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Wednesday, 30 April 2014


The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 3A
Start at the Beginning
Ok shall we start at the very beginning, the first meeting. This is where you need to find out all the nitty gritty details of the project. I can send you to a form as an idea of how to collate all this information.
Client name
Contact details including phone fax and email
Draft outline of design and documentation needed
Define the budget available
Estimation of fees and engagement letter
Size of project
Number of family members, pets,
Lifestyle (professional, family orientated, teenagers with lots of friends, babies, loads of pets, retired and relaxed, home office etc)
Current style of the house,
The type of construction,
Type of project - the overall content of the project (ie renovate the kitchen and bathrooms).
Individual rooms to be developed
Expected flow and arrangement from client
Expected timing of project
Particular tastes colors,
Other consultants needed,
Permission letters to research relevant records and plans Confirm consents required
Type of contract required to confirm timing
Receive any legal documents, titles, existing plans, building owner details etc.

It all seems totally boring and it is, but it is necessary as it is the bones of the project.
You then need to take one item at a time and expand on them either straight away or at your next meeting.
For example
Family Members - how many? What ages? What are their needs? This is especially important for the bathroom area - privacy, showers, baths, double basins, additional toilets. Equally important to construction too, sound proofing to walls, locks on doors, window stays to stop any kids falling out or teenagers sneaking out windows!

Current Style of the house, if it is a 1960's bungalow, what kind of style are you wanting to portray in the home? Is the whole house going to be updated eventually or simply the kitchen and bathrooms? Look for long-term plans as well as present as these can effect the look of the whole house if it doesn't flow cohesively. Some house styles limit design creativity as they don't lend to change well, for example heavy dark exposed timber beamed ceiling with thick heavy stippled plaster. Difficult to change the look of this without major work or relining the entire ceiling. Then the windows and doors inside are often heavy dark timber too.
The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 4
Expand on Your Brief Outline
The type of construction, this is vitally important for structural purposes, for example you may want to put granite bench tops in the kitchen, these are extremely heavy and if you had a timber framed floor would need additional engineering support for the floor, the same applies if you wanted to add marble to the bathroom floor on the first storey, again very heavy. If you want to lay tiles or vinyl over timber floorboards is another example. Whether internal walls are load bearing, you may want to remove them. You will need to find out about the state of the plumbing system and electrical wiring. These have a major impact on the budget if you don't find out about them at the start of the project.

The Budget - this is a major part of the brief, a good designer brings their project in on budget, this keeps everyone happy! It means that when you do your initial planning you are realistic as to what materials, fittings and fixtures are affordable, and you can set a priority list and use it to get the best quality project for your money.

I have just written an article in my blog about quality of finishes. I visited a home of a friend recently, they had just bought it. It was an expensive home, well designed and laid out, open plan and flowing, but do you know what hit me as I walked in? Printed cotton drapes, not sophisticated Toille de Jouy printed cotton, but the kind you find in a cheap "you find it all here" store. My jaw dropped, mouth opened and I think I swallowed a fly, because I nervously choked! I was flabbergasted at the expense spent on the construction and then throwing up some silly flimsy bits of fabric resembling curtains seemed to totally strip the home of it's value, lower the design integrity severely and I had to walk around the rest of the house with by head looking at the carpet, which was good quality by the way. So what I am saying is that you need to allow for everything, and then add 10% for a contingency.

Let's face it no matter how hard we budget there are always unforseen things that crop up, and I think in this case the money for the curtains was stolen! You need to let your client know that you will hold a contingency for the budget, just to ease there mind when these problems arise.

Remember one change to the project may cost $500.00 which is ok, but 10 and you are up to $5,000.00, and it can happen so quickly!

more to come....
The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 5
Creating a Realistic Project Budget
One thing that often arises relating to budget is the Jones factor, similar to the Sheep example! It basically means that the client wants what the Joneses have.

They are the most difficult to control as they are basically spoilt children.

This is a treadmill in our consumer society, we all have to have everything, especially if the neighbours have it, we have to have it or better. The reality of it all is that most people do not have the budget to keep up with the Joneses! My husband has this expression and I hate it, I will tell you why later, but it is a good thing to remember.

"There are a lot of people with a champagne taste and a beer budget!" Do you know what happens to these people, yes, they are never happy, they are always trying to keep up with the Joneses and they never will, they cannot make a decision for themselves. But do you know the sad thing? The Joneses are probably trying to impress someone else, they probably don't realise their already high position in the consumer social class!

Back to the earlier note: Why I hate the expression? Because I love champagne and drink beer, no really, white wine, but not champagne! Never mind the expression does explain a lot of people's ideals and fantasies about their appearances. Remember that a person's home is an extension of themselves. If the client wears designer clothing labels then they will probably have their home full of designer furnishings. Does this make there house a home? Or does it make it a clone of Ikea, Ralph Lauren, actually I am a little out of my depth here with designer clothing and furnishing labels where you all come from! But you know where I am going to here. No it doesn't, a home exudes personalities and this is where we come in.
We are the facilitator of personal style. We listen, we consider, we analyse, we communicate, we experiment, we provide ideas, we rework ideas, and we get to the soul of the client and we help them express themselves through their home. This is what I want you to remember when you think of the client's budget. You have the skills to create amazing interiors on a small budget, but the client has to be working with you and have realistic goals for the final outcome.

The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 6
Keep expanding and define the scope of work.
The Overall Changes - in other words, the scope of work. What do they want to do with their renovations. Is it simply a repaint with new carpet, drapes and furniture or more extensive construction and cabinetry work involved. List up what they want to achieve, what changes are required and to what rooms, what contractors will be involved and their input. This all helps when you want to define the budget and start prioritizing. This is often where you have problems, the husband wants his garage lined and carpeted, speakers for his stereo, and a bathroom added to it. (perhaps he wants his bed moved in too!)The wife wants a new kitchen and study to do her handicrafts! How do you find out what they really want and which takes priority if they can't even work it out. You don't want to start being a marriage guidance councillor. I have had a few clients who used me as a pawn to get what they wanted, unknowingly to me but they were both putting words in my mouth and trying to get what they wanted by suggesting to each other that I thought it was a wonderful idea to add a fireplace to the kitchen or a big screen TV in the bedroom for example. It's all about communication and teamwork. You also don't want to get into the situation where you have started the project and the client decides to add things to the scope, "oh, while we have the fireplace wall under demolition, we might as well add a recess for the plasma TV above", these little client inspired ideas can throw your budget, so try and pre-empt them! Think about the spaces you will be working in and look to the future, try and foresee what they might want and ask before you get started.

Lifestyle - this is important when it comes to finding the right style of decoration. You need to find out how the occupiers of the home work on a daily basis. It is no use having a stark white kitchen with clean sleek horizontal surfaces when you have toddlers and babies and you spend all day making food for them. Getting everything out and putting it away again and again. You need something with user friendly appliance storage, easy access and a more softened look if you are going to spend most of the day in the kitchen. Same thing for a mass of teenagers you would need to allow a large space for a huge refrigerator as they will also eat all day!

