There is no framework for sustaining joy, but Arthur Brooks, a Harvard instructor who teaches a class all about building a happier life, believes that any such plan should start with treating your happiness like a well-balanced investment portfolio.
Put simply, people should aim to invest in four areas that are equally important in order to feel more fulfilled in life, Brooks says in one of the happiness course’s videos.
“We need all of them, so our happiness can grow in a balanced way,” he says. “Each aspect of the portfolio is critically important to experiencing happiness. Just like any portfolio, it needs to be balanced.”
Invest in these 4 areas for happiness
- Faith and life philosophy: Find what helps you make sense of the world, Brooks suggests. This can be a religion, spiritual practice or anything else that helps you find meaning in life.
- Family: Strengthen your connections with your family. These are the “relationships that you don’t generally choose, but which you can count on,” Brooks says.
- Community and friends: Develop strong friendships because they are typically your most intimate relationships. Friendships are relationships that you choose, and they can impact your happiness.
- Meaningful work: Prioritize work that makes you feel fulfilled. This doesn’t necessarily mean a high-paying job because you don’t have to make much money in order to be successful and serve others, says Brooks.
Beyond the portfolio, there are other things that have a greater effect on your happiness, Brooks adds.
“A lot of your happiness isn’t under your direct control,” he says. “Approximately 50% of your happiness is inherited, and another big chunk is determined by your circumstances at any given moment.”
Though the happiness investment portfolio contributes to about only 25% of your happiness, it’s still worth prioritizing, Brooks notes. Pouring into each aspect of the portfolio with equal effort can improve how you feel, he says.
“None of these things can make up happiness all on their own,” Brooks says during the course. “They complement each other and exist in harmony.”
Federal Executive Council has approved a $1 billion concessionary loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support financing the budget and improve foreign exchange supply, Finance Minister Olawale Edun said on Monday.
The AfDB loan will fetch an interest rate of 4.2% for 25 years with eight-year moratorium, Edun told reporters after a cabinet meeting in the capital city, Abuja.
The FEC on Monday revised the country's 2024 budget upwards by 1.5 trillion naira to 27.5 trillion naira ($32.76 billion), after increasing the oil price benchmark and lowering the naira exchange rate assumption.
"(Federal Executive Council) approved a $1 billion concessionary loan for general budget support and to be used to improve forex availability in the country," Edun said.
"The $1 billion loan from AfDB is a budget support fund for ongoing economic reforms. It is to support government programs ... in power sector, social inclusion and the fiscal policy reforms as a whole sector policy initiative."
The cabinet approved a limit of 2 trillion naira for use to refinance expensive government debt and save on debt servicing cost, Edun said. Nigeria has been spending the bulk of its revenue on debt service due to low tax collection.
"The view is that there will be an opportunity to save about 50 billion naira or more in debt servicing over time by giving back expensive debt, refinancing it with cheaper funding," Edun said.
President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of the board and management team of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
In a statement on Monday, Ajuri Ngelale, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said Tinubu also retained Umar Isa Ajiya as the chief financial officer.
The appointments included six non-executive directors: Ledum Mitee, Musa Tumsa, Ghali Muhammad, Mustapha Aliyu, David Ogbodo and Eunice Thomas.
Furthermore, Tinubu approved the appointment of Okokon Ekanem Udo as permanent secretary, federal ministry of finance and Gabriel Aduda, permanent secretary, federal ministry of petroleum resources.
Ngelale said the appointments will take effect from December 1.
“In compliance with Section 59 (2) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, Tinubu has approved the appointment of a new Board and Management team for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) with effect from December 1, 2023,” he said.
“Tinubu anticipates the fullest measure of compliance with the performance-driven and results-oriented mandate of his Renewed Hope administration in the implementation of energy policy that will monetize all available oil and gas resources of today while paving the way for the total exploitation of new and cleaner energy sources of tomorrow by this distinguished team.”
In September, NNPC appointed Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan as executive vice-president, upstream; Olalekan Ogunleye, executive vice-president, gas, and new energy; and Adedapo Segun, executive vice-president, downstream.
