In 1975 a pharmaceutical company interviewed me for the position of marketing manager. During the interview, I brought out a copy of the Nigerian Journal of Pharmacy, the official organ of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), of which I was the editor. I explained to the manager that I was the editor of the journal and did not want to take up any job that would not allow me to continue editing the journal. If he accepted that, then I would work for the company. He hesitated and eventually said, “I can see you are very much committed to PSN and the journal.” “Yes,” I replied, “I promised to handle the journal and I don’t want to let the Society down.” I believe that the manager might have been thinking that this person who is so committed to working for what he is not paid should be the right person to be employed. A letter of appointment was quickly prepared for me. When you are committed to a cause, people and resources follow you.
The following year, I asked my boss for permission to travel to Monrovia, Liberia, for the inauguration of the West African Pharmaceutical Federation (WAPF) in October. He simply replied, “I know you’re committed to the PSN. You should go.” I earned his respect because of my commitment to something of interest to me.
The same commitment was passed on to my own publication when I started Pharmanews in 1979. Sometimes, I think that Pharmanews is even a reward for my dedication to the PSN journal. It is a spiritual law that if you take good care of other people’s business, God will provide you your own and also take care of it. Some employees willfully run down their employer’s business and drain the company, to accumulate capital for their own personal business. This is simply sowing a bad seed which will naturally produce bad fruits.
Commitment brings about concentration and concentration follows commitment. Look for the activities you give quality time, interest and devotion. You are committed to those activities and they will bring about remarkable results in your life and account for your success.
My understanding of concentration started in the chemistry laboratory in the secondary school. We were severely warned to be very careful with concentrated acids, especially sulphuric acid and hydrochloric acid used in experiments. You dare not allow ‘conc’ acid to drop on your skin or clothes, or you would experience a serious burn. Therefore, they were handled with utmost care. I have seen in the dailies people whose faces were burnt with concentrated acid, beyond recognition, by their spouses or friends. In such cases, plastic surgeons must perform as much restorative surgery as possible but the face can never be fully recovered. Concentration brings about a powerful result, good or bad.
Drinkers know the difference between spirits, wines and beer. Spirits contain alcohol between 20% and 70%; wines between 15% and 22%; while beer contains 3% and 10%. If you drink intoxicating drinks, as I used to do, you know how you feel and behave when you consume beer, wine or spirits at different occasions. The difference is just the concentration of alcohol. There is power in concentration. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Concentration is the secret of strength.”
If you want to think deeply, you need to focus and concentrate on the subject. Avoid distractions. Don’t scatter your thoughts. Charles F. Hannel said, “Thought is energy. Active thought is active energy; concentrated thought is a concentrated energy. Thought concentrated on a definite purpose becomes power.” The most successful people are those who have the habit of concentrating on a single thing at a time, instead of spreading their efforts over many areas.
The habit of concentration helps you to listen well and remember what you see and hear. Can any student who does not make serious efforts to concentrate during lectures ever hope to perform well in the exams?
One factor that promotes relationship is the ability to remember names of people. When someone introduces himself, pay attention to his name. If possible, relate the name immediately to what you can easily remember. Personally, I like to attach meanings to names or ask for the correct pronunciation or spelling. Asking someone more about his name shows you are interested in him. Such concentration on someone’s name assures you of a good memory for recalling names of people.
How do you feel when someone you met casually many years backremembers your name and pronounces it well? If you do so for other people, then you will not lack friends.
Do you exactly know what you want from life? Have you made a definite plan to achieve it? Then concentrate on your goals with great determination. Be committed. Vince Lombardi said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.”
I was at a gathering some months ago and someone strangerecognised me and came close to greet me. I looked at him with suspicion, knowing that fraudsters approach people pretending to be friends. He noticed my reaction and quickly said to me, “You will not remember me but I was in your office in Maryland sometime in 1980to discuss adverts in your magazine. Is that magazine still on?” I then relaxed and told him that Pharmanews is still very much alive.
He expressed surprise that I have been able to get it going all these years. Jokingly, I told him that is the only thing I know how to do. Andrew Carnegie once advised: “Put all your eggs in one basket. Then stand by to see that no one kicks the basket over.” This is devotion, commitment and concentration. Haruki Murakami said, “The power to concentrate is the most important thing. Living without this power would be like opening one’s eyes without seeing anything.”