Every normal child is naturally wired/preprogrammed to imitate what he/she consistently gets exposed to; especially what he/she sees. In that sense, I grew up as a perfectly normal child; imitating what I was seeing, including (and not limited to) the following…
- Doing Matured Fine Art; my dad has been into art and was the art master at a secondary school.
- Making Miniature Vehicles (Made out of Tin from Cans); a lot of the young guys in my area were all doing it; it was a craze!
- Sewing Clothes; my big sisters were into fashion design and had been sewing at home.
- Typing; my mum was a stenographer
secretary, and the first person I ever saw typing at incredible speeds without looking on the typewriter keys; yeah, computers were not around then. 🙂
This gave me a very practical orientation to life; that, humans make things with hands and tools! I happened to be a very obedient child so that enhanced my learning ability; just observing/listening keenly and doing as I saw, and as I was told. Along the line I chanced upon books that gave practical guidance to some of the things; typical ones being: ‘The Complete Guide to Sewing’ which guided me on how to sew professionally, ‘UNESCO Source Book for Science Teaching’ which guided me to make electric bells, buzzers, microphones, etc., and a ‘Generic Typing Tutor’ which showed me the principles for typing professionally at high speeds without looking on the keys.
This got me very much interested in text books; even though they were usually relatively big in sizes, for me they were the real deal as I was having fun with the practical skills that stemmed from the more comprehensive guidance they provided. I got to learn and to appreciate that ‘theory, in the most part, is just documented practice,’ and that books are for life and for action, and not for exams per se. Well, I was still obedient enough to excel at school, and actually was either the best or among the best in every class/school I enrolled; especially as by the grace of God, I chanced upon (and applied) principles from four very useful self-help books: ‘How to Study,’ ‘Passing Examinations,’ ‘Effective Studying Skills,’ and ‘Faster Reading; a First Course.’
The First Major Event
Though all the above were turning points in my life, for me the first major turning point came upon the first time I saw a very huge conflict between myself and a very popular physics tutor, and the conflict was resolved in my favour.
Though I was more of a ‘textbook’ person, I was compelled to acquire a very popular physics pamphlet authored by one of the ‘sought-after’ physics tutors who organised vacation classes in Accra; I guess that was my way of catching up on what I usually missed at those vacation classes I was not privileged to attend. There was a particular exercise question from a physics textbook (a copy of which I possessed) that had been solved in the pamphlet; the textbook had only provided the answer at the ending pages for the purpose of cross checking, without solving it. Strangely, the answer in the pamphlet was different from the answer provided in the textbook; so I used the known first principles to also solve the question, and I got the answer as was stated in the textbook; indeed it turned out that the author of the pamphlet got it wrong! I was persuaded that indeed, “not all that glitter is gold,” and that getting to understand concepts systematically from first principles using a universally tried and tested comprehensive source, and diligently applying same (systematic obedience) was (and still is) a worthy virtue, and possibly the best. To that extent, any/every sane person can learn/master any subject/concept on his/her own when he/she has access to the right books and/or the right learning methods.
The Second Major Event
The second major turning point was a missed gargantuan opportunity!
It was during my secondary school days at St. Peter’s, Nkwatia; I used to write for vehicle magazines and catalogues from abroad; Benz, Volvo, Saab, Scania, Mitsubishi, etc. One of the days, as I was going through the Scania magazine, I noticed something very interesting: you see that most (if not all) of the trucks on our roads have some small lights along the side of the trailer; apparently they are not for decoration per se; they are to help road users (especially other drivers) to see the sides of the truck in the night; so they magazine referred to them as side markers. I thought to myself; “If you really want to mark the sides of the vehicle then there should be lights on the extreme protrusions of the vehicle; which are the driving mirrors!” It was like an epiphany, but I could not do anything with this idea. Sometime later, I saw that Mercedes Benz had done that. Upon hindsight, I should have found a way of selling the idea to one of the car companies, or even patent it if that could be allowed. It has thus been part of my mission to let people (especially the youth) know the economic benefits of some of the ideas that come their way, and to actually learn to come up with such great ideas, and commercialise them.
The Third Major Event
The third major turning point was after my O’Level results came in.
One little but significant detail missing in the earlier account is that all the while, where we were staying as a family did not have electricity installed, and I had to depend on kerosene lamp (lantern) for reading/working in the evenings. Also, with my vacations predominantly spent at that small town, I did not have the benefit of real vacation classes or significant extra classes; unlike most of my classmates, especially those who were coming from the cities. But with the exposure earlier recounted, I emerged as the best performing student.
This taught me to ignore/overlook my environment and circumstances so as to develop a very healthy acceptance of myself and my worthiness. I later got to know how important this attitude is; it was very much emphasised in various psychology books and especially self-help (motivational) books I later got to read. It is the major reason why my first book, and the first module in my life-coaching series focuses on helping people to develop a robust healthy self-image.