The amount spent on airtime and data by Nigerian telecom subscribers rose to at least N2.59tn in the first nine months of 2023.
This is according to the financial statements of MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa. This was a 32.57 per cent increase from the N1.95tn both telcos recorded from both income sources in the corresponding period of 2022.
The increase in voice and data revenue was partially driven by rising data subscriptions and the devaluation of the naira on Airtel’s part. In the first nine months of 2022, Airtel made $1.41bn from airtime and data. When converted at the exchange rate of N461/$ which was obtained at the time, it amounted to N647.71bn.
In the same period of 2023, the company’s income from these two revenue sources amounted to $1.29bn. When converted at the exchange rate of N777/$ at the time, it amounted to N1.003tn. On MTN’s part, increasing data revenues continue to fuel the company’s overall revenue growth. Data revenues grew by 36.36 per cent year-on-year, while voice revenues only grew by 10.64 per cent, indicating a rise in the usage of the Internet in the country.
Commenting on this growth, MTN said, “Data revenue grew by 36.4 per cent on increased usage and data conversion in new and existing base.”
The firm stated that data usage on its network grew by 29.1 per cent in the period under review. It noted, “Data usage (GB per user) grew by 29.1 per cent to 8.6GB, and the number of smartphones on our network increased by 7.6 per cent, bringing smartphone penetration to 53.4 per cent, up 1.4pp YoY.
“Consequently, we recorded a 46.3 per cent growth in data traffic, with the 4G network accounting for 83.7 per cent of the total traffic (up 5.2pp YoY).”
On its part, Airtel recorded an increase in data usage per customer to 5.9 GB per month. The firm highlighted, “Data revenue grew by 29.3 per cent in constant currency, driven by data customer base growth of 17.4 per cent and data ARPU growth of 12.3 per cent.
“Data usage per customer increased by 23.8 per cent to 5.9 GB per month (from 4.8 GB in the prior period). Our continued 4G network rollout has resulted in nearly 100 per cent of all our sites delivering 4G services.”
Increased Internet usage because of a rise in video streaming pushed the amount telecom consumers spent on telecom services to N3.86tn in 2022. It was an 18.74 per cent increase from the N3.25tn that was spent in 2021. Data usage in the country surged by 46.77 per cent to 518,381.78TB in 2022 from 353,118.89TB in 2021.
Data consumption has been predicted to be the next frontier for telecoms growth and is expected to continue to surge. Many analysts believe data revenues will outpace voice revenues in the coming years. The World Bank recently disclosed that increases in the consumption of data services by households and businesses and higher subscriber numbers were responsible for growth in the ICT sector.
In its Ericsson Mobility Report (June 2023), the firm noted, “Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to be the region with the highest growth in total mobile data traffic, rising by 37 per cent annually between 2022 and 2028 as service providers across the continent continue to invest in 4G networks and migrate customers from 2G and 3G.
“This increase in data traffic will primarily be driven by a four times increase in smartphone traffic in the period, with average data per active smartphone settling at 19 GB per month in 2028.”
Twenty people were killed and nearly 2,000 inmates escaped during Sunday's attack on a military barracks, a prison and other locations in Sierra Leone, officials said on Monday.
The West African country was thrown into panic in the early hours when the assailants sent gunfire ringing across the capital Freetown. The government blamed "renegade soldiers" that it said had been repelled.
President Julius Maada Bio said in an address on Sunday that most of the leaders of the attack had been arrested and that efforts to apprehend others were under way. An investigation has been launched, he said.
Army spokesman Colonel Issa Bangura told Reuters that the 20 dead included 13 soldiers, three assailants, a police officer, a civilian and someone working in private security. Eight people were wounded and three arrested, he said.
Some 1,890 inmates escaped from the Pademba Road central prison after the attackers broke in, according to a situation report that prison officials shared with Reuters on Monday. So far, 23 have returned, it said.
