One of the reasons I don’t honour lots of speaking engagements in Nigeria is the hassle of road travel


27750358_10215581427032554_2833090469303394592_nSpent over 2 hours stuck around Sango road this morning due to a combination of very bad roads, yesterday’s rain and Dangote’s trucks. ( I am sure if Dangote’s trucks were removed from the roads for just a single day, there would be a significant decline in accidents. The number of his trucks I saw in accidents or very bad conditions on that road was too much)

And I dont care if that road is Federal, State or Local, no human being should be subjected to having to pass through that road more than once in a life time. It’s that horrible!

Anyways I got to Ilaro town and the place looked a lot different from 2000 when I was last there, some good, some bad. The sense of nostalgia was overwhelming with almost every place I saw brought back memories of ‘good’ escapades.

I was impressed by the transformation on campus and the movement of the main school to what we called the Engineering Complex then.

It was heartwarming seeing the very cordial exchanges between the student leaders and the young Rector ( Arch Aluko- used to know him then as a very young lecturer, but he looks much older now). I was impressed by the very open and jovial (but firm) way he engaged the student leadership on issues affecting them.

There was none of that Nigerian chief executive gragra-none of that constituted authority stuff. Where he differed with the students, he refuted their stance with logic and superior examples.

Last time I saw something similar was when I was an officer of the Students Union at Oxford and had regular interactions with the school authorities on student issues. Young people feel a sense of leadership and reciprocate respect (usually) when treated as adults.

I enjoyed engaging with the students on the topic of leadership, especially in a rapidly changing world, where old platforms are crumbling and new platforms defying age, geography and the old norms are rising by day. I had a good back and forth with them.

Seems like yesterday when I was sitting on the other side as a student at Ilaro myself. Thanks to my Mr Mugsit Yusuf for facilitating the invite.

Took some time to visit old haunts like the Staff Nursery and Primary School I attended (hadn’t changed much) and left almost 30 years ago (man don dey old o), the house we lived back then (Flat 6B) next to the Abibus, Egbeyemis, Aregbes, Olufowobi and a whole lot of others.

I was about to leave town when I was invited to sample some local cuisine of amala and ewedu with the usual assortments.

I was going to say No,so that people on Facebook don’t start thinking I like food. But then I remembered what I went through on the road in the morning , and felt I deserved a small reward. Or what do you think?

Excerpts from my talk;

“Greatest Nigerian Students!

Permit me to stand on all existing protocol.

Good morning all.

My name is Idris Ayodeji Bello and I am pleased to be here today for a number of reasons.

1. While this is my first time back in Ilaro in 18 years- since 2000 , it is also the place where I spent the first 18 years of my life, where I learned to speak, to walk, I attended nursery and primary school within these polytechnic walls, started secondary school in this town and came back for my OND here, so it is truly heartwarming to be back.

2. Also it is an honour being here at the invitation of those I would consider my fathers, mothers, uncles and aunts, most of who probably saw me running around in my underwear as a toddler. So no matter what I might have achieved today and what I say here today, I am sure all they see is that little kid-Ayo Bello -or Bello Bello as some used to make fun of me back then.

3. I am especially delighted to have the opportunity to address the student leaders- who I call our leaders of today-I say leaders of today, because in Nigeria -if you call yourselves leaders of tomorrow-that tomorrow never comes-as we have seen in the political space.

Let me start this talk by telling you about my own leadership journey which began in 1996 on this campus sitting where you are now…….”

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This is Lagos!

You start the day unusually very early only to get stuck for an hour on the third mainland bridge.

You barely make it in time for your meeting to pitch the Afropreneurs Fund to an institutional investor.

You come out of your meeting to find out your driver has bashed the new car of one Lagos babe that cannot be pacified until you do the needful.

As you approach your melting point, you suddenly remember that you are close to Marina which is home to some of the best tension-defusing, inspirational offerings the continent has got to offer in the face of everyday challenges.

