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The potters lounge is more than a place. It’s a platform, a centre in Ikoyi for young people to hang out weekly as they find a
purpose driven life through the most attractive platforms.
Its open for free every 2nd saturdays of every months from 4-9 PM under a relaxed atmosphere for cross sessions of motivational talks on issues of our time
ranging from career, business, leadership, relationship, emotions, 360 degrees knowledge, skills juggled
with free drinks  & light refreshments  and soothing soulful/hiphop/ positive/Christian music.

 
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 Book Review

Choose to Make a Difference By Seyi Wright

BOOK REVIEW
REVIEWER: MRS OMOBOLA JOHNSON ( Country Manager, Accenture)

The book introduction is a profound one. A conversation between a 90year old man, Pa Anuoluwa and his grand daughter Ore-Ofe over two days.

We decipher from the conversation that Pa Anuoluwa resigned from Agbonmagbe after serving, on the surface successfully, for ten years. Upon retirement, two key incidents make him introspective and it is in this introspective mood that he has this conversation about his career as MD of Agbonmagbe. With the benefits of old age, hindsight and people like Mr. Enugboro, he recounts to Ore-Ofe all the mistakes he made as a corporate leader and why the organization went bankrupt shortly after he left. Ore-Ofe, being a young person seemingly about to embark on a career herself, is very eager to learn at her grandfather’s feet and asks probing and insightful questions of her grandfather which he illustrates through his career experience. At the end of the conversation, Pa Anuoluwa turns the table around and sets Ore-Ofe some questions. He is however kind enough to point Ore-Ofe in the direction of the answers i.e. a book written by a brilliant young man, Seyi Wright.

And so the book begins:
Seyi then carries on the conversation with Ore-Ofe. I would like to spend a few minutes on the style of book, before I delve into the review, which is unique in its ability to absorb and engage the reader.

* It is a conversation between someone who is eager
to learn and someone who is desirous of imparting knowledge

* Interwoven in the book to challenge and interest the reader
are:

o Wise sayings from various people including the author

o Exercises to make you to reflect

o Acronyms to make it easier to recollect key lessons.

o Real life experiences that we can relate to

o Applications questions to enable you put new concepts
into practice without necessary having to have read the
whole book.

In Chapter 1, the author introduces the concept of choice. Namely that every human being has the power of choice. Each of us has the freedom to choose to make or not to make a difference. He goes on to expatiate on the many overwhelming environmental factors that will prevent us from choosing to make a difference-from resources and capabilities to attitude. The author then defines what making a difference is (Page 7).

The author then goes on to describe for us the broad levels that we must pass through once we have made the conscious decision to make a difference. From level 1 - self pity and pain, to level 6 - ultimate sacrifice. You will have to buy the book to discover levels 2 to5 and situate yourself at a level before you move to chapter 2.In the next two chapters the author begins to set the foundation on how to make the difference.
Chapter 2 discusses learning to think about other people, how it is impossible to make a difference unless you are operating in a zone of selflessness. The author then talks about the partnership of intelligence and likens the reader’s journey to selflessness to a fruit. Beginning with the skin the outer/external part is about improving relationships; the flesh -Is all about self – improving your personal effectiveness and the kernel – right inside of you is about developing your spiritual intelligence
The traits for making a difference can be quite neatly compartmentalised in this anatomy of a fruit.
In Chapter 3 the author talks Ore-Ofe through the seemingly innocuous choices people have to make everyday. He calls these quality choices of which there are 10.It is at this point that the author introduces one of many uncomfortable and challenging questionnaires/exercise to assess us. Now you need the notebook I mentioned earlier to reflect on your scores. This first exercise arouses your MDI(Making a difference)an acronym I coined, and as you read the book, understand concepts and apply the application questions your progress as the MDI index is measured. The choice to making a difference then continues as the author then overlaps the ten quality choices over the fruit illustration and very ingeniously relates the external fruit analogy to the various traits required to make a difference.
And this is where the journey goes into high gear. The author starts each of the next ten chapters with the words "I Choose To ..." and then takes the reader through a journey of introspection and self discovery as we try and assess how much of the traits we currently possess and the steps we must take to increase the occurrence of the trait.

