CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND – RULES FOR PERSONAL BRANDING

Having a personal brand is important for an entrepreneur because now more than ever, it’s important for CEOs and founders of companies/brands to come out to the forefront and connect with their audiences. People connect with people. – Kevin Stimpson

People reinvent themselves all the time—to take on a new challenge, shift into more-meaningful work, or beat back perceptions that have hindered their career progress. Sometimes the rebranding is subtle or evident. Taking control of your personal brand may mean the difference between an unfulfilling job and a rewarding career.

A personal brand is, in many ways, similar to a corporate brand. It is who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and the way in which you express those values.

Just as a company’s brand helps to communicate its value to customers and stand out from the competition, a personal brand does the same for individuals, helping to communicate a unique identity and clear value to potential employers or clients.

An overwhelming 85 percent of hiring managers report that a job candidate’s personal brand influences their hiring decisions. Your personal brand should highlight your strengths, establish a reputation, build trust, and communicate the unique attributes that you bring to your current (or desired) industry. Cultivated well, your personal brand will signal to employers whether or not you’ll be the right fit for an open role.

Developing a personal brand might sound challenging, but there are incremental steps you can take to build credibility in your field. When you have a personal brand that clearly articulates who you are, what you do, and how you help others, it makes it easier for other people and entrepreneurs to see value in connecting with you. You can leverage your personal brand to build your network, both online and offline, quickly and effectively.

Building a personal brand that positions you as the go-to expert in a specific industry or niche helps you to attract more of your ideal clients. When you’re positioned as an expert, it’s also easier for people to refer clients to you. Having a strong personal brand helps justify charging premium prices for your products and services. Without a brand, you become a commodity that competes on price. And there will always be competitors that can beat your price.

Over time, your business will evolve. You may even start multiple businesses in different industries over the course of your career. Your personal brand stays with you as you move from one venture to the next. Having a personal brand helps to build trust with your audience, and position you as an authority and a thought leader in your industry.

The Brand Building Process

The first thing you have to do to identify your personal brand is to know who you really are. You have to sit back and reflect on your values, abilities and passions. What you like to do and what you’re great at. Then you include very important skills you have, and those things that really interest you, what you like to talk about and what you always want to find more about. Being clear about your values is very important when creating your personal brand. If what you do is not in line with your values, you will not be happy with your work or your business and you will probably end up quitting. Sit down and reflect on what is important in your life, what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

Ask yourself:

1. In which areas of work do I excel?

2. What motivates me?

3. What characteristics have others complimented me on?

4. Which projects have others had to help me with repeatedly?

5. Which roles seem to drain my energy?

6. Which projects can I spend hours on without feeling overwhelmed or tired?

If you’re struggling to answer these questions, ask friends, family, and co-workers how they would describe you. Once you’re more aware of the different facets of your personality, you can decide how best to brand them.

Your personal brand is more than a reflection of who you are today; it’s a roadmap of where you to go. In addition to understanding your existing skills and competencies, it is important to assess your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to whichever industry or career you want to break into next. By doing this, you’ll uncover the skills and traits that make you distinct, as well as the areas where you need to improve or gain new knowledge in order to advance. Forecasting where you want to be in five or 10 years—and the attributes you want to be known for—can help you better determine what steps you need to take in order to get there.

What you offer and the kind of person you are will interest a certain kind of people, not everyone. You have to be very clear about who those people are. Study your audience and address them with your message. If you help your audience achieve their goals, they will help you achieve yours. At first it can be a bit complicated to know exactly who your target audience is. It will take you some time to get to know the type of audience that is interested in what you offer, however, this is essential in order to be able to attract the kind of people you can help and who in turn will help you. The main thing here is to understand the motivations of your target audience, what worries them or what interests them. This will allow you to better design the content of your blog, podcast or marketing emails in order to attract the attention of the right audience.

As you start mapping out the careers you want, it is recommended to compile research on experts in those roles. Find out who the thought leaders are in whatever field you’re interested in, and don’t just follow them, go online and find out if they have blogs, or where they contribute their thinking. Look for people who are successful and examine what they’re doing. Imitate them, and then do one better. In building a personal brand, your goal is to stand out—but you can’t rise to the top without taking inventory of who’s already there.

As you cultivate your ideal personal brand, it’s important to network regularly and effectively to grow your professional circle. Connect with peers and industry thought-leaders by going to formal and informal networking events. The more connections you make—and the more value you can provide in your interactions—the more likely it is your personal brand will be recognized. And, considering 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking, regularly attending these events will help you not only build your brand, but potentially advance your career, too. At these events, don’t be shy about asking fellow attendees to meet again for an informational interview or a casual coffee chat. And remember, if you don’t get a chance to connect at the event, reach out via email or LinkedIn to spark a conversation.

Having current and former colleagues and managers endorse you is one of the easiest and most effective ways to define your personal brand, allowing others to communicate your value for you. Just as a business might cultivate customer reviews and testimonials for use in sales and marketing collateral, you too should cultivate your own reviews in the form of recommendations.

One of the most important aspects of personal branding is making sure your online presence is engaging to hiring managers, co-workers, and others—even if you’re not on the job hunt. With so many different social media tools available today, your online presence will likely look different depending on the medium you choose. While your story should match across all platforms, once you know where your targeted audience is most likely to turn, you can redouble your efforts in telling your best story there. Additionally, if you want one of your sites or profiles to be exclusively for friends and family, adjust your privacy settings to ensure that potential employers don’t stumble upon any information that could potentially harm your chances of landing a job.

Your brand is more than just an online persona; it’s how you carry yourself at home, in the office, and even on your daily commute. Your reputation is everything! The more opportunities you have to work with others, volunteer for projects, and assert yourself as a leader, take them. That’s part of your brand.

Leadership isn’t reserved for C-suite executives. Strong leaders exist at every level of the organization. Leadership comes from how you behave, how you act, and how you inherently interact with people. That’s real leadership. That story you tell, combined with those everyday interactions, ultimately define your personal brand.

Your brand is your public identity, what you’re trusted for. And for your brand to endure, it has to be tested, redefined, managed, and expanded as markets evolve. Brands either learn or disappear – Lisa Gansky

THE JOURNEY OF WRITING

Good morning readers, I trust we are all in perfect health? 2021 looks like it is going to be all sorts of amazing. I am pretty sure most of us were in church to cross over and give thanks to God, preparing ourselves spiritually for this year. The Crossover service is essential in our lives when transitioning from one year to another; to make resolutions and desire to leave old habits back in the old year. The purpose of this blog post is a reflective one, reminiscing on how the journey of writing has been so far. It is also to motivate upcoming and budding writers to keep writing, because you might never know who might be reading.

We all do need inspiration for major activities that come our way. In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, the important role of inspiration is often overlooked. Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. Inspiration gives you the drive and discipline to continue whatever you have started. It keeps you in sync with your passion and fuels it. Why did I decide to write? Just for the love of it.

4 years ago, I had finished watching an episode of the famous detective series, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, a regal, brilliant obsessive-compulsive high on the drug of puzzles typically snooped around a crime-scene, and collected his information. He observed countless details about the scene and the victim (many of which the police seem to have overlooked) and then from that information arrived at a conclusion that may not be necessarily true, but could be probable based on the information available.  Sherlock Holmes, together with his assistant, Dr. Watson used a technique known as inductive reasoning in solving all of their crimes. Inductive reasoning allowed Sherlock to extrapolate from the information observed in order to arrive at conclusions about events that have not been observed. Here, we see the detective walking into the scene a blank slate; with no pre-supposed ideas about what may have taken place. And he goes on to gather information until he arrives at a conclusion — that still may be incorrect. And yet more information will come and come until he is quite sure he’s arrived at the right conclusion.

His assistant, Dr. John H. Watson created a blog, on the advice by his therapist to write his thoughts and feelings about returning to civilian life from the military as form of dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He does not start regularly updating until when he first meets Sherlock. The blog became an internet phenomenon and was viewed by nearly 2000 people in one day. These fans even started showing up at the crime scenes in order to catch a glimpse of the duo even before they started work. It was then I decided to start my own blog.

