Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Understanding Celebrity and Success

This first appears as a guest post on the Kawi Snippets blog.

A week ago, fellow scribe Kawiria proposed that I do a guest post in the 'What's Your Story' section of this site. Well, who am I to deny such an affable, lovely lass some words we can hopefully learn from? What gives me that right?

"Mama mama nataka kuwa rapper,
Mtoto wee umenishinda,
Nataka kuwa famous kama Kalamashaka.
Je ukishindwa?
Please nitakupa kile unachotaka,
Nataka tu kuwakilisha hip-hop culture.
Acha kuwa mjinga, 
Ni sawa tu.
Next utaiba,
Si hata hiyo, ni sawa tu?"
- Nazizi, Ni Sawa Tu.

So began the song that introduced Nazizi to the Kenyan music scene. She would later be christened the First Lady of Kenyan Hip-Hop. With Wyre and Bamzigi (who later left), Necessary Noize topped charts in East Africa and brought us household anthems such as Bless ma Room, Shujaa, Kenyan Boy Kenyan Girl and several other hits.
This is just one example of someone who sought celebrity from the start, and thankfully got it.

Thing is, almost everyone wants to be famous. In fact, the 'Zuqka' pullout in Daily Nation has "Be Famous" as its tagline.
We are so attracted to fame and fortune, that we spend hours watching other people making money from TV shows that supposedly reveal their "ordinary" lives. We then wonder how these same people are successful while we are not, forgetting that we made them rich as we bummed on the couch, thus elevating their TV ratings, and buying their merchandise. For the uninformed, reality shows such as Keeping up with the Kardashians, Nicolle Richie & Paris Hilton's The Simple Life.. even The Bachelor or The Bachelorette - these are all scripted.

Here then, is my story when it comes to fame, fortune, popularity, success and the celebrity lifestyle.

Back in the Day
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was a victim of Tall Poppy Syndrome both at school and in my neighborhood. Unpleasant as it was, I do believe this is the single most important thing to have happened in my life.

For this reason, I did not succumb to peer influence, never got the chance to hang out a lot with neighbors and friends and ultimately, learned to restrict my support group to my immediate family and others whose well scrutinized objectives and intentions I could trust. I was taught early on in life to define my success, and to never let the noise of other people's opinions drown out my inner voice.

In high school and at University, the situation was somewhat remedied by the fact that I was amongst equals - at least academically. Here, merit is what determined one's progress and our backgrounds rarely interfered with how we related to one another.

Fame, Popularity and Celebrity
The reason I am telling you about my background is to illustrate how I have escaped being hopelessly beholden to fleeting and material possessions that the few use to elevate themselves and look down on the majority who opt not to think on their own.
Thankfully, I remain impervious to the sway that politicians, musicians, TV and Radio personalities, the filthy rich, actors and others wrongly considered celebrities, do have on the masses. Their lifestyle, shenanigans, and whatever else they are up to does not stop me from "kuria na kunyua" (eating and drinking) as we often say in my mother tongue.

Many of us have lost our sense of purpose and abandoned self esteem, unduly influenced by those we look up to as role models and blindly emulate. People whose lives are not worth celebrating are now what our youth hope to become when they grow up. The rich who amassed wealth by running down public companies and embezzling funds now pretend to guide the youth on how to become billionaires and business moguls. Politicians continue to flaunt their ill-gotten riches while Kenyans do not even pause and wonder how these guys got up there. What kind of sheeple have we become that do not even pause to think?

Precious Illusions
Looking at the current leadership we voted into office in 2013, it pains me to realize that very few of them are in office for the right reasons. At the workplace, few go to work every morning for any reason besides making money at end-month. Many Kenyans have hopelessly subscribed to a misleading quest for money at all costs, thanks to common stereotypes about 'making it' and success. It is for this reason that many have turned to crime, others continually fall for get-rich-schemes and our youth are now at the mercy of sensational and transient fads whose main appeal is making money and spending it as fast as possible, sans any thinking about securing the future. We are continually comparing ourselves to others and will do anything, including crime to outdo them.

We have so far forgotten that it makes more sense and effort to be a person of value and not of success. As Albert Einstein prompted many years ago, we need to examine ourselves yet again and re-order our priorities, asking ourselves? "What is really important?"

In May 2013, I wrote a post that detailed what I hope would be my legacy. This in no way should be any person else's legacy and I do not mean to impose my will on others who should have the presence of mind to make their own informed decisions.
What I continue to urge you reading this post is that we should take another keen look at what we place priorities on and aspire to be. Is it famous people of questionable character or is it deeds and initiatives that make the world much better? Are we willing to do anything, including criminal acts, to gain riches or can we instead take time to improve our social condition?

What drives you?
What does it mean to have succeeded?
Here is something from Bessie Stanley, but often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

I end this post with some words from the man who wrote The Prince. Take time and give the following some serious thought:
"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are."
- Niccolo Machiavelli.
Thereafter, do the needful.

* * *

All said and done, do you still crave fame, popularity and celebrity status?
Is this allure influenced by your peers, role models or the very substance of what such a life entails? What does success mean to? We do believe that there are different strokes for different folk.. ni sawa tu.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's Never Too Late to Set Things Right

Today is the last day of November. There are 31 days to the end of 2014.
In the sunset days of  the coming month as the year winds down, many will look back at what went wrong. There will be new resolutions and written or spoken plans and objectives for the new 2015.

Well, in this post, we give you a head-start with the assurance that it is never too late to make things right. Also, there's no need to wait for the end of 2014 to effect whatever changes may be necessary. Yes, you can set things right, despite the difficulties and still manage to apply yourself to life at your best.

John Mayer, looking back to what has made him, reckons that despite having a tough time or a rough start, one can learn to let it go. One however needs to be certain that he or she is  not wrongly convinced about things.
Here's the rest in his song Shadow Days:

It should be noted, however, that there always is a cost to righting wrongs, making amends or making things right. Whereas one may be left stronger at the broken places, we should remain alive to the fact that scars do remain even after full healing has been achieved.

In The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli writes about  thus particular difficulty and sums it up in these profound words:
He who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building.

