If I had a check for every time I have been asked, “Uncle Jimmy, how can I stop using social media so much?”, “Uncle Jimmy, my grades are suffering. I either skip class or sleep through it. What should I do?”, “Uncle Jimmy….”, “UNCLE JIMMY….”, I would be a much richer man.
“Addiction is the beginning of any man’s misfortune. Indiscipline is its first move.”
— My Adopted Grandson.
I said in a previous article that social media is a tool and it’s the use it is put to that matters.
Do you know that you could be making money EVERY single time you log on to Facebook? No?
But it’s true.
In 2016 I was invited to the home of a corporate business mogul who resided in Apapa, Lagos State. It was an unexpected honour, so I went. His super-sized estate, surrounded by a 12 feet high fence topped with razor steel and easily one of the largest privately owned living estates in the state, was a beauty to behold. His quarter-mile-long driveway was cobbled with the most astonishingly-cut granite, lined on either side by exotic dwarf trees from Japan, and interspersed with lit log candles held in clear glass fish bowl bulbs. There was a rose garden, a mini golf course, a volleyball court, as well as million-naira gazebos that each had an aquarium with live Arowana.
In a nutshell, bliss!
After we had had tea and exhausted every topic in “How To Talk About The Weather”, my host got down to the business of woeful parenting.
“Uncle Jim,” says he. “I am finished!”
Now, I don’t know about you, but every time I hear this phrase, I adjust myself and prepare to flee. There is nothing as epidemic as sitting opposite another human who is “finished.” Especially when he is six foot eight and weighs 300Ib. Before you know it, he’d be emptying his eye sockets, crying for all it’s worth on your shoulder. Next thing, you’ll be whispering lullabies in his ear.
Those three words have got to be the most dreadful in the English language.
So, when anyone tells me “I am finished”, I turn my back, I make a run for it, and I don’t look back.
I did not do this, however. I decided to stick around a little longer if only to learn what could “finish” this hulking mammoth of a billionaire.
“What was that, sir?” I ask, knowing fully well what “that” was.
“Uncle Jim, I am finished! I am finished! Oh, this boy has finished me. Would you believe I sent my son, my only son, to Harvard and he got evicted?”
I assured him I already did.
“I sent this boy to three world-class Universities to study under the best tutors, in the most conducive environments money can afford, and he was sent home each time. Summarily dismissed! Dispatched!”
I believe I said something to the tune of “Be strong and bold of heart, sir. You know kids of these times….”
“Kid!? Kid!? The bastard is eighteen years old, for Christ’s sake! Eighteen, and he does not know how to go about achieving his dreams!”
I caught on something he’d said.
“You mean he already knows what he wants to be?”
“Bah! Any fool with half a nut can figure out what to do with his sixty years on Earth,” he nodded viciously. “What matters is whether he has a plan for arriving at his destination and whether he is doing something actively to get there. You are renown for getting people to take charge of their destinies. Do something!“
Privately wondering what I could possibly be expected to accomplish if the boy’s parents had accomplished nothing after two decades with their own child, I summoned the kid and began to interrogate him:
“What’s your name?”
(What kind of parent names his child Zachariah in this age?)
“Well, Zachariah, you stand accused of being flippant with your future. Your father here is your plaintiff. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Well, do you love Facebook?” I spoke the Magic word.
He perked up. Nodded.
“You know Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in his college days, right?”
“A’ight. Get outta here.”
Facebook is a great tool for learning cool stuff and earning money if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, it becomes a slave master that turns you into a mindless zombie. If you wake up very early in the morning and automatically reach for your phone, you’re halfway there.
My friend, the billionaire, was distraught because his son was not actively working towards a future. Maybe he hinged all of his hopes on an inheritance, maybe he just didn’t care. Or maybe he did but gave up trying because it was “too hard.” I don’t know. What I do know is that his father died 18 months later and left him with nothing.
What does this tell you?
Your youth is given to you to decide. To decide what to use it for. To decide what kind of life you want to live, what kind of schools you want to send your kids to, where you want to vacation, who you want to wine and dine with. When you want to retire.
And if you don’t take the opportunity the fountain of youth presents, there’ll be no one to blame but yourself. How would you like to work go to work only when you feel like it (because your business is completely autonomous)? And vac in the Bahamas twice every year?
The key is your 24 hours and what you do with it.
And if Snapchat is stealing your future away from you, say “to hell with it” and go get it back.
If this sounds interesting, let’s hop into it…
Six ways to cease being a social media addict, for free.
1. You have to set boundaries.
You have to set boundaries. There’s no finding a way around that. There’s no second option. If you want to take charge of your life, you need to have limits in place that prevent anyone activity from spilling over into time meant for another. Because, at the end of the day, success is a soup that must be cooked with care. Overcook any ingredient and you’ll end up with badly cooked food.
2. Have a plan.
Having a plan is a very important part of the journey. A plan, a good one, is like a blueprint. One does not just build a house without a model in mind, especially if it’s a big house. If you want a good life, if you want a big house, you have to have a plan for getting there.