In a two-hour raid, the assailants rammed open the main gate with a vehicle after gunfire and a rocket launcher failed to breach prison defences, said Colonel Shek Sulaiman Massaquoi, the acting director general of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service.
Inside the prison on Monday, a Reuters reporter saw cell doors broken open or removed entirely, and piles of trash from an ongoing clean-up.
The police urged inmates to return to prison in a statement on Monday, and offered the public rewards for details on the whereabouts of escapees or the attackers.
Life returned to Freetown on Monday afternoon as shops and businesses opened after the government reduced an all-day curfew to a nightly one running from 2100-0600 GMT.
In a show of a return to normalcy, Bio's X social media account on Monday shared a picture of the president behind his desk in his office saying he was at work.
"The task before us is too great and urgent to be derailed by those who seek to truncate the peace and security that we have enjoyed as a country," he said in the post.
Sierra Leone, which is still recovering from a 1991-2002 civil war in which more than 50,000 were killed, has been tense since Bio was re-elected in June, a result rejected by the main opposition candidate and questioned by international partners including the United States and the European Union.
In August 2022, at least 21 civilians and six police officers were killed in anti-government protests.
Israel and Hamas agree to extend truce for two more days, and to free more hostages and prisoners
Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their cease-fire for two more days past Monday, raising the prospect of further exchanges of militant-held hostages for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and a longer halt to their deadliest and most destructive war.
Eleven Israeli women and children, freed by Hamas, entered Israel Monday night after more than seven weeks in captivity in Gaza in the fourth swap under the original four-day truce, which began Friday and was due to run out. Thirty-three Palestinian prisoners released by Israel arrived early Tuesday in east Jerusalem and the West Bank town of Ramallah. The prisoners were greeted by loud cheers as their bus made its way through the streets of Ramallah.
The deal for two additional days of cease-fire, announced by Qatar, raised hopes for further extensions, which also allow more aid into Gaza. Conditions there have remained dire for 2.3 million Palestinians, battered by weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground offensive that have driven three-quarters of the population from their homes.
Israel has said it would extend the cease-fire by one day for every 10 additional hostages released. After the announcement by Qatar — a key mediator in the conflict, along with the United States and Egypt — Hamas confirmed it had agreed to a two-day extension “under the same terms.”
But Israel says it remains committed to crushing Hamas’ military capabilities and ending its 16-year rule over Gaza after its Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel. That would likely mean expanding a ground offensive from devastated northern Gaza to the south.
Monday’s releases bring to 51 the number of Israelis freed under the truce, along with 19 hostages of other nationalities. So far, 150 Palestinians have been released from Israeli prisons.
After weeks of national trauma over the roughly 240 people abducted by Hamas and other militants, scenes of the women and children reuniting with families have rallied Israelis behind calls to return those who remain in captivity.
“We can get all hostages back home. We have to keep pushing,” two relatives of Abigail Edan, a 4-year-old girl and dual Israeli-American citizen who was released Sunday, said in a statement.
Hamas and other militants could still be holding up to 175 hostages, enough to potentially extend the cease-fire for two and a half weeks. But those include a number of soldiers, and Hamas is likely to make much greater demands for their release.
The newly released hostages included three women and nine children — including 3-year-old twin girls and their mother — from the kibbutz Nir Oz, a community near Gaza that was hard hit in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. The kibbutz said 49 of its residents remain in captivity, including the father of the twins. The Israeli military said late Monday that the hostages were undergoing initial medical checks in Israel before being reunited with their families.
Most of the hostages freed so far have appeared to be physically well. But 84-year-old Elma Avraham, released Sunday, was airlifted to Israel’s Soroka Medical Center in life-threatening condition because of inadequate care, the hospital said.
Avraham’s daughter, Tali Amano, said her mother was “hours from death” when she was brought to the hospital. Avraham is currently sedated and has a breathing tube, but Amano said she told her of a new great-grandchild who was born while she was in captivity.
Avraham suffered from several chronic conditions that required regular medications but was stable before she was kidnapped, Amano said Monday.
So far, 19 people of other nationalities have been freed during the truce, mostly Thai nationals. Many Thais work in Israel, largely as farm laborers.
