Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Komla: What they are not saying

Somewhere in the very orderly chaos that resulted from the passing of Komla Dumor, I lost count of the number of glowing tributes. Everywhere I look, I saw one. Everywhere I went I heard somebody making one comment or another (not that I get out much- thanks to social media). That this young man of 42 inspires almost everyone is a truism beyond dispute. Not even his failed attempt at becoming a physician could touch him. In fact we might even point to it as another episode of great Komla lesson. A lesson on purpose and calling if you like.

With the burden of a ministry in performance on my shoulders, certain things do not escape my attention. To me the wonderful things the tributes are saying are not as powerful as what they are not saying.

Of the many glowing tributes, I have read, a majority of which were simple facebook comments, I am yet to see one that talks about how much money he made during his life time. Even the greediest of journalist (and there are more than enough of such) are talking and writing about his character as a person and most importantly how he did his work. I couldn’t help but to wonder, whether we are in the same Ghana where people say everything these days is about money?

There are many who considered his presence on the BBC platform an achievement. I am compelled to agree to this simply because people are so proud of it and I really do not want to be a kill-joy. But if I were to be honest, I will say that I really do not see the big deal here. A well informed young man with a Harvard degree and many years of broadcasting excellence hired by the BBC…come on! Besides he has a great personality, character and work ethics to go with it. The BBC will have to be out of their minds not hire him. The real achievement is what he did with the opportunity.
In a fecent conversation with a friend of the family, I learnt something interesting; Koml’s plan was to go to the BBC and change the way they present Africa to the world. Ha! Why not for the money?

In times like these I am compelled by the forces of necessity to draw some parallels between the likes of Komla, Madeba and the Osagyefo and the likes of Mobutu, Abacha and the many others who we know were driven by money. The result is self evident and I need not elaborate. Komla leaves us not with a way to make a lot of money but many very valuable lessons on how to maximize one’s existence. By the Komla Dumor method, the greatest broadcaster in Ghanaian/African history was created. Leaving us with a powerful legacy that we need to protect with every iota of integrity we can find. If we do not see a statue being erected at the University of Ghana and another one somewhere in the Volta region and a road or monument named after him, it will be a real shame.

Of the many leaders that have been trained at our nation’s premier center of learning, too many have made their living at the expense of the people. When such men come along with such extraordinary legacy therefore, the institution must hold on to it with all it’s got as the power of Good is the only thing that can overcome its many evils.
For those of us who cannot seem to think beyond our need to eat, drink and have sex, we must see from the examples that a man with a noble ambition never lacks. Solomon didn’t ask for money, he asked for wisdom. Komla didn’t ask for money, he asked for an opportunity to change. Madeba didn’t ask for money, he asked for the opportunity to bring justice. Osagye didn’t ask for money, he asked for freedom.

It is by this means that these men have achieved immortality like the many others who lived before them and continue to live with us through their ever powerful legacies. As I write this, I am reminded of the Marcus Aurelious’ meditations and what it has to say about noble character. If you haven’t read it, now will be a good time. The path to the maximization of existence is not that hard to find. The problem is; there are not many who are willing to travel that road in spite of its many rewards.

I do not know what you do or how you do it. Or even how much of it you do and the real reason why you do it. I do not know how long you intend to exist on this plane and what your plan is towards the maximization of the opportunity. But I do know that the clock doesn’t stop ticking and that there will be a time when the world will have an opportunity to make an assessment of your existence. Because it matters- you were created to serve a certain purpose.

The question is, what will the world say about you? Will you receive endless glowing tributes or will you fade into nothingness after your huge “gbonyo party” while a few members of your family go on a shopping spree at the expense of your lack of a lasting legacy? Or will you spark inspiration in the hearts of the world like Komla has done for you and the rest of us? The answer is performance. SPiD-UP.