Instead of crime scenes, I decided this blog will feature cases seen at the hospital from my own perspective. From interacting with the patient for the first time, through diagnosis to treatment and discharge. This would enable people with similar complaints not resort to self-medication but seek the necessary treatment at the hospital.

Then it got to the point where I had to start writing. Did I even trust myself to produce good content? I locked myself in a room one day, with a pen and a paper and told myself “I was going to write!”  I penned down the free floating ideas that came to my mind without a topic in mind. Interestingly, what I realized was the more I wrote my thoughts down, they seemed to center around a particular theme, which led me to the Title ‘Missing Ingredient’. I had wanted to understand the essence of living and the most important thing in our life as individuals; the bits and pieces that mend together to make our lives meaningful. Before I realized, I had scribbled down a 1000 words.

I could not hide my joy, when I realized I had been able to write something down, whether meaningful or not. Just the idea of being able to write was what kept my joy in check. However I had to share the content for people to read. My idea behind my blog jumped alive and the creative ideas kept coming, as I quickly went to Google and searched “How to create a blog”. Even though I came across a lot of alternatives, the option I have never regretted choosing is WordPress. WordPress gives you the ability to follow the work of other bloggers, and also be followed back. The more likes you get on a post, it meant a lot of readers were enjoying your post, motivating enough to keep you writing. I quickly created a username after creating the blog and selected an appealing theme to make reading easier, and match the content I had aimed to produce. After successfully creating the website, I had to creatively come up with a name. Just because I wanted it to be a form of Online Journal, I named it Diary of a Growing Black Man.

After editing the piece consecutively, I rewrote the final piece in my diary and named it my first blog post. I then proceeded to type this piece in WordPress. WordPress automatically outlines the errors in your post in red so further editing to produce the masterpiece can be done. In addition, there are a ton of fonts to select from, to get the readers stay fixated on a post. Immediately, I was done typing, I let out a huge sigh of relief and published it on my website. https://eliezerontim.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/the-missing-ingredient/

Again I went on Google and searched “How to Make Your Content Viral”. I can’t understate how influential Search Engines have been in my life because as curious as I am, they always seem to have the right answer to my questions. In order to create content that would go viral, it is essential to share the content on various platforms including Social Media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, and also share them on receptive websites which accept guest blogposts. I immediately followed these steps and had a large readership within a day.

The feedback I got from my audience was so overwhelming, that I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. Many were actually surprised I had written such a good piece, even though it was my first time. Checking the daily statistics was the best way to start my day because it gave me a sudden surge of dopamine to spring forth the ideas into being. In addition, it gave me so much happiness and joy.

The hardest part of any venture is actually not initiation but maintenance. How do I keep getting content to keep my blog active? The inspiration behind most of my content is as a result of talking to different people and getting to know their views concerning a wide variety of topics. I am the person who will strike a conversation with a random stranger just to be inspired enough to write a post. You never know how much someone knows until you ask. I also try to limit the post between a 1000-1500 words because humans have a short attention span. The feedback I get from my readers after I exceed the 1500 word limit is still overwhelming. For all of you who read my posts, I appreciate you all. Let’s be great in 2021.

Fast forward 4 years later, I have been able to publish over 65+ articles on this website. I am thinking about being an author of a best-selling book to hit the Ghanaian marketplace. Also I have managed to put up another blog mainly for Mental Health Articles for which I have about 15 articles. https://www.onlinepsychiatrygh.com/blog . I have been employed by an affiliate marketing company known as Skills to Dollar Bills, and finally, I manage the social media content of an NGO, DYKB (Development of Youth Using Kindness from a Biblical Standpoint).

Writing has been a fulfilling experience for me because I get to channel and make my thoughts known using a piece of paper and a pen as a scaffold. My views and opinions are heard visibly, and finally, with the right gig, I know it will be rewarding financially.

You have probably always wanted to write but don’t know how? Remember Hard Work Beats Talent! Whatever comes through your mind can actually be written down. The fluid thoughts are meant to be heard. It could be true the escape route for most introverts tends to be writing, but I know a couple of extroverts who are excellent writers, so bear in mind, everyone can write. Scribble down whatever comes into your mind, and don’t stop until you have made sense and put a full stop to the last sentence.

Bear in mind, writing teaches you persistence, determination and consistency because good writers take several days to finish editing a good blog post. Aside their vocabulary being enriched, they develop keen eyes for good posts and strengthen their mind by reading further and deciding to write. You might want to learn the use of punctuations, develop your own style of writing and take further courses. This will render a voce to your writing and place your name on the writing leaderboard.

Keep writing, keep pushing because a professional writer is an amateur who did not quit. Stephen King, a famous author states “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot” Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river. All you have to do is sit down, remove all distractions and start writing. In the initial phase you might need someone to edit your works until you become perfect.

“You don’t start writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it is good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That is why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence” – Octavia E Butler

Thanks for reading!

Eliezer

THE FRACTURED FAITH

Hello lovely readers, quite a beautiful Sunday it is. I trust you are all in perfect health? Well yes, I am! This should be my last post for the year. 2020 has been all sort of things right? Tiring? Draining? Amazing? Well, it has been God, this whole time carrying us through and assuring us He would definitely bring us to an expected end. If you are alive, count yourself blessed!

Currently, I am in isolation. By isolation I know you have already figured out what it means. During this period, I have conducted a thorough assessment of the self, and identified what I stand for, my strengths and weaknesses, my likes and dislikes, and ultimately my personality. A lot of amazing things can happen in your life when you come to the realization of self, so I will highly recommend it for anyone battling with self-esteem and confidence issues. Also, I have clearly defined my goals, vision and resolution for the upcoming year. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year despite the persistence of the COVID-19 virus.

We meet people for different reasons in our lives. Some are passers-by, others are acquaintances and colleagues, and others are friends. Identifying this helps you build a solid network and solidify your inner circle. Ultimately the people in our lives should not drain us of the energy we have left. We are supposed to feel uplifted and encouraged just by interacting with them. Bear in mind, everyone’s experience whether good or bad is supposed to have an impact in your life, from which you can draw lessons and experience from.

The story begins with a 17 year old boy in the confines of a hospital bed after sustaining lacerations from a blunt cutlass some days ago. A typical display of biblical dexterity resulted in the admission of one, and the incarceration of the other. This scuffle ensued just because of a misunderstanding in coming into agreement with the word of God. “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.”

This man grew up in a loving home where both of his parents were very supportive of his goals, passion and ambition. It was his childhood dream to be a pilot; to escape the family’s status quo of being a doctor, lawyer or politician.

On his 17th birthday, his parents began to have issues. Issues they didn’t see coming. The man of the house had accepted an appointment from the Ministry of Defense. This meant he would be spending a lot of nights outside home, typically tightening up security in the country. This directly meant a higher pay grade and social recognition in the country. Was the security in his family tightened too? Were the bolts screwed tight?

As private as his wife was, she strongly objected to his decision. But her objection was not enough to change the already made-up mind of her husband. Little did they know their children were already falling into bad company.

One day, Maggie, his wife opened the door that led to the room of their first born son, Kwesi. She was led to go straight to his room after she had finished evening prayers. What welcomed her was a rather unbearable stench, with her son covered completely in smoke. “What are you doing in here, Mum? Couldn’t you have knocked and waited for the door to be opened for you before coming in?” Kwesi said, as he hid the packet of marijuana he had bought the day before under his bed.

Margaret feeling ashamed, slowly closed the door and wondered what had happened to his prayerful son. A boy who did not know how to skip worship and prayer sessions even in his busiest of times. A boy who frowned at any tiniest vice committed with so much hatred. How did he fall within the clasp of marijuana? Might have been from bad friends? The infamous peer pressure!

It was there she came to the realization her family was in shambles. She immediately reached for her phone but put it down, when she remembered her husband could only be accessed through a one way private number. What was she going to do?