Half an hour later, your forehead is overtaken with sweat while your shirt has a few colored spots, but you have been reset by lafun to factory-settings and ready once again to take on all the mosquitoes, traffic, car bumps, rechargeable fans and everything else Nigeria has to throw at your hustle.

When Lagos shows you pepper, you make pepper soup out of it!


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As another year rolls by…


As another year rolls by, it is tempting to remember the missed opportunities, the rejected proposals, the unmet goals, and the many things that didn’t go according to plan this year.

However, that would be losing sight of the important gifts that one has been lucky to be blessed with.

The gift of life in a year when many friends, associates and mentors passed on.

The gift of good health and protection even amidst near misses.

The gift of iman/faith even if it is in a weakened state.

The gift of parents whose guiding light remains a source of inspiration and guidance despite one’s inability to fully repay their love and care.

The gift of family in whom one finds comfort beyond words, despite one’s habitual neglect of them to pursue the hustle.

The gift of great friends and associates whose presence and encouragement gives courage to one’s dreams and efforts.

The gift of teachers, critics, mentors and elders whose rebuke and advice keeps one grounded and humble.

The gift of mentees and younger ones whose energy and push keeps one moving on and creating new opportunities.

The gift of communities that remind you that you are not alone in your journey as an afropreneur.

The gift of intellect and critical thinking that lets you know that the way of the majority is not always the way.

The gift of balance that makes one to realize true happiness is not in what you amass, but in what you give, and that true reliance in the Creator is what necessitates that you still have to make the most utmost effort.

And above all, the gift of every second, minute, and day in which one has the opportunity to reset the pieces, to stand up after every fall, and to seek penitence after every sin.

For all these I remain grateful to my Lord, the One who forgives and honours His undeserving slave while none of His slave’s shortcomings and excesses are hidden from Him.

O Allah, I beg forgiveness for sins which I have repeated after having repented from them before you.

I beg forgiveness for all the promises which I have made to You on my behalf and then did not fulfill.

I beg forgiveness for Your gifts from which I drew strength only to use it in your disobedience.

I beg forgiveness for all those good actions that I intended for Your sake only but later mixed other motives in them.

O Allah, do not humiliate me as You do have full knowledge of me and do not punish me as You have all power over me.

O Allah, indeed You are the Mighty Creator of everything . You are the All-Hearing, All-Knowing. You are the Forgiving, the Merciful. You are the Lord of Great Throne. O Allah, You are the most Gracious, the Most Generous, the Benevolent.

Forgive me. Have mercy on me. Protect me. Provide me with sustenance. Conceal my faults. Support me. Uplift and elevate me. Guide me aright. Do not let me go astray. And admit me to Paradise through Your mercy, O the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.

O my Lord, in Your Sight make me dear, in my heart make me humble before You, and in the eyes of other people make me honorable. Protect me from bad manners and morals.

O Allah, You asked from us that which we do not control except with your help. So grant us from it that which will make You be pleased with us.

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Goodbye Calestous Juma

calestous-jumaSad to hear of the passing of an icon in the African technology and innovation space. Prof Juma was one of the few who was able to bridge the gap between academia and practice when it came to issues of science, technology, and innovation on the African continent. In fact, my learnings from his work formed the fulcrum of my recent lecture at the University of Ibadan.

Though he was based at Harvard, Twitter was where many came to be in close contact with him as he was never shy of his opinions and would engage anyone about them.

A few months ago, I had complained to a mutual acquaintance that Prof Juma was yet to reply to an email request of mine and it was he who informed me of his ongoing battle with cancer.

His death makes it the second African academic mentor of mine to lose the cancer battle this year after Prof Mustapha Raufu of Oxford.

I pray God comforts his family and colleagues and that one day the continent that he dreamt of comes to be what it has the potential to be.

For those who are not familiar with his work, I would advise you follow him (posthumously) on twitter and google his papers and publications.

