TMO Conversations 3.0 | Compiled Lecture on An Excellence Driven Teenager

The third edition of our yearly online event- TMO Conversations was held on the 27th of October 2018. As announced earlier, we had Mmanti Umoh on board to lecture us on how to be an Excellence Driven Teenager. You can read her bio here.

We have put together a compilation of the conversation. If you weren’t in the group, here’s your chance to catch up. And if you were, you can always come back to read up again at any time.

Always remember that repetition is key and putting into practice what you’ve learnt is even more important.


What is Excellence?

Excellence starts with getting very clear on the end state you wish to achieve (winning) and relentlessly driving towards it every day.

Excellence requires knowing when to push on (even when you don’t have all the information or the perfect solution) but doing it well and constantly refining as you forge ahead.

Excellence means accepting only the best, and understanding that when it is not given that you, as the leader, are at least partly responsible.

Excellence reveals itself in the language you use, the questions you ask, the people you surround yourself with, and how you interact with others. For example, do you show up on time for meetings? Are you present in the moment? Do you listen actively?

With the surge of mobile phones and smart technology, most of us (that sometimes includes me) are stuck in our phones and oblivious of what direction the world is navigating.

Excellence Is an Attitude.

An Excellence Driven Teenager is a teenager, who is focused and in connection with his/her purpose.

One of my core values is excellence, and I believe a key component of excellence is focus. I ensure that everything I do has a single-minded focus – it starts off first with my purpose in life, laddering down to my life goals, then my long-term goals, my short-term goals, and finally down to my daily tasks.

I’m also a strong advocate of the 80-20 rule – where 20% of the causes lead to 80% of the effects. Many outcomes in life are attributable to a few small actions, and once we get all those key actions right, we will gain phenomenal results.

Thus, I’m always looking out for the most critical factors that require my attention. Once I identify them, I put forth my best effort to conquer them.

As for the remaining factors, I either do them with lesser attention, delegate them out to others, or outsource the work. So in summary, I make sure that the things I spend my time doing are the things that have the most impact.

So What Does it Mean to be an Excellence Driven Teenager?

1. Look on the Positive Side

Probably cliché, but true nonetheless, you must stay positive. You can look at a half-filled glass from multiple perspectives. If you are positive, you will cheer at how the glass is half-full. If you are negative, you will sigh and resign at the half-empty portion of the glass. If you are a realist, you will simply see the glass as a glass.

At the end of the day, what you are faced with is simply the way it is. Everything else is your own perspective.

Focus on the negative side of the situation, and you will be mired in negativity. Focus on the positive upside, and you will gain a positive outlook which will improve your experience and quality of life, giving you the momentum to move onward and upward.

2. Discover your purpose

Our physical life started when we were born. Our real life starts when we discover our purpose. What is your purpose? What is your mission statement for your life? Mine is, “To touch others’ lives, help them achieve their highest potential and live their best lives.” This one statement gives me clarity and focus on what to do, from my daily plans to my long-term goals.

3. Set your goals

If you can have whatever you want, what would you like? What are your biggest goals and dreams? Set them. The life I’m living today is a result of goals I set in the past. If you don’t set any goals, it’s safe to say that you’ll be running in place for the foreseeable future. Is that what you want?

4. Create a life handbook

A life handbook is a concept I created where you have a book to write your life purpose, goals, dreams, plans, values, mottos, and other things that are important to you as you pursue your best life.

5. Have the right mindset

The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts. If you think life sucks, life will indeed suck. On the other hand, if you are set to live your best life, the paths will open up in front of you.

6. Get mentors

You have dreams and big visions, and there are people who have likely been there and done that. Get them to mentor you. It’ll definitely cut down the learning curve and ease your journey. With a mentor, you can unlock your potential and achieve so much more.

7. Get closer to your parents

Many of us only have functional relationships with our family. Some of us might even have estranged family relationships. Our parents went through a lot of hardship by bringing us up, and no one’s ever going to share a connection to us the way they do.

8. Let go of negative friendships

If you have friends who discourage you and pull you down, it’s time to get rid of them. Getting rid might be too harsh for some, so distancing is a good alternative. Instead of wasting time and energy resisting them, focus your energy on people and things that make you happy.

9. Surround yourself with positive people

Do you know you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? Your attitudes, beliefs, accomplishments, and success are a function of the people you spend time around. Think about the people who inspire you and spend more time with them. You’ll be amazed at the effects they’ll have on you.

The type of people you interact with influences:

I. Your consciousness level
II. Your beliefs and behavior in a particular area.

There are two variables that determine how much of your thoughts and actions are influenced by the people around you. The first is your consciousness and resilience as an individual. The second is the collective sum of consciousness of the people you are with. These combine to impact who you become.

You may be the most conscious and smartest individual around, but if you are constantly surrounded by negative, fear-based people in your life, it will impact who you eventually become and your progression in life.

If you hang out with a group of successful, positive individuals who believe in taking responsibility for their lives, you will become a proactive individual who shapes his/her future.

If you hang out with a bunch of pessimists who believe that the world is out to get them and there is nothing worthwhile, you will start to descend into a pool of negativity at some point, even if you are initially a positive person.

Of course, this does not mean you should sever relationships or cut away anyone who doesn’t contribute to your goals. It just means that you should monitor your contact with people who do not enable you to become a better person. Only in the event that a person is seriously dragging you down should you cut him/her away.

