Positive Quote For Today

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."— Maya Angelou

Practising Gratitude

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With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from Tuko.co.ke. All rights reserved worldwide.

That I attended Starehe Boys' Centre for my high school education is something I have said before on this blog. I have also pointed out that Starehe used to rank among the top high schools in Kenya during our time. And it did so not only due to the bright students it admitted but also due to the excellent facilities it provided for us.

After I finished my high school education in 2005, I proceeded into the institute division of Starehe to pursue a diploma in information technology. It was during my time in Starehe Institute that I learnt how to design websites and create computer programs. I also had the opportunities to hone my public speaking and piano-playing skills.

Given how blessed I was to have attended such a well-endowed school, you'd think my years at Starehe were the happiest of my life. But imagine during my days at Starehe, I never appreciated the fact that I was in one of the best schools in Kenya and schooling with the brightest boys in the country. Instead, I'd go around worrying about the confusion that some fellow students saw in me. At other times, I'd be jealous of the opportunities that some classmates had.

It wasn't until many years after I left Starehe that I came to realize how lucky I was to have been in the school for my high school and college education. That was upon reflecting on the fate that befell on some of my primary school classmates. Allow me to tell you of two of those classmates. Only two.

The first is Mwaura who was a classmate of mine in Standard Six. Mwaura was a gifted artist who used to draw impressive pictures of my classmates in his spare time. But even with all his artistic talent, he dropped out of school at the end of Standard Six and went scouting for work. For a number of years, he worked as a barber in my hometown of Kiserian. He used to shave my hair when I came for holidays during my high school years. Imagine as I was advancing my knowledge at Starehe, Mwaura was eking out a living as a barber. Wasn't I blessed?

Then there is Paul King'oro, the second primary school classmate whose fate I'll tell you about. King'oro was brighter than me given the way he consistently topped his stream during our primary school years. But I don't know what happened behind the scenes when we got into Standard Eight because I outperformed him in the 2001 KCPE exams by a wide margin. I made it into Starehe Boys' Centre while he was admitted at Olkejuado High School, a far less prestigious school compared to Starehe in those days.

King'oro must have worked fanatically hard in his studies at Olkejuado High School, for he ended up scoring an 'A' in the 2005 KCSE exams. One Sunday afternoon in 2006, he came home to chat with me on a visit he had prearranged with my mother. He informed me in the course of the visit that he was working as a teacher while he awaited to matriculate at the university. Though I can't remember telling him I was then in Starehe Institute pursuing a diploma in information technology, I tend to think I did, which must have made him envious of the opportunity that had come my way.

Imagine that while I had landed an opportunity to pursue a transformative diploma in one of the most well-endowed schools in Kenya, King'oro had been forced to look for work to fill up the one and a half year gap between finishing high school and joining university. Again I ask: wasn't I truly blessed?

Yes, I was blessed to have been in Starehe, something I wasn't consciously grateful about during my years in the school. If I could wave the magic wand and roll back the clocks of time to my days at Starehe, I'd delightfully think of what an honor it is to school with the brightest boys in Kenya in one of the best schools in the country. I'd walk around the school with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

Now that I didn't feel grateful to have been at Starehe, I have resolved not to repeat the same mistake in the life I am living these days. From today onward, I will be counting my blessings. And I have a lot to be grateful for: food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a room to stay in and most of all, good health to enjoy. I am also blessed to be surrounded by a caring family.

With such blessings, I have every reason to be happy at this time. I have therefore made up my mind to practise gratitude on a consistent basis. Every time I catch myself feeling guilty, bitter, jealous, worried, hopeless or annoyed, I'll quickly remind myself of all the things I should be grateful for. And when I wake up in the morning, I'll be thinking of what an honor it is to see another new day.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story of mine on practising gratitude, you might also enjoy another one on "Choosing Gratitude" which I wrote more than three years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Developing Good Habits

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This is me in my den holding James Clear's Atomic Habits which I read recently. More about it in the story below.

Much has been said about the power of habit. Many years ago, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle quipped that "good habits formed at youth make all the difference". And then someone else phrased it better by saying "we first make our habits, then our habits make us."

Being the teachable young man that I am, I have been striving to form such good habits as praying, reading, telling the truth, stretching with rollers, meditating on God's Word and going for one-hour walks in the evening. (Yes, even praying and telling the truth are habit forming.)