France said three of the hostages released Monday were French-Israeli dual citizens, two 12-year-olds and one 16-year-old. The French government is ‘’working tirelessly’’ to free five other French citizens held hostage, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Palestinian prisoners released so far have been mostly teenagers accused of throwing stones and firebombs during confrontations with Israeli forces, or of less-serious offenses. But some were convicted in alleged attempts to carry out stabbings, bombings and shootings. Many Palestinians view prisoners held by Israel, including those implicated in attacks, as heroes resisting occupation.
The freed hostages have mostly stayed out of the public eye, but details of their captivity have started to trickle out.
Merav Raviv, whose three relatives were released Friday, said they had been fed irregularly and lost weight. One reported eating mainly bread and rice and sleeping on a makeshift bed of chairs pushed together. Hostages sometimes had to wait for hours to use the bathroom, she said.
In Washington, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby welcomed the extension of the truce.
“We would, of course, hope to see the pause extended further, and that will depend upon Hamas continuing to release hostages,” Kirby told reporters.
RESPITE IN GAZA
More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, roughly two-thirds of them women and minors, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. More than 1,200 people have been killed on the Israeli side, mostly civilians killed in the initial attack. At least 77 soldiers have been killed in Israel’s ground offensive.
The calm from the truce allowed glimpses of the destruction wreaked by weeks of Israeli bombardment that leveled entire neighborhoods.
Footage showed a complex of several dozen multistory residential buildings that had been pummeled into a landscape of wreckage in the northern town of Beit Hanoun. Nearly every building was destroyed or severely damaged, some reduced to concrete frames half-slumped over. At a nearby U.N. school, the buildings were intact but partially burned and riddled with holes.
The Israeli assault has driven three-quarters of Gaza’s population from their homes, and now most of its 2.3 million people are crowded into the south. More than 1 million are living in U.N. shelters. The Israeli military has barred hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled south from returning north.
Rain and wind added to the hardship of displaced Palestinians sheltering in the compound of Al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza. Palestinians in coats baked flatbreads over a makeshift fire among tents set up on the muddy grounds.
Alaa Mansour said the conditions are simply horrendous.
“My clothes are all wet, and I am unable to change them.” said Mansour, who is disabled. “I have not drunk water for two days, and there’s no bathroom to use.”
The U.N. says the truce made it possible to scale up the delivery of food, water and medicine to the largest volume since the start of the war. But the 160 to 200 trucks a day is still less than half what Gaza was importing before the fighting, even as humanitarian needs have soared.
Long lines formed outside stations distributing cooking fuel, allowed in for the first time. Fuel for generators has been brought for key service providers, including hospitals and water and sanitation facilities, but bakeries have been unable to resume work, the U.N. said.
Iyad Ghafary, a vendor in the urban Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, said many families were still unable to retrieve the dead from under the rubble left by Israeli airstrikes, and that local authorities weren’t equipped to deal with the level of destruction.
Many say the aid is not nearly enough.
Amani Taha, a widow and mother of three who fled northern Gaza, said she had only managed to get one canned meal from a U.N. distribution center since the cease-fire began.
She said the crowds have overwhelmed local markets and gas stations as people try to stock up on basics. “People were desperate and went out to buy whenever they could,” she said. “They are extremely worried that the war will return.”
Russian forces advancing on Ukrainian town from all sides
Russian forces are intensifying their drive to capture the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, trying to advance on all sides after weeks of fighting, the town's top official was quoted as saying on Monday.
Russian troops have been pressing land and air-based attacks on Avdiivka, since mid-October as the focal point of their slow-moving push through eastern Ukraine's Donbas region in the 21-month-old war.
The latest push, reported by Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka's military administration, followed reports last week that Ukrainian troops had made some headway in halting and pushing back the Russian advance.
"Things in the Avdiivka sector have become even tougher. The intensity of clashes has been increasing for some time," Barabash told the media outlet Espreso TV.
