A Provocation Might be Moving You to Your Place of Provision

Dunstan Ayodele Stober
6 min readJan 26


Your place of operation will determine the size of your provision

“So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there.” — 1 Kings 17:5

Photo by Singkham

Have you ever considered how significant your environment is to you realising your potential and purpose?

For some time, I believed my skillset, heart-set, and mindset were more critical than my environment. A recent polarising story which pervaded the global sports media made me rethink that belief.

Lucrative, mammoth and eye-watering were some of the superlatives the media used to describe the biggest deal yet in football’s history. The story is of a player we consider one of the greatest artisans of the game. But put that debate aside for a second and reflect on these numbers.

US$ 200 million a year. US$ 548,000 a day. US$ 22,833 an hour.

These were the numbers (unverified) of Cristiano Ronaldo’s (CR7) latest Saudi Arabian deal, which got everyone in the sports world talking. On the one hand, opposing fans criticised it, while Ronaldo’s supporters celebrated the move. And the neutrals were likely divided.

Now, let me clear my throat. I am not a CR7 supporter or sympathiser. But I see a profound underlying lesson within the tale in his developing legacy.

Ronaldo and Manchester United (Man U) reunited to much hype and expectation in December 2021. The excitement of the Old Trafford faithfully was not unfounded, given Ronaldo’s 84 goals from 196 appearances yielding 12 domestic and international trophies between 2003–09.

The reunion was all honeymoon-esque until April 2022, when Man U hired a new manager. Then, a series of public displays of dissent due to limited playing time from CR7 unveiled the discord at Old Trafford. Then came CR7’s infamous Piers Morgan interview, rife with accusations. Followed by counter-accusations from the Man U high-ups, leading to Ronaldo’s eventual acrimonious departure.

“Provoked to purpose.” — T. D. Jakes

The prodigal son was in no man’s land, searching for a home to ply his trade at the ripe football age of 37. The rumour mill spun in full swing within weeks, revealing that CR7 is moving to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The rejection and provocation at Manchester’s Old Trafford moved him to Riyadh’s Mrsool Park.

About 15,000 people attended, and millions watched on TV the magnificent and extravagant fanfare that welcomed Ronaldo and his family to Riyadh. It was a true celebration fitting a celebrity’s unveiling.

It almost seems ironic that CR7’s new club is Al-Nassr which means “victory” in Arabic.

“Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated.” — Anon

The critics claimed he moved for the money. They claim the KSA football league lacks the prestige for one of the game’s all-time greats to retire. The critics also pointed out that Ronaldo is not eating his words.

As a neutral, I believe he has the right to play anywhere he is truly happy, can give his best and fulfil his dream or live out his purpose.

While it is hard to argue against the financial motivation of all the parties to the deal, there is no doubt CR7 is in a happy place. He now plays with a grin as bright as the captain’s band on his left arm.

I hear you. With that amount of money, anyone can play with a big, bright smile. But that is only a tiny part of it. Trust me. I have been there. Not the money. I mean making a move to work where I am happy and valued.

I could glean the following eight insights from Ronaldo’s story that will help you find the right environment to thrive.

1) Be selective of your circle

You are not looking to be popular. You are looking to live out your purpose. You need people who will pray for you. Be there when you are down. And tell you what you need and not what you want to hear. People close to you will affect how you feel. So, be particular and deliberate on who has access to you; prune if you must. Just keep it close-knit.

2) Identify habits that are holding you back

I understand that CR7 engaged a psychologist to help him identify destructive trends, patterns and habits. And reevaluate his priorities, thus reeding harmful practices in the process. With regular introspection, I find habits I let go of that help me become more focused and productive.

3) Ditch the blame game

Not everything is someone’s fault. You don’t have to blame anyone or yourself. Permit yourself to fail sometimes, to be wrong. It is part of the growth process. Taking responsibility gives us power and control over our life. And avoiding the blame game helps to cultivate the positive mindset that breeds success.

4) Plan for the future, live in the present

Success does not happen by chance. It starts with planning. But, we should plan out of fear and apprehension that we forget to enjoy the present moment. Enjoy every moment, seize every opportunity and celebrate every small win. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’ — Eleanor Roosevelt

5) Pay attention to cues around you

Ignorance is not bliss, according to Jim Rohn. Read the room, and pay attention to the crucial information around you.

6) Choose your words wisely

Critics would argue that what Ronald said during the infamous Piers Morgan interview was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I am not in a position to judge what he said. But, the aftermath underscores the importance of choosing what to say and when to say it. Our words affect our environment as much as our environment affects us.

7) Do not compare yourself to others

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt. We must embrace our unique gifts, qualities and weaknesses. The only person you should compare yourself to is who you were yesterday. The “you of today” should beat the “you of yesterday.”

8) Practice gratitude

Of the eight, I consider gratitude the most valuable. It is the currency that buys us future opportunities. But do not confuse being grateful for the small wins with instant gratification. Just enjoy the journey.

From my experience working in seven cities and two continents, I believe our environment influences us as much as we influence it. People close to us affect how we feel. Living in the present keeps us alive. We must learn to appreciate who we are and avoid the resentment of comparison.

And if we are grateful for what we have, we might be on our way to finding our “Al-Nassr.”

Two (2) Book recommendations

Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

I believe the following two books will help you find your place of purpose and affect your environment.

a) 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson is Cristiano Ronaldo’s psychologist. He is also polarising, but his 12 rules are worth reading. Unconventional rules would be an understatement. Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding. How is that for a life rule?

b) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

I am recommending this book as a reminder as it needs no introduction. If you do not have this title, please get it yesterday: independence, interdependence and continuous improvement.

Be proactive — read the book. Again.

Three (3) Citations

Photo by Elena Rabkina on Unsplash

The following three quotes will help you build true grit.

“The greatest weakness of all weaknesses is to fear too much to appear weak.” — Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” — Muhammad Ali

“”It depends” is almost always the right answer in any big question.” — Linus Torvalds



Dunstan Ayodele Stober

CFO | Author | Coach | Entrepreneur — inspirational stories with tips, tools and techniques to strengthen your body, transform your mind and uplift your spirit.