You’re a Product of Your Choices

By Azugbene Solomon

The more you love and respect your decisions, the less you need others to love them.

We are a product of our choices, that doesn’t mean bad choices make us bad people, it means we should find fulfilment in our choices to create fulfillment in ourselves. Seeking approval from others is a slippery slope, and that thirst won’t turn off once you get enough imaginary applause from the imaginary audience. Loving your choices is loving yourself, we can’t make everyone happy, many of us struggle to make ourselves happy, but that’s where we should start. Once we create happiness for ourselves we can share that with others, and motivate them to do the same.

Everyone faces tragedies, trials, and obstacles in life. That’s just part of life. No one ever promised life would be easy. And the fact is, life’s heartaches are often opportunities where we can learn and grow the most.

The way you choose to respond to life’s tragedies will determine whether you develop the attitude of a survivor or a victim. You can choose to think and behave in a productive manner, even when you feel pain and sorrow.

Avoid Wallowing in Self-Pity

So often, people waste time feeling sorry for themselves when they encounter a problem. They spend precious minutes of their lives complaining to others about how bad things are or they sit around and dwell on their negative emotions. Each minute they waste complaining and wallowing is a minute that they could have spent trying to improve their situation.

Choosing to wallow in self-pity will only make you remain stuck. Feelings of self-pity will hold you back from making healthy choices. Feeling sorry for yourself will waste time and precious energy.

Time doesn’t heal anything. In fact, if you choose to allow yourself to wallow in self-pity, you’ll feel worse as more time passes. Choosing to take action is the only thing that can make your situation better.

Remember, you aren’t the only one in the world with problems. In fact, there are many people in the world who choose to overcome much bigger problems every day.

Choose to Overcome Adversity

Behaving in a productive manner will reduce your feelings of self-pity. It will help you find strength. Just because you feel pity for yourself, doesn’t mean you have to behave in a pitiful manner.

When you experience problems and adversity, it’s up to you to decide how you want to respond. You can choose to allow it to define you, or you can choose to make it a defining moment. Choosing to face problems head on with an open-mind will help you become a stronger person.

Choose Your Attitude

There are plenty of things in life that aren’t within your control. You can’t control other people, certain health problems, or how the world around you operates. You can however, always choose your attitude. Choosing to go through life with a positive attitude and a desire to be a survivor rather than a victim is up to you.

No matter how bad things are, you always have choices. You can choose to get back up when life pushes you down, even if you don’t feel like. Learning how to tolerate distress will give you more confidence that what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.

You were put on this earth because you’re strong enough to live it. Don’t waste time wishing things were different or insisting that life isn’t fair. Life wasn’t meant to be fair. It was meant to be lived, no matter what circumstances you encounter. Make a conscious choice to live a life that’s worth living, even when you don’t feel like it.

1. You’re a Product of Your Choices Not a Victim of Your Circumstances by The Poet Project.

2. You’re a Product of Your Choices Not a Victim of Your Circumstances by Amy Morin, LCSW

Mentoring The Youth Matters

Adolescents Mentoring Program

By Azugbene Solomon

We understand the benefits of mentoring young people when we hear the powerful stories of teens whose lives have been changed by a single, caring adult. If you listen, those stories are everywhere. Like me, you likely have a story of a mentor from your own youth.

What we know about mentoring is that it matters to positive youth development. Now, one of the largest mentoring studies ever conducted continues to support this thinking and links mentoring to a reduction in bullying.Mentoring creates positive impact in youth’s lives. Youth with mentors have higher rates of high school graduation and are less likely to drop out of school. They find more self-confidence, self esteem, and are able to create big goals for themselves. Additionally, studies show that behavior, attitudes, and relationships improve when a youth has a mentor. Mentors help children grow and close the social and/or economic opportunity gap.

According to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, children at risk who had a mentor were:

  • 55% more likely to enroll in college

  • 52% less likely to skip school

  • 37% less likely to skip class

  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly

  • 90% interested in become a mentor themselves

  • 130% more likely to hold leadership positions

Youth who had a mentor also showed a better attitude towards school.

Regular meetings between mentor and student saw that youth were:

  • 46% less likely to use drugs

  • 27% less likely to drink

  • 81% more likely to participate in extracurricular activities

Youth also showed less depressive symptoms when they met regularly with their mentor.

While meeting a student or child once or twice a month may not seem like a huge impact, mentors are creating positive change in the lives of their students. Mentors become someone that youth look up to and trust; and youth may see their own dreams in their mentor. Being a mentor is a rewarding experience that allows us to be the person our younger selves needed.

A five year study sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada found that children with mentors were more confident and had fewer behavioral problems. Girls in the study were four times less likely to become bullies than those without a mentor and boys were two times less likely. In general, young people showed increased belief in their abilities to succeed in school and felt less anxiety related to peer pressure.