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The Afropreneur: From Abuja to Kaduna by Rail

For someone who has very low expectations of public service in Nigeria, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised by my experience today traveling from Abuja to Kaduna by rail.

When I was informed yesterday of the need to be in Kaduna early today to meet with some state, local and field officers on a public health project, I agonized about getting to Kaduna by road until someone reminded me there was a train service.

I looked online and after some efforts, I was able to find a current train schedule that showed I could leave Abuja by 7am and yet be in Kaduna in time for my 10am engagement.

Unfortunately like most government run stuff, the website of the Nigeria Railway Corp is very user-unfriendly and after wasting lots of time, I realized I couldn’t buy tickets online.

Left home early and after almost being lost twice by Google Maps, a colleague dropped me off at the Idu Railway station which is someway out of town. While the road to the station was okay, the location is quite remote and there doesn’t appear to be commercial vehicles plying that route. So you either need to have someone drop/pick you up. Once you get off the main road, there are clear signs indicating the direction to the station so I wished they had something on the main road too.

I was impressed by the structure and cleanliness of the structure – I personally think it beats any of our airports including the Lagos and Abuja airports ( I know its new but one year after I Am still impressed that we can keep something as clean as that!).

I joined the line to purchase my ticket (First class tickets went for N1500 while Standard tickets went for N1050, apparently the prices had recently gone up) and tickets for two colleagues who were to join me. Continue reading

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Africa’s footprints in the digital age


Please join me this Wednesday at the University of Ibadan for what promises to be a provoking discussion on Africa’s footprints in the digital age and the role of our institutions.

Excerpts below.

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Portfolio Company- Flutterwave raises $10.3m in Series A Funding to change payments in Africa- A trip down the lane with Iyin

As the media is  filled with news of Flutterwave’s recent Series A raise, I think back to the journey over the past six years with Flutterwave’s founder, the boldly audacious Iyin Aboyeji. 

I first met Iyin Aboyeji sometimes in 2010/2011  during his undergraduate days at Waterloo, and it was through the Harambe Entrepreneurs Alliance,  a network of highly educated, young African entrepreneurs from leading universities in Asia, Europe and North America seeking to translate ideas about the development of Africa into action.


Around the time he was interviewed by BellaNaija, and I was very impressed by his boldness, and he was just nineteen then!

In that interview he said ” The entrepreneur lifestyle definitely appeals to me and I hope I can change the world by making products and services people cannot live without. One thing for sure is that if all goes well, I hope to return and tap into the bundle of business opportunities Nigeria is by being a super angel or venture capitalist focused on young Nigerian entrepreneurs

And in ending the interview , he prophesied  We are coming. Nigeria is coming. Young people are coming.”

We connected quite well, and as he was wrapping up his Bookneto venture and thinking of what next to venture into, he would reach out to me to discuss his thoughts, share his slides, Skype and generally touch base. So it was no surprise that when he put together what was to become Fora in 2013 , he naturally asked for me to review his slides and pitch deck , and I asked if I could invest in him. I use the pronoun ‘him’ because it was really in the person I was making an investment. He would remind me later that I had said ‘even if you lose the money, consider it as my personal investment in your MBA’.

Well he hasn’t lost the money (so far), and I have done follow-up investments (along with several of my friends) in his other ventures after that; Andela at the seed, FFF and Series A rounds, and in Flutterwave at the pre-seed, and the recently completed Series A round , where our new fund, the LoftyInc Afropreneurs Fund (still actively fundraising) made a sizeable investment of $250,000 – its biggest single investment till date.

Our relationship has changed over time , sometimes it assumes an investor-investee role, sometimes a big brother role, and sometimes a mentor-mentee role, and there have been some tough times too when we havent seen eye to eye on some issues, but in all, we have stayed close. Iyin was also very helpful when I made my transition back to Nigeria in 2015, and I have learned quite a lot from him.

