What would be your reaction?
You happen to be at my ‘Seers Empowerment Summit’ live session (you may click here for more about that); I walk to the stage with a sealed tin of milk in my hand and try to place/suspend the tin of milk in mid-air (without anything supporting or holding it) and you are staring keenly at me, so I call you to come and do it for me. How would you feel; what would be your reaction?
Interestingly, and metaphorically, most people in this life (likely including your good self) are trying to suspend a tin of milk in mid-air; this is a summary of the surprising habits that make life difficult. Specifically, the four key habits that make life difficult are as follows…
- The Pleasure-Pain Principle
- The Processionary Caterpillar Syndrome
- Unconscious Incompetence
These feed into each other (or overlap) in a sense, and all other known causes can be classified under them; if you get to understand them and avoid their negative effects, life becomes simple/easy and meaningful!
Accident According to Plan
Soon after my six years of university education I joined the Youth Fellowship in church and along the line got elected to lead the fellowship; I soon reckoned that I really needed to learn ‘Leadership’ otherwise it would be like trying to suspend a tin of milk in mid-air. So I headed to my favourite bookshop and got leadership books, and some general self-help books (like ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad,’ ‘See You at the Top,’ ‘An Enemy Called Average,’ Etc.) that caught my attention. That was the beginning of an unforgettable experience; the more I read those self-help books, the more I realised how much useful information I had missed in my education; I even had to unlearn some things in order to relearn. One of the most shocking discoveries (that actually marked a major turning point in my life and career) was Harvard University’s sad finding about Education that points to the fact that Formal Education is able to harness only up to 22 percent of people’s true effectiveness and greatness in life.
Why hadn’t anybody drawn our attention to this fact, and to self-help books while in school (as part of our education) and emphasised their equal importance as the mainstream courses we were being taught? Well, it was better late than never, so the book corners/sections became my favourite places in the supermarkets; within a couple of years, I bought and read more than 100 self-help books (some of them I read over and over again) in addition to the Hebrew-Greek-enabled Bible (See my ‘Exposition on the Nature of God‘ and/or the ‘Amazing Biblical Insights‘ section). And the researching/learning has continued since; specialising on Human & Organisational Performance Improvement Techniques and Strategies. I was moved to collate the best and most effective principles, techniques and strategies that can harness the true/hidden potential of any individual (or group of individuals) no matter the person’s background and current circumstances. i.e. irrespective of a person’s age, gender, looks, financial resources, educational background, etc! I have written 13 special books/manuals to outline and teach those principles, techniques and strategies; I call these 13 special books/manuals the Zing4Life! Series; there are bundled versions as well: the Full Manual, and the Power Duo. You may click here to see more about Zing4Life!
It took more than 7 years of intensive research and development on my part to finish that (in practical terms) and I keep improving upon them, because I want them to be current and remain the best in the world. Those principles, techniques and strategies are amazing; they guide you on your current goals and future aspirations: how to make them better/exceptional, and also get to achieve them easily/quickly! I am thus truly excited to present, from a rich pool of rare and privileged resources and experience, details of the four key habits that make life difficult, as follows…
The Pleasure-Pain Principle
The ‘pleasure-pain principle’ states that, “Man is in constant motion towards anything that gives him or will give him pleasure and away from anything that gives him or will give him pain.” Let me illustrate this principle, and its effect, with a suitable example…
If you are very observant, and very objective or practical/realist, you will agree with me that there is no substitute for hardwork, if you want to enjoy good things in life; fortunately, most people know this; even the Bible makes it abundantly clear: Proverbs 6:10, Proverbs 10:4-5, Proverbs 12:24, Proverbs 22:29, Proverbs 24:30-34, Proverbs 28:19, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, James 2:14-26, etc. However, when you are told that you can get the good things of this world from God (unseen) if you just faithfully engage in certain religious acts such as prayer, fasting, tithing, seed-sowing, offering, faith/believing, free acts of service to the church/pastors, etc. without having to work so hard since you will be favoured supernaturally, especially as God will put hardworking angels at your disposal, and even cause men to shower you with goodies/blessings, you are likely to prefer that and actually consciously or unconsciously/subconsciously defer to that, since it sounds easier and a lot more pleasurable; as opposed to having to work hard (or smart). This explains why we find so many very religious people around and yet a whopping lot are not making any significant difference/impact in life; I’m yet to hear of even one single country, sector, constituency or workplace where believers are noted to be relatively higher performers than unbelievers.
