Excerpt for Living A First Class Life by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



ENDORSEMENTS


"Living a first class life with a third class degree is not only possible, it can become your reality if you take the instructions in this book very seriously. They are highly motivating and encouraging. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to reposition for greatness in spite of past failures."

Godman Akinlabi



Despite the known fact that our academic qualification is not the truest test of our potentials, society still defines and appraises our capacity to perform and achieve success in life based on the class of degree on a certificate. Hence a lot of us live life, way below average in comparison to the calibre of our inert gifts and aptitudes. I agree with Sam. O. Salau that there is more to this complex phenomenon called life, than the class of degree we exit the university with, and Sam proves that irrespective of one's graduating class of degree, one can live a first class life and achieve outstanding success in every facet of life. This book is loaded with powerful insights, life changing strategies, inspiring stories and scripture references to enable anyone to become all they want to be. His engaging and down-to-earth style of passing his message across drives his points directly home. Don't just read this book, imbibe the lessons and take massive action.

Niyi Adesanya






Dedication




To every one

who desires

to live a

first class life









INTRODUCTION

Everyone who moves around with a third class certificate has the potentials to live a first-class life. This is what this book is all about, learning to live a first class life with a third class certificate. I am not too bothered that you have failed in school. My concern is how you can bounce back and become someone to reckon with in life, even with your third-class certificate.


Truly you have failed, but this is not the worst of your failure. You have failed several times before now, and have successfully bounced back effortlessly. You may not remember this, but I do vividly.


The very first time you tried walking as a baby, you fell flat on your face, not once, not twice, but you rose up again, and tried it a few more times, until you learnt the act perfectly. Today, you walk about without giving it a thought, as though you had never failed in walking before.


The very first time you tried to swim, you almost drowned; thanks to God for the lifesavers around you then, you would have lost your life untimely and would have been buried and long forgotten. Today, you swim as though it is a natural thing to do. You can even dare a swimming competition, just because you are sure of how good you are at it, without remembering you had failed in it before.


The very first time you learnt to drive, with a big bold red color letter ‘L’ on a white cardboard pasted both in front and at the back of your car, you mistakenly matched the brake instead of the clutch, took the turtle for the brake, and almost hit the wall, but for your driving-lesson tutor beside you. You wondered then if you would ever really know how to drive a car because of the constant mistakes you were making during the driving lessons. All those are stories now! You can drive fifty kilometers without any difficulty. You are now an expert at driving, a skill you once taught you would never know.


These are just a few of your numerous records of failures in times past. However, you have been able to cross over from the boundary of failure to the side of success in the same ventures that sometimes ago seemed you really would not be able to find a way around. The same factors that worked for you then, can still work for you now, irrespective of who, or what is against you, third-class degree notwithstanding!


It is not very unusual to fail in your first attempt at something. Since this is your first attempt at getting an academic degree, your failure is not something to kill yourself over. Do not worry about this failure. You have not yet committed an unpardonable sin by failing. You have bounced back at other times you failed before now. So, I am very certain that you will bounce back this time too, if you can only do the right thing.


This book, LIVING A FIRST-CLASS LIFE WITH A THIRD-CLASS RESULT, is not to blame you of your failure, but to let you know that you can bounce back again, and teach you the ‘how to’, until you become the talk-of-the-town.


It is possible! You can still live a first-class life, even with your third-class result, if you are willing to do what I am about to show you. Others have done it before, and you also can.

Happy reading

Sam. O. Salau

(Africa’s Leading Author on Campus Issues)













CHAPTER ONE

YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU GOT

This statement, coming at a time like this, is not intended to make you sad or make you feel worse than you are presently. It is a statement of fact. Irrespective of how you feel about it, the truth must be told; YOU INDEED DESERVE WHAT YOU GOT.