E as we call him can be very stubborn at times (and sometimes is best left to learn from his mistakes), but he is very clear-headed on his journey of building Africa’s future! . For him it’s about three things; Transforming Education (People), Building digital and physical infrastructure (platforms) and influencing public policy (power).

Hence since he has already gotten started on the People (Andela), Platforms, (Flutterwave), I am patiently waiting to support his foray into the policy/political arena in a few years to come.

So as the world celebrates Iyin and the Flutterwave team, we are honoured to have been part of this journey from the beginning, and even as we realise that the task of ‘Building Africa’s Future’ is nowhere near complete, we rest assured that together we will succeed. InshaAllah

Congrats Flutterwave!

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Mark Zuckerberg’s First Coming….To Nigeria

It is no longer news that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder was in Nigeria this week.

The visit which came as a surprise to many ( I heard the rumours a few days earlier but couldn’t confirm till he got into Lagos) was his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. He spent the two days meeting with developers and entrepreneurs, and learning about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria, which I have been privileged to help develop over the years along with  several others.


In his words, ” The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can. I think this is where (Nigeria) a lot of the future will be built”


Several articles and news reports have been written about his trip such as this , this, this, this, and this, and many more will still be written.

CrMar59XgAE8XU8Mark jogging along the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge in Lagos, Nigeria

And Mark also put an end to the #Jollofwars, when he spoke about having eaten Nigerian jollof rice along with snails, and how delicious it was. Hopefully the Senegalese, Gambians, and Ghanaians can now accept Nigerians make the best jollof!

As an active player in the ecosystem, and the first Nigerian investor (from the seed round) in Andela, which Mark recently invested in and also visited in Lagos, I put down some thoughts on what Mark’s visit means for Nigeria and the ecosystem.



For a technology startup ecosystem that has seen rapid growth over the last five years in spite of the lack of government support, and despite the absence of supporting infrastructure, Mark’s visit was a much-needed external validation of the sweat and immense efforts, mostly unsung, of the young Nigerians who have kept at it . And it was heartwarming to see all the attention his visit got, even from some young people who are rarely excited by much beyond music and entertainment.

His visit is testament to the realization that the key to solving Nigeria’s numerous social and economic problems, lies in its young women and men, enabled by technology and facilitated by social media, who are taking ownership – bravely — of the country’s economic destiny. And Mark’s recent investment in, and subsequent visit to Andela Lagos simply shows that if you build it, and build it well, investors will come; a message that I am sure the about 200 Andela Fellows who listened directly to him, and the millions more who hope to create their own Andelas, will take to heart.

I also hope this visit helps shine some sunlight on the seeds planted a few years ago by pioneers of the “incubator-accelerator” model like Mobile Monday, CCHub, Wennovation among others, attracting the necessary global support albeit absent locally.

And while its early days yet, and the startup ecosystem is yet to fully mature, my hope is that by this short visit, Mark Zuckerberg is not only able to inspire more young people into taking their destiny in their hands and becoming afropreneurs, but also that his visit ends up stimulating the absent-minded local money-bags who are yet to see the investing opportunities present in local startups, and waking the government up from its lethargy and over-reliance on crude oil resources, to the realization that technology and entrepreneurship powered by young people is the way out of the doldrums.

So I hope that this is the first of many visits not just by Mark, but that in his wake, many more investors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will come in to partner and support our startup ecosystem with all it needs to grow and mature. But in all of that, it should not be forgotten that the real work of building up the ecosystem will be done by us, young Nigerians, home and abroad”

I was also quoted in this CNN article about the visit.

Mark Zuckerberg’s visit gives Nigerian startups much-needed boost

‘Idris Ayodeji Bello, an ‘afropreneur’ and angel investor from Nigeria, said, “Mark’s visit was a much needed external validation of the sweat and immense efforts, mostly unsung, of the young Nigerians who have kept at it. And it was heartwarming to see all the attention his visit got, even from some young people who are rarely excited by much beyond music and entertainment.”


