Self-help or motivational blogs get a bad rap in Nigeria.
There are memes all over the internet mocking Nigerians who try to encourage others to self-improve.
I get why. Many motivational speakers are straight up dubious.
Motivational speakers have been caught not practicing what they preach.
Many of them have shared lies to get people to buy their books, visit their websites, and register for their courses.
But motivation isn’t utterly useless. In fact, we have more to gain than lose from listening to self-help experts (genuine, self-help experts!)
For example, my vice chancellor, Ikenna Onyido, back in university once told us his story…
Raised by a bicycle repairer in Anambra, the young Ikenna and his brother Ben had no means to pay their way through school. Their father couldn’t afford school fees as the income from his bicycle repair shop wasn’t even enough to feed the family.
But the boys will find a way to get an education. They studied hard to make excellent grades so they could get scholarships.
Ikenna Onyido will go on to make a first class and go abroad for his PhD. Then return to Nigeria to hold many academic positions.
His younger brother, Ben Chu Onyido, will go on to work at Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), rising to the position of Director of Currency Operations.
Before he ended his story that day, he told all of us in the audience to pull out any naira note we had in our pockets.
When we did, he told us to check the signature under ‘Director of Currency Operations’. Right there we saw Ben Chu Onyido, his younger brother.
Till this day, that brief story inspires me to keep striving, to keep pushing…
That’s how powerful motivation can be.
Don’t let your experience with fraudsters masquerading as motivational speakers make you detest every self-help expert.
There are still genuine self-help experts out there, and most of them share rare wisdom through their blogs.
5 Self-help or Motivational Blogs
Have you started an online course and couldn’t finish? Tried to quit drinking or smoking but couldn’t stick to it? Have you tried to save money but failed?
You’re not alone. Millions of Nigerians can’t stick to good habits. And that’s part of why we have a broken society.
Choosing to stand out by building good habits is hard. Especially when you try to do this alone.
James Clear writes about breaking bad habits and building good habits and sticking to good habits.
His first and most popular book Atomic Habits has sold over 4 million copies, helping millions of struggling people build good habits.
Reading James Clear’s work will help you start building great habits today…
Start here : The Habits Guide: How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
Buy the book: Atomic habits by James Clear
2) Farnam Street
Do you have a process for making decisions? When faced with two roads, A and B, how do you decide to take road A instead of road B?
Making good decisions is often the difference between a success and a failure.
For example, I read a story some time ago about two children raised by a professor in the US. One of them goes on to become a professor later in life. The other one ends up as an office cleaner.
The one who became a professor simply made a conscious decision to study hard, get good grades, and to pursue a decent career path. The other one who became a cleaner chose immediate gratification, partying and doing drugs.
You can make instant changes in your current situation by making better decisions today.
Started by Shane Parrish to document what he was learning during his MBA, Farnam Street is a place where thinkers hang out. This is not surprising because to make good decisions, you need to have original thoughts.
From Wall Street bankers and investors to startup founders, Farnam Street is the place to be if you want to make better decisions, leveraging what other people have already mastered.
Have you ever sat in a room and wondered “what really matters in life?”
Should I choose a career for the money, for the passion, for the prestige? What should I look for when searching for a partner?
These questions look pretty easy on the surface.
But once you dive deep into them, you realize how hard they really are.
Tim Urban and Andrew Finn shares mental models that can help you approach these questions.
Start here: How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)
Warning: waitbutwhy is a long form blog. You should read only when you can have hours dedicated to reading. It’s worth every bit of time, though.
Ever wondered what you should be working on? Are you going to start a startup? Or are you going to work at a day job?
These are really probing questions. If you don’t ponder them deeply, you could make the mistake of joining the bandwagon. Then live in regret forever.
Paul tries to show you how to think about these probing questions (from first principles!).
In case you don’t know, Paul is the co-founder of Y Combinator – a startup incubator that funds and guides new startups.
Paul writes thought-provoking essays that can help you think for yourself.
Essays that can help you decide if you should become an entrepreneur or work at a job.
Paul’s Best Essay: How to Think for Yourself
Struggling with depression? When you have a presentation to make or an interview to attend, do you feel anxious? Are you finding it hard to stay motivated?
The daily stoic helps you live an all-round happier and better life.
Run by Ryan Holiday (writer of great books like The Obstacle is the Way and Fear is the Enemy), the daily stoic helps you get a grip on your life so you can create your best self.
Start here: The Daily Stoic
These are my thoughts on self-help blogs that can help any Nigerian self-improve.
If you find the content on any of the blogs useful, let me know in the comments…