The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 7
The Designer Detective
The biggest thing to remember here is that the ideas that the client has and the practical ability of it working for them may be quite different, you as the designer need to work around what they envisage as the end result and make sure before you start that it will actually work for them.
As I said earlier, use your detective skills, call in when they aren't expecting you, visit at meal times, Saturday morning is always a good time to see how a house flows, call in when it's raining or muddy outside, observe how the occupants live and how they move about and their habits. Do they pick up after themselves, or leave a cookie trail? The cream shag pile carpet the mother is dying to put in the living room just won't work if she has a home full of teenage boys and their friends who walk in the door without wiping their feet, taking shoes off and eat in the living room with their burgers and coke. It spells recipe for disaster, so you would probably have to direct this decision to a compromise and perhaps have a firmer, darker, tighter weave loop pile carpet with perhaps a cream shag pile rug under the coffee table for example! A win, win for everyone.
Now then, the most important part - the aesthetics! What style or look you or your client want to achieve. This can also be the most difficult as it is the creative side of decorating. All the rest has been "accounting", vitally important to
any project but not the fun side of decorating that we all enjoy.
So we will look at one way of finding a style that is right for your project - use it as a catalyst to get your creative juices working.
Take the brief that you have already created and sit somewhere with your client having no distractions and start jotting down ideas, scribbling sketches, flicking through magazines and books together, (you will find that after picking out a few examples in magazines and books that you start to get an idea of the style that your client is predominately drawn to, the schemes will have a similar theme), looking at color and fabric and flooring samples and swatches, photos of the existing space and items that you are going to keep from your existing room to work with. Start putting things together haphazardly, picking out things that catch your eye, put them all together and start again over. Continue this process a few times until you run out of ideas. Then leave the room for a while take in some fresh air - very good for the brain.

The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 8
Summing Up the client Brief Process
So to sum up what I have tried to express today, is to take the time at the start of a project to get deep down into your client's lives and find out what they really need, not just what they think they should have! At the end of the day we often don't know ourselves until someone points it out to us.
Thank you and I hope you have found a few ideas to help make your future projects work better. We all have our own system for achieving a brief, but we all want the same outcome. A happy client without an overdraft for designwork and a home that they feel comfortable living in that expresses their personalities.

Interior Decorating e-course Part 3B. How to Brain Storm Your Style Ideas

Never overlook the power of brain storming. It can bring out ideas
you may never have dreamed of!

Today we will look at one way of finding a style that is right for your project - use it as a catalyst to get your creative juices working.
Take the brief that you have already created and sit somewhere with no distractions and start jotting down ideas, scribbling sketches, flicking through magazines and books, (you will find that after picking out a few examples in magazines and books that you start to get an idea of the style that you are predominately drawn to, the schemes will have a similar theme), looking at color and fabric and flooring samples and swatches, photos of the existing space and items that you are going to keep from your existing room to work with. Start putting things together haphazardly, picking out things that catch your eye, put them all together and start again over. Continue this process a few times until you run out of  ideas. Then leave the room for a while take in some fresh air - very good for the brain.
Go back into the room and see what scheme or idea catches your eye first. Take that one and start to work with it. Ask questions. What caught your eye and why, should this be the focal point, is this the look that you were aiming for in the brief? Will it work correctly in your space? It is a bit like a flow chart. If yes, then keep working on it, look for other items and accessories that coordinate with it. If no, then go back and find another idea and start working with that. It sounds daunting and a little bit scary and of course the old favorite too hard! It is difficult the first few times until you get your confidence. (By then you may have come up with an even better process of your own for brainstorming - after all accessing your brain is a very personal thing! This is a catalyst for creative thinking) So to make your life easier, don't practice on a real project. Experiment on some rooms in your house, without actually decorating, come up with some different schemes for different client briefs. Eventually you will do all this on auto pilot, but it helps to have someone give you a starting point!
I can visualize what things will look like when the project is finished, as so will you be able to when you have done it a few times. The hardest thing is often trying to explain to your clients or your family! To resolve this you can make up a color board showing all the samples and swatches, but this only gives them ideas of the colors, they usually want to see it in 3d ie already finished! A very expensive way of showing concepts!! So a good way is with the use of technology. You can now get software that provides amazing graphics of what a room can look like, this is another way to experiment with out actually decorating anyones room and very good practice.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014


The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief

How do you extract your good client's brief?
I always use this example as I feel it is an abundant problem here, is that we follow like sheep! People see a kitchen design in a magazine and then everyone has to have it. The designers follow the European trend and everyone gets coerced into the same design. Then even more magazines are published with almost identical kitchens, it is absolutely crazy.

We don't study and learn design to be the same as everyone else - we strive to create something different, unique and most of all personalised for our clients needs.

I believe strongly that the key to successful design is taking a good client brief. Just like the construction of a building, you need a good solid substrate and foundation on which to start building and that is the client brief.

I can send you to more reading on this topic; I will now go through some of it and expand on the theories of how to obtain the best brief that you can work with. The great thing is that after a while this will become second nature. The more you practise getting inside people's heads the better you get at communicating with them and instilling trust for them to open up with their ideas. Design is teamwork, anyone with an ego that thinks they know it all might as well stop now, good design is about communication between you and the client, and you never stop learning as a designer, but I guess you all know that, that is why you are here reading, learning and extending yourselves. Congratulations by the way!

Anyway, long gone are the days when a designer had a style that people came to you for, they now need you to create them their own! They need to be able to tell you if you are not heading down the same path, not finding you approachable and then later end up with a design that they dislike such that they feel it has been forced upon them, this will not be good for them and it will always end up on you, your skills and your business creating bad impression on others. You definitely do not need this. As they say, more
people spread the word if something is bad than when something is good as they feel emotional about it, it has upset them!

You have probably all learnt about this topic, but it never hurts to have another opinion, even if you are happy with the current way you take a client brief, you may find a few extra bits to add in that are useful from today.

more to come tommorrow....

Lessons from the American constitution


Following the American Revolution, the thirteen states, which then constituted the United States of America, were governed under the provisions of the Articles of Confederation put together by the Second Continental Congress. After wobbling and fumbling under this constitutional arrangement for about ten years, the American states had to sit at the table of dialogue to renegotiate their destinies. In the current Nigerian context, since 1999, with the end of military dictatorship, the country has been governed under a constitutional arrangement decreed into existence by the military. Having staggered under this constitutional arrangement for fifteen years and with the polity far from being stable, the Nigerian nationalities have an opportunity, courtesy of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, to sit at the dialogue table. Parallels can be drawn between the American experience and the Nigerian opportunity. More importantly, lessons can be learnt from the American experience to make the most of the Nigerian opportunity.


First, as is the Nigerian case, the structure and form of governance were the main issues in the American context. In this regard, although there appears to be a contrast, placed in perspective, the parallels are clear. Whereas the background to the ongoing Nigerian constitutional conference is a bloated centre with relatively enervated federating units created or maintained by the 1999 constitution, the background to the American Constitutional Convention was a loosely joined confederacy with a centre so weak that not only was it unable to hold the units together, it was virtually unable to sustain itself. It could not maintain a common currency and had neither taxation powers nor a standing army. The result was that the central government could not manage the conflicts that arose among the states. Discontent among the populace particularly among the poor, the farmers and debtors against the creditors gave rise to rebellion in Massachusetts, a situation that portrayed the new nation as unable to govern itself. To salvage the situation, a convention was called for,  with a view to discussing possible improvements to the Articles of Confederation. In the Nigerian case, the bloated centre has retarded the growth of the units, in the process fueling poverty, perpetuating discontent and igniting rebellion across the nation from the insurgency in the North to organized banditry and kidnapping in the South. Despite the concentration of powers in the centre, things are falling apart and the centre cannot hold, very much like the American experience.

Prelude to the American convention, although everyone knew that government had to be fixed, the question was, “how?” Much like the current Nigerian national conference, the mandate given to the convention was to merely make recommendations for the amendment of the Articles of Confederation. Consequently, as has been the case with delegates to the Nigerian national conference, most delegates to the American convention came expecting to merely make recommendations for the revision of the pre-existing constitution.