"The Russians have opened up two more sectors from which they have begun making assaults - in the direction of Donetsk ... and in the so-called industrial zone. The enemy is attempting to storm the city from all directions."
Officials say not a single building remains intact after months of battles in the town noted for a vast coking plant. Fewer than 1,500 residents remain of 32,000 before the war.
Much of the fighting has focused on the industrial zone and the coking plant.
Barabash earlier said that Ukrainian forces had in recent days pushed back Russian forces near Stepove, a village northwest of Avdiivka, pinning them down near a rail line.
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Ukrainain and Western military analysts say Russia has incurred heavy losses, although the battle for the town is rarely mentioned in official Russian military dispatches.
Russian military bloggers also reported Ukrainian gains near Avdiivka last week. On Monday, Russian reports said Moscow's troops had secured control of the industrial zone and were attempting to storm the coking plant.
Reuters could not verify reports from either side.
Avdiivka was briefly captured in 2014 by Russian-financed separatists who seized large chunks of eastern Ukraine.
Fortifications were later built around the town - seen as a gateway to the Russian-held regional centre of Donetsk - and it has resisted attacks since Moscow began its full-fledged invasion in February 2022.
Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in June but has made only marginal gains in both the east and the south. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has acknowledged the slow progress but denies any suggestion the war is at a "stalemate".
Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun told the news outlet liga.net that wintry weather and strong winds were affecting the use of drones by both sides.
Shtupun said Russian forces had suffered heavy losses near Avdiivka and nearby Maryinka, another largely destroyed town where control has been contested for months.
"Our defenders are holding their ground," Shtupun told liga.net. "We are fighting and will continue to fight despite the weather."
West ‘screwed over’ Ukraine – ex-Zelensky aide
The West has essentially thrown Ukraine under the bus in its conflict with Russia by failing to provide Kiev with the necessary amount of military aid, Aleksey Arestovich, a former aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, has claimed.
Writing on Telegram on Sunday, Arestovich weighed in on the differing views of Ukrainian officials as to why Kiev’s conflict with Moscow is still in full swing despite several major attempts at peace.
According to the former presidential aide, the West bears most of the blame for the situation.
The real responsibility lies with those who promised Ukraine real support for waging a real, big war and did not provide it. In other words, they screwed us over.
Arestovich claimed that Ukraine “had won its war” by managing to survive in the first few months of the conflict. “This war of ours could have well ended with the Istanbul Agreements,” he suggested, referring to the talks in the Turkish city in the spring of 2022, which initially made some progress but stalled after then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Kiev. The negotiations collapsed but Russia maintains it is open to diplomatic engagement with Kiev.
After the Istanbul talks, the conflict entered another phase in which Ukraine had no chance of winning without securing massive Western arms supplies, including warplanes and long-range missiles, the former official continued. “But nothing came. We paid a huge price for that.”
Arestovich suggested that the West would now try to force Ukraine to accept the loss of several regions, which overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in a series of public referenda last autumn.
He also suggested that, while Kiev found itself in a tough spot mostly due to the West’s inaction, the Ukrainian leadership’s “stupidity and corruption has given them many formal and informal reasons to screw us over.”
Arestovich’s remarks came amid Ukraine’s faltering counteroffensive, which has been underway since early summer but has failed to gain any significant ground. Last month, Moscow said Kiev had lost more than 90,000 troops since the start of the push, with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claiming that Ukrainian casualties had reached more than 13,000 soldiers in November alone.
Earlier this month, Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top general, admitted that hostilities had reached a stalemate, an assessment rejected by Zelensky. Meanwhile, on Sunday, Mariana Bezuglaya, a senior Ukrainian MP, blasted Zaluzhny over the lack of a strategic plan for 2024 and called on the military leadership to step down.
** Russian forces wipe out Ukrainian command post in DPR over past day
Russian forces destroyed a Ukrainian command post in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) over the past day in the special military operation in Ukraine, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday.
"A command post of the Ukrainian army’s 5th assault brigade was destroyed near the settlement of Krasnoye in the Donetsk People’s Republic," the ministry said in a statement.