This is really the crux of the book. I will try and highlight a few of the concepts introduced in order to whet your appetite enough to buy the book.

I Choose To know Who I am and Continuously Improve – This chapter contains a quote from the author himself and I read (page 45).

I Choose To focus on my MAL and here the author gets quite scientific with a simple and yet powerful formula: LPV = MPL – MAL. I will expand for those of you with non scientific minds. Your LPV (Lifetime Performance Variance) is the gap between your MPL (Maximum Potential Limit) and MAL (Maximum Attainable Limit).The author tells us that our goal and constant challenge as individuals who have chosen to make a difference is to minimize the gap over a lifetime, and he gives us useful hints and tips as to how to do this. Go read the book.

I Choose To Be Principled. The author aptly introduces this chapter with the code of personal discipline of one of the most principled men in our country, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The author then goes on to list the obvious and not too obvious advantages /benefits of being principled. The “uncomfortable” exercise in this chapter is to answer the questions he has developed over time and he instructs us to answer with a Yes or No, no 'maybes' (Page 94-96).I say uncomfortable because the author deliberately does not ask questions that are easy to answer.

I failed the test and I am sure the author knows most of his readers will. He then goes on to give hints, tips and suggestions on how we can strive to be more principled people and reap the benefits and advantages of standing for what we believe in.

I Choose To Lead My Emotions and Do The Right Things. In this chapter, the author introduces the concept of "shredding". The author’s definition of shredding is “corporate abuse expressed in the term of severe public reprimand”. He illustrates this trait of choosing to lead emotions with the story of Olusegun, a victor and a shredee. A shredee being someone who has been subjected to shredding i.e. public corporate abuse. The shredder being the person that is inflicting that abuse. And I read – (Page 111).The moral of this story being that you must lead your emotions and not allow your emotions to lead you. The author then goes on to explain to Ore-Ofe and the reader how to lead the different kinds of emotions – worry, anger, fear, regret and malice.
I Choose To Be An Excellent Steward. A steward is not someone who serves us food and drink in our homes but an individual who chooses to judiciously use the resources under his care. The resources that the author discusses in this chapter are the resources of time, physiological state, money and talent. I was particularly intrigued and challenged by the authors’ ability to convince the reader of the urgency of time. Let me elaborate by quoting from the book (Page 129)

 

I Choose To Think About What I Think About. I had to read this phrase aloud to get the true meaning and when the reader finally gets it, it is quite profound. This chapter can be summarized in the quotes/gems that the author places quite strategically in the book. For instance “Life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel”. Again I quote “Thinking is the hardest work there is which probably is the reason so few engage in it”.

I Choose To Consider People As More Important Than Tasks. The chapter opens with a transcript of an interview with Mr. Onadele, the MD of UAC diaries. Mr. Onadele was nominated by participants at a leadership training programme at UAC as a certified good leader. Mr. Onadele is asked questions around his effective leadership and all of his responses can be summarized as someone who values people over tasks.

I Choose To Behave Assertively To Make A Difference.

I Choose To Communicate To Make A Difference. In this chapter the author tells us how important communication is in making a difference. He takes the reader through important steps of how to become an effective communicator, including, quite interestingly, being an effective listener. The lessons in this chapter are well summarized in the personal reflection sections (Page 204).

I Choose To Develop My Spiritual Intelligence. This tenth and final trait required in choosing to make a difference is a very powerful closing for the book. The author invites Ore-Ofe to imagine herself as a pilot in conversation with the control tower. Not any ordinary control tower, but the Ultimate Control Tower or UCT. You can guess who is in that control tower. Let me just read an excerpt of this conversation (Page 209).

The author then makes the inextricable link between this tenth trait, developing spiritual intelligence and all the other nine traits.

At this point the reader and the rapt listener, Ore-Ofe, have received all the instruction they need to go out into the world to make a difference. All they need to do is just go out and do it.

In closing let me just read one of the final paragraphs in the book (Page 218).

So Ladies & Gentlemen buy this book for yourself, your colleagues, your friends and as you read it purposefully travel that higher road to making a difference in the lives of others.

• The book review represents the views of the reviewer and not that of Accenture.


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