Success and Motivation

There are many definitions of success, but I like this one that says that success can be defined as impacting the world with the investments of your personality. This means you must invest in your personality and with that investment; you will be able to impact the world around you. When it comes to investing in yourself, you must determine what type of information you put into yourself; be it through the materials you read and or through the people you listen to. Why? Because it is important to choose what you feed your mind because that will affect who you will become eventually. Who do you want to be like? What kind of impact do you want to make? Understanding the answers to these questions can immediately help you to streamline the type of information that you allow yourself to imbibe.

Section 4 on the YRLP application form poses a question about role models because we want young ladies to identify those individuals who inspire them in one way or the other through their works and achievements so that you can aspire to become successful in your life. A key step in developing yourself is to identify the characteristics you appreciate in your role model/s and find out more about their life journey so that you can learn from their mistakes and success, and then take the necessary action to meet your life goals. For example, if you are a young girl who wants to pursue a career in Engineering, it would be useful to use your network, including that of your parents and friends to identify females in the engineering industry, to observe what they have done and are doing, and learn from them. You could also read articles written by these women, study their work or find a way to reach out to them under parental supervision (for children in secondary school) to get some guidance.

Everyone says that the youth are the hope of the future; rightly said but you should also narrow it down to yourself: I am the hope of the future. Then you begin to ask the right questions; if truly I am the hope of the future, then what actions do I need to take now that I am young to build towards my desired future. As you ask yourself this vital question, remember that people who have invested in developing themselves in the past are now inspiring others and motivating them through that investment. The key message here is to take time to think about the investments that you can make into developing your personality and take action now.

Refuse to listen to the voices of doubts and determine to make a success out of your life. Become inspired and motivated by the success of others. Be hopeful about the future and never be afraid.

Written by Chidinma Ozulumba

Yellow Rose Ambassador

BE PREPARED


Hey Yellow Rose, I know that sometimes you may feel overwhelmed by the demands of education, society or just by life in general. This is why I want to have a little talk with you to prepare you for what is ahead. Life is in phases and we will experience good, bad, ugly, joyful and sad moments but do you realise that only you can determine how these moments actually impact you?

With every situation there are two options; you could learn lessons from experiences and take action or you could just brood over them and do nothing? which option will you choose? Like you, I too have had my moments, many of them bad and ugly, but you know what? I chose to learn from them and I am stronger because of it. I want you to know that you are in control and you do have a choice! If you are the kind of girl that I hope that you are – a girl who wants to be confident and successful, so she can achieve all her life goals, here are some tips to help you navigate through the difficult moments and come out on top:

  1. Never let the negative opinions of others determine your achievement because if you allow their opinions get to you, it would only slow down your journey.
  2. Believe in your abilities because you’re the number one person that can cheer yourself on when the going gets tough. Some people would definitely also believe in your abilities but if you yourself don’t see or believe in those abilities, their encouragement might seem like nothing to you so BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!!!
  3. Disappointments happen, that’s just part of the process. What you shouldn’t let disappointments do to you is to make you give up. That isn’t an option for a successful person.
  4. Hold that chin up and keep the fire burning because just like the fragrance of the rose stays in the hand of who gives it out, so do the choices that you make impact on your confidence and belief in yourself over time.

Now take those big lemons and make them up into a nice tall glass of cool lemonade and drink up.

Cheers!

Confidence and the girl child

Confidence is so important in our world while we go about making everyday decisions that play a vital role in how our lives will turn out in future. The confidence to take on new opportunities and challenges, the confidence to push back on what is wrong and to speak out on what is right, the confidence to stand for who we are and what we are, the confidence to pursue our dreams, the confidence to just be. For young girls, the confidence to speak up in class, to challenge attention from sexual predators, to say ‘No’ to peer pressure, the confidence to be comfortable in their own skin.

Despite the importance of confidence, it is also a known fact that confidence is known to drop by 30% in young girls aged between 8 and 14, and between the tween and teen years, as high as 46%. It is also thought that this drop in confidence levels is more likely to be noticed by fathers rather than mothers. This could be as a result mothers having had the same confidence gap at that age or still experiencing confidence gap.

