HOW TO GET A PAY RISE (7 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF)

HOW TO GET A PAY RISE (7 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF)

HOW TO GET A PAY RISE (7 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF)

With several thousand articles on pay rise, I am guessing you might be asking yourself what I have to offer that others haven’t said.  I guess the only thing I have to offer in a real sense of it , is experience of trying this out. In terms of value of this experience, I will let you be the judge of its value.

As some people that know me can testify, I am a big believer in experiential learning. In the past I had read way too many “personal narratives” of the way to success and I realised that while there are some similarities, there are many ways to the same goal. I am also a believer that people should not talk about something they either haven’t experienced in their lives as if they have or dish out directed advice (i.e if you do this, you will get this )

This brings me to the topic at hand, about 2 years back I decided to undertake a bit of a social/work place experiment on what I felt to be a very tricky issue.  As you have probably guessed from the name of this, I decided to try to get a pay raise. After all, what did I have to lose?

Now before I continue I would like to quickly put a disclaimer out. I am in no way saying that this is a guaranteed way to get a raise however this is what actually worked for me. Also as you will soon be able to tell, I am not a writer nor am I an aspiring one. I am simply someone with a story to tell. I also would never ever advice anyone to experience something in order to know if it was true in all circumstances and to discard written work (some of which is based on good research).  That is simply bad advice. My advice here applies mainly to me and my experience in seeking a raise.

Now, let’s go back to where I was. I have chosen the road of writing about the 7 most important questions that guided my “quest” for more money for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t think you will get much value in me talking specifically or in detail about what I did every day . Secondly, there is a good chance you  would get bored and scroll to the end if you are anything like my loving wife (see what I did there J ) so I will keep this short and reader friendly.  Thirdly, while this is from experience and at no point from beginning till the end did I refer, read, watch or listen to any other writing, articles, peers, videos or audio advice; I am not so brave or silly to not give this some thought before attempting to proceed.

To cut a long story short, while trying to get a pay rise these are the 7 main questions I asked myself and a brief outline of why.

1) Are you really worth more? (Honestly?)

 

Let’s be honest here, most people think they are worth more than they really are or worth less that they are.  It is very important to use your introspective skills (Introspection is the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings). Do a personal combined analysis of past achievements, professional accomplishments and development and your present value to the business compare it to similar businesses and similar jobs in those businesses (try to compare apples for apples if you can). It’s important in determining if this might not be the right time to ask for a raise. Your chances are quite slim or I dare say would be based on luck if this isn’t asked first.

 

2) Can you prove you are worth more?

While it is all well and good that you think, feel or even know something. In today’s world nothing means anything if you cannot “prove” it. Now I did not go creating a super power point presentation of why I was worth more but, a few things like feedback from colleagues (seniors and direct reports), past reviews, attendance history and lateness records would help a lot. What would help even more is if there is something to compare it to. Now, I must state at this point that I am in no way talking about showing how much better you are than specific colleagues as that would be very unprofessional. If you must compare, make sure it is generic data, such as average statistics for that department (present and future).Make sure it is relevant also.

3) Exactly how much more do you want?

Everyone would like a million pound pay rise. Yet there are very few occupations in the world where you could actually be asking for that and it would be realistic.  There is no point asking for something and not knowing exactly how much more you want. It is usually best to keep it in percentages (10%, 15%, 20%) etc.  Also ask yourself, Is it feasible or unrealistic for the company?  This for me tied directly with the questions of worth. For every business there is an expected return on every pound or dollar spent. You need to know if you can deliver this back.  It’s called human resources for a reason (hopefully that doesn’t sound too harsh). Do not be un-aware of it.  I was taken more seriously because I had an exact figure I wanted and why I wanted it.

4) Who should you be speaking to about more money?

Now this one is something I honestly did not know mattered at all. I always felt that if you wanted a pay rise you should simply speak to your manager. However, 8 out of 10 times, this is probably correct but in my case it really wasn’t.  Unfortunately sometimes your boss through no fault of theirs is more a figure head than anything else. Find out who determines the acceptance of your case and build the earlier steps again for that person also. You would still need to speak to your manager even if they aren’t the ones that determine if it is accepted or not but there is a good chance it could be more to inform them than anything else. It could be your bosses boss or even HR that determines this (though extremely rare for the latter)

5) What is the overall perception of you?

Now let me start by saying that there is a real difference between your real self (who you are) and your ideal self (who you aspire to be). Some people have managed to become who they aspire to be but for most of us, this is not the case. It is also important to note that just as a perceived grievance should be treated as a real one. It does not matter if who people think you are, is not really who you are. People would always treat you based on who they think you are. I guess a simple explanation is would you allow a perceived (not a convicted) serial killer into your home? Does it really matter that there is no proof to support your belief? Try to find out (using a soft approach) about who people really see you at work. You might need to fix an image problem before proceeding. Do not under estimate the power of the “right impression or perception”.   Are you seen as a model professional, lazy, difficult, a work complainer or untalented?

6) Are you ready to negotiate?

Let’s start with a quick reality check. You are in an office that only stays afloat and profitable by their ability to mitigate risk, manage costs and expenditure effectively and negotiate its existence amongst competitors and new entrants and now you are asking for more money to do the exact same job. You must be prepared to have a conversation or a few about your request. Do not expect to win or get what you wanted just because you asked. You are attempting to navigate the ever tricky waves of price versus value. You must treat this as such. Be prepared and in my case it ws very beneficial to ask for slightly more than what I would have been okay with.

7) Are you prepared to fail and try again?

