Do THIS: 10A Model for a Fulfilled LIFE (by Jonah Nyoni)

Uploaded 4/2/2024, approx. 14 minute read

The industrialized, developed world, we tend to be arrogant.

That is especially true in the field of psychology, where we think that we possess the monopoly on the knowledge of the human mind, human nature, the human psyche.

But the truth is, there are nuggets of wisdom and excellent expert advice all over the world.

And today I'm going to do my bit in introducing you to knowledge in psychology that comes from a faraway corner of the world, Zimbabwe of all places, in the African continent.

Today I'm going to discuss the work of Johna Nioni.

Johna Nioni is an author, speaker and leadership trainer, and he came up with a 10A model.

It's a model that deals with how to set life goals, how to conduct your life in a way which will bring you contentment, if not happiness, and would maximize your self-efficacy and self-actualization.

Now what I'm going to do, because Nioni is also an excellent writer, what I'm going to do, I'm going to read each and every one of the 10As.

I'm going to read what he has written, and then I'm going to provide a brief commentary on the state of the art in psychology and how it corresponds to what Nioni is saying.

So let's delve right in.

Our life, says Nioni, becomes a success when we have a systematic and structured design.

And then he explains the 10A model of framework on how to design life and how to find meaning in life.

He says, "Life is controlled by laws, and our success is based on us aligning to them.

Life principles are silent, yet so powerful.

If we align with them, we are rewarded, we are recognized." So the 10As.

The first A, align.

Nioni says, "A human being is designed for specific assignments.

The moment we align with our purpose, we start living a fulfilling life.

When you are not working and working in alignment, you pay dearly.

If what you're doing is not giving you peace, ask yourself, "What will give me peace?

What will give me fulfillment?

What will give me true meaning?

What will help me positively impact people or things around me?"

We have to find passion, purpose, meaning, and joy, says Nioni.

Indeed this sits well with several traditions in psychology, most notably Viktor Frankl's search for meaning and logotherapy.

The belief that a passion, a desire for something, a goal, a purpose, meaning in life, they bring joy, contentment, and happiness, they enhance performance.

The brain is neuroplastic.

It is not true to say that we are born with a rigid, limited set of potential talents and skills.

We can, and very often do, develop new skills and find new talents throughout life.

Still, there's no debate that we have strong points and weak points.

There were more talented in certain ways than in others.

I refer you to Martin Gardner's book about or work about multiple types of intelligence.

So the aligned part of the 10A model sits well with current knowledge in psychology.

And we move on to the next A, accept.

Nioni says, "Accept that you can't be everything to everyone.

Accept that you have your unique talents and downments and innate abilities.

Don't swim against who you are.

Don't run away from yourself.

Don't try to be someone else.

Live your life."

This advice is worth its price in gold.

This is the golden mean.

This is the number one advice I would give to anyone in trouble, in depression, in anxiety, and so on and so forth.

The vast majority of mental illnesses, in my view, are the said outcomes of self-betrayal.

Self-betrayal is often internalized.

Other people betray you, and then you adopt their point of view, and you betray yourself.

Self-betrayal involves self-denial, misapprehension of yourself, misunderstanding as to who you are, what constitutes your core identity.

And so self-betrayal goes hand in hand with something known as identity disturbance.

You shapeshift.

When you have betrayed yourself, when you negate yourself, when you deny and reject yourself, when you loathe yourself, when you self-defeat, when you self-destruct, your identity is unstable.

You are also unable to form continuous memories.

You dissociate, typically.

And so with an unstable, diffuse, disturbed identity, one can rarely set long-term goals, let alone accomplish them.

So accept yourself.

Self-acceptance is crucial.

Indeed, it is one of the four pillars of self-love, and I refer you to my video titled "Four Pillars of Self-Love."

Not surprising.

The next thing is action.

Nihani says, "Now that you know how you are supposed to serve the world, put action to it.

A dream is never enough. Wake up and act on your dreams.

Build on habits that ultimately build who you are.

Your actions should be done daily or frequently.

Your ritual becomes your reality.

Indeed, action is the crucial—and now it's me, not Nihani.

Action is the crucial boundary between daydreaming, planning, fantasy, and reality.

