5 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A KNOW-IT-ALL ON YOUR TEAM!

Know-it-all

Know-it-alls can be annoying and extremely difficult to get along with; trust me, I know quite a few know-it-alls and I may or may not be one. However, they are extremely useful assets in life and in business. Rather than trying to stifle their exuberance, you can re-channel their focus and put them to good use. Here are 5 simple ways that know-it-alls can be of benefit:

THEY MAKE GREAT RESEARCH ASSISTANTS:

In general, they tend to obsess over topics and dutifully go over mundane details in order to be well informed. So use them to do research on a topic or subject you may be interested in and then give them a platform to broadcast their knowledge. They will love having an audience and your team will only benefit from their research. As I always say, know-it-alls make great learn-it-alls.

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THEY ARE GOOD AT PUBLIC SPEAKING:

If you need someone to help you build your public speaking skills, study the way know-it-alls handle an audience. They tend to be undisturbed by the size of the crowd or the group. In general, they are good orators and because they are sometimes outrageous in their claims they have a good handle on how to deal with an unengaged and sometimes a hostile audience.

USE THEM TO INTRODUCE DIFFICULT OR TOUCHY SUBJECTS:

Know-it-alls tend to be unperturbed by negative reactions from their audience. As such they are well equipped to broach touchy subjects or topics. They will appreciate and revel in the fact that they have some exclusivity and will gladly introduce touch subjects on your behalf. By the time they are done with their segments, your group will be ready for questions and you can answer questions and redirect the group’s energy. By the time the know-it-all is done with the group, they will be so happy to hear from you. Caution: this usually works better in group settings and not so well in one-on-one conversations since know-it-alls can be overwhelming in private settings. 

THEY ARE GREAT TEAM CHEERLEADERS:

Let’s be honest, know-it-alls can be annoying but once they decide to be on your team, they will sing your praises like a songbird. The fact that they are so emphatic in their beliefs, means they are extremely useful for boosting team moral.

THEY ARE AWESOME FRIENDS:

Know-it-alls tend to be extremely loyal which may seem a little counter-intuitive but trust me, you want them as your friend. They will silence your doubts and speak to your strengths like no one. Once they are on team YOU, it is extremely hard for them to switch teams. They reason being, they tend to over-analyze everything and they spend a lot of time researching the benefits of a friendship with you. Once they make the decision to be your friend, they will stick around no matter how long it takes to get a return on their investment. After all, they are so used to going against the grain that they will not falter when everyone else does.

Merriam-Webster defines a know-it-all as one who claims to know everything. 

Grace Favor & Faith definition: One who loves to know everything and is willing to put in the work. 

Learn it all

Disclaimer: Of course this is only my opinion which is extremely biased. I may be a little know-it-all… okay who am I kidding? I am a full fledged know-it-all. However, growing up with 7 headstrong siblings gave me a unique perspective on interpersonal relationships.

Definition of a know it all

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Planning

Let’s just be honest, planning is boring, tedious, time consuming and just not sexy. It takes insight and foresight to plan. You must take into account strength and weaknesses, timing, age, background, education etc, etc. As you get more and more adept at writing plans, you will quickly become acquainted with the economic term “opportunity cost”. Opportunity cost has been described by economists as “the basic relationship between scarcity and choice”. This principle hones on the concept that the true cost of a good is not what you pay for it but rather it is what you had to forego in order to get that particular good. Here is an illustration from http://www.theeconomist.com; going for a walk may appear to cost nothing, until you consider the opportunity forgone to use that time earning money. The fundamental problem that economics addresses is how to meet unlimited wants with limited resources. Opportunity cost therefore is an important tenet in answering that question because it probes us to ensure that resources are indeed being used efficiently.

Lets apply this principle to out personal lives, we all have unlimited wants (aka dreams) but we have limited resources such as time, money, intelligence, patience, support etc. Planning allows you to more accurately evaluate the cost of a decision. I remember one of my mentees and she was definitely a procrastinator. She had been taking nursing prerequisite courses for over 3 years and as I listened to her talk on and on about the challenges of taking more than 2 classes a semester and being fixated on getting into a prestigious program which had rejected her multiple times before. I finally got fed up and told her, “I appreciate your perseverance, but just remember that for every year you decide to delay, you are losing on average about $100,000 a year from future earnings”. The true cost of the decision to delay is not just another year, it is the loss of a potential $100,000 in income. It is the time you will lose by having to delay retirement in the future. It is the time you will lose with your family in the future. It is also a loss of the compound interest you will have gotten from savings. Within a year, my mentee got into a nursing program. Not necessarily the program of her choice but definitely got good training and now she works a nurse in her field of choice.