In sum, it is never too late to make things right.
It may be harder, it may not result in perfection, but it is worth it.

Here's wishing you a happy December!

* * *

Finally, Aaliyah with a reminder that one can indeed be at his or her best.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Introducing Thought for the Day on Connect Magazine

For years now, we have shared a lot of inspiration, insight and self discovery on The Walkabout.

Today, we are pleased to announce an awesome partnership with our sister publication Complitly Connect Magazine, which has seen tremendous growth in both content and audience numbers since resumption of regular posting in September 2014.

Complitly Connect Magazine's success is hinged on generating & sharing original, timely, useful and highly relevant content. Updated a minimum five times a week, Connect Magazine helps you connect with what matters to you through content that has meaning, makes a difference and adds value.

Now every single morning, Connect Magazine will bring you Thought for the Day, thanks to the impressive archive we have built at The Walkabout since March 2009.

We do hope the deep quotes and insightful thoughts will greatly add value at the start of your day.
Should you have any suggestions or queries on this, kindly get in touch with us.

Thank you for your continued readership and support.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why Making Money Shouldn't Inform Our Career Choices

NOTE: This post has been cross-posted on CCM, titled The danger of making money the top priority in life.

The Green Card

A little over a fortnight ago, I had an informal chat with Liz. She is as old as, and a former classmate of one of my younger sisters.

Well, Liz told me about the American 'Green Card' lottery. She wanted to apply quite early in the one month window to avoid the last day rush that can at times cripple the computer systems.  She also proceeded to tell me why she was so keen on leaving Kenya for the United States.

Interestingly, the top reason is her belief that in America, you stand better chances of getting rich. Filthy rich. To validate her assertion, she cited examples of people in our village who have won the 'green card' and within months of leaving their home country, their family members start receiving dollars from diaspora with which they can build better and bigger houses, start businesses, buy land, trade in the stock market.. in essence, they start living large.

Listening to Liz, I couldn't agree or disagree with her. I clearly saw in her the collective sentiment that prompts many to seek greener pastures in distant lands. Which is for all intents and purposes, a good thing.

The problem, however, is the underlying conviction that all it takes for one's life to totally rock is money.  And worse, the unwavering belief, shared by many across the world, that one stands better chances of making big, quick money in a foreign land.

Lucrative Careers

Early this year, a very informal conversation with a friend made me think about 'making it' and why we spend just about twenty years of our young lives in school. Her contention was that I am writing and designing, instead of using my Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering to get a very well paying job. To her, and I believe to many others, a career or a job is not what engages a worker's time to solve solutions and meet societal needs, offers him or her comfortable living, stimulates one's creativity and offers a great sense of personal fulfillment.
It is whatever one does and gets paid lots of money every end-month.

Forget the hooey about discovering talents, gaining social skills, wholesome enlightenment and the appreciation of other cultures that is constantly peddled in education fora and seminars.

For many a parent, kids are taken to school so that upon completion of tertiary or post-graduate education, they can get well-paying jobs and hopefully make great careers of the same.

In short, education in Kenya, and I believe in many other countries is no longer about learning and self improvement. It is about getting a job that pays the maximum possible amount of money.

And is there any problem with that?

Actually, no. Every person should be adequately compensated for his or her skills and time. After all, the majority work in corporations which solely exist to make money.

What I find most unsettling with this model is that people will do everything possible to land jobs where their only driving force is making money.
In the recent past on CCM, we have asked if you work because you are passionate and love your job or simply for the money.

Years ago, I was a fan of Boston Public which aired on NTV Kenya. It is a television drama series that highlights the plight of both faculty and students in American public schools.
A recurring theme in the series was that the educators were in it for much more than monetary reward.

More recently, I watched the hilarious movie Jarhead starring and Jamie Foxx. It is the story of American marines in the Iraq desert during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Towards the end of the marines' stay, Marine Staff Sergeant Sykes (Jamie Foxx) tells Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) that he had other more rewarding choices in life back in the US, but still opted to be a marine in the Middle East because he loves the job.

Following is the scene:

Pre-emptive Salary Raises

We have seen in this country, time and again, how elected officials always begin their terms with hefty salary raises. Parliament did that in 2002, 2008 and in 2013, this malaise of greed spread to members of county assembly in all counties and legislators in both houses.

Not to be left behind, doctors, nurses and other civil servants sought pay rises and as we speak, teachers and threatening the government with strike action should their unreasonable and unsustainable hefty pay rises not be granted.

Teachers have gone on strike in Kenya so many times I can no longer count. Whereas I sympathize with their demand for appropriate remuneration, what do they time their strikes in such a way to adversely affect students at a time when these kids need them most?

We have seen this all the time, I remember teachers were on strike when I was preparing for KCSE in 1998. Again in 2004, a lecturers strike extended my stay in campus from the envisaged completion date of December 2004 to April 2005. Thankfully, this did not adversely affect my grades and I do hope for the many others who were affected in these years.

The Root of All Evil

"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy, 6:10 (KJV)

Without a doubt, the good book is right.

The above sentiments, including personal anecdotes, all illustrate what ails our country and our mind sets. The fact that we all go to school so that we can eventually get jobs that pay really well will ensure that people never get into careers for the right reasons.

What happened to a career being a calling?

I have long believed that society can change, but the horrific punishments to the seven deadly sins in SE7EN make me somewhat understand how the rot in society can drive some beyond the cliff. The trends being set by elected leaders and civil servants, will set the pace for a greedy generation in coming years that only sees a job as a way to make money. Not to solve any problems. Not to meet any individual or corporate needs. Not to serve society. Not to make one better at what he or she does. Not to make the world a better place.

Making money, it seems, is the only reason we wake up every morning.
How unfortunate!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

One Reason to Leave, Many Reasons to Stay

Human Relationships

Recently, I took time to think about human relationships - how fickle and frail they can be, and how encompassing and enduring they can also be.
It is interesting that all it takes for many relationships to end is just one mistake, one error in judgment. One reason is often too many, and usually enough for either or both parties to walk. At times, to go ahead and add their voice to WhyILeft.