Research has shown that the drop in confidence in girls is as a result of onset of puberty and rumination’ i.e. dwelling extensively on negative feelings. The argument is that women have a more active prefrontal cortex which makes them better at big picture thinking and strategy and as young girls, this can make it easier to excel in school, extracurricular activities, family responsibilities etc. On the flip side, women also have the anterior cingulate gyrus which contributes to over thinking that can be very crippling for tween to teen girls. So at the point in their lives during adolescence when young girls are still trying to establish who they are, this can trigger a series of toxic over thinking about a lot of issues. For e.g. a silent treatment from someone could in their heads mean that they are hated or a bad grade means they are stupid or the fear of raising their hands in class to answer a question for fear of getting the answer incorrect and facing ridicule as a result of this or the feeling of impending danger at all times. Since girls are also usually raised to want to be liked, there is always that added pressure to want to be perfect so as to be liked. This is why a girl can be a straight A student and not believe in herself. If these concerns are not addressed, lack of confidence continues into adulthood.

Lack of confidence can result in

  • Difficulty in making friends/lack of social interaction in school or in public
  • Low motivation
  • Poor body image
  • Negative moods
  • Earlier sexual activity
  • Alcohol and drug abuse to feel better

What to do to increase confidence in young girls

  • Model body acceptance
  • Be practical: Teach skills necessary to achieve whatever goal being pursued
  • Give opportunities to the child to learn new things/get her out of her comfort zone and take risks – Create opportunities where her voice can be heard. Let her order at restaurants, let her make key decisions where possible.
  • Encourage the child to keep trying – It is not only ok to praise an outcome but also the effort and journey to getting to the outcome. It is important that a child is able to assess their performance, and in cases where the performance is the best they could give without a positive outcome, the effort put in should be celebrated as well.
  • Enrol her in team sports – Research shows girls in team sports have higher self esteem
  • Model confidence/Role model failure and struggle – Children learn by what they see. You can show a child how you put in effort to achieve your goal and how to show resilience if not successful, focusing on strategizing on how to be successful a 2nd time around etc and to keep going until the goal is achieved
  • Encourage the child to act confident – Acting confident is the first step to being confident so teach the child to make eye contact, to walk straight, to engage in activities she loves, and to walk away and say no to situations that could be dangerous
  • Practice social skills – children sometimes get nervous in social gatherings. Teaching a child how to join conversations, contribute to conversations, etc will go a long way in helping that child with their confidence in public
  • Praise your child’s efforts rather than just the outcome
  • Remind her of failure fixes – Teach her how to be solution orientated, how to envision looking at a problem and waking her through how to solve the problem in a logical manner
  • Have a good relationship with your child, speak to her and understand her fears and concerns so as to better address these fears and concerns. Your child needs to feel that she can speak to you and not get judged.
  • Communicate she doesn’t have a problem and that she is the way she is based on a combination of brain biology and different expectations for boys and girls. Focus should be on preparing the child for the world outside school where pressure they feel in school will not be applicable.

As parents, guardians, during this period when the virus COVID-19 has meant we remain indoors with family, it gives us a great opportunity to study and identify any signs of dropping confidence levels in our children or wards and work with them to overcome lack of confidence. According to the book ‘The confidence code for girls’, the recipe for confidence could be as simple as risking more, thinking less and being yourself. Remember confident girls become confident women.

Recommended book: THE CONFIDENCE CODE FOR GIRLS: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self – By Katty Kay & Claire Shipman

(Sources: Time Magazine-How to help young girls keep their confidence during puberty by Katty Kay, Claire Shipman and JillEllyn Riley: CNNhealth-A ‘confidence code’ for girls: 5ways to build up our daughters by Kelly Wallace: Child Mind Institute-13 ways to build boost your daughters self esteem)

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section or contact yrlaunch@gmail.com

Yvonne – May 2020

Maths Will Love You

I vividly recall the day that the vice principal of my secondary school paid a visit to my JSS 2 classroom. I remember that it was prep time, and before he made his appearance, the whole class was in an uproar. Just imagine the scene, 20 girls aged 10 to 12 years, in a classroom all speaking at the same time. Some singing, some shouting, some running around playing pranks, little wonder the Vice Principal turned up. In all my years at school, this is the only time I recall the Vice Principal visiting my class and to this day, I am glad he visited.

