Tolu Fiz Akanee is a thinker, writer and speaker; the author of A-Z Life lessons

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Two thousand and twelve memories

1.    SMS:  "Delivery was successful, tell mummy it's a boy!"

My nephew and first Grandson of the Akanni family, Olaoluwa Harold Akanni was born Sunday 22nd January.

2.     SMS: "To God be the glory as we welcome our new bouncing baby girl to the world"

My niece and frist Granddaughter of the Akanni family, Oluwasindara Esther Akanni was born Thursday 28th June.

To be honest, it was a bitter-sweet moment because I had received an email from Yokogawa a couple of minutes before this SMS came in.

Dear all,

With regret I have to announce you are not selected for the 3 months trainee ship in France.
You are still a candidate If one or more of  the selected candidates are not be able to travel to France.

Rest me to thank you for your efforts.


I had been receiving emails like this all year, but this one was different. I had been taking French language classes since the beginning of that month in preparation for this opportunity and one e-mail just ruined everything.

3. "How soon can you get to the island?"

Seven days later, it was my niece's naming ceremony and the opening prayer was just being said when I excused myself to pick a call.

"Tolu, where are you? How soon can you get to the island? One of the five people selected for the training has opted out because he got a scholarship for his masters, so they need you to come and sign your contract as soon as possible"

I leaped for joy! This one phone call changed everything about 2012.

4. "This guy is good"

While I was still waiting for the training logistics to be sorted out, I was invited for an interview by a company I had applied to earlier in the year. I had my first interview before I got the Paris offer. The first interview was very interesting because they sent me a case study and I was asked to make a presentation on the solution for the issue on ground. I did good.

I was invited for a re-interview alongside seven new guys because I was the preferred candidate out of the original 5 candidates but my manager-to-be wasn't so sure I was a fun person (an insider told me this). I was just on my second slide during this re-interview when that manager asked me to pause and said she would like to base my interview off-script and that they were interested in certain qualities so they would just throw me random questions to test these qualities. So they went on and on bombarding me with different business scenarios and I was really on my A-game that day, so I just dishing out ideas to them effortlessly. My answers and approach were just unconventional and it got to a point that this woman looked at one other Asian manager on the panel and said
"Oh no, I told you this guy is good"
"I can see that" the asian guy nodded affirmatively and started asking me for ideas on a particular project he was working on. 
This interview was so dramatic that it was almost obvious the two managers were dragging to have me in their different departments.

You know how you believe so much in your self and at times, you just need others to remind you of your strengths. I walked out of that room asking myself why I would ever want to work for these people when I can raise a team that can compete against them.

5. "Congratulations Sir, here's your passport"

I got my first visa, a 90-day Schenghen visa.

I climbed up to the stairs to the first floor of Eiffel Tower and when I saw the beauty of Paris at night, I froze and tears rolled down my cheeks.

The person that took this pic probably didn't know I was crying..lol  #GloryMoment

Too many things were running through my mind as I stood at that place that day. I remembered how I and my friends had talked about Paris and other choice locations years ago and I missed my friends as I stood there that night.
"This is the dream, this is the dream, this is the dream" was all I kept saying to myself.
This was a dream come true.


Onyeka Nwelue landed in Paris and added meaning to my stay there. I began to see things more differently, meet more people, and have more fun.
Myself, Onyeka Nwelue and Jaye Aderounmu (a.k.a Fat Poet) slept in Sandboxer, Alexander Terrien and Co-founder of Monkey Music, Jules Terrien's house this night.
It was music, social talk, drinks and more talk until Jules sent his media interview answers to Onyeka by email and we just switched to that sober mood as Onyeka read out Jule's achievement. Onyeka then mentioned his age. Jules was just 22.

The night took a different turn.
We talked about Africa, we talked about success, we talked about drive and passion.
We were troubled, we felt like celebrated under-achievers.
I couldn't sleep for more than 2 hours. Onyeka probably had a 30minutes nap.
It was a night of sober reflection.
It was a good night for our future.

I had lunch in Paris on a particular Friday, dinner in Casablanca, breakfast in Lagos, spent 23 hours in Lagos and I was back in Paris by Sunday afternoon.