Remember, if you entrench yourself in relationships that do not elevate you or bring you forward, you are not really helping yourself nor the other person. That’s because you are not being the best you can be and subsequently, not being the best you can be to them.

Let’s Do a Quick Exercise to Identify your Core Circle

i. What is the ideal self you wish to become? What qualities do you wish to possess?

ii. Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with currently? What are they like? What are the top 3 qualities each of them represent?

iii. Do they match who you want to be in the future? Do their qualities match who you want to become? Do they help support you or detract you from your vision for yourself? Do they elevate you or bring you down?

iv. Who are the top 5 people who embody the qualities you desire?
They should be people you aspire to become or respect in some way or another. It can be someone who has already achieved the end state or goal that you want to achieve. There are no rules here — it does not matter whether the person is a celebrity or a general person.

v. How can you increase contact with them?
Email them, Read their books, read on google, gain ideas about what makes them tick

10. Release your limits

They say the sky is the limit. I disagree. We are our own limits. It’s then about releasing our limits so we can live our best lives. What are you limiting yourself from doing? Stop holding yourself back. Go out and get what you want.

11. Believe in yourself

The majority of the times I’ve been able to achieve something is because I started out believing I could do it, rather than acquiring that belief after I achieved it. If I didn’t think I could do it, I probably would never have succeeded. My past experiences have taught me that all you need to have in order to succeed is to have a sense of self-belief – a sense that you can control your own future. That’s all.

12. Wake up early

Wake up early! Wake up early! Wake up early! What do you all do in bed at 5Am when you went to bed before 12Am? Stop dreaming, wake up and live your dreams before the sun goes down.

13. Plan your days

Do you plan your days? Did you wake up today knowing what you are supposed to do today? If not, maybe it’s time you do. Planning doesn’t have to be long and tedious, it can just be a 30-second process. Every night, think about a few small things that you want to accomplish tomorrow and write them down. When you wake up the next morning, review this list before you do anything else.

14. Stop watching TV

Why stop watching TV? The bulk of content on TV is consciousness lowering. TV has been proven by research to be linked with lower life satisfaction. TV ads motivate you to spend more money frivolously. TV wastes lots and lots of time. Read News, Try it out for 21-days and see how you feel.

15. Stop obsessing over the news

A lot of news today resonates with fear, guilt, shame, and hate. Depending on your news source, many are largely sensationalized and biased as well. You don’t need to watch the news every day for an hour to know that there are car accidents, murders and wars out there. Focus your energy on how you can address those problems instead.

16. Don’t be trapped by dogma

Don’t feel compelled to follow others all the time. Pave your own path. Follow your heart. Don’t fall into the trap of operating on everyone’s whim. Listening is okay, but doing what everyone wants is simply unhealthy. Execute the good feedback and follow your vision.

17. Be compassionate

Show love and kindness to all the people around you. Respect everyone. They may not react in a kind way immediately, but they will notice and appreciate your kindness. To love is to be human.

18. Enrich your mind great books

Books contain concentrated volumes of wisdom. It’s not surprising then that most knowledgeable people are also very well-read.

There was a time at my previous job where I faced a difficult series of challenges. I became somewhat jaded and fell into a self-victimizing mode. After a short period of doing this, I just felt sick of it – the negativity, the inaction, everything. That’s when I realized that no matter what the circumstances are, or how tough they may appear, there are always actionable steps I can take to change the situation.

For whatever challenges you may be facing in life now, think in terms of actionable steps. What can you do in this situation? How can you act to move closer to where you want to be?

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. ~ Will Rogers.

It is by taking action and receiving feedback from this action that we expand our horizons. By constantly acting and moving, you are automatically gaining more knowledge just by virtue of the response you are receiving from your interactions with the world around you.

Remember, information won’t walk up to you on its own. You have to go get it.


Questions And Answers

Q: How do you discover your purpose? As a 17-year old, I have ideas about what I want to do and what I stand for but I still question my identity and how I’ll overall make a big impact.

A: Explore the things you love to do & what comes easily to you. It is normal to sometimes keep asking “Who am I”? Even the best of adults do same. However, ask yourself what qualities you enjoy. Expressing the most in the world.
Create a Life Purpose Statement & Follow Your Inner Guidance (What Is Your Heart Telling You?)

Q: What if our beliefs are cut short by the undeniable circumstances that surround us. What do we do?

A: I think beliefs can only be questioned, it is expectations that are rather cut short. However, when you find yourself in a situation where you do not know how to proceed, go back to your journal and draw a new path. When the road is blocked….make a way.

Q: How do we choose our mentors

A: Define who you want to become, find people that have become.
Follow people that are an idea of who you would want to become. Follow people who have values, follow people who are genuinely interested in you.

Q: What if my parents are the strict type, how do I get closer?

A: See them as friends who are also sometimes trying to protect you, forgive them if they in your opinion do not know how best to but NEVER disrespect them. They are on your team. They wish you the very best.

Q: In this part of the world, most parents define success by the course you study(medicine, engineering, law). When you try explaining what you love, it’s war.
How do you balance your relationship with your parents and your purpose?

A: You have conversations, you share your views. You speak with a career mentor. You pray about it. You do an internship in your new field of desire.

That is all for TMO Conversations 3.0. We hope you learnt something from this. Until next time, do share this with friends and loved ones and you can leave a feedback on the event at

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