Although the quality of delegates to the American convention was high-powered, some did not realize what they were getting themselves into. Going by the level of dissonance among their respective constituencies and the apparent cluelessness of some of the delegates regarding the possibilities ahead of them, the convention did not seem to hold any much promise. While Rhode Island refused to send delegates, delegates from Virginia and Maryland sat at the conference fully aware that their respective states were almost at war with each other a few months back. The delegates from Delaware threatened to leave the convention if they had to give up power to strengthen the centre. The delegates from New York argued among themselves over empowering the centre and, eventually, two of the New York delegates pulled out of the conference. These are reminiscent of the refusal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to send delegates to the conference, the initial threat by northern Nigerian delegates to walk out of the conference and the actual non-participation by the Nigerian Bar association (NBA). Again, just like many delegates to the current Nigerian national conference, the delegates to the American convention came to the conference, not as Americans, but as Virginians, New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians, and so on. They came wanting sovereignty for their respective states.

Furthermore, at the beginning of the 2014 Nigerian National Conference, there was much furore over the pictures of some delegates sleeping in plenary. It provided grounds for skeptical Nigerians to further question the worth of the national conference and the seriousness of the delegates as well as its chances of producing any meaningful outcome. The 1787 American constitutional conference that produced the American constitution, which has been much celebrated and emulated over the centuries, had worse than a sleeping delegate! It had a drunken delegate in the person of Luther Martin of New Jersey!  Therefore, the American Constitutional Convention, which held for four months from May 25 to September 17 1787 and became the reference point for America’s governmental history, did not start out looking like it could produce what it eventually did.

It is important to note also that when the convention delegates changed course towards producing a new constitution for America, they were embarking on what they had no constitutional authorization to do, as it was not permitted under the Articles of Confederation neither were they mandated so to do. This is reminiscent of the admonition by conservative delegates to the Nigerian national conference, to fellow delegates who are optimistic about the opportunity provided by the conference, that the confab has not been mandated to write a new constitution for the country.

What made the difference?

At least, two factors may have contributed to the turnaround. These include the few delegates who came to the conference determined to change the status quo and the resolution of the congress to keep their deliberations absolutely secret.

From the onset, a small group of delegates believed that the Articles of Confederation had to be completely scrapped. These delegates, mostly from Virginia, believed that upon them rested the responsibility of millions yet unborn. Of course, this included George Washington who was the only American then known to every American and was easily elected president of the convention. However, while many delegates came to the convention with shortsighted expectations and without a sense of where America should be going, only one delegate came with a clear blueprint, as he knew what America ought to do. He was James Madison.

James Madison arrived at the convention early with an already developed blueprint. He then began to build a coalition with his fellow Virginian delegates. Another delegate, Charles Pinckney from South Carolina also had a plan but lacked a coalition. With the support of the Virginian coalition, Madison’s plan became the first proposal on the table. This gave direction to an otherwise directionless convention.  Madison’s plan highlighted the fact that the major issue was the question of the degree of authority the central government would have over the states. Convinced that a strong federal government was necessary but aware that the smaller states would particularly resist any plan to surrender part of their sovereignty to the centre (raising fears over minority rights), Madison proposed a system of separation of powers that would guarantee checks and balances and maintained that “only in a large democracy with an extensive system of checks and balances will the rights of minorities be protected from the tyranny of the majority”.Against this backdrop, on the third day of the Convention, Edmund Randolph, a Virginian delegate, announced the Virginia Plan: to do away with the Articles of Confederation and make a new constitution for America.

The Virginia Plan was debated heatedly with opponents raising concerns over such issues as proportion of representation in Congress. While the plan implied representation in both houses of congress in proportion to size, the smaller states demanded equal representation irrespective of size. To resolve this stalemate, Roger Sherman, a Connecticut delegate proposed a bicameral legislation where states would have equal representation in the Senate while representation in the House of Representatives would be size-determined. After much debate, the Connecticut Compromise helped resolve the contentious areas of the Virginia Plan.

Another turnaround factor was the privacy accorded the Convention, as the first resolution of the Convention was to keep deliberations secret, not in the sense of a conspiracy, but in order to ensure a no-holds-barred and honest discussion among delegates. Consequently, despite suspicions, reporters were blacked out from proceedings and delegates swore not to reveal the content of their debates. Four months later, the Convention had created a new constitution for an entirely new government!

Lessons for the Nigerian National Conference

First, from the transcripts and reports of debates at the plenary of the confab, there are too many issues being raised and scattered in too many directions. There is the need for a blueprint that will set the agenda for debates. Such a blueprint must be specific in highlighting the main issues and proposing practical solutions. It’s called “keeping the main thing the main thing”.

Second, the blueprint must anticipate the fears and concerns of interest groups and create appropriate frameworks and buffers to deal with genuine concerns. For instance, an unspoken fear of northern Nigeria towards calls for restructuring and true federalism is the expected loss of allocated oil revenue. This was one of the major causes of the failure of the National Political Reform Conference, 2005, as the South-South demanded 50% derivation on oil revenue. Although proponents of true federalism rightly maintain that each region has resources that can guarantee self-sustenance, the neglect of non-oil sectors over the years has ensured a relatively greater infrastructural deficit (human and material) in those sectors than in the oil sector. Therefore, an acceptable plan would have to take this reality into consideration perhaps by making provision for a transitional period of targeted resource-specific infrastructural development across regions through some sort of infrastructural development fund side by side a progressive hand-over of control of resources to the federating units. This compromise could forestall a sudden incapacitation of some regions or states and might cause otherwise intransigent regions to reconsider their opposition to restructuring.

Third, from the foregoing, there is no gainsaying the importance of compromise and trustful give and take. This lesson is obvious in the Connecticut Compromise.

Fourth, the few delegates who, like the Virginian Coalition and much like the Biblical sons of Issachar, know in this context, what Nigeria ought to do, must take up the challenge of providing leadership – such leadership that defies convention. Those few delegates who perceive that this is an opportunity to write a new constitution for the country despite the fact that the national conference has not been mandated to do so must rise up to the task. Like the delegates to the American constitutional convention, they must rise up to the challenge knowing that they have upon their shoulders the responsibility of generations yet unborn.

Fifth, those few delegates must take responsibility for creating the blueprint that will provide direction to the conference. It appears that many of the delegates are content at simply revising aspects of the constitution or even aspects of the documents handed over to delegates such as the Report of the National Political Reform Conference, 2005 and the Report of the Political Bureau, 1987 as they might not have the patience to consider drafting a new constitution for the country. The “Virginia coalition” and, in particular, the James Madisons among delegates must rise up to do so even if they glean ideas from these past reports. To achieve this, they must build the necessary coalitions and make the necessary compromises. It is noteworthy that unlike the voluminous 1999 Nigerian constitution, the American constitution produced from the 1787 convention was a 5-paged document containing less than four thousand words.

Sixth, although the need for media coverage has been much touted, the conference should seriously consider minimizing media coverage and creating an atmosphere for no holds-barred discussion or plain talk until a thorough document is produced. This may commence once delegates move into committees and it may extend later into plenary. With that, all grandstandings will stop and delegates can focus on the more serious task of nation building with trustful give and take.


In the words of Senator Femi Okurounmu (a south west delegate and the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Conference) – during his contribution to the debate on the Presidential address – he said “Finally I   wish to advise this conference not to clamp itself under constraints that were not imposed by the President. The outcomes of our deliberations need not to go to the National Assembly. To send them there will defeat the goal of building a new, just and equitable society because the National Assembly itself is one of those institutions which, as presently constituted, is heavily skewed in  favour of some sections of the country against others”. This is spot on.

