Barack Obama and I

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Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

On Monday the 4th of August, 2008. Barack Hussein Obama and I will be celebrating our birthdays :). He is older by 16yrs.

While I have had it in mind to post an article titled Barack Obama and I for a while, I have not given much thought to what the content of the article will be. Haven thought about it now though, I believe there is a lot I can learn from Obama, with 16yrs ahead of me, and  an enviable present, there is a lot that I can learn from him, and there is a lot you can learn too.

1. Your background is not the reason why your back is on the ground.

Barack Obama did not have the most fantastic of backgrounds. His parents seperated and finally divorced when he was age 2, his father was able to return from Kenya on a visit before dying from a car accident in 1982. He lived in a Honolulu with his maternal grandparents, in Indonesia with his step father. Black Kenyan decent, Indonesian step father, these do not sound like the background of a now formidable presidential candidate. I don’t have great backgrounds as well, and like Obama, I’m ensuring that my back doesn’t stay to the ground!

2. Show up for the big fights

The contest between Obama and Clinton was that of an underdog against an established and formidable force. It’s the fight between a David and a Goliath. Big fights come for everyone, some of us run away out of fear, some of us stay and fight. It’s the big fights that you stay for that will bring you to prominence. Never run away from big challenges, problems and issues. Face them, and seek solutions. When on account of God’s name, a 13yr old shepherd boy decides to face an unchallengeable and undefeated Goliath, history is about to be made. Listen out for that problem they say is bigger than you, make sure it’s for a good course and stay and fight. Today I’m regularly picking up fights bigger than me. Maybe in 16yrs time I also can campain for president of Africa 🙂

3. Leverage on the Internet

Obama leveraged on the internet to clinche the Democratic Parties ticket. Obama was able to break records in the amount of money he raised for his campaign – $58m in 6months ahead of primaries and $36.8m in one month in 2008. He started a blog, became popular online, raised money for his campaign all on the wings of the internet. I’m currently doing the same thing, maybe in another 16yrs, I’ll have perfected the art. What about you? Are you living like the internet is useful, or you are merely using it for checking mails and chatting on facebook? The internet is your own private PR tool, leverage on it. The world is now flat… but to someoene who doesn’t use the power of the internet, it’s not.

4. He didn’t just arrive, he had a history of doing good.

Many of us think, when I become this or that, i will do this and that. Don’t wait until you become, look for opportunities to do good today. His profile shows that he’s been on the board of a number of foundations and sponsored a number of positive initiatives. What are you doing? Are you a part of NNC? Are you volounteering to lead? Are you participating in anything that can become useful in the future as some history? Dont’ just arrive, get your story rolling.

Yeah, so Barack Obama and Adeolu Akinyemi, are celebrating their birthday’s tomorrow, take this as an invitation to join us. Join us, not for just the day, but for the journery. Get your back off the ground, show up for big fights, Leverage on the Internet and Don’t just arrive!


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