Abraham Akpan
7 min readAug 11, 2017


From centuries, art has always been a means to tell stories from the stroke of the pen on paper to the brush on the canvas. Famous paintings like the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci to the Starry night by Vincent van Gough are some of the examples of stories on canvas. To the works of great works of authors like Wole Soyinka, Buchi Emecheta and to even Chimamanda Adichie, whose romance with words has produced literary wonders.

So if you were given an empty canvass, brush and some paint and asked to paint your life on it, How would you paint it? What colours would you love to use? What colours would be predominantly displayed with each stroke of your brush?


One thing about a great story is not that it is perfect, but it gives you the opportunity to see the thread of choice among it cracked pieces. Yes, choice is one of the greatest gifts a man can have and when used properly it produced tremendous results. One of the truths about life is that there are stories going on everywhere around us, because stories are the main essence of life. Even great men from time memorial, have been known from stories told, their tale outlived them.This has led me to say, YOU ARE YOUR STORY!

One thing that you must understand is that even though there are stories going on everywhere, you have that unique power to choose your own story and in this piece, I would be sharing the three (3) basics tips of the power of your story and in subsequent write ups i would share the remaining four.

There are seven principles and when correctly mastered and applied, I daresay you would have achieved much in crafting the best story, that has the capacity to create a legacy.

One thing I have discovered, is that life doesn’t respond to wishes, it responses to you making intentional choices and decisions. It is very important that you begin to see life for yourself and start that journey to write your story.



It is said that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade out of it. I was at a conference recently and I had given this illustration to drive home my point on making choice.One of the participants asked me after i had given this analogy, what if Life gives you beans, at least variety is the spice of life? Everyone in the hall busted into laughter and i was really intrigued at the question. But sincerely speaking, there was so much truth in what he was saying. There and then I told him, when life gives you beans, it has simply given you a diamond, you can either plant it, cook it to make ewa agoyin (mashed bean and palm oil sauce), Asaro (bean porridge), Akara (beans balls), Moi moi (bean cake), the list goes on and on. So when life is giving you beans, it is giving you the power of choice.USE IT!

It is giving you the ability to choose your own story, to craft it like an expert waiver on the loom, either positively or negatively, the power is in your hands. Most people go through the same circumstances but react differently to it. It is so sad that people give their life to chance and do not fully grasp this concept of choice and those that do, most times do not life up to the full potential of it

As a creative writer, I have had the opportunity to see the great effect word have, and each time I am exposed to its power marvels me. I have also come to understand that there is no perfect story because it is the imperfections that make it unique.

“Every book starts from the manuscript, it from the manuscript that errors made are corrected,not the final book.”

Choose the story you want to tell,you have the power to create the story mixed with your pain,joy, trials, temptations and victories.

Don’t ever joke with your ability to choose your own story…it is no one else…IT IS YOUR STORY, SO CHOOSE!



I want you to take your mind back to the most popular film ever done “THE TITANIC”. Do you remember the waiter carrying the drinks during the ball (try to remember, if you do then I guess you have a very sharp memory and into detail-thumbs up) or as we call it in Nigeria “the waka pass”.

You see you don’t remember because whenever your mind goes to the movie-Titanic, you remember basically Jack and Rose. Why? It was because they were the main character of the movie.

Being the main character of your story means does not mean you need to become selfish and conceited but giving yourself the opportunity to take responsibilities for your choices and action.

The 3rd law of Newton puts it nicely ”To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.So in earnest, every decision you make comes with its own set of consequences, and you must take responsibility for every reaction that comes out of your choices(action).

Stop playing the blame game, I see a lot of people who do this blaming others for their misfortune, they are just giving other people the power to write the story of their life.

I am not saying that most time people are not responsible for some misfortunes we encounter but the truth is that,doesn’t ever give them that satisfaction, IT IS YOUR LIFE!

You might not be able to control want people do to you, but you can certainly control how you react to the things they do.

Choose the way you want to feel, and when I say this I don’t mean that there would not be other contrary feelings that would come at you, but at every time, when this kind of feelings comes up it gives you the power to choose, choose the way you want to feel and not the way you should feel.

Let me reiterate this again, being the main character, does not mean to be selfish, but to bring you to awareness of thing around you that you have the power to control and own.




While I was at the university, I had the opportunity to write a lot of scripts for stage productions. I discovered that script writing was not the only essential part of the whole production, but getting the right people who could bring a character to life and also support the performance of the main cast. Any time that i was able to spot the right people for the role, i was always happy.

“You have the capacity to love everyone, but it is not compulsory you are in a relationship with everyone, a relationship is a choice!”

The world is full of people who believe in mediocrity and half expectations, don’t be among that quota. The quota that say to themselves, that they don’t have a choice, but the truth is that in not having a choice, you have made a choice, how ironic is that!

Everyone in one way or the other tries to find balance in life because our lives revolve around many circles and there is always a need to discover a mid-point, a point where they are neither up nor down and gives them the opportunity to attain the equilibrium they desire in life.

But in reverse they are bothered by the burdensome deadlines to meet, health challenges, finances to manage, death or loss of someone they love, rejection and to crown it all,family responsibilities to cater for. All these in so many ways provides pressure which most times leads to stress.

To manage this effectively, we need a level of support system, that can balance out the negative. Great ideas drown in the sea of negativity, so choose your support system.

Recently, I went to see a client and as we spoke, I got to his turkey farm and I saw chicken inside the cage of a lot of turkeys, over 100 in number. And beside the cage demarcation, was also a cage full of chickens.

I started observing the behaviour of the chicken, who was in the same cage with the turkey; it was behaving exactly like the turkeys, what a disgrace.

But the truth is that the chicken can never be a turkey, but would die not realizing that, that is the effect the companies we keep or the people we allow to have influence over our lives matters the most.

Even a fool when he associates with wise people would be thought to be wise. That is the power of association! then now imagine when a wise man begins to associate with foolish people before you can say Jack Robinson, he becomes foolish.

In closing, I would quote a Yoruba proverb which says”ti ewe ba pe lara ose o di ose niyen” loosely translate as when a leave stays so long with a soap, it becomes a soap.

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Abraham Akpan

Human Capital Development|Innovation|Programmes| Mandela Washington Fellow