In my next article, I shall attempt to treat some of the countless lessons that Komla’s life created.
H  O P E M A N : Junior minister at Mission of Hope Ministries, Peak Performance Coach, Originator of the SPiD-UP Project, Author and founder of the Center For Self development.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Of time and the maximization of existence

It is a fact that we do take time for granted. That is not surprising at all; we do that with most of the every one of vital gifts life has provided for us. Everything with a beginning must have an end or must it? Time certainly has a beginning that is in fact unique to everyone. It starts form the day you were born and “sort of ends” the day you pass on depending on how you choose to see the world.
So that at the end of this period that you will be dwelling on planet earth, it becomes possible to determine how much time you have spent and what you did in that time. This can be measured as you probably already know; down to the nano-second. Our seconds, minutes hours and days all the way down to years provide a structure with which we can understand and measure our existence. This being the case, it cannot be hard to see that it is among the most valuable resources we have.
Its importance to our very existence (something we all cherish above everything else) alone tells us that an effective use of this valuable resources is the means by which we can maximize our existence.

For those who’s intention is to make a lot of money, they must begin to measure how much they are making per hour or second in order to understand how much they can make in a year. This will then make it possible to determine how much one can make in a life time.  This kind of clarity can make it easy to understand where you are in order to determine where you want to be. The goals you set therefore have a relationship with where you are now and the gap between the two is good old time.

God in his wisdom has ensured that regardless of where we are on planet earth, we all have twenty four hours which breaks down into 86,400 seconds-- Justice. If your intention is to make money, it is not difficult to see where you are in the process when you compare yourself to the likes of Bill Gates (Sorry I didn't mean to make you sad). Yep he has twenty four like you. The difference is how you use it.

I do not know what you are involved in but one thing is for sure. It is how much of it plus the quality you produce within the seconds, minute and hours that will make sure that you maximize your days, weeks, months and years. There is also decades and centuries but since I really do not know how long you intend to live, I won’t venture into the millennia zone.

To understand this is to understand that every single second is an opportunity waiting to be maximized by you and that; what your hour will be is directly dependent on what you do with your seconds. No seconds, no hours, no years. No existence of course. It is your time and unique to you only. You determine what it can be by what you do with the seconds. Maximize the seconds and maximize your life. SPiD-UP!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Evidence of underperformance in supreme court

The ongoing case in the Supreme Court is useful in that, it lays bare the typical Ghanaian attitude towards work, duty obligation and standards. Or should I say the African Attitude. The amount of errors is beyond reason and it shows that people simply didn't do what was expected of them. It is a mindset problem and it cuts across almost everything we do. It explains why we don't have water and electricity even with all the resources available to us.
What do you do and how well do you do it? For those who think they can just do things and no one will know, think again. 
You name could pop up in the Supreme Court.
Our average is below standard- Fact.
We seldom meet deadlines and standards- Fact.
We always need double and triple supervision- Fact.
Most of us function at 35% of our true potential- Fact
We take details for granted- Fact
We are low on integrity
We worry when the bar is raised
We never expect the best from leadership
We never show up on time, never deliver
We are afraid to challenge ourselves and the status quo- Fact! Fact! Fact! Fact! Fact!

The list is endless but we are not going to just sit there and do nothing. It is time to shift gears. Every month The CSD with the support of our partners will train and 500 young people on peak performance across the nation and soon the continent.

We welcome help from sponsors, partners, and volunteers who are concerned enough to help cause change. What we need is a major shift and it is going to take work. You can start by participating or recommend the program to any person you know who is 30 and below and let us introduce them to what performance is, why it matters to them and how to be their best at all times.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Free Workshop: Introduction to Peak Performance

It is a known fact that the continent is suffering from a quality human capital deficiency-- people are not functioning at their best. The question is; why. And so we ask a lot of questions. For the most part people do not know why. They just simply don't know better and most people are not conscious of their performance. The result is that organisations and nations are not function at their best and the reason is simple. People make organisations and nations; they are the most valuable assets of any group and when they are at their best the group is at its best.
In our quest to solve this problem and as a part of our social responsibility the CSD is now providing a free monthly workshop in various locations across the continent. Our objective is to train some 500 young people (every month) between ages 18 and 30 on what it means to be one's best and how it can be attained.