Just about the same time, I watched a movie that reminded me of a discussion on last week's Weekend on BBC World Service that dwelt on theWhyIStayed hashtag on Twitter.

To Leave or to Stay?

That said, when does it become untenable to stay? And when is there reason enough to simply leave?
And more important, what would make one stay, when leaving is the most obvious option?

In all fairness, we have on several occasions written about leaving on this blog: Here, here and here. And most recently, here.

The Many Reasons to Stay

Coincidentally, I watched The Vow only last week.
Inspired by a true event, it is the story of a young couple - Leo and Paige, whose lives were ruined in a single moment of passion that was cut short by a traffic accident.

A truck hits Leo's car as he kisses his wife (who has since unbuckled her seat belt) and both of them are hospitalized, with Paige being in a medically induced comma due to her head injury.

When she awakens, Paige has lost most of her memories, especially everything about Leo who now is an imposing stranger in her life.
The rest of the movie is largely Leo's travail as he tries to win Paige back.

Anyways, the part that I found quite profound, and that is at the core of this post, is where Paige's mother tells her daughter why she still stayed even after discovering that Paige's father was cheating on her. And not just with any other woman, but with Paige's friend.

To Leave or to Stay

Many times, we hold people to very high standards, thus unwittingly setting ourselves up for great disappointments when these people do not live up to our expectations.
The resulting ire is often enough to make us forget all the good before it.

Should this be the case?

Depending on the situation, I submit that particular circumstances call for specific considerations. It also depends to a great extent, on the person(s) involved.
Do you often find it easier to leave or to stay?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Remembering Idd Salim

One year ago yesterday, Idd Salim passed on. He died of Tuberculosis.

Sadly, I must have been living under a rock at the time because I only got to know of his 'Disappearance Act' months later, in June 2014.

Thus Spaketh Idd Salim
To me, Idd Salim Kithinji was one of the outspoken tweeps I just couldn't ignore. I very frequently read his blog - Thus Spaketh Idd Salim. Inasmuch as it was the kind of blog you would never read aloud in the presence of your parents or impressionable kids, it was and still is such a joy to read.

Even from his grave, Salim still makes me laugh and reflect.

His opening lines and quips in most blog posts were salacious, yet funny. Salim was brusque, but based his assertions on fact (mostly). He would pontificate yet be profound. Consider the following:

On Robert Alai's arrest:

On the type of women to avoid:

On how Kenya cannot match Silicon Valley in USA:

On how local coders are conned by foreign 'investors':

Most Enduring Memories

What I remember most about Salim was his protracted beef with Robert Alai. At one time, Idd Salim and some friends planned to launch TechMataa to counter Alai's TechMtaa.

Also, there is this very deep post Salim wrote about faith, prayer, merit and their attendant problems. Too bad I cannot get this post on Archive.org. How I wish I saved it on my hard drive :-(
Last, and in no way least, he did this post about not being employed. This was in fact his penultimate blog post, and was inspired by a question raised by @RoomThinker.

It is a detailed post, and I urge you to go ahead and read it. Salim ends the post with the following timeless words:
“Employment is cool” I tell people, “especially when that is the BEST you can do”. But if you can do better, please never give up.

Chase your dream. Daily. Daily. Chase it.

Thus spaketh Idd Salim.

Fare thee well brother. I'll always fondly remember you Salim.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Free at Last, Free at Last

Yesterday, I let go. And it feels good!

For the last couple of months, I have committed a great deal of precious time and substantial resources on what has now turned out to be a wild goose chase. In essence, I did find out only yesterday that the juice was no longer worth the squeeze in this particular situation. And hasn't been for many days, only that I wasn't aware.

At a time when I remain quite unwilling to countenance the shenanigans of a busy-body, I did the difficult, yet worthwhile thing - to quit while still ahead.
Interestingly, my new-found freedom obviates the need to get involved in some half-hearted commitments in the name of fulfilling societal expectations.

Letting Go, Cleaning the House and Moving On

That done, I must confess I took one long look back at what was, and immediately embarked on what is, inspired by the following words from Paulo Coelho's The Zahir:

...there are always some stories that are 'interrupted,' and they are the stories that remain nearest to the surface and so still occupy the present; only when we close that story or chapter can we begin the next one...

That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose.People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

Don't expect to get anything back, don't expect recognition for your efforts, don't expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life.

Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.

Admittedly, the feeling one gets is akin to what Andy Dufresne felt when he left Shawshank..

Freedom Songs 

From the song Free by 1NC,  I too, am now free to lift my hands, smile again, live and not die.. and much more.

And here's yet another song about freedom by George Michael.. go figure.

Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm free at last!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Changing Lives through Spoken and Written Words

In the past few weeks, I've been thinking about the role words play in shaping lives as I work on Complitly Connect Magazine's enduring comeback.

From October 1, 2014, Complitly Connect Magazine (CCM) returns with writing that has meaning, makes a difference and adds value.

CCM aside, I also happened to watch The Harvesters last week, starring Diane Luby as Rachel Pierce, an affable widow.
Looking at her page on IMDb and official bio, I realize that Diane is also a writer, and the founder and Executive Director of Get Lit, a non-profit organization whose stated objective is to increase teen literacy through classic and spoken word poetry.

In January 2014, Diane gave a TEDx Talk in Pacific Palisades titled Claim Your Poem: Claim Your Life.

Diane's 'Get Lit' is a most noble initiative. It reminds me of Hilary Swank in the movie Freedom Writers, where she and her 150 teenage students used writing to change themselves and the world.

Many years ago, Lord Byron described words this way:
But words are things, and a small drop of ink, 
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces 
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.

Looking back, the written word has changed my life in no small measure. I decided I wanted to be a writer at age nine, when I read my father's copy of 'The River Between' by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. A year later, I read 'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe which was my sister's High School literature set book Another sister brought Elechi Amadi's 'The Concubine' home, which I gladly gobbled up. I fondly recall reading Emile Zola's 'Germinal' and Barbara Taylor Bradford's 'A Woman of Substance'. Even the humongous 'The Ring'  by Danielle Steel was a very welcome read.