Finally, if the delegates to the 2014 National Conference consider the WISDOM OF GOD anything to go by in rebuilding our nation and making it an inclusive society of our dream, the ancient story of reconciliation of two brothers (ultimately two families and nations) at the place called MAHANAIM (Two Camps) should guide us in our present assignment. (Genesis 32: 1&2)

The two brothers were raised in the same home but theirs was a classical case of unhealthy rivalry, cheating, manipulation, deep seated mistrust and spiteful cynicisms. But after some 21 years of doing things in their own different ways, the day of reconciliation came. At first, it appeared that it was a time of revenge and settling old scores. Esau showed up with 400 men – a number that naturally overwhelmed the company of Jacob. Consequently, genuine and palpable fear filled the air as one brother decided to send gifts ahead to appease the seemingly aggrieved brother.

Here is the story in its original form without any paraphrase:

“1 Now Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and there, Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maidservants. 2 And he put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 Then he crossed over before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 And he lifted his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, “Who are these with you?”

So he said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the maidservants came near, they and their children, and bowed down. 7 And Leah also came near with her children, and they bowed down. Afterward Joseph and Rachel came near, and they bowed down.

8 Then Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company which I met?” And he said, “These are to find favor in the sight of my lord.”

9 But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”

10 And Jacob said, “No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me. 11 Please, take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” So he urged him, and he took it.

12 Then Esau said, “Let us take our journey; let us go, and I will go before you.”

13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. 14 Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir.”

15 And Esau said, “Now let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.”

But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” 16 So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. 17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, built himself a house, and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.  (Genesis 33: 1 -17)

There are four additional vital lessons for all delegates from this Biblical story:

Lesson #1
One brother bowed while the other ran to meet him, embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they both wept. For old wounds to be healed, there must be trustful give and take – not my way or the high way. (Verses 3&4 above).

Lesson #2
Both brothers said “I have enough”. Truth be told, there is no part of Nigeria that is not endowed. Before the discovery of oil, there were groundnut and cocoa pyramids as well as palm oil and rubber plantations. If today the Niger bridge is shut down and tomatoes, potatoes, onions not to mention cows do not come to the south anymore, I wonder how the Southern states will survive. We must embark on cross-country capacity building that will ensure that both sides of River Niger can say again “we indeed have enough”. (Verses 9 – 11 above)

Lesson #3
Herein is the spirit of true federalism in action, each part developing at its own pace. Nothing stops Nigeria from developing 6 – DUBAIS from our present 6 geo – political zones 20 years down the road. To do this we must focus on harnessing the resources of each zone for the development of each zone as against the entire nation trying to survive largely on a mono -product economy. This is killing us while creating the filthy rich amongst our elites who have managed to corner the resources of our nation for themselves. (Verses 12 – 14 above)

Lesson #4
The final lesson is decentralization of security apparatus, in our own case, the decentralization of the police. With our present security challenge, there is no point posting policemen from Kaura-namoda to Calabar or from Port – Harcourt to Kafanchan if we are serious about effective policing. Apart from language barriers, officers who are not familiar with the terrain of their posting can hardly do their jobs effectively and satisfactorily. (Verses 15 – 17 above)

The 2014 National Conference provides Nigeria with the opportunity to re-write her constitutional and governmental history. In this regard, lessons can be learnt from the Word of God and from the American Constitutional Convention of 1787. It is said that those who do not learn from history either  repeat the blunders of history or become history themselves.

May God Almighty guide us aright. Amen.

In the pursuit of a united
and progressive Nigeria,
Pastor Tunde Bakare
Convener, Save Nigeria Group and
National Conference 2014, South West Delegate.

Monday, 28 April 2014


Hi Nigeria youth,

Over the next two weeks, starting from now, you will receive your free e-book in interior decorating via this platform, our believe is that you will transform this book into a business that will empower you into breaking forth into financial liberty, so you could help create wealth in our society.

This e-book spread over the next ten days will teach you:
1 How to Get Your Project Brief
2 How to Brain Storm Your Style Ideas
3 The Secrets to Using Color Well
4 Making Fabrics Work for You
5 How to Choose Fittings and Fixtures
6 What to Look for in Home Finishes
7 Furniture Placement Guidelines
8 How to Pull Your Decorating Scheme Together
9 The Finishing Touches
10 Taking Decorating a Step Further

So let's get started!

Interior Decorating e-course Part 1
How to Get Your Project Brief

How to Get Your Client or Project Brief
This sounds more professional than it really is, most things in
interior decorating can be broken down into processes. Then you can follow simple step by step methods to achieve them. This is how we achieve the client brief.
List up all the project's details, address, number of rooms, number of family members, pets, lifestyle (professional, family orientated, teenagers with lots of friends, babies, loads of pets, retired and relaxed, home office etc) current style of the house, the type of construction, the budget, the overall content of
the project (ie renovate the kitchen and bathrooms).
Take one item at a time and expand on them. For example Family Members - how many? What ages? What are their needs?  This is especially important for the bathroom area - privacy, showers, baths, double basins, additional toilets etc. Current Style of the house, if it is a 1960's bungalow, what kind of style are you wanting to portray in the home? Is the whole house going to be updated eventually or simply the kitchen and bathrooms? Look for long term plans as well as present as these can effect the look of the whole house if it doesn't flow cohesively. The type of construction, this is vitally important for structural purposes, for example you may want to put granite bench tops in the kitchen, these are extremely heavy and if you had a timber framed floor would need additional engineering support for the floor, the same applies if you wanted to add marble to the bathroom floor on the first storey, again very heavy.
The Budget - this is a major part of the brief, a good designer brings their project in on budget, this keeps everyone happy! It means that when you do your initial planning you are realistic as to what materials, fittings and fixtures are affordable, and you can set a priority list and use it to get the best quality project for your money.
The Overall Changes - in other words, the scope of work. What do you want to do with your renovations. Is it simply a repaint with new carpet, drapes and furniture or more extensive construction and cabinetry work involved. List up what you want to achieve, what changes are required and to what rooms, what contractors will be involved and their input. This all helps when you want to define your budget and start prioritizing.
Lifestyle - this is important when it comes to finding the right style of decoration. You need to find out how the occupiers of the home work on a daily basis. It is no use having a stark white kitchen with clean sleek horizontal surfaces when you have toddlers and babies and you spend all day making food for them. Getting everything out and putting it away again and again. You need something with user friendly appliance storage, easy access and a more softened look if you are going to spend most of the day in the kitchen. Same thing for a mass of teenagers you would need to allow a large space for a huge refrigerator as they will also eat all day!
Then the most important part - the aesthetics! What style or look you or your client wants to achieve. This can also be the most difficult as it is the creative side of decorating. All the rest has been "accounting" lists and numbers, vitally important to any project but not the fun side of decorating that we all enjoy.

The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief - part 1
So what is a good client brief?

A client brief is where the designer finds out exactly the parameters of the client's project. The designer is then able to provide a positive solution to their requirements.

It sounds simple and it is. So why do so many designers get it wrong?

My theory is that they take what the client says at face value. They are often in a hurry and want to get the project started or vice versa. Many designers fail to satisfy their clients needs.

I think is because they are not nosey enough! I don't know if you use that expression - we do at home as my daughter pokes her nose into everything that comes and goes out of the house. It means knowing everything that is going on. In other words - you take off your designer hat and put on your detectives! No, this isn't a plot for a reality TV program, but it is quite a good idea though. It simply means that you have to really dig deep and find out how your client really lives (or works if it is a commercial project but for continuity I will stick to the residential example).

Who does a mad clean up before guests come around? Throw miscellaneous things into drawers and cupboards never to be found again so that all your horizontal surfaces are clear and your home looks spotless? I am extremely guilty of this habit.

Our household is very busy, we have two designers who work from home, one four year old budding artist and a two-year-old demolition trainee and a cat who barely has space left to make a mess! This means that we have an abundance of paper with beautifully painted pictures drying around the house, piles of paper, books, and magazines stacked up in areas around the house where we stop to work. For us it is normal but others see it as a complete mess, and scarcely believe that my husband and I are designers. Our reply is that we are so busy making other people's homes look good to worry about our own!