To participate in the program, email the message
"I want to learn peak performance" with your
your name, phone number and location to 
workshop@csdafrica.com and we will send details
or call 0268 388 560 for assistance

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A pint of Feedback please!

If you have ever been at a concert where the artist’s performance intensified as the applause grew, you have seen the effect of feedback. This is a very common phenomenon in fact and speakers are very familiar with it. In Ghana it is very common to see a very still and expressionless audience watching the performer trying very hard to force out a drop of feedback. Such situations have the capability to steal the performer’s confidence and render him powerless even with a great talent at their disposal. This is when you hear, 

they don’t like me no matter how hard I try”. “Why is there always something wrong with everything I do”? “Nobody appreciate me even though I am doing my best”.

When we engage in an activity there is always feedback except and it is not always positive. When it happens to be positive however, we are empowered to do more. Positive feedback is nitro-octane 5 fuel for performance which makes a strong case for the reward and punishment system. If you reward people for doing something they are likely to do more of what they did before; perhaps even better—they want more reward. Negative feedback is however, crude oil that can be refined into a variety of products that can either fire or dampen performance. It is a question of how it is processed. The high performer is in the habit, according to experts like Czickzentmihalyi, of consistently monitoring feedback. She needs it as it is the dashboard that tells us when we are doing the right thing or not. Guys, when the ladies say NO, they mean it. Trust me, I have five sisters.

Anthony Robbins’ success cycle also illustrates this idea quite well. When the feedback is success, it engenders more success. If you have been reading my work you probably already know that it is the small cycles of success that culminate into the larger success. This develops the ever valuable success mentality. The girl who wins all the time is used to winning; because of feedback. She enters an activity expecting nothing less than winning. And we all know what roles expectation, confidence and goals play in the quest for success.

The opposite is the failure mentality that results from the same method. When one is told all the time that he is a failure and hears the words fail and you in one sentence after an initially attempt at something, he develops a failure mentality. He then approaches everything with fear and the expectation to fail though he may not show this. Parents and teachers are especially guilty of this when they are unable to determine what the strengths of a child. In my part of the world it appears such negative statements; “you can’t even do simple things, you will suffer in life” are very often used if not abused on young people.

It is not an easy feat for the untrained mind to rise above negative feedback which I should mention is not always authentic. Because of this, many talents are rendered powerless. This is the reason why it is extremely useful for one to build a career in an area they are naturally gifted for. It is unwise to disconnect goals and occupation from purpose which is the result of self-knowledge. Because once the feedback is positive, one builds the confidence to step further and build the reputation of a high performer. This then can serve as the platform from which she can use her winner’s mentality to reach other areas.

Monitoring and dealing with feedback lies within the realm of information processing. Read more of my work and you will know that things, events, circumstances have meaning and purpose only because we gave them one. One statement that I abuse almost on a daily basis; we are the most active participants in the creation of our circumstances. Such tools as the CSD®’s PSR™ (Positive Speculative Reasoning) are of great value in this regard. It is possible to turn negative feedback into something useful when you know how to process information. At the same time it is possible to receive positive feedback and indulge in complacency and this is not as rare as you might think.

When a person tells you consistently that you cannot do something or you are not good enough, you have two things to do. The first is to verify the authenticity of the statement itself—people talk crap for their own reasons. Yet they are a great source of feedback and this is the reason why you cannot hang with the “I will do only what I like and others do not matter” folks. The teacher or the parent cannot tell the child they are right when they are wrong. The second is to investigate how and why you have arrived at the decision to engage in that activity in the first place—but that is when you are sure the comment was authentic. In short if you are going to be involved in something ensure you are gifted for it. It will ensure you have positive initial feedback-- Nitro-Octane 5 for your performance; remember? The girl who is a natural will always be ahead because she has positive feedback.