Paris at night (pic taken from the top of Arc de Triomphe by me)

9. Viva Barcelona!

I watched soccer greats like Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández and Lionel Messi play live in FC Barcelona's match against Real Zaragoza at Europe's largest stadium, Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain

November 30
I wrote the first few lines of my coming novel.
This is my best brain child ever, I write every sentence with this consuming confidence that this work will epic and that this novel will put my name in the mouth of every book lover worldwide.

I didn't get everything I wanted in 2012 and I'm even glad I didn't.

Bye 2012.

Bienvenue 2013

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sandbox Paris monthly dinner

Last night was exciting for me in a lot of ways.

I was at the Sandbox monthly dinner. This dinner is organised by Sandbox Paris and is thrown open to non-members. It was an amazing evening for me sitting in the same room with people from different walks of life who are doing amazing things daily in pursuit of their dreams, the atmosphere was intellectually stimulating and if you know me so well you should understand my excitement.

At first I was with my friend Onyeka Nwelue and I was just getting to introduce myself to Sophie and her friend when Nettra Pan (who I like to call a Cambodian goddess because of her beauty and aura) came around and said I should not sit with Onyeka and forced me to sit with some other people. So myself and Sophie, who by the way I find very interesting and smart, decided to look for somewhere else to seat. We found two empty seats around this table of four and we Alban and Cecile who were obviously jsut meeting themselves.

Alban is a very interesting fellow, he has travelled far and wide, he runs a business, he's hosting a party next week, so I'm definitely going to see him again some time soon.

Cecile is a medical resident, she's tall, beautiful, smart and seems rather adventurous and outgoing (a trait which is rarely associated with medical professionals). I gave her a copy of my book and I made her promise to review the book and send her honest opinion about the book.

I wrote A-Z Life Lessons in Nigeria and for Nigerians, and I am really interested in knowing what Europeans think about my book. I was telling Alban that Nigerians majorly read motivational and religious books, but fiction seems more appealing to the people here in Europe which is one of the reasons why I might be publishing a fictional piece in the nearest future. As much as I would have loved to, I couldn't give Alban a copy of my book, I've exhausted the copies I came here with and I really need to get more copies from Nigeria asap. Sophie said she would glad to review the book too and I really hope we meet up for that coffee soon :)

Sophie is intelligent and pretty, has a degree in business, she's currently pursuing her masters in renewable energy in a school here in Paris. She couldn't hide her passion for renewable energy

We talked about Alban's idea of mobile offices, his incubator company, and online platform; we talked about work-life balance, routines and how to break away from them, the benefit of having your house in proximity to your office; we talked  renewable energy, development in that sector, energy storage, energy trading; we talked about medicine, mobile health applications, effect of doctor's personality and charisma on treatment and diagnosis; we talked about spirituality, spiritual journeys, yoga,  etc, and towards the end we talked about my book and my motive for publishing.

I also met Etienne Adriaenseen, the Co-founder & CTO of Poutsch a socio-political online platform. He has definitely interacted with a couple of Nigerians as he was able to say "how far" "how you dey" etc. Awesome dude, you guys should check out Poutsch and subscribe.

In Cecile's words, those evenings are great for the mind.

I love the Sandbox community, I love this initiative, I love Paris.

Have a good day ahead guys!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This is why we are here

Success: this is why we are here

Ideas translating into reality
Dreams coming true
Words turned flesh

It is why we are here
It is why we go to school
It is why we learn

Learn what?
Learn the ways of success
The divide between the rich and the poor
The divide between the great and the overlooked
This is what we live for
Academic success
Material success
Business success

Oh! Material success
The money
The cars, clothes, shoes, mansions
The attention
The class

It is why we are here
The smiles of satisfaction
The comfort in abundance
That's what we all crave for

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dinner is served

Life is a banquet
What are you bringing to the table?

Life is a banquet
We go to get what we want from the table

But what are you bringing to the table?
How are you making life better for others?

The first time I sat down to write I had learnt so much in the previous weeks and I lacked a company to share it with. The knowledge was burning in me, but there was no channel to spread the fire as I was out of school on internship and I didn't have the regular company of my dreamer-friends to share these thoughts with; choosing to write these thoughts down was the best thing that happened to me.

