The Burden of Anonymity

Most people use social media to gain clout. It is a great way to be visible and to widen your network. Many people have gained fame and fortune by setting up a YouTube or an Instagram account and interacting with strangers. it has become a dream for most people and rightly so.

But in the distant shadows we have another type of social media user—the unknown, unknowable anon. This user cultivates a social media identity that is distinctly unmarried to their reality. There names are unknown and sometimes are genders changed. An elaborate set if dos and don’t guide their conduct ensuring they don’t slip, don’t somehow drop the mask.
They can’t use they real names (duh). They can’t post pictures. They can’t share they locations. They can’t join giveaways. They can’t attend meetups. They can’t join photo threads. They can’t pepper them with selfies or drown them with drip.
But they can be honest; rude, crude and vicious even. They can speak truth to power. They can say the uncomfortable things, crack the crazy jokes. They can have an escape from the weight of societal expectations and inhabit a world of their making with infinite possibilities and personalities and opportunities. That escape has been my attraction, my release.

I have kept many anonymous accounts over the years and indeed it has become my default. But it never easy. It is a daily struggle between the life of fame, friendship and fortune that might lie at the other side of divulging my identity and my current peace of mind.

I haven’t done badly so far, at least not in my opinion. While a few people might think they know me, thousands have to guess and wager.

But being Anon can be lonely and exhausting and joyless.

Last year for instance, a lovely ebuddie invited me for lunch at Transcorp. We were going to have a great meal, drinks and some exciting stimulating conversation. Did I want it? Yes. Could I have it? No

Even now the uneaten chicken and fries makes my mouth water afresh. I can smell the tender, well spiced, juicy chicken laps. I can feel the ambience of the Transcorp lounge. In my mind.

Some folks have gotten impatient. So they have devised various schemes to get to know me.

“Send me your email”
Anon email given

Let’s connect on Facebook
Anon Facebook sent

Let me have your account details.
Anon account provided

Some others have given up. A sister told me she blocked me for months because she couldn’t figure out my gender. She is back now but it still hurts.

But why do I go through so much to keep things this way?

The answer is peace of mind. I get immense comfort from knowing my cyber life wont intrude into my 9 to 5 or show up in bedroom. I am glad that I can say what I think without my boss showing up with yesterday’s tweetfight details or my bae getting second-hand shaming for any of my indiscretion. What starts here, ends here.

How much longer do I think it can last?
I don’t know. I realize that as my influence increases the risk of coming under closer scrutiny rises. I realize that someday it might just be time up.

But that is okay.

I am here for a good time. If I get a long time; that is a bonus.

Nobody Knows Why Nigerians Die

Death is an inevitable consequence of life. Knowing the causes of morbidity and mortality in a given population is important for seeing public health goals and monitoring progress. Globally, the Global Burden of Disease is measured by the Institite For Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an objective project that calculates and monitors trends in mortality and morbidity in different countries over the years.

A glance at Nigeria’s data will show the leading causes of death for Nigerians to be:

1. Lower respiratory infections
2. Neonatal disorders
3. HIV/AIDS
4. Malaria
5. Diarrheal Disease
6. Tuberculosis
7. Meningitis
8. Ischemic heart disease
9. Stroke
10. Cirrhosis

But there is a problem: The data used for these rankings is incomplete and these are just best guess estimates and projections from incomplete records.

Nobody knows for sure why Nigerians die.

One challenge the program has faced is inadequate and outdated data for most countries. To combat this problem they use sophisticated data modelling and projections to arrive at working figures. This works but it is not as accurate as actual data, collected in real time.

A cursory online search for causes of mortality in Nigeria reveals the paucity of data. About three studies are seen at first glance. All of them small facility based studies or compilation of archives. A truly representative data set would involve a record of all deaths in Nigeria. For every death there should be a documented cause and the data should be gathered, aggregated and made publicly available.

This is not the case.

Although the Nigerian Populatiom Commiom Act of 1992 stipulates that all deaths should be registered by the commissioner and duly recorded.

“The death of every person dying in Nigeria and the cause thereof shall as from the commencement of this Act be registered by the registrar of births and deaths for that area in which the death occurred by entering in a register kept for that area particulars concerning the death as may be prescribed.”

Indeed, if this law has been enforced there would be robust data about the number of deaths in Nigeria and their causes.

Alas, there has been very little compliance.