No thanks is a very real possibility. Think of this like the first time you met a person you were interested in. Now unless, you think you are God’s gift to the dating world or have an over blown ego, there is a chance you knew you could get shut down. There is also a chance you knew you would have to reattempt the exact same thing again. The main difference between this  (looking for a raise) and that (dating) is If at first you don’t succeed, make sure you find out why. Dont just say “it’s okay, thanks for looking at my proposal”. If possible get a review date.

Now in my opinion, by combining this 7 things I managed to get almost 50% pay rise in 2 years (two different pay rises).

Be prepared and good luck with yours. Please feel free to let me know if this helped and better still if it worked for you.

GOD IT

GOD IT

Greetings. I want to share a very personal story with you all in the hopes that it will inspire you as much as the experience has for me.
I had just flown back to New York from England this past December, when I made a knee jerk decision to road trip it down to Florida to spend the holidays with my family. This would be the first time in God knows how many years that we would actually BE together FOR the holidays. I also really needed to be around my family as I was not in a good place, emotionally, and hadn’t been for quite some time. Now, those who know me, know me to be a very upbeat and fun person to be around, but I had begun to lose all of those qualities in what felt like record speed. Life was, kicking my ass so fierce and so fast, with one blow after another, than no sooner would I manage to pick myself up, I’d find myself right back down again. So much, (forgive me) S*** was happening in every aspect of my life that not only was I feeling it, I could almost SEE the “sedimentary” layers of it all around me as I was sinking deeper and deeper. This was, dare I say, The Perfect “Sh**” Storm and it showed no signs of letting up. I was PRAYING for a miracle, kids. Divine intervention. ANYTHING from anyWHERE or ONE to somehow show me that this storm WAS going to pass, and pass sooner than later.
January 1, 2015. I chose this symbolic 1st sunrise of the New Year to take a walk to the beach and have a word with God. I’m a huge believer in signs, having had so many wonderful experience with them over the years and on this morning, I DESPERATELY needed one. I was nearly broken, yet my Spirit was still having onto what was now the very tail and frayed bits of that “Hope Rope.” ( Oooh. Hope Rope.That’s a keeper. I like that one. Have I just coined that phrase? Sadly, I googled it and that would be a NOPE on the HOPE rope. Oh well. I’m still gonna use it. )
Anyway……I made my journey to the beach early that morning and I asked God. No wait. I didn’t ask. I PLEADED & INSISTED that He/She/It present a sign to me.TODAY. If anyone knew my pain and struggle, They did, and They knew what it was doing to me and had to know just how important this day was for me. Only a few days before, I drove to that very beach and sat it my car, feeling completely broken,lost,alone. All of the above and so much so, that I actually called a helpline…..and was put on hold. No BS. I can honestly say that at that moment of being put on hold, I shook my head and laughed. It was as if the Universe had given me that Cher slap in the movie, “Moonstruck”, telling me to “SNAP OUT OF IT!”
And so back to the morning of January 1. This was crunch time. I wanted a sign and I was DETERMINED. Now you would think that in my desperation, I would’ve taken anything that was possibly offered to me and be grateful , wouldn’t you? Not the case at all. I was very specific about my intentions. Like I said, it was crunch time and I knew exactly what I wanted as a sign.
No, I didn’t ask for buried treasures, although now that I think about it, I totally stopped the ball on that one. Damn!!! I asked for a shark’s tooth. That was what I wanted. I had spent an absolutely magical day with my Mom on the beach years ago and while we were walking, I had the sudden urge to say out loud, “I’m gonna find a shark’s tooth in the next 5 minutes!” Haven’t a clue why I said it and still don;t, but all that I know is that I found not one but 2 in those five minutes! And I vividly remember some guy walking by who said, “Looking for shark’s teeth? Good luck!” He about fell over when I showed him my finds!
I’ve been to many beaches since that day and was always hoping to find another and never did. Today HAD to be the day and I made my order quite clear. I wanted a tooth and not just any tooth. This particular one had to be bigger than the tow I already had. The color gray popped into my mind for whatever reason, so I insisted it had to have gray in it, as well. I also said ,(and by now, I was on a roll) that it had to be presented to me in such a way that I’d absolutely have no doubt from Whom/What it came from. I wanted a grand reveal. I wasn’t going to walk over it or pass it by. It was going to be there just as I had asked.
And so I set forth to find this tooth, talking to myself and God while sifting through shells, plants, as well as lazy people’s plastic garbage (WTF, peeps???!!! There are trash bins EVERYWHERE! Shame on you.), affirming to myself that I was going to find what I came here for. The more I looked, the more I felt in my heart of hearts that I WAS going to find it. I’m kept saying that I wasn’t leaving this beach until i did. I even went so far as to do my best DeNiro imitation from Cape Fear, saying, “Come out , come out, wherever you are.” No BS. I said it. Out Loud.
After 1/2 or so of crawling around on my now sand/shell/plastic-encrusted hands and knees in my search for that sign from above, I tool a bit of a break to realign my back and to feed the seabirds some popcorn I had brought for them. It was while I was feeding the birds that I made another declaration to God and I said, “You see me feeding these birds. When I am finished feeding them, You are going to show me what I came here for.” ( Again, No BS, folks. I am not embellishing this story one bit.)
The birds were fed. The food was gone. I then took about 6 or so random steps in the direction of the shoreline, and right there in front of me, with a natural rock seawall as a most fitting backdrop;surrounded by only freshly washed sand for at least a 2 yard radius (and this was a shelly/plant and plastic covered area of the beach) was a single shark’s tooth sticking out of the sand like a single birthday candle on a cake. It was and OMG moment and OH MY GOD was right. It was EXACTLY as I asked it to be. Bigger. Bit of gray. Presented in a grand manner and it really did take my breath away. I gasped. I laughed. I cried. All of the above.
I pulled that tooth (pun intended) out of the sand and held it up high and just kept saying , “Thank you. Thank you, GOD. Thank you so much, over and over for only They know how many times. I kissed the tooth and held it to my heart. I’m getting emotional at this moment just thinking it about again.

