Thinking. Believing. Daring.
In a thought experiment, I am imagining myself 50 years from now. It's 2068 and I'm 80 years old. I am seated on a sofa listening to Handel and Mozart.
Then, I begin to ponder on my life: the career successes and how I've been able to provide for my family. I think of all the great moments with my family and friends. But then I start to think about all of the things I wished I had done just a little differently: my regrets. I can guess at what they might be.
Sitting in 2068, I will wish I had appreciated my parents and told them how much I valued them before they passed away. I will wish I had married a better partner - someone who filled me with joy and emotional contentment, with whom I shared values and interests, who respected me and loved me for my uniqueness. I will wish I had spent more time with my children. I will wish that I better used my gifts to empower others and make the world better. I will wish I had pursued my passions: music, writing, gardening and public-speaking. I will wish I smiled more, laughed more, danced more and created more.
Just as I am thinking about all these regrets in 2068, an angel of God appears and tells me, "Thuita, you are a good man. And for that reason, God has decided to give you a second chance at life." All of a sudden, I find myself where I am seated today. Awesome!
It is 2018 and I am in my pleasantly fit and pain-free 30 year old body. I begin to realize that it has really happened. I actually do have the chance to do it over again. To have the same career successes and deep relationships. Now I can laugh more, dance more and love more. My parents are here again so it is my chance to love them like I wished I had done the first time. I can be the source of positivity that I wished I had been the first time around. What a lucky young man I am!
Following this chance I have been given by God, what do I need to do with it? Okay, let me think and tell you about it.
First, I need to appreciate each successive day, whatever it brings. I should greet each day with a smile and be a source of energy as well as optimism. In addition, I need realize or even rationalize that the grass is truly greener on my side of the fence. Just the belief that it is becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Secondly, I need to pursue my passions and follow my heart. I should remember that real success comes from maximizing my internally derived happiness. It will not come from external status or money or praise. It will come from a feeling of contribution. A feeling that I am using my gifts in the best way possible.
Last but not least, I need not be depressed or overly worried about anything. When I feel stressed, I should look up at the night sky and ponder the distance to the next star and the age of the universe. That will help put things in perspective.
The ball is in my court. I need to be inspired to achieve my dreams so that when the year 2068 comes, I will look back at my life and comfortably say to myself, "I have made the most of my life. It has been fulfilling."
Likewise, I beseech to take time to think about your future and the life you'd love to live. Also, identify your talents because tapping into them is the key to having a rewarding and a fulfilling career. Take time to develop them every day. And remember what you want to do with ease, you must first learn to do with diligence. Over to you!
AFTERWORD: I wrote this story several years ago during a time I used to practice plagiarism - a vice I have long since given up on. And I edited then reproduced the story here today because much of the storyline seems to be my own original work. I however suspect I must have copy-pasted some of the sentences from the internet into the story though I can't recall ever doing that. Whatever the case, I hope to be forgiven and updated for any leads that would help me recall how I came up with the story.
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Book Review: Be Inspired Before You Expire
Oops! I am just from having a cold shower after our home had a power-loss early on this evening. It was scary putting myself under the cold water running from the shower-head. And it reminded me of my friend Festus Korosho Munene who once wisecracked on Facebook, "Guys, please pray for me; I am about to bathe with cold water!"
Jokes aside, that power-loss has reminded me of how grateful I ought to be to the folks out there at Kenya Power who work hard to ensure I get the electricity that not only enables me to enjoy hot showers but also connects me to the world by charging the gadgets I use to browse the internet.
Out of that gratitude, I feel I also have a responsibility to serve the world in return for the electricity and other services/goods that I enjoy everyday. I will emulate the great particle physicist Albert Einstein who wrote:
A hundred times every day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.Pretty powerful words, aren't they? They have inspired me to continue serving the world using my talents. And writing is one of those talents.
Today, I will write about Be Inspired Before You Expire (see photo above), a motivational book by Pepe Minambo which I have enjoyed reading twice and occasionally thumb through for inspirational quotes.
Pepe Minambo basically distils in the book the usual yadda yadda we've all heard about what it takes to succeed in life. For me though, reading the book has served as a powerful reminder of those success principles.
And what are those success principles that Pepe MInambo reiterates?
First, is the need for inspiration. Pepe Minambo begins his book by noting that all great achievers in the long history of the world attained their success because they were inspired. In short, inspiration is the oxygen of success.
I can attest from a personal experience I had in 2011 that we do indeed need inspiration to succeed in whatever we set our minds on. Okay, let me tell you the story.
When I dropped out of the University of Nairobi back in 2011 due to financial constraints, I requested my family to sponsor me to stay in Nairobi. I intended to spend most of my time in the city at the Kenya National Library to expand my intellectual bandwidth.
But alas! After my family agreed to sponsor me, I ended up dozing in the library on most days I went there. On other days, I didn't turn up. Why? Because I lacked inspiration.
Back to the book I am reviewing, Pepe Minambo encourages us to acquire the sort of knowledge I aspired to attain when I dropped out of the University of Nairobi. How? Obviously by reading books.
He also encourages us to connect with nature regularly. He says nature can be a great source of the inspiration we all need to succeed in life.
As for me, I have resumed reading books of which I have plenty here at home thanks to my hard-working father who has been buying them over the years. And unlike when my family sponsored me to stay in Nairobi in 2011, this time I have the inspiration to read them.
Apart from growing our knowledge, Pepe Minambo counsels us to believe in ourselves. He says we can succeed even when others don't believe in us but we can't succeed unless we believe in ourselves.
Pepe Minambo acknowledges that we live in a world full of cynics, sceptics and doubters - people who discourage and put us down. He encourages us to ignore such criticism by reminding us that even God, despite the fact that He is real, doesn't have everyone believing in Him. I agree with that.
As part of believing in ourselves, Pepe Minambo extols us to build a high positive self-image. He gives an example of the way the Hummer, a classy car that captured the imagination of some people here in Kenya some years back, was advertised in a local daily:
It's time to cut loose from the rest. Unmistakable looks, unrivalled performance, unbelievable value...Such is the kind of high positive self-image that Pepe Minambo extols us to have.
He also spares some space in his book for those of us who had a suppressed childhood by encouraging us to overcome it and move on with life.
I, for one, had a suppressed childhood. I was often ridiculed as dull and dumb. And when I joined Starehe Boys' Centre for my high school education, I was often criticized for being confused.
But now with people like Pepe Minambo encouraging me through their books, I have overcome that suppressed childhood. And I am feeling continually well-equipped to handle life.
Pepe Minambo didn't have a suppressed childhood himself but he reveals in the book that his father was an irresponsible parent. Had it not been for his mother, he wouldn't be the success he is today.
Having grown up in such kind of matrix, Pepe Minambo beseeches all parents out there to be excellent role models for their children, and to bring them up in a way that makes them realize their dreams.
All told, Be Inspired Before You Expire is a great read. And it isn't that long; you can finish it in a week if you are a slow-reader. Unfortunately, it is currently not available on Amazon.