I just realized I cannot possibly exhaust the idea in one article; I might need to add another small eBook to my SPiD-UP® series. By the way the first two are available on smashwords with four more coming in the next few weeks. I should mention that the first one performance awareness is absolutely free—thought you might like that. Be gracious enough to ignore the problems, as I still haven’t found that Angel to edit my work. And if you are in the mood, buy one of my raw books: it’s the positive feedback I need to write some more. Glad you stopped by.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Maximizing 2013 at full capacity.

It is the custom with many of us to have a resolution when a new year begins. But as often is the case, most of us never see it through. Circumstances have a way of changing things even in the face of man's reach exceeds his grasp” and “I can do all things”. While it is easy to point to indiscipline as the reason many goals or are not achieved, it might be important to consider other factors too. I follow the Anthony Robbins school of tough; that there are no such things as lazy and indiscipline people. It is often a case of lack of motivation. As soon as a person is motivated enough, they will do something that they of themselves did not believe was possible. So if you failed to manifest that resolution last year, it may not be because you lack disciplined. Sometimes we set our eyes on grand things when all we need is to check the basics and everything else will fall in place.

It is not often that a person engages in activity and decides to be lazy and undisciplined and even go further by finding reasons for it. Not many people consciously decide they are not going to be their best. Indeed people work really hard and many of us are very talented in our own ways. The trouble is sometimes with the structure with which we approach the world. I.e. how we interpret the world and its influence on how we approach.

The philosophy of peak performance offers a concise means by which we can tackle the basics in order to ensure that whatever power is being generated from our main engine (talent and skill) is being brought to its maximum. Two things can set us back: leakages and hindrances. Perhaps you have seen one of those old cars that make a lot of noise yet doesn't move much. That is the indication of a leakage. Further, when something gets in the way, you can’t really move forward even though you are firing on cylinders. Hard work is ok but very often it is not what we should be looking at. In some of my work I have tried to establish the idea that the people who are the best at what they often don’t work hard as it is an effortless affair for them.

We maximize opportunities when we have eliminated hindrances and sealed leakages. This automatically makes even the small amount of work powerful because we are maximizing opportunity.  Leakages and hindrances are a result of liabilities. In the philosophy of performance one can classify absolutely everything into two categories, assets and liabilities. Assets power you forward and liabilities slow you down. When anything becomes a liability, we must see how it can be converted or offloaded. Liabilities are baggages—they slow you down. People and everything else can be a liability. Friends and spouses can be a starting point. If they are not helping your cause, they might be slowing you down and causing a leakage in your system. A friend who only thinks about the pub only when he sees you is a leakage on your finance. If you don’t do something a lot of your money will end up in the pub owner’s account and your friend will be the agent who made it possible. This doesn't ensure that you finish the year at full power because if you end the year with less than you are worth, you are under-performing. The less time you spend in the pub the more money you save. The power you are generating from working can then be maximized.

A spouse must necessarily be an asset or they must be disposed (I don’t mean to be nasty). If a spouse doesn't provide the emotional support you need to spur you on and instead their actions slow you down, it might be time to rethink. It is not possible to list the number of things that can be your angels and your demons, but perhaps an expose of the core idea in the philosophy of performance and how it can be applied on 2013 as a period will be useful.
It starts with having specific goal in mind and if you have read any of my work you know how I feel about goals. They must not just be SMART, they must also be intelligent. Intelli-goals are situation sensitive as such, they react and modify themselves according to situation whiles still maintaining integrity. They are also very connected to purpose and personal strength so you are no setting a goal that you don’t believe is achievable. You must understand first that 2013 is only one of the many years you have left on planet earth and in fact only one of the many blocks of your larger life. Each block must be strong in order for you to finish your life at full power. Your goal for 2013 is a component of the larger goal of your life. The two must be integrated seamlessly. As indicated earlier the first step towards getting the best out of the year as per the philosophy of performance is to have a set objective or what we have termed the goal for the year.

The sum of the philosophy involves; identification of assets (because they power us forward), elimination of liabilities (because they slow us down) understanding and maximizing capabilities (because they are assets) and fully exploiting opportunity (because they engage us) towards a specific objective.