Unable to sleep the whole night, she waited for her husband’s return the next day. Heavily disturbed to the core, she could not pray neither could she eat.

To her utmost surprise, her husband returned home the next day heavily drunk! This was very unusual for the morally upright man she had known for the past 36 years. The neatly pressed suit he had left home with, had been replaced by a filth-stained singlet. Immediately, she rushed to receive her husband as he alighted from his car in a dazed fashion; brushing her own complaints aside.

What welcomed her was a dirty slap. “Pick up all your things, you are leaving this house. I am bringing in a woman I love. A woman I would want to start a new family with. This family is dead!” He said as he trotted off to bed.

Margaret was torn apart. So many troubles for a day. She felt broken! Reality nudged her right in the eyes, when she attempted waking up from sleep. ‘Not today, Maggie!

She gathered the little courage she had, dialed the digits of the only man he knew aside his husband. “Dad, I am coming home!” …

Her husband’s chauffeur stood there quietly unable to take a step. He was confused. Should he comfort this woman who was clearly in despair? Or head home, like he does every time?

As he stood there dumbfounded, Kwamina, the last born charged towards him with a Bible in his hands. “Why does this have to happen to my family in a matter of split seconds? Where is the God I serve? He should come down and cause a miracle” He desperately said. No amount of Biblical quotes from this chauffeur could calm this boy down. Kwamina was so agitated he did not realize he had mistakenly picked up a wooden plank lying beside the car.

When the chauffeur realized what had happened, he tried to grab the plank from his grip, however what greeted him was a sound smack in his face in absolute fury.

The adrenaline rush of the chauffeur retaliated by finding a nearby cutlass and slashing the wrist and abdomen of his abdomen in two complete moves.

The whole scene turned bloody and horrific as Kwamina lay in a pool of blood unable to speak. All raised tempers abated as everyone rushed to the scene. The drunk father, with deep regret reached for his car keys and drove their son to the hospital in the company of his loving wife, the chauffeur, and his drug dazed son.

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Following the declaration of the presidential results after the elections, there has been unrest in some parts of the country. This had led to the death of some and the admission of others in a critical state. But this is not a time for war, but a time for peace. A time for us to accept and appreciate our differences, and move on as a country in spite of this pandemic. A time for us to pray and seek the face of God in the face of this constantly mutating COVID-19 virus. These Christmas celebration should be a period of merry making even in the presence of an empty pocket.

Be of good cheer, and make merry for you do not know what tomorrow brings. Pray and then plan your future. But remember the future starts now.

God’s hand moves when people and pastors pray together. Through prayer, God greatly multiplies our efforts and makes the impossible, possible.

Enjoy the Christmas celebrations and Thanks for reading!

Eliezer

GOD IS GREAT

Have you ever met that person who just seems to have it all together? Usually someone is good at something, when there are some people who are gifted and talented in just a few things. Who is the most talented person you know? Do you know that person who has a strong faith, great personality, athleticism, a strong intellect, musical and artistic, and good looks? There are times we all privately aspire to be like someone else who has qualities we see as better than ours. But we must remember we’ve been created in the image of the One who displays every quality perfectly!


Do you realize who you are? Do you understand your own potential? Do you comprehend you’ve been made in God’s image? That fact changes everything! It changes why you exist, your personal significance, your purpose in life, and the way you treat others. When we are looking at God’s greatness, we must remember that we’ve been created in His image to reflect and glorify Him.

Who can take nothing and create?

Hang the planets in their place?

Hold the world in His hand while thinking of man?

Only a great God!

Who can make dust into a man, and Measure Mountains in His hand?

Every word He’s decreed is already seen

Only a great God!

Circumstances may have made you doubt the greatness of our great God. Over the past week, I have to had to lay my big brother to rest. This has had a big toil on me because we had plans -even though we hardly communicated. Plans to get to places where we could elevate our family from a high pedestal. But He’s gone! Rest In Peace Nana Owusu, till we meet again! I am hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

It is the will of every person to enjoy perfect peace, and this comes from being rest assured in the word of God. The word of God is Life. It is what keeps us alive when we are down, what divides soul from spirit, joints from marrows and judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

You don’t need to see God before you believe in Him. He is everywhere and has promised no child of His comes to harm. The journey will be difficult but He has assured us of an expected end!

It is the hope we have in Him, that keeps us confident as Christians, because we have no power of our own. Horses and chariots are prepared for the day of battle but Victory comes from the Lord!

Irrespective of what you are going through this morning: The financial difficulties, the marital distress, that chronic illness – be rest assured that God has not forgotten you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is a great God like that!

When you think about the greatness of God, you can’t help but bless Him with your praise. Our God is all-knowing because He knows our faults, our weaknesses, our sins, and our rebellions, yet He loves us. Our God is all-powerful because He could snuff out our lives in an instant, yet He continues to bless us with life. Our God is all-present because He is everywhere at all times, He watches us, and is involved in all that we do. Yet, He shows grace and leads us in our lives away from spiritual and physical danger. When we think about the greatness of God compared to our sin, we cannot help but bless His awesome name!

Do you find yourself doubting God when you
are faced with a difficult situation? Are you often frustrated by negative circumstances? Is it hard for you to trust God with the challenges of life?Are you in the midst of difficult circumstances? Are you facing challenges that seem beyond your ability to cope? Do not despair, because God is with you, and He wants to help you.

How you view God and His involvement in your life touches every facet of who you are. Everything about your life — your desires, motives, attitudes, words and actions — is influenced by your perception of who God is.
Your self-image will improve once you realize the awesome greatness of God and the value He places on you. The more accurate your understanding of who God really is and how He is involved in your life, the more highly motivated you will become to excel in the use of your time, talents and abilities.


God is completely trustworthy. God has unlimited abilities, so He can do anything. He is all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing and sovereign. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

Allow the truth about Him and His marvelous character to transform you. Only then will you experience God’s best and become all He wants you to be.

Remember, with God all things are possible. With His unlimited abilities, nothing is too difficult for Him. With His absolute integrity, He will always do what is right. And with His unconditional commitment to you, He will always do what is in your best interest.

It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself – John Piper

Have an awesome day and a Happy holiday!

Eliezer

I VOLUNTEERED WITH D.Y.K.B

Hello readers, Guess what? I decided to volunteer for a nonprofit organization – Development of Youth using Kindness from a Biblical Standpoint (D.Y.K.B). What influenced my decision?  The society values volunteers so much that monetary value is placed on their time. Their volunteer work may be more valuable to them than our regular work because money means nothing to them. They do it for many other reasons, but primarily to help other people or animals. Nevertheless, there are many side effects of volunteering that make it even more worthwhile. We volunteer because it makes a difference.

Lately, I have begun to utilize my skills which include proofreading, designing résumés and websites, and writing cover letters because I must admit that talent hits a target no one else can hit and genius hits a target no one else can see. For your information, I designed a website a couple of days ago, to bring psychiatry to the doorsteps of people and reduce stigmatization because the stigma is real. Check out https://www.onlinepsychiatrygh.com/ and be a member. Let us make interactive discussions which span a wide array of issues that pertain to our mental health. The latest being the anxiety we experience in the face of the atmosphere of COVID-19 and how best we cope with it.

Not to digress, I joined D.Y.K.B as a volunteer occupying the position of a Social Media Assistant. What this means is I would be bugging your statuses from time to time with website links to support the good cause of D.Y.K.B.  

D.Y.K.B seeks to support the youth population in a way that advances their ability to affect the communities they are in, and not just be baffled by overwhelming situations they encounter.  To grow together and share ideas, and then put them into action. Good cause! Isn’t it? How does it seek to achieve this? Empowering the youth by lifting them up and lending support in the areas they need.

Who doesn’t enjoy the feel of water dripping unto their skin from above, below the sky? Their Sustainable Habit Program includes the construction of multiple showers in rural areas of Ghana. This has been coined the Ghana Shower Project. This is a low cost building research trip in Ghana which commences actively in June 2021.