Anyway the point that I am trying to make is that I am untidy! Yes says my husband but no, I want to make the point that people often have two sides - the side that they show us when you let them know you are coming to visit and the real side that you see when you just drop in!

That drop inside is what the designer detective needs to unearth to show how the client and family really live. Then they will have a feeling for the type of design that will work for them. You need to dig deep to find out what they really need as well as want.



What kind of mindset will assist you in achieving amazing amounts of wealth? What beliefs
and traits can you adopt that will allow you to have tremendous success financially? How
quickly and frequently will you find yourself asking yourself these kinds of questions?


What are you beliefs about money, and about making money? Whatever they are, be
prepared to get rid of most of them and build in new beliefs about money. Unless you really
don't want a lot of money. In that case, keep whatever beliefs you already have! Some
people have beliefs like: money is scarce. Money is very difficult to get. Money doesn't
grow on trees. Rich people are selfish. Rich people are evil. Nobody likes rich people. I am
not the kind of person who can be rich. Get rid of these beliefs, and adopt new ones! How
about: making money is easy once you know how. There is a lot of money in the world. I
expect to have money. I can learn ways to make a lot of money. I have all the resources I
need to make a lot of money. Making a lot of money is easy and fun. Money goes to good
people. I deserve lots of money. Creating a great deal of wealth is natural for me. Adopt
beliefs like these, and you will be rich! Your beliefs determine your reality. Adopt beliefs of
people who have made a lot of money. Meet people who have made a lot of money. Ask
them what there beliefs are about money and making money, and try on those beliefs. Read
Think and Grow Rich and try on some of those beliefs. Do not listen to people who try to
give you limiting beliefs about money, unless they themselves are tremendously successful
financial. If you adopt their beliefs, you will have financial success similar to theirs. If you
adopt the beliefs of people who have made tremendous amount of money, then you will do

If you simply change one belief, you will not see any results. Your other limiting beliefs may
tend to cancel it out. Wantonly get rid of all of your limiting beliefs about money, and
replace them with better ones. Set some time aside every day to identify the beliefs you
currently have that are limiting you, and replace them with better beliefs. After you have
many such beliefs, they will all support each other. Then you can't help but make a lot of


People that have been tremendous successful financially tend to have a great deal of
enthusiasm and passion. They have incredible drive, energy, determination, and persistence.
They do not give up if they don't succeed at first. Many fantastically successful
entrepreneurs, for example Colonel Sanders and Walt Disney, were turned down dozens
and dozens of times. Almost no one thought they would make it. But their passion and drive
carried them through to never give up. You find this kind of drive in successful
entrepreneurs. Their desire to accomplish obsesses them, they think about it all of the time.
If you want to be incredibly successfully, create for yourself a burning passion. The key is to
have this kind of enthusiasm, drive, and passion, and have the clarity to make good
decisions at the same time. And to have fun while doing it! And the playful curiosity to test
different things, and the tenacity to find out what works. And the clarity to make good
decisions, the clarity to use what works and discard the rest. You know how to do this!
You learned it in the last report. You can use the brain machine to create a state in which
you have this. But how do you make it a trait? There are several ways to do it. One is to
use the brain machine and experience those states to the point where it becomes a habit. If
you do something every day for 21+ days, it becomes a habit, and therefore a trait. Another
very powerful method which will create a trait is to use the generative patterns that I discuss
in these reports. Actually, a generative pattern is better than a trait, because you
automatically and continuously move in the direction that you seek and continually improve.
Another thing you can use to adopt some of these traits is handwriting analysis.

Handwriting analysis is an amazing science from which you can determine personality traits
just by looking at someone's handwriting. It can really be useful. (It you are in a situation or
are ever in a situation where you are hiring or screening employees, I would definitely have
handwriting samples given to a handwriting expert. It's not necessary for minimum wage
jobs, but for more important jobs, this could save you a lot of money from hiring someone
who just isn't right for the job. You can find out whether the prospective employee has traits
that will work well for the job, or poorly. Is the prospective employee the kind of person
who might cut corners, procrastinate, or likely to steal if given the opportunity? Or is this
prospective employee loyal, determined, and hard-working? Handwriting analysis is used to
screen employees extensively in Europe. Over 80% of companies in France use handwriting
analysis to screen employees.) Certain traits in handwriting that are found in people who do
well financially include traits such as enthusiasm, high self-esteem, determination,
persistence, willpower, intelligence, and emotional intensity (resulting in passion and drive).
There is a science called grapho-therapy by which you can actually adopt new personality
traits by changing your handwriting. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT intentionally make any
permanent changes in your handwriting other than the ones I tell you, without consulting a
handwriting expert or grapho-therapist.

The two traits which are most correlated with both financial success, and success in general,
are enthusiasm and high self-esteem. Enthusiasm is the trait with the most correlation to
success, financial or otherwise, then any other trait. Get enthusiastic! It will sweep you along
to achieving you goals-and it will sweep other people with you because enthusiasm is
contagious. High goals and self-esteem is also an essential trait. How can you reach
anywhere near your incredible potential if you are afraid to set your sights high? If you set
your goals high, and know that you are the kind of person who can achieve them, it will help
you tremendously.

You can adopt both of these traits simply by changing the way you cross your t! Cross you
t's at the very top of the stem. This is self-esteem, high goals, confidence, ambition, the
ability to plan ahead, high self-image and high personal expectations. Also, make you t-bar
long to acquire enthusiasm. The t-bar is the horizontal line that you cross your t with. Make
it long and balanced. By balanced I mean that it should be both on the left side of the t and
the right side of the t. Don't make it longer just by making the right part of the bar longer,
make it longer on both sides so that it is balanced. Make the bar rather long, but not
excessively long. In order for these traits to become a part of your personality, you must
practice them every day until this new way of crossing your t becomes a habit. Write a
entire page of t's every day. You must do this for at least 21 days, probably more. Do it
until it becomes such a habit that you automatically make your t's this new way without even
thinking about it.

There is actually a second component to high self-esteem besides the high t-bars, and that's
large capital letters. The capital letters on your signature and person pronoun I are
particularly important. If you currently make your capital letters small, change your capital
letters so that they are nearly three times as high as your lower case letters such as o, a, and
e. (Practice this on unlined paper. When you are writing on lined paper, your capitals need
only be as big as possible while still within the lines.) Particularly practice making your
personal pronoun I and the capital letters in your signature nearly three times as big as your
letters such as o, a, and e. Do not make any adjustments to you capital letters unless you
are currently making your capital letters small.

For more information about handwriting analysis, grapho-therapy, and some of the other
traits I've discussed, you can contact: Matt Gaffney, PO Box 85689, Seattle, WA
98145-1689. .

By the way, you will probably notice changes to your handwriting happening automatically
by applying the other techniques that you've learned in these two reports. You should not
attempt to make any changes to your handwriting other the ones I've mentioned, but
changes will happen automatically as a result of the new traits that you are adopting using
the other techniques in these reports.

There is only one trait you really need to succeed as an entrepreneur. There is one treat that
will allow you to experience tremendous success in every area of your life, financially and
otherwise. It is called by many names: courage, guts, determination, a willingness to do
whatever it takes. This is really all you need to succeed as an entrepreneur. And, adding
certain other traits will allow you to succeed more easily and more quickly.

