have a child, celebrate the fact that you are even married. If you are yet to marry, be thankful that someone would be willing to marry you someday. If you are broke, rejoice that you are at least healthy. Even if you are sick, be thankful that it isn’t terminal. And if the doctor said it is terminal, be grateful that God is the only one with the final say!

No matter what friends, maintain an attitude of gratitude. It is the easiest way to insure/multiply your blessings, and it is the best way to end the year too.

Compliments of the season y’all.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Mimagephotography 

Toby Nwazor is a free lance writer and motivational speaker who believes that life is meant to be lived and not just existed in. He is equally an entrepreneur with a lot of hands-on experience in business start-ups, marketing, and customer service. He passionately writes every Monday and Wednesday on www.mystartupceo.com about helping entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs build successful start-ups

30 Comments

  1. Uju

    December 30, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Amazing stuff!!!!

  2. Toby Nwazor

    December 30, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for reading Uju

  3. FAXIE

    December 30, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I relocated back home this year, I got a job with a multinational . Tho stressful, but with this i thank God. My relationship is a year this December and waxing stronger. No accidents or terminal sickness. I lost a dear friends mother but we are all doing great. I cannot count my blessings enough. God has indeed been wonderful and merciful.. Compliments of the season

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 30, 2015 at 10:37 am

      I rejoice with you Faxie. God has really been good to me equally

  4. delaine

    December 30, 2015 at 10:01 am

    It’s so amazing and thought provoking. Thanks alot.

  5. Kemi

    December 30, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I’m grateful for the gift of life. I have really come to appreciate the gift of life even more this year because of some shocking deaths of people I know and others I don’t. Tho there are some things I still long for, I’m thankful for the ones I have right now. And as long as I’m alive, I’m hopeful I will get them.

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 30, 2015 at 10:38 am

      That’s the spirit Kemi. When we thank God for his fingers, he brings his hand

  6. Tosin

    December 30, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I am grateful. Period.

    • Tosin

      December 30, 2015 at 11:11 am

      Chai, my heart wants to learn Igbo. ah ahn, that nke omere quote, woah.

  7. ikechi

    December 30, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Hi Toby

    This is inspirational and your story is filled with so much insight.

    You remind me of my service year. It was mixed with fun, horror and confusion. I can relate to the horrible food and the lack of funds but when I think about it, I am grateful to God for such experience.

    I made new friends and had so much insight. As you brilliantly reminded everyone with that song. I count my blessings and I am grateful for what God has done

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 30, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks for the compliment Ikechi. Service year was quite an experience. But in everything, I was and I still am very grateful . Thanks for reading

  8. iphie

    December 30, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Am soo grateful for life, peace, joy and grace. Am also grateful for my love as well

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 30, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Remain grateful iphie and watch as your reasons for thanksgiving multiply in the coming year.

  9. Didi

    December 30, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    @Toby, That quote in reply to Kemi is sooooo deep. Wow!!! My Father, you know i remain grateful for who you are to me. It keeps getting better knowing you Lord…

  10. ToyinS

    December 30, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    My dp this morning read “this year has been filled with ups and down but God never failed me! he answered a major request ds year and i m soooo grateful, It has indeed been one long almost uneventful yet eventful year for me, so i didnt get married as we planned but my 2 year relationship is better than it has ever been. I didnt lose weight at ALLL this year but i m healthy and alive and plan to remedy that in 2016.

    I moved from a branch of my office to one of the hardest units to get into, at my HQ ds year and friends still ask me how i did it, considering one of them applied previously and was told to go get a PHD even with his “abroad masters.. , it can only be GOD.

    The work got tough for me several times but i still got glowing remarks at my appraisals despite been there for a short while. Again God! i m indeed and truly in awe of what God can do when you just speak his word and he brings it to pass.(So i m not Ms Holiness but we strive)

    Gratitude is all i have as we draw the curtains on 2015.

  11. Chioma

    December 30, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    God is indeed faithful, I just remembered d place wia He brought me from n wia I am today.. He changed my statues immediately after my youth service just d way I desired.. Thank you Jesus because am Nt wia i use to be, U Ave done all tins well for me in d yr 2015..Bigger Thank u for d future I see in 2016..My heart is filled with gratitude..

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 30, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Congratulations Chioma. The keyword is ‘Remember’. Once you can remember, you will see enough reasons to be grateful. I wish you a greater 2016http:///

  12. Frances Okoro

    December 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    I’m grateful for a lot…God has been good, I can’t lie!

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      You are right Frances. I feel honored having you here. I hope to blog like you when I grow up, lol

  13. Suwa

    December 30, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Hugs Toby

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 30, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      Chai I need that hug o, the harmattan is too much, Lmao. Hope you are not a guy shaa, Lol.

  14. Ruthy

    December 30, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks for this piece. God has been soooo good to me this Yr. I can’t tank him enof

  15. Toby Nwazor

    December 30, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Exactly the point I was trying to make. You may not have gotten everything you wanted, but there is still something to be grateful for. Congratulations on all your blessings. I pray that your heart desires will be granted in this coming year ToyinS.

  16. beautifulsoul

    December 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    About the most difficult year of my life but mercy n grace spoke on my behalf. He shields from so much. Eternally grateful even with this heavy heart n tears filled eyes. I knows its to usher me into the next level of glory

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 31, 2015 at 4:03 am

      Aww, so touching. I say a big Amen to your prayers beautiful soul.

  17. zeebaby

    December 30, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Lovely article. I Remember. That my prayer points for d last 3 yrs has bn a good job n hubby. This year, I got married. And became pregnant. Then, got a job with an agency I had bn submitting cvs to for 5 yrs now. Sadly, I had a stillbirth, however, I am thankful for my life and for the fact dat I cld be pregnant. I have friends who have bn hoping for years. Indeed God waved his fingers at me. In 2016, He will surely hold me in His arms. Happy New year in advance, Toby!

    • Toby Nwazor

      December 31, 2015 at 4:01 am

      Thanks Zeebaby. I was touched by your story and by the fact that you chose to remain positive and grateful in spite of that. I pray that God will perfect your testimony in Jesus name. 2016 will surely be a great year for you.

      Compliments of the season

  18. Ijeoma

    December 31, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Too many things to be grateful for. Most grateful that I got the courage to take one of the hardest decisions I can in life. Thanks Toby for the insight. Stay blessed.

  19. Em

    January 1, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    2015 was very challenging for me… The year started really fine as I got married first Saturday of the year, had to cope with marriage adjustments and all, I got my masters degree too. But the saddest day of my life was 4th July 2015 when my dad just slumped and died. I had so many questions to ask as I was pregnant then and was really looking forward to him naming my child but I overcame. I delivered a healthy baby and we have been doing great. It was my most difficult year but I still had the most blessings in 2015. I can’t thank God enough, especially for comfort for my mum. Every time I see how strong she is, I praise God for her life. I am expecting the best in 2016. Thank u Toby for this piece

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