The Careers I Will Pursue - Reflections of a Young Man™

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The Careers I Will Pursue

Malcolm Gladwell in his enlightening book - Outliers: The Story of Success - says that we only succeed at something we have practised for 10,000 hours. As to how Gladwell came up with that figure of 10,000 hours is something I don't understand. But I tend to believe him nonetheless.

Ask anyone who has genuinely succeeded in any career and he will confide in you that he did spend considerable amount of time honing his skills. Like you can't start playing football at age 21 and expect to play in a FIFA World Cup. That's next to impossibility as Chinua Achebe would put it. All successful footballers start playing the game at least when they are 8 - 12 years.

Actually, in addition to the two reasons I gave in my previous story in this website, Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule is another reason I have bowed out of politics. You see, I have never had any experience in politics since I was young at school.

After reflecting on my life so far, I have figured out that I have spent much of my time developing my talents in music, farming, writing and public-speaking. Let me narrate briefly how I have honed those talents.

As of music, I started playing the piano when I was nine under the tutelage of a brilliant and dedicated seminarian named Br. Peter Assenga. Then I continued honing my skills on the piano when I was Starehe Boys' Centre where I had my high school and college education. I still do play the piano.

As of farming, I grew up in a family in which I was expected to take part in such farming activities as weeding, planting and harvesting beans, maize and vegetables as well as grazing, feeding and milking cows. Now that I have fallen in love with nature, I am looking forward to doing some farming when I own a piece of land.

As of writing, I began penning articles for my father to read when I was eight. But it's only until recent years that I have taken up writing seriously as a tool of developing mental clarity. This lovely website of mine is a proof of that effort.

As of public-speaking, I first gave a speech when I was ten - not to a real audience but to columns of desk in an empty classroom. I enjoyed the experience nonetheless. Then I had the luck of speaking to a real audience at Starehe Boys' Centre where I gave speeches right from when I was in Form 1 to when I was in my final year in college at the school. I haven't had many opportunities to hone my public-speaking skills since I left Starehe but I am looking forward to becoming a renowned charismatic and eloquent speaker.

Yes, those are the talents I have developed over the years. I am therefore now firmly convinced that God intended me for the tranquil pursuit of a career in music, farming, writing and public-speaking by availing for me opportunities to develop those talents and by making them my supreme delight.


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Bowing Out of Politics

This is the front cover-page of Bill Clinton's autobiography, an inspiring tome I loved carrying around when I was at the university in JKUAT. It inspired me to venture into politics but eventually, I have decided to bow out of politics for reasons I will explain in the story of mine below.

As the 2007 Kenya's General Elections were nearing and getting riveting, I was having a conversation with a friend at JKUAT when I remarked, "These politics of Kenya are very tribal." To which the friend agreed, then sagely added, "And very local."

It must have been around then that I set a dream of becoming president of our nation someday. And I have nurtured that dream for the past ten years with an aim of being a different kind of politician that Kenya has never had before. As in, a charismatic and eloquent politician with a national appeal.

I have found myself reading biographies of my models in politics - who are all Americans - as well as listened to their speeches on Youtube. Like I have particularly come to love Bill Clinton's 1993 inaugural address and Barack Obama's 2004 US Democratic National Convention keynote speech. Those two speeches are in a word, inspiring.

Finally though, it has dawned on me that the observations my friend and I made ten years ago about Kenya's politics - that they are tribal and local - were right and spot-on. Unlike America, Kenya is not a mature democracy. Still, it has a long way to go if the current state of affairs is anything to go by.

So given the immaturity of our politics as well as the high levels of disorder and corruption that are often too much in evidence in our governmental affairs and bearing in mind that I am a good-natured person, I have finally decided to bow out of politics. Expecting me to thrive as a politician in Kenya is both cruel and unrealistic.

I sincerely don't know why I have stuck for over yen years with this ambition of getting into politics. Maybe it's partly because I am always inspired by the school song of Starehe Boys' Centre, my Alma Mater, in which we pledged to serve diligently when our time in government reached.