In addition to literary fiction, reading non-fiction to satiate an ever growing thirst for general knowledge has along the years provided valuable insights in life. In-depth writing at Longform, Longreads, Brain Pickings, The Edge and other sites where ideas are exchanged have made me a much better person overall.

It is on this premise that the CCM team and I have renewed our passion, redirected our resources and channeled our focus on sharing valuable information as well as adding value to information.
We purpose to foster positive change through writing that helps you learn a thing or two, articles that make you pause and reflect, copy that enlightens as well as entertains.

Join us at the Complitly Connect Magazine (CCM) site for our Monday and Wednesday blog posts, the podcast of the week every Friday and The Weekend Connection every Saturday.
And every first day of the month from October 1, 2014, the monthly edition of Complitly Connect Magazine.

At CCM, you'll read, learn and share original, useful, timely and valuable content that will help you connect with what matters to you. Complitly.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wanting what You already Have

August is almost over. For some people, end-month is yet another chance to look back at the four weeks past and review one's life. Having taken inventory, any life changes - improvements, cutting back, discipline, frugality, investments - can then be effected.

Only last week, I listened to a breakfast talk show on Nation FM and the topic was depression, and the attendant mental anguish, suicide and self esteem issues. One of the expert guests detailed how a person gets frustrated thanks to comparing one's circumstances with those of peers, neighbors, friends and others of similar social standing.

Upon realizing that one may be wanting in a thing or two, mostly in material possessions, feelings of inadequacy erode one's self esteem, frustrations impair one's focus on what truly matters and misplaced priorities blind one to his or her special place in life.

If we take an honest look at life, much of what we've got often goes unnoticed as we engage in a mindless quest to attain more and more needless stuff. Many of us obsess with what we do not have, get stressed that others have more and better than we do, and at times despise them for that.

Taking time to appreciate what one already have, and to be content with what one is.. this is the first step to being a person of value. Granted, allowing others to define one's purpose in life will only lead to succumbing to a warped understanding of what 'making it' and success is all about.

In sum, take time to appreciate both yourself and others. Realize that we are united by our differences. As such, others need you and you need them and for this reason, we cannot all be the same. It is the presence of short people that makes some people tall.
Be content, even as you seek amelioration. Avoid the all-too-alluring greed for material things. Take time to want you already have.

Finally, Sheryl Crow in Soak Up the Sun reminds us to lighten up, there's often no one to blame even when we feel lame.

Have a pleasant end-month weekend, and may September start on a high note for you!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Am I Wrong?

There's this great song by Nico and Vinz that has been topping the charts lately.

After listening to it on the VOA Music Mix this afternoon, I've taken time to check out the lyrics and they are great. Very sensible, if you ask me.

Earlier in the day, I was reading through Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor.

It is an invaluable read that has been lying unread in my vast eLibrary. With the Nairobi Securities Exchange IPO now open (July 24 through August 12), I thought there's need to reacquaint myself with the intricacies of gainful investing in the stock market.
Here is the NSE IPO Prospectus (PDF).

This is the lead quote for the commentary on Chapter 11:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
- Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Having burned my fingers with the Access Kenya stock but making some not-very-impressive gains on the Safaricom shares, I feel that further investing needs to be based on exhaustive research and facts, not merely public sentiment. It is my hard-earned money after all.
That is why I am taking my time to define where it is I want to get to at the NSE, beginning with the NSE IPO.

Back to Nico & Vinz's song, sample some of the lyrics:

I ain't tryna do what everybody else doing
Just cause everybody doing what they all do
If one thing I know, I'll fall but I'll grow
I'm walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home

Walk your walk and don't look back, always do what you decide
Don't let them control your life, that's just how I feel
Fight for yours and don't let go, don't let them compare you, no
Don't worry, you're not alone, that's just how we feel

Read the full lyrics at the AZ Lyrics site.

Monday, July 14, 2014

To Labour and to Wait

Get Rich or Die Trying

Yesterday, I chanced upon this very profound Sunday Nation article by Sunny Bindra.
He addresses the sickening and vain obsession many people have with showing off material things and worldly possessions. He asks:

What is it for, this self-conscious display of possessions? When did we start thinking it is a good thing to brag about what you have bought in a shop, as though that’s an achievement?

To a great extent, I  do share his sentiments in the article. When Mr Bindra questions this irrational urgency to get very rich at the youngest possible age, I was reminded of how we mistakenly consider what is merely urgent, important. To echo the enduring words often attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, many among us, consumed by a mindless quest to great riches, forgotten that it is more important to be defined by value rather than success. After all, it's all about the 'Benjamins' for many of us.

I have in the past explored this same theme, where I examined what it actually means to "make it" or be "successful". Apparently, the in-thing is to make a lot of money, even if unethically, as fast as possible. Afterwards, one becomes a condescending braggart and inevitably
In other words, to use a language many of us find rather endearing - living on the fastlane.

More Money, More Problems? 

You see, more money in itself does not make life better. What money does is facilitate more choices. And please note, having more money gives one more choices. Not better choices.
Every day, people from all walks of life fail to make value judgments.

In any case, is it what you do that defines who you are, who you are that defines what you do or simply the way you do it?

It Takes Time

I have in the recent past taken time to find out how people of great achievement, those with an enduring legacy got to acquire both tangible and intangible wealth. It all boils down to at least four character attributes:
  • sacrifice
  • focus
  • determination
  • discipline
Even more important, none of the above result in any achievement sans the passage of time. In other words, organic growth is essential in any meaning life. "Easy come, easy go" is indeed a true assertion. It takes time, and this premise is very well explained in the parable of the fern and the bamboo.

We should not compare ourselves with others. Your purpose in life is most likely different from mine. However, we all have a reason to be and despite our diversity, we each have a reason to be. What the media and society define as "success" or the "good life" may not exactly be right.
Your calling is to shape an uncertain destiny. To live a life of meaning. To make a difference. To add value. To leave an enduring legacy.
None of these can be done instantly. It all takes time.

I'll end with timeless words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time...

