Nollywood actor Femi Jacobs has spoken to Pulse about his new platform, The Rise, which is aimed at having tranformative conversations on how people can gain control of themselves.
According to the actor, for years, there have been events and conversations about how people can access finance or run a business, but nobody is talking about who will do all these things.
With his upcoming event, “Spirituality, Creativity and Clarity,” Jacobs hopes to moderate conversations between people and their own hearts, have them own up to their own weaknesses, understand what they need to work on, and equip them with the power to do those things.
Also popular on Twitter for his simple, yet profound posts, Jacobs talks about having an inspiring personality on social media platforms and how he ‘nourishes his mind.’
Read the full interview below:
On what inspired the Rise Platform
It sort of felt like we were doing a lot of talking, a lot of events, a lot of activities, but I still feel like there’s a part of the conversation we are missing, and it’s because we, perhaps, haven’t grasped the depth of our problems yet.
We need to come to a point where we know that something has happened to our psyche as a people. Quite a lot of people are talking about the problem, talking about the symptoms of the problem; how corruption is very pervasive and how young people are not particularly worried about that. It’s like they [young people] are not getting it. There’s still a lot of entitlement mentality, a lot of assumptions about stuff that we think people know but they don’t know. There has been a culture shift and I feel that we are missing that part of the conversation.
We are missing the fact that we are not gonna have a situation where people just behave right automatically. Something has happened. I mean, when we talk about things like patriotism, it’s a strange word. Isn’t it? Because a lot of people don’t understand how they can be faithful to a country like this.
There’s that sense of internal alignment that is missing in our conversations, and trust me, I have been part of that conversation for a long time. I have been a public speaker and all we were telling people was how to be empowered, how to access finance, how to run a business. Nobody is talking about the who. Who is going to do all these things you are telling people to do? And how can people gain control of themselves?
It’s a personal empowerment platform. I wanted to have transformative conversations, not just transnational ones. I want people to know how to gain control of themselves. I think that the first place you lose power – if you feel powerless – is in yourself.
You lose the power to influence yourself – they call it self control – you are not going to have power with anyone. You’re just going to throw tantrums, you’re not really going to understand power, because power begins with yourself. And I believe that that part of the connection is broken.
And I believe that if we built a platform for it where we begin to have these sort of conversations with people, we can have situations where we have tools, instruments, media and quotes on how we can moderate conversations between people and their own hearts, own up to their own weaknesses, understand what they need to work on, and equip them with the power to do those things, then we won’t have to do a lot more stuff on the surface.
Because I believe that once the core is taken care of, then the surface will be taken care of. African Psyche is broken and we have got to fix it. That’s what the Rise Platform is for.
On his upcoming event themed: Spirituality, Creativity & Clarity
Spirituality is all that a person is – his essence – stripped of everything else. Stripped of his position, stripped of your banalities, your social standing, your followership on Instagram, your financial situation, even your family. Stripped of everything that’s external to you; spirituality is what is left, and that’s the source of everything.
So when we say “Spirituality,” we are looking at the the real person, and unfortunately, not a lot of persons can adequately describe who that real person is.
A lot of people have asked me, ‘oh, are you going to talk about Christianity?’ Your religion, whatever it is you practise, is a tool for refining that person I just described.
Faith is a tool of the heart and soul because you can’t see it. So to even know that you even have a soul would require faith. So whatever faith you practice – Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or traditionalist – your connection to the intangible, is a tool for nurturing that core person.
That’s what spirituality is about. We are about to strip everything out and perhaps let people come in contact with that person. That’s your authenticity. In fact, when God made people, that’s who he made. He made that thing that the person is, and that’s the core.
That part made the mind and made the body. Because when you think about it, it was the clay that was formed. The clay didn’t become intestine, what gave it life was that core idea of who a person is.
The Creative aspect of it is deeper than just inventing things. It’s deeper than arts, scripting, drawing or whatever it is that we do that we call creativity. It actually describes how we frame our reality from inside out, how we begin to implement what our life is about, our purpose, the idea of who we are, and all the other external things that we do.
The Clarity part is, of course, our decision making. You’ve got to have enough wisdom and understanding of what you want to do with your life. Forget about Africa for a minute, forget about the global realities, the Geo-politics, let’s deal with that.