Action is the bridge that leads one into self-actualization and self-fulfillment.

Numerous people sit around daydreaming, fantasizing, imagining things, and yet they find it extremely difficult to translate any of these to cogent, coherent, and cohesive action.

Nihani recommends action as one of the ten A's.

In the absence of action, even if the rest is relatively healthy, life itself is unfulfilled, unrealized, unmaterialized.

The absence of action translates into a constriction of life, a narrowing of the horizons and boundaries that constitute the trajectory and path of self-development and self-growth.

Action is critical.

Similarly, when we treat depression or depressive illnesses, the first thing we do is we force the patient—well, kind of force the patient—to act, to become acted.

Busyness is not only a distraction, it enhances self-esteem, it builds self-confidence, and it puts the patient on the way to healing.

Action is critical.

The next A is assertion, and this is what Nihani has to say about it.

Your neuro or brain language is important.

What do you say to yourself?

This is positively looking inward and igniting our passion through positive self-talk.

We speak to ourselves more than we do to others.

What pattern or paradigm do you assert to your brain?

Take faith to yourself and prime your mind to rise to its computational creativity.

Be intentional in how you use your brain.

The key to happiness is to talk to yourself and trigger positive voices in your brain that talk to you all the time.

Indeed, inner rhetoric—that's the term used in cultural studies, in clinical psychology and so on—inner rhetoric is crucial.

This is me again.

The voices inside you, also known clinically as introjects, maintain an ongoing polylog and your authentic voice, the voice that represents you, participates in this ongoing discourse.

When the outcome of these exchanges and interlocution, these outcomes determine not only your next destination but who you are.

Your identity is therefore mostly verbal.

Your memories are recreated on the fly with the contribution of these voices.

It is very important to get a hold of this dialogue, of monologue, of polylog, of internal rhetoric, intrinsic rhetoric, and to transform it into something positive, motivating, driving you forward, rendering your identity bounded and clear, not fuzzy, and shaping your memories within a narrative that determines who you are and what you're going to do next in order to become more of you.

It's a process of becoming.

It's a process of getting closer to yourself, getting intimate with who you truly are.

The next A is advice.

Mignonie says, "Everyone needs counsel. You can get advice from a mentor, advisor, coach, or through reading quality and relevant content, and listening or watching quality content." The wise writer said, "Where there is no wise, intelligent guidance, the people fall and go off course like a sheet without a helm. But in the abundance of wise and godly counselors, there is victory." This is a kind of paraphrasing of Proverbs 11.

Proverbs 15. Proverbs 22-23.

And Proverbs 19. Proverbs 20-21.

Naomi. That's a crucial piece of the puzzle.

Our ability to seek help, succor, advice is what differentiates us from narcissists, for example. Narcissists are unable to admit that they are imperfect, that they are in need of someone, of something, some help, some tips. They are incapable of this.

And this inability to reach out to other people and benefit from their experience and the treasure of their wisdom, this inability renders the narcissist rigid, incomplete, and actually imperfect. We approximate perfection asymptotically by amalgamating and aggregating ourselves with other people. It's a bit of a colony concept where when we interact with other people, we actually appropriate their experience, their knowledge, their erudition, and their wisdom. We become more.

Interpersonal relationships render us more of who we are, not less so.

And so if we want to avoid the pitfalls of narcissism, which is highly lacking in self-efficacy, then we would reach out for advice.

And this leads, of course, to the issue of interpersonal interactions between people and the next A, association.

Naomi says, this also adds to what has been said in the previous paragraph. This speaks to people that we intentionally or unintentionally decide to associate or network with. The quality of people around us determines what we think about most of the time, what we think about most of the time, what we think about as a say in what we become.

But we are just a product of our thinking. Indeed, this is the main insight of the object relations schools and later schools in psychology. They realize that there's no such thing as an individual, an atomized particle, which is uninfluenced by the environment. We are all the products of relationships. We are all relational beings.

So association is not only a mechanism for amplifying or enhancing or magnifying our self-efficacy and our ability to extract positive outcomes from the environment. Association is also a determinant of identity. We are the sum total of our relationships. And so it's like a Venn diagram. We are the common area between the two circles.