Let us be then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate,
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Essence of Lasting Cordial Relations

"We would stay and respond and expand and include and allow and forgive and
 enjoy and evolve and discern and inquire and accept and admit and divulge and
 open and reach out and speak up.

We would share and listen and support and welcome be propelled by passion not
 invest in outcomes, we would breathe and be charmed and amused by difference
 be gentle and make room for every emotion.

 We'd provide forums we'd all speak out we'd all be heard we'd all feel seen."

- Alanis Morissette (Utopia).

A simple act of kindness I extended in late 2005 has, almost a decade later, come back to echo exactly what Somni 451 said in Cloud Atlas:

Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.
One good turn deserves another
On Friday, April 25, I walked into KCB Limuru. It was shortly after 2pm and having just taken a sumptuous lunch (believe me, I totally love food am obsessed with food), I was in really good moods. Actually, it was not the lunch, but rather, my mission at the bank that excited me. I was about to deposit a cheque...
By the way, why is money so overrated? ... I digress.

Ordinarily, I was expecting to access my funds from April 30, 2014. This was however not to be, thanks to various issues that ultimately needed sorting out at KCB Card Center in Nairobi. So I went to Kencom on Friday, May 2, 2014.

Having spent all afternoon (from noon to 5pm) at KCB Moi Avenue, it became clear that a cash transfer was not done on April 30, and a retry at 2pm on Friday was not working. In other words, I wouldn't get my cash until Monday, 5th May. The only options I now had were:
  1.  to transfer funds from my KCB VISA prepaid card into an ordinary KCB account. Unfortunately, I do not hold any other account with KCB.
  2. to transfer the funds into the KCB account of someone trustworthy (not a KCB employee) and then obtain the cash from this person. All I'd have to do was authorize the bank in writing, and the bank would effect the transfer in minutes.
All my siblings have accounts at other banks. I could not immediately pick from my friends, other than a few who work at KCB. I felt stuck. Even desperate, since I needed that cash urgently.

It was then that I made a call that presented my only hope.

When my friend Joe spoke on the other end, I explained that I  needed to urgently transfer some funds into a KCB account. Did he have one? Yes he had, but he could only get the cash to me next day, on Saturday. No problem. So I requested that he text me his account number.

When I later called him, minutes before the transfer to confirm the bank branch, Joe told me it was that same branch (KCB Capitol Hill) I took him to back in 2005, and introduced him by signing the requisite documents for him, being a KCB customer at the time. I couldn't believe it!

A simple act of kindness extended in late 2005 did, almost a decade later, literally save the day that Friday evening. Equally important, two KCB employees and their manager - total strangers to me - had stayed long past office time (on a Friday) to help me get my cash.

Making Amends

Just now, I've seen this photo that Kenyans on Twitter are currently making fun of through #WhatOnyisoDidToAoko:

You see, one of the most important tenets of my adult life is the lengths to which I usually go in a bid to maintaining cordial relations both in my personal and business relationships. At times, it does feel like I am stooping too low. As a man, my ego often stands in the way. It then feels like I'm giving too much of myself or becoming an unnecessary bother to others. But I still unrelentingly seek closure at the end of every relationship, in the firm belief that cordial relationships are for the greater good.
If anything, life is made up of seasons, and what you get out of every season is what matters in the end. I prefer not to leave guilt, resentment, apathy, indifference, anger and regret. Instead, I try the much I can to right wrongs, careful not to burn bridges or make an already bad situation worse in the process.

Living in peace with all persons is important. In both the book of Acts & Romans, Paul is quite clear about how much he values having a clear conscience.

Rom 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Act 24:16  And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.  

One of my favorite texts, the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (and yeah, I'm a teetotaler) outlines the 12 steps with making amends (step 8, PDF) being a key pillar of recovery and restoration.
It should however be noted that making amends may not always be necessary (step 9, PDF) and can at times be counter-productive.

Our Need for Others

What many of us often forget is that we we need others. When wronged, we may genuinely feel that the offending party is no longer worthy of our time and/or attention. Needless to say, those who may today seem to be of no use may be your only hope tomorrow. For that reason, I never take people for granted nor judge them harshly based solely on their present circumstances. Or what they've done to me, regardless of how wronged I feel. I am very alive to the fact that people do change. I too, change. How I see things today is not how I'll view the exact same situation after while. And in line with my unfailing belief that things often get better:

Those who seem the least deserving are often the most in need.

Abusing Privilege

Time and again, people continue to fall from grace while others with humble beginnings attain prominence. It is a pity that those with material things often consider those without as lazy, mediocre and as lacking ambition. What many forget is that an irrational fixation on money and riches in itself points to misplaced priorities.
It is for this reason that many people have no second thoughts about trampling down on those who do not have the same fortunes. We forget that tomorrow may be their day to have in plenty and ours to lack and be in desperate need.

All in all, God calls us to shape an uncertain destiny. At the end of relationships, towards the end of life and during times of crises, uncertainty and doubt often prevail. However, hope can carry the day if only we let it. When we are tested, we should refuse to let the journey end. Neither should we turn back nor falter.

In sum, I submit that we should all seek to maintain enduring cordial relations with every person we interact with. Given the times and seasons that make up life, it remains impossible to predict with certainty that someone is no longer of any use and should thus be dispensed with.
After all, those we currently have an advantage over today, may have an even greater advantage tomorrow, even be our only hope at the time. And in cases where further interaction is no longer tenable, it is only fair that endings are not characterized by anger, hatred, burning bridges or breaking bonds that have taken so long to tie.

NB: This post has been inspired by the never-ending kindness of Joe, Peris, Patrick and Alex... men and women of enduring substance who has in recent days showed outstanding maturity and gone beyond the call of duty to bring out more meaning, make a difference and add value in my life in spite of my frailties. I remain eternally indebted to y'all.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

How to Overcome Petty Prejudices

"The Golden Man is without colour;
He knows that racism is ignorance and doesn’t bother
With petty prejudices, seeing humanity as one."
- Alexander Nderitu (The Golden Man)

Your Name Betrays You

This past week, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka made a tactless remark when, during a CORD press conference, a journalist asked a question that Kalonzo opted to dismiss. Other than simply saying "No comment," Kalonzo deemed it wise to say the following:

Within minutes, there was uproar across social media, with varying commentary on Twitter, on Facebook and elsewhere across the web.