Over the last one year, I have also tried to kick out such bad habits as procrastination, over-eating and constantly checking social media, and I have succeeded in doing so. The one bad habit I am working on breaking is over-sleeping. I usually rise at around 6.40am which to me is over-sleeping since my ideal waking-up time is 5.30am.

It is that desire to form good habits and kick out bad ones that compelled me to buy James Clear's Atomic Habits, a book about easy and proven methods of building good habits and breaking bad ones. I began reading the book late last week, eager to learn how I could become a better person by forming good habits.

James began Atomic Habits by narrating a riveting story about how he was accidentally hit in the head with a baseball bat while playing the game when he was a sophomore in high school. That accident landed him in hospital where he underwent surgery. After undergoing the surgery, he recovered fully and went on to excel in academics and baseball at the university thanks to the good habits he formed.

As I read that riveting story in the introductory pages of the book, I thought Atomic Habits was going to be a great read. But alas! The book got progressively boring as James explained the fundamentals of building good habits using facts from such various sources as scientific experiments. He laced his explanations with graphs and diagrams.

All the same, I was able to glean a few valuable insights from the book. Chief among the insights is how tiny changes done over a long period of time end up making a difference. James pointed out in the book that success is the product of daily habits, not once-in-a-lifetime transformation. And he used the following equation to illustrate his point:
1% better every day for one year 1.01365=37.78
Another insight I gleaned from the book is that habits do not restrict freedom; they create it. If, for instance, we do not have good health habits, we will always be short on energy. Or if we do not have good financial habits, we will always be struggling for the next dollar. Learning that habits do not restrict freedom reminded me of an aphorism that says "only the disciplined are free".

James said in the book that the key to mastering a good habit is through repetition, not perfection. To build a habit, we need to practice it. That again reminded me of another aphorism that says "repetition is the mother of skill".

He went on to say that a habit needs to be enjoyable for it to last. So he advised us to find a way to make our habits interesting. If, for instance, we want to be avid readers, we should read what fascinates us. I couldn't agree with him more on that.

Boring though Atomic Habits was, I liked the way James mentioned the bad habits I have struggled with such as procrastination, over-eating, over-sleeping and constantly checking social media. Believe me, I have struggled with those detrimental habits. In the year 2016 for instance, I resolved to cut my weight but due to procrastination, I didn't achieve that goal until three years later.

My dear reader, I exhort you to also form good habits and kick out bad ones. Be an early riser, an avid reader, a moderate eater and a walking enthusiast. Do whatever is possible to overcome such bad habits as over-eating, over-sleeping and constantly checking social media. Man is, after all, a creature of habit. We become what we practice.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on developing good habits, you might also enjoy another one I wrote more than two years ago on "Developing Good Sleeping Habits". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Bible Quote

"Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do... Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand."

~Phillipians 4:4-7 (TLB)

About the Author

Name: Thuita J. Maina
Nationality: Kenyan
Lives in: Kiserian, Rift Valley, Kenya
Mission: To inspire the world to godly living, one person at a time.

Just For Laughs

There was this drunkard named Azoge who loved drinking at Josiah's Bar. On being told a certain Hon. Nanga was flying to America to be conferred a law degree so that he could be admitted to the bar, Azoge replied, "Why fly all the way to America to be admitted to the bar while you can get into Josiah's Bar any time?"

The 7 Deadly Sins

  1. Pride
  2. Envy
  3. Gluttony
  4. Lust
  5. Anger
  6. Greed
  7. Sloth

Author's Note

I am learning to treat life as a journey, not a destination. So I am trying to enjoy each day as I anticipate to fulfill my dreams especially meeting my soulmate and traveling abroad. Tomorrow may never be mine.

Fun Facts

  1. The fear of having no cell-phone service, running out of battery, or losing sight of your phone is called Nomophobia, reportedly affecting 66% of people.
  2. A single Google search needs more computing power than it took to send Apollo 11 to the moon. The Apollo computer was less equipped than a modern toaster.
  3. Besides being some of the biggest names in the tech industry, HP, Apple, Google and Microsoft share another commonality. They all started in garages.
~Extracted from Codingforums.com

Health Tip

So many of us take for granted the wonderful construction of the human body and the workings of its various parts. Some of us even expect it to function efficiently with less than the minimum care and attention. Learn the much you can about your body and how the care of it can help to give you that greatest blessing of all - good health.