Know your outcome, get your outcome

An important thing that you must do in order to get the most of out life is to decide what it is
that you want-what do you want in general, and what do you want in any given context.
What specifically do you want. Decide specifically what you want. What specifically will
you see, hear, and feel when you get what you want. Then determine what has stopped you
from getting it up until now. Maybe it is just that, until now, you weren't clear what you
wanted specifically. Maybe you didn't create an action plan for getting it. Maybe you just
weren't motivated enough to do it. Usually, the only thing that was stopping you was a
thought. If you take control of your own brain, you will be able to accomplish the outcome
that you have set. Create a plan for how you are going to get the outcome. You may need
to do some research in order to create a plan that will be effective. Analyze everything.
What could possibly go wrong, and if so, how will you deal with it? That way you will
already know ahead of time what to do. Is this really what you want? Is it consistent with
the other goals that you have set for yourself? How will you stay motivated?

You must also create an evidence procedure that will allow you to determine whether or not
you are getting closer to your outcome. Did you know that a rocket is almost always off
course? The rocket is off course, and a correction is made so that it is back on course.
Adjustments continually have to be made to the rocket, to fine-tune it so that it will reach the
destination. You must be able determine what you specifically you will be seeing, hearing,
and feeling when you are getting closer to your outcome. When you are not getting closer to
your outcome, you must have the flexibility to do anything else in order to get back on
course. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting
to get a different result. You must change what you are doing in order to get a different
result. Keep testing, and testing, and testing, in order to determine what works. Then use
what works, and throw away what doesn't work.


What do you have to do in order to truly be happy? If you ask anybody, they probably
have a set of rules. They'll tell you if this happens, and this happens, and this happens, if
they make a million dollars, find a gorgeous looking spouse with a perfect personality, and
become a really important, powerful person, then they'll be happy. I'm sure that you have
some set of conditions of what you think has to happen in order for you to be happy. But
do you know what it takes for you to be happy? All that it takes is for you to allow your
mind to release those feelings of happiness. Remember what I said about how people have
a representation of the world, and they make the mistake of thinking that that's the real
world. Remember what I said about how powerful beliefs are. If you believe that you have
to have X, Y, and Z in order to be happy, then that will be true for you. Until you change
your mind, and change the way you represent the world to yourself. You have already
learned the secrets to controlling your own mind. You can feel happy any time you want to.
And you have other ways to motivate yourself instead of putting off happiness, so you have
no need to deny yourself the happiness that you can experience it now. Some people might
think that they should not allow themselves to be happy until they have accomplish a certain
task, because they worry that they won't be motivated to accomplish the task if they are
already happy. But that's not true. If you are happy, you will be more motivated to
accomplish them. Besides, you already have learned in these reports how to create a
motivation strategy for yourself that will work perfectly without having to deny happiness for
yourself; you can experience happiness now.

Some people think there are things more important that feeling good. But there's nothing
more important than feeling good while you do them, because the better you feel while you
do them, the quicker and better you'll get them done. Besides, fears and unreasonable
worries are mostly what stop people from accomplishing things. Once you come from this
place of already being happy, and knowing that you can continually amplify these good
feeling no matter what, you will have nothing to fear. You will be able to make the most
useful decisions. You won't take any risks that you shouldn't take, but you won't be afraid
to take those risks that you should take. You will use the brain machine to feel the passion,
the powerful confidence, and drive to accomplish amazing things, have the clarity to make
good decisions at the same time, and you will have a great amount of fun doing it, you will
use your playful curiosity and your tenacity to experiment and find out what works best. Just
use your brain machine.

Does this mean that you should never have bad feelings? No, bad feelings are actually very
useful. What you should do is, whenever you feel a negative feeling, first figure out what the
message of that feeling was, and commit to acting on the message. After that, immediately
get rid of the feeling. You can immediately do that using the techniques in the last report.
Use these techniques to create a good feeling instead.

In other words, the bad feeling told you that you need to change something. Discover what
that it, and commit to the change. Then change your state of mind from the unresourceful
state that you temporarily experienced because of the bad feeling, and into a resourceful
state of mind (by using your brain machine or changing your internal representations) so that
you will now have the resources to act on the message, and to get whatever outcomes you
may have.

What is the message of the bad feeling? The message is usually that you need to change you
map or representation of the world, that is, the way you are perceiving things, or the
meaning that you attach to things. Occasionally it means that you should not change the way
you are perceiving things, but instead you need to change what you are doing; change your

Here is an example. Let's say that you have a feeling of nervousness or fear. Perhaps this
feeling is caused because you want to approach a member of the opposite sex. Probably
the feeling is telling you that you need to change your map of the world, the way you are
perceiving things. You have some beliefs that you need to change, or should change the
meaning that you attach to things. Maybe you have a belief that if you get rejected by a
member of the opposite sex, it means that you are a worthless human being. This is a belief
that you should change. Change the belief, and then change your state from a state of fear
into a state that will be useful for you.

The fear may mean that you should change your behavior. Let's say that you know that this
member of the opposite sex is married, and she is married to a jealous professional wrestler
who just got out of prison for beating up the last guy who flirted with his wife. Well, you fear
is telling you that you should change you behavior and not approach her. The fear served its
purpose and now you realize that you should not approach her, so now you can change
your state into whatever state you want.

So, whenever you feel a negative feeling, determine the message, that you either need to
change your map of the world or change your behavior, and then immediately get rid of that
bad feeling and replace it with a good feeling. And then act on the message by changing
either the way you are perceiving things or by changing you behavior. You never have to
wallow in bad feeling unless you choose to; it is a choice. You can choose to feel good
now. It will help you succeed.

Create your own future

The secret to getting whatever financial success in life you want is by thinking the same
thoughts and having the same beliefs as people who have that level of success. When you
do this, there can be a conflict at first. These new beliefs and thoughts are going to conflict
with your old beliefs at first. If you already had these new beliefs, you would already have
the financial success you want! It is only when you step outside of your comfort zone that
you can experience new results. Do not fall into the trap of worrying about whether the new
beliefs and attitudes are "true". You have an old set of beliefs which you thought were true.
But the question is not whether they are true. The question is, are they useful. Do they get
you the results that you want. If your present thoughts and beliefs were getting you the
results that you wanted, you would not be reading this! So you must step outside of your
comfort zone. Embrace confusion! This may be the most powerful thing that you ever do. It
will allow you to grow. Embrace new beliefs. Adopt the thoughts and beliefs of self-made
millionaires, and you will become one. Think of someone who is making 1,000 times more
money than you are. Is he working 1,000 times harder? Is he 1,000 times smarter? Of
course not. He simply has different beliefs and habits of thoughts than you do. Why can't
most people duplicate his success? Because adopting new beliefs is uncomfortable or even
terrifying at first, because they conflict with present beliefs. You will feel uncomfortable at
first. You may have doubts at first. Your friends may think that you are crazy. Are your
friends self-made millionaires? If so, listen to their advice, and emulate their thoughts and
beliefs. If they are not, should you listen to their doubts? Their doubts are what prevents
them from becoming self-made millionaires! Don't let their doubts infect you. Just allow
yourself to adopt new congruent beliefs.

Now, in order to make the shift so that you can become a self-made millionaire, you must
reprogram your subconscious mind. This usually takes a long time and a lot of effort to do.
Fortunately, I'm giving you the cutting edge technology to make is easy to reprogram you
unconscious mind. The methods described in reports #1A and this report are the most
amazing, cutting-edge, breakthrough technology for reprogramming your subconscious mind
for financial success, and success in all areas in your life.

Best of all, you can use a generative pattern to move in the direction that you want to go.
With a generative pattern, instead of simply reprogramming your subconscious mind, you
can reprogram it to automatically and continuously move in the direction that you want, and
it will seem natural. You will find yourself adopting all of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors
necessary for tremendous success, naturally and congruently.
Now, here is another generative pattern that will allow your brain to move in the direction
that you want. You can use this pattern to create your new future-a future in which you
possess untold wealth, and everything else in you life that you want.