An article by the Canasian Immigration and Redugee Board, published in March 2011, the authors clearly records the frustrations of anyone trying to obtain a death certificate and the laissez faire attitude of those tasked with issuing them.

A counsellor at the Deputy High Commision of Canada to Nigeria in Lagos is said to have indicated in writing to with the Research Directorate that “it is not common for the NPC to issue death certificates because most people do not see the need to do so (Canada 25 Feb 2011).

The question is why?

A few explanations lend themselves readily:

1. The law stipulated that these deaths should be recorded free of charge.

This provision which was probably made to improve access however it has also reduced any incentives for the commission to invest time and money in death registration. Data collection is an arduous task , so without any financial incentive, it serves as an increased burden on the commison without any apparent gains.

The second issue is one of demand and supply. Most Nigerians are not concerned about causes of death or their records. Autopsies are hardly done. This lack of interest also fuels political disinterest. For the average Nigerian, a record of deaths and their causes is of little or no concern.

But this ought not to be.

Studies of morality and morbidity are of great public and global health interest. They help researchers to monitor trends and design program that can impotent life expectancy.

Today, the average life expectancy for Nigerians is 56 years, far below the international average of 72 years (source: WHO).

Accurate data on causes of death can highlight the greatest causes of death and lead to a focus on their prevention.

If the attitudes towards the collection of data change, the next thing would be to change the process.

First registering deaths should be made compulsory. The data should be collected by the communities through their leaders and the disease and notification officer a for each local government should be notified. And the collection should be the responsibility of the local governments.

A part of the budgets, both of the commission and of the local governments should be dedicated to death registrations. Families of the bereaved should be made to pay a token amount which should be waived for indigent families or people with peculiar circumstances.

Collected data should be collated by state and nationally. The figures should be updated monthly to a national database such as the DHIS. The data should be blockchain protected to avoid tampering and falsification.

If these measures are in place they would change the way data about Nigeria is reported. For the first time we would have truly representative data and be able to make better decisions. Instead of models and educated gusees, we would know for sure why Nigerian are dying and we would be able to tackle it, making it possible for Nigerian to love longer, healthier, more productive lives.

7 Steps To Winning Life-changing Opportunities

How would you like to go for an all expense paid trip to Paris?

How would you like to attend a fully funded conference in London?

How would you like to be sponsored for a workshop in Berlin?

You would love that right?

Then read on for tips to make that happen.

1. Search for the Opportunities

The internet might be a blessing or it might be a curse but one thing it has done is increase access to information.

The first step to getting an opportunity is to find it.

You have to know about opportunities to benefit from them.

So, get on Twitter and follow all the handles tweeting about opportunities you are interested in.

Follow corporate handles like: After School Africa, Opportunity Desk and Youth Hub Africa

Follow personal handles like: Moments with Bren, Ogbeni Dipo, Baba_Omoloro

Follow me: StNaija

And turn on their notifications so you always know when something new is published.

You can also go a step further and follow other key players in your fields of interest.

You an sign-up for newsletters.

You can search the world wide web.

You can keep tabs on opportunities through other social media.

Do what ever you need to do. But recognise that you can only benefit from an opportunity you know about.

2. Don’t Self-reject

When there is a great opportunity, the diest questions that pops into your mind might be:

Why me?

The question I want tou to ask is:

Why not me?

As long as you are interested and eligible for an opportunity, don’t doubt yourself.

Put your best foot forward.

Remember that:

Fortune favours the brave.

You lose 100 percent of the opportunities you don’t apply for.

You have to be in it to win it.

3. Follow The Instructions

Instructions will make or mar you in the opportunity world. They can make the difference between failure or success. So, read the instructions and follow them.

Check if you are eligible.

Find out the requirements.

Do they want PDFs of .dox?

Should your letter of motivation follow a prompt?

What is the word count?

Follow instructions.

4. Get Feedback and Support

I know you have written an excellent application with a killer motivation letter, but where ever possible, get a second opinion.

A second pair of eyes can often catch mistakes in grammar and typos.

Sometimes that an help add depth or colour to the submission.

When someone else gets or edits your work, it is that much better for it.

Even if all the help you can get is a cousin, an e-buddie or a close friend, don’t despise it. Get feedback.

5. Make Your Application Outstanding

Most opportunities get hundreds of entries. Some even get thousands. To make your application stand out you have to add something unique.

