Message of Hope

Aanu Damola Morenikeji (ADM) and Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo - as the latter affirms his hope for Nigeria and Nigerians

Leading the Future

ADM and some pupils at one of his programme.

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child

Aanu Damola Morenikeji and Obiageli "Oby" Ezekwesili (CFR); World Bank's Vice President for Africa.


Aanu Damola Morenikeji with the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun after becoming the first recipient of the Ogun State Youth Award for Excellence in Health and Community Service.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Get ‘Irresponsible’ - if need be!

Sometime ago, I was challenged as been irresponsible by someone I so much respect. My 'offence' was that I did not obey a conspicuously-wrong instruction that was given me. I apologized for my disobedience, and reinstated my commitment to doing continually, whatever is right, regardless of who benefits (or doesn’t benefit) from the consequences of my actions.

In our journey as leaders, we will no doubt interact with people who will love your dream, love your passion, love your character and values, but dislike you when you value your values, and concentrate on doing what is right - against their wish.

If you have faced such situation, remember this; 'You are not alone. Don't change who you are for the purpose of being liked by someone who doesn't value integrity'. Stay glued to your value system. Stay honest!

If doing the right thing, even when you are instructed to do otherwise, is seen as been irresponsible, then, be proud to be! If knowing and relating with your colleague/boss/subordinate as an individual, instead of just a dot on the organisation’s chart is seen as been un-professional, then, be proud to be professionally ‘un-professional’. If helping the needy is considered a jobless act; then, remember that empowering one more person makes your job less. When you are attacked for doing what is right – if you haven’t, be expectant, you will still be attacked – don’t get offensive neither should you engage in a squabble. Just remind yourself – and others – that only way we can get it right as a people/nation/continent is by doing the right things right.

The bottom line is this: Embrace self discipline, stay honest (in all situations), do the right things right, and love yourself for upholding your values! I will be proud of you, if you can do these.

Much love,


Aanu Damola Morenikeji is considered Africa’s youngest youth intellectual and leadership development advocate. A sought-after speaker on the theme of leadership and personal growth, he is a Fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A and Team Leader of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation], a non-governmental organisation focused on building young people and promoting educational, leadership and youth development. He blogs at

Monday, 25 November 2013

Defining Success: How do you define success?

How do you define success? Do you define success in terms of material possession, or the amount of money a person has in bank accounts, or the financial net worth of a person? Even though these may matter to some people, I do not find riches an equivalent of success.
During a half-day private study session – on Saturday, 23rd November, 2013 – I stumbled on a definition of success written over a hundred years ago (in 1904), by Bessie Anderson Stanley in Brown Book Magazine. It read:
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had, whose life was an inspiration, whose memory a benediction.”
Success – just like wealth – is a product of how influential you have been in making the world a better place, in making a difference in the lives of those around us. Whether you live a hundred years – or less – if your life doesn’t influence others positively, you have only occupied space.
Change your perspective in defining success, and work towards being truly successful!
I’ll define success in leadership, as leading through happiness, while solving problems. How do you define success?
Much love!


Aanu Damola Morenikeji is considered Africa’s youngest youth intellectual and leadership development advocate. A sought-after speaker on the theme of leadership and personal growth, he is a Fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A and Team Leader of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation], a non-governmental organisation focused on building young people and promoting educational, leadership and youth development. He blogs at

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Reflective Thinking: How Often Do You Think?

I know you think! And you know / think you think. However, how much time do you dedicate to reflect on your life – your actions, inactions, values, achievements, frailties, prospect and the future? How often do you examine the pace - most importantly, the impacts – you create each day?

These questions remind us of the ever-dynamic need to consciously and consistently examine how we live (not just existing) daily. As the Greek philosopher, Socrates opined, 'an unexamined life is not worth living'. A few days ago, I shared an opinion with IdeaMensch on my most productive habit as a social entrepreneur - and human :). Guess what that is: reflective thinking.

Each day, I become more conscious of the need to do more than just setting out time to consciously think, but to make it fun, and more productive. This daily action makes me get the best in almost every activity. The choice of reflectively having fun thinking through all my actions and plans makes me review promptly where I had made a mistake, where I can contribute more, what lessons I learnt, how I can put the lessons to use, what to share with others, among other options.