Notable among the projects, is a partnership with Adamah Veh Zerah, an NGO registered in Ghana. An organization poised to offer sustainable development solutions to villages and communities throughout Ghana. The organization’s strategies consist of the teaching and the application of renewable energy, renewable resources, natural building and holistic organic agriculture.

D.Y.K.B, in conjunction with Adamah Veh Zerah has started the Earth Bag Seed Bank at a village in a suburb of Cape Coast known as Ansapetu. Cape Coast is located in Ghana’s Central Region.

Cape Coast might be the former capital city, but when held up against Accra, it is the very picture of serenity. You will have to look elsewhere for your endless traffic jams. This is not to say it does not feel lived in, but the atmosphere is more redolent of a coastal community than a big, bad metropolis. Pastel-hued fishing boats fringe the beaches, groups of schoolkids trip along in the sunshine and dinky shops and houses create a through-the-ages architectural mishmash. Past the lagoons on the edge of town, meanwhile, are some of the most enticing swathes of beach in the country.

All of which makes it unsurprising that Cape Coast is such a tourist draw. The center is an appealing place in which to watch and wander – particularly down by the crescent-shaped harbor – but while there’s an intoxicating feel to the pace of life here, it also has a sharply sobering history.

I got to the premises of Ahmahtsiyahu Ben Yisrael, the Founder of Adamah Veh Zerah where I received one of the most receptive welcomes ever. Ben is a visionary who seeks to help the people of Ghana by being an exemplary leader and a strategist.

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 The Earth Bag Seed Bank

The name sounds amazing, doesn’t it? A project, near completion, encapsulates 10 inches of earth’s rough job. Jute bags have been used as a binding agent that holds down the walls of the bank, with a proportion of cement to sand and clay in the ratio of 20:80. Its floor has been casted with cement only.

The atmosphere in the bank is colder than its environment, with its source of electricity from a solar panel. This earth bag would be a storehouse to seeds which would be provided to farmers. To ensure continuity of this project, farmers would return a 10% of this seed which would be distributed further to another set of farmers, enhancing the law of multiplicity and promoting organic farming.

Adamah Veh Zerah, an NGO seeks to abort the consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and encourage the dispatching of natural produce – right from the earth. A genetically modified organism contains DNA that has been altered using genetic engineering. Genetically modified animals are mainly used for research purposes, while genetically modified plants are common in today’s food supply.

Engineers design plants using genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, to be tougher, more nutritious, or taste better. However, people have concerns over their safety, and there is much debate about the pros and cons of using GMOs.

To avoid the usage of fertilizers, he employs the use of Composting circles. This is a trench dug in the form of a circle which serves as a temporary house to compost in different stages of composting. The compost comprises biodegradable material which include food waste such as banana clippings

The stunning fact is, plants structured at the corners of this circle grow healthier and faster than other plants, because they receive their nutrients from the biodegradation of the compost in the circle. As the compost gets darker, they are harvested with buckets to supply the whole of the farm. Ingenious! Isn’t it?

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This compost is used to plant crops like include ginger, passion fruit, turmeric and lettuce on the farm. These crops are held in wooden boxes held at the edges with bamboo pieces. The sight of pawpaw trees intersecting every region of the farm makes the farm a view to behold. Who just doesn’t love pawpaw?

The farm is powered by a 40 – feet hand dug well which initially powered sections of the house. It’s innovatory how Ghanaian men were creative in digging the well using a typical display of dexterity, team work and intelligence.

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To cap it off is the Up draft Passive Solar dehydrator.

What do you do with all this produce from the farm? Sell It? Gift Them Out? Consume Them? You would definitely want to preserve them for it to last for a very long time. This beautiful device uses the principle of pressure difference and convection to deliver heat using a solar collector installed in front of the device. This aims to preserve all kinds of food kept in it. This could be used in low resource settings in the absence of electricity. Portable ones are yet to be designed for market and commercial use. Fascinating right? I know!

The Earth Bag Seed Bank is a multi-stakeholder partnership that seeks to bring together data experts, civil society, youth organizations, academia and the private sector to ensure the youth of Ghanaians grow into strong young leaders that have the mindset to tackle any task at hand, talk a friend out of negligent choices, recognize an individual’s vision and be willing to support the vision with ideas for the greater good of Ghana as a whole. At the end of the day, greatness is determined by service.

Other projects started by D.Y.K.B include a Youth Debate Team  where about 15 to 30 young men and women, aged 13 -17 years, take on ground level issues within the community and develop future programs to help boost the capacity of the organization.

Volunteering has many benefits. We notice a subtle shift in ourselves when we volunteer. We feel more connected to others, and we become less absorbed in the normal stresses of daily life. We are able to share our experiences with others and want to help more.

Did you know that, when you volunteer, you are improving your life and maybe even your health? The benefits of volunteering are countless. There are social, emotional, physical, and professional perks. High school students volunteer to boost their college applications, and college students volunteer to improve their job search post-graduation.

Such programs benefit everyone.

Other generations, too, are finding that civic-mindedness has become an asset in the workplace. Related and non-related volunteer work on a résumé can often showcase your skills, as well as reveal openness to teamwork and a talent for innovation. Employers overwhelmingly look favorably on job applicants who have volunteered.

I encourage everyone to volunteer because wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.

Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful weekend!

Eliezer

 

 

FEAR NOT

I have questioned a lot of things. Things about me, things no one would question. Purpose of Existence? Purpose of Living? After many twists and turns, I think I’m gradually getting an answer. Lately a friend was going through a distressing situation for which she needed psychological help. She was crippled by fear and incapacitated by terror because of series of nightmares she had, began unveiling themselves like the plot in a stage play.

I have been pensive throughout this pandemic, reflecting on a lot of things. How a miniature virus could just emerge out of nowhere and turn the world around. Affect leaders at the helm of affairs. Turn superior economies into rubbles of sand and dust that they realize the need to seek a call far greater than their own abilities and efforts.

People die with the whiff of air, and are infected with the passage of time. Health workers hesitate to tend to patients who have blazoning temperatures on thermometers by their bedsides. Debate to attend to subjects with coughs dancing in their perimeters. Calculate whether to intubate an inmate, who presents with severe difficulty in breathing; who has failed the tried mechanical means – in the absence of Personal Protective Clothing.

I was touched when I heard the news of an Iranian doctor, Shirin Rouhani who passed away as she kept treating coronavirus infected patients till her last breath. She stood her grounds even in the absence of the required number of medical staff and cared for fear-stricken, hope-hidden, bed-ridden, lungs- bitten sufferers of coronavirus to the point of death. She picked up her handset to a distressing call her willpower tried so hard to deafen. A beat so thundering, her stethoscopes could not shame. Cries so deafening, her eardrums could not tame.

Before this deadly virus hit Africa, there were untrue claims and memes that Africans were immune to this virus. It was however a wakeup call for us to weaken ties with neighboring and distant countries by closing our borders, and strengthen our laid back health care systems. A time for us to connect the dots which link us as a family related by a culture.

But then as it seems the world is in turmoil. Bush fires in Europe and the persistence of a pandemic which takes on a new shell every second. But as Christians, should we be fazed? Should we be catapulted in a whirl storm of constant uneasiness and abhorrence? Should we let fear predominate our thoughts and actions?

What is fear?  The unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined. It is that bad feeling you have when you are in danger or perceive something bad is about to happen. As we mature, we develop a better understanding of the world and its dangers. We learn to discern real threats from imagined ones. When fear comes, we do our best to think rationally and manage our emotions until the menacing situation passes.

It is normal to be afraid when your test comes out positive after being exposed to a COVID 19 infected patient. What do you do in these moments of fear? Do you let it cripple you, or it raises your head high that you come out strong and say “Not this time!

The enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit our victories. There is nothing wrong with realistically acknowledging and trying to deal with the identifiable problems of life: unmet needs, conflict, health problems and dangerous situations. To ignore danger is foolish and wrong! But it is also wrong, as well as unhealthy, to be immobilized by excessive worry. Fear will cause us to buckle and settle for less than God’s best. It’ll cause us to disobey after diluting our trust in Him, and even when do stay strong, it’ll rob us of our peace and joy.

