Saturday, 3 October 2009

Screen time

THE screen has never been as appealing as it is now. With Big Brother Africa (BBA), Project Fame and the like, not to talk of the foreign shows, who can resist the screen? Is it possible not to catch a few glimpses of the TV and its likes daily.
Watching TV, DVD, and fiddling with the mouse to play video games, work on computer or make use of the Internet have become part of the everyday experience.
Apart from being aesthetic objects there are many benefits gained form the screen; it’s a source of news, entertainment, education, information and so on. The screen, the TV, is an indispensable tool but it can also be a necessary evil. It just that many of us go overboard.
The average family spends about eight to 10 hours on the screen (four on TV and five on others) daily. While the list of benefits of TV is endless, the adverse effects of too much screen time cannot be ignored. They are:

• Irregular sleep: Many deprive themselves of sweet sleep because of a late-run movie or a talk show.

• Inactivity: Staying glued to the screen does not leave time for vigorous activities. This leads to a sedentary nature and in turn overweight and obesity

• Isolation: Valuable time that would have been used to develop family bonds might end up being wasted for the screen.

• Eye troubles: Staying close to the screen for too long exposes the eyes to radioactive rays emanating from it which might lead to eye troubles.

The TV faithfuls are largely children and the youth and it is easy for them to attain the stage of the TV fanatic and then later on, become addicts.
For these age groups, it affects their academic performance as they use the time meant to study to watch TV and surf the net.
They are also the tools used by fast food, games and clothing companies to influence their parents their products through adverts.
Last week, a group organised the TV turn-off week. No television viewing for a week! Can you beat that? Many would prefer to be exiled to the moon. What were the results of the TV fast; more family time, grades shot up, moods went up too, participants had lots of time to create think, and reflect on their lives.
That might be an extreme but there are other helpful ways of reducing screen time for health reasons:

• Take a screen time log: this will let you deduce the time spent by you and your family to the screen.

• Set a goal: limit screen time to at least two to three hours a day. You can also turn screen time to active time. During commercials, you can quickly do some productive work.

• Turn meal time to family time: instead of abandoning the dining table because of TV, try strengthening family bonds by avoiding the screen during meal times.

• Prioritise: Consider options. Can this be postponed or if it cannot, how can you make up for it? If you want to watch a late-run, how well are you going to sleep to regain lost energy?
Yours truly was once a TV addict (spending the whole day on the screen) but it was overcome gradually with determination. You can too!

How to become successful
LIVING i in Nigeria may be interesting or frustrating. Survival in Nigeria is based on how you think and act. When you begin to think differently, you will begin to act differently, and eventually, achieve different results.
Success, in the context of this article, is the attainment of your goals in life, by developing your talents and being fulfilled in the process. Here are three key strategies you can use to achieve your dreams.

Don’t work hard
Work smarter, not harder. Some of the most ‘hardworking’ people in Nigeria earn the least amount of money. A bus ‘conductor’ wakes up early in the morning, shouting on top of his voice to get passengers into his car, and might retire at night with some bottles of beer and marijuana. Some of them sleep under the bridge, ‘because they are working hard.’

Use your sense, more than your physical strength. Here’s a question. “How many bus conductors do you know that are millionaires, here in Nigeria?” The person, who uses his/her sense, will employ those that are using their strength.

Work your brain. The rich and the poor people in Nigeria is dependent on how they run their brain. In the 21st century, ideas rule the world. A sound idea will make you become successful overnight.

Get specialised knowledge. It is not what you have that makes the difference, but what you have that others do not have, and how you are able to market it, and brand yourself. Anytime there is an uncommon problem, people look for people who are experts and specialized, to solve the problem. Decide to be an expert in your field.

Smart people develop their talents into skill. Your talent is what you can do. A skill on the other hand, is what you can do perfectly. It is not enough to have a flare for singing. It is important to perfect the act of singing. It is not enough to have a flare for writing. You have to perfect the act of writing.

