Gerrymandering (or my 24th Birthday Speech) | ohpeter.com

Gerrymandering (or my 24th Birthday Speech)

Thank you everyone. Not everyone could call to wish me happy birthday, and really I don’t mind. Don’t beat yourself up over it. I had some fun, thanks to the Faith Life Assembly Choir. And to Vivian who did some amazing housekeeping and cooking this weekend. And to the people who refused to let me sleep so they’d be the first to call. First caller was Lanre,  First texter was Precious,  First pinger was Chisom. Thank you, guys, really.

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The last year has been wonderful.

I have met wonderful people- Odot Ekure, Chizoba Orji, Thomas Ubah, Chidinma Theresa, Praise Maduoma, Mayowa “lastborn”, Laurel Igueze, Bash Amuneni, Chi Josh, Dike Chukwumerije, Emeka and Uche Udoh, Msoo Gber, Ngozi Francis, Ene Attah. I have grown closer to people like Zibah Eteile, Julie Atebije, Uche Enyioha, Dennis, Terngu and Sunshine Gom.

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I have grown distant from so many people and I would change that If i could. But life is like a river that flows in whatever direction Destiny has set for it. The river of change has taken people in different directions. Perhaps one day we will converge in the Ocean where all streams empty.

The last year has been challenging. I have learned, like Paul, how to be content whether I’m swimming in money (Thank God for those times) and the times when I was almost broke (Thank God those days didn’t last long). I had to face a new work environment,  a new city (Owerri). I had to come to grips with a curiously slow Judiciary. I had to be patient with a lot of people.

I called this piece ‘Gerrymandering”. That would ordinarily mean an illegal adjustment of boundaries for political gain. But for me, it is extending the boundaries because the land has become too small to contain the people.

I took risks that paid off last year. But there were limitations that stopped me from going forward. It was in the course of the year that I faced the truth- that the only limitations that truly can hold a man down is the limitation of his mind. Not money, not connections, not physical ability. If he does not exercise his creative faculty, it would be mightily difficult for him to ever progress. It was while I was writing the foreword to a book by my Friend Chiemezie Anyaeji, that I stumbled on a truth- that inventions, innovations, and trends begin in the mind. No matter how talented a scientist is, he cannot “invent” something by accident; the only “accidents” come in the middle of attempting something else.

The greatest inventions came by thinking. The wheel to ease transport; the car built on the principle of the wheel; the kite was first a toy, and then airplanes were built on the pinciples of aerodynamics, and then space rockets were built. In all these, human beings conceived with their minds what they wanted to achieve. It was stupidity, people mocked them when they tried and (and sometimes failed). When Noah was preparing for a flood, everyone laughed at him; when the wright brothers crashed a plane, people took it as confirmation that man was never meant to leave the ground; when American Scientists said they’d put a man on the moon…people thought it was madness.

So why Did all those people succeed? they stayed on their ideas. They tested them, modified them, refined them, finetuned them, discussed them with others; and they achieved success. Many of these succesful people even came from poor homes- Bill Gates, Steve Jobs…Mozart, Shakespeare, Lord Denning, Kenneth Hagin, Joyce Meyer, Fela Durotoye. But their birth situations didn’t stop them.

They invested heavily in their minds, and their minds produced fantastic results. So I decided to do the same.

I have invested in developing my mind- books, seminars, tapes, web classes, educational games. I have bought books on Nigeria and Biafra. I joined the Abuja Literary Society so I could rub minds with other writers. I Joined the GOTNI leadership institute to learn more about being a succesful leader. I subscribed to the New York times for $30 a month- almost half of my NYSC allowance but worth the content I’m exposing my mind to.

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I got this Scholarship from the World Bank/Ministry of Finance Partnership to take the Certified Internet Web Professional course. Studying web design would appear at variance with my profession as a lawyer, but trust me the fields are far more related than we’d think. And it brings in money 🙂

I joined the Faith Life Assembly in Abuja for many reasons- to Deepen my knowledge of the Word of God and how to live on the word of God. I also joined to improve my musical skill. We could have been seen as an “okay” group of singers and instrumentalists. But we longed for a deeper experience, for better music, for more powerful ministrations. We added an extra hour to rehearsals, and instrumentalists agreed to spend an extra 4 hour on soundcheck and rehearsals. The result is that our sound gets better every service day. We grew because we applied our minds to the task.

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It’s not as if God doesn’t want to bless us with world-changing Ideas. The truth is, until our minds become fertile grounds, great Ideas will never germinate. They will just die. We have to clear mental and Spiritual space before we can receive inspiration. We must also prepare our minds in as many ways as possible…that’s when ideas will begin to “SUGGEST” themselves. Imagine what would have happened if the idea for Facebook was suggested to the King of one bush tribe that has never seen computers? The idea would not see the light of day! But imagine that same idea in the mind of Mark Zuckerberg!

 

Prepare your mind for great ideas. Sweep it clean and set it up like you’re expecting a great visitor. In

 

Expand your mind. Expand your vision. Expand your results. Expand your influence.

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