I could end the story right there, but just like those TV infomercials that say, “But Wait! There’s More!” And there really is more.
I had taken a photo of the tooth to send to a friend and wanted to show its size, so I grabbed something close by (in this case, it was quarter) and took the photo. It was only when I actually really looked at the photo, as I was making it my screensaver, that I saw something else that completely blew me away. Hand to heart, folks, this was a random placement of the quarter for size comparison only.
Check out the photo. See the tooth? pretty cool, eh? Now check out the quarter and see what it says…….

( I can resend the photo if you don’t already have it )

In God We Trust. And believe me, I DO.
That morning was a life saver and a game changer. It has changed everything for me and it has changed ME.
Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find it. Knock and it will be opened to you.
How strange that even the first letter of each of those phrases spell out A-S-K.
I asked. I sought. I found. I put every ounce of my being into my intentions and, by George (again pun intended to the man on the quarter, I GOD IT !
I wear my tooth proudly and close to my heart, as a reminder of a day that needs no reminding from me. I was there and it was one of the best days through the messed days……Again, I so God It and I wish these kind of moments for each and every one of you.
Thank you.

Story Of My (Love) Life

Story Of My (Love) Life

Skinny. Nerd. Wimp. You name an insult, I’ve probobly been called it. It doesn’t help your confidence when you have every reason to not be. But, as is in every man, the allure of love found me. So here I was, in fourth period math, thinking of  (let’s call her) grace. She wasn’t the prettiest of women, but I didn’t care . We had been freinds for some time, she was smart, funny, and, as Matt ruff once wrote, “when you see through love’s eyes, anyone can be perfect.” and so, there I was, daydreaming of spending the rest of my life with her. But there’s another thing wrong wih me: I have social anxiety. I wake up in the morning super pumped, and I walk up to her ready to ask her to date me, and then I run away like a coward. So one day I told myself “no more” and I decided that “hey, in fith grade, I had a girlfriend for a week, how much harder can it be?” And I was right. And I walked straight up to her, and I asked her the question. I can’t quite remember what i said, because right after I went into a frenzy of excitement, and from then on, I never doubted myself again. So every morning, take a look in the mirror, and say “hey, i am a human being. I know what I want, and the only person out there who can get me what I want is me, so I’m GOING, to live this day, as best as I can” once even a sliver of confidence finds its way into your head, anything is possible.


My New Old Story (A Love Song)

My New Old Story (A Love Song)

MY NEW OLD STORY by Dami O-Aliu (Second song attempt)

 

As I watched my lady sleep

I felt her pulse race

My heart skipped a bit

It’s an age old story

like beauty and the beast

An age old song

But never told like mine

No one can feel this

 

Chorus:

Give me your hand

I’ll give you my world

Show you everything

Stronger than the perfect storm

We’ll stand together

Burning through it all

Hotter than summer

Made to never weather

Built to last forever

 

Thoughts running everywhere

Much like my hands all over your body

You have never known passion like what I ve got now

Man reborn

Spirit rekindled

Teach you new things that would shock even me

From top to bottom

Feel every nerve

Even ones you dint know you had

Get all excited

Its a trusted hand

 

 

Chorus:

Give me your hand

I’ll give you my world

Show you everything

Stronger than the perfect storm

We’ll stand together

Burning through it all

Hotter than summer

Made to never weather

Built to last forever

 

 

Oh baby

Let me get your head right

Get things looking tight

Give you a new reason to brag

Show you what passion really means

Get you all excited

Seeing old things new

Feeling all things gone

Trust this kid

Never before

Trust this old new hand

Sing you my New Old story

 

Chorus X2:

Give me your hand

I’ll give you my world

Show you everything

Stronger than the perfect storm

We’ll stand together

Burning through it all

Hotter than summer

Made to never weather

Built to last forever

 

Oh baby, let me sing you my New Old story

 

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

 

NB: If you want to use the lyrics or sing the song. Feel free to leave a comment asking to.

 

Daddy’s dark smile  (Living a lie)

Daddy’s dark smile (Living a lie)

Daddy’s dark smile (song on living a lie, written at the request of Samuel Ishie)                         

Beautiful angel

Light of the world

I look in my daughters’ eye

Crying to daddy wondering if she will be alright

My little light

Today is here again

I cant hold this pain

Feels like I am in chains

If only you looked close you would see it in

 

Chorus X2

Daddy’s dark smile

Daddy’s dark mind

Where daddy stays a while

Where daddy cries a mile

Yet it’s hidden in

Daddy’s dark smile

 

Another day just like the day before

Need to be brave

Can’t let it make me a slave

I feel another closing door

Want to let it go

Can’t take it any more

I lay on the floor

Hoping maybe today I won’t feel so sore

I can’t think of me

My baby needs me

Cant let her see my weakness

Only let her see her uniqueness

Daddy must keep smiling

 

Chorus X2

Daddy’s dark smile

Daddy’s dark mind

Where daddy stays a while

Where daddy cries a mile

Yet it’s hidden in

Daddy’s dark smile

 

Baby come in

Hold daddy’s hand

Daddy will smile for both of us

Till you are ready to smile on your own

All my love I will throw

All my strength I will show

This can’t be the end

Something good, God shall send

All you have to do now is look at

 

Chorus X3

Daddy’s dark smile

Daddy’s dark mind

Where daddy stays a while

Where daddy cries a mile

Yet it’s hidden in

Daddy’s dark smile

 

NB: Not a true story but written as a challenge. Picture is Sacred Angel of Comfort by Terese Nielsen (Very good artists, check her work out).