When he stepped on the threshold, it took a few seconds for order to be restored. As you can imagine, some pranksters had their backs to him as he approached and were oblivious of his presence until the silence from most of our classmates caused them to halt mid-sentence and look over their shoulders. The first thing he did was to chide us all for making such a noise and not studying our books as we were meant to. He then went on to ask us some specific questions including one about mathematics. I don’t think any of us particularly impressed him with our mathematical prowess and so he parted with words to this effect, “if you love Maths, Maths will love you. You can only become good at something that you pay attention to. It may be challenging but if you focus and study hard, you will get better at it”.

For the rest of the evening, I mulled over his words and embraced what he said. From that day, Maths and I became friends. Previous to that, I couldn’t be bothered much with it. Being naturally intelligent, I often got enough from the lessons to get a good pass mark, but because I paid little attention, I never really understood the principles behind it. After the vice principal visited and made his comments, i decided to embrace Maths and other subjects. When I eventually decided to study science, because I showed more aptitude for it, I applied what he said to all my other subjects. When I reflect on what happened that day, two things strike me:

  1. I was inspired to be better from that day because someone showed me a better way, a way unknown to me until he showed it was possible and gave advice on how to achieve the goal.
  2. I was encouraged to embrace a subject that females were traditionally told was too hard for us to study by a man. This showed that he believed that we were capable and that he believed that we could succeed. He acted as a pseudo-mentor at that point in time, though he may not have done it purposefully.

Research shows that mentoring is a sure way of getting more young girls to study STEM. It is even more powerful when girls can see females like them succeeding at STEM careers, when they can hear from them stories of how they overcame challenges and obstacles to succeed. Armed with this information, it is more likely that young girls will aspire to become like the women they admire, which will encourage focus and determination to build a career in STEM. What can we all take away from this?

I would encourage females working in STEM to take a step towards mentoring other females and encouraging them to think about studying STEM subjects. This could be done formally through out reach programmes organised by work places or societies or simply by seeking to young girls within our circles of influence. Start small, start big, your choice, just start something and start as soon as you can. I also encourage young girls not to wait until someone comes to your school or reaches out to you. You can take the initiative and ask your parents to help connect you to people in the circle who could speak to you about STEM. Of course, this must all be done with child protection in mind. As a minor, you must never speak to anyone without parental consent, and if parental consent is given and you feel uncomfortable around anyone giving you career advice, you must immediately withdraw and tell your parents. Your safety is paramount.

To conclude, many women have successful careers in STEM. Anyone who has an aptitude and an interest can study STEM. More work needs to be done to connect young girls in early education to visible role models and vice versa. If you are a female working in a STEM career, get in, find someone to mentor today. And to the young ladies, you have everything you need to succeed. Keep believing.

Anuli

How to Become a Highly Effective Person

Life throws us into many challenging situations, but what is clear is that effective people are the ones who go on to be successful despite all the wahala* that they encounter.

Now who can be described as a highly effective person? I will tell you. According to Stephen R. Covey,the author of the seven habits of highly effective people, effective people are proactive and take control of their lives. That is a simple definition of highly effective people. Highly effective people never allow themselves to be victims, they always emerge as victors.

What does this mean? Let me break it down with a simple example. Let’s say two friends were playing together. Suddenly, for one reason or the other, one of them snatched the object they were playing with and ran off. Now the one who is left with nothing to play with could react in many ways and I will give some examples below:

-They could break down and cry.
-They could get really angry and decide never to play with anyone ever again.
-They could become really sad and remain in that position for the rest of that day, refusing to participate in any other games.
-Or they could shrug their shoulders, review the situation to determine what they could do next time to avoid a repeat of the incident, and then move on to play with something or someone else and keep enriching their life with experiences.

Out of all the reactions above, which do you think would be the reaction of a highly effective person?

Clearly the last one!

Why? Well, It’s because that person took control of the situation, learned from it and moved on with their life. They refused to be a victim of someone else’s action or behavior. They decided to be proactive and think of how to fix the situation for themselves.

Being highly effective applies to every situation in life. If you are a student, you can apply this by asking for help and support when you need it from your peers or your teachers. By learning from last mistakes and applying those lessons to your life as you grow. You could be upfront about setting boundaries and being clear about what you are prepared to accept or not accept in your interactions with others. If you are a worker, the same tips apply. What is most important is that we take control of our lives and never ever fall victim to the lie that we don’t have a choice or that someone else is in control of how we react to events.

We could all be more effective so keep thinking pro-activity and control always to become and remain effective.

Good luck!

*Wahala- trouble

Anuli – 7/11/2018