Remember the account of the Israelites in Exodus where they were surrounded by the brigade of Egyptians on chariots. God commanded to be fearless, to be still, to be watchful and finally be quiet. The Lord fought for them! “He looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the arm into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, making them drive with difficulty and He covered the entire army of Pharaoh with the Red Sea, that not even one of them remained”

This is the power of our Great God. He expects us to leave no room to fear. Fear is a tool the devil uses against us to make us miserable and destroy our lives. It begins as a thought and then creates emotions that can rule us. It often becomes a strong, intense feeling that tries to move us to make a foolish action or tries to prevent us from doing something that would be good for us.

The Bible instructs God’s people many times to “fear not” For those who have the proper awe and respect for God and who strive to obey His commands, God makes some wonderful promises;

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10

He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” Deuteronomy 31:8

Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

We do not face our fears alone. God created us and he knows each specific fear we have. He created our inmost being and knit us together in our mother’s womb. He will strengthen us in every situation and always for his glory. Whether it is the peace we find in his promises, or the confidence that our identity and worth comes from him and not in what we do, the Lord will give us the strength he promises. God is not reactive, but proactive in our lives. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that is at work in us by God’s Spirit.

And we do not need to fear tomorrow. God wants us to be filled with hope and trust, not fear. He has given us hope through the promise that he can uphold us by his strength today.

It is God who is with us, and he will strengthen us with his right hand. In his perfect way, he knows exactly what we need for every situation. In every situation, his righteousness will work for our holiness. He will be our strength.

Irrespective of the condition you find yourself, you need not to fear for God is with you!

Have a lovely Sunday!

Eliezer.

DETERMINING YOUR PERSONAL VALUES

Hello lovely readers, pardon my absence on my blog for a while now. I am at that phase of my life where it seems everything is at a standstill but then I still keep trusting God to intervene in due time. I would like to introduce this commonplace word value, and delve deep into how we can acquire values which would shape our vision and make this world a better place for us to live in.

What are values? How can they orient your life, and possibly impart meaning and a sense of purpose?

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines values as “beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life”. Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They determine your priorities, and, deep down, they are probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

Values are deeply held beliefs that certain qualities are desirable. They define what is right or fundamentally important to each of us. They provide guidelines for our choices and activities.

According to advances in neuroscience, values are neural processes resulting from binding cognitive representations of concepts, goals, and beliefs together with emotional attitudes. The term “values” is shorthand for hinting at complex levels of imagination. It ranges from one’s dreams and their roots in unconscious night processes to more preconscious daydreams and conscious aspirations. Values are potential capital fueled by hope and the motivation to expand and go forward.

Values are something you care about—a lot! Values can “change the world”. Values measure what people feel are desirable, vital, useful, and worthwhile. They influence the direction of how we feel, think, and make choices—perform and behave.

When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good and you are satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things feel wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.

This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important.

Values have transformative energy. As aspirations, values create visions for the future. Grasping one’s values consciously, people become self-leaders. As self-activists, their living example is “larger than life” both to themselves and others thus easing value performance in real-time.

If your personal vision is going to have any real meaning, you have to live it. And where you live your vision is in your values, because values are what guide your behavior on a day-to-day basis.

Living by your personal values sounds easy-at least in theory. And yet so many of us don’t consistently live by our values. Have you ever been in any of these situations?

  • Someone said or did something that you strongly disagreed with, but you didn’t speak up about it and felt ashamed afterwards.
  • You set goals for yourself and then failed to meet them.
  • Your life or career has not worked out the way you wanted them to.
  • What you want often clashes with what you’ve got to do or what’s “practical.”
  • You’re so busy pleasing other people that you are not even sure what your own true values are.

If any of these resonate with you, you will need to learn what personal values are and why they’re important.

Let’s start with a personal values definition. Personal values are the things that are important to us, the characteristics and behaviors that motivate us and guide our decisions.

For example, maybe you value honesty. You believe in being honest wherever possible and you think it’s important to say what you really think. When you don’t speak your mind, you probably feel disappointed in yourself.

Or maybe you value kindness. You jump at the chance to help other people, and you are generous in giving your time and resources to worthy causes or to friends and family.

Those are just two examples of personal values out of many. Everyone has their own personal values, and they can be quite different. Some people are competitive, while others value cooperation. Some people value adventure, while others prefer security.

Values matter because you’re likely to feel better if you’re living according to your values and to feel worse if you don’t. This applies both to day-to-day decisions and to larger life choices.

Most of us don’t know our values. We don’t understand what’s most important to us. Instead, we focus on what our society, culture, and media values.

Can you articulate your top 5 to 10 values that are most important to you?

Without undergoing a discovery process, it’s challenging to identify your personal core values. It is easy to speculate and idealize what you should value. But knowing and accepting what you value takes effort.

Choosing Core Values

If you are not sure about your own core values, or if you would like to clarify which of your values are top priority now,

  1. Start with a Beginner’s Mind

It’s too easy to presume that we know the answer at the start and to, therefore, never embark on a creative, personal discovery process.

Adopt the mind of a beginner—someone with no preconceived notions of what is—to give you access to inner truths to which your conscious mind is yet unaware.

Take a deep breath and empty your mind. Remember that your conscious mind doesn’t have all the answers. Create a space for new insights and revelations to emerge. Getting in right mental and emotional state is an essential first step.

 

  1. Choose your top six to eight values from a wide-ranging list of values.

To do this, you need a good list.

Financial Security; Compassion; Health/Fitness; Nature; Accomplishment; Creativity; Dependability; Loyalty; Beauty; Bravery; Gratitude; Love; Connection/Relationships; Learning; Leadership; Survival; Self-Preservation; Security; Adventure; Family; Work; Success; Calm; Freedom; Humor; Recognition; Excellence; Other___;.

Now use one of these lists to select your top six to eight values. Yes, you can change your mind. In fact, it’s natural to modify some of the values on this list as you face new and challenging situations. However, other values represent enduring ideals that you would only change under duress.

 

  1. Think of three to six people you most admire or love.

Consider why they are so important to you.

Step 1: Identify and write down six people who are important role models or valued connections for you. Step 2: Think of the values they embody.

Dr. Steven Hayes, the founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, suggests that you uncover your values by naming your heroes.  For example, why do you admire, say, Martin Luther King, Jr? Is it because he fought for social justice? Is it his commitment to non-violence? His kindness to others?  Identifying the specific values embodied by your heroes can inspire you to adopt those values for yourself.

 

  1. Chunk Your Personal Values into Related Groups

Combining all the answers from step 2, you now have a master list of personal values. Maybe there are between 20 and 40 values on your list. That’s too many to be actionable.

Your next step is to group these values under related themes.

Values like accountability, responsibility, and timeliness are all related

Values like learning, growth, and development relate to each other.

Connection, belonging, and intimacy are related too. Group them together.

 

  1. Determine Your Top Personal Core Values

Now comes the hardest part. After completing step 4, you still may have a sizable list of values. Here are a few questions to help you whittle your list down:

What values are essential to your life?

What values represent your primary way of being?

What values are essential to supporting your inner self?

As a unique individual, you possess certain strengths and weaknesses. Your values matter most to you.

How many core values should you end up with? Too few and you won’t capture all the unique dimensions of your being. Too many and you’ll forget them or won’t take advantage of them.

While the number of core values differs for each person, the magic range seems to be between 5 and 10. Rank them in the order of importance. This is often the most challenging part.

You may need to do this step in multiple sittings. After doing one round of ranking put it aside and “sleep on it.” Revisit your ranking the next day and see how it sits with you. Then, go through the process again.

 

  1. Observe yourself and learn.

As you live your life, be mindful of the choices you make. For several days, consciously put a label on the values behind your key decisions at work and at home. Pay particular attention to whether the values you chose above are reflected in your daily life. If not, what values are you expressing or living by as you go through your day? Are there patterns? What can you learn about what you want, what you are willing to give up, and what is non-negotiable in your life? If you experience a lot of dissatisfaction with your choices, you may not be living up to your values or you may need to re-evaluate what is most important to you.