ADAMS PRAYER TO GOD

ADAMS PRAYER TO GOD

Adams Prayer

This is the prayer I assume Adam (of Adam and Eve in the bible) would have prayed to God after he and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden.  It’s just a bit of rhyming for fun.

 

Dear God almighty

Last night I wore a nightie for the first time in my life

I feel a new pain like a knife to my heart

I want to blame the woman you gave me

But when she first came all i saw was art.

I never thought she would be the one to pull us apart

Ever forgiving king

I cling on hoping that one day you can take away this sting

Its spring now

The suns out today

but there is no sunshine in my day

I miss the days when all was nice and gay

Forgive my wife lord she was a victim and prey

We pray to you lord hoping there is a chance you will turn even for a quick glance

Please change your stance lord

Dont leave us to die by the sword

Revive us

Helps us thrive once more

Protect us as you once did

Just as a father would for his kid

We were your pride

You never left our side

Yet all we repaid you was shame to your name

Our days are now numbered

When we die maybe we might be remembered

But till that day lord even if you can’t forgive this one

For all you gave and what we have done

Forgive our sons and daughter now and forever more

Restore our generations

Build a new nation

With no more rations or conditions

If you ever loved us then honour our one last request.

That all the nations might look to you and be blessed

With this last request

We bow our heads

And honour the God Head

 

TO MY FAMILY (THANK YOU)

TO MY FAMILY (THANK YOU)

TO MY FAMILY (THANK YOU FOR BEING MY REASON TO SMILE)

 

Same day different thoughts

I sit hear remembering the first poem I ever wrote.

Oh those youthful days full of hope,

Full of love

Full of endless zeal

What has happened?

I am a shadow of my former self

Self confidence replaced with self pity

Zeal replaced with despair

It now feels wrong to hope

Feels false to grow

I want the old me back

I am losing myself one day at a time

Help me get it back

Losing track

Where has my smile gone?

Not the smile of “things could be worse” but that of “the world is my pedestal”.

Is this what growing up brings?

If this is it then I chose to not grow any longer.

I see my end now

When all I saw was my beginning.

I am giving all of me to everything yet still falling short

Caught in my own court room

Looking for a new bloom

My face like a costume

With a view to a future consumed.

I tell myself everyday

It doesn’t have to be this way

Hope never left

Smiles were always here

And when I start to doubt that which I should know

I hear my babies cry and I know

I look in their eyes and I feel

Only a fool cant see

In them I see my future

I see my past

I see my present

In my family I see myself as I once was

In them my heart truly beats for this world.

 

 

Can you die of a broken heart?

Can you die of a broken heart?

Can you die of a broken heart?

I guess it’s quite a deep topic. A few days ago I read the paper and saw an article about a woman that was married to her husband for over 70 years. He was her high school sweet heart and until the day he died they were un-separable. He was 93 years old when he died and then a few days later (3 days after) she also passed away.  As I read this article the inquisitive part of me came to life and I started to ask so many questions came to mind.

The first one was about their love. I looked at the 2012 statistics for England and wales and it showed

There were 13 divorces an hour in England and Wales in 2012
• Women were granted 65% of all divorces
• 9,703 men and 6,026 women aged over 60 got divorced
• One in seven divorces were granted as a result of adultery
• 719 (less than 1%) divorces were granted because of desertion
• The average age at divorce was 45 for men and 42 for women
• 9% of couples divorcing had both been divorced before
• 48% of couples divorcing had at least one child aged under 16 living with the family
• It is expected that 42% of marriages will end in divorce.

In the USA about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.

How did they manage this feat? How did they stay in love for so long? Did they worry about the same things our present generation do? Did they ever fall out of love and needed or worked on falling back into love? What about commitment? We know that love and commitment are not the same thing so how did they manage this? What was their story?

You see, I wondered these things because I was recently married. I loved my wife and we had been blessed with kids but both my wife and I were from broken homes. Both our parents were separated. In my case they were married for over 20 years before the separation. I was curious and afraid because I wondered if it could happen to me.  I just wanted to learn from their mistakes if possible and gain from the now deceased couples experience if applicable.

As I researched couples another question came into my mind and this question is the reason for me writing just now. It was a questioned that appealed to the hopeless romantic in me. Did she die because it was her time to go or did she die from a broken heart?

You see the thing is if it was a one off story then I guess it would be more likely she did for any number of reasons besides a broken heart.  Now let me ask you a question, Is this the first time you have ever heard or read such a story? Is this the first time you read a story about true love and the second half dying shortly after the first?

 

According to Dr. Holly S. Andersen, “The answer is yes. A traumatic breakup, an extreme argument or experiencing the death of a loved one can elicit the release of stress hormones that can trigger a heart attack in people prone to them, induce a life-threatening arrhythmia or cause a syndrome that mimics a heart attack in otherwise healthy hearts.”

Another notable quote is from Shauna Springer: “One hallmark of couples who have passed into the ‘soul mate’ phase of their marriage is that they continually bless and inspire others through the way they treat each other and those around them. Another hallmark is the ‘widower’ effect – when two people become one, it is often the case that the death of one is closely followed by the death of the other. This isn’t merely romantic nonsense propagated by Hollywood movie-makers – this actually happens with notable frequency for closely-bonded pairs.
Source: Shauna Springer, Ph.D. “Soul Mates Do Exist – Just not in the way we usually think…” PsychologyToday.com. 7/28/2012.

I am a big believer of research and in it comes as no great surprise that two people can form a bond so strong that when one dies the other could lose the will to live.

