Uchenna Ilo: Spiritual Teacher, Inspirational Writer, Thought Leader and Social Entrepreneur
Uchenna Ilo holds a PhD in the field of Innovation Management. He is an author, life purpose thought leader, philosopher, and social entrepreneur. His writings have been published on Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling books, Simple Reminders Network and several other motivational websites. His writings cut across diverse dimensions of the human experience including spirituality, love and relationships, leadership, excellence, success, healthy living, passion, purpose, innovation, creativity and business management.
Uchenna’s philosophy is rooted in his very sober and honest reflections of his past and current experiences in life. He believes that life is a journey of self-discovery, and that until we truly understand who we are and why we are here, we will not realise our full potential. He believes that it is possible to live in peace with yourself and with your neighbours and that true love really exists and can be attracted by living a life of honesty and truthfulness. The purpose of his writings is to bring healing to people who feel they have been broken by the sufferings of life and who may have lost hope in themselves. He believes that happiness, inner peace and true love can be achieved if we understand how to conduct our lives in the right manner.
Uchenna has made academic distinctions across different academic disciplines spanning the life sciences and research philosophy. He holds degrees in Microbiology, Biotechnology with Business, and Research Methods, and has received an academic award and prize for his outstanding academic performance. Uchenna has gained extensive leadership and resource management experience from his previous employment in the banking industry and various entrepreneurial pursuits. He currently holds a PhD in the field of business management with a special interest in the responsible management of the innovation process in businesses. (Taken from LinkedIn)
TSM: Hi Uchenna, thank you so much for doing an interview for TSM. It’s truly wonderful to have you in the magazine.
UI: Hi Jessica. Thanks for having me as a guest on the re-launch of your amazing magazine. I am really honoured and proud to be associated with your philosophy and your business. I truly hope this interview will bring value to the readers.
TSM: What inspired you to become a writer? And is it something that you’ve always wanted to do since you were a young boy?
UI: My life experiences have inspired me to be a writer. Writing has emerged naturally from the process of my life. I do not think I could have made any other choice. I did not always want to be a writer since I was young. I never even knew there was any profession called writing, but unconsciously I was being trained by my late dad to think and write constructively since I was a little kid. My dad created a space and environment that was conducive for reading and writing. He made me watch television programmes and then made me analyse what I understood. He dictated speeches to me, and I was responsible for transcribing his thoughts into words. We did this regularly all through my childhood, adolescence, youth and adulthood. He gave me his written speeches for review and proofreading. Our house was filled with books, and my discussions with my dad were mainly ideological and philosophical. I believe these activities played a key role in embedding a spirit of writing and thinking in my cognitive culture. I was also inspired by the lyrics of music that touched my soul. My love for poetry can be attributed to music. My academic life has also been impactful in my awakening to the fact that my writing has a broad range acceptance in many dimensions of life. I have obtained four academic degrees spanning across the sciences and humanities. I made distinctions in a couple of them and I have a PhD in innovation management. This means that I have been writing all my life. The discipline that I have gained through academic writing has served to inspire my decision to become a full-time writer. Since I was a young boy, I have always been an abstract thinker. I loved ruminating about philosophical ideas. I was inquisitive about the nature of reality and the fundamental principles of truth. I was an avid observer and good listener. All these attributes alienated me from most of my peers, but have helped shape my current belief system and mindset. Another source of inspiration comes from an inner desire or calling to share my stories with the world. I have been sharing my stories through my writing; stories of pain and wisdom, stories of love and betrayals, and stories of successes and failures. My life experiences have been quite intense and have been majorly responsible for the emergence of the genre of writing where I belong. I write about life. I write empowering and inspirational quotes and articles about the survival of the human soul. At the core of my writing is the desire to communicate the power we have within us to create the kind of life we desire. We can reverse any failure and we can turn disappointments into opportunities. This is my message.
TSM: How did you get your start in writing?
