Friday, 30 December 2011

30. You have only one life, live it to the maximum

You only get one shot at this short life. It has it's ups and downs, good and bad, you gain some you lose some and the world keeps on spinning. As long as you're breathing and on this side you got something to be thankful and an opportunity to do a lot so as they say eat it with a big spoon. Laugh, love, go places, meet people, do things, make your contribution and most of all always remember to acknowledge God in everything that you do.

This is the last of my numbered posts for now. In case you've been wondering what it's all about it's not a countdown to my wedding as some people first thought so girls don't worry... Anyway the reason is today is my 30th birthday, yep the big 3 0 , quite a milestone in my few years on this Earth and I thought of doing a post about 30 things from my 30 years. Lessons I've learnt and I'm still learning and some I'm yet to get grips with about life, work, God, people and relationships. I had a few bright ideas at first but the number was quite large and I decided to do daily posts to spread them out. Sometimes I would be inspired and write many at a go and other times the trickle was slow. However I'm happy to finally have put my 'sage' skills to good use. Hope you enjoyed reading.

 This is just the beginning and I pray God will give me many more. I'm thankful for these first 30, the experiences I've had, the friends I've made and looking forward to the next 30!

The beauty of having a birthday at the end of the year is that everything fits in so well chronologically so as 2011 ends I wish you all a prosperous 2012.

God bless you all!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

29. You reap what you sow

The good book says in Galatians 6: 7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap."
One of the universal laws, if you plant potatoes you get potatoes not beans, what you invest is what you get back. This is not only restricted to Agriculture but to life as well. n that bible chapter we are told that we sow in the flesh, we reap destruction and we sow in the spirit we reap eternal life. In the prayer of St Francis of Assisi he asks to sow love where there is hatred, hope where there is despair etc, truly noble goals.
Wherever we go we have a choice as to what seed to sow, good seed or bad seed, invest in the wrong things or in the right things.
What seed are you sowing? Where are you sowing the seed?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

28. Think before you talk /leap

This one is pretty much self explanatory. You can avoid a whole lot of trouble if you measure your words before they come outta your mouth.
Similarly before you do something take sometime to consider and weigh.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

27. Not everybody will like you so it's pointless trying to make them

Fame is deceptive. One moment you're selling like hotcakes the next you are in the gutter and few remain consistently popular thanks to the capricious public. However looking for fame for fame's sake is not a very worthwhile pursuit as we've seen some big stars end up dying miserably such as Michael Jackson.

Though not all of us are pop stars or movie stars we all enjoy being liked but the fact is not everybody will like you out there. There are some who you won't get along with, some who are just simply destructive so spending time being a people pleaser is not worth it. Best be yourself and the real people will appreciate you for what you really are, the rest will sort themselves out!

Monday, 26 December 2011

26. Celebrate the differences

There's this funny quote that goes "You're unique just like everybody else" I'm not here to debate the oxymoron but to appreciate that everybody is different. You'll never find another you and how boring it would be if we were all the same. Variety truly is the spice of life and meeting people from different backgrounds and who've had a different life experience is always an interesting experience.

One thing I've come to see about us human beings is that we will always find a way to divide ourselves be it based on religion, race, social standing, ethnicity, football club etc. What''s even more sad is when we use this differences as a basis for conflict e.g religious differences in Northern Ireland, the numerous tribal conflicts in Africa. What's worse is that even some of the same ethnicity decide to fight each other based on clan differences like in Somalia. Makes you ask the question can't we all just get along? Can we ever embrace unity in diversity and understand our differences are not a reason to fight but to stick together?

Something else closely related to this is that as humans we often fear what we don't understand. This is played out a lot in the social sphere where we fear new people who we don't understand, sometimes even concocting stories about them. For example some tribes are said to be cannibals and such kind of things and in some communities in the US people fearing blacks ans Hispanics because of crime. WE even go to the extent of spreading so called FUD- fear uncertainty and doubt about the unknown, pretty common in the computer world for instance Microsoft telling people stories about Linux when it was knew. We needn't fear but rather take time to understand that which is new.

I'm learning that as I go along in life I will encountered many who I differ with and have to learn to get along. After all what is war good for? absolutely nothing. This is very relevant in Kenya where we are trying to build ethnic cohesion, let's laugh at each others quirks and get along not use it as a cause for conflict as we did in the last elections

Sunday, 25 December 2011

25. You can't know everything that's why what you get in University is just a degree

First of all. Merry Christmas everybody! First time I've ever posted on this day!

