Meet Jide Olatunbode, a graduate of the prestigious University of Lagos (UNILAG), and a First Class Degree holder in Computer Science. He holds an MBA from the Lagos Business School (LBS) and is a PMP certified Project Manager. Jide is a firm believer in the CNN Money quote that “greatness isn’t reserved for a preordained few. It is available to you and to everyone.” Here, he talks to Connect Nigeria about his recently released book, Ace It, in which he shares real advice on how to succeed in a Nigerian school environment. Excerpts:
CN: What pushed you to write this book?
Jide: While I was at school, in the University of Lagos, I noticed how seemingly easy it was for some students to excel, while others struggle. The interesting thing was – these two set of students always appeared to do the same things: they attend classes, tutorials, study their books, etc. But at the end of the day, only a few excel. This happened to me on a particular day. I walked up with my friends to the notice board where exam results were pasted, and I was thrilled to see I got a perfect result! But I was the only one happy. All my friends left that notice board with long faces. And as you’ve guessed, these were people who I studied with and did all the right things.
This got me thinking on what separates the students who excel from others. I began to observe those students who make perfect results semester after semester. I noticed some subtle similarities. I started documenting my observations. The clincher was when I got to my final year and some of my friends approached me for some academic advice. I used the opportunity to tell them some of the things I observed and asked them to do the same. They did. And for that semester, they had perfect results!!! These were students who were hitherto struggling with their academics. Suddenly academic excellence seemed very easy to achieve because of a slight change in strategy. I knew then that I had hit a goldmine. I decided to tell everyone who cared to listen what I discovered, hence the book.
CN: The book contains a lot of interesting, real-life university scenarios, which makes it handy and (I dare say) essential for students. What are your chances of infusing it in the curriculum?
Jide: Well, I don’t intend infusing it into any curriculum. I just want students to read it. So I’d be proposing to schools to get copies for their students. I’ve seen how the lives of students are remarkably transformed by those who adhered to the principles in the book. I very much want that transformation on a national and global scale.
CN: Where can one buy the book?
Jide: Well, the book is available in major bookstores on Lagos Island, but from the comfort of your PC, you can order online via Jumia. Kindle versions are also available on Amazon.
CN: Your book isn’t for students only, is it?
Jide: On the contrary. The book is targeted at students, no doubt, but other people can benefit from the principles I described. I call them life principles. I wrote them in a way that applies to students, but it also applies to all and sundry. The feedback I got from reviewers was that parents are also most likely to benefit from the book.
CN: The last chapter, Strategy X, deals with the final personal touch that makes success possible, (Like Chemical X in Powerpuff girls). What was yours?
Jide: Ok, I have no idea what Powerpuff girls are (laughs). Strategy X is all about taking action. It makes no sense to hear about all the great strategies of this world and do nothing about it. Strategy X says, don’t just read this, act on it! Take steps now to ensure you make these principles a working part of your life. Then, and only then, can you begin to see and reap the fruits of your labour.
CN: What do you eat often? Does food have anything to do with your success?
Jide: I eat cake and ice cream. Food for present and future champions! You can ask anybody.
CN: What do you do for fun?
Jide: Plenty. Movies; I go swimming with friends, I play all sorts of games, sports, watching series on my PC, etc.
CN: Do you watch TV? There is a rumor going around that successful people don’t watch TV. How true is that?
Jide: Of course I watch TV! And that rumour has to be a lie of the devil. (laughs). But seriously, watching TV has no correlation with being successful or not, except when it becomes excessive. Too much of anything (TV watching inclusive) is not good.
CN: What other books do you swear by?
Jide: Three Books: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey; The Success Principles by Jack Canfield; and Awakening the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins.
CN: Should we expect sequels?
Jide: Let’s take it one step at a time.