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Life Hacks With Toby: What do You Have in Your Hands?



Pic 1That was what I asked a neighbor that came to charge her phone in my house a few days ago.

“What do you have in your hand?”

“My phone” she replied, bewildered at why I asked.

“Remember the burning Bush? Remember Moses?” I asked further.

“Why am I not surprised Toby? I knew it was going to come down to a motivational speech”, she said amidst laughter.

And that was how I started my sermon yet again!

I’m writing this for anybody here who has a gift that he/she has been ignoring over the years. I’m writing this because of that person who thinks that unless he gets admission into Med School or studies Law, he will never amount to anything in life. I’m writing to just about anybody who has bought into the ‘societal success requirements’ and has written himself/herself off because he/she doesn’t ‘qualify’.

I’m writing this today, because I used to have a similar story.

You see, I knew I was born to write, to speak, to consult, to handle public relations and stuff. But I thought it was nothing. I mean, it was like Moses’ rod (in the Bible): a mere rod with no value.

I still remember the night I sat with my best friend (Arinze) back in school thinking of the course to study. Literature, Mass Communication, English, or even Creative Writing were my options, but I was scared. I was scared because I didn’t see a bright future as a writer.

We both agreed that since I was very intelligent and equally good in Chemistry, I should study Chemical Engineering. With that, I could easily get an Oil Company job, make enough money and then get to pursue my dream.

That was how my Engineering journey started.

I spent what to me were 5 boring years solving dy/dx in Engineering hall and doing TDB (till day break) night studies in our mosquito-infested management science halls. Heck, I even graduated with an above average grade (surprise surprise). As far as I was concerned, my master plan was starting to work out.

Unfortunately, I never got the oil company job. I no even see groundnut oil or red oil company sef.

I got the opportunity to work in three multinational companies, yet I always felt like a square peg in a round hole. I kept switching jobs, and even tried my hands in the buying and selling line. All this while I still had that gnawing voice asking me the annoying question, “What do you have in your hands?” but I kept ignoring it.

Exactly one year later, my shop caught fire. That incident opened my eyes widely. I saw yet again that, buying and selling was not really the answer to that question. I panicked and started job hunting yet again.

Omoh I got frustrated. I remember meeting my Youth pastor with that frustration, and asking him to use his connection to fix me up somewhere. Instead of doing that, he asked me, “Toby what do you have in your hand? That is where your blessing lies.”

I finally had to admit that I was a writer, and a public speaker with the vision of helping people live their best lives, achieve their goals, and build successful businesses while they are at it.

I read the book, “Become a Better You” by Joel Osteen and learnt that if God has blessed me with a gift I should trust him enough to bless me through it no matter how inconsequential it seems.

That was the day I made the ‘foolish’ decision to permanently close my shop and focus on my writing.

And just one year after answering that question, my only regret is not answering it earlier.

Don’t be like me! You don’t have to spend 5 years after graduation before you finally decide to answer that question.

In case nobody has asked you that question, I ask you today:

What do you have in your hands?

What is that gift God gave you which you are looking down on?

What is that thing you can do exceptionally well just for the sake of doing and you will be happy doing it even if you never get paid?

Mine is writing, and now it is opening doors for me all over the globe.

In just one year of answering that vital question everything about my life has changed.

At the risk of being accused of ‘making mouth’, let me say this: I have lost count of people who write to thank me because my write-ups inspired them to take an action that has made their lives better. Time will fail me to talk of those who write me asking for mentorship. I’m fulfilled and happier too.

You can have a better story!

But you need to stop ignoring your gifts. They count. Stop looking down on your talents. They may be all you need to rise.

Imagine Frank Edwards singing with Don Moen. What if he felt his songs were too small?

What of Mikel Obi? What if he felt football was not good enough?

Remember Anuoluwapo, the lady that designed Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday cake? What if she felt she had nothing?

Friends, a stone could be nothing. But in David’s hand it led to the throne. A rod could be nothing, but not in Moses’ hand.

Freelance writing could be nothing, but not in my hands.

Comedy could be nothing, but not when AY is cracking jokes. Singing could be nothing, but not when my friend Kaycee is with the microphone. Creative writing could be nothing but not in Chidike’s hand or Ucylo’s. Chemical Engineering is nothing to me, but definitely not when it is in Chizzy’s hand. Physical fitness training could be inconsequential but not when Chinyere is at it. I could go on.

I hope this inspires you. But even if you hate me for writing this ‘long epistle’ just try and answer this question the same way I did it in March 2015:

What do you have in your hands?

