Life Lessons From Van Damme & Volvo Trucks


By the time you’re through reading this and watching the 77 seconds video embedded within, over 10124 people would have been inspired to be the best at what they do.

It happened on November 16. As I logged unto the University of Internet to get my daily dose of inspirational education, I stumbled upon the 77 seconds video that Volvo Trucks did with Van Damme. I did not hesitate to click on the link and within one minute of watching it, I discovered that the teary gland in my eyes had resumed from their 5 month break; I was in tears.

Now, wait a minute before concluding that this Seun Akisanmi is too teary for your liking. You see, I’ve been on a recent journey to learn and digest as much information as possible that will help me in the pathway of destiny that has been set before me. Hence my reason for ensuring that I’m connected to an internet that will be a platform of continuous education for me. What stood out of the advert and jumped right into my face (hence causing the tears to burst out) was a lesson God had been impressing on my heart lately: the importance of being the best at what you do. Eventually if you’re diligent at harnessing the talents & gifts that has been entrusted into your life (and don’t you dare insult God by saying you don’t have any gifts/talents), eventually you will stand before kings and not mere men. Here was Van Damme, an actor that many of us have associated with martial arts fight scenes in movies in the 90s. What on earth is he doing associating himself with Volvo Trucks?

Apparently, there must have been a marketing meeting at Volvo trucks months ago when someone popped up a question: “Which brand can we associate our brand with that will ultimately help increase the sales of the latest edition of our trucks?” A few names popped up but Van Damme was concluded on for reasons only known to them. Perhaps it was because he happened to be one of the very few celebrity actors that could perform such a stunt. Perhaps because he doesn’t seem to have a notable stain on his image/brand. Either way, I’m sure Volvo Trucks is impressed at the amount of views the advertisement is getting now.

Consequently, I resolved to be consistent at whatever it is I’m doing now that many people might consider irrelevant (albeit they’re very relevant to my distant future). I resolve to keep writing, training and inspiring people to stand out and be the best at whatever they do (not just photography). Eventually, my seemingly tiny steps of dedication and commitment will get the attention and audience of the people/organization that matters. And although I might not be driving fine cars or using the latest photography gadgets now, theses steps of dedication will ultimately lead to me having to choose which company’s ambassadorship proposal I want to go with in 2020. It was almost as if all the years of practicing that particular stunt seems to be paying off for him now.

I was reminded of the poem I recited at a recently concluded Leadership Conference. I had written the poem (Corruption: Not an Option) approximately 9 years ago. I had even recited it about 5 times within the last 9 years. I eventually gave up on poetry because I felt it wasn’t bringing food to the table of my family of 4. After the recitation I did on November 6, I got a call from a gentleman who asked for my full name over the phone. He asked to see me in person and when I eventually saw him, I was thanked for being a blessing with the recitation and given an envelope that included a check that will put food on my family’s table for 6 months. YES, 6 months feeding allowance. In my heart I fainted when I saw the figure. I almost thought there must be a mistake somewhere. I was getting rewarded for a 5 minute poetry recitation (that took me 2 weeks to compose in October 2004) with an amount greater than what some wedding clients will pay eloPhotos for their wedding photography. I was shocked. I was in tears. And I was inspired to utilize to the greatest heights all the talents that has been entrusted within me.

And that is why I cried when I saw the Volvo Trucks commercial. I’ve watched it over 10 times in the last 3 days and each time, it moves me to inspirational tears. I will be the best at what I do. I will not just walk past on the sandy path of life, I will make a mark. I will not just be a photographer, father, friend, cinematographer, poet or son….I WILL ADD the word “INSPIRATIONAL” to all those roles. Enough of my babbling. Watch the video.

 

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A Day in My Life in 2020: Sotunde Olajide


I think I can remember some of those times in class when our teachers would ask us, ‘What would you like to be when you grow up?’. Our responses were usually like, ‘I would like to be a lawyer, I would like to be a medical doctor, pilot, nurse, engineer, police’ and so on. Very few ones would choose a less attractive profession. In few cases would you hear professions like ‘teacher, civil servant’ etc, and the reason would be that, the parents of those that would choose such professions were actually in the profession. Well, some of us did become what we wished to become and some, a twisted fate, which was either as a result of our actions, or unforeseen circumstances.

