I AM NOT THE ATTRACTION LIKE JESUS CHRIST WAS NOT THE ATTRACTION IN HIS DAY. MY MESSAGE IS NOT A PLEASANT ONE THAT CAN ATTRACT THE WORLD. I ONLY CAME FOR MY OWN- MY PEOPLE. BELIEVE IT IF YOU CAN…
I am the Fountain of the Living Water. Whosoever shall come to Me and drink,
shall never go thirsty again, but have everlasting life. Believe it if you can... — The Son of Man.               

THE PATHWAY TO GREATNESS

 
A BRIEF LECTURE POSTLE PETER ODOEMENA (SON OF MAN) DURING THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF DIGNITY CONSULTUNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, ENUGU CAMPUS, FACULTY OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION HELD AT WYCLIFFE HOTELS LTD, NEW HAVEN, ENUGU ON THE 22ND OF OCTOBER, 2010.

INTRODUCTION
I strictly wish to stress here, that there is no copy-righted formula for greatness that can be purchased from any book seller; otherwise, everybody would have been great. All the views I am going to express in this lecture are purely personal and may not represent the general views of everybody on this all-important subject matter. However, they have worked for a good number of people and I feel they can work for you too, if you can study and implement them religiously. They are borne out of my years of practical experiences in human development
and manpower management. I, therefore, wish to give the topic a pragmatic approach, instead of being classic, to enable the objectives of this lecture to be realised by this cream of indescribable knowledgeable participants.
Definition of Greatness:
Greatness means many things to many people. Some people mistake greatness for success. Success means achieving one’s objectives safely, whether good or bad; hence, criminals record success in their deals; traders record success in their trading; examination fraudsters record success, etc. Nevertheless, these things do not make for greatness at all. What then is greatness? Greatness means doing something extra-ordinarily good; it means achieving a nobler goal in life, which others consider impossible. It also means being first among equals. Greatness implies doing exceptionally brilliantly in your noble pursuits. It is a stage when you reach the zenith of your career and you are fulfilled. In terms of professionalism, it is the technical proficiency in managing both the human and material recourses around you to a level that you will be appreciated by all and sundry. It is that positive impact an individual can make in his society. It is about the individual being self-less and thinking of the collective interest of others, rather than self. It is leaving an enviable foot-prints on the sands of time.
Many people want to be great in their lifetime, but only few people achieve greatness. Greatness is not a gift; it has to do with achievements. No man is great because of what he is today, but because of what he will progressively be in the end. To this end, therefore, I wish to offer the following views on the pathway to greatness:
 
1. Desire to be Great in Life:
Whatever anybody will achieve in this life starts with a desire. It is, of course, the first step for you on the pathway to greatness. As you pray, plan and pursue greatness in life, let desire ignite a sense of commitment and hard work in you. Strong desire facilitates self-discipline, which will make you to be conscious of your time and age for profitable utilisation. This will in turn keep your heart and your mind on your set goals for attaining greatness. When you desire the best, you must surely work for excellence. You need to see beyond what you are passing through at present and have a glimpse of what the future holds for you. Experiences in life have proved to me, beyond all reasonable doubts, that great achievements usually follow periods of great trials and difficulties. You have not yet done your best until you have achieved your best.
2. Develop Self-Control:
Self-control is a must for human development, which is a pre-requisite for attaining greatness in life. Every man has two creators: his God and himself. His first creator furnishes him with the raw-materials of his life and the guiding or regulatory principles or legal framework in conformity with that, which he can make life what he wants. His second creator, himself, has marvellous potentials he rarely realises. It is what a man makes of himself that makes him either great or small. No man is born great or small. People achieve greatness through self-realisation, which is made possible by self-control. The power of self-control is one of the greatest qualities that differentiate man from other lower animals. Any human being that lacks self-control is a miniature human being and can never think of attaining greatness in life.
