Doing What We Were Born To Do
A True Story
on May 5, 2021
A few weeks ago while sitting on a sofa in the back verandah of our mansion, reading and meditating, I saw two birds flying high in the sky. They were gliding gracefully in the air without seeming to care about anything - the kind of living Jesus taught us to live. And as I watched the birds gliding in the air gracefully, I thought to myself, "Now, these birds are doing what they were born to do."
That got me thinking about us also doing what we were born to do. Every truly successful person I know achieved their success because they discovered what they were born to do and poured their hearts into it.
Like Colin Powell was an average performer in high school, but his genius was awakened when he discovered he loved soldiering after he joined the United States military in the late 1950s. His love for soldering led to his promotion through the ranks of the American military to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the most senior position in the military. When Colin Powell was retiring from the American military in 1994, his greatest regret was that he couldn't start all over again.
Then there is Bill Clinton who discovered at an early age that he loved campaigning and governing. It is that love for politics that propelled him to run for the United States presidency in 1992. He won the elections, becoming the third youngest ever elected U.S. President. And during his presidency, he presided over an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity in America.
Another example of a man who discovered what he was born to do and did it passionately is Jack Canfield, a motivational speaker and the co-author of the popular "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. Jack Canfield said that he feels most successful when he is inspiring and empowering people to love and accept themselves more deeply, to open their hearts to others more fully, to trust and believe in themselves more completely, and to pursue their dreams more boldly and passionately.
As for me, I have been on a journey of discovering what I was born to do. And that journey hasn't been easy. Back in May 2007 when I was matriculating at the university in JKUAT to pursue a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering, I must have thought I could succeed as an engineer. But alas! I had a hard time understanding the intricacies of electronics engineering, such as how electrons are manipulated in a circuit to perform the magic we see in electronics gadgets. I just wasn't wired for engineering, so I dropped out of JKUAT in 2009.
After I dropped out of JKUAT, I came to profoundly admire Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy - all who served as American presidents. I would listen to their speeches again and again on a computer and visualize myself talking eloquently like them and radiating a similar charisma.
My admiration for those American presidents led me to believe that I could also succeed as a politician. But you know what? When I registered to run for a political seat in the 2013 Kenya's General Elections, I found myself lacking the drive to get out of bed in the morning to go campaign and talk to people.
I especially remember the day in 2013 when the coordinator of elections in my county - a lovely lady called Mrs. Kasale - convened a meeting of all political candidates in my county. On the morning of that day, I struggled to get out of bed and made it to the meeting after much emotional effort. It was like I just wasn't wired for a political career either.
With time, I have come to discover that writing and composing songs are what I was born to do. I always feel elated whenever I write a great story or produce a tuneful hymn and someone out there likes it. And the high I experience after penning a great story or producing a tuneful hymn makes waking up in the morning easy for me. I intend to continue honing those talents with the faith that they will open the doors of success for me.
My dear reader, I urge you to likewise find out what you were born to do if you haven't discovered that already. And after finding out what you were born to do, pour your heart into it. Remember, as the great author Leo Buscaglia said, your talent is God's gift to you and what you do with it is your gift back to God. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on doing what we were born to do, you might also enjoy another one I wrote a few years ago on "The Careers I Will Pursue". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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A Beautiful Soul
A True Story
on Apr 30, 2021
If there is anything I have learnt about life so far, it is that even when it's hard, sometimes it is okay to move on with life and leave certain people behind, people I have outgrown or who no longer serve a purpose for me. I no longer have the energy for meaningless friendships, forced interactions and unnecessary conversations.
There are however those old friends I can never let go - friends who have been very kind to me and helped me at my hour of need, either with money or with encouraging words. One such kind of friend is Wilson Chira (see photo above) who has never said anything negative to me for all the years I have known him, even in the times I have acted crazily.
Chira and I met in 2002 in high school at Starehe Boys' Centre where we were classmates. We both participated in piano-playing competitions at the Kenya Music Festival during which we won a number of certificates, including for the piano duets we played together. It is interesting to note that in 2003, I won an award as the best Music student in junior high school while in 2005, he won an award as the best Music student in senior high school.