 

  1. Focus on the bitter and the sweet in your life.

Dr. Hayes suggests that you learn about your values by thinking back to both the sweetest and most painful moments of your life. These moments could direct you to what you care about most. For instance, what were the peak experiences that might reveal key values? If you won an award for teaching, consider that “leadership” or “motivating others” might be significant values. What were the most painful experiences? If you know the pain of being excluded by others, you might realize that “compassion” is one of your primary values.

 

“Values” is one of six key elements to knowing who you are. The others are interests, temperament, biorhythms, life goals, and strengths. But of all these, knowing your values is the royal road to self-knowledge because values choices both reveal and build character as you act on them. Your values are even more important than your goals, because you might not reach your goals, but you can almost always choose to live by your values. Knowing your core values can help you reduce stress, communicate with more compassion, increase your self-confidence, and power up your willpower.

Thanks for reading.  Have a lovely day!

 

 

THE ESSENCE OF JOURNALING

Yesterday was a statutory public holiday in Ghana, hence I enjoyed my rest by continuing a plan I started 3 days ago on the YouVersion app on my phone -Making Time to Rest. Today being the 3rd day lists journaling as an essential part of the rest process.

Writing, especially self-exploratory writing done on a regular basis, has been linked to emotional well-being and a strong sense of self-knowledge and self-trust. Writing gives insight, it gives perspective, it’s a problem-solving technique, and it can serve as an outlet for bottled up emotions, unresolved trauma, or for creative expression. Journaling is a great way to introduce self-exploratory writing into your life.

Integrating journaling as part of our daily practice does not take a lot of skill. I discovered my life took on a different turn when I started journaling-writing down my life on the canvas of a book as the days progressed into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years.

I would like to do a throwback to when my Dad got me my first diary. I was just thrilled at the mere sight of it, and the thought I had a diary, but I did not know what I was going to fill it with.

I went through his old diaries on the shelf of our library to gain a fair idea of what to put in my new found love in the form of scribbling ink. His diaries had a mixture of appointments he had fixed under the different dates and excerpts from church activities he had attended in his youth with lots of bible verses in them. He made journaling fun.

Back to me, I found myself journaling the day’s activities at the end of the day in the journal. A skill I had picked up in one of the movies I had watched where a sailor stranded on a ‘no-man’s’ land kept writing his daily adventures in a book he took along. This had then become the main theme of the series.

I again tried to create interesting activities with the purpose of filling my diary with fun-filled activities. “The day I almost drowned when I went swimming for the first time” when I could have just stayed indoors and played video games, “The day I met Akosua on my way to buy prepaid credit at a distant place from home” when I could have saved cost by purchasing it a few miles from home and buying top up credit for my new phone with the extra money I had.

I have been writing something about my every day for almost 4 years now. It has been one of the greatest and most freeing experiences in my life because I can actually slow myself down to think about what’s truly happening around me as well as my part in it.

What is Journaling? As an adult there are many great benefits to journaling as part of a self-care routine. It helps clear out all the ‘junk’, sweeping your mind clean to allow for breathing space. By journaling and documenting our thoughts we are participating in a process of deeper personal understanding which can have a very positive impact on our own health.

Journaling generally involves the practice of keeping a diary or journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life. There are several different ways to do this. Journaling, as a stress management and self-exploration tool, works best when done consistently, but even occasional, sporadic journaling can be stress relieving when the practice is focused on gratitude or emotional processing.

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress with journaling is to write in detail about feelings and thoughts related to stressful events, as one would discuss topics in therapy, but there are several different ways to practice journaling. The method you choose can depend on your needs at the time, and your personality; just do what feels right.

There are two writing techniques–or journaling methods–which can help make your journaling sessions more satisfying, efficient, and effective. These two methods are the following:

  1. Proprioceptive Writing
  2. Morning Pages

Proprioceptive Writing – consists of listening to your thoughts and slowing down the thought process to the time it takes to write down what you’re thinking. It involves inner listening and an honest exploration of your thoughts and feelings. In addition, it connects your mind with your emotions, and it strengthens your sense of self.

Morning Pages – As the name suggests, Morning Pages are to be done in the morning; the waking mind is more open to free-form writing and can more easily jump from one subject to another without the constraints set by reason.

Journaling allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining valuable self-knowledge. It’s also a good problem-solving tool; oftentimes, one can hash out a problem and come up with solutions more easily on paper.

Journaling reminds you of a life worth living. I like to think of journaling as “my life’s story”. That alone makes it fun, enjoyable, and inspiring to write a little about myself and what is going on with me every single day. After you have journaled continuously for some time and you look back on the things that you have written you may realize that your life is much more interesting and deep than you once thought. In fact, if you are down on yourself a lot, journaling is a great way to get around this and discover that your life is truly worth living.

Journaling about traumatic events helps one process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved, and by engaging both hemispheres of the brain in the process, allowing the experience to become fully integrated within one’s mind. Journaling can also help you to focus on areas of your life that you’re like to focus on more often.

When you start to write about your feelings and how situations in your life change your feelings you gain the ability to start to process those feelings. Rather than leaving feelings completely bottled up inside, you can put them down on paper and get them out of your heart and mind so you can process and understand them more which will lead to a more serene existence. This especially works well with feelings like anger, jealousy, resentment, etc. Putting these feeling out on paper and letting them take their course is a great way to stay balanced.

As for the health benefits of journaling, they’ve been scientifically proven. Research shows the following:

  1. Journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
  2. It improves cognitive functioning.
  3. It can strengthen immune system response.
  4. It can counteract many of the negative effects of stress.

The simple act of writing a few words, sentences, or paragraphs everyday can have a profound and instant effect on your life for the better. Journaling can change your life. It makes you a more interesting person through the years and makes you feel more interested in your life.

 

MATURITY

When we’re young, we are immature. We are vulnerable. We can easily be led astray. It is not an insult, but rather a natural starting point for growth and maturity.

What defines Maturity? Is it based on how tall or stout we are? To gain an in-depth understanding, I will like to start with a quote from Samuel Ullman

Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity. The measure of your maturity is how spiritual you become during the midst of your frustrations.

To refer to maturity without being clear about what it means can lead to confusion.  We must therefore grab hold of this concept by its horns, wrestle it to the ground, and yank off its mask.

Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at age 18. But emerging science about brain development suggests that most people don’t reach full maturity until the age 25. Most of the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood are legally granted by the age of 18. That’s when you can vote, enlist in the military, move out on your own, but is that the true age of maturity? A growing body of science says, no. That critical parts of the brain involved in decision-making are not fully developed until years later at age 25.

In psychology, Maturity is the ability to respond to the environment, aware of the correct time and location to behave, and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society one lives in.  Adult development and maturity theories include the purpose in life concept, in which maturity emphasizes a clear comprehension of life’s purpose, directedness, and intentionality, which contributes to the feeling that life is meaningful.

People nowadays have been stunted in their maturity. They seem to require more time to actually “grow up” and prepare for the responsibility that comes with adulthood. This is a result of many factors, including well-intentioned parents who hover over kids, not allowing them to experience the pain of maturation. It’s like the child who tries to help a new butterfly break out of the cocoon, and realizes later that they have done it a disservice: That butterfly is not strong enough to fly once it is free.

The status of maturity is distinguished by the shift away from reliance on guardianship and the oversight of an adult in decision-making acts. Maturity has different definitions across legal, social, religious, political, sexual, emotional, and intellectual contexts. The age or qualities assigned for each of these contexts are tied to culturally-significant indicators of independence that often vary as a result of social sentiments.

People studying the body often talk about maturity as it relates to bodily changes.  Thus, as children mature they grow taller, and as they mature more, men oftentimes grow facial hair, their voices deepen, etc.  When I talk about immaturity and maturity, I am not referring to bodily changes but more of emotional maturity.

