I spent a plane ride to and from Lagos, in the company of David Ropo Lawale's book - 21st century Joseph and it not only cured my aerophobia (see previous post) but it blessed me and i was thoroughly entertained. David has a lot of content and there is a blessing in the way he uses it, I hope you see that too in this interview, Enjoy!
OMONAIKEE: You write about the biblical character, Joseph and flesh out the story with vivid descriptions of his life as it would be if it was set in the 21st century. I found your Joseph to be a quick wit, a stylish dresser and a man shocked out of his sheltered life by the hateful betrayal of his brothers. Joseph was a happy-go-lucky kid who had to grow up fast because of the hard events presented in his life, do you relate with the life of Joseph?
DAVID: Yes I do relate with the life of Joseph. He was a young man that seemed to have “impossible” dreams that made him a legend. Im a pictorial person. I love to think out of the box. I love to try out the rare things. Growing up, I’d always had dreams about myself and where I was going. While I was in the banking industry, I kept nursing the dreams. The Banking Industry is a place that keeps you comfortable enough to live a dependent life on the salary and forget your dreams. I had to fight it. Since I pictorial in everything I do, I often picture everything around me having a voice. Life itself has a voice. It often tells us we cant be who we planned to be. I needed to shut it up first by making myself happy. I found out no one will really make you happy. No one will actually celebrate your dreams. No one will believe in you when you build castles in the sky and don’t take visible steps to show your doggedness. The way you’ll see Joseph described in the book has a little bit of me in it. I just love being happy and excited irrespective of how any other wants to make me feel. Life is fun, live it but don’t live too seriously. Enjoy the moments. I also’ kinda’ had an old head on a young shoulder (I grew up fast). Also, did almost everything under the sun before I woke up to life’s reality
OMONAIKEE: In your book, we hear your voice weaving messages of your own into the story. You where also in the book along with your characters, I found that style of writing to be unusual. Why was it important to you that your voice should lend something to the story?
DAVID: I didn’t just want people to read a book and dump it somewhere. I needed a book that would speak to the readers, cause them to go back to it when life’s pressure tries to raise it’s head. I also wanted to connect with the reader. Many ‘mentor’ books from well respected and notable authors entertain but don’t get to relate with you. I wanted to be in the readers living room, swimming pool section, kitchen, library, school, office with him/her. I wanted to dialogue with the various reader’s thoughts without necessarily being physically present. From the numerous feedback we get, it seems it worked. It’s exciting!
OMONAIKEE: You are also a brand consultant and your approach to pushing your book is fresh, how have you used social media and what potential does it offer today's writers and authors such as yourself?
DAVID: True, my approach was a fresh one. Like I said earlier, I like thinking out of the box. It’s a joy to see the method being used now by public figures who saw what I was doing and got in touch. Others, said they were going to use it for their work. Another thing im passionate about is branding and marketing. Social Media is a blessing to the 21st century. Years ago, many paid huge amounts for TV adverts, newspaper ads, etc. Today, things have changed. Many are bloggers, people are networking beyond their country. Social Media will get your work to nations you never taught of in seconds. You can network the world from your living room. I get calls/messages from Dubai, Malaysia, UK, Zimbabwe, South Africa e.t.c over what I do simply because of social media sites. The 21st Century Writer must understand the speed at which people can get to see his/her work via social sites. Facebook for example has over 500m users. That’s like the population of 3 major countries put together. Any wise author will ride on that platform. Yet, there are still ways of getting the necessary effects, response and productivity.
OMONAIKEE: Connect the dots for me, you have had life experience in other industries unrelated to what you currently do, what led you here David? What's your story?