Turn up your playful curiosity dial so that you can use the powers of you imagination for this
amazing generative pattern.

A generative pattern (this pattern as well as other generative patterns) allows you to achieve
an outcome. Remember that you must have a specific outcome. What exactly will you see,
hear, and feel when you get it. But instead of just focusing on the outcome, the generative
pattern moves you in a direction that makes the outcome inevitable. So the direction doesn't
specifically deal with the outcome, but it does make it inevitable that you will achieve your

Stand up. What you are going to do is step away, and leave yourself behind. Take a few
steps backwards, and pretend to see you, your old self, standing there. Take a few more
steps backs. Right now, you are not you, you are a wise prophet. Step back and take a
look at your old, current self. Create a new image of yourself about 20 feet to the right of
your old self. Stand about halfway between the two selves, but several feet back from them.
You are going to create this new self. You are the prophet, use your wisdom in order to
discover what traits your new self will have to have in order to accomplish everything that
you want. How will you behave in different situations? What characteristics do you want to
have so that you will be able to accomplish your dreams and have tremendous fun in the
process? Spend several minutes constructing this new you. You can let your unconscious
mind do most of the work in constructing the new you; it won't take much work on the part
of your conscious mind. After several minutes, step into the new you. Notice what it's like.
How do you see, hear, and feel things as this new you? What beliefs do you have? How do
you behave in different situations? What is different about this new you? Now, step out of
this. You are the prophet. Analyze this new you. Is it everything you want? Will it allow you
to achieve everything that you want? Is there anything that you need to add to this new you?
Is there anything that you need to take away? Is this new you ecological? What I mean by
that is, analyze all of the possible consequences of this new you. Is the new behavior going
to alienate anybody close to you? Or will it improve your life in every respect? Allow the
conscious and unconscious mind of the prophet to analyze everything. Is there anything that
you would like to change? If so, begin reconstruction of this new you. Once this is
completed, step into the new you and notice what it is like. Step out of it and into the
prophet. Notice again if this new you is what you wanted, examine all of the possible
negative and possible consequences. Keep reconstructing and trying out the new you as
many times as necessary.

Once the prophet has made the perfect new you, step into it. Look into the future, and
notice how it's different. If your future is not exactly the way you like it, then do the above
process over again. What exactly do you want to see, hear, and feel in your future? Does it
match the future that you are seeing now? If it is exactly the way you like it, notice how
incredible you future is going to be. Notice the incredible pleasure that you will experience
as you look towards this compelling future that you've created for yourself. Turn up the dial
for blissful, ecstatic happiness as you look at this new future. Now imagine a picture to the
left of you. This is the picture which represents moving away from this new, compelling
direction that you've created for yourself. As you look at this picture, think about the worst
possible thing that could happen to you. What is the worst, most painful thing that could
happen to you, that you would want to avoid at all costs? Think about that as you notice the
picture to the left.

Now look back and forth between the new, compelling direction, and the picture to the left.
Which one are you going to choose? You'll notice that your attention is automatically drawn
to this new, compelling direction. Every time you try in vain to move toward the picture on
the left, you automatically move into this new compelling future that you've created for
yourself instead.

Now imagine that someone was trying to hold your head below water, trying to drown you.
Would you let them drown, or would you fight for air? Are you going to let anybody or
anything take away your true, intended future? As you look toward this compelling future,
notice the realization that you are going to fight for it with the same intensity you would fight
for the very air you breath. Now

Saturday, 26 April 2014


It started immediately after independence when our country, Nigeria was officially recognized as an independent state, I still read till today the fanfare that ensued, but what Nigerians don’t know was the thoughts in the minds of the colonial masters. We used to be slaves to them, but we just gained freedom officially, but not total freedom because we were yet to be free mentally, they knew the secret to being truly free which is through the mind, everyman they say is a product of his mind, but they never freed our mind. Hence, as long as we we still carry around that slave mentality we will forever be slaves either to our colonial masters or ourselves.
They kept telling us we were not good enough, nor are we their equal, because they knew we will always be second rated. This slave mentally drove us into believing we have to speak their language to be successful, so we learn trades in their language. This same mentally drove Michael Jackson one of the most fulfilled black man in African history, to change the colour of his skin while his mind wanting always to prove to the whites that blacks are their equal, but it never worked out and I’m sure we all know till date in America the story has only improved, but has not changed.
Back to Nigeria, Our cultural values system has been totally deleted through this same slave mentality embedded right from the colonial master’s invasion into our country, they made our leaders sell our God given nature and culture in exchange for pairs of mirror and other things. We now hardly speak our language; in fact we feel ashamed and sometimes get punished for not been able to speak borrowed languages well. We see it as a thing of pride when our kids know foreign cultures but not ours, we usually call it civilization, we don’t eat our meals any more neither do we tell our kids the story of our generation. We gradually became a lost generation.
Gradually our nation and heritage started dying, but even at that we were unperturbed, so far we still had food on our tables, but quietly Boko-haram and unemployment started eating deep into our society wrecking more havoc than we’ve seen in the last decades. And yet we still haven’t gone back to the drawing board for us to understand how we got here in the first place. We forgot the only item we are producing which is oil, can’t even employ 1% of our employable hands, while the rest the government is struggling to engage in unproductive activities, hence we had a very huge volume of unproductive civil servants whose weight has started telling on the nation’s budget, threatening by the day our co-existence as a nation.
Kidnapping, armed robbery, rape and insurgency has now taken headlines in our news editions, since we had so many idle hands in our society, they eat by the day and so must exert their energy on something or someone, interestingly they chose to destroy our nation, our heritage and value system. Hunger or unemployment is now the excuse of most crimes because they know, that aspect of our society is already a norm, everybody is either hungry or unemployed. Our political system has enriched so many that we now see political offices as National cake where everybody has to have their fair share before it finishes, the saying “survival of the fittest” is now so often used, what happened to being our brother’s keeper, and loving thy neighbor as thy self.
Nigeria, created as a giant even before our colonial masters invaded us is still blessed. Our riches (though we kept losing them to foreigners) are beyond bound; unlimited resources God has placed in our hands. We can still tap from them only if we are willing to change our attitude towards our resources, create products from it and sell them to ensure we create wealth within our society.
Join me in this series as we continue the debate by posting your contributions below, or follow us on @engage me_naija, and on Facebook.
My name is Soyebi Samson, I stand for Positive change in my society, Engage me Nigeria, Engage Change.