To have emotional maturity, then, is to have a specific control over one’s emotions. An emotionally mature person has experienced the spectrum of emotions, understands the consequences of each, and knows the benefits of being in control of them. Most importantly, an emotionally mature person knows what kinds of things sets off different emotions in them, and they know how to identify each emotion, clearly. They don’t fall into a panic trying to determine what they feel, and how they should react. They know, and they manage themselves accordingly.

A mature 10-year-old is aware of who can run the fastest in his or her class at school, who is the best at math, and other comparisons. This helps children differentiate their skills and attributes from an early age. By recognizing where they have strengths, and where they may need to focus more attention, kids can feel a sense of self-efficacy—and finding an area of strength can help develop self-esteem.  —Hilary Levey Friedman, professor of American Studies at Brown University.

A mature 18-year-old is able to declare wants, needs, and beliefs. Self-maintenance is also important: In my experience, if there is one predictor of how well a kid will be able to cope with the demands of independence, it is the management of money. Some kids are at the mercy of their own impulses, still caught up in the tyranny of now.  —Carl Pickhardt, psychologist and lecturer in Austin, Texas.

A mature 29-year-old has a well-established identity. This means deciding what kind of life you’re going to live. It’s knowing what direction you’re going in, in terms of work; having a committed relationship, or at least knowing what you want from one; and having confidence that you know what you believe about things—values that you trust and that guide your decisions. —Jeffrey Arnett, professor of psychology at Clark University.

A mature 40-year-old is able to benefit from experience. In relationships, it’s knowing the buttons that get pushed easily and how to control those buttons: You can reflect on something that used to make you fly through the ceiling, and say, “I know why this is bothering me, and I’m not going to respond as I used to.” —Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A mature 55-year-old is selective about relationships and priorities, able to focus his or her social life around people who are rewarding, and gently move away from those who are not. This person begins to focus more on experiences and other people than on things as sources of meaning and pleasure. He or she sees setbacks as opportunities for growth and change. —Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University.

A mature 70-year-old has the ability to take stock of what has happened so far and to think about what it means for what’s yet to come. Such people can consider what kind of legacy they want to leave behind and the value of their lives to the broader society. They are able to focus on the more positive aspects of everyday life. —Dawn C. Carr, research associate at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

I believe psychological maturity is reached when persons choose to be responsible for themselves and holds themselves accountable for their own attitudes and actions. A person who hasn’t reached that point in themselves blames others for their own actions, acts out of a space of vengeance and uses their own emotional reactions as a threat to control others.

What happens in emotional maturity is that the brain prunes itself, going through changes that will allow a young person to move into adult life effectively. “Ineffective or weak brain connections are pruned in much the same way a gardener would prune a tree or bush, giving the plant a desired shape,” says Alison Gopnik, professor of child development at UC Berkley.

As evidenced by neuroscience, the frontal cortex—the seat of judgment, self-control, and sensible planning—matures very gradually into early adulthood. It is out of sync with the early development of the emotional brain, and as a result there is a gap between early sensation seeking and later self-discipline.

Adolescents experiencing these brain changes can react emotionally, according to Ian Campbell, a neurologist at the U.C. Davis Sleep Research Laboratory. Mood swings and uncooperative and irresponsible attitudes can all be the result of these changes. Sometimes, students can’t explain why they feel the way they do. Their brain is changing from a child brain to an adult brain.

Sexual maturity is the capability of an organism to reproduce. It may be considered synonymous with adulthood, but, in humans, puberty encompasses the process of sexual maturation and adulthood is based on cultural definitions. Sexual maturity is brought about by a maturing of the reproductive organs and the production of gametes. It may also be accompanied by a growth spurt or other physical changes which distinguish the immature organism from its adult form. These are termed secondary sex characteristics, and often represent an increase in sexual dimorphism. For example, before puberty, human children have flat chests, but adult females have generally larger breasts than adult males. However, there are exceptions such as obesity and hormone imbalances such as gynecomastia.

Spiritual maturity is achieved through becoming more like Jesus Christ. After salvation, every Christian begins the process of spiritual growth, with the intent to become spiritually mature. Christian maturity requires a radical reordering of one’s priorities, changing over from pleasing self to pleasing God and learning to obey God. The keys to maturity are consistency and perseverance in doing those things we know will bring us closer to God. These practices are referred to as the spiritual disciplines and include things such as Bible reading/study, prayer, fellowship, service, and stewardship. No matter how hard we might work on those things, however, none of this is possible without the enabling of the Holy Spirit within us.

The ultimate aim of effective social development in status-hood is the attainment of social maturity. A social mature adult shows a few important characteristics. He is able to adapt himself successfully to his fellowmen and to adapt his fellowmen to himself. It includes such behavioural forms as group compatibility, kindness and sympathy, fair play emotional adjustability, courtesy and politeness, dependability, self-confidence, co-operation, leadership and cheerfulness…

What are the marks of maturity? We all love it when we see a young person who carries themselves well and shows signs of being mature. They interact with adults in an adult manner. Those people are downright refreshing and make major strides in every aspect of their lives.

  1. A mature person is able to keep long-term commitments. One key signal of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. Part of this means the person is able to keep commitments even when they are no longer new or novel. They can commit to continue doing what is right even when they don’t feel like it.
  2. A mature person is unshaken by flattery or criticism. As people mature, they sooner or later understand that nothing is as good as it seems, and nothing is as bad as it seems. Mature people can receive compliments or criticism without letting it ruin them or sway them into a distorted view of themselves. They are secure in their identity.
  3. A mature person possesses a spirit of humility. Humility parallels maturity. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Mature people aren’t consumed with drawing attention to themselves. They see how others have contributed to their success and can honor them. This is the opposite of arrogance.
  4. A mature person’s decisions are based on character, not feelings. Mature people—students and adults—live by values. They have principles that guide their decisions. They are able to progress beyond merely reacting to life’s options, and be proactive as they live their life. Their character is master over their emotions.
  5. A mature person seeks wisdom before acting. Finally, a mature person is teachable. They don’t presume they have all the answers. The wiser they get, the more they realize they need more wisdom. They’re not ashamed of seeking counsel from adults (teachers, parents, coaches) or other sources. Only the wise seek wisdom.

Becoming more mature positively impacts every area of your life. People respond better to maturity than immaturity, and in return, life becomes easier for you.

The first step in gaining maturity as an adult is to understand you need wisdom. In all thy getting, get wisdom and understanding; because the world operates under these principles. The Bible states emphatically that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So surrender in complete reverence to the fear of the Lord and in due time, you shall gain the Wisdom of Solomon.

Next, develop your interests. Lacking dynamic or developed interests or hobbies might contribute to your seeming immature. Finding something that you enjoy doing and becoming an “expert” at it can make you seem more experienced and mature. It will also give you something to talk about with others, whether or not they also participate in your hobby.

In addition, set goals and work towards them. Part of maturity is being able to assess your current strengths, determine areas that you need to improve, and set goals for the future. Keep the future in mind and let it inform the choices you are making about your life right. Once you have set goals that are clear, actionable, and measurable, take action to work towards them.

Know when it is okay to be silly. You do not have to be serious all of the time in order to be mature. Real maturity is to know your audience and figuring out when it’s appropriate to be silly and when it’s important to be serious. It’s good to have different levels of silly so you can scale your actions appropriately.

Finally, be respectful of others. We all have to live in the world together. If you do things to intentionally annoy others, or if you do whatever you want without keeping the feelings of others in mind, people may view you as immature. Trying to remember the needs and wants of other people around you will help you cultivate a reputation as a mature and respectful individual.

In ending, shall we revisit this quote from Gordon B. Hinckley

The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either — or both — when needed?

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day!

Eliezer

DATING, THE GODLY WAY

Dating… does the word strike anxiety or anticipation in your heart? With all the tech connectivity, it seems that it’s just made dating more complicated, confusing and frustrating than ever before. What measures can we employ to date the Godly way? That is the essence of this post.

