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‘Mind, mindset and state of mind’

By Babatunde Raji Fashola
07 December 2022   |   3:41 am
This is the subject I have chosen to speak to you all about: Your mind, your mindset and your state of mind. By this I refer to your capacity for awareness; your established set of attitudes, and your cognitive processes.

Fashola. Photo/FACEBOOK/FemiAdeshina

This is the subject I have chosen to speak to you all about: Your mind, your mindset and your state of mind. By this I refer to your capacity for awareness; your established set of attitudes, and your cognitive processes.

Let me start by making some disclosures to you. All my education was in Nigeria, I have seen a difficult and not so difficult Nigeria. In all of it, my belief in this country and its promise has never changed. Nigeria remains for me a home, a place to treasure, to nurture and to protect.

My state of mind is not to take flight to another man’s land and from there pour scorn and hate on the place of my birth. My state of mind tells me to offer my skills and deploy my energies towards improving the place I call home.

My mindset is such that, I believe that my contributions can improve something even if it does not improve everything. My mindset tells me that greatness is not an event, it is a process to which we all have contributions to make.

I have often marvelled at the mindset of those who take flight and when they fall upon difficult times then reach back to the place they deserted in search of relief, help or succour. 

Please do not misunderstand me, they deserve every help we can offer, but what I marvel at is the mindset that seeks help from the place they deserted.

My message to you is to invite you to focus your minds, develop a mindset and maintain a state of mind that in every aspect of life that you believe Nigeria can do better, and that there are inherent opportunities to surpass any challenges that you may see.

This is a mindset of positivity, a state of mind that is hopeful and a mind that refuses to surrender to negativity. Talk is certainly cheap. The easiest thing to do is to identify what does not work, and as one person famously said: “the job looks easy when you’re not the one doing it”.

However, talk does not fix broken things; it is a mindset of responsibility to change things, that make things better. A mindset of self-pity is something you must turn your back on and take responsibility for the kind of Nigeria you wish for.

At a press conference given after a football match, a coach was asked why his team lost. His response was that they did not lose; on the contrary, he said his team ran out of time.

This is a mindset of positivity ingrained in their people and their sportsmen that nobody is better than them. It is one that I commend to you all, because it is true. Nobody is better than any of you.

The only thing that can limit you is your mind, your mindset, and your state of mind. Are you ready to settle for less when you can have more?

Are you ready to manage bad services when you can insist the quality should be improved?
There are a legion of examples, that have held back our people from generation to generation, please do not subscribe to them. An example is the one that blames our situation and developmental status on colonialism; the amalgamation of Nigeria by Lord Lugard and so on and so forth, 62 years after. Please quote me that I said that it is not the fact of colonialism that has held us back; rather it is our mindset.

I see it in the most basic of things, such as when we want to register businesses, they must bear foreign names for us to feel good. It is the mindset that we must change.

I see that we have now appropriated a foreign culture called Black Friday. And we are now verbally heating ourselves up about whether sales were as much as most of other lands.

I think that the question we must ask is what Black Friday has to do with us, when we do not celebrate Thanksgiving.
Yes, we shop for Christmas in Ikeja, Dawanu, Wuse, Oyingbo, Uselu and other markets but not in the Black Friday way.

The use of our local names projects our identity and preserves our culture from generation to generation. The names of our villages, cities and our individual names are as good as any name from anywhere.

You do not need anybody to validate you. You are an original. Please tell the apologists of colonial heritage that the USA, UAE and China were once colonies that have become either better or as competitive as those who colonised them.

It is a positive mindset that enables you to understand that those who colonized you are approaching the peak of their development while ours is still fledging.

We have much more scope for development, the opportunity to leapfrog and the limitless capacity to be better. The future should not therefore be defined or held back by the past. 

Our minds, your minds, our mindset, your mindset and our state of mind, and your state of mind are the unshakeable pillars upon which that future will be built.

Think of it this way; the world listens to our music, watches our movies, uses our sportsmen and women, recruits our personnel across many fields of human endeavour and eats our food.

Clearly my mind tells me that there is inherent value and goodness in all of these contrary to the view that our continent is the dark continent.

I have no doubt that the world will drive our cars, use our laptops, telephones, airplanes, and much more, when we decide to make them.
To all our dear graduates, I offer commendation once again for what you have achieved here, but please remember that you have NOT finished.

Indeed, you are just about to start. As you do so, I urge you to be ambitious and audacious, nothing can limit you, except your mind, your mindset and your state of mind. 

Unshackle your minds and reach for the stars and beyond.
Congratulations.
• Being the text of a lecture delivered by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), CON at the 11th convocation ceremony of the Veritas University, Abuja, recently.

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