I’m sure you are wondering what my own wish then was, or used to be. Well, I used to consider the Law profession, in actual fact that was what I wanted but deep inside me, being an artist was more of it. I was allocated a specific time for personal studies in the evening but while my guardians would think I was studying to become a lawyer, I would actually be making a lot of sketches from comic books, and every other attractive picture I could lay my hands on. With that, I was deriving pleasure and satisfaction in being young and reckless. I never thought I needed to give it a lot more to realize this dream. Well, all that is in the past now, I am a photographer in the present and we are looking at the future which brings us to the main discussion; where I see myself in the year 2020.

Well, its always good when you have these kind of discussions, in the sense that it ‘gingers’ you or wakes you up from your slumber. The first time I saw a documentary on Kelechi Amadi-Obi whom till present is a renown photographer and an artist, I found yet another  reason to rekindle my love for art and a better reason to be whom I have always loved to be; an artist or to be more precise, a ‘photo artist’.

In the nearest future, say in 2014, I see myself having my own photography studio somewhere in Lagos. I would employ people whom together, we would be working to actualize our dreams. Also, I would be striving harder, exploring all there is in the world of photography and art in the pursuit of actualizing my dream of being a renown ‘photo artist.’ In two to four years or so, I should have been well established in business and so, move to the next plan which is having my own gallery.

By 2016 or 2017, I think I would have prepared a good ground for having a world class/standard gallery, especially when I probably would have got all the support I could from my boss Seun Akisanmi, and the bosses I am yet to have, (Kelechi Amadi-Obi and the rest. Don’t get it twisted, I mean support in terms of ‘how to’), I think I wouldn’t have any problem in that area. By then also, I should have had connections with a lot of world class models whom I would have met everywhere in and outside the country. Oh! I forgot to mention that I would have traveled abroad in a quest to gain more knowledge on how to be a good ‘photo artist’ so don’t worry; if you are a model or are planning to be, we might work together soon.

Then by 2018, I would be thinking of how to expand my coast. I would have had photo studios located in Lagos, Abuja, Calabar, Kano and Jos too. By this time I should be in UK or USA trying to see how I can establish businesses in those places also or may be would have. Let me also mention that my investments will also cover sales and rentage of photography equipment such as professional cameras, lenses, lights, photo papers and ribbons etc. By 2020, I should be participating in photo exhibitions alongside the Kelechi Amadi-Obis and Seun Akisanmis, and by then also, you all would be having my piece hanging on the walls of your homes and offices, so help me God.

 

A Day in My Life in 2020: Awosanmi Emmanuel


It is Wednesday May 27, 2020.

I am Awosanmi Oluwadamilare Emmanuel by name. I am a photographer, a part-time teacher of chemistry and a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I got out of bed this morning at 5:00am after my alarm went off. I gave my favourite (my wife), a good morning kiss as she turned and asked “is it morning already?” Yes it is, I replied.

I went into the children’s room to wake them up. And together, the twins (a boy and a girl) and I went into the living room where their mother is already waiting to begin the worship session for the day’s devotion. This is my family altar where the day of the family is committed into God’s hands. The morning devotion lasted for about 30 minutes.

In my living room is a set of leather sofas, a dinning set, a mini bar, a book shelf with about 523 books, a television set and a sound system. The floor is tiled, the walls painted with patterns of cream and brown colours. Hung on the wall are collections of frames from my wedding, works of arts and other photo crafts to add to the beauty of the house.

My Favourite went with the twins to have them bathe, while I also went into my bathroom to brush my teeth and have my bath. In my bathroom, is a shower with a thermostat that allows me to choose the temperature of water I wanted, a relatively large container normally called a bathtub, a flush toilet which is water-efficient, a wash-hand basin, an electronic deodorizer, a medium size mirror, and a trash can.

Getting out of the bathroom, I put on my clothing for the day (among others for the week) which had already been selected and ironed from the previous week. Within 15 minutes, I was ready and by now my Favourite is in the kitchen packing up the breakfast for the Twins and I.