So, spend sometime thinking of how you are going to do that.

Do you have a compelling personal story to share?

Do you have superior skills or experience you can highlight?

Have you completed projects or mini projects in that area that can showcase your passion?

Be unique, be different, be unforgettable.

But in a good way.

6. Apply

This sounds redundant and generic but it’s real.

Every year thousands of people miss out on opportunitesis that could have changed their lives because they just couldn’t bring themselves to send their application.

Sometimes this happens because they forgot the deadline.

Sometimes it is last minute cold feet.

Don’t do that to your self.

Apply.

7. Keep Track of Your Applications and Review Them

If you are like most people, you won’t win every contest or make every shortlist. You will have some disappointment alomd the way.

The important thing is to learn from your failures. And you can do this by keeping track of your submissions.

Last year, I won an international scholarship. In the previous year, my application did not even make it to the shortlist.

By reviewing tha ‘failed’ application, I was able to see gaps in my application. I reviewed them, addressed them, reapplied and won.

Keeping tabs of your applications will also help you save time for subsequent applications because they already contain the kernel of ideas you might want to rearrange and highlight.

The Science of Having A Fantastic New Year

It is a new year and everyone is so excited and ready to change the world. Underneath this mass optimism, however, many people are worried.

What if this year is worst than the last one?

What if it is more of the same?

What if, in the end, my optimism is wasted?

Well, I bring good news:

Your new year can’t remain the same if you make up your mind to do things differently.

And you will do things differently this time because you will apply the science of having a fantastic year.

But let me begin with an apology: there is no science of having a fantastic year.

It is a wild combination of concentious planning, determined preparation, gruelling hard work,and fickle fortune.

We can no more foretell the vagaries of fortune and chance than we can determine the roll of dice, but we can make plans.

And sometimes, plans go exactly (or better than we hope).

Many people don’t like to hear about fortune or favour. They like to think that anything and everything they have is a result of diligent, unrelenting labour. It gives them bragging rights, ‘I did that,’ ‘I killed that’.

Many other people like to think everything is by luck. And prayer. And chance. And lottery wins.

The truth is success and progress need both. Some labour, some favour and before you know it; you are having a fantastic year.

My inner statistician knows that for some people, fortune is likely to be responsible for all their wins.
But it also knows those folks are the minority. The rest of us have to contribute towards having the kind of year we want.

And that is what this post is about:

Focused dreams

The first step to having a great year is to have some focused DREAMS. Look ahead and imagine some of the things you would like to be, do and have in 2020.

Do you want to be: a graduate? certified? married? a homeowner?

Do you want to: travel to three new places ? Save 5% more than last year? Read 20 books?

Do you want to have: a perfect GPA? A great figure/physique? A great wardrobe? A Canadian citizenship?

Be specific

What do you want to be, have, do?

Do Some Research

Go a step further and do some research. What will it take for your dreams to come true?

How did other people achieve such dreams?

What can you do today to be ready?

If you want to travel to a new city, London, for example. Start thinking of the most likely time, consider the flight fare, look up accommodation options. Start saving. Apply for a Visa if you need one.

Some time next year and opportunity to travel to London might present itself. You will be more likely to make the best use of it if you prepared.

Or perhaps you want to go to school abroad. Start your research: Which school(s)? When? What are the admission requirements? How will you pay your fees? Are there alumni you can talk to to get a sense of the institution and its admissions process?

Do your research.

Make Plans

Now that you know what you want next year and you know what is required, make plans.
List the things that you need to do to achieve the results you want. Attach a timeline to them.

Determine what you will do and when you will do it to follow your dreams.

Fortune they say favours the prepared.

If you want a new job or a better job, then update your resume, sharpen your skills through an online course, shop for a great suit. Prepare.

Keep Making Progress

This is admittedly the hardest part. It is easier to stay comfortable and hope things will just suddenly improve. It is also less likely to lead you to a fantastic year.

So dont give up.

Keep making and tweaking your plans.

Celebrate your wins, big or small.

Document your journey.

Share your own tips and things that worked for you.

Let’s do all we need to do, and trust things to fall in place.

That is it. That is the science of a fantastic new year.

Keep me posted.

I am rooting for you!

Four New Year Resolutions You Should Not Make And What To Do Instead

It is less than five hours away now, 2020, the highly anticipated new year is here. As with every new year, this one will entice many people to make new year resolutions. The New Year gives people the sense of a clean slate, a new beginning, new possibilities for self improvement. What better time to embark on self improvement than when you have a brand new year ahead of you?