Later in the day, I chanced upon this post on my Facebook Newsfeed:

I did comment on the above, and someone swiftly asked me if it doesn't bother me that all the names listed are from a certain 'tribe'.
My answer? No it doesn't bother me. What would bother me is if other qualified Kenyans, upon willfully applying for said position, were denied the opportunity of an interview. It would also bother me if whoever is eventually appointed does not head CAK competently and according to the law.

After all, there can be no shortage of ways to fault the above list. One can say there is only one woman. Another can say there is no Asian. Another angle would be to ask if there's a disabled person in that list. And so on and so on. Truth is, we cannot all be represented in every single position in this country.

I however stand to be corrected.

As always, many are of varying opinions..

The Problem with the Majority and Groups

"You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same." 
- Jonathan Davis.

I must at this point confess that I have serious issues with democracy. It is a great way of realizing social order, but popularity does not always mean right.

Jonathan Haidt in his March 2008 TED Talk about the moral mind, gives some reasons why groups are formed. He says:
It's only among humans that you find very large groups of people who are able to cooperate, join together into groups, but in this case, groups that are united to fight other groups. This probably comes from our long history of tribal living, of tribal psychology. And this tribal psychology is so deeply pleasurable that even when we don't have tribes, we go ahead and make them, because it's fun.

Elsewhere, it is a globally accepted fact that whatever is different will invariably stand out. 

That is why it is so easy to pick on those who look different. Worse, as it often happens in Kenya, we resent those who are unlike us, those whose numbers exceed ours or those who are better than we are. In psychological circles, that is called the Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Decades ago while reading Gifted Hands by Dr Ben Carson, I realized that people, even those who have succumbed to prejudice, still want the best. That is how the good doctor was able to operate on white patients who in ordinary circumstances would've preferred a white doctor. 
A similar theme was explored in Grey's Anatomy season 4 episode 9 titled Crash Into Me, where a white, racist patient (who interestingly, is a paramedic) refused to be attended by Dr Miranda Bailey. This patient agrees to be operated only if there is another white doctor in the surgery room. Dr Bailey however, removes his swastika...

For those who derive pleasure in judging others and resenting their merits, just change and see others for what they really are, not what you'd rather they are. Especially on matters of tribe, race and other aspects one has no voluntary control over. It is a shame to despise someone for being different, or for merely belonging to a tribe or race that you have issues with.

For those who are victims of this malaise, I say take heart. Just keep your head up and continue giving your best at whatever it is you do. Others may be prejudiced, but they'll still engage you or your services since they need them. While they waste their time and effort hating, just focus on the right things that add value.

All in all, I'll end this post with words that Dr Ben Carson kept hearing from his mum Sonya.

''If you walk into an auditorium full of racist, bigoted people … you don't have a problem, they have a problem."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Accepting Ourselves Unconditionally

"We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."
- Marianne Williamson (Our Deepest Fear).

Less than a week ago, I engaged in lengthy discourse with a most interesting friend. Much later, I realized that one of the salient takeaways from our discussion was the pressing issue of unconditional acceptance, vulnerability and human frailty.

You see, we live in a very demanding world that continually seeks the best of us. We feel that we need to look our best, make the best impressions and continually project perfection in how we look, talk and do things.

Interestingly, we are not perfect. Human beings make errors, have frailties and fall short in many ways. I've often wondered why some people wear make up, subject themselves to painful and costly plastic surgery, and mask scars in a vain effort to portray themselves as something they are not. This, I believe, is due to a vanity that makes us feel unworthy as we are and unacceptable to both ourselves and others unless we present ourselves as something different and much better than we already are.

For a long time, I have always held the view that any person who cannot accept me as I am, anyone who fails to judge me on the basis of my knowledge and skills, such a person doesn't deserve my attention. Since I made a decision to no longer seek other people's approval in pursuing my goals, finding purpose and in the way I lead my own life, I have deliberately stayed away from persons who dismiss me on the basis of a myopic understanding of my current circumstances.

We need to accept ourselves as we are. We should understand that we are enough. True, we may feel vulnerable and exposed as our true selves. But that is what and who we are. Sugar-coating, pretenses and embellishment makes us more acceptable, but vastly undermines our true worth.

Following is a TED Talk on Vulnerability that Brene Brown delivered back in 2010.

In the video above, Brene talks about the power of vulnerability.
She ends her talk in a most profound way:
I'll leave you with this. This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee -- and that's really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that's excruciatingly difficult -- to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive." And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we're enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, "I'm enough," then we stop screaming and start listening, we're kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we're kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Here's the transcript to Brene Brown's TED Talk.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Is Writing Essentially a Labor of Love?

"There is a special place in life that only you may share
a little path that bears your name, awaiting you somewhere
There is a hand that you must hold, a word that you must say
a smile that you must give, for there are tears to blot away."
 (Read entire poem)

Helen Gamble with Richard Bay in The Practice.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with a senior editor in a leading media house in Kenya.

As our meeting progressed, and having exhausted the crux of the main agenda, he shared priceless insights about the writing profession.He reminded me that many writers lack the grace to realize that writing invariably has dual benefits. For starters, every published article or book adds on to your experience, builds your name and presents a learning opportunity to write better next time. Secondly, monetary compensation is an additional reward. Sadly, many new writers focus too much on the monetary rewards of writing.

In addition, writing in itself is a journey. It is a process that takes years, if not a lifetime. The secret therefore is to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
Many will not notice as you establish yourself gradually, one word at a time. They shall however notice suddenly once your book tops the bestsellers list. It takes time.

Later on, I had lunch with my adorable sister Winni in town, to discuss among many other things, our joint venture Complit Motivation & Inspiration.

I have at times felt discouraged, worn out, and have questioned my decision to become a full-time writer. Thankfully, I have never once thought of quitting.