Separate studies involving thousands of couples in Scotland and Israel concluded that the risk of death among widows and widowers surges anywhere from 30 to 50 percent during the first six months after their beloveds pass [source:Dahlstrom]. After that initial period of bereavement, the statistical risk of death diminishes [source:Martikainen and Valkonen]. (See hyperlinks if you chose to read more)

One of the most prominent cases is that of Minnesota couple Clifford and Eva Vevea who were ‘hopelessly in love’ for 65 years of their marriage, died within hours of each other.

No matter what people say to you or tell you it is possible to die from a broken heart but that does not mean that you cannot chose to live.  A way to understand or think clearly is to ask one simple question. What would my other half have wanted from me? If they truly loved you (and I guess they probably did) then the answer would inevitably be that they wanted you to live. Another thing to bear in mind is that most studies looked at people aged over 50 years old so it is not clear if this applies to younger people. Now I have to take a stance at this point and be clear on the fact that I am not saying that it doesn’t apply to younger people. I m just saying that there aren’t enough studies to conclude that it does.

My post has to do with true love. Not someone leaving you, not the normal day to day part of dating but the real deal. The type people sometimes spend their entire life looking for.

I am writing this just in-case there is anyone out there that has just lost someone they loved, their soul-mate. I want you to know that what you feel is true, it real and it is possible to still live for those you have left. I do not write this because of experience but because in some cases just knowing that you are not insane helps. Cry out to the people around you because you can die of a broken heart.

 

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS POST.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “A GOOD PERSON” OR A “BAD PERSON”? THE PROBLEM WITH MORALITY.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “A GOOD PERSON” OR A “BAD PERSON”? THE PROBLEM WITH MORALITY.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “A GOOD PERSON” OR A “BAD PERSON”? THE PROBLEM WITH MORALITY.

“Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil”.

Marcus Aurelius

What is Morality? Why does this topic even matter? What’s so special about having a moral reference point?

Morality is from the Latin moralitas which means “manner, character, proper behavior”. It is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are “good” (or right) and those that are “bad” (or wrong).

I believe the issue of morality is very vital as man in general is born blank (i.e not racist, immoral and no idea of what good and bad consists of) and can be socialised into violence or a number of ideas. This obviously also raises questions on the right way to raise a child, the right process for rehabilitation for the criminally convicted and so many other questions. 

The problem with the question is in the definition. Who or what determines what is good or bad? Who says what is acceptable and what is not?  

It is no secret that morals can vary from person to person and culture to culture however many are practically universal, as they result from basic human emotions.

A few years ago I came across this problem in a public forum between Christians and Atheists. The topic that was raised was not necessarily one on morality but one on a divine deity and its responsibility towards the starving folks from third world countries.

 

Though my topic has nothing to do with my previous discussion, I feel it might be necessary to repost it for the sake of clarity.

The post read as follows:

I have read a number of views here from both Atheists and Believers especially with regards to starving children in Africa. 

First of all let me start by saying that I am African, born, bred and raised in Africa. When we speak about Africa and its problems you must understand that God has nothing to do with it. Africa is one of the richest places on earth. Our people believe that we did not develop so many things in the past because there was no need for it. as necessity is the mother of all inventions. Africa has an abundance of food and in cases where there isn’t there is the land which is rich and fertile, we have good weather so there is a lack of need for massive structures and prior to colonialism there was respect for animal life. We did not kill animals except for when it was needed. Africa in a lot of ways is the cradle of life for the world.

The problems in Africa are complex but I can assure you they were not caused by God. They were started by colonialism, extended by slave trade and have continued by racial discrimination. Every single one of these is caused by men such as myself. When Barack Obama became president it was a big deal that a black man was elected. This feeling was not developed by God it was done by people. African presidents who were taught corruption by colonial masters have for centuries plundered and stolen its resources for their own good and starved their own people.

 Africa is in trouble because of people and not because of God. God by nature has given us free will and as such will not deny us of the consequences of our choices. When a king/president rules with terror do the people not suffer? 


Look to yourselves and see if you ever learnt anything from the 1st or second world war. Millions of people died. Did God cause this? How about global warming, Did God cause climate shifts?

More important than blame what have you done about it? I can honestly say that in all my years in Africa I have never seen one so called NGO or charity asking for £3 a month to help children ever.

I am happy for the girl that got to go to Disney land but I also know that even in the bible God did not always come down from heaven himself to make a change in the life of his people. He sent someone to deliver them. Look at Moses, Nehemiah, David, Habakuk and Jesus (who walked as a man).

To my fellow Christians be careful not to miss what that really means and my fellow Atheist be careful when speaking about things you really do not understand but have only seen from the media. God has nothing to do with problems in Africa. Africa is damaged by people. To borrow from a saying “Guns dont kill people, people kill people.

When you refuse to feed others when you have enough, you have starved him (not God), When you refuse shelter to a friend, you have made him homeless (not God). God answers prayers through people in a lot of cases so do not say he doesn’t. I have so many testimonies to share but not enough time as I am only passing by.”

In retrospect the post read more like a vent than an educated ramble but it still raised the question of morality.  Who determines in your life or in the life of the people around you what is Good and what is Bad? Maybe if we can solve this we can solve the problem of human responsibility and maybe make the world just a little bit better.

Is morality determined by man (as an individual), society (collection of men), emotions or by a divine moral reference point.

Let’s examine the problems with the first one.

 Morality defined by man:

The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost”.

M. Scott Peck

 If the definition of what is right and wrong is determined or left to be determined by you or I then what we are essentially saying is that anything outside of myself cannot determine if what I have done is right or wrong.

I guess morality is a philosophical discussion more than it is a scientific one. If morality is defined by a man then ultimately does this mean that if that said man feels that it is morally right to beat a dog till almost death as a teaching then he is right? What does this bring?