But what new year resolutions should you make and which ones should you avoid?

Don’t make any of these four resolutions (or any like them)

1. To Lose or Gain Weight

This resolution will be on many lists, but it is pointless. Why? Because it is not SMART.
It is not
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Timely

Besides, losing or gaining weight is a by-product not a goal. Your resolutions should be goals: discrete tasks with set time frames.

So instead of saying your new year resolution is to lose or gain weight, say your new year resolution is to:

Eat healthy six days a week
Jog for 60 minutes every week
Skip 2000 times a day

Or all three, or more.

It could also be to
1. Eat an extra high calorie meal a day
2. Drink a high calorie mixture every night
3. Sleep at least eight hours a day

Basically, resolve to do things that you are in control of and add a time frame to them. Your future self will be immensely grateful.

2. Make More Money

This sounds very commendable.
But, what is more money?

Is it a penny, a thousand naira, twenty pounds or a million Malawian kwacha?

You know where I am going by now, but i will still spell it out: be specific.

State how much more you want to make in the new year.
State how you want to make it.
State the steps you will take to make it possible.

Do you plan to change jobs or change industries?

Are you going to start a side hustle?

Will you win grants and extra stipends?

Are you going to start a virtual career?

Be specific about how much you want to make, how you want to make it and the small steps you will take to make it happen.

3. To Get Closer To God.

This can also be written as ‘to be more spiritual’ or ‘to be more attuned to my spiritual side.’

Nice nonsense.

Again, you have to be specific and you have to make resolutions that have discrete time bound tasks.

So in this case your resolutions could be:

1. To spend 20 minutes every day in prayer/meditation

2. To fast once a week

3. To read a chapter of the bible every day. Or five or twenty

4. To Increase my monthly giving by 5%

5. To volunteer my time at church/charity/orphanage once a week

Make your resolution specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound.

4. To Widen My Networks

This is too vague, too generic and too cliche to do you any good.

What networks?
How are you going to broaden them?
Why are you broadening them?

A smarter resolution would be:

To broaden my networks in (insert your industry or the industry to want to broaden networks in) in order to (insert the reason why you want to broaden them) by (insert activities that will help you achieve this).

Better, right?

So for example, in my case, I would say:

To broaden my creative writing networks in order to gain more visibility and piblish more in anthologies and related projects through focused engagement on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and open calls for volunteers.

Then I would go a step further and make a actionable goals like:

1. Follow people whose work I like and amplify/compliment their work once a week.

2. Post on LinkedIn once or twice a week.

3. Enrol in one relevant project every quarter.

So that is it folks. Instead of making the same old resolutions, make new, focused, SMART goals that will inspire you to achieve new things and attain new heights.

The new year is filled with success and prosperity. Position yourself for it by making plans and flowing through.

I am rooting for you!

Where is Nnamdi Kanu?

In a flamboyant show of force the Nigerian government crushed Nnamdi Kanu’s budding Biafran uprising. Operation Python, was the name given to the army exercise that invaded Abia state to squelch the uprising of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) movement on September 14th, 2017.

image

Members of IPOB have since been arraigned before the Federal High Court Abuja on charges of treason but Nnamdi Kanu seems to have disappeared.

Reports in the media have said he was seen in Ghana, but many people think that is just a ruse. Some Nigerians have declared that an unthinkable atrocity was committed and Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer has called on the army to produce his client. In a statement, the Nigerian army said they do not have Mr Kanu in their custody and they are unaware of his whereabouts.

image

Even though, according to Nigerian Law, Nnamdi Kanu is being charged, many people are still concerned about his welfare. It is a fundamental human right that every life be protected. Was Nnamdi Kanu’s life protected? Was he killed? Was he seen in Ghana?

image

If he is alive, where are the pictures? If he is alive, why hasn’t he made any statement to allay the fears of his supporters?

image

If he is dead, why isn’t there any outcry by his family in social and mainstream media?

So many questions, not enough answers, but one question remains: where is Nnamdi Kanu?

 

Why Reading Isn’t A Good CV Hobby & 20 More Suitable Options

Everyone in the job market has written an curriculum vitae or a CV. The aim is simple: to sell yourself to potential employers and convince them that you are the best person for the job. While most people understand the rudiments of bio data, education, work history and skills, many struggle with hobbies.

