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Benefits of Working in a Team

I have extracted this photo from Pro-development.co.uk. All rights reserved worldwide.


Shortly after I left Starehe Institute in April 2007, I landed a music teaching job at a piano school in downtown Nairobi owned by one Shemaiah Mwakodi, or Shem in short, who became a good friend of mine. He still remains a friend though we haven't seen or communicated with each other for the last two years or so.

I loved going to his music school on Sundays especially at one time when he imported about ten pianos from Japan for sale here in Kenya. It was in one of those visits to the music school that I came across a Success magazine which I pilfered by taking it home without Shem's permission. (Oh! I hope he will forgive me if he happens to read this story.)

While flicking through that wonderful magazine, I came across an article that listed the benefits of working in a team. I was so captivated by the article that I cut out a section of the magazine page that listed the benefits and glued it to a page on an exercise book I christened "Dream Book".

Unfortunately, that Dream Book of mine was later on chewed by a cow at home sometimes in 2010 after I left it on the compound where the cows were grazing. I mentioned that loss to my younger brother Symo who remarked wryly, "Maybe God wants you to change your dreams."

Me thinks the cow chewed my Dream Book as God's way of punishing me for pilfering the Success Magazine from Shem and going ahead to cut out pages from it. I therefore nowadays no longer take somebody else's property without permission. Neither do I cut out images and text sections from books and magazines. Oh! I almost forgot to mention that I also don't leave books outside on the compound after I am done reading them. So shouldn't you.

Anyway, since one of cows chewed my Dream Book, I have no record of retrieving those benefits of working in a team as the magazine so magnificently outlined. I have therefore decided to jog my memory a little bit and see which benefits I can remember. Here are the benefits of working in a team that I can recall:
  • Helps us develop good sportsmanship skills
  • Hones our communication skills
  • Diminishes our fears
  • Improves our confidence
  • Helps us achieve our dreams faster
  • Improves our mental clarity
  • Helps us develop strong interpersonal skills
  • Improves our imagination
To be honest, I have never had an opportunity to work in a team all my life - something my friend Michael Njeru mentioned to me when I forwarded him a job-hunting CV a couple of years ago. But I still haven't given up on that dream of working in a team which I plan to achieve through music.

You see, I have a talent in singing and piano-playing. And I have always desired to produce inspirational songs. Those two dreams of working in a team and producing inspirational songs blend very well because producing hit songs involves working in a team of talented music producers. My prayer is that God connects me to such talented music producers as I continue honing my music skills.

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Handling Criticism

I have extracted this photo-quote from Slideshare.net. All rights reserved worldwide.


Some time when I was in Standard 5 at Noru-Moru Primary School, I loved taking part in a boyish football game called Chobo Wa which I am sure must still be popular among boys in village schools here in Kenya. Basically, the main aim of the game was to beat up the boy who happened to have the ball pass in between his legs as we dribbled it past one another. So we all had to be cautious not to be caught off-guard.

Quite a number of boys were always extra-cautious not to be caught off-guard by standing still when the ball came near them or idling by the sidelines as they waited for the unfortunate culprit to beat up. But for me, I used to be among the few outgoing players in the arena who dribbled the ball while trying to pass it in between some boy's legs. And on several of those Chobo Wa games, I managed to come out of every game unscathed until one fateful morning break-time.

I was dribbling the ball with my usual valour and vitality that morning when it passed in between my legs. And then suddenly, every boy especially the fearful idlers descended on me with kicks and blows on every part of my body. After what seemed like an eternity of getting beaten, I must have gone back to class when the bell rang feeling more like a wildebeest that had escaped the jaws of a crocodile. That was way back in 1998.

On reflecting about that boyish game of Chobo Wa, I have discovered that it bears some resemblance with real life in that most people idle fearlessly on the sidelines while waiting for the makers of the world to mess up so that they can descend on them with criticism.

Yes, we are all prone to criticism throughout our lives. I admit some of the criticism may be well-founded and beneficial to our growth but most often, much of the criticism is due to what I call "the pecking order of the society": others want to escape their own insecurities by pointing out how they are better than us.

I want to encourage you, my dear reader, not to take criticism personally. If the criticism is justified, learn from it. But if it's unjustified, remember the problem is with the critic. Let's take to heart the following words of Theodore Roosevelt, one of America's greatest presidents:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Pretty powerful words, aren't they? As for me, I have resolved to continue pursuing my dreams with renewed valour and vitality like the way I used to dribble the ball in Chobo Wa in those far-off days when I was in Standard Five at Noru-Moru. Adieu!

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