Sealing leakages and avoiding hindrances is a huge subject that cannot be covered in this article. I shall however point us to two key points to pay attention to. A lack socio-emotional competence can create hindrances and leakages that will slow us down. This involves our performance in the social arena where there are other people we must deal with. A high competence in the social arena is a powerful way of sealing possible leakages and avoiding hindrances. Maintaining assets-people and transforming liability-people into asset requires an understanding of human behavior. Experts say that social intelligence makes success more predictable than even  talent.

A leakage to look out for is Trapportunities: these are traps that present themselves as opportunities. They derail you and trap you in a place you shouldn't  This of course has a negative effect on your performance. The best way to avoid them is to maintain a high level of integrity and focus. Avoid unauthorized short cuts and to think in terms of the shortest distances and straight lines.

Whiles I do not know what you are involved in; this philosophy has been designed to work for every situation. However, its application will have to be customized to meet your peculiar needs. I have said in my soon to be published work the Philosophy of peak performance that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to life and therefore it is important for us to consider our unique circumstances in applying any idea. I will encourage you to follow in that direction. May we also be reminded that regardless of what you want achieve in a day or in your entire life; after all the visualization and dreaming, the next thing to do is to engage in activity. This is why performance is of great importance. Perform at your peak and you will experience the first fruit of success. The ultimate maximization of your life depends on the maximization of the opportunities present in the seconds, minutes, hours and days. 

When they are maximized, your life will be maximized. Happy New Year and May you finish it with full power.

I am giving away an unedited version of my book; Performance Awareness.
If you have been reading my work it is my gift to you for the New Year. Please click on the link here to download it for free. Send us comments at spidup@csdafrica.com and let me know how we can improve it. Five books will be released in the first half of 2013 and what you tell us will play a key role in ensuring quality.
Markus and CSD/SPiD-UP team.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Let me start by pointing out that:
What we know as human beings is only but a result of our observation of what God has already created. This is what has come to be known as science. Evidently the more we understand his creation the better use we are able to make of our existence to his glory.
Contrary to what many will have us believe, Christianity is not in conflict with science. It is possible to find an explanation in the scriptures that explains many a scientific discovery. In many cases we find that science itself is a few thousand years behind. That a person becomes what they focus on has been addressed by scripture thousands of years before science began to produce evidence to support the idea.

From the work of psychologist, we now understand the relationship between the two main components of the mind- The conscious and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind makes decision with regards what is good and useful; the subconscious mind accepts it, stores it and re-acts it without thinking. This is the simple process by which what we call habit is created.
From the work of cell biologist we now know that cells are living things in themselves exhibiting some of the characteristics we exhibit as human beings. They have memory of their own and are therefore capable of storing and recalling information. They are born, they live, they can fall sick and they die giving way to descendants. They have a purpose (a plan) and they endeavor to deliver this purpose successfully. They live in colonies or nations and they collaborate for the collective success of the nation (the body or the part of the body they live in).

Yes you are the nation and the cells in your body are its inhabitants. Those in your head (the brain) are the office of the president. The cells there, makes the decisions and decides the role of all the other cells in your body and determine what they must do. Your eye alone has 120 million cells inhabitants whose responsibility it to ensure that you receive visual information that is processed by the brain cells.
Your arm is like a city which has millions of cell inhabitants. Each individual has a role to play. At the same time all the inhabitants collectively have a purpose to serve.

When the command is issued by the cells in your brain, those in your legs must respond for the common good. For example; when you are hungry, the cells in your whole body suffers. The cells in your stomach go to work calling the attention of the whole body using hunger as an alarm system.
“If hands and legs do not do something soon, we will all die”.
So the brain team starts looking for things for hand and legs to do in order to solve the problem for everyone and you move into action.
When the brain decides to eat, the muscles in the legs are instructed to go to the kitchen and the cells of the eye know what to look for. The arms are instructed to open the fridge so the muscles are kicked into gear. The arms pick up the food and the brain knows you must not eat cold food so you head for the microwave. All this can happen so fast, sometimes you are not aware of what you are doing.  