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Lasgidi- Lagos, the Home of Hustle

lagosbusI have spent the greater part of the last six months in and out of Lagos working on old and new hustles. It’s a city I have grown to love and hate in almost equal measures. Attractive as it is with its unlimited opportunities, it also drives me crazy with its lack of order and craziness especially when compared to other cities of its size, and I feel a few pounds lighter each time I exit the Murtala Muhammed International? Airport (after concocting different tales of why I am not giving them anything-ranging from I am a student, aid worker, corper etc.)

As I hustle around the world, I am often asked to describe what living in Lagos is like, and I struggle with how best to explain the contradictions, the boundless energy and the Nepa-induced early nights, the swarm of people day and night, and the lack of a public transport system.

One description i have found interestingly apt (while a bit controversial) is Robert Neuwirth’s description of Lagos in his 2012 book “Stealth of Nations” in which he describes the global rise of the informal economy. I reproduce excerpts from the book below, but strongly encourage you to get a copy!


“To many, Lagos is the urban nadir, the vilest, most squalid and criminal place on the planet. Basil Davidson, the British-born historian of Africa whose love for the continent is palpable in all his works, recalled his emotions when he first touched down in what was then the Nigeria capital back in the 1940s, when the city had a population of about two hundred thousand:” Lagos already seemed to me, as it still does, a perfectly horrible place to be, and anywhere else would be better.

Lagos is, so the narrative goes, the most dangerous city that isn’t in a war zone, a metropolis of schemers, a dark, desperate, and duplicitous place where every encounter is a potential threat. It’s a story told over and over- and often parroted with perverse pride by Lagosians themselves.

Today, the city is home to between 9 million and 17 million people, depending on where you draw the lines, and who’s doing the counting. Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities on the planet, with an estimated 3000 people arriving every day. Yet the infrastructure has not kept pace. This makes everything here seem supersized-the traffic jams worse than anywhere else, the pollution thicker, the poverty more appalling…….”

Foto druk verkeer in Lagos, Nigeria. Als voorbeeld; graag keuzebeelden Traffic jams form along Nnamdi Azikiwe street in Lagos January 22, 2003. Drivers in Lagos are stopping to gape at UFOs - unidentified flashing objects - that have been mysteriosly appearing at busy intersections around the city of Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. REUTERS/George Esiri GE/GB

“…..The buses have no route signs, the taxis have no meters (you have to negotiate strenuously if you don’t want to be cheated), and, if there’s a tie-up, people might simply pull onto the wrong side of the road-flashing their lights or honking their horns- and blast the wrong way down the highway. ambOn bad days, Lagos has a Victorian pall, and it seems impossible-and potentially dangerous- to breathe too deeply.”


“……….Lagos has no municipal water pipes. Unless the government suddenly gets a lot more foresighted and interested in investing in infrastructure, it never will. Instead, those who can afford it- and the majority of people can’t—drill deep wells (locals call them boreholes), and pump water up. They filter it, test it, and if tests as good, drink it. For those who don’t have the money, System D invented Pure Water.”


“At first glance- even at second and third- Lagos doesn’t appear to make sense…………………………………………………..”


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“To a newcomer trying to take it all in, Lagos seems a vast and menacing swirl of humanity struggling for a buck…………………….. 

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But when you have stayed put long enough, your view of Lagos changes. What had been an undifferentiated mess suddenly becomes sensible—or, perhaps more accurately, comprehensible.

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The traffic jams remain intolerable, but at least, they are understandable in a city that has outgrown its colonial infrastructure. The feeling of threat remains, because with electricity seldom available, the nighttime landscape is a series of black holes set between feeble flares of light from the kerosene burners used by the few small-scale merchants who stay open late, but the tales of crime fall away- a part of history, but not current reality.

If Max Weber was right that the “city” is a marketplace, then Lagos is the absolute apotheosis of a city.”

