It all begins with self-leadership


A story was once told of a man who refused to give way for the King’s convoy to take its course. He was so insistent on having his right of way that the commotion caused by his defiance called the King’s attention. Desirous of meeting someone who had guts enough to oppose royalty, the King went out to meet him. “Who are you, man, that you dare defy the King?” asked the King. “I am also a king,” retorted the man. “Over what principality do you reign?” asked the King in response to his seemingly bogus claim, since his attiring didn’t reflect conventional royalty. “Over myself,” was the rather mischievous response that followed. He was king over himself indeed. Though obviously laughable, there is a peculiar take-home for everyone: We’re all kings, at least over ourselves.

It is a natural human tendency to want to lord it over others; to want to have others respect our opinions; to want to force others to comply with our will. At the same time, we develop whiskers of resistance towards others’ lordship; we insist that our own opinions be respected, even amidst more appropriate ones; we’re hell-bent on letting our wills reign supreme, especially when they clash with those of others. Perhaps this accounts for why human beings are termed to be naturally selfish.

The implication of this natural tendency towards selfishness for leadership is enormous. This is exactly because it directly contradicts what true leadership is really about: selflessness. The true leader must, as a matter of fact, be all out to serve – and not to be served. Also, the true leader must, when necessary, be willing to lay down his self-interest at the feet of the common good. However, these are hard choices to make. Choosing service over lordship and choosing selflessness over selfishness is not bread and butter. Yes, it all begins with the dealing with the self.

The following will prove to be of help in our bid to develop self-leadership. Already stated, the presence or absence of self-leadership has implications for leadership at large.

DISCIPLINE: Call it self-control or self-restraint, discipline ensures that we do what we’re supposed to do, whether we like it or not; whether we’re comfortable with it or not. For instance, if one’s rising time is 5am, discipline ensures that one gets out of bed at that time, irrespective of how much more one would have loved to tarry in bed. Truth be told, an undisciplined person necessarily makes a poor leader, since they come into the leadership enterprise with bad habits such as procrastination, negative compromises, laziness. Of course, they get to infect their followers with such habits. On the other hand, the disciplined individual makes a leader of uncommon breed; they don’t let things slip off their fingers, as they keep to their schedules and stick with their plans.

COURAGE: The emotion of fear has eaten really deep into many a person. The natural tendency in this regard is to immediately take to flight in the face of danger. There is no doubt that exposure to danger can be injurious, but fleeing from ‘every’ danger will make for an uneventful life. It is also important to know that the ‘fear-factor’ has a way of magnifying danger, such that most of the dangers people flee from are either trivial or even figments of their imagination. Therefore, courage is a very important virtue that is possessed by those who lead well. Mind you, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is more about acting in spite of fear. Courage is more about braving the odds, taking risks, and looking forward to a positive outcome. In fact, without courage there is no leader in the first place, since the onus lies on the leader to chart the course of collective action in the waters of uncertainty.

DELAY GRATIFICATION: The average human being usually not only wants things but wants them ‘now.’ They go for it as soon as they feel the need for it. And this has set many people on the path of destruction, since having ‘now’ what should be had ‘later’ can be destructive. Teenage pregnancy, for instance, results from having sex now which should be had later – in marriage. A person who is poor in delaying gratification will definitely make a poor leader, since they will be impulsive in making decisions, hence dragging their followers into their mess.

OBEDIENCE: Obedience is simply submitting one’s will to the will of another. This can be a very difficult thing to do, that is, having another’s will reign supreme over ours. A disobedient person will make a poor leader, as there is always a higher authority to obey at every leadership level. The leader also has the followers to obey, what we’ve come to call the ‘will of the people.’ To make a fine leader, obedience at a personal level is super important.

HUMILITY: Without humility, service is impossible or merely lip-service. Humility, they say, is the queen of all virtues. Humility is not so much about having a low estimation of oneself, as it is about understanding that all human beings have equal dignity and worth, and as such be accorded respect. The proud person makes an arrogant leader, and pride is known to have always gone before a fall.

William Wilberforce’s gist + 5 pointers to purpose


William Wilberforce, one of the youngest MPs (Member of Parliament) in English history, stands out as one who realized purpose. In collaboration with his friend William Pitt (who became Prime Minister), and a few others such as Thomas Clarkson and Olaudah Equiano, he was able to pull down the stronghold of the slavery institution in the whole of the British Empire. Yes, he fought tooth and nail, gave it no just his best but his all (in spite of his poor health condition), and persevered until the very end, the day the Speaker of the House spoke these beautiful words:

“I declare the Bill of Abolition of the Slavery Trade be passed.”