A very dramatic illustration of the importance of ‘self-image’ is found in ‘Numbers 13’ of the Christian Bible (Holy Bible).
The Fourth Major Event
Just before entering the university, I got an offer to sew clothes for export to Canada; the first batch I did were of higher finesse than the samples that I had received and the prospects were great! I eventuality turned it down and went to school, only to discover that one of my floor mates who was then pursuing medical science, was sewing commercially in his room. Indeed, a lot of students were engaged in various commercial activities; sale of books, graphic designing and printing, photography, yoghurt production, etc.
I should not have turned down the sewing opportunity; I should have done it alongside schooling and eventually grown it into a big business employing many tailors and seamstresses while still practicing my profession. All that I would have needed was good time management, good leadership skills, etc.
Sadly, I have not sewn a thing since then and virtually losing the desire; implying, I am indirectly wasting a viable skill. I thus decided to help others to appreciate that it is never too early to venture into business, and that it can be done alongside schooling. Seers Foundation, and my books (especially the one on ‘Wealth Creation’) are part of the effort.
The Fifth Major Event
If you haven’t guessed it, I was born to very religious parents and grew up in what you may call a typical ‘Christian home;’ morning devotions for the family, and participation in church services/activities were uncompromising part of the course of life. I accepted everything I was told about God, Jesus, prayer, etc. without question and read my Bible for added inspiration without questioning anything; but that was soon to change, however, for the better. It started with a book: ‘How to Get More from Your Bible;’ I got to know for the first time that the Bible was not originally in English, chapters and verses, etc; I began to gather that there was more to the Bible than ordinarily presented. I was compelled to buy both NIV and KJV versions of the ‘Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible,’ ‘The Complete Word Study Bibles; with the Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Concordance,’ and others for serious studies.
Then I noticed factual differences in the various translations/versions, and later plain contradictions.
My curiousity turned into extreme concern when I began to notice that a lot of the religious teachings by the ministers were (and still are) at variance with the text of the Bible, and either that Christians (especially the pastors/leaders) had primarily missed basic comprehension of the writings, and in some cases were propagating what they had heard but not verified; consequently and inadvertently, they were misleading their followers; or otherwise that, they were deliberately teaching portions of the Bible that favoured their economic/business interests, or otherwise just to console themselves and/or their followers. In some cases, they were deliberately twisting the facts to achieve selfish purposes, and preying on the fact that many of the religious people do not have the discipline to read and cross-check the facts for themselves (as the Berean believers talked about in Acts used to do) and/or on the fact that they lacked the courage to ask the relevant/critical questions.
I noticed that these were contributing to many individuals’ misery, and to the general underdevelopment (or the slow rate of development) of Ghana (and Africa). See, why is that a lot of the countries in Africa, including Ghana, are bedeviled with age old developmental problems; even though Africa is very rich in natural resources, and almost all the people are very religious and have been praying fervently and consistently; besides the Universities, Polytechnics, Training Colleges, and Technical Schools produce numerous intellectuals – Professors, Doctorate Holders, Masters Holders, Diploma Holders, and a whole lot of people with serious academic credentials; some from very reputable universities across the globe?
This influenced me to launch into intensive research to unearth the truth, and to propagate my objective findings with the view to inform and enlighten/enlighten many. The Zing4Life! Series, and especially, ‘What the Church Refuses to Teach About Christianity’ series, are part of the effort.
The Sixth Major Event
Soon after my university education I joined the Youth Fellowship in church and along the line got elected to lead the fellowship; I soon reckoned that I really needed to learn Leadership. So I headed to my favourite bookshop and got leadership books, and some general self-help books (like ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad,’ ‘See You at the Top,’ ‘An Enemy Called Average,’ Etc.) that caught my attention.
That was the beginning of an unforgettable experience; the more I read those self-help books, the more I realised how much useful information I had missed in my education; I even had to unlearn some things in order to relearn. Why hadn’t anybody drawn our attention to these while in school, and emphasised their equal importance as the mainstream courses we were being taught? Well, it was better late than never, so the book corners/sections became my favourite places in the supermarkets; I bought and read more than 100 self-help books (some of them I read over and over again) in addition to the Bible.
I got to understand what it meant to say that ‘Ignorance was a significant part of the problems of Africa,’ and that most people operate from a position of unconscious incompetence; they do not know ‘what they do not know’ so they are ineffective but unaware, and thus not interested in adding on general knowledge; especially the soft skills. I felt my greatest contribution towards the development of Ghana (and Africa) was to share my findings, and that gave rise to Seers Foundation, and my books, especially the Zing4Life! Series.
I’m inviting you to participate in my online book-launch…
Thanks in advance!