Physical growth is not development. A man can grow without developing. The mental development of a man determines the height he will attain in life. This is why imbeciles or mentally retarded persons cannot think of achieving greatness till eternity, for they do not know the value of greatness. Man is the only animal that is capable of moral struggle or moral conquest. Every step in human life has been a new control. It has always been escaping from the tyranny of a fact to the understanding and mastery of that fact. At each moment of man’s life, he is either a great man or a slave. As he surrenders to a wrong desire, or appetite, to any human weaknesses, as he falls prostrate in hopeless subjection to any condition, to any environment, to any failure, to any habit, he becomes a slave. Whether he becomes a victor or a victim is all in his hands. A man spoils his way and turns around to blame it on destiny. Destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice. A sensible and wise fellow must study himself to discover what is the weak point in his amour; what is the element in him that ever keeps him from extra-ordinary performances. This is the characteristic upon which a progressive fellow should begin his exercise in self-control. Habit is never formed or broken in a day. It has always been a daily exercise. Is it selfishness, vanity, cowardice, temper, laziness, worry, anxiety, mind wandering, lack of purpose, lack of motivation, evil associations, etc? Whatever form human weaknesses assume in the masquerade of life, a progressive, dynamic and unassuming fellow must discover all of them. An enemy that is known is half the victory.
3. Avoid Living a Purposeless Life:
An unexamined life is not worth living. This teaches us that there is something about life, which if not properly and strictly examined, if not properly understood, if not properly addressed could make such life the equivalent of death. A man must not only exist for a purpose, but should live for a purpose. There is something about the life of man that proves to us that we are not created or born to live purposelessly, for purposelessness is the very enemy of life, the very enemy of the individual. The value of life is measured by the positive contributions or inputs made by any man to the society he lives in. This is why the greatness of a man is measured by his creative and innovative ideas, which he passes on to humanity as his legacies. This is the very purpose of life. Nobody has ever become great because of his fantastic bank accounts, the world over, or because of his gigantic structures he commercially erected to enrich himself. That goes to buttress the fact that the wealth of a man is not in his bank account, but in his brain. Refuse and reject all pseudo-psychological religious promises such as the one that said you should limit yourself to having clothing and food, because you came into this world empty handed and must leave one day empty handed. This is a primitive way of life.  Greatness goes beyond being able to feed and clothe yourselves. Consider what the world would have looked like if man had stopped at mere provision of food and clothing for himself.
4. Discover and Develop your Potentials:
Everything you need to become a great fellow in life is stored in you. You are studded with latent potentials that can move your society forward, but you have not taken out time to evaluate your capabilities. Since God created man in his own image, this implies that human beings are loaded with creative and innovative powers. When God created or fashioned the world, did he create ships, bicycles or motorcycles, motor vehicles of all sorts, aeroplanes of all categories, communication gadgets of all categories, to mention but a few? Even the houses we have today, whether ancient or modern, were not created by God. Apart from the natural things that are provided by nature for man’s comfort in the world, every other physical and scientific development and invention we are enjoying today are created and developed by human beings such as you and I. Behind every great achievement in life, there are great names. These great names were and still are great minds who saw the problems of their fellow human beings as challenges and braced up to solve those intractable problems. They never had money or fame in mind, but as soon as they succeeded, money and fame accompanied them. Any man who places money first can never achieve greatness in life. Great minds behind all great literary, scientific and business works today never placed money first in their research works. The sky is too wide for two birds to collide in the air. You too can think out something that can be credited to you in your day and even after. What Michael Faraday invented as electricity, although he did not receive any university education, is what is being developed today through research works for the benefit of the entire mankind. Do not look for motivation before you will start; take off from somewhere and the motivation must meet you along the way.
So, discovering and developing your potentials will make you valuable and you must command attention. Great people have remained those that make the fullest use of their capabilities, talents and potentials to move their societies forward.