Sit back now, grab a piece of paper (a large one) and a pen, and write in all-caps what you want to become in future, now write five things you can do every day that will assuredly get you there.
Now you have a plan. A half-baked one, but one nonetheless. And after reading this, and commenting to let me know if it has impacted your life, and possibly sharing this post with your friends and family, you should sit down and outline how you intend to move from where you are to where you want to be. What kind of people will you develop relationships with? What milestones will you reach by the end of this year? How will you make time each day to work towards your goal?
Make a plan!
3. Number three is one of my personal favourites, partly because many people who start doing something good with their life fail when they get to this point in the journey.
I call it “False Leads Decimation.”
Now you have a target and a plan for hitting your target, but this is no guarantee that you will succeed. Indeed, one reason why there are so many poor people today is that they missed their target. Friends and our relationships with them can make us or mar us. Just like the Internet, how we use friendship is what’s most important. I will devote an entire week to this issue in a few days, but, in a nutshell, if a “friend” is not currently actively helping you to reach your goals and live the good life, cut her off. It does not matter who she is or how long you’ve been friends with her or how your mother knows her mother while your dads play pool together at the club every weekend. That is their lives, not yours. Cut that person off. If she is meant to stay, she will prove it. Don’t make excuses for “friends”. “Oh, she’s been there for me in the past.” “Oh, he’s had my back since kindergarten.” If they are meant to stay, they will show it! They will force you to level up, to not get complacent and settle for the Now. If they don’t do these things, drop them. Winners become winners by associating with winners.
4. Study, to show yourself approved.
There is a verse in the Bible that begins this: “Study to show thyself approved, a watchman that needest not to be ashamed….”
“Uncle Jimmy, but I read my books. I do all of my assignments.”
Sure, it’s good to be the best in class, but that’s not (all) I’m talking about here.
Say you want to become the best social media marketer in your city, what would you wisely do? I don’t know about you, but I would get books on social media marketing, written by the current bests in the game, and I would read those things like a personal Bible. I would go to sleep at night with them in my arms and under my pillow, I would dream all night long about S.M. marketing, and I would awake in the morning itching to continue pursuing my dream. (That’s) what I mean by “study”. You have to learn how the best conduct business in order to get to the top. It must become an “obsession”.
After adding to your plan, search online for any five of the best in your field and get one book each from them. Now, make it a point to read each of the five twice this month. Next month, repeat the process. Another five books either by the same authors or by different “bests”.
If you do this unfailingly every month, for six months, you would theoretically have read 30 books written by the best in the business, twice. Tell me how you won’t fulfill your dream?
5. Be consistent
Somebody once said, “it is better to take a step a day, than to take a thousand steps in one day.”
I don’t know about the one a day part, though. I mean, it would suck to have to take only one step in 24 hours. The whole process would be finished before it even began. And what about when one accidentally takes his step?
I am sure you get the point, though. Rephrase it to “it is better to take a thousand steps a day, than ten thousand in one day”, if you like. The point will remain unchanged. Little droplets make a great wide ocean, and a lot of smaller seas and rivers too.
Once you start, don’t stop before you get to your goal. Don’t pile on work, too. The path to success ought to be 60% enjoyable. Anything less than this becomes a chore and taking baby steps, changing little things, aligning tiny gears, every day will cataclysmise into a whole big ocean, complete with waterfalls and driftwood to picnic on.
That’s all I have to say on the matter.
6. Implore the aid of a Higher Power.
No man is an island alone, but with an almighty spirit being backing you up, you just might survive without outside assistance.
Whether it is Jesus, Jehovah, Mohammed, the Budha or the Legend of Korra from the Avatar cartoon series, having a Force or Power you have faith in on your side of the fence could make a huge difference. Like, you could be sleeping soundly and a gentle hand would tap you and a gentle voice would whisper “Power to the people, my child.” Now, it might sound very strange and un-Godlike at first but, trust me, it will find a way to make sense later on.
It really is cool having God on your side. You could get hot stock market tips (“The stock market will crash in six hours, my child. Go sell all you’ve accumulated.”), free “ethical” examination malpractice (somebody sleeps and dreams of the answers to a test that is due the next day, and he actually goes and sees the same questions from his dream in the question paper. Woe to he who doth not read hard, though.) or free Medicare (“Father Lord, I know I have a headache, but there is nothing you cannot do. Therefore, Father, command my headache away so that I might save money by not going to the doctor’s. I promise to give you ten percent. Thanks.”).
What I am saying is, walk with God. That’s it.
If you liked this, then you will like my stories. Simply head over to my profile page to read them.
Also, I blog at www.unclejimmysblogspot.wordpress.com as Uncle Jimmy, an "old, black man" who gives advice based on his personal experiences where I write articles about everyday issues of life, as well as topics of national importance.
Check it out, please. You won't regard it as time wasted, I assure you.