NB: I love this awesome community. But please note that I may not be writing as frequently as I used to. (Money needs to be made too). For now, I will be writing twice a month, and subsequently it may reduce to once a month. Lots of love y’all!

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 about helping entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs build successful start-ups


  1. Moi

    April 29, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Wow, Toby, this hit it on the nail for me. Thank you so much for sharing this, thank you.
    I hope to partner with you one day,

    These two in particular struck a chord with me:
    — What is that gift God gave you which you are looking down on?
    — What is that thing you can do exceptionally well just for the sake of doing and you will be happy doing it even if you never get paid?

    • Toby Nwazor

      April 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

      The pleasure is mine Moi. I am glad the points hit home. I believe the partnership will be mutually beneficial. Lol.
      You can always contact me via my blog ( or email me on [email protected]

  2. onyinye

    April 29, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Indeed, your writing has inspired one more person, your pastor must be a great man. Soi`m asking myself the same thing,” Onyinye, What do you have in your hands?”…….Let me go and figure that out…. Thanks again Toby…

    • Toby Nwazor

      April 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Yes Onyinye, he is. I respect him a great deal (Pastor Kelechi). Please figure it out fast. Time no dey again. See you at the top

  3. Adebeshin Samuel

    April 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

    This is a lovely write-up, aside the humor and soft interactive tone it was written, the point was made and I am truly inspired. Thank you Toby. I’ll be looking forward to more write-ups.

    • Toby Nwazor

      April 29, 2016 at 11:29 am

      I am glad you are Samuel. I believe better ones will come.

  4. Pink

    April 29, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Thank you Toby!

    • Toby Nwazor

      April 29, 2016 at 11:27 am

      No Pink, Thank you for reading

  5. MzA

    April 29, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Thanks. God bless you.

  6. GraceOfGOD

    April 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    @Toby Nwazor

    Good day Sir. FIRST and FOREMOST I want to say that you are INDEED gifted in WRITINGS. I got INSPIRED with MOST of your posts and for that I say THANK YOU. Now concerning this PARTICULAR article I have something to say. PLEASE what I am about to say is NOT to HURT you, neither is it to DISCREDIT your GIFT, but I want to say it for you to IMPROVE and achieve MUCH MORE in your AREA. Sir your LAST articles were DIFFERENT from the previous ONES. I will USE this particular article to SHOW my point:

    1-“We both agreed that since I was very intelligent and equally good in Chemistry, I should study Chemical Engineering. “=>Does it mean that your FRIEND was NOT also VERY INTELLIGENT? Does it mean that ONCE someone is VERY INTELLIGENT he or she can STUDY ANYTHING? Does it mean that VERY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE EXCEL in EVERY AREA?

    2- “I even graduated with an above average grade (surprise surprise).”=> for someone who CLAIMED to be VERY INTELLIGENT why should we be SURPRISED? Or are you the ONE to be SURPRISED at yourself given the FACT that you claimed to be VERY INTELLIGENT?

    3-“At the risk of being accused of ‘making mouth’, let me say this: I have lost count of people who write to thank me because my write-ups inspired them to take an action that has made their lives better. Time will fail me to talk of those who write me asking for mentorship. I’m fulfilled and happier too.”=> It is a VERY GOOD thing that these PEOPLE expressed their GRATITUDE towards YOU. But Sir let OTHERS BLOW your TRUMPET, that way the SOUND is NICIER.

    4- There are OTHER parts but I will STOP here because I believe you KNOW where I am DRIVING at. HUMILITY is IMPORTANT in order to be SUCCESSFUL and REMAIN SUCCESSFUL in this LIFE and GOD likes it when we are HUMBLE. I hope you would FORGIVE me, I mean NO HARM in ESSENCE. May GOD help us ALL to be HUMBLE no matter how BIG our BLESSINGS are in JESUS NAME I prayed, amen. Stay blessed 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Kay

      April 29, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      @Grace you are too deep, drink some cold water please

    • Zikky

      April 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Here we go again with holier than thou people. Stop hiding under your moniker @graceofGod to bully people. Bc in my honest opinion, your criticism wasn’t necessary. If you have actually been reading Toby’s articles as you claim to have been, you should know he is humble in his writings . Using those examples he used in this article was to drive home the point of the article and I see nothing wrong in that.

      Jeez, can people stop over analyzing things. Not everything is that serious and I very believe Toby knows all you mentioned. Again, it was for purposes of this particular article. Abeg, let me face my work jare, things like these just annoy me.

    • Smh

      April 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      I wish you had used another moniker rather than GraceOfGOD because there is nothing grace of God about what you have written up there. You people just keep derailing valuable posts with nonsensical contributions. What is your problem really?