Now back to business. This is pretty much an obvious statement. Nobody holds the monopoly of knowledge in the world. More so in this age when there is so much information flying around and being generated in a daily basis. I once read that from a newspaper in a major city you can learn more than people a couple of centuries ago did their entire lives! How about that? crazy huh? So it would be silly to think that you know it all, in any case who likes a Mr. know it all. In my younger days I used to be labelled a 'mjuaji' (know it all- hey even at some point I was branded a walking encyclopedia) most likely due to thinking my classroom prowess meant I knew everything in the world. Time has shown me quite the opposite and I'm all the wiser what's more with information at our fingertips nobody looks quite that sharp any more- Google has mad it so hard to win arguments!- but I digress.

We can only get to know so much in our short lives so I have come to accept that many times I'll be in a position of ignorance and have to listen to others more knowledgeable than me. Similarly when dealing with people learning to be patient knowing that Rome wasn't built in a day, you can't just know somebody at a sitting,  it takes a life time.

This ties in a lot to the previous point of continuous learning. Nobody knows it all

Saturday, 24 December 2011

24. Without God life becomes empty and meaningless

In the book of Ecclesiastes the preacher son of David, king in Jerusalem starts off by telling us how it is all vanity Chapter 1 verse 2 and laments on his pursuit of things that he thought mattered in life. This is a rich man talking, a wise man too he had so much going for him that a lot of us look for but he still came to the conclusion that it is all vanity.

Makes you wonder how such a 'successful' man would reach such a conclusion. I mean this is a guy who had it all- power, money, wisdom, entertainment, etc. However at the very end he says "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" Chapter 12 verse 13. Throughout the book he remembers the sovereignty of God in everything and though many things down here don't make sense he ultimately has the answer.

A lot in life doesn't make sense and is beyond us. We also ask the ultimate question- why am I here? A lot of the answers lie with our maker, the manufacturer knows the product best so it is with us and our God. Only He can fill that vacuum within our hearts for a sense of meaning and belonging. The best relationship we can ever have is with our almighty God. Do you have that relationship? are you living the abundant life that Jesus promised to his sheep? - John 10:10.

Friday, 23 December 2011

23. You will not be remembered for your possessions but the mark you left in people's hearts

Alert: this is post number 100!
In the last few months I've attended quite a number of funerals in the last few months and listened to many Euologies. As usual people dwell on the good the departed have done. In all those numerous speeches memories that were left are recounted from loved ones, friends and colleagues. Laughs you had good things you did together and the impact made in the life of those left behind. Some of those who passed away were wealthy and though their achievements may have been mentioned it was just in passing.Nobody talked about the big cars, land or houses that were left. What mattered more was the people. It is great to acquire wealth but in the final analysis you'll leave it here and your descendants will enjoy it. So as we live our lives physical capital is not the most important but the 'human capital' i.e the impact we have on the people around us. SO go ahead and build those memories!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

22. Accept when you're wrong

We al make mistakes and though we may not realise it at first the reality dawns on us later. Nobody is perfect and so we'll do something wrong. However once we do what's important  is to agree and make amends. Goes a long way as opposed to sweeping stuff under the carpet. It's not the sweetest but every now and then we eat humble pie. Even the first step in recovery is to admit you have a problem in the first place

Even to receive God's forgiveness we start by confession. 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

21. Words are powerful

Words have the power to build and the power to destroy. An often quoted bible verse is "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" proverbs 18: 21. What we say with our mouths can work out for the good and also the bad for the hearers and for ourselves too. We can discourage as well as encourage ourselves by the words we confess and make things happen due to words that shape our attitudes and inspire our actions. Taken literally somebody's death can be declared by somebody else's decree but I've noticed there's another power that lies in words. A couple of times I've heard people wish death upon upon themselves and sure enough it came and took them. Serious it's not superstition I've seen it happen which made me wonder afresh about the meaning of that statement. Probably those negative words affected their will to live and it's not that they were terminally ill or anything but in good health.

Closer to home in Kenya in 2007-2008 we saw people displaced and killed due to careless words spoken by so called 'leaders'. Same can be said in countless other instances all over the world. On the other side words of encouragement and positivity from leaders have brought change and transformation in peoples lives all around. All it takes is the right words at the tight time.

So we see the tongue wields great power and can change situations- that power is to be used wisely. Speak positive and you'll get positive results, speak negative and you'll reap negative results!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

20. Proper prior preparation prevents poor performance

Practice makes perfect goes the old proverb. Nothing can substitute good preparation.
I remember in high school before any event we had to go through vigorous rehearsals to make sure everything is right. In my time I've also participated in a number of drama productions and know how important preparation is. every time you see a good performance on stage, you best believe a lot of work went into that. Of course we all know about exams and how we must prepare for them.

Generally for whatever we do, good preparation makes a world of difference, let the day not find you unprepared. Remember the story of the virgins in Matthew 25? the wise ones were ready when the bridegroom came.

Don't get caught out, be ready!