You got a third-class result because you deserve a third-class result, or better put, you worked for a third-class result. In all labour, there is profit, so says the Holy Book. If your labour was worth a first-class result, you would have gotten one. Accept the fact, it is needless to fight it now; what you laboured for was what you got.


A number of reasons may be responsible for this. You may indeed have all the excuses tenable in the world and acceptable to the heavens why you got a third-class result. It does not still change the fact that you have graduated with a third class, and that you deserve it.


Some of the reasons may be that –

- A particular lecturer did not like your face on campus, and so influenced your results negatively.

- You were sick during the final exams and so could not concentrate fully in the examination hall.

- You did not have enough funds like some of your classmates to bribe the corrupt lecturers on your campus and so could not get the additional marks that some of your mates bought.

- You could not afford to buy the necessary study materials, you only had to manage your class-notes and the limited materials you had access to, and this affected your performance in the examination hall.

- You had some serious challenges from the home front which debarred you from giving your academics all it needed.

- Examination questions came from chapters you did not consider important enough to read. To your detriment, the examiner intentionally decided not to set questions from the part of your note that you have read inside out.

- The Examination Invigilators were too strict. They did not allow you to execute your carefully laid out plans in the examination hall. No talking, no shaking, no exchange of scripts, no looking sideways, no moving around, ... ... .... the rules were just too much.

- This year’s Examination Marking Scheme was too tough. It was worse than last year’s. If you were assessed based on the previous year’s scheme, you would have fared better.

- The Examiners were not lenient with questions. The questions were not only too much but also too tough. There was no way anyone could have answered them all in the given time.

- Your heartthrob broke your heart just before the examination, and this was a serious distraction to your preparation for the examination.

- You had a weighty spiritual problem that needed urgent attention but you could not spare out time to address this before the examination started.

- Your background affected you. Your parents never appreciated education. They do not even know the difference between a first class and a third class since they did not attend a higher institution themselves. Therefore, they could not encourage you enough.

- You had other important things doing that took much of your time. You were a sportsman on campus. You were into campus politics. You were doing serious money-making business on campus. You were too involved in religious activities in school. etc.

- Your parents were not fully supportive. There was nothing you ever requested from them that they gave to you when you needed it.

- You had a serious financial crisis during the examination.

- You were not cut out for school. You were forced into it. You would have done something more important with your time if allowed.

- Luck was against you.


All of these excuses are irrelevant and not needed again. Excuses are self made imprisonment. Do not imprison yourself with one. What matters now is to face the truth squarely - you have failed in school; and you failed because you deserved to fail.


Left to you, you really think you tried your best!

- You did all of your assignments and submitted them at the required time.

- You did all the experiments you were supposed to do in the laboratory and wrote your report on time.

- You attended all of the lectures and practical sessions required of you.

- You read all of your notes for the tests and prepared well ahead for the exams.

- You even attended tutorials organized by your classmates, extra-moral classes by the lecturers, and borrowed study materials both from friends and from the school library.


You did your very best, and you expected a more brilliant result than this. But the expected result never materialized. The reason is simple; your best was not enough to sail you through the torrent of the examination storms. You worked as hard as you could, but things did not just go as planned.


You really think some of your classmates deserved to fail because they did not put in as much effort as you did; but not you. Your case was different; you tried your best. Sad to think, those whom you think deserved to fail woefully ended up performing far better than you did. They did not prepare well enough, but they passed. And you cannot still explain why, of everyone in your class, you should fail!


The truth is that you are the only one who thinks you have offered your best; your lecturers think otherwise, the examiners think otherwise, the invigilators think otherwise, the school authority thinks otherwise.


Your opinion, no matter how hard you hold on to it, does not count in the face of so many expert criticisms. So, they can only be right, and you can only be wrong; you deserve what you got.


Admit your failure. Trying to pretend you got better grades will not help you. It is self deception of the highest order. Tell yourself that you have failed from the higher institution because you graduated with a third-class degree. Say it to yourself a thousand and one times until it sinks into your subconscious. This will help you to face the reality and do what you really need to do.