UI: I had to take the bull by the horn by self-publishing my first book titled The Art of True Love. Prior to the publication of my first book, I had been writing consistently on multiple social media platforms. Social media has helped me a lot by exposing my writing to the public. My public writing started on social media and has been amplified through social media. I started posting on my Facebook profile and within a short while, people with similar mindset started gravitating towards my page. As I delved deeper into the spiritual network of Facebook, I stumbled upon the writings of a man named Bryant McGill who would go on to become my mentor. His style of writing endeared my spirit to him. I joined his group called the Royal Society, and from there I forged several bonds, and developed a network of entrepreneurs that served as a springboard for the viral explosion of my content. Bryant encouraged me to “come out of hiding” and express my truest potential. He taught me the power of authenticity and the strengths of vulnerability. Through his stories, I was able to muster the internal courage to write the truths of my soul. By being authentic and writing straight from the depths of my soul, I started attracting people who shared my posts to give me publicity. My inspirational writings and creative works have reached and continue to reach millions of people through social media, and my quote has been published in Simple Reminders (a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling book). My writings cut across diverse dimensions of the human experience including: spirituality, love, relationships, leadership, excellence, success, healthy living, passion, purpose, innovation, creativity, and business management.
TSM: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
UI: The most important element of good writing is to connect with your audience. Writing is a form of communication, and the goal of communication is to transfer information from one party to another. You must understand your audience and what their needs are. So, your method of writing needs to be constructed in a way that captures the attention of your audience. I am not one to advocate any specific set of rules for writing because I know that different people have their unique preferences and inclinations. On a general note, however, your writing must be clear and concise, and should portray exactly what you intend to communicate. The second most important element of writing is “purpose.” For you to connect deeply with your audience, there must be a purpose to the content. Having clarity on what you intend to achieve through your writing is integral to success. The purpose of your writing will determine the structure and content of your writing. The purpose should evolve as you mature; it does not have to be something static. The purpose of your life should be reflected in the purpose of your writing. Your core beliefs and values should be obvious from the content of your writing. The third and final element I want to highlight is our capacity to be open to criticism of our work. This is very important if we want to improve anything we do. Getting feedback from reliable sources should be a habit if we want to succeed. We must get comfortable with hearing the truth about our works, especially when they are negative. The truth is that most of us do not start off as “very good” writers. Writing is something we develop over time. It requires dedication, commitment, consistency, and discipline. Good writers try to write almost daily.
TSM: What is the inspiration behind your book, The Art of True Love?
UI: The inspiration behind the creation of the book was to document some of my thoughts in a more permanent form. One of my goals in life is to store my thoughts in various media forms, and books constitute a significant proportion of this storage. I want to build a body of work that can be referenced in the future when I am no longer here. I want to record my original thoughts in book format where it can be preserved for a very long period. Writing on social media has its pitfalls. Most social media posts have a very short shelf-life; it is extremely difficult to retract them as time passes by. The spiritual inspiration behind the book is specifically to share my understanding about love. I wanted to present my own unique observations and experiences of love. I wanted to show the multi-dimensional nature of love, and how we all uniquely have our own understandings and expectations of love. The book is an expression of the feminine side of my human nature. I used the book as a medium to give voice to my divine feminine. The experience was truly humbling, emotional and vulnerable. I wanted to express a core aspect of my soul in the book and I hope I did.
TSM: What process did you go through in writing your book?
UI: As I mentioned earlier, I have been writing quotes, aphorisms, and memes on Facebook for a few years before I compiled the book. The book is a compilation of hundreds of quotes and short articles I had previously published on social media. The quotes and articles I write mainly come from intuition, or a spark of imagination. I had to integrate all the separate quotes and articles into a single theme of love. The process entailed locating quotes and articles related to the central theme, and then linking and organising them logically, and coherently into sentences; paragraphs; and chapters. Of course, I had to create new content to join the already existing ones together. It was an intellectually challenging process of construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction. It was akin to solving an intricate puzzle. The non-technical side of the writing required consistency, resilience, and dedication. Strangely, I had started the process of putting the book together about two years prior to publication. It seems like everything I achieve in life has been a result of following my intuition over many years. I get an idea today, and it could take a few years before the idea matures into a final product. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of completing the book. I wanted to create something small that can be read in a day. That was what it turned out to be. The publishing of the book entailed a different process including: proof-reading, editing, interior and exterior design, book cover, and online publishing.
TSM: Is there something new you learned about love during the creation of this book?