Monday, 19 December 2011

19. The closer you are to somebody the more likely they are to piss you off

This is so very true I'll repost something i wrote a couple of years back...

One thing in life is the people closest to you are the ones who have the greatest effect on you. They can give you the happiest moments and the saddest moments. It's easy to think that life is all clear blue skies and when a cloudy patch comes up you wonder what's up and think that something major is wrong.

One of the scriptures that is frequently quoted with respect to friendship is proverbs 27:17- " Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (KJV)
Now consider how this happens, two knives do not sit up next to each other warm and cosy and then they magically become sharp. No what happens is they strike each other and sometimes sparks fly, that's how it goes down. Similarly with our friends there can be those heated moments which come up when due to our humanity our flaws become evident. Nobody's perfect and so we do not see eye to eye all the time but we can build each other using the right words and end up being the better.

Let me quote Dr. James Dobson who put it so well in his book "Life on the edge"

" Whenever two human beings spend time together, sooner or later they will probably irritate one another. This is true of best friends, married couples, parents and children, or teachers and students. The question is: How to respond when friction occur? There are four basic ways they can react.

- internalize anger and send it downwards into a memory bank that never forgets. This creates great pressure within and can even result in disease and other problems
- They can pout and be rude without discussing the issues. This further irritates the other person and leaves him or her to draw his or her own conclusions about what the problem may be.
-they can blow up and they to hurt the other person. This causes the death of friendships, marriages, homes and businesses.
- Or they can talk to one another about their feelings, being very careful not to attack the dignity and worth of the other person. This approach often leads to permanent and healthy relationships."

And I end with the words of Psalm 133:1 "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity"

Sunday, 18 December 2011

18. Do not put all your eggs in one basket

Now this is one concept I have come to have close knowledge of in my short life. It is wise to think of eventualities and cover your risk because if the plan of action you have chosen fails to go as planned it's best to have something to fall back on. It really hits you when the worst that could have happened does and it finds you unprepared. Tough lesson to learn but all the wiser...

Saturday, 17 December 2011

17. Be grateful

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In Luke 17 there were 10 lepers healed by Jesus Christ but only one came back to give thanks.

Gratitude is a wonderful thing, I bet everybody likes receiving words or deeds of appreciation, more so God Himself who though we don't usually acknowledge has already done so much for us. When some things are going bad there's always the small stuff to be thankful for, it may be good health, family, friends a job etc. Not that we should be complacent where we are but when yo look at it there's always something to be thankful for- it's never really that bad.

So every once in a while take some time  to say thanks and appreciate God and the people around you!

Friday, 16 December 2011

16. Use the magic words- please, sorry and thank you

They always go a long way! Politeness and gratitude are marks of refinement and will make it much easier to get along with everybody. Not much explanation needed there...

Thursday, 15 December 2011

15. Don't expect too much from politicians

Politicians! We love to hate them don't we? Overpaid, under worked, liars, etc... If there's one thing Kenyans love talking about is politics. Even the news bulletins have a good amount of time dedicated to their shenanigans and 'misquoted' statements. Many have moaned about them in the Blogosphere and this is not another rant just a reality check. Every 5 years they do the same thing- come to us with promises of utopia then once they get to business they forget the masses who brought them in and dwell on their own stomachs. Sadly during the last elections some lost their lives in support of these guys.

Granted there are a few good apples in the basket the truth is there's a difference between good politicians and good leaders. The visionaries are few and far between while the tribal chieftains and demagogues are a plenty. Sometimes I think we put so much faith in them to take us forward yet it is the businessmen, entrepreneurs and thinkers who takes us forward. This looking for messiahs  in politicians is sad because we get sidetracked by smooth words and don't realise the hands that have been stuck in our pockets and the broken promises.

Basically we as the individual citizens have the power to determine our destiny through our hard work and votes. Let's give credit to the hard workers and shun the empty cans which make a lot of noise. Our future lies in our hands those guys riding in big cars and sitting in expensive chairs are not the answer to all our problems

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

14. No is a perfectly good answer- to give and receive

In the movie Yes Man Jim Carrey says yes to everything after attending a motivational seminar. At first it releases him but later on he discovers you can't say yes to everybody, you have to draw the line somewhere lest you spread yourself too thin or wear yourself out. Common wisdom that, as much as you would like to be the 'nice guy' at some point you have to realise your limitations and just say no without feeling guilty about it. You can't please everybody so at some point you have to say no to people who are well meaning for all intents and purposes.