It will not make too much sense wasting your precious energy trying to cover up the failure. It will not work. Face the facts; admit your failure. Do not pretend to be what you are not. Putting on a Superman’s garment does not enable you to fly; it only gives you an overblown assessment of yourself.


A wolf in a sheep’s clothing is still a wolf. A third-class graduate pretending to be a first-class graduate is still a third-class graduate, no matter how hard he pretends. Do not claim to be what you are not; you have failed from school, and there is no use denying the fact. It is even already too late to change the situation; you are already a third-class graduate. So the earlier you get use to it, the better for you.


This is not to say you need to start broadcasting round the whole school or your neighbourhood that you have failed again; there is not much wisdom in this. Just be yourself and let things happen whichever way life has planned it. Do not try to hide the fact or overprotect it. Let nature take its natural course.



DO NOT EXPECT TO BE CELEBRATED

Since most people around you do not believe you deserve much more than you got, do not expect them to sympathize with you as much as you desire. They will not celebrate your failure simply because you think you tried your best. This may, or rather, this will, in most cases, never happen. Let not your expectation be too high, people do not celebrate failures, no matter how close you are to them, and irrespective of the excuse you have for the failure!


No one will cheer you up for graduating with a third-class grade. If you expect to be cheered, you are expecting too much, and your expectation will certainly be cut short. This is just natural. People do not cheer up those who fail. Only the man who wins gets the accolade.


None will celebrate you for failing:

- Not your parents, all the money they spent on you is now wasted; at least, that is how it looks to them.

- Not your lecturers, you made them look as though they do not know how to teach. You would have been their pride if you have shown to the world that their student is a genius.

- Not your classmates who expected you to be smarter than you proved to be. If anybody should fail, it should not be you. They knew how they went about it and expect that you also should know how to go about it if you know your ability is not adequate.

- Also, not your younger ones, you did not set a good example for them to follow, and they cannot boast of you in the midst of their own friends.

- In fact, not your friends, they are highly disappointed in you. They expected far much more.

- Definitely not your senior ones who will never understand why you have to go for a third-class grade when there are better options, especially if you are the first in the family to get that low.


Your parents may become mad at you. They may withhold some rightful privileges from you. Take it in good faith. It would not have been so if you had done better than this. That is their best way of expressing their displeasure to you.


It will be rather unfair of you to expect them to rally round you in jubilation of your third-class grade as though it were a first-class. They are disappointed in you and they have a right to express their opinion the best way they feel they can. They have a right to their emotions.


So, do not try to pick quarrels with anyone who does not identify with you in your woes. You will do worse if you were in their shoes. This period is like a trying moment for you and you will need to brace up to face the challenges.


You may even be unlucky enough to have around you people who naturally rejoice greatly at the failure of others. There is nothing you can do about them. You can only be yourself, learn the best from where you are today, and pray for a better life tomorrow to prove to them that you are indeed not what they think you are, life was just playing a trick on you.


Since you deserve what you got, you need not blow your head off because of what you got. It is too late to cry over spilled milk. Lamenting alone will not help you at this moment. It will not take you any further than where you are.


You may see others in your shoes grieving uncontrollably when they remember the time, energy and resources they had wasted in pursuing the academic degree. However, shedding tears, either genuinely or in pretence (so as to gain others’ sympathy) is not the solution to the problem at hand. It will only help you waste more time, energy and resources.


Contrary to what you think, the past few years you spent in school is not wasted. The essence of going to school is not necessarily to graduate with good grades alone, although this is an essential part of it because of the community we live in.


If you view the essence of going to school from the perspective of merely graduating with an excellent result alone, you will see yourself as a failure. Going to school is much more than that.