However, by staking his life for the abolitionist cause, not giving up when they recorded a woeful loss on their first outing on the floor of parliament, after the backbreaking hard work put into the collection of thousands of evidences and masterfully crafting their case, and by pressing all the more harder until success was recorded, he got something that very few people ever get to have: “fulfillment.” And no one captured the picture fine enough than the elderly Lord Charles Fox, who took it upon himself to give a vote of thanks after Wilber’s bill scaled through. He said:

“When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon, men of violence; rarely do they think of peaceful men. In contrast to the reception they’d receive when they return home from their battles, Napoleon would arrive in pomp and in power, the man who’s achieved the very summit of earthly ambition, and yet his dreams would be haunted by the oppressions of war; William Wilberforce, however, will return to his family, lay his head on his pillow, and remember that slave trade is no more.”

Frankly, purpose is everything, and the realization of it is a duty everyone must discharge. For ‘Wilber,’ it was to fight social injustice and oppression. He found it. Kept at it. Realized it. And knew fulfillment afterwards.

Given that the challenge that confronts many a person is discovering their purpose,  the following tips would do. I gleaned them from being in the audience of Barrister Cosmos Okolo.

  1. Seek revelation:

God created everyone with purpose, and he intended that all men and women should live purpose driven lives. If you haven’t found yours, then you can trust that the creator can reveal it to you. The Holy Ghost is the No.1 unveiler of purpose; “Seek and you shall find.”

  1. Study your anger:

Don’t ignore your anger because it carries some revelation about you with it. Anger reveals your anointing. To say the least, the problem that provokes you the most is actually saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

  1. Compassion is a signpost to purpose:

Mind you, compassion is superior to pity. While pity merely requires you to feel sober over the poor condition of another, compassion moves you to do something about that condition. The word itself actually comes from Latin words that mean ‘to suffer with another.’ So, what is that need around you that makes you cry? Mark this: “If nothing is bothering you, then be sure you will not cross the border of mediocrity.”

  1. Take the stress test:

Note that God does not call a person into stress; his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Every assignment of His is eased by grace; grace being that which makes easy what would naturally have been difficult. So, where do you find God’s grace super-abundantly at work in your life? Knowing this is important because the end of purpose is peace and fulfillment – not stress. What is that thing you do effortlessly?

  1. Embark on a voyage of discovery of what you can die for:

Martin Luther King Jr. was so sure about his call to civil rights activism that he was very willing to die in pursuit of it – his purpose. He even likened himself to the biblical Moses by saying: “I’ve been to the mountaintop; I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there myself, but I’m sure we’ll get there.” And he was killed the very next day. Frankly, anyone who’s yet to discover what he/she can die for is yet to know why he/she was created. Yes, anything that can take a man to the cross isn’t ordinary.

Happy Birthday to me!

Your No.1 fan, Cornel.

I was born today, December 5. Happy Birthday to me!!! Before you start sending in your shiny birthday presents, let me first give you something; the receiving process starts with giving, they say.

For the 24hrs of today, you have free access to about 50% of the content of my new book: “Think Differently: 60 Game-changing insights from your No.1 fan”. That’s the link! Just click…

This really got me thinking: How would I blog without you? And so, I care to thank you for the journey so far.


This is quite a law, and the only time it didn’t apply was at the very beginning, when God created “ex nihilo” – from nothing. Of course, the law didn’t have to apply because there was yet nothing!

After the creation episode, this law came to full application, such that even God himself is bound by it. And if God himself works by this law, Satan also, who are we to flaunt it. Truth be told, a proper understanding of this law will tremendously change things for the better for many a person.

Let me explain this law with biblical illustrations to say how God works with it: Was God so powerless that Noah had to build an ark? Was Abraham’s and the Israelites’ circumcision necessary to establish God’s covenant? When Jacob wrestled with the angel at Peniel, did the angel have to dislocate his hip socket to confer the blessing? The wine had finished at the wedding at Cana and Jesus was capable of conjuring up wine from the blues, but why did he ask for water? And why would he insist on the available loaves and fish for the feeding of the 5,000 and 4,000? In fact, and to crown it all, why did God have to sacrifice his only son to win us salvation? Imagine God who created heaven and earth playing by this law!

To get wealth, power and anything from the devil, something has to be given in turn. It isn’t optional. The difference is that one may not know that something has been taken already – the soul. The devil appears not to ever compromise this law; he’s so strict at applying it.

In the business of earth, as it is in heaven and hell, this law applies as much. Your prospective business partner will ask you, “What are you bringing to the table?” This question means heaven and earth to them.

Now, the most important thing about this law is that it is not so much about “something” in particular as it is about “anything,” which is a way of saying that size is immaterial. What is 5 loaves to feed 5,000 3-day hungry men – excluding women and children? But it mattered.

The point is, don’t expect anything if you’ve not given something, and if you want something, give something – anything.