DAVID: I wouldn’t really say that. I was into marketing. I was once an external marketing rep. for an organisation based in Lagos. However, my passion for empowerment was also in the picture at the time as I got some slight invitations many years ago. I got into the Banking Industry, Prudent Bank to be precise and was there as a credit and marketing officer. I understudied my bosses because I knew I wasn’t going to stay a banker all my life. The Banking Industry is a place where you can acquire a lot of knowledge if you do take it seriously. You get to write credits for schools, hotels, hospitals, contractors, politicians, etc. Hence, in those days of Prudent Bank before consolidation by Soludo, the Bank was particular about your display of knowledge in the field you are writing a credit(loan application) on. So, that takes a lot of research, questions e.t.c. There were times you’ll need to think like a doctor simply because you were writing a credit for a hospital or think like an engineer a bit because you need to defend a contractors request. After Bank consolidation, other banks I moved to didn’t really engage in that, but I was able to learn more on ROA, profitability and the likes. Bottomline, when I consult or train organizations now, I stand confidently because of the foundation received in the banking sector, research and the general school of hard knocks termed the School of Life. Today, im a Business Strategist. Also a performance trainer. My job is to help organizations grow their customer base, rebrand their mindsets for growth, make needed impact on their bottomline and re-create in them a brand customers are not tired of. Many organizations feel their age and experience qualifies them to keep being the forerunners. History, has proved them wrong, both locally and Internationally
Finally, you asked what led me hear… Well, i am very uncomfortable with mediocrity. Very shocked at acts of foolishness often displayed based on the fact that we have celebrated ignorance for too long. I feel there’s more to life than the mansions in Asokoro, Victoria Island or Beverly Hills; there’s more to life than the cars, Rolexes and private jets many want to acquire; There’s more to life than Money. There’s calmness and so much joy when you are doing what you are designed for. Many are frustrated because they are living someone else’s dreams. I'm David Ropo Lawale and I just want to live life happy, fulfilled and able to encourage people to birth their dreams even when it seems slow or financially stupid. In my own comical words, the so called stupid people helped us. Thomas Edison was stupid enough to keep trying, Gani Fawehinmi was stupid enough to go against the military when no one dared, Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikwe and Awolowo were stupid enough to push for our independence. I am stupid enough to believe in LIVING LEGENDS. I don’t believe you need to die first before the world celebrates you. Michael Angelo, Martin Luther, Shakespeare e.t.c. are legends but they were not living legends. Their legendary status seemed to spread after death. I love to celebrate Mohammed Ali, Steve Jobs e.t.c
OMONAIKEE: Tell me a bit about your christian faith, your testimony of it was very present in your book, what role does having a faith play in your life?
I discovered intimacy and not religion. We all made a religion out of this and termed it Christianity. Truth is the world needs a revolution. We need positive rebels of thought and character and not violence. We need knowledgeable corrections based on truths from the word and not just what has been practiced. Many might find it difficult to believe but God/Jesus never called us Christians. The people that didn’t understand the disciples were the ones that gave them the name. We should live free and happy in the word. Religions will keep battling themselves for supremacy. Religions are systems of the world and no religion out of all religions in the world will want to accept inferiority to the others. That’s why things go physical and violent. We weren’t given religion, we were given Relationship. In the relationship, we have religious(consistent or modus operandi) engagements like Prayer, Faith walk etc. God didn’t call us Christians, He called us Gods (Ps 82:5-6; John 10:34). He didn’t say we are Christ-Like (Christians or a replica). All religions have refused to comprehend this. Oh no!! I aint preaching..lol
With regards the testimony of my faith present in 21ST CENTURY JOSEPH…..Yes, it was. All the stories in my teachings were real life scenarios. Some were me, some others.
"What does Having a faith play in my life?"........Stories like Joseph gets me positively angry. Stories like Daniel e.t.c. They had mental pictures of themselves and went to work at it. Having read those stories, I felt, if they could make it, so can I. Having faith in the Almighty himself helped take some steps I wouldn’t want to take. I resigned from the banking industry with less than $100 to my name local and abroad. I was in debt and my rent was due. I live by one major statement…If Opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door and knock it yourself. I’d rather die trying than not trying at all. Life doesn’t reward you for your similarity, it rewards you for your difference; the majority have never made impact, those that do separated themselves from the majority.
OMONAIKEE: What should we expect from David Ropo Lawale in the near future?
DAVID: I've written 9 books. 21ST CENTURY JOSEPH was the first in the series of 21ST CENTURY BOOKS. Also expect the movie, cartoon and comic versions of each book. Expect David’s voice encouraging you to stand up for the “stupidity” of your dream and desire. Expect strategies that would build and expand what you do. I playfully used to say when I was much younger, you may not like my face when you see me on TV, but you’ll still hear the voice on radio. You may switch off the radio but, my brand of toothpaste will probably be in your house, if you refuse to use that too, my brand of soap, kitchen seasoning, book, etc will be existing in your house. Hey, im not greedy, i'm only exercising my senses. Watch me!!!
Great stuff right? Read the book! When David asked me to write a review, i sent him my two cents bellow:
"I give and i take- I enjoy taking words and giving them back by unraveling meaning, enjoying prose and weaving thought into words again. David's book gave me a lot to unravel and for my labor I was rewarded with a sense of God working out all things for my good. I read and I write- At first I read this book like a writer would, paying attention to David's expressions and the flow of the plot then somewhere in the chapters I became a reader and got drawn into the story by David's ability to paint vivid pictures and his gift to lift the curtain to reveal the humanity of these biblical characters whose stories are set in times far from the ones we live and are tried in. With humor and an animated imagination, David reset the clock and let's us see Joseph in a life we can really relate to. I am blessed and I bless- I heard some things I needed to hear in David's book and I recommend it for anyone who wants to keep company with a mind that has mined insight from the word of God' - Omonike Odi, CEO, Omonaikee