Teni: Impossible is Nothing.
Teni is an 18 years old business management student at Aston University. We believe his story of hard work and sheer determination will positively influence a lot of people, and so we decided to have a conversation with him. Enjoy !
What major incident has greatly influenced your life?
My life changed when I joined a network marketing company called ACN, joining this company exposed me to motivational speakers and motivational videos. I was in the midst of a group of people who were very hardworking and well driven for almost 6 months. This exposure changed my mind set a lot because what happens when you spend a good amount of time with certain type of people is, you slowly start to think and act more like them and so I got to change gradually as a person.
when you spend a good amount of time with certain type of people is, you slowly start to think and act more like them
I had to leave ACN to focus on my final year of A levels. I needed to make the best grades to get into university so at that point my whole mind-set and effort changed and I knew I had to be great at everything I did so I decided to work extra hard.
My grades for my AS Levels were BCC, and I needed an A*AA to get into the university of my choice which was King’s college London. The subjects I did at A levels were Business Studies, Economics and Geography. From my AS-Level results, it was obvious that I was already slacking and in addition, not having a Business Studies teacher was not helping the situation either.
With the motivation I got from working with ACN, I sat down and I took out a notepad and wrote down “I’m an all A* student, I am going to get all A*s and I am going to make it to King’s College’’ Bear in mind, at that point in time I’d never gotten an A in my whole life, so saying that I am an all A* student was a very big massive stretch for me. But I kept saying ”I’m an all A* student” to myself,for about 5 months and over that course of time I just believed I was an all A* student and it showed in my actions.
Believing that I was an A* student greatly influenced my actions and some of the decisions I made. I changed from the boy who never attended classes to the boy who would attend every class, make notes and stay back after lessons to revise. In fact, one time I was locked in school because I was studying so hard, I didn’t realise that it was late and everyone had gone home. I also had to change my circle of friends.
At the end of my A levels, I was able to raise my grades from a BCC to an A*BB. The interesting part was that the subject that I got a C in and I didn’t have a teacher for, was the same subject that I changed to an A*. I remember that a lot of people did not believe that I was going to get an A*.To them, it was almost impossible. I had no teacher, I didn’t know anything about that subject at A Levels but I said to myself that this was not going to define who I am or what I say I’m going to be or the grades I’m going to get.
This experience taught me that I can do and achieve anything through the help of God, Hard work and Determination. It thought me that I am not limited to the opinion of others and that other peoples’ opinion of me does not have to be my reality. I plan to apply this to every area of my life.
Other peoples’ opinion of me does not have to be my reality
That is actually amazing. What would you say were the factors that greatly limited you or stopped you from believing in yourself?
One major factor that hindered me and I believed hindered others around me was my mind set. As human beings, our behaviours are consistent with what we believe. So if you believe that you’re not smart, your behaviour will depict that you’re not smart. If you believe that you’re not physically attractive, your behaviour will depict that you’re not so attractive. If you believe you’re the most beautiful person in the world the way you carry yourself would depict that so I used that same logic and applied it.
Our behaviours are consistent with what we believe.
Initially, I believed that I wasn’t smart. I believed that I wasn’t good at anything; I believed that I couldn’t be the best at anything. I believed I wasn’t as smart because that was what I’d been told my whole life so I believed it. That was the way I acted, it was my own limitation. There was actually nothing stopping me from getting that A*. All I had to do was to make a decision. Because if you actually think of it there is nothing stopping anyone from anything, it’s all in your mind. A major factor I had to get over was myself. I didn’t believe in myself, I didn’t believe that anything was possible.
Another thing that stopped me was my principles and principles are what you live by. My initial principle was grounded on indiscipline. Eat, sleep late, wake up late, repeat, repeat, repeat !
So when I changed my principles from indiscipline to discipline and strategic planning, I was able to make the changes that I needed to make.
Another factor that greatly limited me, was the company I kept. The bible says that ”bad company corrupts good character’’. The people I spent most of my time with were not helping me grow at all.
