Monday, July 6, 2009


F rom time to time I am drawn to write about events happening in the broader society. In the first 24 hours since his death the media coverage of his death has been unbelieveable. As a matter of fact, I switched on my radio set and my jaws nearly dropped from discovering the fact that every radio station in the country were playing Michael Jackson’s songs at the same time. Even our print media has been infected by the temptation to do a story on Michael Jackson’s death. In the midst of the tears, tributes and loss, I see some core motivational lessons that might well be lost in the glitter and the hype.

Lesson 1
Start Early: He was born with a voice that will heal the world and it was discovered early enough. He started singing at the age of 5, started dancing at the age of 8, debuted as a pro at 11 as a member of Jackson 5 band in 1969.The discovery of one’s career path early enough will always push you into the path of success. Self-knowledge is the most critical prerequisite needed in becoming an achiever. If you don’t discover what you carry early enough you will be carried away by life’s activities. Your self-knowledge should not be based on what other people think of you. Never allow what people think, feel or say about you to become your reality. MJ identified his strength zone and stuck to it till his dieing day.

Lesson 2
Pursue Mastery: No doubt Jackson was a thriller in his craft, his serenading voice rocked our world and his world-class music offerings made the world a better place. He pursued his talent and became a master at it. For a Tiger woods it s golf, for a Funke Akindele its acting movies, for me its inspiring people through the words of my mouth to live their best lives. Mastery means being exceptionally skilled, competent and proficient in a craft. Jackson was an all rounder-a singer, composer, performer, dancer and entrepreneur. Fans around the world were stunned by the news of his death, his 1982 album thriller which remains the biggest selling album of all time went immediately to number one in the I tune chart, while twitter the online messaging service was receiving 5,000 messages a minute. That’s what mastery can do for you; it will make you a mystery to your world.

Lesson 3
Make Impact: In the words of Odia Ofeimun a Nigerian literary critic:’Michael Jackson is one of the greatest musicians of the century, because he pulled all the resources of the 20th century into his music”. That’s impact. It’s been said time and again that it’s your impact that determines your importance. The moon walking pop star sold more than 61million albums in the U.S, during his life time he won 13 Grammies, drove the growth of music videos, vaulting popular cable channel’s growth MTV into the mainstream .His album-thriller is still the second best selling album of all time. According to Judy Mc grath CEO of Viacom inc’s MTV networks:” The ratings thriller got were three or four times what they were, every time the video came on”. Jackson’s influence and brand affinity was so strong that Walt Disney hitched his wagon to his star in 1986,opening a 3d movie at its park called:’ Captain Eo ‘

Lesson 4
Work on your character: like every one of us on the face of the earth, Jackson had his own flaws and frailties. In 1983 he was accused of molesting a 13 years old boy. This had a hard blow on his reputation, celebrity status, and personal brand. In the words of Michael Levine, his publicist at that time: ‘That kind of represents the beginning of walk down a tragic path finanacially, spiritually, physiologically and legally.” He settled with the boy’s family, but other accounts of his alleged pedophilia began to emerge. In 2003, Jackson was arrested and charged for allegedly molesting another 13 years old boy. The 2005 trial, ultimately ended in an acquittal and brought to light more strains in his character and public perception.

Lesson 5
Take charge of your finances: Despite his fame and fortune, he still had a great challenge taking charge of his finance. He made a lot of money that might just last for a lifetime, but it wasn’t just enough. One forensic accountant testified that the singer had an “ongoing cash crisis”. According to Economic Times. Indian, its been reported that he died in $400 million dollars debt. Alvin Malnik his former financial adviser said in an interview with Newyork times 2006:’I think that Michael never had any concept of fiscal responsibility, there was no planning in terms of how much he should spend .For Michael it was whatever he wanted at the time he wanted”. Gaining financial mastery means you trace your expenses, you don’t spend on impulse and you are disciplined enough to stick to these things.

Lesson 6
Self Image is everything: The sorry sight of Jackson while he was alive is a vital lesson for those who desire to recreate themselves. He lived in a racist society where a colored person with or without accomplishment was regarded as a second-class citizen. His way of escape was to do a plastic surgery so he could look ‘White’. Obama didn’t have to change the color of his skin to be accepted same applies to the likes of Oprah.The way you perceive yourself is the way others will perceive you. Never judge yourself based on your current realities. Be a good judge of yourself and never sell yourself short. Micheal ruled his world just in 5oyears it, s as if he was here for 1000 years this a function of his contribution to his world. Are you rocking your world?

Kehinde Ajose is Nigeria youngest career coach, he is reachable @ or

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