Today, I'm privileged to bring my thoughts on the pages of a book as though the book were a tray and I am dropping it on the banquet table of life and I know someone will take a scoop from this dish of thoughts and be filled with relevant knowledge.

Life is a banquet
We get to get what we want from the table
But what are you bringing to the table?
What are you doing to make life better from others?

Often times, I come across people that have scooped from what I have brought to the banquet and...
The joy that fills my heart when people quote me or I walk into a house/office and I see the book A-Z Life Lessons on the desk is priceless.
Often times people approach me to thank me for advising them; they put some of my principles to use, it produces results and they are super excited to get back to me on the validity of those principles.

I can't induce such priceless satisfaction if not for the hand of God upon me and my passion to share knowledge.

I once ran into a worship leader that inspired me so much in the place of worship in my college days and as he sighted me, with so much excitement he told me how he had been trying to get across to me just to let me know that as he read the first two page of my first book, tears flowed freely from his eyes. I was speechless. And as I walked out of that conversation, I remembered how I wrote some of the pieces in that book while in tears and as I repeatedly said these words to myself DEEP CALLETH UNTO DEEP.

If you've ever seen people dance with excitement when you give them your OLD clothes, then you should understand me to a reasonable extent.

Life is a banquet
What are you bringing to the table

There is that thing in you that will make this banquet more colourful, bring your tray to this banquet.

A times I don't even know what exactly it is I am bringing to the table, but I'm always eager to bring something to the table.

Life is a banquet

It is easier to condemn others and judge them based on what they are bringing to the table.
Life is a banquet
You and I determine what is served
Dinner is served
What are you bringing to the table tonite?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thinking table

I would sit on this chair and think of all the successful people that I know of and I would remember the words from that lottery advert I used to watch a lot as a kid E FIT BE YOU OH

And it became a habit to look at successful people and to tell myself "Tolulope, you can become this big and even bigger if you choose to"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The coming revolution

How can we build business empires?
How can we build global brands?
How can we build institutions that graduates will die to work for
How can we create wealth?

How can we affect how people think
How can we spread this virus
How can we raise the intellectual standards
How can we become the standards

How can we do what Legends do
How can we do the legendary
How can we become legends

How can we actualise the imaginary
How can we push people to be independent
How can we save a wasted generation

Those are the questions that the industrialist in me ask every day
Funny how I ask myself this questions in “we”s
It’s definitely because I know this can’t be done solo
Individuals don’t win wars
Individuals don’t even go to war
A departure from average is not a step
It’s a battle
It’s a revolution
Strong armies birth revolution

I’ve fearlessly seen myself as the CEO of the world’s most profitable company
I’ve seen myself countless times on Forbes, TIME
I’ve seen the ripple effect of my future actions
I’ve seen myself as a force to reckon with

I don’t care if I’m not there yet
I just need to keep seeing
Ceteris paribus
Victoria est certum

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lil piece on lil things

Life sucks
Life’s good
Life’s wicked
Life’s fun

Living is difficult
Living is hope
Living is boring
Living is challenging

1 world
1 life
7 billion people
7 billion lives

Life sucks
Yet we’ll do anything to stay alive
Life’s good
We’ll do anything to make it better

Life’s wicked
We are often quick to forget the wickedness
Life’s fun
You only live once is our new anthem

Life’s full of ups and downs
I’ve had my ups, had my downs
But I’ve had more ups than downs
So my life is on the upside

Downs with school
Downs with jobs
But I know better now
Downs were just waiting periods

Periods that make us appreciate the ups
Periods that toughen us
Periods that weaponise the warrior
Periods that force us to dream

Life’s got so much suspense
Life should get an Oscar

I love life
I love my life
I love love
I love my love life

The good life is the dream
I found happiness and I found the good life
The good life is all about happiness
Happiness in the little things

Little things like those books
Little things like those dreams
Little things like her smile
Little things like “ok Tolu”

I focused on the little things
And they brought me great happiness
With a little hope today,
The sky is the limit for every dreamer