“…Lagos is the world’s largest street market, and everything here——-from buying something to drinking a soda on the street to simply talking with your neighbor—is an exchange…………

lagos air

Trade may make Lagos seem frenzied and disorganized, it may sometimes appear aggressive and threatening, but trade built the city and continues to define its culture…………….


Spend enough time there and you come to realize that it is exactly this——–the irrepressible hubbub, the hyper-entrepreneurial give-and-take, the ceaseless frenzy of talk and exchange- that holds the city together.”


The author goes on to say great things about the entrepreneurial nature of Lagosians despite all the odds stacked against them, but I particularly found the above descriptions interesting (and fairly objective). What is your take?


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Overcoming the Fear of Growth

“There will never be a perfect time to do something that stretches you. That’s true whether you are starting a marriage, having your first child, changing careers, or wrestling with any number of challenging goals. That’s not a license to be reckless and never think things through, but at some point you have to embrace the uncertainty because it is the only path forward.

You can’t be ready for true growth. That’s why it’s growth. All you can do is step into it with everything you’ve got. “

by James Clear

Sometime in 2014, two famous men walked into a recording studio. They were working on a rap album, but at this particular moment they were talking about marriage. The first man was someone you would expect to be working on a rap album. His real name was Olubowale Akintimehin, but he is better known as the hip hop artist Wale (pronounced WAH-lay). The second man was someone you would never expect to be working on a rap album, the popular comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

Wale was partnering with Seinfeld for his fourth album, The Album About Nothing. During this particular session, he brought Seinfeld into the studio to ask him questions, record their conversation, and hopefully grab a few soundbites for the album.

While working on a track called The Matrimony, Wale questioned Seinfeld about his thoughts on marriage. At first, Seinfeld talked about what it felt like to get engaged. He explained the combination of excitement and nervousness and helplessness that made engagement feel like being strapped into a rollercoaster headed to the top of the hill where the marriage awaits.

Wale paused for a moment, looked at Seinfeld, and said, “So, even if you make plans you never think you’re really ready for marriage?”

“No,” Seinfeld said. “It’s like any growth. You can’t be ready for it because it’s growth. It’s going to be new. You’re going to have a new life. You’re going to be a new person.”


You’re Not Ready for Growth

I like Seinfeld’s definition of growth. You’re not ready for marriage. You’re not ready to start a business. You’re not ready to move to a new city. You’re not ready for growth … and that’s exactly why it will make you grow. Start before you feel ready.

By definition, growth must be something that makes you feel unprepared and uncertain. If it was comfortable and easy, it wouldn’t be growth. It would be normal. It would be standard. It would who you already are.


There will never be a perfect time to do something that stretches you. That’s true whether you are starting a marriage, having your first child, changing careers, or wrestling with any number of challenging goals. That’s not a license to be reckless and never think things through, but at some point you have to embrace the uncertainty because it is the only path forward.

You can’t be ready for true growth. That’s why it’s growth. All you can do is step into it with everything you’ve got.

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Dying Slowly

By Martha Medeiros


You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking everyday on the same paths…

If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.

You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice…

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Take your turn, because it’s rarely given!

I finally got my copies of Seth Godin’s new book – What to do when it’s your turn – today, and it’s so interesting that I immediately jumped into it.

I find particularly interesting his story on “being stuck on a broken escalator”.

While it seems obvious what the folks above should do, the reality is that many of us are indeed stuck on life’s broken escalators, unable to see that all we have to do is walk right off the escalator.

Just turn the broken escalator of your life into stairs that get you where you need to get to in life instead of waiting for someone to rescue you or fix the escalator.

The stairs may not be as convenient as a working escalator, but it gets the job done and beats being stuck in a spot!Ask yourself today, which of life’s escalators am I stuck on? What is stopping me from using the stairs, no matter how inconvenient to get to where I need to get to?