My kitchen is spacious enough to accommodate the two-door freezer, a microwave oven, an electric-gas cooker, cabinets for plates, pots, cutleries, and a double-sink basin. By 6:30am, I was by my car, a Toyota Sienna 2015, limited model. My favourite came out to the garage to hand over my breakfast as she went back in to help the kids get ready for their school bus arrival.

I drove out of my two bedroom flat apartment in Ikorodu at exactly 6:45am. I headed for the Institution where I would be teaching two classes apart from the three hours practical sessions I would be taking. I got to the Institute premises 20 minutes later, as my first period begins at 8am. Gone are those days when traffic used to be hectic along Ikorodu road.

Being a Wednesday, my classes were over by 12 noon. After spending few minutes with colleagues, I decided to return home. Getting into my car, I called a portrait client to remind her of the appointment scheduled for 7 pm in the evening as she had informed me few days earlier to give her a call by 1:00pm in order to confirm her availability.

On my way home, I decided to visit my wife’s boutique. She was glad I could stop by being over a week that I had time to do so. My wife’s boutique business is a unisex fashion store large enough for both adult and young, with four assistants helping her in the running of the business.

In the store are well-arranged and hung cloths, ties, tuxedo suits and shoes for men to the left, ladies wears, bags, shoes and jewelries were arranged to the right side of the store while the center was separated for children only. It is a place to shop for the family’s clothing.

Right from the entrance, the scenery was inviting. There are times I hear people talk about the boutique not knowing that it is my wife’s. They talk of the beauty they see from outside to the inside of it. Each time I walk into the place, I feel overwhelmed at the daily organizations, improvements and implementations put in place by my wife. There is always something new and unique.

By 2:30pm, I was at home. I had a snack for lunch while I relaxed for few minutes. I then decided to work on my computer system to edit some images from my last event which would be due for delivery in 7 days time. Editing is much more fun and easy to do these days with the new software in use compared to 2013 when I just started out in Photography.

That reminds me, today marks exactly 7 years I started the journey of photography that has transformed my life, with Mr Seun Akisanmi of eloPhotos, my number one mentor and still my mentor. Waoh! How time flies. I have got to call Ronke and Tayo to remind them of today. Perhaps, we could make out time to go celebrate him this weekend.

I almost got lost in my thought of eloPhotos and all that weird colleagues of mine and activities we engaged in during those times. Snapping out of my thought, I whispered thank you Lord Jesus. I have been on the system for about three hours now, editing. Suddenly, my phone began to vibrate. It is my wife calling to inform me of her soon arrival and that of the twins from School.

With the kids returning, I had to round up my editing and pack up the system. Both the twins and their mother returned home just few minutes apart. I checked my clock, it is 6:00pm. Great! My wife then asked if I would not be going for the appointment again? I replied, that I am. And with her persuasion, I headed for the client’s residence immediately, which is about twenty minutes drive away.

The client (whom I needed to show my works and also to give her a brief for the package of photography she requested for) works with a multinational company while her husband is a pilot. Getting to her place, the building in front of me is an edifice. Getting into the apartment is another story entirely. In summary, it is a well finished and furnished apartment. Many I have seen, but this is unique.

I was welcomed with a chilled soft drink but I requested for water instead. I was asked to have a sit as she requested for few minutes in order to inform her husband of my presence. The time I spent with them was short, as the negotiation period was fast to come to an agreement upon a charge. At the end of the brief, I was given some N10,000 to fuel my car back home. The experience reminded me of my colleagues, Ronke & Damilola, 7 years earlier.

Getting back home at 8:15pm, I met my wife in the living room with the twins fast asleep. We had the night prayers, after which I carried the twins into their room, tucked them in bed and gave them a good night kiss. I returned to the living room to have some chat with my favourite, discussing about the activities of the day. Soon, I realized she had started sleeping. So I asked her to go to bed and sleep while I remained to continue my editing from where I stopped earlier in the day.

What! 2:00am? It is a new day already. I got to go to bed now. Getting into the room, I met my Favourite coming out of the bathroom; she asked, is it morning already? I replied, oh! no, it is just 2:00am dear, as she lay back on the bed. I lay beside her and off to dreamland I went.