Mentoring relationships with youth are complex and there is more to be learned about what makes them succeed, particularly when mentors are matched through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters and other kinds of nonprofits. In my own research with teens who became engaged citizens, all of the young people in the study had naturally developed mentee-mentor relationships with adults sometime during their middle and high school years. None were matched by organizations. Nonparent mentors – teachers, clergy, and civic leaders – were highly instrumental in how these teens learned to believe in themselves and tackle challenging goals – much like those in the Big Brothers Big Sisters study.

Six Qualities that Make You a Good Mentor for Youth

Most studies have focused more on the effects of mentorship on youth and less on what adults actually do in their role as mentors. But in my interviews with more than 40 young people who were mentored by adults, some common and important themes emerged.

Young people agreed that you are more likely to influence their life path if you possess the following six qualities:

1. You are Supportive

By far, the most important role of a mentor is to support and encourage young people, particularly as they struggle to overcome obstacles and solve problems. When young people feel down, upset with their families, or unhappy in their life situations, mentors are beside them, letting them talk about anything and reminding them of their innate value.

2. You are an Active Listener

Mentors listen first and speak last. Many teens mentioned how little they feel listened to by most adults. Often, they feel inferior even when they have good ideas. But mentors are different. They always listen, even when they are not obligated to do so.

3. You Push — Just Enough

As parents can attest, most teens don’t respond well to being pushed out of their comfort zones, particularly within families. But teens really like to have high expectations set for them – both academically and personally. They appreciate when mentors push them beyond what they may have imagined they could accomplish. In fact, this is likely the reason why mentored youth from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to attend college.

4. You Have Authentic Interest in Youth as Individual

Teens can tell the difference between adults who are authentically interested in them as individuals and those who are just playing a role. Mentors engage youth to understand all aspects of their lives and interests. They value young people’s ideas and honor their changing feelings and moods.

5. You Foster Self Decision-Making

Good mentors don’t judge young people or impose their own beliefs on them. Instead they remind teens who they are and help them believe they have the insights to make good choices. Knowing they are not being judged helps young people think through decisions critically, sifting through the deeper values that will inform the adults they become.

6. You Lend Perspective

Adult mentors provide perspective to young people from their additional years of life experience. When obstacles seem overwhelming, mentors help put those challenges in perspective. They also help young people see both sides of a situation, helping model the skills of positive skepticism.

What other qualities make good mentors for young people? How can we provide mentoring relationships to all teens? Please share your insights and experiences.

1. Bu Community Service Center: The Importance of Youth Mentorship

2. Psychology Today: Mentoring Youth Matters by Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D

Nigeria: RoSF Grooms youths on enterprise, entertainment, others

By Editor

In order to encourage enterprise and build capacity among youths, Rose of Sharon Foundation, through its Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) recently organised a workshop where seasoned professionals in various fields mentored young people on life-changing skills for self reliance.
The programme with the theme- Young Entrepreneurs of the 21st Century: Bridging the Knowledge Gap is the third edition and more than 500 youths participated at the workshop.

Experts at the seminar focused on leveraging technology for global competitiveness, how to thrive in the Agricultural sector and developing financial management skills.

They also taught participants how to succeed in the entertainment and fashion industry and how to bring their business to light using online digital marketing.

Speaking at the event which held at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, RoSF Founder, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, said YEP is the foundation’s career development and capacity building programme for graduates and undergraduates, job seekers, working class and self-employed youths.

She said it was tailor-made to address specific career needs of the participants.

“The aim is to equip them with knowledge and life-changing skills they need for self-reliance to support their families and become a useful part of the society,’ she added.

While noting that dearth of knowledge abounds among young entrepreneurs, the founder said it is imperative for them to get the requisite information and knowledge before embarking on any venture.

Alakija pointed out that entrepreneurs must understand the dynamics of the industry to avoid falling into land mines.

Speaking on finance management skills, Finance Management Consultant and one of the lead speakers, Mr. Adewumi Oni, stressed on the need to control the usage of money to ensure successful prosecution of business initiatives.

To do this, he outlined steps for entrepreneurs to take to scale likely financial challenges in business.

According to him, having a financial plan, setting a budget, and learning to live within one’s means are essentials for every entrepreneur.

Oni also advised participants to develop multi streams of income, invest more in assets than liabilities, avoid get-rich-quick schemes, learn how to leverage on people’s experience, strength and resources and borrow only to finance asset or income yielding investments while also investing in themselves.

Speaking on Entertainment and Fashion: Perspectives for Youth Empowerment, award-winning actor, and movie producer, Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha delved into how young entrepreneurs could bridge the knowledge gap in entertainment and fashion.

According to her, youths need to tap from existing knowledge from experienced practitioners to break into the industry and make impact.

“You need experience, wealth of knowledge and you need to be in the presence of those who can use experience to guide you,” she said.

Akpotha stressed the need for entrants into the industry to network and relate with people who are doing well in their areas of interest.

According to her, being a young entrepreneur may not be easy, but it is very rewarding.

