Lessons for 3 Friends: 2014 Resolutions to follow

by Atim Annette Oton


The last few weeks of 2013, I decided to write a series of advice posts to 3 friends of mine who spent 2013 in some state of crisis and used fear as their main operator. These 12 posts are simple pieces of advice and may hit some nerves in others who are also experiencing this. I decided to capture the thoughts on my blog as a way to teach and advice others besides my 3 friends. Some of the advice will tear at you, so be warned as I don’t mince words.


Lessons for 3 friends, # 1:

  • You plan to move overseas, and 5 years of fear and timid action, still no move. Then an opportunity appears and you ask to be selected, then you are. You sabotage it and try to kill the messenger. Now, it’s year 6. #Opportunities do not come by twice.

Lessons for 3 friends, # 2:

  • You say you want to change, then you get the help to change and proceed to hold on to your way, frustrate the helper, drive them nuts and go unto sabotage yourself. #Change happens when you give up your way and try something different. Fear cages you.

Lesson for 3 friends, # 3:

  • Personal crisis happen to you. You avoid therapy and are sinking. Fear and avoidance rules you even when you walk by people, they sense it. Your friends stage an intervention and you blame them and not listen to what is being said. You are still sinking and avoidance is no solution. #You don’t have to fall apart before you make change, it’s easier to catch yourself before you bury yourself.

Lessons for 3 friends, # 4

  • Traveling every year to your dream place and saying you are really planning the move is lying to yourself. People who plan moves act on it. They take a risk, jump in and just do. Your fear, caution and over planning means nothing will happen. You are caught in a spin cycle. Now, you have five years of spinning procrastination and a dream is delayed. #Procrastinators dream, doers dream and do.

Lessons for 3 friends, # 5:

  • Your habit of never finishing anything and never meeting a deadline will not change unless you abandon your way of work. Holding unto work methods that end up in failure is not change but resigned defeat. Simply, you are prepared to defeat your intentions everytime. #Change happens when you give up your way and try something different. Fear breeds deep in you.

Lesson for 3 friends, #6:

  • Your Personal crisis has made you big on avoidance and you try to pull the wool over your face to other. Nope, you are hiding the truth from yourself and not others. Remember, you are hurting yourself and not others. You are your biggest liar. You have convinced yourself that you are okay. Nope, we all see the bruises and you see and feel it too. #Honesty is truth, hiding will not solve the fear.

Lessons for 3 friends, # 7

  • Another friend commented 3 years ago, if you are serious about moving countries, then pack and go to see it through, stop waiting for the perfect situation. I agree, Life is about risk, there is no perfection or ideal. Taking chances is what doers do. People who live in fear look only for perfection so they never do. #Risk beats perfection for those prepared to take it.

Lessons for 3 friends, # 8:

  • Your habit of using people and things to sabotage your work and progress is now a life long act that you can’t break. So, you produce mediocre work and not brilliance. The world celebrates your mediocrity but hidden below, the real observers know the truth. Fear and lack of confidence burns deeply in you so you keep sabotage as your tool. #Truth frees you. You cannot hide from the truth.

Lesson for 3 friends, # 9:

  • Your Personal crisis has made you an eyesore to people who see you. They are now asking, is something wrong with you? Or, I see them every time there? What you run away from and do not deal with buries you. Your past and even your heritage is proof of crisis, and patterns revel a lot about you. Hiding and covering up will not work. #Guilt is a powerful motivator if you use it wisely.

Lessons for 3 friends, # 10:

  • You decided that this is your dream place and to move there, you have done 5 years of planning. Perfection is a dream and plan. To move will not happen as perfection and your inclination for ideal situations will make you say no or sabotage opportunities. You don’t take chances, so change is hard to do. Your life is about safety and when you tried risk, you walked away. #Give risk a chance

Lessons for 3 friends, # 11:

  • You are an eternal procrastinator with bad timing, poor organizational skills and no sense of deadlines. You dream big but cannot implement. You talk big but can’t fulfill deadlines. You seek collaboration but spend time in fear to point the finger at collaborators, so nothing occurs. Fear of accomplishment and success drives you to failure. #Life requires completing deadlines thus success.

Lesson for 3 friends, # 12:

  • Your Personal crisis has made you play the cover-up game. You are not comfortable with you. And playing the game of facades and code switching is not true to you even outsiders are noticing the crack at the sides. It’s time to deal with your personal risks. Running and hiding makes the pile of mess much thicker to resolve. #Your pattern of avoidance will burn you.

Finally, resolutions are plans for active change not to be written down and not implemented. What’s the point of wasting time? Enjoy the transition to the next year.

happy new year



2 responses to “Lessons for 3 Friends: 2014 Resolutions to follow”

  1. You’ve written previously about how difficult it is for Africans to deal with mental illness, so it is not surprising that the “intervention” may have been perceived as a public shaming event to the person you were trying to help. Perhaps, the ancestral ties/commitments were too great to be broken by one intervention. You seem almost ready to give up. DON’T. Try another wholistic approach.

    1. Michah,

      Lots of strategies including wholistic approaches were used. Facing truth is hard for most people, African or not. You can talk gently to someone, suggest therapy, intervene, guide and show examples, but until a person is ready for change, your messages are not received. After doing this for a long time, I find it’s best to leave people and infact walk away, when they are ready to deal with the crisis, they will do the work.

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