In such trying moments, it helps to realize that it is all for a reason. Just like Helen Gamble felt after losing a case that elicited public discontent since a criminal everyone felt was guilty was set free. Helen seriously considered quitting. But the Assistant District Attorney, Richard Bay, gave her the following speech:
Helen Gamble: I need it, Richard. Give it to me.
Richard Bay: What?
Helen Gamble: The speech. Why we do what we do.
Richard Bay: Oh, I am not really in the mood after...
Helen Gamble: PLEASE, Richard. I NEED it. Please give it to me. And don't just phone it in.
Richard Bay: Helen...
Helen Gamble: Please! Can't you see how demoralized I am?
Richard Bay: OK. (takes a deep breath) There are heroes in this world. They're called District Attorneys. They don't get to have clients, people who smile at them at the end of the trial, who look them in the eye and say, "thank you." Nobody is there to appreciate the District Attorney, because we work for the state. And our gratitude comes only from knowing there's a tide out there. A tide the size of a tsunami coming out of a bottomless cesspool. A tide called crime, which, if left unchecked will rob every American of his freedom. A tide which strips individuals of the privilege of being able to, to walk down a dark street or take twenty dollars out of an ATM machine without fear of being mugged. All Congress does is talk, but it's the District Attorney who grabs his sword, who digs into the trenches and fights the fight. Who dogs justice day, after day, after day without thanks, without so much as a simple pat on the back. But we do it. We do it, we do it because we are the crusaders, the last frontier of American justice. Knowing that if a man cannot feel safe, he can never, never feel free.
Helen Gamble: Thank you.

Writing can often feel like a draining effort that few appreciate. Many writers, even the most successful ones, often speak of writing as a journey, a process wrought with countless ups and downs. When she delivered a commencement address at Harvard in 2008, J.K.Rowling highlighted the fringe benefits of failure and the importance of imagination.

From the foregoing speech,following are salient gems:
  • Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it.
  • So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.
  • Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.
  • ..personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.
  • As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
Finally, should you ever feel hopeless as a writer, Dionne Farris has a message for you:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Owning Your Story

The Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) Big Book is one of my top favorite reads. Every once in a while, I go back to read sections of the book. Specifically, the personal stories of 42 alcoholics who "recovered from their malady."

One of these stories, titled Safe Haven [PDF], is the impressive tale of an alcoholic who lost nearly all. Having first tasted alcohol at age 13, this AA stole and robbed to satiate a growing appetite for alcohol. Becoming a DJ at a local radio station only made it worse, since partying and drinking went hand in hand.

Inevitably, alcoholics either sober up, are locked up or ultimately covered up. This A.A. was locked up for 20 years, and this fortunately came with another chance at life.

Safe Haven is quite a story of hope, for within it lies several profound statements and gems. I have quoted some of these elsewhere in this blog. Today, the spotlight shines on this:

From experience, I've realized that I cannot go back and make a brand-new start. But through A.A., I can start from now and make a brand-new end.

In addition to the A.A. story above, I took time this past weekend to read an interesting post on the Mind Body Green site. It is about acknowledging, accepting and taking pride in our bodies. Our naked bodies. The section that caught my attention is on owning one's own story:

Your body tells your story. When you get to know your body, you get to own your story. And when you own your story, you get to write the ending.

In view of the foregoing, I get quite concerned when I see people trying every day, to earn other people's approval. Many, oblivious to the dangers of stereotypes, are getting into debt, buying things they do not need, wearing clothes they are not comfortable in, doing jobs that offer no lasting fulfillment, staying in relationships that add no value... just to meet societal demands, to fit in, to please their peers, to appear trendy and fashionable, to belong and feel like they've made it.

It is important that any person worth his or her wealth take a stand and take charge of destiny. It may not be easy to sing your won song, but it is worth it. Make your own music, if need be and define your success. Free yourself from other people's expectations. Shape your destiny. Be not afraid to be unique and instead appreciate your identity. Shun peer influence. Own your story for only then can you write the ending - a brand-new end.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mistaking what is Urgent for what is Important

How often do distractions get in the way of achieving long-term goals?

Yesterday, something reminded me of this post on Willpower that I wrote earlier this year. It was singularly inspired by a podcast titled The Science of Willpower thanks to KQED public radio.

In the aforementioned podcast, one of the guests speaks about how we often submit to the attention of urgent things, and thus get distracted from the more important things we ought to be focused on.
In hindsight, the urgent matters that keep distracting us may in fact be important in their own right, but not that important.

It is a failure to stick to what's important, and often taking time to other "urgent" matters that routinely slows or ultimately prevents us from achieving long term goals. Your priorities may in fact be right, but what you keep doing that takes you away from an important task makes a big difference in the end.

The solution is rather easy (I mean easy to say than to do) - delaying gratification.

Here's the KQED Science of Willpower podcast once again:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Makes us Human?

Note: This post has been cross-posted on Pete on Books.

Yesterday, I posted the following photo on Facebook.

It is the book I intend to read next, once I'm done with Cindy Trimm's Commanding Your Morning and Mbugua Mumbi's Becoming an 'A' Student in Life.
A comment on that Facebook post has made it necessary to explain what the book is all about. And please note this is not a book review at all, just a sneak peek.

Well, this book is inspired by talks that were presented at a symposium held in Oxford, in March 2006.

The book, put simply, is an attempt to answer the following questions:
Are we half ape or half angel? Is it our cognitive abilities, our use of tools, our story-telling, our beliefs, our curiosity, our ability to cook, our culture, that make us human?

These are the book chapters:
  1. Imitation Makes us Human
  2. Memory, Time and Language
  3. Why are Humans not just Great Apes?
  4. The Hominid that Talked
  5. Half Ape, Half Angel?
  6. Material facts from a non-materialist perspective
  7. What Makes us Human? Our Ancestors and the Weather
  8. Curiosity and Quest
  9. Human Evolution and the Human Condition
  10. The Place of "Deep Social Mind" in the Evolution of Human Nature
  11. Causal Belief Maes us Human
  12. The Cooking Enigma.
The book What Makes us Human? is available on Amazon and elsewhere across the web.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sharing Our Knowledge and Experiences With Others

"I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride...