In essence what we are really saying here is that if Thomas Smith decided that he wanted to beat his child as a sign of love (maybe in his own way he feels that if he corrects a mistake today it is unlikely to happen again tomorrow). Would you say Thomas Smith is morally a “good person”? After all Thomas Smith is doing this because he feels he is being good to the child.

What if it wasn’t so destructive in nature? What if all Thomas Smith believed was just as he was born without clothes, he feels he is right to walk around without clothes? As man ages so does his preference. A very powerful quote that explains this can be taken from a man called Paul who once persecuted and killed Christians but later became a Christian himself and suffered the same persecution he himself had met out to countless others.

Pauls famously explains the ever changing nature of man in 1st Corinthians 13:11 “ When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

 Also as important in morality as defined by man is the question of the Will of man. What happens to his Will?

Albert DeSalvo (A serial killer) famously said “It wasn’t as dark and scary as it sounds. I had a lot of fun…killing somebody’s a funny experience.”

The problem of morality as defined by man is even clearer in the case of Peter Sutcliffe where he also famously stated “The women I killed were filth-bastard prostitutes who were littering the streets. I was just cleaning up the place a bit.”

If he defines/determines morality and in his mind he was doing the world a favour; is he morally wrong? How about TV’s most beloved serial killer “Dexter Morgan”? What he morally right as he only killed serial killers?

 

Morality defined by society:

How about morality as defined by society? In order to even discuss this one must start with culture. In the simplest definition of culture, it is the way of life of the people.  Culture is man developed but more importantly collectively agreed. This means that just because Samantha jones likes to run around her neighbourhood naked, it does not make it the culture of that society. It must be done and agreed by the collective to be so. Culture in a lot of ways is similar to language. It is mans distinction from animals or the beasts of the fields. We (Man) have managed to create structure where it ordinarily won’t have been. This has sometimes been done for the survival of the species and other times for sexual satisfaction (not implying that these are the only two reasons).

Regardless of why a culture started, it brings in some really important questions to the table. A good way to explain this is to look at certain societies both past and present. The first that comes to mind is pre abolishment of slave trade. For the most part certain societies in the world (developed societies) believed that it was okay not just to own, rape, force labour but to kill at will as it was their “property”.

This was a society that did not even treat dogs that way at the time but seemed okay to do this with humans. Were the owners evil or was it society that defined it? Clearly it was society as now that the mentality of this has changed (even though racism still strongly exists) it appears that so also has society.

How about the Holocaust? Was that society or man? In modern times there is a society/village in Papua New Guinea that accepts cannibalism as a way of life. Are they “morally right”? After all it isn’t a crime to eat other humans there? Is the argument for morality as defined by society also based on location (we know cannibalism is not legal in the USA or UK)?

Also importantly is the fact that the only thing that is really constant in life is change and just as we all know now, Slave trade is no longer legal. Society has changed its mind on it, same as being gay. This means that society can also change its mind on other aspects. If Society changes its mind on its stance on Paedophilia, does this make it right?  Do you see the problem with morality when defined by society? Can we also customize/manipulate society through public propaganda so morality can also be changed (Just as with Slavery and Homosexuality)?

 

Morality defined by God (Spiritual Deity):

Let’s look at morality as defined by God/Spiritual Deity. The first and most obvious immediate problem with this is “Which God”? There are many extinct polytheistic religions that man never heard about simply because they died out before man invented written language.

In Hinduism alone, there may be as many as 330 million gods. Some religions worship a pantheon; some religions believe that there is a god in each of us or that we are all a part of a god. There are potentially billions of gods if you follow this system.

Even in religions that agree on a singular deity that deity still differs. It seems like the search for the one true God from an educative perspective will take more than a few hundred life times to know the truth and even then I think if viewed by the same rigidity required for scientific hypotheses to be determined a “fact”, mankind will still come up short.

Now lets see if possible to go away even for just a bit from that problem of

“What God first” and take the assumption that there is only one true God. Lets for the sake of conversation say that this is the God of Abraham/Ibrahim (please notice I did not say Christian or Muslim). I use the God of Abraham simply based on the fact that this is the only time that Christians and Muslims agree on deity and they represent the largest religious sect in the world.  Every thing after that simply becomes a disagreement. Unlike “morality as defined by man” and “morality as defined by society”, there is some hope here. First of all in order to be a God, God cannot change which means that his stance on good and evil can not be speculative. God is totalitarian (This is found in the definition of being a God), this means that he has a clear distinction on what is classified as good or evil and this combined with our previous point means that the reference point in theory will be eternal. He has no beginning and no end and is seen as the creator of mankind. This means that he is ageless and timeless.

Even with those being major positives it is also difficult to move away from the fact that God seems to exist through a spiritual consciousness (I am also not saying it is impossible that God is physical) but very often when people talk about hearing from God they are very often not speaking physically. This means that it is impossible to avoid the problem of “manipulation”. 

I can presently think of 9 examples when this has been a problem

1) Human sacrifices in Buddhist Burma (over 500 bodies found)

2) Members of lndia’s Thuggee sect killing over 20,000 people a year (estimated to have killed over 2 million people) to appease the goddess kali

3) The Mountain Meadows massacre by a group of Mormons and Paiute Indians (120 men, women and children).

4) The Medieval Inquisition is a series of Inquisitions (Roman Catholic Church bodies charged with suppressing heresy) from around 1184 which tortured and killed thousands (true amount uncertain).

5) The witch trial by Puritans that settled in Massachusetts in the 1600s (20 alleged witches were killed and over 150 others imprisoned).

6) Roman Persecution of Christians (Christians were rounded up and killed. Some were torn apart by dogs, others burnt alive as human torches. This lasted over 100 years). The death toll also in its thousands if not 100 thousands.