The recent worldwide surge of inflation is forcing political change, reminding us how efficiently this old economic problem can topple governments. In democracies, election outcomes often hinge on price developments. But the effect on autocracies is no less pronounced, because inflation erodes the implicit social compact on which they base their authority.
In Argentina, the election of a radical self-styled anarcho-capitalist, Javier Milei, as president can be understood as the immediate consequence of the incumbent Peronist regime’s inability to deal with inflation, which has hit an annualized rate of 143%. Milei’s most important campaign promise was to restore price stability by abolishing the central bank and replacing the Argentine peso with the US dollar.
Ending monetary autonomy is obviously a bold and risky experiment that will severely limit government action. But that is exactly the point. Since the previous government tried to do too much, and manifestly failed, voters now feel as though anything would be better than more mismanagement.
At first blush, Russia looks surprisingly stable by comparison. Its annualized inflation rate recently rose from 6% to 7%, whereas even the United States and the eurozone briefly flirted with inflation in the double digits last year. But the US, the eurozone, and the United Kingdom have all brought inflation back down below 5%, while Russia is moving in the opposite direction.
Moreover, Russian inflation also surged in 2022, following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine – just as it had done in 2014 after the initial seizure of territory in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Then, from April 2022, the inflation rate fell for a full year, and almost looked as though it would settle at a respectable 2.5%. But that stability turned out to be an illusion. Inflation returned this summer, following Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s aborted putsch, and it now represents the greatest immediate risk to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wartime regime.
Moscow’s city government is candid about this source of angst, and even Putin, who generally avoids acknowledging weaknesses, recently commented on inflation and its threat to Russian families. The Russian central bank has duly hiked its policy rate to 15% – almost three times higher than the US federal funds rate.
As Putin may well know, discontent over prices is often the first sign of an authoritarian regime’s loss of social support. While ordinary citizens cannot complain openly about the government (lest they be arrested or harshly punished), they can and do murmur about prices, especially when inflation is a direct result of increased government spending on a war. The problem arises not just because of higher military expenditures or supply constraints resulting from sanctions, but also because the Kremlin has tried to buy popular support. Soldiers, for example, now make over two and a half times the average salary, and their families are compensated lavishly – receiving five million rubles ($57,000) – when they are killed at the front.
The telltale signs of the resulting inflation are popping up everywhere. Owing to the exodus of 800,000-900,000 young people who were unwilling to risk conscription and mobilization, Russia’s labor market has been transformed for the worse. Skills are lacking, and employers have had to offer much higher pay to attract workers. That might work for a short while; but soon enough, people start to notice that their larger paycheck still does not buy them what they need or want.
History offers powerful lessons here. Inflation was the central dynamic that broke the czarist autocracy’s own social compact with the Russian people in the 1910s. During World War I, the Russian Empire, unable to balance its budget, resorted to the printing press. Since Russia had been a massive grain exporter in the years before the war, Russian peasants initially could sell their excess grain to military-procurement offices, which were willing to pay higher prices. But by late 1916, inflation was accelerating, and the peasants noticed that their paper rubles no longer bought them much. Rather than continuing to sell their grain, they fed it to their livestock.
Importantly, the paper money of the time directly evoked images of the czarist dynasty – featuring Peter the Great on the 500-ruble note and Catherine the Great on the 100 note. Suddenly, these grand historical figures no longer looked so grand. The notes bearing their faces had become worthless, and the peasants refused to accept them as payment. As the grain supply collapsed, the resulting food shortages caused urban unrest that culminated in the double revolution of 1917. Soldiers stopped fighting because they could no longer buy anything with their pay. They preferred to go home to their villages, where they might at least find something to eat.
Once in power, the early Bolsheviks had to do something dramatic to restore price stability, so they hit on the idea of making an explicit reference to gold in the name of the new currency: chervonets (gold coins). They even minted a few gold coins.
One finds an extraordinary degree of continuity in Russian monetary history. The current 500-ruble note, designed in 1997, once again depicts Peter the Great (this time as a statue in the port of Arkhangelsk). And it could fall into similar disrepute.