Overall though, Chira was brighter than me in the first three years in high school because he ranked ahead of me in the end-of-term academic results. But when we got into Fourth Form in 2005, I trounced him in "Index" exams and after that, he never managed to catch up with me in the rankings of all the exams that followed.
In the course of our Fourth Form year when I started talking to girls during school functions, I happened to converse with a girlfriend of Chira on a Sunday afternoon. I particularly remember that lass because she was the first girl I ever plucked up the courage to approach and engage in a conversation. She turned out to be a delightful conversationalist. I recollect telling her about the great American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She, in turn, told me more about Wilson Chira and how they met in a hospital. From the way she was talking enthusiastically about Chira, I could tell she was crazy about him.
When our high school years came to an end in November 2005, I chose to return to Starehe to pursue a Diploma in Information Technology in the institute division of the school while Chira was selected to do a gap-year at a school in Australia. That year in 2006 when I was in Starehe Institute and Chira was in Australia, we both applied for admission to colleges in the United States. I applied to MIT, Cornell, Stanford and Dartmouth while Chira applied to Howard, Wake Forest and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).
Back then in 2006, I thought I stood a better chance of getting accepted into the American colleges than Chira because of the free access I had to Starehe teachers who wrote the recommendation letters required by the colleges. Imagine while I could walk into a teachers' staff-room at any time of the day, Chira had to send someone to Starehe to organize on how he could get recommendation letters and a high school transcript. How unfortunate he was! Or so I thought.
Come March and April 2007, I was rejected by all the four American colleges where I had dropped my applications; first by MIT, then by Cornell and Dartmouth, and finally by Stanford. It really was depressing to be rejected. And for several days, I thought the same fate had also befallen on Chira, but I didn't dare phone him to find out if that was the case.
Then one morning in April 2007 as I was walking on a highway in Starehe, I spotted Chira approaching in the opposite direction. At some deep level of my psyche, I expected him to share with me the agony of getting rejected by the colleges he had applied for admission. But alas! When we met and began conversing, he apprised me that he had been admitted at UPenn, an Ivy League institution! And here had been me thinking that I stood a better chance of getting accepted into the American colleges than him - how surprising!
If I am being honest with myself, I have to admit feeling an inkling of jealousy at Chira's success but I tried to sound enthusiastic about his admission to UPenn. Looking back, I am thinking Chira was prudent by applying to only one competitive college (UPenn) and to two less competitive colleges (Howard and Wake Forest) unlike me who foolishly applied to only very competitive colleges (MIT, Cornell, Stanford and Dartmouth).
That morning in April 2007 was the last time I have ever seen Chira face-to-face. But we have kept in touch over the years via email, Facebook and Whatsapp. When I took up writing as a hobby in 2010, Chira was among the first friends who complimented me for my efforts. And in April 2011 when I asked him if he could help me purchase a domain name (thuitamaina.com) for my blog, he readily agreed and bought it for me. I was impressed by the speed with which he procured the domain name.
At one time in 2012 or 2013, I inquired from Chira via email about what became of his relationship with the girl I talked with in high school, the girl who was crazy about him. To my surprise, Chira told me quite frankly that he had no memory of that girl, which I now interpret to mean he had no affection for her. Poor girl!
As the years of the previous decade rolled by, I continued sharing my writings with Chira and other high school classmates via Facebook messages. Some of the classmates, including Chira, would leave the conversations I initiated. It was somewhat discouraging to see the classmates leave my conversations but I don't fault them because some of the stories I shared with them were silly and vulgar.
One time in 2013 when I listed the names of the high school classmates who were leaving my Facebook conversations and complained about how they were belittling my ambitions, most of them reacted negatively to my post. But Chira never said anything; he remained silent. I thought to myself it was very wise of him to keep quiet. Chira is indeed a beautiful soul, and I am honored to have him in my circle of friends.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on a friend who is a beautiful soul, you might also enjoy another one I wrote four years ago on "A Model of Servant Leadership". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.