It’s ‪#‎yourturn‬. It’s always your turn. To act.

Take your turn, because it’s rarely given!


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Balancing Contentment and Ambition

We all struggle with being content with what we have achieved, and yet not falling into the zone of complacency. There is always the danger that desiring to achieve more may leave you unhappy with what you have already achieved. So how does one strike that balance between contentment and ambition?


I found this excerpt from a post by James Clear very relevant, and thought you may too. In it, he quotes from the book The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey

rose2“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.”

That there, is profound!  And it applies to the individual, as it applies to mentors, coaches, and parents!

As James comments ;

Ambition and contentment are not opposites, but we often make the mistake of thinking that they are incompatible. On the one hand, experts tell us that we should be mindful, focused on the present, and content with our lives regardless of the results. On the other hand, coaches and champions tell us that successful people out work everyone else, that we must never be satisfied, and that complacency is undesirable.

The rose seed, however, is both content and ambitious.”

As Gallwey says, at no point are we dissatisfied with the current state of the rose seed. It is perfectly all right at each moment. Yet, it is also incredibly ambitious. The rose seed never stops growing. It is constantly seeking to get to the next level. Every day it is moving forward, and yet, every day it is just as it should be.


Viewed from another perspective, it has to do with what is driving your ambition. As seen in the story of the rose, its ambition to grow is not driven by discontent.  If discontentment or a quest for “stuff” is the motivating factor, no matter what you get or how much you get, you’re still not going to really be happy until you find contentment!

So its about becoming better while loving who you are. Its about enjoying the journey without losing sight of the destination!

Active contentment is growth.

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How not to respond to Ebola- Idris Bello for CNN



Editor’s note: Idris Ayodeji Bello is a Houston-based entrepreneur and global health advocate. The views expressed are his own.

(CNN) — There is no word more reviled in America than “Ebola,” especially since the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian national who had traveled to Dallas. But as Ebola has spread, it has become increasingly clear that if there is to be any chance of stopping the disease — not only here in America, but across the world — then the United States must lead through inspiring example.

Unfortunately, the response of some institutions that should know better has been anything but inspiring.

First, this idea of a travel ban. Amidst numerous calls for a ban on air travel to and from West Africa, including from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, it is worth noting that West Africa is not a single country, but a region comprised of 15 nations.

And while Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have been ravaged by the disease, Nigeria (20 cases) and Senegal (one case) have contained the disease, while Ghana, Togo, Cameroon and the other countries in this subregion of Africa have not reported any cases at all.

Should the U.S. follow the lead of countries, including Jamaica, which have instituted such a travel ban?

The trouble is that doing so would give us a false sense of security, and at a huge cost. In spite of the hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans that are volunteering on the frontline to fight this disease, only one infected person has so far made it into the United States.

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Ebola in the US: Are we letting fear win?


As it is my usual practice after work, I went to the gym on October 1, 2014. This being a gym I frequent, I am known well to the gym’s staff.

On this fateful day, I was met at the gym’s entrance by the owner who asked: “Idris, where are you from?”

Surprised by the question, I replied in a casual manner:”Houston, Texas”.

But she persisted, and said: “I mean, where in Africa are you from?”

I replied a bit indignantly this time: “Nigeria “.

“Oh”, she said, “I just wanted to check if you were from Liberia”.

It was only then I understood her reason for asking me in the first place. I retorted: “What if I was? You don’t want me to spread Ebola among folks here?”

By this time she was red in the face, and started explaining that she just wanted to be sure I did not have family members from Liberia visiting.

That was just three days after Thomas Duncan, lately of Dallas but formerly of Liberia, had been admitted to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, in Dallas, Texas, and seven days before he died, becoming the first case of Ebola diagnosed on US soil.

This incident, and several others that have occurred in the past few weeks, have brought to light the subtle stigmatization of people of West African descent as result of the fear of Ebola transmission among fellow Americans.

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