Hobbies may not be the first thing an employer looks at but they can be used as

• A tie break between equally skilled and qualified people

• A discussion starter to gauge communication skills (if you can’t speak well about your interests, then what hope does my company have?)

.• As a cultural fit and personality indicator

.• An indication that you can offer extra value

• As a measure of your versatility

 

So, why can’t you add reading?
First, everyone (in the modern employment world) reads. Listing it as a hobby can make you look boring, clueless or dull. “But I am none of those things!” You say. “I am interesting, innovative and intelligent. And READING IS MY HOBBY” Okay, point taken, but in that case you will have to be more specific and creative when expressing that.

For instance, you could specify the kind of material you read, think historical fiction, contemporary African fiction and/or classic literature. Or you could list it as literature (but make sure you know what that means: genres, figures of speech, etc). You could also frame it as volunteer work, for example being a first reader for a publication. And if the job is in the book industry (libraries, agencies, publishing) maybe you can write it just the way it is: reading.

To be honest, I never thought about reading as a hobby that was CV unworthy. I knew web-surfing was a no but it took a personal experience for me to realize reading wasn’t that great either.

I was interviewing new staff and I asked one of them what her hobbies were.

“I don’t have hobbies,” she said.

“Really? How? Everyone has a hobby.” I replied

“Reading,” she responded. And it was clear that was something she made up on the spot.

Maybe if she had mentioned that first and gone on to impress me with her vast knowledge of books (any type), we wouldn’t be here. But she didn’t and here we are.

So, reading and web-surfing are out. What else should you leave out of your CV? Witchcraft or any weird practices, any religious practices, eating/killing animals and treasure hunting, ‘socializing’,watching TV, and extreme or ‘dangerous’ sports.

What should you include? Hobbies that reflect on you positively and can (potentially) be useful to your employer. Consider activities in areas like

Games/Sport/Fitness

This is a beloved area for all employers. It portrays you as healthy, competitive, able to work on goals and fun. For many employers it also means you can bring them glory, for example during industry games (most sectors have them: Oil & Gas, Banking, Medicine etc).

Games like Scrabble and Chess show a love for critical thinking, calculated risk, hardworking and problem-solving.

Solo sports like running, yoga, cycling and swimming imply you are fit, motivated and healthy.

Team sports like basketball, football and volleyball show you can work on a team and are goal-oriented.

Every hobby says something. Choose wisely.

Creative Arts
Creative arts are also hobby gold. Most ‘non-creativea’ are in awe of creatives and fellow creatives usually have a sense of kin for their community. So creative writing, performing art, fine arts, craft-work are all excellent choices. Photography and Videography are also great choices who doesn’t want a great photographer for free?

Gardening/Pets/Agriculture
This is also welcome by most employers. It implies stewardship, patience, altruism and diligence. For bonus marks make it something exotic, think: Venetian roses, Pangolins, Miracle berry trees.

Exotic Interests
Pole dancing, stamp/coin collecting, bird watching, making perfumes and other unconventional hobbies are great too. They make you stand out. And they can make you memorable.

 

Finally, keep these tips in mind:

2-3 hobbies max

No lies

Keep hobbies towards the end of the CV

Make sure the rest of the CV is awesome.

And remember to share the good news when the offer comes. To your happiness, health, wealth and continued success, cheers. 🍷

 

 

 

 

Eight Businesses Young People Can Start With Little Or No Money

One thing almost all young people worry about is money. Most of us don’t have enough, don’t have it regularly and some of us don’t have it all. One of the ways to get money is start a business. Most businesses need lots of money and skills to start but some can be started with little or no capital.

These are eight jobs/businesses you can start with little or no money.

1. Teaching

When most people think of teaching, all they see is a classroom and a white board. It is more than that. Teaching involves passing on your knowledge, skills and experience to others.

If there is anything you can do well, than that is a potential teaching gig. Identify things you are good at and make a teaching plan. Can you sew, swim, dance, code, write, cook? Are you great at maths, martial arts, statistics, or English? Whatever you are good at, there is someone who wants to learn and is willing to pay. All you have to do is organise your lessons and find a medium. It could be online, home-based or in a facility.

Once you start, word will spread and more students will come in. And with them the money you need.
2. Marketing

Every business wants more patronage. Even the big businesses with billion dollar budgets. However, not every business can afford a team of marketing experts; that is where you come in.

