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Your Better Self with Akanna: Don’t Be Street Smart, Be Wise

Akanna Okeke



Akanna OkekeIt seems like whenever there’s a lady in my life, I begin to hear the words ‘street smart’ or ‘street wise’ more and more, especially from family.  The fear is always that I am not “street wise” and she is, and so she’s bound to take advantage of that to manipulate me, since I am naïve.

So, it has recently come up again.  And this time, instead of being offended by it, I sought to understand what this whole being street smart or wise thing is all about so I can at least know where they’re coming from.

A definition I liked the most was one I found in the Urban Dictionary.  There, “street smarts” is defined as:

Intelligence gained outside of school. Just as useful as book smarts, and in many cases more so. It can be divided into 4 categories.

1. Getting Along With Others – Knowing which questions to ask and not asking too many, being polite and friendly, but also being assertive.

2. Common Sense – Knowing who you can trust, which areas in town are good and which are bad, etc.

3.Self-defense-Knowing how to fight and fend off an attacker, especially if you are small.

4. BS-detection – Knowing when people are trying to f–  you over, reading their intentions, and knowing that most corporate advertisements are complete b-s.

I could then see that the fourth category is where my family’s concern for me kind of falls into.  Do I know when people are trying to take advantage of me?  Can I read their intentions?  Do I know whom to trust?

They believe that because I’ve not been a “bad boy”, I can’t possibly know these things. “You have lived a protected life”, they would say.  Bad boys have been out on the streets, they’ve played with girls’ hearts, they’ve got into a lot of trouble and they’ve got out of trouble also, they’ve rolled with the wrong crew, and so on.  And from all those many experiences, they’ve acquired the street smarts needed to deal wisely in the world out there.

Well, I don’t know about all that.  But I do know that there’s always a way that seems very wise in most people’s eyes and that way always eventually leads to destruction.  And if your wisdom is not one from above but from as low as the streets, then it certainly isn’t divine and its end is usually destruction.

I think street smarts or street wisdom is required to run the streets or to survive while there.  And unless one wants to remain there, one should look above the streets and seek wisdom that is required not to run the streets but to run the world; not to survive on the streets but to thrive in the world.

It is wisdom gained outside of school.  It is more useful than book smarts and street smarts.  It can be acquired without the necessity of being out there on the streets, thugging.  And its knowledge can be passed on from one generation to another, activated into wisdom by simply putting it to practice.

It can be divided into 3 categories.

  1. Faith and Morality – Learning to stand for something so that we don’t just fall for anything. Our faith is where our values come from as well as our definition of good and evil, right and wrong. And this is what forms our beliefs, which drive what we do throughout our lives. If we have the wrong set of beliefs, then we’ll make the wrong set of life choices and end up in bad shape.
  2. Male-Female Relationships – Understanding that this drives a lot of our actions in the world, beneath the surface, and that the way one gender sees things is often the total opposite of how the other does. For instance, it will be foolish for a guy to rely on his eyes, instead of his ears, while making the decision of what girl to end up with. And it will be foolish for a lady to rely on the redemptive power of the prospect of sexual and erotic love to change a boy into the man she needs him to be.
  3. Money – Becoming a good money manager. Developing good saving and investing habits, working hard at a career or building a business, not wasting the early, hustling days of your life running the streets being ‘social’.

If we look back on our lives or look at those of others, we would realize that major life mistakes that we make almost always fall into any of these 3 categories.  It’s either we are careless with money, or we get into a bad relationship with the wrong person, or we miss it in terms our beliefs which is the most fatal.

These 3 things are also what drive people.  People fight each other because of faith, money, or over a lover.  In fact, nations have been known to go to war over these three things.

When we understand that these are what motivate people, then we are able to easily discern the intentions behind their actions and know how to relate with them appropriately.  We won’t be easily taken advantage of because we understand how the world works and what makes the people in it tick.

So, I’d rather not concern myself with acquiring street smarts.  I would instead occupy myself with gaining more wisdom; understanding how the world really works and applying it practically. That way, I’d end up not being so pedestrian as to attract a lady of the streets to myself, since like begets like.

Akanna is an avid reader, writer, Risk Analyst and a budding Social Entrepreneur. He’s passionate about personal development, and influencing others to succeed!


  1. Daughter of Zion

    April 24, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Nice write up. God bless you .

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      April 25, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks so much, O Daughter of Zion 🙂 May God bless you too!

  2. mz_daniels

    April 24, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    this is sooooo wise.

    we see a lot of these street smarts children tie themselves in a long rope anyway.

    i’ll rather be wise.

    Can I famz and say ‘my friend Akanna, is a great man’

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      April 24, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      “I would rather be wise” – sounds like a good hashtag you know? 😉

      Yes, mz_daniels, famzing is allowed! LOL

  3. Ephi

    April 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Wise words indeed.
    Besides, so many who think they are street smart still end up being ‘beaten’. Life goes beyond street smartness.

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      April 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      It sure does, Ephi! Only God’s wisdom is guaranteed to take us up from the streets onto where he wants us to dominate in the world 🙂


    April 24, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Soooo basically there’s a new girl in your life… Nice ???. Tell us about her next time ☺☺☺

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      April 25, 2018 at 4:54 am

      Lol! I like your deductive reasoning, Thelma 😉

  5. Funmilola

    April 25, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Wisdom is the principal thing…..

