O’s Success Tips: Be Thankful

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Growing up in Nigeria, thanksgiving was every single week. Every Sunday to be precise. People got up at the end of the day’s sermon and gave thanks to God for life’s blessings. As a young child then, thanksgiving simply came across as an avenue for people to show off their dance moves and the latest fashion styles. In my opinion, it was diluted and disingenuous. On the other hand, thanksgiving in American was once a year and boy was I thankful. As a young immigrant student, it was the one time in the year that I could eat hot un-microwaved food for free. And I looked forward to it. However it was the antithesis of the Nigerian thanksgiving, concentrated and commercialized. Despite their dissimilarities both thanksgiving-traditions had a single unifying theme, “people giving thanks to God for his blessing on their lives.” Which tends to come across as self-centered-cliché. Reminds me of a story from Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people.”

A farm woman at the end of a heavy day’s work, sets before her menfolks a heaping pile of hay for dinner. And when they indignantly demanded whether she had gone crazy, she replied: “Why, how did I know you’d notice? I’ve been cooking for you men for the last twenty years and in all that time I ain’t heard no word to let me know you wasn’t just eating hay.”

Reminds me of one of my not-so fond bachelor cooking memories, way before I had discovered the joys of Ramen Noodles. I had just come back from work, stressed out, hungry, I decided to cook a meal. The smoke and heat from my cooking was excessive, I was not sure if it was as a result of my poor cooking or my exceptional culinary skills (I like to think the latter). But, whatever the case the smoke greatly aggravated my stress. Fortunately, I completed the meal and just needed to let it simmer for about 5 minutes when I was suddenly awakened by the smell of thick smoke pierced with the intermittent beeping of a much too familiar alarm sound. I had literarily burnt the meal to a crisp and had set off the fire alarm

In the midst of my apparent disappointment, I remembered the numerous times my Mother had to endure similar situations (not the fire but the stress). She was able to get up in the morning prepare breakfast, scream at us, take us to school, go to work, drive us home, scream at us again and prepare dinner, five days a week and then on Sunday she gave thanks in her best clothes! I felt a great sense of appreciation for her at that moment. Unfortunately, I never really thought about her sacrifices I just took it for granted, like it was expected. And when I said thank you, it was more out of respect and not heart felt.

Luckily we have THANKSGIVING, a special day to give a heartfelt thank you to those that we take for granted, to those that held us through the hard times, those that brought us into this world, those that laughed at our jokes even when they sucked. But, most importantly a time to thank God for placing those special people in our lives.

Africa’s #1 Success Coach
Okechukwu Ofili
Copyright © 2007 Ofili Speaks, Inc. All rights reserved

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Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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