A dirty slap unfailingly greeted me every time I uttered, “Daddy, I don’t want to go to church.” The repercussions of skipping Sunday service extended beyond the church walls; it meant forfeiting a school day, even during crucial exam periods. Seeking liberation from this relentless routine, I took matters into my own hands and sat for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), deliberately choosing FUTO, a university strategically distanced from both my father and the church.
Years later, fueled by a desire to understand the significance of church service, I confronted my father. His response was unexpected: “I know you despise routines, but routines service your character; they remind you of your beliefs and strengthen your culture.” The mere term “service” in church gatherings suddenly took on a profound meaning – a ritualistic routine designed to reinforce character and cultural identity.
Church rituals, particularly the Holy Communion, may seem peculiar to outsiders. The act of sharing wine as a representation of drinking Christ’s blood and partaking of bread as a symbol of consuming his flesh constitutes a ritual. This may parallel the Amazonians mixing ashes with food, consumed with the belief that it aids the departed in finding peace within them. In Germany, the newlyweds’ tradition of breaking plates, followed by a joint cleanup, is rooted in the belief that it banishes evil spirits. These rituals, diverse as they may be, serve as tangible expressions of beliefs and cultural cohesion. It is a lesson that transcends religious contexts, holding valuable insights for businesses and professionals alike.
Every action requires a power source; cars have engines. For an engine to function optimally, regular servicing is imperative – a ritualistic routine that must be adhered to. The “Bonfire Principle” vividly illustrates the importance of a consistent supply of wood to sustain a burning fire. Similarly, success demands sacrifices and a set of predefined routines – rituals, if you will. Drawing a parallel to Nollywood movies featuring Kanayo O Kanayo and oracles, once a person receives success, there is an expectation of continuous sacrifices to maintain that success. The same principle applies across various domains of life.
Maintaining success necessitates the development of predefined routines or rituals. For some, this may involve activities like reading, praying, taking power naps amidst a hectic day, giving, making affirmations, mentoring, engaging in weekly fasts, or partaking in mental trance sessions. Others may find solace in yoga, regular exercise, or scheduled meetings with mentors. The key is to discover and establish a personalised ritual that aligns with one’s goals and aspirations.
Routines are inherently endless; they build character for individuals and culture for organisations. Every notable person, akin to a figure in a religious context, follows a routine that resembles a ritual. The question then becomes, what is your routine, your ritual, and how do you service it to ensure ongoing success?
Life, at its core, is about “Servicing and Growing.” Steven Covey, in his book, introduces a similar concept, which I would prefer to call the Productivity/Productivity Index (P/PC). It’s a straightforward formula where P represents Production, and PC stands for Production Capacity. This concept finds resonance in the story of the golden goose and the golden egg, although the original tale isn’t mine.
In the story, a struggling farmer discovers an egg made of pure gold in his goose’s nest. Initially regarding it as a joke, he gets it appraised only to find out that the golden egg is authentic. The goose consistently lays one golden egg every day, offering the farmer a substantial livelihood. However, driven by greed and the desire for more, the farmer believes there must be a literal goldmine inside the goose. He kills it, expecting to find numerous golden eggs. To his dismay, there are none, and having killed the goose, he forfeits any chance of future golden eggs. The moral of the story is clear – maintaining a P/PC balance is crucial.
Covey uses this tale to underscore the P/PC effectiveness equation. While many believe that increased production equates to greater effectiveness, Covey argues that “true effectiveness” is contingent on both what is produced (the golden eggs) and the entity producing it (the goose). Balancing production and production capability is vital for sustained success.
The metaphor extends to everyday life. Burning the midnight oil may yield short-term gains, but neglecting personal well-being jeopardises long-term success. Regular exercise, life/business coaching, dieting, and relaxation techniques contribute to a healthy P/PC balance. Even religious practices, such as attending services, play a role depending on individual beliefs. Consistency in these practices optimises overall productivity and well-being.
In essence, life and work require a delicate equilibrium. Balancing production and production capability ensures sustained success. Just as cars need maintenance for optimal performance, individuals and organisations must prioritise routines and rituals. Identifying and adhering to personalised rituals, whether rooted in religious practices or professional development, serves as an ongoing service to growth and productivity. Embracing the P/PC balance, much like the farmer attending to the golden goose, becomes a cornerstone for enduring success in the complex tapestry of life.