Target businesses that have good services but lack visibility, an ideal location. Negotiate with them for commissions on the clients you bring. Spread the word through all your contacts online and offline. Smile to the bank or from the bank, or to your PayPal. All are good.
3. Agenting

Agents are in high demand across all sectors. You can be a real estate agent. You can be an athlete’s agent. You can even be a writer’s agent. There are so many opportunities. All you need to have a good eye for the niche and the connections between the buyer and the seller. Done.
4. Cleaning

Cleaning is a fact of life and one that most people would rather outsource. You can start small within your neighbourhood and build gradually from there. Many one man cleaning businesses have gone on to employ hundreds. Do it of you have a flair for it, or as a stepping stone. In any case, it is a vital business with an easy entry point.
5. Shopping

Most wealth people don’t have time to search for the things they want. Online shopping has helped but there is still a gap. That is where you walk in. You offer bespoke shopping services for the rich and busy. Spend some time acquainting yourself with the markets. Know the discounts and sales as well as the vendors you can trust. Match your client’s wish list with real goods that meet their needs. You earn a commission from your client and sometimes from the vendors too. Paid.
6. Personal training

Scientists have announced that for the first time ever, the overweight people on earth outnumber the others. That is serious. And for you that could be serious business. If you need to, get fit yourself. If you are fit then find a niche you can flourish in: yoga, cycling, dancing, running, callisthenics, any one. Learn all you can and grow. Focus on being supportive, present and committed to your clients. They can get info and routines in books, on websites and on YouTube but there is just one you.
7. Content writing/editing

Anybody (literate, healthy and willing) can write, but not everyone can write to specifications under deadlines. If you can, then you are in. Spend some time to study the market. Follow handles that talk about freelance writing. (check @TiceWrites out). Read job boards. Advertise. Know the going rates and aim for better. Network. Get help: proofreader, editor, agent. Be patient. Start from topics you are passionate/ knowledgeable about . Read the kind of work you want to write. Bring home the money, honey.

8. Child minding/Baby-sitting

Self-descriptive. But you don’t have to stay basic. Add activities. Add classes. Add trips to local parks and libraries. As outdoor exercises.Be creative. Be fun. And watch parents seek you out all day long.

So there they are, the inconclusive list of businesses you can start free. Capitalise on your knowledge, skills, passion and networks. Starts small but dream big. Keep learning. And watch your credit alerts ring all day like a ticking clock.

*

Thank you for reading this. Please follow the blog to get our content directly in your inbox. Give me a follow on Twitter @StNaija . Advertise your businesses here (limited free banner space available, send an email). Let me know if you have tried any of this in the comments. And please share.

Stay winning ✌🏾

image

 

 

How To Teach Your Dog New Tricks

Teaching your dog new tricks is a great way to bond with your dog. It is also helps you understand each other and get the behaviour you desire from your pet. Teaching your dog new tricks can also provide entertainment,make friends and win prizes and fame.
It can also be very rewarding, satisfying and fun, helping you relax or have a good laugh every now and then.
To teach your dog a new trick you will need to be committed and focused, here are some tips to help you succeed.

Start Early, The Younger The Dog, The Better The Results

Everyone knows you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but many people wait too long to begin teaching their dogs. As soon as your dog has had a health check and settled in, teaching should begin.

Teaching your dog tricks will need patience and commitment from you. You should devote some time for it every day and make each teaching session short. Ideally, fifteen minutes or less. Don’t despair of your dog seems to be more interested in playing that the trick you are teaching. Be firm and focused. Learn to pay attention to your dog so you can sense tiredness, hunger or boredom.

Don’t push or punish when things aren’t going as fast as you thought they would. Be kind and patient, ensure teaching begins as early in your dog’s life as possible.

Start Easy, When Teaching Your Dog New Tricks, Begin From The Basics

Some folks want to teach their dogs to fetch, walk on hind legs and say good morning on the first day. Teaching dog’s new tricks doesn’t work that way. You begin from the easiest tricks and gradually work your way up.

There are many tricks your dog can learn. Some are simpler than others; begin with the easy ones.