Once we are able to capture these three things; the spiritual part, the creative part, and clear understanding of what you’re about, we are done. Trust me, that’s like 75% of the work. Once that’s done, everything else would start to fall in place, or out of place.
Because when you’re clear on what you’re about, you don’t have to say ‘no,’ things would literally just fall off you. You would be in the right relationships, you would pick the right idea of what your mission is and the kind of profession or career you’re supposed to be in. All of those other decisions would be taken care of when you get clarity. That’s the conversation we want to jump-start on August 11.
On having an inspiring presence on social media
A lot of people know me as an actor, but I was almost 30 before I ever stood in front of a camera for the first time. So, describing me as an actor is missing the whole point. I cherish that privilege, I love the fact that I am able to do that, I like the fact that a lot of people connect to me at that level, I like the fact that I am able to win awards doing that, I really really cherish that.
But that’s just the doing person. That’s just one of the things I did. I went to flying school, I started businesses, I was a musician from the time I was 14 years old, so all of those things are just the doing.
The being is deeper than that. I mean, since I was eight years old, I left my parents and went to live with my uncle and there was not a lot of guidance or motivation. I would have been excused if I failed. It’s coming out in my book in September also called “Rise.”
Nobody cared. Like, you went out, you came back when you liked [and] nobody asked, ‘Have you eaten?’ Nobody knows what’s going on. And I think that lack of a hovering presence around me sort of connected me to my inner self quite early.
I was more introspected. A lot of people say, ‘You don’t go for events,’ ‘We don’t see you everywhere.’ It’s just a personality issue. I just was connected to who I was that early and I’m used to that voice. I know when it speaks to me. I am not trying to give myself credit but my life has been saved by that single ability that I was fortunate to develop that early.
This is one of the reasons why I wanted to have this event. I wanted to spend time with people alone because I wanted them to be connected to that. People ask me, “Do you read books?” I don’t write what I read in books. Sometimes, when I do that, I just put a quote to it.
What I write are the authentic feelings and thoughts of my own self. I hear these things early in the morning and I just put them out, and some of them are clarity issues. For instance, I have been through stuff for years, and all of a sudden, in retrospect, all of that would be captured in a single quote and I will cast my mind back to when I was going through that stuff, I never thought about it that way.
But now I think about it and I’m like, ‘Okay, this is an authentic human experience.’ And when it’s an authentic human experience, it has a relationship with the principles that govern life. So what principle is this? And then I make that connection and I write it down, and then I take a little portion of it and I put it on Twitter.
Twitter used to give us 140 characters and there was not a lot we could write in those days. I would just take a little bit, put it out there, and I would ask, ‘Would people get this thing?’ Then I would remember my literature class in school, then I would ask, ‘How do I phrase this in a way that people would understand?’
I have knowledge of songwriting, so I would put a little bit of rhyme, a little bit of poetry, then I put it online. I’m grateful that connected with a lot of people.
This started since 2008. So it has been 10 years of writing quotes on Facebook and Twitter. A lot of people send me messages and I’m glad that somehow, some people are gaining understanding from it.
On having guest celebrity speakers at his event
What I am about to do has been on my mind for a while. I am just glad that I now think that I am ready to open myself up a bit more. If you want people to be vulnerable with you, you have to be vulnerable with them and share your story with them, and that’s what this platform is about. It’s a platform of stories, it’s a platform of conversations.
Somebody asked, ‘Who else are you bringing?’ ‘Are you going to be the only person?’ – there’s this general understanding that actors are supposed to be ‘bleh.’
No, it’s not that kind of event. This particular one is an intimate situation. There can only be 50 people in that room, and we are going to talk.
I’m going to try and show people what I have done and organize how they too can experience it.
On planning subsequent events outside Lagos, Nigeria
The way the platform is designed is such that each topic is a module of knowledge, so it’s transmutable. With one person, we can do it with one million persons. We can do it multimedia.
I am already thinking about Abuja and Port Harcourt. I would have loved to have an event of 500 people at the same time, but I wanted it to be intense, because even I need to experience it again.
The Rise Platform’s Spirituality, Creativity and Clarity event is scheduled to hold on August 11, 2018.