Prisoner of Attitude

"Thinking is responsible for man's primacy on earth today. Existence is therefore co-terminus with thinking. The ability to out-think the other fellow, a friend or a foe, is the pathway to victory and success in life." - Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe in his book 'Renascent Africa.'

I am an incurable optimist. I believe that with faith, hope, hard work, perseverance and persistent, we can achieve all our desired goals and aspirations in life. I believe that to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the sun, and when the time and season comes we must make the best use of it. I believe that we must put in our best in everything and leave the rest to God. I believe that life is not all that bed of roses because if life were all one unbroken symphony of success, success would itself become boring and as agonising as adversity.

I believe that we must go through some sort of pains, travails, disappointments and tear-filled experiences to make us grow in our faith. I believe God loves all of us and hates nobody, because the thought God has for us are thoughts of peace and not evil, to give us a future and a hope.

Finally, I believe that God gives each and everyone of us talents and opportunities and how we make use of them determines what we become in life. There are certain things God will not do for us because He has given us the intelligence to care for ourselves. But this is a matter of individual's choice because freedom of choice has been the backbone of human race in a given society; either in a supportive or non-supportive environment. Sometimes the environment never made us a prisoner but we are prisoners of our attitude and our thinking. Some of us have a negative attitude to life; hence we refuse to make use of our talents and the various opportunities that come our ways in life.

Keem Bello-Osagie is one of the most respected Nigerians of his generation who became the Chairman of United Bank of Africa (UBA) at a relatively young age. When he was asked in a recent interview the secret of his success and the moving factor, he said: "Each person is given a set of talents by God and it is your responsibility to develop those talents to the very maximum. Talent is important but opportunity is equally important and I must say I've been lucky to have had opportunities and I've tried to make the best use of the opportunities."

The question is: Have we made use of the talents and the opportunities God bestowed on us? What choice are we making in life? Our yesterday determines today. Today, we are the products of what we did or neglected yesterday. If you continue to do what you did yesterday today, I mean if you maintain the status quo, then the future is predictable, and for the most part, the future is not bright because if we keep doing what we always do, we will keep getting the same thing we have always gotten.

So many people believe that if God wanted them to be successful, He will make them successful. What they don't know is that what God does is to give you everything that will make you successful: wisdom, talents, resources, people, opportunities, time etc, it is how you make use of these gifts from God and the choices you make that will determine your success in life.

From our fingerprints to our thoughts pattern, each one of us is a unique creature; although behavioural research shows that people fall into two general categories. In their book, "Relax, Dealing with Stress", Authors Watts & Coppers call these categories internal and external to show how much parental influence affects our ability to direct our lives.

According to Watts & Copper: "Internals are people who see themselves as having control over events and the choices they make. An internal is likely to have come from a background that valued individuality, encouraged a healthy degree of risk-taking and experimentation, viewed change with curiosity and excitement and taught how to approach disappointment in a constructive way. As a result, internals learn to trust talents, judgement and ideas. Crucially, they form the conviction that their life will be what they decide to make it. Externals, on the other hand, tend to feel that other people, the environment and circumstances outside themselves, decide their lives. They might have been subjected to constant criticism, or surrounded by an atmosphere that expected failure."

I believe in the principle of cause and effect, which says that for every effect in our lives, there is a specific cause. We have the ability to control the causes and change the effects to any thing we want. It depends on the choices we make. Our thoughts and attitudes are the primary causes of the conditions of effects in our lives and if we wish our lives to be different in the future, we have to change our thinking in the present.

In the spiritual law, it is called the principle of sowing and reaping. Our harvest in life is based solely on the seed that we have sown. Therefore we are the reason we are where we are. In my native law, according to my mother (Florence), the principle is 'as you lay your bed so you lie on it.'

Life is what we make out of it. Nobody can live it for us except ourselves. The acceptance of total responsibility for our lives is the hallmark of maturity in human beings. The acceptance of responsibility means that from then on in life, we have no more excuses. Walter Begehot opined that "it is often said that men are ruled by their imagination, but it would be truer to say that they are governed by the weakness of their imagination." We learn from our mistakes and mistakes of others. Ebino Topsy affirmed that "those who do not learn from history are doomed to relive it."

By accessing our strengths and using them, we can establish an outlook that is both positive and dynamic. Make things happen rather than waiting passively to see what 'fate and destiny' delivers to our door. When we make commitments to better our condition emotionally, intellectually, mentally and spiritually we are making a lifetime resolution and bidding bye to being a prisoner of attitude.

Dayo Olomu is a UK-based Motivational Speaker, Writer, Business/Life Coach, Trainer, Media Entrepreneur and Competent Toastmaster. His core belief is that we are all endowed with seeds of greatness, and his mission is to help individuals and organisations achieve their full potentials. He is the author of best selling "4 Indispensable Strategies for Success" and the President of Croydon Communicators Toastmasters. Get his FREE monthly Rise to the Top ezine by sending a blank email to or visit his website at:">