To begin, you need a training plan and some treats. Your training plan will spell out what you want your dog to learn, what time the teaching nah session is scheduled for and the treats your dog will receive. Every time your dog does a trick successfully, you reward them with a treat. At first, you might reward the smallest attempts but with time you demand more from your pet. Ensure that you have treats your dog actually likes for the teaching session. Give treats generously when your dog learns a new trick

The first trick you might want to teach your dog is to come when their name is called. Usually, calling them by name repeatedly before feeds gets them to know the name is theirs and to respond when called.

Teaching your dogs new tricks should be a gradual process. Don’t proceed to more complex tricks until the easier ones have been mastered. It is nice to have a plan or scheduled where you lost the tricks you want your dog to learn and the approximate time those lessons might take. This will keep you focused on teaching. It will also help you assess the progress you are making. You can also note quickly the tricks your dog has a natural aptitude for and design more like that.

Keep Learning About Your Dog And How Best To Train Them

There are hundreds of different dog breeds, all with unique strengths and differences. To get the best out o teacher nah your dog tricks you need to know your dog. Research as much as you can about your breeds strengths. What was the dog bred to do? What are the tricks that come to them naturally? How long does it take for them to learn new tricks on the average?

You should also pay attention to your dog. What can they do? What do they like most? What treats get them excited?
Knowledge is power. The more you know about your dog the easier it will be to design an informed training plan. A training plan that embraces their strengths and personality, one that will work.

 

Enjoy The Process Of Teaching Your Dog New Tricks

Teaching your new dog tricks will take time, patience and lots of energy. You will need to keep at it even when the results aren’t as great as you hoped they would be. To stay on track with the plan you have to make the process fun for you as well.

Choose an environment for training that works for you and your dog. Make sure it is clean and safe. If you can make it a cosy, pretty and/or spacious, that will be helpful too.

Make sure you are well hydrated and not hungry, tired or irritated during training time. It helps to have rested before time. Have your favourite music playing to set the tone and boost your mood (not too loud though, so your pet doesn’t get irritated and so your commands can clearly be heard).

Dress comfortably, preferably in exercise wear that allows you to move, run and sweat.
Make the training time as enjoyable as possible for you and your dog. That way it won’t be a burden but a fun bonding learning experience that you both look forward to.

Teaching your dog new tricks is a rewarding experience that should help you and your dog bond and have a great time. It won’t happen without your committed investment of time, effort and treats. To optimise the experience start early and easy, gradually increasing the scope of tricks. Knowing your dog’s breed, it’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as your dog’s personality will help you know tricks your dog is naturally adapted to learn and most likely to excel at. The training process should be fun for you and your dog. Invest in a pleasant experience. Know that all dogs learn at their own pace. Some are faster or slower than others. Prepare, begin, commit and watch your dog excel. Commit to the process and you can enjoy a long happy time ahead with your smart,well-trained dog.

image

Ten Times To Totally Write For Free (& A Million Not To)

Everyone knows I am a #NoFreeWriting Ambassador. I believe you should get paid for your work, your intellectual property, your blood and tears. It took a while for me to navigate the literary landscape and arrive at my current position. I don’t regret the days I wrote for free or was swindled of work but I like where I am now and I am not going back.

So why in the world am I still considering writing for free? It is wrong. It is exploitative. It is thoroughly discouraging the emergence of talent and the development of the craft. Yes it is, but sometimes writing for free can be a good thing. Here are ten occasions you should write for free and feel absolutely no guilt.

1. Your Private Diary/ Journal/Blog

Everything seems to be documented in the public domain these days with social media being the preferred means of sharing experiences, thoughts and feelings. Some things are however too controversial, painful, raw or private for the whole world to see. Writing in a journal or diary can help you:

gather your thoughts without any performance pressure

experiment with style and form

leave a record for yourself and posterity

dabble and brainstorm.

Whatever your reasons, this is one time where you should not feel guilty about time spent versus money-made. Who knows? Your journal could even be optioned and published someday.

2. Your Public Blog/Website/Project

It can be hard to churn out content data after day without any compensation or remuneration. All the hard work that goes into creating work just ignored like a kitten fart. But don’t despair. Writing for your personal blog might not pay immediately but it can be immensely rewarding. It can grow your readership and fans; help you understand your work better; serve as clips for future jobs; be a 24-hour advert to head hunters, agents, editors and publishers; and if you are lucky, advertisers who like what you do can support you. Then Boom! You are the next Linda Ikeji

3. For The Blogs Of Friends/Family

Good writing is hard. It is valuable: made from blood, sweat and tears. It can be frustrating to create without any tangible value received in return but writing for family and friends is different. Just the way you would share your food, home or money with them you can also gladly and proudly lend your words to boost their site or blog without any guilt. Think of it as having each other’s back. Hopefully, it will be a mutually beneficial experience where you get more readers, they get more traffic and everyone gains. Even if it doesn’t work that way, it will be another deposit in your love bank and writers need all the love they get.