And so association is critical to the process of self-discovery, growth, personal growth and development.

The next A is advertise. And it sounds a lot like success coaches on the internet. But I think it goes deeper than that. It's a bit more profound.

Listen to what Nioni has to say and make up your minds.

So he says, advertise. Your visibility speaks to the wider global market that you can serve. The wider you are promoted, the better. How do you promote yourself?

Create a product or a service that answers people's or environmental needs. Use online tools to speak about your products. You might have a good product. No one will consume or place a demand on it unless you make it visible and available.

So as you see, now it's Sam Dachni speaking. As you see, the emphasis here is not on self-promotion, not on egotism, not on narcissism, not on grandiosity. The emphasis here is on contribution to society, communal, pro-social aspects, products and services that you can somehow help people with.

And of course, once your products or services have proven themselves useful, there will be a demand and you will benefit. But the emphasis should be on your involvement, on your contribution to the community, not on yourself as an individual. So in this sense, the advertised part of the 10A model has nothing to do with fake it till you make it or success coaches who tell you that you need to awaken the giant inside. And if you only put your mind to it, there's nothing you cannot do. Counterfactual, magical thinking messages. The next A in the 10A model is account. Nélène says, "Success is how we plan and progress. What are the key success indicators? What should I do to improve my performance and results? What skills should I employ or acquire to change my direction? What resources do I need to excel?

Also at this level, you can apply the SWOT analysis on your personal life, where you check your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Furthermore, the GROW model can be used. GROW is an acronym for goals, reality, options and will. The above tools also help us to see how we are fairing with our vision board.

A vision board is a collage of images representing our goals and wishes and is very important for personal success. I have nothing to add to this actually. I think it's perfectly expressed.

The next A is adapt. Nélène says, "If we do not adapt, we suffer extinction. We learn the danger of extinction from companies that fail to innovate. These companies include Kodak, Blockbuster and the BlackBerry phone.

If you do not innovate, you are forgotten because you lose relevance. The trick is staying abreast and updating. Updating to mind software with important information, knowledge and skills.

Indeed, an investment in oneself, a constant renewal of skills, risk-killing and a constant emphasis on self-growth and self-development and expansion to new fields and experimentation, they are all critical." This is me speaking, not Nélène. They are all critical. They are all critical because if you stagnate, if you constrict your life, if you stick to the familiar and the safe, he is right. You are bound for extinction, especially in today's fast-moving world.

And the last A is accelerate. Nélène says, "Remember, you should not put new wine in old wine skins. Speed up the way you learn and acquire new detail or information. This in turn increases your agility, efficiency, value, effectiveness and your brand equity.

The world around us is changing at fast speed. That means we cannot use old remedies to solve new problems. Additionally, when you accelerate your learning, you are able to swiftly connect to the 10A model effectively." Innovation. So this is my last comment. Innovation is a form of what should be called creative destruction.

Innovation is change and transformation. And change and transformation are always threatening to some extent, always frightening, always unsettling. We tend to be inertial creatures. We tend to habituate, acquire habits. We tend to do things the same way, time and again. We are ritualistic beings and yet we need to knowingly and consciously fight back, counter these propensities, which are not helpful to adaptation and survival.

We need to constantly seek to not be us, to try different guises and options and to seek opportunities and to venture forth into the unknown.

As a child of two years old, each and every one of us goes through a phase known as separation/individuation. It's when we say goodbye to mommy and hello to the world.

It takes a lot of courage. It takes a modicum of grandiosity, but it needs to be done.

The only way you could become you, the only way to acquire a personhood and a self that is responsive to the environment and fits well with other people and with the world at large is by changing, metamorphosizing.

Not necessarily shape shifting. I'm not talking about identity disturbance or identity diffusion.

You should maintain a core, a stable core, which would render you recognizable even unto yourself. But in the periphery, you should try on different clothes, different instruments, different skills, different knowledge, different traits. This constant process of experimentation would lead you to new possibilities, to new discoveries and above all to the joy of life itself.

Life is just another name for change, another word for change. Life is 100% transformation and this is the last A in the 10A framework.


Thank you, John and Yoni. This is a brilliant morning and I congratulate you all the way in Zimbabwe.

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