      Nigeria, the land of religiosity but no genuine love or grace towards other people. You should repent of your JUDGMENTAL spirit before pointing fingers at anyone else. All of us that have been following Toby know he is not anywhere close to being a proud person so please go go and sit down please. Please.

      Toby, kindly ignore this commenter above. Na their kind wan pour sand for person garri.

    • Manny

      April 29, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Gerrarehere! You’ve typed nonsense.

    • Toby Nwazor

      April 29, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      @ GraceOfGOD Thanks for your correction.

  7. Anne

    April 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    @GraceofGod, I understand the point you are trying to make. However, I have being following Toby’s work. He is not proud. His unassuming disposition shines through his works. A writer always have to make the difficult decision about what to put out and what to leave out. I write. Writing is an ordeal. Writers revise as many as ten times, redrafting, revising, always thinking, how best do I pass across this message without being coming across as narcissistic, without violating the privacy of friends whose stories I mine for my work? It’s a tedious balancing act . Tony knew that his message will be more inspiring if he gave concrete examples of how his decision to start writing changed his life. That is why “he made mouth.” BN feature writers are not paid. Please let’s appreciate every effort they make.

  8. Abz

    April 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Nice write up Toby. Truly inspiring.

  9. Miwa

    April 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks Toby for the write up really inspiring. But what can one do when one cant seem to know what he/she is blessed with? are there ways this can be discovered? maybe books one can read or anything…cos i really find myself drifting between so many things.

    • Moi

      April 29, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      I agree sometimes it is difficult to tell but I believe subconsciously we all know the answer to this question, teasing it out is the challenge.

      Out of the many things you do,, which of them do you enjoy the most? Which of them comes to you naturally, the one you don’t have to over-stress to get it right, it’s almost a part of you. Also personality comes into play, for example introverts tend to have strengths with writing, extroverts tend to be drawn to things which involve a lot of other people.

    • Toby Nwazor

      April 29, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Hello Miwa, I believe Moi has answered you. Explore all your options. Along the line, some things will grow and some will decrease. Focus on the one(s) that are increasing. Truth is that we never stop discovering ourselves.

      As for what to read, I recommend Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven life, and James Clear’s Creativity.


  10. deedee

    April 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    @Toby, lovely and inspiring article as usual, keep it up because you are really motivating. I am told by a lot of people that they feel very comfortable around me and that i motivate them. I will like to be a motivational speaker but am not one to face a crowd because i get jittery when i do that. How do i overcome that fear?

  11. Cub

    April 29, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks Toby. This came @ a time that I had been asking myself questions as i dnt find fulfilment in my job anymore. Tried switching jobs to no avail and den been praying for God to just show me what to do. Thanks again for this inspiring message.

  12. Chizzy

    April 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Toby, I’m blushing you mentioned me in this post. I love Chemical Engineering and Engineering as a whole but beyond that, I still ask myself what I have in my hands.

    The gift of a man indeed makes way for him.

  13. ceefodz

    April 29, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Hi Toby, you are always refreshing to read. Sometimes I struggle to keep up with everyone coming up as a writer but your articles always strike a good chord. Thank you for talking about this and I wish I had started using my gifts already,because truth be told if you don’t harness your gifts and ideas somehow they find their way to come to life and harass your peace. I have my moments of harassment alot. Lol
    Thank you once again

  14. Chidike

    April 30, 2016 at 1:07 am

    .lool…I feel privileged to be mentioned boss. I have been a silent follower of your works and I am glad our paths crossed in this life. Continue doing what you are doing.
    BTW creative writing is a beautiful Niche, just in case you are here and have wondered if you can make it there. Your gift is bigger than it seems and it takes your faith in it to magnify it.

    Cheers ya’ll.
    thanks again @ Toby

  15. Onyinx

    April 30, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Toby well done with this article….i found it truly refreshing to read and helpful. You see I am at that point in my life where I hv been thinking “WAT NEXT”…. I just finished NYSC ds April and hv been job hunting BT no show yet and I hv a catering business hv been running 4 abt 1yr. So hv been thinking of just facing my business til wenever a white abi na green collar job comes. After reading ur article, I hv 2 ask myself the same question- what is in my hand? Can’t I just horn my skills and set my business up full time rather than and sit home waiting 4 a job 2 come. Tanks Toby tankssss

  16. Esther

    April 30, 2016 at 10:44 am

    This was a really interesting post and a great reminder of not just working to make money. Otherwise you will look back in some years and regret not maximising on your passions and what you have in your hand. ??

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