5. Be Diligent to Protect your Mindset:
You must be diligent to protect your mindset, because everything you will be or achieve in this life depends on the functional ability of your mind and brain in processing of information. The human mind is likened to a functional computer. The moment the mind captures any information, it goes into processing in the brain, which is like the central processing unit of the computer. After processing the information, the out-put becomes the action that is supplied. That out-put shows the whole world the information that is processed in the brain. If it is a useless or destructive information, the result/output will vindicate it and vice versa. When you process great information, you will produce great results. This is why it is foolishness for anybody to expect a positive result from a negative action. The greatness of a man is measured by his out-puts and not his in-puts. Since the level and quality of information the human mind and brain process, coupled with the action the person supplies, are the pre-requisites for attaining greatness in life, you should, therefore, make sure that you do not log in anti-progressive information or ideas into your mind and brain. Make sure no wrong information such as envy, gossip, slander, jealousy, malice, hatred, indolence, crime, etc ever registers in your system. These vices are the very small and useless intangible things that do not only disturb the mind, but also hinder it from achieving greatness. The energy and time one would have used to reason out a better way of life, he now dissipates in ruminating over fake and intangible things. It is once ability to resist these anti-progressive information from being registered in the mind and brain that makes the individual a great mind. Show me a great mind and I will show you a great achiever somewhere. Watch over your mindset if you want to be great in life.

6. Making the Right Choice of Profession:
There are too many professions prevalent in the world today. Some have been fully developed and exploited over the years by so many individuals, while some are yet to be explored. Besides, there are still too many areas of human activities that are yet to be explored. Remember that being great means outwitting or outclassing all other previous persons in the same field. It entails creating a new track record. Take for example, if an athlete finishes a hundred-meter race in two minutes to become a champion in his day, anybody who makes a giant stride by finishing the same hundred-meter race in a minute has, undoubtedly, created a new record in the race. This is what greatness in any field of endeavour is all about. Another way is by establishing or evolving or developing something that never existed before that is capable of meeting the needs of the society. It is easier to attain greatness by establishing a new path than by following a path already established by someone else. Anybody that is following the already established footsteps of his father must stop wherever his father stopped; and at the same time, he is struggling for a second position and no longer the first. This does not attract greatness at all.
To select your area of operation, first, carry out a very surreptitious look or examination of the society you find yourself in with a view to finding the areas your contributions are needed. For example, two young men went to a place where, virtually, all the inhabitants of the area walked barefooted. One of them laughed at the people walking barefooted and the other saw the establishment of a shoe industry in the area. Who among these two young men is likely to attain greatness in that area? Another two also went to another place littered with refuse; one saw a stinking and dirty environment, another saw an opportunity for production of refuse bins in the area. Who among the two processed the right information that could lead to greatness? You can begin now to think about what you are going to embark on after graduating and passing out of NYSC, especially, now that there are no white-collar jobs in both government and organized private sectors again. The time when university certificate was referred to as ‘automatic meal ticket’ is over. No matter the course of study in the best university, both at home and abroad, the truth remains there that you must go about begging for employment with your application letters. Even if the job is secured, the remuneration still remains a misery pittance whose value has already been eroded by the hyper-inflation in the country. In spite of all these rigours, greatness has never been credited to any employee that never performed a specialized feat by the employer. It is easier for an employer to be great than for the employee. This is why I strongly emphasize on self-employment as a way of achieving greatness. This is possible if you can dream very big dreams and work very diligently towards transforming them into realities; the bigger your dreams, the bigger your achievements in life. Show me one without big dreams and I will show you one without big achievements somewhere. Do not stop at average level because average achievers are mediocre and these are the numerous decorated poor people we have in the society. Think great, act great and you will attain greatness. Note that some people are there to criticize you in every step you take towards achieving greatness. There must be great obstacles on the way to greatness, but the worst is criticism, if you cannot place it where it belongs to. I wish to help you to know that no human being in this life has lived a life so true, so holy and so fair to be beyond the reach of malice, or immune from the poisonous emanation of envy. The insidious attacks against one’s reputation, the loathsome innuendoes, slurs, falsettos by which jealous mediocrity seeks to run his superiors down are just like those insect parasites that eat down an oak tree. So cowardly is the act, so stealthy is the shooting of the poisonous arrows, so insignificant the separate acts in their seeming that one is never on guard against them. It is easier to dodge an elephant than a microbe. Always bear in mind that the man who stands above his fellows must be prepared at all times to absorb the shock of the arrows of their inferiorities. If the criticisms are constructive, please, welcome them; but if they are destructive, see them as anti-progressive criticisms and ignore them. They are external obstacles a serious minded fellow desiring greatness can never attend to.