Other speakers at the event include a life coach, Ambassador Utchay Odims, Digital Media Consultant, Mr. Jude Oguta, Managing Director and
Chief Executive Officer, Sophia ERP Limited, Mr. Conrad Adigwe, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Moore Money, Mr. Yussuf Billiamin Moore.

This article was first published on 8th, December 2018 by Guardian Nigeria.

5 Things Every Young Person Should Look for in a Mentor

By Nicolas Cole

I have had multiple mentors in my life, all in varying industries, niches, and interests.

I can say with one hundred percent confidence that they were one of the biggest drivers behind my growth as a person.

However, knowing how to find a mentor and also knowing who to let mentor you are two extremely difficult things for people to wrap their heads around.

A lot of people say, “I wish I had a mentor,” not yet sure of what it is they actually want to learn.

And a lot of other people are quick to call someone their mentor without even asking themselves whether that person is the right “fit” for them in the first place.

If you are looking for someone to mentor you, especially if you are just getting started with something new, maybe you recently graduated college or are looking to make a career change, here is what you need to be aware of — and what you should look for:

1. They Practice What They Preach
Finding people who “talk the talk” isn’t hard — and honestly, you can find that on YouTube.

What you’re looking for is someone who “walks their walk.” They won’t be perfect — and you shouldn’t expect them to be (we are human after all). But pertaining to the thing you want to learn, look for someone who walks the walk.

That’s the thing about mentorship that people get confused. People think of mentors as “all-knowing” people who can help them with everything, when in reality a successful mentorship is very focused. You choose a mentor for a specific reason, something you want to learn. And yes, there will be ancillary benefits, but a mentor is someone who does what you want to do one day, really well. You’re there to learn that one (or those two, or three) things from them. Not necessarily everything.

So, based on what you want to learn, look for someone who “walks the walk” with the thing you want to one day embody yourself.

2. They Want To Invest In You, And You Want To Invest In Them
A mentorship goes both ways.

It is an exchange. It is not, “I’m young and inexperienced and so you should give me all the answers.” Not even close. Even if you are young and inexperienced, it’s your job to push yourself to learn, integrate, and then bring new knowledge to the table.

If you can do this, your mentor should (and often will) want to invest even more into you — because you are now providing value to them as well. This is a positive sign of a healthy mentorship, because both parties are growing.

However, if your mentor isn’t all that engaged, or if you as a student aren’t giving it your all, then the relationship isn’t working.

A valuable mentorship happens when both parties are feeding each other knowledge, in some way, shape, or form.

3. They Know When To Push You
You cannot be properly mentored by someone who isn’t willing to push you.

As much as I have wanted this to not be the case (because in those moments, things are not easy), it is the only road that truly makes a difference. A good mentor knows how far to push you — and you are going to question it.

You are going to fight it. You are going to try to convince them, yourself, or both otherwise. You are going to complain. You are going to feel overwhelmed. You are going to feel very, very uncomfortable — and that’s the point.

If the person you want to mentor you, or who is mentoring you, does not constantly make you feel comfortably uncomfortable, you need to find a different mentor. There is an art to it, and the best mentors know how to make you feel both at ease and so uncomfortable you want to crawl out of your own skin.

But that’s what growth feels like.
Growing pains. Get used to them.

4. They Care About You As A Human Being. All of my mentors have become some of my closest friends.

A mentorship is about so much more than just “learning” something. Yes, that is the foundation, that’s the primary intention, but along the way a dynamic tends to unfold that is difficult to put into words. You spend so much time together that you end up knowing each other in a very unique way. It’s a friendship that comes around once in a lifetime.

It’s one thing to find someone who can push you to practice one skill. That’s somewhat robotic. The true value of a mentorship is the emotional growth that tends to accompany it.

Yes, you should (and often do) end up far more skilled in your chosen area of expertise by the time the path comes to a point of separation, but if you reflect back, you’ll see that you grew in so many other ways.

A mentorship challenges you as a person, as an emotional being, and that’s where the real growth happens.

5. They Want To See You Succeed
A true mentor wants you to know everything they know.

They want to teach you so that you can one day take what you’ve learned and integrate it with your own unique skill sets. A true mentor wants to watch you go from Padawan to Jedi Master.

Your mentor should be your biggest advocate, the one who you can always go back to and share in those early days of learning. They provide context, and are a reminder of where you first began — and they are proud to have seen you come so far.

A true mentor only wants to see you succeed, unselfishly. And so, it then is the challenge of the “apprentice” to one day take on the responsibility of all that he or she has learned, and fully integrating it on their own, as well as the challenge of the mentor to know that they gave them all the tools to do so.

Finding a mentor and being a mentor is an art in itself.
It requires a certain level of dedication and commitment few have.

It is a test of patience — on both ends. And it asks you to be open, constantly. But it is also one of the greatest things anyone could possibly experience — to be a mentor or to be mentored. And so, in the end, it is always worth it.

This article originally appeared on Inc Magazine.