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The #1 Tip To Live A More Fulfilling Life


OK. Wait. 

Before you start revolting. Those are words that Toffy wrote in his notepad. 

“Who’s Toffy?” You might ask.

Well that’s the main character in my award-winning debut dystopian novel – Toffy’s Divide.

When I decided to write Toffy’s story, I had no clue what it would turn into.

It was supposed to be a short story for a concept mixtape.

This was a few months after finishing my MBA, looking at the future with uncertainty, I thought I’d just make this quick mixtape/story before putting my head down, leaving silicon valley, and heading back to Nigeria to build my business.

Not sure where to start, I thought I’d just start with an easy prompt: I’d write a story about a guy trying to write a story.

This took me down a path to write Toffy’s Divide over 5 years and led to this…

Judge Review of Toffy’s Divide (#1 Book in Sci-Fi 2021)

Toffy’s story has gone from paper, to mixtape, to digital collectibles, to audiobooks, and maybe even a film.

That wasn’t the plan when I started. I just followed my interest.

The White Rabbit

People don’t want to be boxed into the system, yet they wait for the system to tell them what to do.

We all want order in a universe of increasing disorder.

If you don’t find your own way to order your mind, the world will do it for you. 

It will tell you to:
Go to school.
Go to work.
Get a promotion.
Buy this.
Buy that.

Unchecked, you’ll remain unhappy.

That intense feeling in your chest that “something just ain’t right” will continue to swell.

You’ve found ways to relieve this feeling. Escapism is the favorite.

Your phone notification was blinking but it wasn’t. Your brain just found an excuse to pick up your phone.

Minutes of scrolling takes you away from your reality and back to where you started.

Even worse now, you’ve spent hours comparing yourself to friends and people you don’t even know online.

This cycle happens over and over again. 

There’s a reason why I’m talking so intimately about this – because I’ve been there.

The person looking for validation. Looking for someone to say, “here Nifemi, this is the sure path forward.”

The reality is no one can tell you that. 

I’m not here to talk about passion and work life balance. I’m just here to stroke the flames of your curiosity.

Unless you were born with a clear mission, dipped in some clarity oil by the gods before you descended into this mortal body, then part of your life journey is to find what is yours.

Some sit back and expect it to be revealed, I prefer a more active approach.

Simply follow your curiosity.

Your life’s purpose is just one interest away.

5 Ways To Embrace Your Curiosities

When you understand how important your interests are, you will stop ignoring them. You will spend more time cultivating them like a garden that regenerates.

You will actively start creating a path towards your ideal life, adding some positive complexity to your life that builds real confidence. 

You’ll break away from the mundane and meaningless routines that move you away from your goals.

Here are 5 ways to let your interests lead you to the life you want.

1. Recurring themes

Journal to discover your interests

Trauma can really wake you up. 

You know those things in life that can really shake you up and redirect your energy to what’s important. 

I have had two of those moments that are vivid to me. One was back in Lagos and it involved bomb blasts and a loss of teenage certainty. That’s a story for another day. 

The second was a decade later. 

I had already cleared all institutional hurdles. I had a master’s in Chemical engineering. I was young, traveling the world, optimizing manufacturing processes. 

Work gave me a sense of importance. 

Then one time, I was on a trip in Poland. After work, I decided to do what regular people do – tour the city of Krakow. 

My afternoon soon turned sour. 

Within minutes, I went from circling old castles on a map to sitting at the back of a military van driving toward a detention center. 

Myself and the only other two dark-skinned Africans in the multitude of tourists had been singled out for questioning. 

“Random selection” they claimed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my passport with me. 

I was held for six hours while the authorities drove to my hotel, unlocked my room, and opened my safe to confirm that my passport was in there. 

I remember getting back to the US feeling detached.
I became a lot more introspective. 

Not long after, I started journaling. It brought order to my racing mind.

I’m telling you this story, not to depress you but show that brightness can emerge from darkness. 

I journaled my way through those dark thoughts. Over time, I started to get a sense of what was important to me. 

I wanted to change the African narrative.
I wanted to speak out against unchallenged institutions. 

Journaling has helped me foster my interests and discover recurring themes in my life. 

If you don’t know your interests, it will be hard to follow them. 

Journal to get the stuff out of your mind, discover yourself, and find the recurring themes in your life.

2. What would you do if money was not an issue?

“Bro, don’t sleep on your God-given talent”

That was what a friend told me on a Friday night in Austin. We were watching a video of a Nigerian producer making beats. 

“Men, I used to play the piano when I was a kid” I told him as we watched this video. We were both higher than two paper kites in an Oklahoma windstorm.


He continued gassing me up: “dude, if you let that talent go to waste. Walahi, you wouldn’t forgive yourself”

“Whatever man” we both laughed.

I went back home that night, opened up the casio electric piano that was locked up in my wardrobe and I’ve been making beats ever since then. 