Everybody is searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to..."
- Whitney Houston.

The 2013 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results were officially released yesterday by Education Cabinet Secretary, Professor Jacob Kaimenyi.
Thanks to both the overall and national schools rankings, I do feel there is an urgent need to rethink and actually do something about academic performance and the success of learning institutions in Kenya.

Sleeping Giants

A top performing school that I attended is now ranked 26th overall and 15th among National schools.
Looking back, Mang'u High School has always been among the top ten for decades, and has attained top position for a good number of years.

I do believe such drastic change in performance provides a most needed opportunity to reflect and identify the reasons why this and other schools are no longer performing as expected.
Also, and of more importance, this also serves as a poignant reminder of just how easily the mighty can fall. History has shown time and again, that the mighty do fall, with the following being both stages of decline and warning signs of impending doom:
  1. hubris born of success
  2. undisciplined pursuit of more
  3. denial of risk and peril
  4. grasping for salvation
  5. capitulation to irrelevance or death
 Whatever has in KCSE 2013 happened to Starehe Boys Centre and School, Mang'u High School and others should be a case study for us all, a cautionary tale for top schools and a source of hope for those who refuse to believe that top positions are the reserve of a chosen few. Schools which have performed dismally in the past now know that they need not acquire a culture of submission and despair. Likewise, top schools that house the elite and have acquired status now realize they can no longer promote the belief that there is a special few.

The Author's Note in Samuel M. Wamae's 'How to Win in the Coming Jua Kali Boom' contains the following enduring insight:

Status, wealth or attainment are the result of endeavor and not natural endowment... people of status continue to fall from grace and others with humble beginnings attain prominence.

Now is the Time to Act

In view of the foregoing, what can we as individuals do to make things better?

I have in recent days decided to share my past experiences that resulted in exemplary academic performance for over a decade of my life (between 1987 and 1998), during which time I consistently attained top position and remained top in class both in Nderu Primary and Mang'u High schools. In both primary and secondary school, I witnessed near impeccable academic success - both mine and that of my classmates. There is something students, parents and educators can learn and gainfully apply from such that.

For this reason, I have already started writing this book and commenced speaking sessions. It is my understanding that if we share both our knowledge and experiences, we can positively influence those who need those insights most.

Today's students are undoubtedly facing a wide array of challenges both in their academic pursuits and other aspirations in life. True, they do have different distractions to deal with than we had.
While these challenges may be new, and the tools with which they'll be met modern, the values upon which academic success depends remain old.

It is for this reason that I have decided to fully address myself in activities whose primacy is improvement in academic performance for our children, for that is what matters most to them now.
In any case, twenty years of each person's life are typically spent in school. Two decades is a lengthy period of time, and worth taking seriously.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Stop Living a Limited Life

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."
 - Cecil Beaton.

Yesterday while reading some stuff on Wikipedia, I came across the following words by Steve Jobs, that I first heard in 'One Last Thing' on PBS:

When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is - everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

Steve says it all so damn well, I have nothing at all to add.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When the Deal is Too Good...

Now on Connect Magazine every fortnight, and coming soon on your Kindle in early 2015..

Here's a sneak peek: Easy Come Easy Go (FREE PDF).

Other stories and articles in the 'When the Deal is Too Good' collection:
  • Quailmania - Too eager to make it big in agribusiness, Josephine gets caught up in the quagmire and intricacies of quick money and supply driven business. She learns her biggest and most costly lesson in this latest fad - quail farming, having fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

  • Knight in Shining Armor - A chance encounter with a self-proclaimed bad boy reveals another side of Lucy that totally shocks her. Ever the consummate prude, Lucy has always been wary of men and their machinations. She has stayed chaste for decades, and often wonders how girls get themselves pregnant. Upon meeting Fred however, she understands why you can never judge a book by its cover. How can this most enlightened and lovely knight in shining armor inflict so much pain?

  • 'Angel' Investors  - Nick finally meets a tycoon who is not only open to business, but to new ideas as well. After he all-too-willingly gives his ideas away for free and they are all implemented without Nick getting as much as a mention, he realizes that ideas are literally priceless, that being too open can be very costly.

  • Free Love... Not - Is there such a thing as free lunch? To many, genuine love and unconditional affection does exist. Others know better, and Prisca and Jim both find out the thing about love the hard way (no pun intended).

  • Hostile Takeover - Believe it or not, the mafia are not only the people who routinely make one an offer he cannot refuse. Onyango has been making millions importing electronics, and the allure of making billions easily and faster is irresistible. What does he stand to lose anyway? ... His entire business.

  • Nothing to Lose - Steve is not a fighter. He abhors violence. Until someone deliberately steps on him at the Kencom bus terminus. Eager to make the 'apologetic' tout an example to other inconsiderate fools, he quickly realizes that he is the inconsiderate fool with all to lose.

  • Pro-boner - Loise needs a good family lawyer. Her wealthy husband has dared her to take him to court and hopefully set precedence thanks to the new marriage laws in the new constitution. This being a landmark case akin to those in a John Grisham novel, she engages a lawyer who is only too willing to offer services at no cost to her. Can she handle Sam's hidden fees that are in all ways extraneous to his legal fees?

  • The Sound of Silence - Ruth deeply loves Leo.She keeps hoping that she won't have to one day regret having loved him. She has however uncovered something about Leo that invalidates all her love for him. Leo loves her too, but has only one foot in the door, thanks in part to once having listened to Patty Smyth and Don Henley singing that 'Love Just Ain't Enough.' Is Ruth's sudden silence loud enough for Leo to realize that she now wants out? Does she have the courage to let go and move on?

  • Greener Pastures - James recently got an amazing job offer. The pay is three times better and the working environment is just to die for. Soon enough, James and colleagues who were recently poached from a competing rival multinational realize, albeit too late and at great cost, that they are mere pawns in a bitter feud that often turns lethal. Are greener pastures worth dying for?

As always, it's always good to look before you leap. So here's a sneak peek into 'When the Deal is Too Good...':
Easy Come Easy Go (FREE PDF).

Keep it here for updates.


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