In conclusion, I urge you therefore to view planning as a GPS system. It calculates the time (true cost) of reaching your particular destination (your dream) by taking into account multiple variables such as distance, time of day, traffic, roadblocks, setbacks, accidents, other drivers on the road with you, the topography, the seasons of the year etc. Let’s not be arrogant enough to think that we can free style or way through life. If God himself makes plans, how can we be exempt? I leave you with a quote by William Gibson from The Economist.

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TRANSLATION

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Languages are a beautiful thing. I have always been  intrigued by languages and the cultures they unfold. I was so passionate about languages that at age 18 I set a goal to be fluent in 5 languages by age 25. Well… things did not go according to plan. I just turned 33 and I am only fluent in 2 languages (English and French). I can barely understand 3rd grade Spanish with a few scattered medical terms. I have a vocabulary of 50 Italian words and I definitely am not fluent in Arabic which was also one of the languages I had planned to learn. I was feeling pretty sad about not meeting my language goals until I remembered that I spoke Pidgin and Franc-Anglais really fluently  bringing my grand total to a whopping 4!

However, I remembered my upbringing and I could hear my teachers from the British system of education say, “Pidgin is not a language, it is a dialect”. At that point I started researching the differences between a language and a dialect.

Oxford dictionary defines a LANGUAGE as:

The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. A system of communication used by a particular country or community.

Whereas a DIALECT is defined as:

A particular form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group.

It seems in the colonial era, the ‘powers that be’ decided that the countries being annexed were not “civilized” enough to have a language system and therefore these languages were dubbed “dialects” and this erroneous label has been wrongly promulgated though the years.

What most people don’t know is Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian were once considered dialects of Latin.

Meet Durante degli Alighieri also known as Dante

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He was a major Italian poet who was very controversial because he decided to publish his works in Italian which was a language mostly spoken by commoners. During Dante’s era, most literary works were written in Latin which was accessible to only educated audiences. Dante defended the use of modern day vernacular in literature thereby setting a precedent that other writers soon followed. As such, Dante has been credited in playing a critical role in establishing the national language of Italy.

Now let’s focus on one of my favorite languages, Pidgin which comes second only to Franc-Anglais. PIDGIN is the lingua franca for English speaking West African countries. Check out this recent article by BBC who started an initiate to create a service in Pidgin. They are just now recognizing what we have always known, pidgin is an awesome LANGUAGE!!! It is estimated that over 200 million speak Western African Pidgin English between (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia.

Learning about this Dante and his controversial  prompted me to start a project that I had been putting off months. I have always wanted to translate classic text in literature and science into Pidgin. Imagine listening to the “To be or not to be” speech in Pidgin. I can only imagine it sounding like an Osuofia scene by Nkem Owoh (for those of you not familiar with the name, this is a Nollywood actor). If I could describe Pidgin in one word, I would call it “juicy”. It rolls off the tongue with such ease that once you learn it, you cannot unlearn it.

My goal is to create a body of work that can be of value to some groups that may be marginalized because they may not understand English or French well enough to understand the text to its full extent. I am very excited to start this project and here is list of potential works to be translated into pidgin.

  • The old man and the medal – Ferdinand Oyono
  • Dedication – Wole Soyinka
  • Okwonko’s speech (Things fall apart) – Chinua Achebe
  • To be or not to be (Hamlet) – Shakespeare
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion – Sir Isaac Newton
  •  Marc Antony’s soliloquy (Julius Caesar) – Shakespeare
  • The Raven – Edgar Allen Poe  etc, etc, etc….

I am open to suggestions for new works. I am excited to get started. Of course I am open to submissions of original works in pidgin as a guest author.

I leave you with a quote by Robert Frost: “Poetry is what gets lost in translation”

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FWP #1: I can’t find a good dog walker!!!

first-world-problems

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Okay dog walking is a booming business in the First World apparently some people value it so much they spend a fortune trying to provide care for their dogs. Check out this article about a doctor who quit her job to become a dog sitter. I just wish she could have made the decision a decade sooner so that one of the hundreds of students rejected from the medical school admission service could have had her position and would be contributing to help alleviate the physician shortage in the US.

In contrast, one of the most prominent problems in developing countries is Malaria. Malaria has had a cure for decades but still it affects an estimated 300-600 million people each year. It is the largest killer of children killing one child every 30 seconds, about 3000 children every day.

malaria-kills

Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly children under five years of age, with 90 per cent of malaria cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. In summary, developing countries have 99 problems and a dog walker is not one of them.