Or maybe it's because politicians seem to attract all the attention. You see, newspapers' front-page headlines are almost always about politics. And when you eavesdrop on people talking idly in pubs and cafes, their talks are usually about politics, if not football.

Coming to think of it though, I don't have to be a politician to leave a lasting legacy. History is replete with heroes who have made contribution in various fields of endeavour other than politics. William Shakespeare in literature. Albert Einstein in Physics. Alexander Fleming in Medicine. George F. Handel in music. Charles Lindbergh in aviation. Henry Ford in entrepreneurship. Isaac Newton in Mathematics. I could go on and on to list more examples but I beg to stop there in the interest of time.

So I really don't need to get into politics to attain wealth and honour. See?

But just because I have bowed out of politics doesn't mean I will become disinterested in the affairs of my Motherland. I will always wish for peace and stability to prevail in Kenya so that I don't get displaced from my beloved home-town of Kiserian as a result of tribal violence or civil war. And I have vowed that should Kenya ever get a Bill Clinton or a Barack Obama, I will support his election, morally and financially.

You may ask - now that I have finally bowed out of politics, what career will I pursue? Well, I will tell you in my next story, God-willing. So stay tuned to this lovely website of mine.


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Power of Thoughts

I had intended this story to have more words of my own than it already has but somehow, words have failed me. So without further ado, let me share with you the following twenty five quotes on the power of thoughts:
  1. "As a man thinketh, so is he," the Bible.
  2. "All (yes, all) that we are is the result of what we have thought," Buddha.
  3. "Our life is what our thoughts make it," Marcus Aurelius.
  4. "Belief (confident thought) creates the actual fact," William James.
  5. "Thought means life, since those who do not think do not live in any high or real sense. Thinking makes the man," Amos Bronson Alcott.
  6. "Thought engenders thought... the more you think, the better you will express yourself," George Sala.
  7. "Thoughts rule the world," Emerson.
  8. "Secret study, silent thought, is the mightiest agent in human affairs. What a man does outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought," William Ellery Channing.
  9. "The men of action are, after all, only the unconscious instruments of the men of thought," Henrich Heine.
  10. "There is not thought in any mind, but it quickly tends to convert itself into a power," Emerson.
  11. "The ideas and images (thoughts) in men's minds are the invisible powers that constantly govern them," Jonathan Edwards.
  12. "Think success, visualize success, and you will set in motion the power force of the realizable wish. When the mental picture (thought) or attitude is strongly held, it actually seems to control conditions and circumstances," Norman Vincent Peale.
  13. "Success or failure in business is caused more by mental (thought) attitudes than by mental capacities," Dr. Walter Scott.
  14. "Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes," Disraeli.
  15. "It is the habitual thought which frames itself into our life. Our confidential friends have not so much to do in shaping our lives as thoughts have which we harbour," John William Teal.
  16. "Thinking, not growth, makes manhood," Isaac Taylor.
  17. "Man, by thinking only becomes truly man. Take away thought from man's life, and what remains?" Johann Pestalozzi.
  18. "Learning without thought is labour lost," Confucius.
  19. "No accomplishment, no assistance, no training, can compensate for lack of belief (confident thought)," Emerson.
  20. "Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right," Henry Ford.
  21. "The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts," Marcus Antoninus.
  22. "Garner up pleasant thoughts in your mind, for pleasant thoughts make pleasant lives," Bishop John Williams.
  23. "Good thoughts are blessed guests and should be heartily welcomed," Charles Hadden Spurgeon.
  24. "Nothing is comparable to the pleasure of an active and prevailing thought," Robert South.
  25. "The pleasantest things in the world are pleasant thoughts, and the greatest art in life is to have as many of them as possible," John Foster. [1]
The above quotes have inspired me to continue working on the quality of my thoughts as a way of changing my life to make it more healthful and prosperous. I hope you have been inspired as well. Have you?

[1] I have extracted these enlightening quotes from page i to v of Thought to Build On by M. R. Kopmeyer, published in the United States in 2009 by UBSPD®.


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