In early 2011 when I was at the University of Nairobi, I became interested in the subject of sleep. So I decided to do a little reading about it in the university library. And to my satisfaction, I found a book that discussed about the sleeping process.
I learnt from that book that sleeping occurs in several stages. And that we dream every time we fall asleep. But our ability to recall a dream depends on the stage of sleep during which we wake up.
Personally, I forget many of my night dreams after waking up. That must be the reason why masters of the Queen's language coined the phrase "as fleeting as yesternight's dream."
While I confess to have forgotten many of my night dreams, I do know I have had quite a number of good dreams as well as bad ones. So good have been some of my dreams that I have felt disappointed on waking up only to realize they weren't real. As for the bad ones, I remember waking up from some of them and feeling grateful that they weren't real.
I sometimes however manage to recall my night dreams when I come across an object or a person that was in the dreams. Like I remember a few years ago when I attended a funeral of a primary school-mate of mine, I saw a catechist of my home-town Catholic church named Ludovic Kahoro. Seeing Catechist Kahoro that day made me recall that the night before, I had dreamt of myself wearing his church robes without his permission. And when he saw me wearing his robes (in the dream, that is), he rebuked me. Had I not seen Catechist Kahoro during that funeral, I doubt whether I would have remembered that dream.
There are some other dreams I have managed to recall because of the way they have recurred many times in my sleep. Like I have dreamt several times of myself visiting London. I guess I will experience a strong sense of déjà vu when I get to visit London for the first time.
Also, I have dreamt a dozen times over the last ten years of my high school class, Starehe Boys' Class of '05, repeating our Fourth Form year. And I don't know why my mind has kept on repeating that dream in my sleep. Maybe it's because Starehe is a school that is dear to me where I gained valuable skills and formed many lasting friendships.
Additionally, I remember some other night dreams which have been as strange as the apocalyptic writings in the Bible. Strange in the sense that my mind has picked several events, sceneries as well as people and combined them in one dream.
Like several months ago, I dreamt of myself going for evening assembly at Starehe Boys' Centre as if I was in high school again. On my way to the hall, I followed a river with very muddy water. Then I happened to go past the assembly hall without realizing it and found myself in coffee plantations further afield. And then I thought to myself if I had involved God in my plans, He would probably have saved me from walking past the assembly hall.
As to how my mind combined Starehe Boys' assembly hall, a river, coffee plantations and God in one dream is something I don't understand. That's why I have described the dream as strange.
Another strange dream I recollect was one I had in 2003 when I travelled to Kisumu, a city in Western Kenya, with the Starehe Boys' volleyball team. I saw extra-large things during that dream: big heads, big fires and so on. A nightmare would be a better word to describe that dream.
Enough about my night dreams. How about you, my dear reader? Which dreams in your sleep can you manage to recall?
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Working Hard & Smart
When I was in my first term at Starehe Institute in 2006 pursuing a Diploma in Information Technology, my brother Bob Njinju who was then in the Kenya Air-force drafted me into a network-marketing company called GNLD. I didn't object to joining the company because I had little experience in the way of the world. And the good thing is, Bob paid much of my start-up fee.
I somehow came to enjoy promoting GNLD products and convincing people to join the company under my name. Among the people I tried to draft into the company were my classmates in high school. I have to however confess that I had a bad day trying to coax some of them to get into GNLD.
Like when I invited my high school desk-mate Martin Wamoni to the company's classy ware-house in down-town Nairobi, I felt nervous on my way to meet him. And from the way I presented myself and the company, I doubt whether he was impressed with GNLD and with what I was doing. Little wonder that he didn't bother to join the company.
In May of that year when we re-opened for the second term at Starehe Institute, I decided to do away with network marketing and instead concentrate on my studies. And that turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made in life because the computer-programming skills I acquired in the institute have wonderfully enriched my life.
Although I have long since ceased to do business with GNLD, I treasure what I learnt in the few months I was part and parcel of the company. I learnt the value of health and wealth as well as picked up a love for reading motivational books.
During one session with fellow GNLD marketers back in 2006, I remember one of them informing us that 5% of the world's population own 95% of the world's wealth. While I am unsure if that is accurately true, I felt inspired by that message to be rich one day - a dream I am yet to realize, more than 12 years later.
I also recall one senior GNLD marketer advising us, "Don't work hard. Work smart!"
Somehow, I liked that idea of working smart during my time in GNLD. But later on, I came to detest the term "smart work" so much that I avoided it like plague in my speaking and writing. Instead, I strictly preferred sticking to the term "hard work."
Recently though, I have discovered some sense in the term "smart work". I now believe that success is working both hard and smart at what we enjoy and are good at. And do you know what I think the difference is between "hard work" and "smart work"?
Well, if you are clever enough to visit this lovely blog of mine, I am sure you've heard of the terms "Pure Mathematics" and "Applied Mathematics", haven't you? Counterpointing those two university course jargon with the terms "hard work" and "smart work", I would say hard work is Pure Mathematics while smart work is Applied Mathematics.
I have said so because when I was pursuing engineering at JKUAT a decade ago, I noted that a lot of Mathematics was applied in undertstanding how electronic gadgets work. If you enjoy using your smart-phone, just know some Mathematics have been put to use in its design and development.
Just as Pure Mathematics comes before Applied Mathematics, so does hard work come before smart work. That's why I have said success is both working hard and smart at what we enjoy and are good at. So in the words of Hill Harper, "believe in yourself, work hard, work smart and passionately present your best self to the world." Adieu!