People turn on governments that have broken their promises, and money constitutes one of the oldest such covenants. Russian monetary machinations are now one of the most tangible signs of a system that cannot deliver what it has promised. It is a system that eventually will be replaced, because it has broken faith with the people.
Perfectionism might seem like a great quality for a boss to have. It's actually pretty toxic, says Ginni Rometty, former president and CEO of IBM.
Rometty worked at the tech giant for 39 years, starting as a systems engineer in 1981 and rising to the top post in 2012 before stepping down in 2020. In her early days as a boss, she was a poster-child for perfectionism, she said at the 2023 World Business Forum summit on Wednesday.
"My nickname in my early career was Red Pen. I mean, you'd send anything to me [and I'd send it back] completely red," Rometty, 66, said. "I used to think that was a great skill ... to find every mistake and improve it."
A wake-up call from a colleague helped her realize that her obsession with finding mistakes was negatively impacting her employees, she said.
"One person was like, 'You know, people just don't even want to try hard, because you're going to change it and fix it. It's never going to be good enough,''' said Rometty. "That's pretty disabling for people … I was disempowering them. Of course, it was never my intent, but I learned to stop it."
Your perfectionist boss may think they're showing you how to be detail-oriented. Instead, they could be harming your team's anxiety and productivity, Rometty noted.
"Perfectionism is the enemy of progress," she said. "And it's what polarizes people, ideologically. And this is why we make no progress on many things."
How to deal with your perfectionist boss
Perfectionism is a growing problem for the next generation of professionals, according to psychologist Kate Rasmussen.
"As many as two in five kids and adolescents are perfectionists," Rasmussen told the BBC in 2018. "We're starting to talk about how it's heading toward an epidemic and public health issue."
If you want to do something about your perfectionist boss, you can start by helping them recognize that they're creating a negative environment — for both the workplace and themselves. They'll either burn out or lock themselves in a cycle of endless procrastination, mental health author Morra Aarons-Mele told CNBC Make It in February.
Awareness alone may help. The more someone knows about their tendencies, the more they can focus on changing them, Aarons-Mele said — and the less time you'll spend hovering over your computer deconstructing your work at the expense of your mental health.
Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Limited will be listed on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Chairman of the company, Aliko Dangote, has revealed.
Dangote, who is the richest man in Africa, confirmed this in an interview with the Financial Times published on Saturday.
The refinery will join other businesses of Dangote currently trading their equities on the NGX, Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar, and NASCON.
The oil facility, believed to be worth about $20 billion, was launched in May 2023 by the immediate past president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, though it is yet to commence operations.
A few weeks ago, it was reported that the refinery was starved of crude oil supply by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, one of its major shareholders, frustrating its commencement of the production of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, which the country desperately needs as it currently relies on the importation of the commodity from Europe, especially from the Netherlands and Belgium.
But in the interview, Dangote confirmed that this issue has been resolved, announcing that the refinery may begin to supply the nation diesel, kerosene and jet fuel from December 2023, which is just a few days away.
“We’re starting with 350,000 barrels a day. [We have sealed a deal for the first cargo of about 6mn barrels [for delivery in December],” he was quoted as saying.
According to him, “We have resolved all the issues of supply [with the NNPC,]” he said, refusing to blame the state-owned oil-firm for the difficulties in supplying crude oil to the refinery.
“Let’s not have the blame game here,” he declared in the interview.
However, he expressed optimism that the oil facility would be a game-changer for Nigeria, especially when it is listed on the domestic stock exchange, stressing that the NNPC was not attempting to increase its stake in the organisation with the supply-restriction tactics.
Recall that in 2021, NNPC acquired a 20 per cent equity stake in Dangote Refinery for about $2.76 billion, and there have been speculations that the firm was planning to increase its shares in the company, which has the capacity to produce 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day and could generate $25 billion a year.
But Dangote, who is 66, played down these rumours, saying, “I don’t think NNPC needs to buy more shares. I think they’re OK with what we’ve given them.”