At that point, I was a young engineer traveling for months, just to come back to a nice but empty apartment with a shiny blue BMW in the parking lot. 

I was living the life.
But there was something missing.
A need to express, unsatisfied.
The story unfolds, just listen.

I started by scribbling on white styrofoam cups at work. Then I moved on to improv classes. Beat-making stuck.

Most people don’t live the life they want. 

They say “they are too busy” 

What they are really saying is: “I gotta pay the bills. I’m too busy making money.” 

And “when I’m not making $, I’m recovering from making money.”

Your lifestyle is important but try out this exercise.
Ask: “What would you do if money was not the issue?”

I’m not telling you to quit your job just yet.
Calm down, fam. 

I’m just telling you to be sincere with yourself and answer the question.

Once you have a clear answer, you can start nurturing that life.

3. Nurture your hobbies

Your career needs a hobby to thrive

Play is seen as something for children.

The older I got, the more I heard things like “Nifemi, you need to get serious”

Because I’d spent time making mixtapes, doing improv, or writing a book, while working or building my business.

People think that hobbies are things that take away from your career, when they actually add to it.

Hobbies make you a more well-rounded person.

Most of us feel some productivity guilt.

Survey shows that even when we get on vacation, we don’t stop working.

If your career is the marathon, then your hobbies are like cross training. 

They help you cross-pollinate ideas to thrive at work. It helps you connect to all parts of yourself.

As you pick up a hobby, here is a litmus test:

  • Is it conventionally different from your actual work?
  • Is it challenging?
  • Does it make you feel aspirational?

“We do not know how to stop ourselves from working and it’s impacting our job effectiveness as well as our health and happiness”

~ Karen MacFarlane Holman, PhD, The Chemistry Rockstar

Detach your self-worth from your ability to perform in just one field. Follow your interests and nurture your hobbies.

4. Develop your system of self-validation

“Do it for the love, don’t do it for the likes”

I was talking to a friend recently. He told me about his recent visit to the Bay Area. 

He had met up with a friend that complained about being “priced out” of the real estate market.

Bay Area prices are next level. I agreed. 

Then he went on to say, “how can a 4-bedroom be $11 million?” 

I was like woooh. 

I had to stop him. 

I said: “your friend is not priced out of the market. He can find something more affordable. He just wants to b able to high-five Zuckerberg’s puppy every morning.”

You think money is the real issue here. 

The real issue is caring about what other people think.

I know people that can “downgrade their lifestyle” but choose to hold on even though it is killing them on the inside.

I’m not here to preach.
I get it. I like nice things too.

Like it for yourself and not because of what people think about it.

To follow your interests, you have to self-validate.

The people around you might not understand what you’re doing. Don’t attach too much importance to what they think. 

This takes practice, of course, but you have to find your own internal way to validate your work. 

Did you write that newsletter this week?
Did you create that piece of furniture?
Did you DM all 20 people you said you would this month?

Do it for yourself and find your own internal monitoring system as feedback because you can’t control how the world responds.

5. Detach from the outcome

When I started Toffy’s story, it was just supposed to be a short story for a mixtape. Now I’m experimenting with short films for the music of an award-winning sci-fi novel. 

Then, I couldn’t envision where I am now. 

We fear veering off on the unpaved path. 

This fear is encoded in our DNA through centuries of social bonding. 

We leave the campsite of our crew and walk into the wilderness. As we leave our circles of certainty, the light from the campsite dwindles. 

Our instinct is to run back and lapse in the comfort of social inclusion. 

The reality is that we have a fear of freedom. 

Freedom to find what we really want to do. This fear never leaves. You only get good at dancing with fear.

The journey is about learning this dance.
But first we have to commit to the work.
You have to take your interest seriously. 

Because it’s only when you commit that the providence shows up to help you get to your goal.

Love the process not the outcome.

Final Thoughts

The #1 thing you can do to live a more fulfilling life is follow your interests.

You don’t have to leave your job or stop whatever helps you make income but don’t stifle your interests.

It’s the intersections of your curiosities that makes you unique.

Nurture them.

You can identify them by journaling to get the ideas out of your mind and understand the recurring themes that are important to you. 

Ask yourself a genuine question: “what will I do in a world where money is not an issue?”

Nurture your hobbies. They allow you to be complex, where you don’t have to put all your self-worth into one basket. 

Remember to do it for yourself by developing your own feedback process and most importantly, detach from the outcome. See where the journey leads you.

I know you don’t need my permission. So go follow your interests.
Do one thing this weekend that you enjoy.

Who is Nifemi?

Hey I’m Nifemi of NapoRepublic

I help busy people fit in a creative practice to bring to bring order to their reality and help them live a more meaningful life through writing and reflection.

Sculpt your story

Know thyself, build a second brain, and unleash your creativity with writing. All in one journaling, note-taking, and dots-connection method that fits into your busy life.