Fortunately, my parents had inculcated a maxim into our daily lives, while we (my nuclear family) were much younger. My dad taught my siblings and me to always end each day asking 'How Many Lives Have I Touched Positively Today?'. This bed-time activity - I must confess - had been a foundation for reflective thinking.

One of the major catalysts to reflective thinking is asking the right questions. The right questions - coupled with honestly sincere answers - have a way of enhancing your reflective thinking prowess and adding value to the quality of life you live. Most times, when I reflect, I think in terms of my values, activities, experience and futurity.

I suggest you brace up with the type of questions you ask yourself, and be honest in working on the quality of result you can get, by working on your answers. As John Maxwell shared in his book 'Thinking for a Change', you could reflectively think about – just as he does – your values, relationship and experiences.

          Personal Growth: What have I learnt today that will help me grow? How can I apply it to my life? When should I apply it?

          Adding Value: To whom did I add value today? How do I know I added value to that person? Can I follow up and compound the positive benefit he or she received?

          Teamwork: What did I do with someone else that made both of us better? Would the other person agree that it was a win/win? Can we do something else together to continue our mutual success?

          Leadership: Did I lead by example today? Did I lift my people and organisation to a higher level? What did I do, and how did I do it?

          Physical Health: Did I exercise at my optimal heart rate for thirty-five minutes today? Have I exercised at least five times in the last seven days?

          Personal Faith: Did I represent God today? Did I practice the Golden Rule? Have I ‘walked the second mile’ with someone?

          Marriage and Family: Did I communicate love to [my spouse], children and the grandchildren today? How did I show love? Did they return it?

          Friends: Have I been a good friend this week? To whom? What did I do? Is there something else I need to do? Is there another friend who needs me?

          Inner Circle: Have I spent enough time with my key players? What can I do to help them be more successful? In what areas can I mentor them?

          God: Have I spent time with God? What is he teaching me now? Am I learning? Am I obeying? Have I continually talked to him today?

          Discoveries: What did I encounter today to which I need to give more thinking time? Are there lessons to be learned? Are there things to be done?

          Memories: Did I create a good memory for someone today? Was it because of a comment, an action, or a shared experience?

          Difficulties: What went wrong? Could I have changed it? What do I need to do differently next time?

      Successes: What went right? Did I create it? Is there a principle I can learn from the experience?

          People: Whom did I meet? What were my impressions?

          Conclusions: Have I closed my day appropriately? Have I expressed gratitude? Have I learned something, loved someone? Have I enjoyed and lived the day to the fullest?

Are the above questions helpful? You may add yours, or create different set of questions and methods to use in reflective thinking. Begin by creating general questions that can be used after any event, meeting or experience. Then create more specific questions related to your values and relationships. The main thing is to create questions that work for you, and write down any significant thought or insight that comes to you during the reflection time.

Before I conclude today’s post, please be reminded that though writing down the good thoughts that come out of your reflective thinking has value, nothing helps you grow than consciously putting your thoughts into action. Start setting out time for reflective thinking, stay away from distraction, ask yourself helpful questions and take prompt action.

I will love to read from you. Post your comment in the box below, or send me a mail (

How often do you engage in reflective thinking?
What impact does it have on you?

What questions do you ask when thinking reflectively?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Are You ‘Working Hard’ or ‘Working Smart’?

Earlier today, I read an article by David Leigh Weber – author of ‘My Life Has No Purpose’ – titled ‘You're Not Working Hard Enough!. Of course, the article portrayed an angle to the message i sent to some colleagues a few months back about working in relations to your unique strength.

I have – overtime – heard parents telling their children to work ‘hard’ and employers advising new employees on the need to work very ‘hard’. While I am not against the concept of working ‘hard’ (not hardwork), I have often stressed the need to work UNIQUELY. We all have our unique spots – some of us call it the strengths zones –; and you should work in the areas of such strengths, harnessing the uniqueness such strength convey and be the best YOU, you can be.

Working smart involves making the right moves at the right time with the right motive. Whatever you do, do it as if that’s the only thing you have to do in the world. Give it your best and ensure that value is added to others by what you do. Finally, learn from yourself and others, and have fun!

If working smart involves making the right moves at the right time with the right motive, have you been working smart?

Question: Are you working HARD enough, or UNIQUELY? What three steps should you take today to enhance your strengths? Share your comments at the comment section, and share with friends and colleagues.

-Aanu Damola Morenikeji
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