What you learn from school is beyond the academic qualifications alone. There are other benefits you get from going to school. Some of these are:

1. You learn basic fundamentals of different teachings and various skills.

2. It enables you to make more effective use of your mind.

3. You learn good communication skills.

4. You learn how to relate and live with other people who have different beliefs and ideas.

5. Lastly, being a student helps you to be self-disciplined and behave more maturely.


If you view going to school in this light, you will agree that the past few years are not wasted years. You may not see the benefits now, but they are like investments made into the future. When the time comes, you will really appreciate God for letting you have the experience of going to school. It will give you a serious edge over others who have never been to school, open many doors of opportunities to you, and give you a better placement in life in whatever field you finally decide to settle down to.



BLAME NO ONE

The greatest temptation at this point is to begin to look for whom to blame for your predicament. This is very common among students facing the challenges you are presently confronted with. When they perform well in an examination, they acclaim the glory to themselves by saying ‘I passed the examination’. However if they fail, they attribute the failure to the examiner, ‘The lecturer failed me’.


Do not fall for it. Do not blame anyone else for your failure. The problem is with you and until you discover it you will not move forward. The lecturer did not fail you; you failed yourself, irrespective of what your excuse is for failing. To justify blaming your lecturers for your academic failure, you can as well credit them for your success in the exams.


Every student who has ever failed has excuses for his failures. These excuses are the boundary between them and their success.


Whatever excuse you have, you cannot be excused. You have failed in school, and you need to look for what you need to do early enough so as to do better in life. That is all that matters now!


You cannot blame your lecturer; if you were the best student in your class you would have still passed even if he hated you much more. It is your weak points that your lecturer capitalized on in order to fail you. No one can make a failure of you unless you cooperate with him. You have cooperated with him by not preparing adequately.


You cannot blame your failure on your background. There are people with worse backgrounds but with better results. Your progress in life is not determined by your background but by what you do despite the background.


You cannot blame it on the lack of relevant study materials. If you do not have enough funds to buy textbooks, you could have borrowed copies from friends or from the school library.


And if you had other things doing that took your time, you could have planned your time more properly.


You are indeed inexcusable. Every other factor notwithstanding, you are responsible for your failure. The earlier you accept this fact, the better for you.


However, although you have failed this once, you are not yet a failure. Men are not regarded as failures until they admit it themselves, and the first signal to show they have admitted failure is that they start blaming someone else for their actions. The moment you begin to look for who to blame for your failure, you are already becoming one.


Irrespective of the cause of your failure, always remember that, those who designed the failures of yesterday are not in control of the success of tomorrow. So, sit up, take the blame, learn the lesson, and make progress.



GOD IS NOT DISSAPOINTED IN YOU

Know this for sure; nothing catches God unawares. Whatever happens, He knows about it. Sad as this may sound; God knew afore-hand that you may not fare better than you did, and He is prepared ahead of time to help you sail through it successfully. He is not disappointed in you.


Your parents may not be too happy with your result, considering how much they had spent to see you go through school successfully. It may also not go down too well with your siblings whose expectations had been cut shot. Your friends might be too ashamed to still identify with you; but God is not disappointed in you.


God looks at things in a different light than man does. This is because man is easily impressed by the wrong things in life, neglecting the things that matters.


God does not view people the way others see them. He sees them in a different perspective. Man saw Moses as a murderer but God saw in him a deliverer. Jacob was called a supplanter but God saw a prince. Abraham was termed barren but God saw the father of many nations. Rahab was a good-for-nothing prostitute but God saw in her the great grandmother of the Saviour. Whatever they have said about you is their opinion. God’s opinion still stands.


Men may write you off, but God will not: It is not in His nature: Adam and Eve failed God’s maiden exam on obedience in the Garden of Eden and could have easily been written off by God. However, the whole Bible is a record of God’s plan and effort to reverse that failure; that is God for you. He looks beyond the present into the future in order to correct the mistakes of the past. Be sure that He is already working out something in your favour too.