Wonders of the Modern World

  1. The Simplon Tunnel
  2. The Sky-scrapers of New York
  3. The Boulder Dam of Colorado
  4. The Panama Canal
  5. The Golden Gate Bridge
  6. The Taj Mahal at Agra in India
  7. The North Sea Oil Drilling Rigs

Great Example for Politicians

"My life in politics was a joy. I loved campaigns and I loved governing. I always tried to keep things moving in the right direction, to give more people a chance to live their dreams, to lift people's spirits, and to bring them together. That's the way I kept score."

~Bill Clinton

Scientific Marvels

  1. Space travel
  2. Heart surgery
  3. Fibre-optics communication
  4. Concorde
  5. Computers & Radios
  6. Anesthetics
  7. The atom bomb

My Supreme Desire

Although I'd like to be rich and famous, my supreme desire is to be radiant: to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage and goodwill. I wish to live without hate, guilt, worry, jealousy, cynicism and envy. I wish to be honest, natural, confident, clean in mind and body - ready to say "I do not know" if it be so and to treat all men with kindness - to meet any loss, failure, criticism and rejection unabashed and unafraid.

Greatest American Presidents

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. George Washington
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4. Franklin Roosevelt
  5. Theodore Roosevelt
  6. Woodrow Wilson
  7. Andrew Jackson

Making Peace With the Past

"Dwell not on your past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."

~Eileen Caddy

Toughest Colleges to Get Into

  1. MIT
  2. Princeton
  3. Harvard
  4. Yale
  5. Stanford
  6. Brown
  7. Columbia

Why You Should Trust God

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities and pour out peace."

~Ezra Taft Benson

The 7 Greatest Scientists

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Isaac Newton
  3. Galileo Galilei
  4. Nikola Tesla
  5. Aristotle
  6. Archimedes
  7. Charles Darwin

You Matter

"Always be yourself. Never try to hide who you are. The only shame is to have shame. Always stand up for what you believe in. Always question what other people tell you. Never regret the past; it's a waste of time. There's a reason for everything. Every mistake, every moment of weakness, every terrible thing that has happened to you, grow from it. The only way you can ever get the respect of others is when you show them that you respect yourself and most importantly, do your thing and never apologize for being you."


The Most Industrialized Nations

  1. The United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Italy
  7. Canada

Keys to Success

"...in his effort to withstand temptation, to economize, to exercise thrift, to disregard the superficial for the real - the shadow for the substance; to be great yet small, in his effort to be patient in the laying of a firm foundation; to so grow in skill and knowledge that he shall place his services in demand by reason of his intrinsic and superior worth. This is the key that unlocks every door of opportunity, and all others fail."

~Booker T. Washington

The 7 Social Sins

  1. Politics without principle
  2. Wealth without work
  3. Pleasure without conscience
  4. Knowledge without character
  5. Commerce without morality
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Science without humanity

Cherish What You Love

"Cherish your visions, cherish your ideals, cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts - for out of them will grow all heavenly environment, of these if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built."~James Allen

The World's Largest Cities

  1. London in England
  2. New York in the United States
  3. Tokyo in Japan
  4. Berlin in Germany
  5. Chicago in the United States
  6. Shanghai in China
  7. Paris in France

Benefits of Optimism

"In terms of success, optimistic people out perform their pessimistic colleagues. Research shows that they are consistently promoted higher and make more money while working fewer hours than those who think pessimistically. Optimists also contribute more significantly to social progress. It is the optimists who start and run successful companies, who win elections and carry out reforms, and who make breakthroughs in the realms of science and technology."

~Pepe Minambo

The World's Greatest Lakes

  1. Caspian Sea in the Commonwealth of Independent States, C.I.S. (formerly U.S.S.R)
  2. Lake Superior in North America
  3. Victoria Nyanza in Central Africa
  4. Aral Sea in C.I.S.
  5. Lake Huron in North America
  6. Lake Michigan in North America

Demonstrating His Love

"Take your communication for instance - the way you address others. It ought to be with loving, gracious and edifying words. Never talk people down. Never use words that hurt and demean people. Communicate excellently with others without destroying their self-image or making them feel sorry for themselves. Talk to people in a way that they never forget the excellence of your words, the love and grace of Christ that you communicated. It's how God wants us to love."

~Dr. Chris Oyakhilome

World's Longest Rivers

  1. Missouri-Mississipi (U.S.)
  2. Amazon (Brazil)
  3. Nile (Egypt)
  4. Yangtse (China)
  5. Lena (Russia)
  6. Zaire (Central Africa)
  7. Niger (West Africa)