Smart people strive to achieve excellence. A young man met with an artist to draw his favourite music ‘idol.’ The artist drew it in 10 minutes, and N100,000. A woman here in Nigeria charges N1million for a cake. D’banj claimed to earn N10 million in a week, because he is great with his songs.

Smart people pay attention to detail. In everything you do, try to build from ‘bottom-up.’ First, you need to set a solid foundation, by getting the basic training, then, you need to learn all you can about your chosen craft.

Don’t do what you use to do. If you do what you did in the past, then, you may be where you are today, in the future. Doing the same thing over and over, is like sitting on the ‘proverbial barber’s chair.’ You can swirl round, you can stretch your body, move your hands, and legs, but one thing is certain: ‘You won’t leave that position.’ If you don’t change your approach, you will be stagnated.

Be result oriented. Understand that activity is not equal to accomplishment. It is not how long you work that counts, but how skilled you are at work.

Don’t blame the government. We all can complain about our leaders. You can say Nigeria jaga jaga or say ‘our government bad o, they no want give gentleman job o’ but the reality is that the government can not solve your personal problems for you.

Make something out of nothing. It is your responsibility to make it in Nigeria. If some people are making it here in Nigeria, then you can also succeed here in Nigeria. Remember that it is your perception about Nigeria that determines your reality.

Nigeria is a land of opportunities. We have bad roads, poor electric power supply, and our education system may be bad. These problems are the opportunities you can exploit to make it in Nigeria. If you can solve any of these problems, then you are on your way to wealth.

Provide solutions. If you can solve a single problem for a million Nigerian, then you are on your way to wealth. You have all it takes to make it in Nigeria, which is the land of opportunities. Take charge.!

Clueless? Headstrong?

IF anything has become obvious as the common thread that runs through good manners, it is sensitivity. Lack of sensitivity gives way to selfishness and selfishness is at the root of most instances of bad manners and etiquette. Civilised societies function through clues, which people are expected to pick up and respect.
Everything does not have to be overt or shouted from the rooftops to be recognized. A clue is like a whiff of perfume. You take a mental (or olfactory) note of it. But unlike the perfume, a clue needs you to respond to it through what you do or don’t.
Some folks seem incapable of picking up clues and you wonder why. It may be they are too selfish to care or they’ve been too clueless in the past and now they can’t even recognise a clue anymore. Let’s take the matter of walking through a lawn.
Some lawns are so manicured that you’d just know they’re not being walked through. Others even go further by using some means to show people should not walk through the lawns. It may be a stone hedge or perimeter tape/band.
But are these able to dissuade the clueless and headstrong? Society can not improve when people that had an education cannot appreciate and respect aesthetic beauty. Much the same thing can be said about our bill posting manners. ‘Post no Bill’ signs are mostly obeyed in the breach thereof even by religious bodies advertising their programmes.

A FOOTMAT left at the threshold says: ‘clean your feet here’. But this silent message is ignored by many. I wish interviewers for job applicants can begin to take these attitudes exhibited outside the interview hot seat into account in recruitment.
One who will pass through a closed door and leave it open is not likely to return a customer’s call for enquiry.
As a much younger person, I had occasion to show my flat mate in a silent way how clueless he was. I had noticed how he’d first try to open a door before knocking if he finds the door locked. That didn’t seem logical to me. It was the reverse of bolting the staple after the animal had escaped.
But how do you teach an adult these things? Knowing I used to have female guests who use the rest room, I was petrified about what will happen if they didn’t lock the door and flat mate came calling (we shared the restroom).
One day I was in the restroom with the door locked when he turned the handle to open. Upon finding it locked he now knocked. I kept silent. Knock! Knock! No response. ‘Mike are you there?’ ‘No, you can come in!’ After that day, flat mate caught the joke.

THIS brings us to those who will persist in a matter even when it is clear the other party has left a clue about ‘No deal.’
Motivation experts may preach the virtues of persistence, but it should not be taken to ridiculous limits. When you’re calling a person who is not picking, try another means of reaching him.
Whatever made him not to pick your calls after ringing out twice will probably not change with the tenth consecutive call. If he is not within hearing range of the first couple of redials, giving an interval will allow that to happen.

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