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So where do we go from here?  Thoughts anyone? Now is not a time to tremble in the face of adversity, it is the time to get your voices heard.

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Never UNDERESTIMATE a Lion; an Indomitable Lion nonetheless

afcon

Today  the Cameroonian soccer team shocked the world and Africa in particular by winning the African Cup of Nations 2017. This is the first time in 15 years that Cameroon has won the AFCON. The last time being in 2002 with the likes of Patrick Mboma and Samuel Eto’o Fils. 

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The most surprising thing to recognize about this team is, they are not the lead team for Cameroon rather they are a substitute team who were asked to play when most of the lead players for Cameroon refused to come represent their country. They shocked the African public by qualifying for the semi-finals and then proceeded to give the Ghanaian Black Stars a thrashing during the semi-finals game in a 2-0 win.

Of note, Cameroon has faced  Egypt 3 other times in the Finals of the AFCON but never succeeded in defeating the Pharaohs of Egypt. Cameroon’s lackluster performances in the past 7 AFCON competitions has led most of Africa to believe that the Indomitable Lion was dead but as they say in Cameroon; “Ont ne fait pas les grimaces devant un vieux lion” loosely translated “No gesticulations in front of an old lion”.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon roared valiantly and defeated the Pharaohs of Egypt in a 2 – 1  win with goals by Nikolas N’Koulou and Vincent Aboubakar. Aboubakar  scored his 15th goal with the national team and soared Cameroon to victory with arguably the best goal of the tournament. In Cameroon we say “Impossible n’est pas Camerounais” (Nothing is impossible for a Cameroonian) but I like to say “With God nothing is impossible”. Thank you God for blessing Cameroon with a victory after 15 years. This will be the fifth AFCON cup for Cameroon making them second only to Egypt as having won the most cups in the history of the competition (Egypt has seven cups).

Most Cameroonians are celebrating with the Cameroonian anthem for the African Cup of Nations which is a song by the artist Reniss titled “Dans la sauce” which literally means “In the stew”. For Cameroonians today, the Egyptian football team is all part of the stew being served in Yaounde for the victory. Even Egyptians were chanting “l’Egypte est dans la sauce” as they left the stadium.

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It goes without saying that the most underestimated team in the history of Cameroonian football has proved everyone wrong today. I leave you with a lesson I learned a long time ago which is to appreciate the gift of underestimation.

underestimation

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UNDERESTIMATED

I used to be irritated when people underestimated my talents. Often times I would be fuming in frustration when decisions were made against my recommendations. I have grown to appreciate being underestimated because it enables me to strategize covertly. Now, I just make my plans taking into account the fact that I will be underestimated then laugh all the way to the finish line.

It’s important to never underestimate a problem, a person, or situation but the most important thing to remember is to never underestimate your talents as you hone your craft. You must recognize that the one thing you can control when facing a problem or an opponent is your reaction to the said problem or opponent.

As I often say, “I refuse to be marginalized, stigmatized, terrorized or tolerated but thank you for underestimating me”. I know it can be annoying sometimes but I urge you keep a poker face when people clearly underestimate you. At the end of the day, being underestimated is the best gift your haters could ever give you.

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I leave you with a quote from Hale Irwin: “I never underestimate my opponent but I never underestimate my talent”.

I know we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

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Jealousy vs Envy

I have always been fascinated by these two words; by their meanings, their differences and similarities, by their use and misuse and most importantly by the fact that they are used interchangeably when they should not.

Jealousy is a complex emotion marked by insecurity and the fear of losing something or someone that we value greatly.  Jealousy encompasses several emotions including; abandonment, anger, humiliation and shame. It has been defined as being fiercely protective or vigilant of your rights or possessions.

Envy on the other hand is wanting or desiring something or someone that belongs to another person. One dictionary defines Envy as a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions or qualities.

envy

Neel Burton, MD in Psychology Today makes the following statement ” Envy is the pain caused by the desire for the advantages of others while Jealousy is the pain caused by the fear of losing our advantages to others.”

I always found it interesting that God uses “Jealous” to define his character:

Exodus 34: 14 (NLT): You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is JEALOUS, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

Envy somehow makes the list of the “Seven deadly sins” which is a whole separate topic beyond the scope of this post.

In the privacy of your own meditations, I hope you get a chance to examine your life to see how jealousy or envy may be affecting your outlook. I would like to invite you to consider that there are sometimes in life when we should be jealous but envy on the other hand is an emotion I would rather not experience. One of my goals this year is to build successful relationships and I wish you the best with your relationships this year.

I know we are all overworked, over exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

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I leave you with a quote by  H. G. Wells: “Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.”

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