Nothing happens by chance to us; God has a pre-knowledge of all that we will ever go through. He may not be responsible for them though; the unpalatable circumstance may be as a result of our negligence, nonchalance or carefree attitude, but God can still work around those circumstances so that His purpose will be achieved through them.


It really does not matter what your grade is to God, first class or third class. He loves you anyway. He does not use your degree in school to determine His decree in your life. He is still interested in you and what you become, irrespective of who is not! He is interested in everything that concerns you. You are the apple of His eye! He said your face is even tattooed on the palms of His hand! So, He can neither neglect you nor forget about you.


Only God can eternally write off a man as a failure. But He has not written you off yet. So, why believe what a mortal man like you has said about you. Whatever any man says is his opinion, and everyone has a right to his own opinion. Let it not over-bother you.


No one knows your destiny perfectly like God. Therefore let no one fit you into another man’s mould. No one was there when God was commissioning you into the world. So, no one has a say over your life. Only His word will stand in your life, if you are willing to permit it.



BE FRIENDLY

You do not have to be moody everywhere you go. Many people just focus on the problems they are passing through, that they miss the opportunity to meet the wonderful people and great benefits they see everywhere they go which God has prepared to lift them up from their present position to the next level.


Being unfriendly, they miss their saviour; they miss the angel God sent to them to help them from their predicament. Make friends daily. Do not be ashamed to meet people because of your academic qualifications. It is not in the qualification, it is in what you have to offer.


Grab every opportunity to build fresh relationships, especially with those who desires to live a first class life like yourself and not just with anybody.


Do the little things that will attract others to you. Smile, you have no cause to frown; failing in school does not mean failing in life. Dress neatly, you are not mourning; only those who are mourning wears sack cloth. Spray some perfume, it puts you in a better mood; and you really need to be in a better mood for better thoughts to flow through your mind.


Say hello first, make the effort to be friendly. You do not know what God has in stock for you through the other person. He may be the angel you have been praying for. The more you concentrate on your academic result, the more insecure you will become. To get the confidence you need, look beyond the certificate.


The worst set of people to have around you now is the set that criticize every one of your moves and remind you of your past failure. Surround yourself with men who believe in you. This is not the time to start forming a pity-party. What you need now is more of people who believe in your ability. Anything else will rub off your self-esteem and your faith in yourself. Always have around you those who will encourage you, cheer you up, celebrate your ideas and contribute to your progress. These will make life more adventurous and rewarding for you.


FIGHT EVIL THOUGHTS

Guard your mind; let it not wander aimlessly in circles. Define its boundary. Constantly resist and rebuke every thought that:

(1) Portrays unreasonable anxiety about tomorrow,

(2) Envy those who did better than you,

(3) Paints hopelessness about your present circumstance,

(4) Brings guilt about your past errors,

(5) Creates depression and fear of what the future holds,

(6) Produces bitterness towards those you feel are responsible for your predicament.


Refuse to identify with all the lies the devil may want to feed you with. Lies like,

‘You are good for nothing’;

‘You have jeopardized your future’;

‘Nothing good can come your way again since you did not make a first-class’;

‘Your life is ruined’;

‘You are in a real mess ‘.


All these are lies from the pit of hell. He only wants to take over your mind, do not allow him. Purify your thought. Do not permit any futile or foolish thought to take charge of you around this time of your life.


If you allow these negative emotions to overwhelm you, your life will experience more retrogression, and will finally be brought to a halt sooner than you envisaged. Do not put yourself under such bondage.


Such overly sensitive thoughts about the issue at hand will end up creating a feeling of great insecurity which makes your weaknesses become more pronounced than your strength. Once your weakness becomes more pronounced than your strength, your doom looms.


This is because whatever dominates your mind dictates your actions. Whatever dictates your actions controls your life. Whatever controls your life determines your final end. So, do not listen to the thoughts that bring you fear, worry, and insecurity. Those are not from God. Constant allowance of such thoughts will erode your self-confidence.