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      April 25, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Therefore, get wisdom!!! 🙂

  6. teekay

    April 25, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    I totally agree with this write up, most especially the three summary you listed.
    Well done…

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      April 26, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks teekay! 🙂

  7. Carla

    April 25, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    So good. I like this reasoning

    • Akanna Okeke

      Akanna Okeke

      April 26, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      Glad it makes sense to you Carla! Thanks for writing in and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  8. Ex Illiterate

    April 26, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Very misleading write up, so cliche.. could as well just been a church sermon,
    Contrary to what u just wrote..

    “its actually wisdom to be street smart”

    There is no universal template whatsoever on how life works, even in the Bible every great leader needed different skills to survive in their era, the skills Isreal needed to excel is different from the one moses needed,the skills samson needed to survive his era is different from the one daniel or prophet elijah needed, in every chapter of the bible we read about people who have taken pains to understand the culture of their environment (Socialization) while deciding to forge their own path instead..

    And no.. being street smart is not being Immoral, I can be a pastor and still be street smart, besides even the term “Morality” is bias, the concept of what is wrong or right or even how to behave acceptably differs from society to society, what might be acceptable and wise in one might be offensive in the other, E.g A well dressed man in a sharp expensive suit is seen as responsible and classy in Nigeria, but in Italy he would likely be mistaken for a Mob gangster, hence if you are there being street smart would have you dress as moderately as possible.. sleeping with a mans wife is highly immoral in most Nigerian societies but in some cultures in the world even in parts of Benue where men offer their youngest wife as a gist to a visitor passing the night at their place, they would find it highly offensive if they are turned down, so again I ask what is morality? the fact that indulgence in drug use, provocative dress habit, same sex marriage, reversal on gender roles, gun control, abortion, incest and other variables are already debatable topics these days cast an aspersion on the concept of universal morality already.. so what exactly is morality again? and is that a yardstick for wisdom or survival in the present age?

    Dont decieve gullible youths into conforming to baseless informations due to their laziness to research for themselves, being street wise is not just an urban slang it is a crucial timeless survival hack and maybe you just felt compelled to write something you think makes sense or something, because it hurts my intellect when you say

    ” I’d rather not concern myself with acquiring street smarts. I would instead occupy myself with gaining more wisdom; understanding how the world really works and applying it practically”

    Cuz if being street smart is not part of the set of knowledge you hope to acquire in your quest to understand how the world really works?

    then what form of knowledge exactly are you after.?

  9. Lamzie

    April 27, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I had mixed feelings when i read this because for the best part of my life (I’m 38+) I intentionally took the position that “wisdom” excludes street smartness and I had to learn the hard way that being street smart is actually a big part of being wise. So, like Ex Illiterate mentioned above, I strongly agree that it is actually wisdom to be street smart.

    Guess what, even Jesus taught His disciples to be street wise, they had been with Him for sometime and he had brought them up to take the nature of sheeps but as soon as it was time for them to go into the world on their own, the advise He gave them was simple: “be wise as a serpent!” (“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, KJV). The NIV says, “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
    The serpent is street wise, Jesus was saying, in order for His disciples to make it in the world of wolves, they as sheep must take on the wisdom of a serpent while ensuring they do not lose themselves in the process. This, is what wisdom is.
    Urban dictionary is on point with the definition, your family is right, Jesus is most definitely right. wisdom is profitable for direction.

    • susi cho

      May 14, 2018 at 7:20 am

      Dear lamzie if you ever get to read this i believe you dont know anything about Gods wisdom, its all encompassing ie it covers every facet of life and this if completely applied protects a person from unseen danger. Ihv had to meet pple who looked and sound good, weel packaged but deep within me i keep getting this (dont go there) nudge and in the long run it turns out to be true that they arewrong for me.Be it a business partner or even people in the church becos they are there too, infact every where ohh. So dear being street smart limits you

    • Lamzie

      July 3, 2018 at 10:51 am

      Susi cho, you are so wrong about me. God in His wisdom said not to judge, yet you Judge in your godly wisdom! You don’t know me, you don’t know anything about my relationship with God and your opinion about me is untrue, unnecessary, uncalled for and an absolute digression from what is being discussed. You could have easily made your statement without the first line, and by the way, are you trying to say Jesus did not say what I wrote? God is infinite in wisdom and no one is claiming street wisdom is better than God’s wisdom when it is actually part of God’s wisdom.
      You seem to believe street wisdom means being evil or sinful, Jesus said be wise as a serpent but do not loose your nature as a sheep, don’t loose your innocence in the process, in other words, don’t become a serpent while you are at it.
      Please look at Akanna’s definition from the urban dictionary again: Street wisdom means: Getting along with others, Common sense, Self defense, bull shit detection, tell me are these bad vices for a child of God to have? or did Jesus not say what He said?

  10. susi cho

    May 14, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Akanna xie xie i want to say really it takes lots of courage to write the truth especially in times like this when the abnormal has become the normal, i pray God gives you more wisdom to keep writing words that will change poeple just like francine rivers but in your own unique way. when we talk about Gods wisdom its only those with the spirit of God that can understand. My friend who is an accountant recently,, was asked by her boss to change the original amount of money meant to be entered to a lesser amount. Here the street wisdom will say ” ohh its your boss do it so you dont get fired” but i told my frienid she shouldnt and she should rather get fired with honour. Trust me not everyone will understand this, so its a chioce, and i have heard of pple who actually chose the God wisdom and suffered severely this experience wud make them tink they shud hv chosen the former. Lols its well

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