UI: I was re-learning my own values and perceptions about love. I dug deeper into my truths about the nature of love. I started viewing love as an overarching nature of our reality. I started seeing love from multiple dimensions of relationships; my relationship with myself, my relationship with other people, and my relationship with every other element of the world around me. I confirmed to myself that self-love is my own responsibility and that my relationship with every other person can only be as love-filled as the relationship I have with myself. I realised that we could forgive people and then love them from afar. I finally understood the importance of boundaries and how they help with the healing process. I learned that love heals all things.
TSM: What would you say are the key elements in having fulfilling, loving and healthy relationships with people?
UI: The key elements are understanding, forgiveness, empathy and awareness. Understanding human nature is very essential to maintaining a healthy relationship. We must understand that everyone is unique in how they think about and react to circumstances. We cannot expect people to think and behave the way we do. We should let go of expectations if we want to have loving relationships. I explain this concept in my book. Forgiveness is part and parcel of every loving relationship. We are always going to have misunderstandings with our partners, friends, and family. So, there must always be space in our hearts to forgive when people have wronged us and to ask for forgiveness when we at fault. Without forgiveness, there will always be animosity and hatred lingering in our hearts. Empathy is needed to feel the pains of our significant others. Being able to place ourselves in their context ensures that we understand where they are coming from. This trait is not found in everyone, but it comes easily to some people. To maintain close relationships, it is necessary for the involved parties to be able to feel each other emotionally. The last element is awareness. This cannot be over-emphasized. Awareness encapsulates all the other elements I have mentioned. By awareness, I mean the capacity to recognise and read the underlying meanings behind events and experiences. To be aware is to have knowledge of self and to understand that each person is acting based on their own knowledge of themselves.
TSM: What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
UI: I rarely read books from start to finish. Most times I get bored halfway and stop. However, one of the few books that I read from beginning to end, and that really touched my soul is a book called The Alchemist written by Paulo Coelho. Although I do not write stories, his thinking and his writing style is something I admire. Another book that has influenced my writing is Simple Reminders authored by Bryant McGill. The style of writing in this book has been my major source of confidence because I believe my writing style is similar. These two books are my classics.
TSM: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
UI: I would try to reduce the inequalities between peoples. Nobody should be starving in this planet that is full of abundance. The income inequality currently being experienced is disturbing. I would re-organise the economic system to ensure that those living below the poverty line are properly taken care of. The value of every life should be sacrosanct. I would like to provide opportunities for people in the lowest base of the pyramid to empower themselves. I am in the process of registering a not-for-profit charity organisation that will be purely focused on improving access to education to the most deprived members of our planet. The goal of my organisation is to feed the minds of people with empowering thoughts and ideas. We want to bring hope to the hopeless.
TSM: What is one of your favourite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
UI: My favourite quote is “The cave you fear to enter holds all the treasures you seek” written by Joseph Campbell. My interpretation of this quote is that if we are to transform ourselves into the best version of ourselves, we will have to face our deepest fears. We will have to do the work we do not want to do. We will have to endure the pains that lead to progress. I believe this statement with all my heart because I have experienced and continue to experience it in my life. The attainment of our highest potential will require enormous courage to do things we never believed we could do. For me, I had to do things that I had previously felt ashamed of doing, and I found out that I had nothing to fear. The courage I have applied in my life have brought amazing results for me.
TSM: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can readers find out more about you and your work?
UI: I would like to encourage the readers to always believe in their ability to turn their negative situations around for the better. We can actualise our highest potential. What we need is the courage to make the right choices. We already know what those choices entail. We just need to decide to embrace the pain that will yield the results we seek. Stop running away from your pain and start running towards them. Your greatness is deep inside the pain. It is never too late to start a new project or dream a new dream. We just have to keep believing that good things are coming our way. People can find me on social media by searching my name on the internet. You can find most of my works on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. You can also purchase my book The Art of True Love on Amazon. My website is under construction.
TSM: Thanks so much again for taking time out of your day to do an interview for TSM. All the best in the future with all you do.
UI: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reach more people by featuring me in your magazine. I truly appreciate this kind gesture, and I wish you and your business all the best.