This is neither the time to lose your head nor the time to lose your faith in God. If all you do is get anxious and get worried, it will demoralize you the more, and at this stage, that may be detrimental to your health. You may even begin to contemplate on engaging in some nasty actions like suicide attempt simply because you are focusing on the wrong things.


Graduating with a third-class is not the end of the world. Why will you want to end your life because of that? It has not gotten to that yet; there is still more to life than a degree from the higher institution. Thousands there are who did not even have the opportunity to go to a higher institution in the first place. What then should those ones do? Do not let the devil take advantage of a simple mistake you made on campus to destroy your glorious future by ending your life untimely. Consciously labour to resist such thoughts.


A wise man once said “you cannot stop birds from flying over your heads, but you can stop them from perching on your head”. You may not be able to completely stop such thoughts from crossing your mind once in a while, especially at a time like this, but you can refuse to entertain them, resisting them with all force.


Do not be deceived; the past or the immediate is not the ultimate. What lies ahead is far greater than what has gone behind. Just be prepared to fight it out.


Rather than think about what has happened in the past, think about your future. Let your thought dwell more on where you are going and what you will need to get there, and not where you are coming from. That way, you will live a more rewarding life.


The Holy Bible encourages that we should take everyone of such thoughts captive. You will find this instruction handy at a time like this. Each time you are tempted to give in to them, summon enough courage to resist them.


Only entertain thoughts that build up and not tear down. Fill your heart afresh each day with words of encouragement. Fill up your mind with thoughts, words, musicals, videos and images that will build up your confidence again. Watch programs and read books that will boost your self-image. All these and many more will help put your life back on the right track.



























CHAPTER TWO

THIRD-CLASS MATERIALS

Everyone who has ever passed through school knows that academic examination is not a true test of one’s entire potential ability; it only favours those with great academic strength. If academic is not one of your very strong points, you really should have prepared your mind afore-hand for what to expect from the finals of your examination in school.


There is no problem believing God that a miracle which will shoot up your G.P from where it used to be to the desired height will happen after the final year examinations. However, if the miracle does not happen as you desire it, you need not break your neck mourning. Accept it in good faith.


At this juncture of your life, what you need to do is to sit down and redefine your definition of success. What does it mean to be successful?


Succeeding in school is not the same as succeeding in life; likewise, failing out of school does not necessarily mean you have failed in life. A pass mark in school does not guarantee a pass mark in life, and a failure in the first does not also guarantee a failure in the other. You may have passed out with a third-class result now, but this does not make you a third-class material for life.


Every student is a first-class material, only that the field in which they excel differs. Those who excel in academic work are easily noticed and awarded first-class earlier than others. But this is not to say others cannot excel in other fields.


You also can excel as a first-class material in some other fields other than academic. So, do not let anyone write you off as a useless third-class material. You carry some value. You have some worth. You are important. You have in you what will make other first-class materials in the academic field bow down for your ingenuity. God has ensured that, and it is left to you to discover it.


Today in your school, those who have first-class in academic works are being celebrated. But time will tell. In not many days from now, if you do what is expected of you, you also will be celebrated as a first-class material. It though may not be in the academic field, it may be in the entertainment, medical, pharmaceutical, production, sport, power, politics, or any other sector. When the time comes, those who look down on you today for graduating with a third-class will bless God for your life, and will be proud to identify with you.


This is the sincere truth, making a first-class in school is quite different from making a first-class in life. The former is easier than the latter. All it takes to get a first-class in school is being smart enough to reproduce verbatim in the exam hall what your lecturers told you in the lecture hall.


However, making a first-class in life requires much more. It takes more discipline, dedication, diligence, commitment, focus and lots more to make a first-class in the real examination of life. This is why many who graduated with third-class in school always cross over the boundary to make first-class in life before their death and very few of those who graduated with first-class from the higher institutions really have something significant to offer their generation at the end of their life. They believe they can always have it as easy as they had it in school. What a mistake!



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