Last weekend I finally got the opportunity to do something I have longed to do for a very long time, I finally read a book! Yes, it’s true, I read a book cover to cover, and I didn’t have to struggle with guilt from trying not to ignore my daughter or forgetting what sentence I was on due to a sleep addled mind. Don’t get me wrong I have read books since I had my daughter, but for the first time in a long while I was able to read about ten straight pages without little fingers folding the pages or a tiny voice asking for something.  And it’s a good thing that I found the book very engaging and entertaining.

Author: Lee Child

Title: Personal (the new Jack Reacher thriller)

I won’t be given a detailed or step by step review of the book, but I would like to highlight certain things that struck me in the book. The author’s style of writing was really entertaining; it had a lot dry humour juxtaposed against very serious situations. But even more than the humour found the snippets of lessons and analytical reasoning woven into simple conversations very meaningful and thought provoking. A very important one for me is on page 147 where Jack Reacher in his laid back manner tries to reassure his colleague Nice that’s she up to the task ahead of them. Below is a part of the conversation and the words which got my interest are italicized:

I said, ‘Do you work hard?’

She said, ‘I try my best.’

‘Do you pay attention?’


‘And you paid twenty-two bucks for vehicular transportation.’

‘What’s that got to do with anything?’

‘It means you’re just a little bit unconventional. Which is the fourth of the four things you need to be. All of which you are. Which is all we’ll ever need. Smart people, working hard, paying attention, thinking laterally.’

Technological advancements, has lead to the proliferation of self inflicting hypnotizing gadgets which keep us mesmerized for hours on end. A process that is slowly blinding us to our immediate environments, we have become a society of individuals acutely aware of life two centimeters away from our nose or several miles away in another county, country or continent. We are ignorantly unaware of our neighbors, of our peers. We know their names, their stories; sadly we only note the bits we care about, or bits that serve our purpose. Sometimes we are not distracted from the world by anything physical, but mentally we are oblivious of the world around us. We note the obvious but the subtle signs totally elude us. Granted we do not work for the secret service, but keen observation skills are not only useful for covert affairs, they are also valuable in business and social relationships.

The circumstances above inhibits the development of lateral thinking skills as the only way to ensure detailed analysis is to thoroughly observe a situation. Lateral thinking has been applauded in the business world as ingenious with good reason, however, the process would be impeded without all the facts or proper analysis. People often get stumped by lateral thinking, but as it with everything in life it is a skill that can be acquired and harnessed. We could start by getting rid of both physical and mental distractions, start within the box and then branch out. A very good part of Lateral thinking is an ability to face each problem with a certain level of tenacity and willingness to examine every angle.

It might be presumptuous of me, but I think anyone capable of making keen observations and lateral thinking is to a level a smart person. The final component is to be hard-working; this is a trait assumed to separate the boys from the men. Personally I define hard-work as putting your best effort and skills into whatever you’re doing (not that I always do so, but I try to the best of my abilities.). Life is often measured in time, in moments, we’re judged based on how we performed in single moment which is really unfortunate. Life has several moments/minutes crammed into the management of an issue, and I find that we’re better able to understand ourselves and others by evaluating their attitude through the cause of an issue. For example when you start a new job the first trait people take note of is your work ethic, simply put they evaluate if you are hardworking or lazy. Other skills become apparent as you understand the lay of the land and put your own personal stamp on several issues. In simple terms do not become overly distraught over a moments occurrence, think on it, learn from it, but don’t let it spell out an entire twenty-four hours of your life.

 We can’t be all those things in one moment, but we can try to be most of them most of the time. I have a feeling the author Lee Child probably set out to entertaining but he has inspired me, both as a writer and as an individual pursuing my best life possible. Its Friday celebrate your highs moments, re-evaluate the low moments.

Hard-work births the product (ask a laboring mother)

Paying attention detects its potentials and risks. 

Smartness differentiates between the two.

Lateral thinking minimizes or removes the risk.







Published by Chioma Nwafor