A success story

How Bill Gates and Michael Jordan Met the 10,000-Hour Principle – Darasimi Oshodi
“Champions do not become champions when they win an event, but in the hours, weeks, and months, and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely a demonstration of their championship character.”
The statement above is credited to Michael Jordan who is arguably the best basket ball player ever.
Jordan’s long time coach, Phil Jackson reveals that it was hard work that made him a legend. When Jordan first entered the league, his jump shot wasn’t good enough. He spent his off season taking hundreds of jumpers a day until it was perfect. He says Jordan’s defining characteristic wasn’t his talent but the humility to know he had to work constantly to be the best.
From childhood, Serena and Venus Williams would go to the tennis court at 6 o’clock in the morning before going to school and when they returned from school, go back for tennis practice. Any wonder then the two of them have dominated women’s tennis.
It is reported that Demosthenes, a great orator of Ancient Greece, stammered and was inarticulate as a youth yet became a great orator through dedicated practice which included placing pebbles in his mouth.
I read that Tiger Woods’ father started teaching him golf at eighteen months. So it should not be too surprising that he took the world of golf by storm at age eighteen.
The Beatles performed live in Germany over 1,200 times between 1960 and 1964 and by the time they went back to England they had become inimitable. Those hours spent performing paid off.
Bill Gates gained access to a computer in 1968 at the age of 13 and spent thousands of hours programming on it. His efforts have been hugely rewarded.
In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell posited that to become a world-class expert in any field, an individual needs to practice for ten thousand (10,000) hours. It is known as the 10,000-hour rule or principle. His argument is that it takes about 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to truly master a skill. 10,000 hours of dedicated practice in a particular area of interest will make a person an expert. The 10000-hour principle was not propounded by Gladwell though; he only popularised it.
I read in another place that scientific research has concluded that it takes eight to twelve years of training for a talented player/athlete to reach elite levels and that this is called the ten-year or 10,000-hour rule, which translates to slightly more than three hours of practice daily for ten years. I also read that research now shows that the lack of natural talent is irrelevant to great success. Through practice, you can become what you desire to become.
Hope you are getting the drift of this write-up. This is it: the key to attaining phenomenal success in any endeavour is, to a great extent, a matter of practicing or doing a specific task over and over. I am not asking you to start striving towards meeting the 10000-hour mark. All I am saying is that for us to be hugely successful in whatever we have chosen to do, we must do it over and over again. We should not be waiting for lady luck to smile on us.
Before you jump out to begin your practice, listen to what Michael Jordan has to say: “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
Did you get that? Though practice or repeated performance is very essential, it should be done the right way. It is important to practice the right way. And I want to add that if you must commit hours to a particular task or activity, such activity must be what you really enjoy or else you will be sentencing yourself to a life of dissatisfaction, disappointment and frustration.
I couldn’t resist the urge to end this piece with another inspiring quote from Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. . . . I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.”

Darasimi Oshodi is a blogger. Read his blogs at
Twitter handle: @Aristotle274
The views expressed above are solely that of the author and not of or its associates.

Success is never too early

Tara Fela-Durotoye (born March 6, 1977)[1] is a Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer. A pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria, She launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard makeup studio, and established the first makeup school in Nigeria.

She is the founder and current CEO of House of Tara International[2] the creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume and the H.I.P Beauty range.

In 2007, She was awarded the Africa SMME Award and the Entrepreneur award in South Africa.[3]

Early lifeEdit
Tara Fela-Durotoye was born at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, the daughter of Mr John Ejegi Sagay, a commissioner at the Federal Civil Service, Nigeria and Mrs Felicia Omaghomi. The Couple separated when She was eight months old; born into a polygamous home, she was brought up by her father's wife Mrs Modupe Agnes Sagay. She started her education at Command Children School, Victoria Island and proceeded to Nigeria Navy Secondary School, Ojo, where she was a boarder. In form 5, she was made the Sanitary and Welfare Prefect. She graduated from the Lagos State University, with a degree in Law and proceeded to fully establish the beauty Company,[4] House of Tara International.

She is married to Fela Durotoye,[5] a Prolific Business Strategist and Corporate Activator; Chief Executive Officer of [6] Visible Impact and blessed with three sons, Mobolurin, Demilade & Morolaoluwa.

Contributions and achievementsEdit
Over the past 12 years,[when?] Tara Fela-Durotoye has been dedicated to realising her vision of building a globally respected beauty company of African origin.

Fela-Durotoye is the Managing Director and Creative Director of HOUSE OF TARA INTERNATIONAL, a leading player in the make-up sector of Nigeria's beauty industry. The organisation has grown into a franchise enterprise with three main lines of business: The Make-up Studio, The Makeup School and the TARA product line comprising beauty products and professional make-up kits.

Tara is widely considered as a veteran in the beauty industry,[citation needed] who has pioneered the bridal make up profession in Nigeria, starting her make-up business whilst an undergraduate in the Faculty of Law, Lagos State University.

Tara is a trained and certified make-up artist of Charles Fox, Convent Garden, London. In a series of firsts, she launched her bridal make-up business in 1998. Thereafter, she launched the first bridal directory in Nigeria in 1999. In 2000, she facilitated the first-ever series of bridal seminars, drawing for the first time in Nigeria celebrated professionals in the bridal industry to speak to brides.

She has franchises spread across Nigeria (branches in Lagos, Ibadan, Port-Harcourt and Abuja) and with emerging footprint on the West African coastal countries of Cotonou, Ghana and Senegal.

She established the country's first make-up school in 2004, and also launched the TARA product line, comprising a range of professional tool kits (such as make-up boxes, brushes and purses) for make-up artists and a wide range of make-up products including eye shadows, eye liner, lip gloss, foundation and powders on a brand platform promoting ethics and ethnicity, by empowering young women for economic independence without moral compromise, just as it flies the proudly Nigerian flag.

In 2008, at a record-setting celebration of her tenth anniversary in Lagos, she surprised the nation with the launch of her first perfume fragrance aptly called "Be Inspired".

She is a highly sought-after speaker at entrepreneurial platforms including conferences, TV programmes, newspaper and magazine publications and electronic media platforms.[citation needed] She is a favourite speaker at women business conferences, youth empowerment seminars and faith-based gatherings, where she speaks on topics ranging from finding your purpose, identifying your talent, building and managing businesses, maintaining a successful career and marriage.[citation needed]

She is also a mentor for make-up artists and small business owners. Through her make-up school, she has developed and trained about 300 make-up artists who are now active players in Nigerian beauty industry. She has also succeeded in empowering over 600 young ladies (most of whom are in the tertiary institutions) with the Tara Orekelewa beauty representatives' initiative that makes them financially independent, improving their self esteem while building their marketing and entrepreneurial skills.[citation needed]

Some of Tara's many national and international awards include:

Entrepreneur of the Year (The Future Awards)[7]
Young Person of the Year 2007 (The Future Awards)
Best Makeup Artist (Fashion and Style magazine)
Award for Excellence in the Beauty Sector 2006(City People magazine)
Pioneer Award for Beauty 2006. (Fashion and Style Award)
Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Lagos Enterprise Award)[8]
Wedding Planner Honorary award for mentoring other make artists, January 2008
Award for excellence (beauty), city people
1st lady award for Women empowerment
Under her leadership, House of Tara International has won several awards including

Right Vision Movement Award Creativity & Productivity Make over Outlet of the year 2006.
The Africa SMME Award presented in South Africa and the Entrepreneur of the Year award.2007
Creative business award of the year, success digest 2008
She is presently working on her book How to Turn Your Hobby into a Thriving Business.

Ibukun Awosika, The Girl Entrepreneur
House of Tara International
Africa SMME Award
Official Website of House of Tara International
Fela Durotoye
Official Website of Visible Impact
"The Future Awards""
"The Nation Online"

Our Concern at Engage Me (Nigeria) Youth Initiative

Our nation, my nation (Nigeria) filled with all requirements of wealth creation but still languishing in poverty. As much resources we hold so is our level of poverty. We have the market for any product but yet we have refused to produce, forgetting that wealth only comes when u're selling. We kept on in our impoverished status till our able youth were lured into taking arms against our nation, all in exchange for money. We are saying the time is now for us to begin in the creation of wealth by engaging our youths in the production of goods and essential services, promoting skill acquisition, as this is the only way we could close the gap between the rich and the poor in our country. Today, we provide wealth for other nations of the world that recognized the economic viability of our nation, but we are still living in the excitement of oil exploration.  We stand tall today by asking our fellow Nigerians to engage Nigerian youths through the promotion of local content products. We believe for each Nigerian product you buy you're feeding a family, so please take poverty away from our society by buying from Nigeria. I am Nigeria, We are Nigeria, engage us Nigeria so we can help build this nation with our youthful strength, engage us Nigeria, so we youths can use our strengths in building this nation, engage us Nigeria so we can stand as God’s heritages for our coming generation, engage us Nigeria so our nation could stand tall among others.
God bless Nigeria.

Long live Nigeria.