I have started a 7-day plan by Ben Stuart on dating in the Modern Age; a plan I am totally enjoying. I am determining through God’s eyes his purpose this year in my life, and how he offers guiding principles to help me determine who and how to date.

What is dating? I am not talking about the numerical dating that strings your mind to a series of numbers. I am talking about the dating that strikes you as an interaction between a man and a woman. Dating as defined by the dictionary means to go out with (someone in whom one is romantically or sexually interested). Dating offers the opportunity to comprehend what the other’s wants, needs and desires are and aligns individual purposes which include shared dreams, beliefs, ideals and values.

Dating, followed by courtship, is supposed to lead to a happy marriage. But marriage cannot be happy if it is not built on the right foundation. Most couples have no idea that the foundation of a successful marriage begins long before the wedding day. In addition, a direct by-product of the wrong foundation is that most people have no idea how to select the right mate.

Just what is dating? A sampling of opinions reveals a variety of definitions, with seemingly no two alike. In the simplest form, a date is merely a set time agreed upon by two people to engage in an activity. The most commonly recognized definition is “an appointment for a specified time; especially a social engagement between two persons of opposite sex” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary).

Romance is cool. God designed it. It is a huge desire of most people’s hearts to have a wonderful marriage, but it seems that few attain it. God made male & female, and said it was very good. He designed romantic desires with their fulfillment in marriage.

Countless millions of shattered families began with wrong dating habits. These habits made proper courtship impossible. And the results have been tragic. The almost universal effects of modern dating demonstrate widespread ignorance, even on the most basic points of right dating. Almost no one understands the real purpose of dating or of the courtship that can ensue. The next step, achieving a happy marriage, then also becomes impossible. There is a right way to date! What is it? And there are right and wrong people to date. How can you know the difference? It is time to unlearn the wrong principles, acquired from society—and to learn and apply God’s true principles, leading to happy marriages and families!

Most people dream of having an amazing marriage, but few realize that dream. Clearly, it is not easy. How many people do you know with marriages you would wish for yourself? It’s a serious business, yet too few people do much to prepare themselves to have a successful marriage. People typically do all the things that hurt their chances of that happening, i.e., have sex, rush into things, etc. Dating can help prepare you for marriage and help you get better at choosing someone right for you. It can help you before you’re ready to get married in learning to deal responsibly with romantic feelings.

Today marked the fourth day of the seven day plan which questioned “Who to Date?” A multi-million dollar question which I seek to expound in this post…

When people are asked the kind of people they would like to date, they begin to list a set of characteristics. “Tall, but not too tall. Sensitive, but strong. Confident, but also caring. Handsome but funny. And a good job with solid income.” Some people even go to the extent of asking interview questions such as “What are you bringing to the table in this relationship?” even on their first date.

The problem with starting with a list of characteristics is that it creates an expectation no one can possibly meet. We try to customize our orders to get not what God thinks is best for us but what we think is best for ourselves. We endanger ourselves by adopting a consumer mentality rather than a companion mentality.

Why do young people date? Who started this custom anyway? Should they date or not? Who should decide? At what age should young people date? Questions, questions, and more questions can be asked. What does the Bible say about dating, if anything? To whom can young people turn for answers than can be depended upon? These are questions parents should help their children decide about; and, or, people of wisdom, experience, and a good knowledge of Scripture teaching.

The Bible has very little to say about “dating” because people in ancient times didn’t really date. Marriages were usually contracted by the fathers of the parties involved or representatives of the fathers. The servant of Abraham went to the people of the city of Haran and brought back a wife for Isaac. Isaac did not see her until the night he married her. Marriages were typically arranged for the parties involved. This made them no less binding. God still commanded husbands and wives to love one another and submit to one another’s needs and interests.

Though people in Bible times didn’t really date, there are some biblical principles that should govern our dating activities today. First of all, people who date should not have sex until they marry. While it is normal and natural to be attracted to someone of the opposite sex, we are called by God to keep those urges under control until we commit to someone in marriage. The New Testament clearly teaches that sex outside of marriage is sinful. Dating, then, for Christians, is not about sex. Since that is true, Christians who date will want to choose activities in public places where conversations and healthy activities can be carried on without becoming involved in too much intimacy. Keep the lust in check and the touching to a minimum. Going out in groups is a good thing to consider. Since dating may eventually lead to marriage, we probably should not begin dating too early or date one person too long, unless we are ready to commit to a lifetime relationship.

Next, since the Scriptures teach us that it is important to form our primary relationships with people who will help us spiritually, we should date people who want to do the will of God. Since we eventually marry someone we date, we should not date those who lack Christian values. When we go out with someone, we should engage in lots of conversation and get to know what kind of person our date is. It would be good to observe this person in church, in various acts of service, at work, and in various social situations to see how this person conducts himself/herself and how this person treats other people. Having done these things over a period of time, we are in a better position to decide whether this person would make a suitable companion for life. We should ask, “Will this person help me walk with God?” “Will this person be the kind of parent I want for my children?”

Since the whole of Christian life is governed by God’s will, we should choose the right kind of activities for our dating. We should avoid the kinds of places where ungodly things are the norm. We need not be in seedy nightclubs or in bars or in decidedly vulgar movies. Instead, good dates might be to sporting events, high quality movies, a nice dinner, a good concert, a church activity, a museum, or a service activity. Do the kinds of things that you, as a Christian, feel good about doing.

It is also good to be friends with lots of different people. When Christian singles date, however, they do so with several basic principles in mind. They know that dating is not about sex. They work to maintain their purity, saving sex for marriage. They seek relationships with people who will support them in their walk with God. They seek activities through which they can both get to know their date and act in a way that is pleasing to God. So, happy dating! Just remember to take Jesus along with you everywhere you go!

There is a temptation to be impatient and feel a great urgency for relationships that we must fight against. The purpose of dating is to make an informed decision on marriage, so before you date you must be sure that you are within a realistic time frame for the relationship to move towards marriage. Waiting in faith is one of the greatest acts of worship, and we must fight the urge to take control by trusting God with patience.

Dating is certainly an avenue of getting better acquainted with the opposite sex. It also provides opportunity to have enjoyable occasions together. In a sense, dating is not only a way of growing up, but an indication that one is growing up. A good purpose for dating is that it helps to adjust to a man-woman world and helps to prepare for marriage itself.

Most often in relationships, we try to customize our order to get what we think is best for ourselves. In dating, we are looking for a person to love, not a product to consume. So our selection process can’t be rooted in transient characteristics like looks, charm, or wealth because these characteristics fade over time. If your marriage is built on surface characteristics, you have no hope together of a lasting future.

In dating, you are not constructing a robot from human parts to fit your needs. Rather, you are leveraging your life to build up the other person for the glory of God. The person you choose to marry should thus have an anchor point of love and morality outside of what you offer so your marriage can stay strong even when you are at your weakest. You want someone whose faithfulness to you is not anchored in the shifting sands of circumstance.

Now, are you going to find all this out about a person on date one? Of course not! Anybody can bluff their way through a one-hour interview. But what you want to see is someone who is striving to do beautiful things for beautiful reasons.

You want someone who is actively pursuing the Lord with a level of intensity compatible to yours. You want to stand at the altar together and promise to be faithful to each other without wondering if both of you are sincere.

You want to live out your years with someone who is not only faithful to God but also a good fit for you. Your personal convictions and beliefs about God matter in your relationship.

Being socially compatible matters. The majority of your marriage will not be spent having sex but hanging out together. You should find your mate interesting. You should have life and career goal that point in compatible directions. Some compromise is essential. But too much, and you may both end up frustrated because you are unable to fulfill your mission in life.

The Bible recognizes value in physical attraction. It is a factor in building a relationship- but it does not determine if you should be with someone. Obviously this is because we all age and external beauty or health fades. So be smart! It is much easier to contemplate these issues before the wedding.

Considering all these points will help you discern whether or not God has ordained a relationship for you.

 

Thanks for reading and enjoy your Thursday!

Eliezer