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Stop Making Excuses. Upgrade Yourself

Stop Making Excuses. Upgrade Yourself

It’s 2015 and I’m sick. Terribly sick.

No, it’s not fever.

I’m pretty sick of people falling into their comfort zones, making excuses for failure and blaming their woes on others.

I mean people who blame their parents for killing their dreams and creative minds, and giving them substandard education. People who blame their teachers for teaching them dry, centuries-old theories that have little or no relevance to today’s world.

I mean people who just sit back and complain of how some recruiters hate their black faces and would not give them a job they think they deserve.

I mean writers who have tons of book ideas in their heads and know they should start writing frequently and maybe even start a blog but who still let fears and artificial odds hold them back.

I mean people who say their idea is the next big thing that’ll change the world but blame their inaction on poor electricity supply, bad road network, poor Internet connectivity and bad government policies.

These people never take responsibility for their lives.

They forget how badly they write their CV and application letters. They don’t tell us how poorly their spoken English is. They don’t remember how fear and an obsession to live by the status quo keep them from choosing themselves. They don’t tell anyone how lazy they are to think or expand their knowledge.

They just wait on others to make decisions that would make or mar them, and when those others ignore them, they cry wolf.

It’s 2015. Be different

Upgrade Yourself

If you’re one of these people, now’s the time to take responsibility for your life and create many choices for yourself… because even though the people you blame might have set you back by hundreds of years, you still have the chance to turn the table around.

Nigeria could blame the British for colonizing her for selfish economic gains, but she must take responsibility for refusing to grow 55 years after her independence. Or was the U.S., too, not colonized?

In the connection economy and choose yourself era of today, you don’t need to put yourself at anybody’s mercy, let alone contemplate suicide when they let you down.

You can choose yourself to be relevant. You can choose yourself to be impossible to ignore. You can choose yourself to succeed.

The status quo will not choose you to pursue your dreams. And the status quo would even tell you you’re wrong and try to scare you. But you must remain stubborn, till you succeed.

Some ways to upgrade yourself

Here are some areas I think most people (myself inclusive) need to improve themselves, to become difficult for others to ignore:

  1. Writing. Learn it. Google is your friend. Whatever your dream or career, good writing skills would give you an edge.
  2. Speaking. You must learn to overcome stage fright, articulate your ideas and passions, and get everyone else nodding when you speak. Stay close to TED talks.
  3. Reading. Read subjects that interest you. Read biographies of people who inspire you. Read wide. You earn more when you learn more (not by amassing certificates that don’t upgrade you).
  4. Meditation. Thinking is a hard job, and that’s why few people do it. Be better. Train yourself to regularly sit still, notice problems and generate ideas as solutions. Notice problems and turn them into prospects.
  5. Taking action. Stand. Find opportunities. Take action on them. Dare to make mistakes. It’s OK if you fail at first. Or even many times. Don’t just learn without acting. Don’t just wish or say “I can” without actually doing.
  6. Sleeping well. Like 6-8 hours daily. I used to think this means laziness but research shows that sleeping well makes your body and mind stronger, and you surmount odds better. I know it’s helped me. I produce better works when I sleep well.
  7. Exercising. Walk. Jog. Move. Go to a gym (if possible). Do it daily. Or at worst, once a week. It will improve your physical health. And more importantly, your mental health.
  8. Showing gratitude. Learn contentment (not complacency). Appreciate what you already have, while you pursue better ones. Notice the beauty around you. Appreciate the opportunities. Whoever you are, you’d have difficulties. Try to see prospects in them. Be thankful to God. Appreciate people around you. Always.
  9. Shunning gossip. Believe me, this is critical to being a better person. Most people waste their creative energy and time mingling with little minds and gossiping about other people… all day. Avoid that. Instead, discuss ideas.

Here’s my challenge to you: upgrade yourself in these areas, and other aspects relevant to your career or dreams, starting today, and in 12 months, you can thank me for this advice.

Yes, many other people might have drawn you back but don’t waste your energy blaming them. Enter the driver’s seat. Build the mindset that you’re in control. Take responsibility when things go wrong.

Start all over again. Improve yourself all round. Choose yourself to succeed.

This isn’t theory. It’s worked for me.

I’ve fallen many times. But I still choose myself. And it’s made all the difference.

Question: What excuses do you give for your challenges? How can you take charge starting now? You can leave a comment below.

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-- Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji | Fulbright scholar | Senior Lecturer, Unilorin | newspaper columnist

About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. I’ve been upgrading myself in these 9 areas and I can testify that the results are awesome. Thank you for sharing this, Abdullahi. You rock, rock, and rock!

  2. I am sincerely inspired and encouraged by this article. Keep it on. I published my first book in 2o12 ( theoretical and practical guide to computer science) and ever since then I have two more to publish but I have nt being serious about it. But am motivated today not only to carry on bt also to develop myself against any obstacle. You doing a great job here.

  3. Nice post Abdullahi. This should be a new year resolution guide for everyone. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Well said. Everybody needs to upgrade his way of doing things. Change your mindset and see how things will work out in your favour

  5. Nice one friend………. 🙂

  6. Wow! Abdullahi, you are truly amazing. For your age, you speak and inspire like a SAGE! We ask the Almighty to protect and preserve you, so as to continue to serve humanity for a very long time. Please keep up the good works!

  7. Author,what part does lack of resources play in taking action on an idea?

    • Lack of resources can set you back many miles. But doing this upgrades would see you creating opportunities for yourself, gradually. You’d also be well prepared to use the opportunities well and improve your lots. If you’ve not, I suggest you read my book Your Right To Write.

  8. Infact i do not know what to say cos its like u are talking to me directly but i think i will dust myself up and start again

  9. Faithtrust says:

    Indeed am Insired Mr Abdullahi. U re a man of great ideas,,,, more grace to ur elbow. Happi new year to u n ur househood!

  10. Timeless words at a timely moment… Great one.


    Wow!!! Nice one keep it up

  12. Truly inspiring, just when I thought of giving up. More grace, thanks.

  13. Thanks for the piece! It’s quite inspiring! I shall work more on these areas. Thumb up!

  14. kemisola Adeniyi says:

    Your articles have greatly inspired me many times. Thanks for this again

  15. Very interesting….

  16. Looking around, I felt sad because I thought my background will limit me. But I feel in charge now. I can determine my destination. It’s not about where I’m coming from but where I’m going. Thanks for the article.

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