Recently at a seminar, I conducted a survey to somewhat test the example above; I wrote down the two seemingly-conflicting statements reproduced below, gave the participants some slips, and asked them to privately choose which of the statements best described how they believed or thought their pressing problems would be solved; they were to choose either A, or B, or both A and B…
A. God will solve all my problems and provide all my needs, wants, and cares.
B. I will have to work very hard to find the solutions/answers to my needs, wants, and cares.
Guess what? Even though majority of them indicated that they needed a combination of the two, those who believed that ‘God will solve all their problems and provide all their needs, wants, and cares’ were four times (multiple) the number of those who believed that they would have to work very hard to find the solutions/answers to their needs, wants, and cares. This is one of the major reasons why a lot of Christians in Africa are relatively poor and suffer needlessly; living far below their God-given potential, simply because they are waiting on God whereas in most cases God is rather waiting on them to work hard (or smart). By the way, don’t confuse ‘sheer labour’ with hardwork; you may click here to see the difference.
The simplest approach to avoiding (or otherwise, overcoming) the negative influence of the ‘pleasure-pain principle’ is to exercise self-discipline, and to seek adequate/reliable knowledge, especially to get to understand what it means to work hard, and to actually work hard; in the least, you need to get to know and apply the Zing4Life! principles, especially principles from Part 9; you may click here to see more.
The Processionary Caterpillar Syndrome
To appreciate the nature and effect of this syndrome, you first need to know about the processionary carterpillar – a variety of the organism that develops into the butterfly; see the photograph below. They are given the name ‘processionary’ because they have the habit of dutifully and ‘blindly’ following each other, no matter how they are lined up, or where they are going, even if to destruction; the ‘FTC’ (Follow-the-Crowd) kind of attitude!
John Henry Fabre, a researcher, conducted a very interesting experiment; he placed these caterpillars in a circle, and for 24 hours, they dutifully followed one another round and round and round. Fabre then placed the caterpillars around a saucer full of pine needles (their favourite food) and for 6 days the processionary caterpillars were moving around the saucer, dying from starvation and exhaustion, even though an abundance of good food was within 2 inches reach. That’s ‘activity without productivity!’ It is terrible!
The above illustrates exactly how so many people live their lives; just following/maintaining the ‘status quo’ even if to eventual destruction, without questioning; let alone seeking help, and chances are that you have already been affected negatively by this! Indeed, if you take every 100 individuals, then with the exception of 3 of them, all of the people will be underestimating themselves, and will thus be using very little (far less than 10 percent) of their true potential. So there is 97 out of 100 chances (97 percent probability) that you personally underestimate your capabilities and use very little (far less than 10 percent) of your true/hidden potential; as a result of this very potent and prevalent processionary caterpillar syndrome. You may click here to check that for yourself; in a very simple exercise and see. This is the root cause of almost all the difficulties we face in life.
One typical example of this processionary caterpillar syndrome is waiting to ‘complete school’ before consciously working to earn income; the age at which most people start earning income is too late and unhealthy! Since money is so important, why not start making it very early; especially since a lot of adults have money inadequacy issues? After all, with good time managment skills (that one can acquire very early in life; say age seven to nine) a person can effectively combine schooling with working, and also start investing early. You may click here to see more.
In addition to getting to know and apply the Zing4Life! principles, techniques and strategies, one very potent way to avoid the negative influence of the processionary caterpillar syndrome is to be very much interested in the background/life story (biography) of high achievers in life; people often assume that somehow God has just favoured them, but it’s often the case that they took/take certain unpopular practical steps (against the status-quo) that you can also take to achieve similarly amazing results.
As I earlier indicated, one of the most shocking discoveries during my research was Harvard University’s sad finding about Education that points to the fact that Formal Education is able to harness only up to 22 percent of people’s true effectiveness and greatness in life. Indeed, Harvard University noted that, though aptitude is responsible for only 15 percent of success in life, and attitude accounts for 85 percent, 90 percent of the time and money spent on formal education is spent developing the aptitude, whereas only 10 percent of the time and finances is spent developing the attitude. Research done under the auspices of Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and other institutions corroborates this. The resultant effect is that a lot of people graduate from our tertiary institutions and enter the world of work with a lot less of the requisite soft skills, but without knowing so. So, most of such people operate from a position of unconscious incompetence; they do not know ‘what they do not know’ so they are ineffective but unaware, and thus not interested in adding on complementary knowledge; especially the soft skills. Truly, “Education and schooling are not the same thing. What goes on inside the schools are not always education, and the result may well be to reduce productive capacity rather than to increase it;” in the words of Prof. Sir, William Arthur Lewis. And so “The great obstacle to progress is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge,” as Daniel Boorstin puts it. Thankfully, there is enough documented knowledge on how to deal with 99.99 percent of all the issues we are faced with, and with the power of the internet and also life-coaching seminars, it is easy to have access to such knowledge if one so desires; you may click here to see more about the foundational resource. It is said that, “What you will become 5 years from now depends on the books you read and the people you meet;” roger that!
Unconscious incompetence puts restrictive boundaries around people, and limit their ability to get pleasing results; so the good book says that, “For lack of knowledge, my people perish;” in other words, ‘Owing to unconscious incompetence, people go through hardships!” Conversely, “When you know the right things, the boundaries around your life suddenly disappear;” in the words of Brian Sher.