4. For a Cause You Care About

Some of the most needy causes are some of the most overlooked. Editors will often commission features that have been flogged to death while important topics languish from neglect. That is where you come in. You can ride in on your white horse (or pink or green or black) and save the day. With your words you can help create awareness for important neglected topics like: mental health, autism, poverty, child’s rights, the environment, wild life and more. With your pen/pad/laptop you can save the world one piece/poem at a time. No one might pay you but that is what heroes love for. And writers are heroes. Yup, that is what you are.

5.For Church/Mosque/Shrine/Temple

If you have been saved, then the least you can do is to save someone else. If you belong to any place that provides nourishment and salvation, eternal life and peace then you shouldn’t let worldly things like money stop you from being a blessing. Many religious publications struggle to find good content. That content can be difference between who is reached and who is unreached. So the next time you come across a tweet asking for help that you give in this domain please give it a thought.

6. For a Fun Free Project You Believe in

Many people charge writers to submit; sell their work and don’t give them a penny back; rogues and robbers. That isn’t what I am talking about. I am talking about projects that collate writing by people you believe in, charities you support, topics that fascinate you or all three for that matter. Like the anthology call for writers of your demographic by that passionate broke editor that will edit you till you shine or that mad call for stories with sex in the air. Anything, quirky, genuine and fun that matters to you? Write for yourself, no one can afford you anyway.

7. For a Byline

A byline is a place that has published your work in the past. Now, you don’t need to have written for over a day to know that non-paying places outnumber the paying about 1000 to 1, and it gets worse if you write fiction, or poetry, or write from sub-Saharan Africa or are a new, unknown writer.The problem is, when a writing job — that scarce precious resource– does come, the first thing they will look at is your byline. Where have you been published before? Who else has liked your work? And believe it or not, something is (mostly) better than nothing. So when you have an offer to write for a place that will improve your writing credentials, consider it.

Side note: do this with an eye on the clock. Besides, you only need to do it once for it to count.

8. For Growth & Opportunity 

Every 1000 years (just kidding) there comes a chance to work with a talented editor, a gifted translator, a revered mentor, a dream team that will make you more than you could be on your own; but they have no money. They however value your work and want to make it the best it can be. Take it. Think of it as trade by batter or training or ‘getting your work out in the world’. Such opportunities are few in today’s world, recognize that and act accordingly.

9. When You Want To

You are a writer, a creator, a god. And it is the right of every god to do as they please (within limits).  So, if the fancy strikes you, to share your divinity with mortality, then by all means do so. Grace this world with your light and love and language. Bequeath it your goodness. Gift it your unique, inimitable voice. After all, time is running out and you only get one chance on this orb.

10. For eXpOSuRe

I don’t know where this word came from but I know exposure can make you fall ill and catch a cold (Saint face).

Anyway, this means writing for a publication/site/company/blog/individual that solicited your magic for a paying concern but somehow managed to ‘have no budget for writers’. Really? (Yes, dem pleeeeenty) I have said a lot about how I feel about this. In summary: giving your blood and sweat over to a merchant to hawk, profit and not pay you is a no; the promise that you will get eXpOSuRe is a scam. A gamble, that your name on their site will magically pay your rent or school fees or grocery bill. We all know that (almost) never happens. But if the spirit has spoken to you, the burning bush has called your name, you have seen the fleece and you think it is the right thing to do,or you believe the hype will be worth it, your gut says go, your head doesn’t say no; then flourish.

 

So there it is folks. All the reasons to sit over a blank page bleeding without a dime in sight. The one million reasons not to? Ah. You have to like this and share it and follow the blog so you don’t miss it when it is out. That is the currency here, beloved, you can call it SaintCoin.

*****
Thank you for reading this. Do you ever write for free? Did I miss anything? You are welcome to comment.

This blog is kept alive by your generous donations and tireless support.

Please do not hesitate to share this, reblog, part-post, excerpt and pass it along on Telegram/WhatsApp etc.

We value your input and presence. All this is wasted without you.