Apart from being a student, what else do you do?
Apart from studying, I am also very passionate about fashion. I’m an upcoming model and recently just got into menswear designing. In the near future, I am looking to establish my menswear brand which I am working on with a childhood friend / designer from Nigeria.
How did you become a model?
Something happened when I was twelve that I can never forget. My Mum showed a picture of myself to a friend of hers and the friend said ‘you know, he could be a model when he grows up’. Immediately, I said naively ‘mum I want to be a model’. We both laughed about it that day, but almost 6 years later I am now a model.
I never really took modelling seriously until my first year in Uni when I was broke and really needed money. Over time, I have developed my passion for it. Modelling is a part of the fashion industry which is also an industry that I am passionate about. Right now, I could easily model selectively for free. I feel like If you could do something for free, it shows how much you love it and it could potentially be your calling. Overtime, I have tried to improve on it. I watch tutorials and read articles on how to pose because that’s how you can get good shots and good shots can get you good attention and that would lead to recognition and recognition could lead to bookings and bookings lead to money.
I am signed to a small agency at the moment. I want more from modelling, and my goal is to be the best in this industry. I had a Shoot with a high end photographer called Clavin (CondryCalvinMlilo on Instagram) and the results were pretty successful,because of this shoot I will soon be featured in two magazines by God’s grace. I have also received a certain degree of recognition from a few people within the industry Including popular fashion photographer James Fickling.
You’ve mentioned God a few times in our conversation so I am inclined to ask, how did you come to know God?
I grew up in a Christian home, but I never really knew God for myself.
In the summer of 2015, I was in a relationship with this girl and we both decided to draw closer to God. It was as if God saw the desire of our hearts and then decided to connect us with a lot of Christian friends. After a while, I felt like I had to end the relationship I was in. When she left, I felt as if a huge weight had been taken off and because I had sacrificed that relationship, I felt like I had to take my walk with God even more seriously.
It has not been the easiest thing, especially with being in university. But I can tell you that If God is absent in your life, you just don’t feel complete at all. We feel a void in our hearts for a reason. We have been created by God and for God. When we don’t put him first we feel like something is missing and I feel like that was something I encountered. Since I have accepted God I feel like I’ve grown and I have seen God make impossible things possible in my life. My encounter with God in 2015 has been the best thing to happen to me ever. I can say that if you take God seriously, He will take you seriously.
We have been created by God and for God.
With all the negative influences at universities, how have you managed your relationship with God?
As cliché as it sounds, spending time with God is very essential. I also have different apps, prayer books and group chats which help me meditate on the word of God daily. This consistency of spending time with God has helped me grow.
Also, being surrounded by people who love God, being part of a great church and Christian societies on campus has really helped me to impacted my life positively.
Spending time with God consistently has helped me grow.
How has your faith influenced your work?
Yes, my faith is a major influence in my workplace. It is one of the reason I got into modelling. My faith makes me very conscious of how I live my life so that people can have an encounter with God.
I have always believed that only God can change someone. So my desire is that God will work through me to minister to others. There is a model that I saw recently on twitter, through his actions, a friend of his who did hard drugs gave his life to Christ. This has inspired me so much. It has made me realise that Modelling could be more than taking pictures but can also be a way that God could use me to reach out to others.
Modelling could be more than taking pictures but can also be a way that God could use me to reach out to others.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself fully established in the Modelling World as well as a name to be reckoned with in the Fashion Industry.
I believe it is our responsibility to live in the light of what God has called us to be. God can speak a word over our lives, but laziness and unbelief can keep us out of our destiny. So my plan is to diligently work out all that God has said concerning me.
Amen. What motivates you?
My vision of where I want to be motivates me. I write down what I hope to achieve, and read it to myself every day. Also visualizing the future and thinking about what it would be like when I achieve these goals keeps me very motivated.
What is your favourite bible verse and quote?
My favourite bible verse is Proverbs 3:16 ”Commit your plans to the Lord and they will Succee” and my favourite quote is “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” By Mohammed Ali.
Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
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