7. Decision:
Decision is the power behind all great achievers. The remarkable difference between the great and the small is decision; and the second is the use of time. Decision is the power of life; anybody that is undecided as to what he wants to be in life will not know how to go about achieving it. Therefore, you must decide what you will like to be in life with a decision that you will stop at nothing until your ambition is realized. Once the willpower is there, the number of years it takes one to accomplish it is immaterial. No obstacle, be it financial or infrastructural, will ever hinder the fellow from getting to the top. Do not be afraid of taking decisions. History will forgive you for taking wrong decisions but will not exonerate you for not taking decisions at all.
Be committed to your decision come what may. Borrow a cue from the former director of NAFDAC, Professor Dora Akunyili (Mrs.), who was committed to eradicating fake drugs from the Nigerian Markets with a few officials and she succeeded. That single feat alone made her name great, not only in Nigeria, but the entire world. This is one out of the numerous examples I cannot cite here due to time and space. You too can attain greatness by sticking very strictly to your decision.
8. Common Features of all Great Achievers:
a) Time Consciousness: All great people I have come into contact with are time conscious. They do not only manage, use and invest their time wisely, but they also invest and spend their resources wisely. They are never wasteful because they realize that their lives here on earth are tied to time. Whatever you want to do in this life to enhance your journey to greatness, always remember to work with time. Do not forget the fact that time waits for no one, but one waits for time. Delay can be dangerous and should be avoided.
b) Vision: All great achievers are men of vision that dream dreams bigger than their present resources or conditions. They are positive thinkers who are always optimistic about the future. Where there are no vision, insight and foresight, there will be no goal, purpose or direction. Where there is no goal, there is no accomplishment. So, you must set your own goals and remain focused on them until they are realized. Map out your own plan of action that will help you to get to your destination on time and very safely too. Bear in mind that every crooked way a driver takes in a journey makes the journey longer. Therefore, try to avoid all crooked ways in your honest pursuit of greatness in life for there is no good way of doing a wrong thing.
c) Apply Diligence: The great men and women I know are all diligent and disciplined. Diligence is a partner in progress with self-discipline in attaining great heights in life. Diligence conquers laziness, transforms problems into challenges and converts disappointments into appointments; while self-discipline checks all forms of procrastination in the battle for greatness. Determination is the key to success in every human achievement in life. He that is determined keeps his eyes fixed on greatness and this draws his target closer to him
9. Avoid establishing a Permanent Principle:
It is not good to establish a permanent principle of doing things in a changing world and changing circumstances. Many have that dangerous habit of doing things the usual way, whether the results are progressive or not. Such people can never attain greatness in life. Doing the same thing in the same style, the same pace, the same environment must produce the same result. Only a robot is fit for that kind of activity. The only way forward lies in effecting positive changes, moving from the usual way of doing things to the unusual way. This is so because we are now living in the age of methods and no longer in the age of muscles. Everything about life’s activities is now going scientific and if you do not keep abreast of the time, you must be left behind. Therefore, if a plan of action fails, evolve another. If the environment is not conducive or favourable, change to a better environment and so on.


10. Action Time:
After planning and praying to God to help you to become great in life, if you do not supply the needed action, no miracle will happen. If you refuse to do what you ought to do in life, you will never find yourself where you want to be. Your dreams, no matter how lofty they may appear to be, will end in the pipelines like some amorphous laudable programmes of the various governments that will never crystallise till the next generation. I now believe that with the level of information you have received so far, the awareness so far created in your minds, that you too can be great, you can conveniently drive yourself to your destination point very safely. No amount of information is too much; so, do not hinder the inflow of new ideas. To be informed is to be enlightened. He that is not well informed is deformed; ignorance is not only a deliberate misfortune, but a self-inflicted injury. Anybody who thinks the police are not doing a good work, should try the use of thugs. Anybody who does not support the acquisition of qualitative and up to date education, be it regimented or unregimented, should try ignorance.
On this note, therefore, I wish to thank the honourable president of this noble professional association and his vibrant, dynamic, progressive and enthusiastic members for giving me this rare opportunity to cross-pollinate my views about attainment of greatness to them. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise advice. Commit all your plans and desires into the mighty hand of God and trust in Him, and He will establish them for you. With God on your side, the world will celebrate your greatness in the nearest future. The world is waiting for you.
…wishing you all that you wish yourselves. Bye for now.