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.

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