7) Aztec Human Sacrifice (over 20,000 sacrifices a year). The sun God needed daily sacrifices of blood. This also is estimated to be in its millions.

8) Islamic jihads (holy wars), mandated by the Koran, killed millions over 12 centuries.

9) Thousands of pagans murdered by self proclaimed Christians not including the crusades killing an estimated 1 million plus people.

A few famous quotes on good and evil when decided  by a spiritual deity include.

“God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.” 

― Albert Einstein

 “In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are.” 

― Robert Louis Stevenson

 

 Finally just before I end this introduction to this very controversial topic and give you a chance to share your thoughts. It seems like no matter what route you chose in defining morality or picking a moral reference point. There will always be the issue of manipulation.

Manipulation very often has a negative connotation to it and in fairness there are genuine reasons why this is the case. However, it is performed daily by almost every one of us and every sector. Think of your local McDonalds for just a second. Have you ever gone in and the music is slow paced just like your pricey restaurant? Even the music is designed or put to create an atmosphere of fast food. Lets take another look at the shelves in a shop. Do you think the ready made meals and the drinks are next to each other by chance? Think about your favourite political speech. Do you think it was not tailored or designed to elicit such a reaction from you? Think about a theatrical preview of a new movie. Is it designed to get you to watch it or not to?

Maybe all of this sounds sinister, Lets think about the first time you went after a person you liked (obviously I say this on the assumption you are a well balanced person). When you went on that first date? The clothes you picked or even dressing up for an interview. Were you seeking a particular response?

So can we say knowing fully well that we use it to survive and it is actually a vital requirement for successes in this present age that it is wrong to be manipulative?

They are all attempts to control the variables in our environment to suit a response in which we find favourable. It affects a person’s free will and choice and when people are really good at it we know them as social puppeteers. Prostitutes use this, politicians use this and religious leaders use this.

Or do we excuse ourselves as well that it is okay as long as we determine it to be  (morality as defined by man), maybe according to society (morality as defined by society) or maybe as long as my religion says its fine (Morality as defined by Spiritual deity).

 No matter which one of the three we (people) chose to live our life by, it is arguably more dangerous to not have a moral reference point so this remains a question that requires an answer. Maybe the answer is in the question, maybe its not. Maybe you know an answer. I sure would love to read your thoughts on it. So please share your thoughts, don’t just read and go. 

 

 

A long way to go home but he will hold us all

A long way to go home but he will hold us all

I spent a long time thinking about what to write here and I felt that it might be better to write from the heart based on exactly how I feel.

 

I don’t even know where to start in praising God for his favour in my life. It’s like every thing I touch and ruin, he blesses and every time I fail him he forgives.

 

In the last few weeks it can easily be said that I have learnt to fall and get up. To pray for forgiveness repeat a sin and still pray knowing that God is my every present help and if not for him I won’t be here. I have seen that I need to forget about all I have done and how every sin I commit nails him back to the cross and think about what he already achieved.

 

Please do not mis-understand this message. I do not claim to be a perfect man in Christ. On the contrary, I claim to be quite the opposite. It with intense humility and pain that I write and acknowledge that just like anyone that might feel that he has squandered his inheritance like the “prodigal son” in the parable of Christ. I too am an unworthy “co-heir” with Christ. My imperfectness still astonishes me. His capacity to forgive and set straight to crooked road is beyond my comprehension.Now I have only but a faint grasp of the song “What manner of man is Jesus”.

 

I have not failed by lack of desire in that I am truly successful but through lack of action I am but rags. If my desire made me righteous then I am rich but my actions lead me into wretched poverty. If you are reading this please understand that this note is not about me. It is not even about you and all you might or might not have done and whatever sorrow and deep gutter you might be in. Lift you eyes and see what I saw. It about a real experience with a God that never see’s you as less. It is about the favour and forgiveness that comes from knowing a “loving God” that never judges a repentant heart.

 

In all my transgressions, my father has never left my side. In all my failures he has never departed me and now I truly see that the love of God knows no bounds. His love puts me to a shame that makes sin even worse to accept and the guilt that follows indescribable. I have nothing of personal worth that I should boast of now. Not even a single thing that men think are worth anything yet through the love that God has shown for me I know that my steps have been covered before I can even conceptualise my journey.

 

I bring to you the only hope we have of a future and a present. The gift of Christ’s sacrifice for a person like me. A gift that “whosoever believes in him will have ever lasting life”. This is not a tale from a book written from generations ago. This is the very story of my life till this very day. A story of Gods undying love and compassion for a dying and unworthy son and just like David in the psalms I am in awe that such a God could be mindful of man. Who are we father that you would take notice?

 

I could sit here and try to awe you and excite you just like in a multi million dollar movie with stories of Gods goodness or I can hope that whoever reads this note knows that the writer speaks deeply from their heart about a love that can only be understood when felt.

 

I have made many mistakes in my life and because of the ragged body I will still wear till the day I meet the one I put all my hope in. I know I might still fall even again but the one thing I know can never be a mistake is accepting that I cannot save myself. Heaven knows I have tried in the past and failed every time without exception. I cannot be my own messiah for in the chains of this body sin lives and no matter what I do only God can bring me peace.

 

I thank everyone that has been with me through my somewhat boring journey of faith and would like to say that I am a life that was saved. God found me through you. One person in particular who has always kept me humble through it all and made the love of God real in their own very unusual but special way. May God bless you, keep you and give you all your hearts desire. May the spirit of the lord never depart you and bring you a future that shows how blessed he has made you. A life time is not enough to show how much it has meant and will always mean to me. Ten life times is not enough to show you just how much you have given for the lord. Even though you never knew you did.