Fortunately for you, you are reading this and have the chance to sample the Zing4Life! principles, techniques and strategies; then you can get to become conscious of the foundational complementary knowledge and soft skills that you should know (that you most likely do not know). You will move from a position of unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence; then with a decision and some effort on your part, you get to acquire the complementary foundational knowledge and soft skills, and you get to become consciously competent; the boundaries around your life will suddenly disappear! With time you become unconsciously competent, and then finally a master, as you continually put the principles, techniques and strategies into practice.
False-faith refers to having a strong belief that is not based on either sound doctrine, science, or common sense. For instance, ‘to take a promise made to a specific character/person in the Bible (say a promise made to Jeremiah) and simply assume that God has made that promise to you’ may constitute false-faith. Also, to believe strongly that ‘you can get the good things of this world from God if you just faithfully engage in certain religious acts such as prayer, fasting, tithing, seed-sewing, offering, faith/believing, free acts of service to the church/pastors, etc. without having to work so hard since you will be favoured supernaturally, especially as God will put hardworking angels at your disposal, and even cause men to shower you with goodies/blessings’ is false faith; there is no sound biblical basis for such a belief as you can never take out hardwork from the success equation; “Faith without works is dead!” A lot of Christians suffer from this.
In my article: What the Church Refuses to Teach About Christianity, I cited the case of hearing a very respectable man of God (with a large following) preaching on radio and teaching that there are three solutions to any and every problem: that, the first is ‘prayer,’ the second is ‘prayer,’ and the third is also ‘prayer!’ And I raised similar concerns, especially about the danger of such thinking. If prayer was indeed the solution to every problem, Africa would be paradise by now; or perhaps we should stop everything else and just pray for solutions to our problems, since our problems are indeed many; you may click here to see more. Please beware of a lot of those nice sounding promise-laden ‘christian’ themes and confessions; unless they lead you to also take sound practical action such as working hard to provide for yourself; a lot of them are just clichés.
Don’t misunderstand me; I am a believer who has seen some real supernatural deliverance in my life. I am still alive because of some miracles that have happened in my life, and miracles still do happen; but there is a reason why they are called miracles; they are called miracles because they are not the normal/natural cause of things/life; they don’t happen regularly or that often so it is dangerous to factor definitive miracles into your plan; it is said that, “Hope is not a strategy!” The fact that you believe something so much from your deepest internal conviction does not necessarily mean it is really true or sound, and I have seen countless number of faithful Christians who somehow think that God has disappointed them because God did not do something they were trusting him so much to do; in the real sense God did not disappoint them, it is just that they had false-faith. We have to know for sure what the Bible is saying. And equally importantly, we have to know what the Bible is not saying. Likewise we must know when a minister is making an emotional wish/declaration for our lives, as against revelational prophecy; the former is often the case.
Common Combined Example
The following illustrations is the combined effect of all the above in the academic/knowledge/truth circles. Even though each individual born into this world has the inborn capability to pursue and attain excellence in all the subjects, majority of people underperform. Some attain Average, which is generally classified with the Poor bracket as the bottom because their combined value does not compare anywhere near that of Excellent Performance. Which one would you prefer to attend to you; a Doctor who performed excellently in school, or one who performed averagely? Certainly, the one who performed excellently in school!
This happens mainly because most people only apply reading, and perhaps prayer to their learning; all because of a combination of the pleasure-pain principle, processionary-caterpillar syndrome, unconscious incompetence and false-faith. Reading is a popular learning method, and indeed the main method people use, but it is a lower method; so ordinarily, if a person reads something, he/she is likely to remember only 10 percent of it, after 2 weeks. There are 12 methods in the series, and the higher methods of learning allow a person to understand so well, and to remember over 90 percent; even after 2 weeks; so much more effective! You may click here to see more.
The world is a beautiful place but life can be tough! Thankfully you know the four key habits that make life difficult; they may appear simple but they are terribly affecting lives negatively, especially in Africa (You may click here to see more). Indeed, they are the major reasons why a lot of the countries in Africa are bedeviled with age old developmental problems such as indiscriminate littering, ignorance, illiteracy, diseases, unemployment, stack poverty and general underdevelopment; even though Africa is very rich in natural resources, and almost all the people are very religious and have been praying fervently and consistently; besides the Universities, Polytechnics, Training Colleges, and Technical Schools produce numerous intellectuals – Professors, Doctorate Holders, Masters Holders, Diploma Holders, and a whole lot of people with serious academic credentials; some from very reputable universities across the globe.
People should get and apply the Zing4Life! principles, techniques and strategies, and stop trying to suspend a tin of milk in mid-air! Join me in creating the awareness; you can start by simply sharing this article on social media (and with others) and move on to apply the lessons/insights to improve your personal life; indeed, for a truly fulfilling life!
See you at the top!
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