By all cells playing their role, we accomplish a feat that benefits the whole body. Rupert Sheldrake through his work morphic resonance provides a good understanding of cells and their use of memory. Whiles the who subject is beyond the scope of this presentation, it is worth noting that; they are capable of catering, storing and recalling information.
Now let me explain the process by which your habits are created and what ole your cells play in the process. Your conscious mind is a decision maker. I have said earlier that it is aware of the current and decides what your experiences (especially new experience) mean and determines the choices you make by the nano-second. I also said that the subconscious mind is a storage system where the decisions your conscious mind makes repeatedly are stored. The stored decision becomes a set of programs that run without referring back to your conscious mind for approval. This is what makes your subconscious mind powerful even though it does not think.

Once your subconscious mind absorbs some information, it is now the cells that inhabit that part of your body that are charged with the responsibility to act on the information. Bear in mind that information has entered your system on two levels. Your subconscious mind has stored and will not refer to your decision making system (conscious mind) again for approval. It now instructs its more physical subordinates who have memory of their own (and therefore stores and remembers information) to act on it as per the original decision made by the conscious mind repeatedly.

Let me add here that; the information is only absorbed to that level when it is reinforced through repetitive thought and action- This requires focus. When information enters your cells to that point, you act accurately without thinking. Your body knows what to do almost instantly. The information then crystallizes into what is referred to as your “second nature”.

What you focus your attention on (and the degree to which you focus on it ) eventually sinks so deep into your system that you will walk around acting it without knowing you are even doing it. Since you are made up of cells (several trillions of them), you are those cells and what information they are holding.
Finally, quantum physicist have explained to us that your mind in not only inside of your brains. And that in fact it extends into a magnetic field around your whole body. Semyon Kirlian proposed "electrophotography" as a means by which it is possible to capture images of this field around us in various colors depending on emotional state. This field carries the information that is stored in your mind and in your cell so that others have a way of detecting what kind of a person you are. If you have ever met somebody and did not like them, or liked them so much and yet you do not understand why, you have experienced this phenomenon. When the person carries information that resonates with you, you like them. When they are the opposite, you dislike them.
Let me conclude by saying that often when birds flock together for a while, they tend to think in unison. That is why they can fly in very complicated formations turning in the same different directions without saying a word to each other. They are connected and united in thought per the information stored in their systems.

In the same manner, the company we keep is a demonstration of common interest and will influence how we think and eventually our cells will absorb the information and we will become a certain person based what we have decided is good action or what we have decided to focus on. Those of us who got caught in the Kung fu movie craze will recollect how we have walked around acting out what we have seen the shaolin masters do. It is for this reason that we are often told that you must keep away from bad company. Such things as peer pressure are more powerful than most people want to believe. Does the bible say something about this?

Psalms 1:1
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Those who spend time watching movies and listening to music with hate content should earnestly examine their thoughts, personalities and behavior for the best reference on the matter.
Whiles this presentation does not explain everything, I believe it has thrown some light onto the process that determines the person we become. So that we now have the power to decide the person we want to be knowing clearly how we can make it happen. It is simply a question of what we focus on. Those who focus mostly on the word of God become “God persons” by this same process (notice that the difference between the words “God” and “Good” is only an “O” which mathematically translates into nothing). A good person is therefore God person.

As a performance oriented person, I must add that when our lord Jesus walked the earth as a man, he was deeply absorbed with the word that he already was. When information sinks this deep into us, we become the very manifestation of that information. It is the very basis of his great accomplishment- something we address in a program we call Christ Performance at the CSD.

If you have found anything I have said here useful, then I have served a purpose and that I am eternally grateful to you.Thank you for attending Beauty for Ashes and may the lord bless you abundantly. May he grant you success and cause his face to shine on you. May he guide you towards what is right for us to focus on.  Let us meet again next year. Beauty for Ashes is here to stay!

Isaiah 61:3 (New International Version)
 and provide for those who grieve in Zion
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy, instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.