Broken Hearted

Broken Hearted

Like shattered pieces of Porcelain

I picked up the fragments of my heart

Oh the feeling of love

Here today, gone the next

One taking you high enough to soar with the eagles

The other dragging you by your hair

Leaving you to be ridiculed by your emotions

Self-pity mocks me, sadness knows my soul

Loneliness knows me by name

Reaching deep into the very depths of my heart

Burning through my spirit

Like a wild fire feeding on the Village homes

Leaving me in a void of desperation

My shattered heart forced to heal

Hope whispered in the distance,

To recover my lost love.

But I know I must move on

Hold the pain and embrace as I do my own beating heart

Maybe then life might make a little more sense.

I will find a way

Indeed I will

Someway, somehow

 

 

AFRICAN PROVERBS

AFRICAN PROVERBS

WISDOM FROM ANCIENT AFRICA ( PRE COLONIALISM)

Wisdom from the Yoruba Kingdom translated into English.

 

 

  1. A great affair covers up a small matter.
  2. A man with a cough cannot conceal himself.
  3. The first morsel never complains of insufficient sauce.
  4. A proverb is the horse that can carry one swiftly to the discovery of ideas.
  5. A stammerer would eventually say father. After we fry the fat, we see what is left.
  6. Anyone who sees beauty and does not look at it will soon be poor.
  7. As long as there are lice in the seams of the garment there must be bloodstains on the fingernails.
  8. As there is guilt in innocence, there is innocence in guilt.
  9. Ashes always fly back in the face of him who throws them.
  10. Because friendship is pleasant, we partake of our friend’s entertainment; not because we have not enough to eat in our own house.
  11. Covetousness is the father of unfulfilled desires.
  12. Fear a silent man. He has lips like a drum For no man could be blessed without the acceptance of his own head.
  13. Gossips always suspect that others are talking about them.
  14. He who eats well speaks well or it is a question of insanity.
  15. He who throws a stone in the market will hit his relative.
  16. ‘I nearly killed the bird.’ No one can eat ‘nearly’ in a stew.
  17. If something that was going to cut off your head only knocked off your cap, you should be grateful.
  18. If we stand tall it is because we stand on the backs of those who came before us.
  19. If you damage the character of another, you damage your own.
  20. If you don’t sell your head, no one will buy it.
  21. It is a thief that can trace the footsteps of another thief on a rock.
  22. It takes a whole village to raise a child.
  23. Many words do not fill a basket.
  24. Medicine left in the bottle can’t help.
  25. No one can uproot the tree which God has planted.
  26. Nobody knows the mysteries which lie at the bottom of the ocean.
  27. One takes care of one’s own: when a bachelor roasts yam, he share’s it with his sheep.
  28. One who waits for chance may wait a year.
  29. Only what you have combated for will last.
  30. Patching makes a garment last long.
  31. Silence is an attribute of the dead; he who is alive speaks.
  32. Stretch your hands as far as they reach, grab all you can grab.
  33. The bell rings loudest in your own home.
  34. The butterfly that brushes against thorns will tear its wings.
  35. The hand of the child cannot reach the shelf, nor the hand of the adult get through the neck of the gourd.
  36. The man who has bread to eat does not appreciate the severity of a famine.
  37. The person who forgives gains a victory in the dispute.
  38. The person who has been a slave from birth does not value rebellion.
  39. The pot-lid is always badly off: the pot gets all the sweet, the lid nothing but steam.
  40. The young cannot teach tradition to the old. The young cock crows as he hears the old one.
  41. Those who die through ignorance are many; those who die because they are intelligent are few.
  42. Truth came to market but could not be sold; however, we buy lies with ready cash.
  43. We must blame the thief first before we say that where the owner put her property improper.
  44. What you give you get, ten times over.
  45. When hunger gets inside you, nothing else can.
  46. When the door is closed, you must learn to slide across the crack of the sill.
  47. When the rain falls in the valley, the hill gets angry.
  48. When the white man is about to leave a garden for good, he wrecks it.
  49. When wood breaks it can be repaired, but ivory breaks forever.
  50. When you stand with the blessings of your mother and God, it matters not who stands against you.
  51. When your neighbor’s horse falls into a pit, you should not rejoice at it, for your own child may fall into it too.
  52. Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth.
  53. Words are like spears: Once they leave your lips they can never come back.
  54. Work is the medicine for poverty.
  55. You cannot shave a man’s head in his absence.
  56. You can’t stop a pig from wallowing in the mud.
  57. You must be willing to die in order to live.
  58. Work is the medicine for poverty. (YES THIS IS REPEATED TWICE BECAUSE OF HOW IMPORTANT IT IS)

 

 

NOW SHARE WITH THE WORLD.

 

FROM TOBACCO FARMER TO PREACHER (A MUST HEAR TRUE STORY) BY PETER PRETORIUS

FROM TOBACCO FARMER TO PREACHER (A MUST HEAR TRUE STORY) BY PETER PRETORIUS

japanese-angel-tattoo

In this message Peter Pretorius describes his life story how having being a tobacco farmer and formula one driver his life was remarkably changed. Peter and his wife Ann literally left everything to pursue the call that God had for their lives. They also head up an aid organisation based in Africa where they feed, clothe and educate over 1 million children a day. Peter and Ann spearhead evangelistic crusades across the continent of Africa. 

 

LISTEN TO A VERY POWERFUL TRUE STORY OF HOW A TOBACCO FARMER (ATHEIST) WENT ON TO SAVE AND FEED OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE.

 

NB: This message was originally recorded in Destiny Church Edinburgh on the 12 Sep 2006 and all copyrights belong to them and the speaker.

CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON ABOVE TO LISTEN.