For every minute spent in this world, an average of 256 births are recorded globally. On the other hand, an average of 107 deaths are recorded around the same minute. In between these births and deaths, there are so many waste and missed marks. The ultimate sin is to not live fully. I just got to learn that the word Sin is a Greek Word, (ἁμαρτία hamartia), “sin”, the original meaning is the failure, being in error, missing the mark, especially in spear throwing. The real sin of life doesn’t only converge for the purpose of making heaven and hell. The worst sin really is to miss your mark (purpose). Somebody once told me a non-religious definition of hell. He said “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”
This article is about optimizing life. It’s about variance, our Lifetime Performance Variance (LPV). It’s about bridging the gap between who you are choosing to be and the best you could have been. It’s about that capacity you can stretch to.
Every individual is given a rare and peculiar gift which is simply indispensable; the gift of life. However, there is a need for each of us to fully maximize our lifespan before our final breath. Some do, some make the best of it, while most don’t. There is a popular norm that “life is not fair”, and I agree with this. Life will take you to the middle of the river and leave you to decide whether to swim or drown. Our choices and decisions are what determine the theme of our entire life.
Personally I feel that these three are the most personally horrible things in life:
1. Seeing your mom cry
2. Seeing the love of your life fall madly in love with someone else.
3. Failing to recognize opportunities right in front of you.
In Nigeria, the number 3 happens every day. And it goes on.
A legend, a classic story is told of a young man who wished to marry the farmer’s beautiful daughter. He went to the farmer to ask his permission. The farmer looked him over and responded, “Son, go stand out in that field and I’m going to release three bulls, one at a time. If you can catch the tail of any one of the three bulls, then you can marry my daughter.” The young man stood in the pasture awaiting the first bull. The barn door opened and out ran the biggest, meanest-looking bull he had ever seen.
He decided that one of the next bulls had to be a better choice than this one, so he ran over to the side and let the bull pass through the pasture out the back gate. The barn door opened again. Unbelievable. He had never seen anything so big and fierce in his life. It stood pawing the ground, grunting, slinging slobber as it eyed him.
Whatever the next bull was like, it had to be a better choice than this one. He ran to the fence and let the bull pass through the pasture out the back gate. The door opened a third time. A smile came across his face. This was the weakest, scrawniest little bull he had ever seen. This one was his bull. As the bull came running by, he positioned himself just right and jumped at just the exact moment. He grabbed…but the bull had no tail!
This is the same reason why so many persons are out there unachieved and unfulfilled, looking out for the most comfortable conditions. At times, “our comfort may not be in our comfort zones.” It’s safe to say that opportunities are not called upon but seized! It is not a myth that wealth and fulfillment lies in the mouth of a lion, it really does. Being daring, audacious and proactive is key to seizing opportunities.
Procrastination is a deadly narcotic that ruins opportunities. A man’s strength is not only in thinking fast but also acting fast. As the saying goes, a lifetime opportunity can only be seized within the lifetime of that opportunity. Whoever waits for a perfect time to accomplish a task, may just wait to achieve nothing. It is only he that sees the future that can seize the future.
While others are complaining about constant rain, someone is capitalizing on it and providing umbrellas and rain boots for capital gains. While some are worried about the scorching sun, another person is thinking about providing chilled water and drinks to quench thirst. Life is not about situations, but about creating meanings out of those situations and experiences. When it comes to events in a time series, things like anniversaries and funerals mean nothing, the two most important days of a man’s life is:
1. The day he was born
2. The day he finds out the reason why he was born. Sadly, it is possible to live all through on earth without knowing number 2, most people don’t.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. A great way to start with is to self reflect, then explore and dig deep from your outcomes. Dig deeper. In business and careers, “Bullets have killed many men, but ignorance has killed much more people”. A self awareness of self is priceless. I have attempted to summarize life into a simple mathematical equation:
LPV= MPL – MAL
LPV= Lifetime Performance Variance
MPL= Maximum Potential Limit (Constant)
MAL= Maximum Attainable Limit
The LPV indicates the difference between what you were created to be (MPL) and what you choose to be (MAL). The larger the LPV, the lower your MAL, which implies that such individual’s potential, has been underutilized. On the other hand, a low LPV corresponds with a high MAL indicating high utilization of potentials. The best situation is when the LPV= 0, this indicates maximum utilization of potentials. LPV can be referred to as your ultimate’s life dream. This is the point, which every individual must strive to attain. However awkward it may sound; you must strive to die empty. This is supported as to why the ultimate LPV becomes zero. In other words there is no gap between your life dream, what you were created to be and what you become.
If you don’t define your LPV then you live not strategically but tactically. Beyond the activities and being B.U.S.Y (which I like to code into an acronym Being Under Satan’s Yoke-B.U.S.Y), success is not always by doing things right (tactics), it’s by doing the right things (strategy). Being busy may just be living a life full of activity. But a subtle reminder is that activity is not productivity. In other words, you can spend your whole life doing the wrong things right. But to do the right things, progressively add value where it matters best. Value.
The first set of living an optimal life is to do the dreaming and then dream the doing. In other words have an enthusiastic life theme and big picture, and then define your core values for it. Define the things you can do and will never do (in other words, the things that can get in the way of where you want to be around your critical path). Define the criticall path and voyage into it as a journey and a process. It’s sad when we keep doing the same things and then expect a different result. As we count the days like an event, we forget that it is more of a process. There’s a big difference between living 365 days in a year and you repeating your usual day 365 times in a year. Like a process without looping, make your life progressive and not repetitive. Success involves a growth process, a closeness of three gaps, where we were, where we are (MAL) and where we should be (MPL). Success doesn’t come by accident but by a progressive realization of a the big pictures (LPV) that inspires you. It’s this vision and will that creates possibilities, even out of things that seemed impossible. Like Nelson Mandela would say, some things “always feel impossible until it is done”. People, who start doing them, naturally overtake people who say that things cannot be done. Make your LPV a process and not an event, a journey and not a destination. True success develops daily and not in a day. So in the words of the great novelist, Ayn Rand, it says, “Throughout the centuries, there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision”.
Lastly, as you journey to close the variance between what you are and what you could be, create signposts and catalysts. Catalysts are those remarkably developed events that strike the beginning of the mission of your success. It refers to predefined milestones in our lives that traceably lead to the most accelerated result in your life or business. Mine is that day I decided against my parents’ will to take that overnight bus trip to Owerri (FUTO) to fight for my admission when it wasn’t forthcoming to me. Another was when I emptied my entire account to have my company registered at 22. Examples of some you may have had in your life unknowingly may have been, a course you took, the business you started or perhaps a person you met and invested time in (that connected you to the most opportunities into where you are). Create more catalysts in your life and watch your life accelerate.
A default catalyst to keep having is to keep learning and doing and then unlearning and relearning again. The truth is that you’re not that smart if you have a lot in your head and nothing in your pocket. But then, you’re also not that rich if you have a lot in your pocket and nothing in your head. So there should be a balance. But also, there is no absolute knowledge that can guarantee a man’s success. But there exists a series of catalytically knowledge and principles that when stumbled upon and applied can close down the gap between your MPL and MAL.
Strategy. Business StartUps and Corporate Restructuring Consulting
Uwaoma Eizu is the lead strategist at Hexavia! He is a graduate of Mathematics with two MBAs and over a decade of experience working with startups and big businesses. His core is in building startups and in corporate restructuring. He is also a certified member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and the Project Management Institute, USA. By the side, he writes weekly for the Business Day newspaper.