Conversely I've come to realise that you also have to be prepared to hear no too. It could be in the form of a job that you thought was yours- been there or a relationship that didn't quite go the way you wanted. Some doors have to be shut for others to open and you see that everything doesn't go your way all the time. Rejection matures you and reminds you that you are not infallible or invincible and that these things do happen but dust yourself up and try again.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

13. Beware of anger

Anger is a powerful emotion and we all at one time get angry, pretty much unavoidable as they are annoyances all over especially if you drive on Kenyan roads but that's not my topic for today. As much as it's unavoidable how we deal with it is a totally different matter. It is so easy to do and say stupid things when in a fit of rage and I can attest to that myself and one of the hings I've learnt is that managing it is very important and one of the hallmarks of wisdom.

The bible says"A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,  but he who is slow to anger quiets contention." Proverbs 15:18 and also says "Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29 Here we see the wisdom of being slow to anger, can be simply taking a breath before blowing your top but it helps. Sometimes we may thing we're "keeping it real" when we get all pissed and drop f- bombs and such but when you've calmed down you realise perhaps there was a better way to deal with it.

A good example is what we see on the football pitch for instance Wayne Rooney is a talented football player but every now and then the 'red mist' gets the better of him and he pays the price through red cards and suspensions. Who can forget Zinedine Zidane one of the greatest footballers of our era who took his final bow with a red card thanks to a head butt resulting from anger.

The list goes on and on... In conclusion- we'll get angry but what happens next is up to us. Peace!

Monday, 12 December 2011

12. Learn continuously

The day you stop learning is the day that you die. I'm in an industry whereby continuous learning and training is the order of the day. You can never be complacent and say you've arrived. This is particularly true in the world of today where technology is moving at a break neck pace. For instance 2 years ago nobody knew what an ipad is but it is now ubiquitous. So it is in life you've got to keep on improving, keep learning new ways, new tricks and techniques to survive.

If we continue leaning on what we've learnt before we could render ourselves obsolete. If you look at the business world there are countless companies that fell by the wayside due to their reluctance to adapt e.g the once mighty Kodak is teetering on the brink of collapse. The ones who survive are the ones who are able to read trends and react to them constantly on the look out and constantly improving. There's something I was taught in a talk given by Titus Naikuni when I was still in uni- expect 3 things change, complexity and competition.

So don't get complacent keep learning and not just academically but from the world at large. That way you'll keep yourself relevant.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

11. Human beings are not linear time invariant systems...

human behaviour is hard to predict and you really can't tell how people will react in different circumstances. We are not like machines where you just flip a switch and voila you get what you want. Human behaviour borders on chaos. Expect the unexpected

Saturday, 10 December 2011

10. Stop and ask for directions

It's a common joke that men don't stop and ask for directions and I have been guilty of this many times. One of the things I have was taught in flying school is when you are temporarily unsure of position - i.e lost the first thing you do is confess. Hard thing to accept that you're lost but it's the first step in getting back on track. Asking for directions is not stupid, nobody knows everything so if you don't have that map or GPS ask! This can be extended to any other situation where you have inadequate knowledge to move yourself forward, ask others who've been there before!

Friday, 9 December 2011

9. Intelligence alone does not guarantee success

We live in a country that puts a big emphasis on exam results and book smarts. However important classroom performance is, it is not the only thing that will help you be successful in life. More important is so called emotional intelligence, how you relate with other people and the so called 'soft skills.' Coming from a technical background I've come to realise how important this is in the marketplace. Out in the real world it's not only the hard skills that count but how good you are at building relationships with the people around you.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

8. Generally people care less about what you know but would rather know that you care

Having knowledge and information may be great but when somebody is going through something they'd rather you take your time to listen than load them with facts. Everybody likes to have somebody who cares not necessarily one who has the answers or the solution. A lesson we as men are learning all the time...

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

7. Everything in it's time

"There's a time for every purpose under heaven" comes from the famous words in Ecclesiastes 3:1-15. Timeless wisdom right there (pun not intended) Timing is an art that is hardest to master and there's nothing better than doing the right thing at the right time. It takes a lot of wisdom to discern the times and seasons but it is always best when you get it right. For example how beautiful it is say in a game of football when the striker arrives just at the right moment to receive the pass and strike the ball into the back of the net.

That sense comes with practice and attention. Learn it!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

6. Do not confuse motion with progress

I got this little pearl listening to John Hagee on TV. He was talking about how the children of Israel spent 40 years going around in the desert because they refused to learn the lessons necessary to go into the promised land. Even in our lives we could find ourselves doing round in circles instead of towards our goal. Another way of saying it is don't confuse activity with productivity. It's easy to engage in a lot of activity to procrastinate but in the end it is wise to invest in activity that will take you forward.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

5. Be on time. If you don't like people wasting your time don't waste theirs

I can be sure nobody likes their time being wasted. I'm one of those who doesn't like tardiness but as much as I don't like being kept waiting I find it important not to keep others waiting as well. Speaking as one well acquainted with African time I know all about people being late. However in these days of mobile phones it is at the very least polite to say when you'll be late.