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

Imitation is Limitation

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Featured in this November 3, 1992 Time magazine is Bill Clinton after he was elected the 42nd President of the United States. He looked calm and composed in the face of victory, didn't he?

Bill Clinton served as the President of the United States mostly in the '90s when I was too young to understand politics. It wasn't until much later on in 2006 that I earnestly became interested in his life after I came across his pictures in old "Time" and "Newsweek" international news magazines that Dad used to buy for us at home. I admired those pictures of him in which he radiated charisma. And I particularly liked one in which he was caught on camera in a reflective mood.

Then when I matriculated at the university in JKUAT on May 2007, I read his autobiography that my Communication Skills lecturer named Prof. Paul Njoroge lent me. I read that autobiography with great interest after which I returned it to Prof. Njoroge.

Afterwards in December of 2007, I bought my own copy of Bill Clinton's autobiography which I re-read twice in a span of three years. I still have that personal copy to this day; it is now dog-eared and torn apart due to too much referencing.

On rereading Bill Clinton's autobiography in 2010, I came to admire Clinton so much that I would download his pictures from the web. I also listened to some of his speeches on YouTube. Of the few speeches of his that I listened to, the one that I loved most was his 1993 inaugural address which he delivered in elegantly measured cadences.

My admiration of Bill Clinton mutated into a problem when I began imitating him. I used to love plagiarizing some stories from his autobiography and then share them with my friends on email and on Facebook.

At one time in 2011, I extracted a quote from his autobiography which I relayed to a certain choir at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi. Guess what the quote said? That "don't blame Jesus if you go to hell".

Although I loved the quote and enjoyed challenging the choir members with it, some of them didn't take it kindly when I told them not to blame Jesus if they went to hell. They summoned me for a meeting a few Sundays later, grilled me and then instructed me to apologize for what I had said. I did apologize later on in 2012 in a speech I felt proud about.

Bill Clinton says in his autobiography that he came across that quote on a bumper sticker. And here I was foolishly relaying it to a choir of devoted Christians. Imitation is limitation.

I also tried to imitate Bill Clinton by seeking to work at Kenya's Parliament when I was at the University of Nairobi in 2011 like the way Bill Clinton worked in the United States Congress when he was an undergraduate at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. in the 1960s. Do you know what happened? I was denied access into the parliament buildings and when I tried to be persuasive, the gatekeepers rudely turned me away.

But the worst form of imitation of Bill Clinton that I did was when I attempted to run for my county's senatorial seat in the 2013 general elections of Kenya like the way Bill Clinton ran for United States Congress seat early in the 1970s when he was in his 20s. And do you know what happened? I failed to command the sort of respect, charisma and attention that Bill Clinton radiated back in the 1970s when he was my age.

Some time last year, it dawned on me that I failed to radiate charisma because unlike Bill Clinton, I hadn't hit the 10,000 hours of practice that Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers: The Story of Success, says we must complete for us to succeed at whatever we are trying.

You see, Bill Clinton became interested in politics when he was a boy by following on TV such political speeches as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream". When he was in high school, he run for a post in a certain boys' organization and got elected. As a leader in that organization, he was selected to visit President John F. Kennedy in the White House.

Then when he was a first year student at Georgetown University, Bill Clinton won the election for freshman class president. During his holidays while he was still at Georgetown, he campaigned for his favourite politicians in his home state of Arkansas during which he got to learn a lot about his state as well as its people and politics.

Because of that proven track record of interest and commitment to politics, Bill Clinton won a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University in England after his Georgetown years. In his application essay for the Rhodes scholarship, he had written that he desired to study at Oxford so that he could "prepare for the life of a practising politician" and "mold an intellect that [could] stand the pressures of political life".

After a two year stint at Oxford during which he read hundreds of books, Bill Clinton flew back to the United States to pursue law at Yale University, one of the most prestigious schools in America. Afterwards in 1972, he campaigned for George McGovern - that year's U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate.

As you can discern for yourself, Bill Clinton had already hit the 10,000 hours of practice in politics by the time he was running for United States Congress in his late '20s. And here was I - Thuita J. Maina with no political experience - foolishly imitating Bill Clinton by attempting to vie for my county's senatorial seat in the 2013 general elections of Kenya. Little wonder that my campaign was a complete flop.

Moral of the story: imitation is limitation for shizzle. So, as Oscar Wilde put it, "be yourself; everyone else is already taken". Adieu!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story of mine on imitation is limitation, you might also enjoy another one I wrote on "Cultivating Love" in which I also mentioned Bill Clinton. Just click that link in blue to jump straight into the story.


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Lessons I Learnt From Books

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This is my friend Calvin Morekwa reading a book in a library. I shall mention him in the story below.

Calvin Morekwa (yes, the young man in the photo above) was a primary school classmate of mine at Kunoni Educational Centre. He was such a bright fellow. It was as if position one of our Standard Eight class was reserved for him because no matter how intensively the rest of us studied, he still topped the class. And he topped right from the first test we did in Standard Eight till the final national primary school exams known as KCPE.

Perhaps due to his brilliance in grasping our studies, I admired the way Morekwa walked. To put it humorously, I would say he walked in capital letters. So much did I admire his walking style that I would later on try to imitate it when I was in high school.

And I also liked the way Morekwa laughed during one happy chance. For this one, I would say he laughed in italicized letters. Imagine I would later on visualize myself laughing in a similar manner.

I haven't seen Morekwa in more than a decade but I am glad we are friends on Facebook where I extracted the photo of him above. And I like the way he looks calm, clean and composed in the photo as well as the way he is surrounded by neat-looking books.

Like me, Morekwa is a lover of books. Yes, I love books; so much that I always feel better in the presence of a book. If you are an attractive young lady in secret love with me and you wish to win me as a husband, let me tell you a secret of achieving that: just buy me books as gifts!

And because I love books, I thought it wise to share with you, my beloved reader, about some of the books I have read and the lessons I have gleaned from them. Here they are:
  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey: I had always wished to read this book since I read its introductory pages earlier on in this decade at the Kenya National Library in Nairobi. So much did I wish to read the book that I approached several friends of mine for help in buying it but none of them came to my aid. Luckily though, I got some money earlier on this year with which I bought the book and it didn't disappoint.

    I learnt powerful lessons for personal change in the book. One of the lessons is that the way we feel should never be a function of how people behave or treat us. In addition to that, I also learnt from it that we should seek first to understand, and then to be understood.
  2. The Book of Matthew: This is one of my favourite books in the Bible in which Apostle Matthew recorded the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, my best friend from whom I draw strength, guidance and inspiration.

    I learnt from the book to value prayers but not to show it off to others by shouting loudly for people to hear. So, as per Jesus teachings, I prefer praying in the silent chambers of my heart whether I am alone in my bedroom or out there in the streets.

    Also, I learnt from the Book of Matthew not to worry about the future but instead live one day at a time. That has been a hard lesson to implement in my life but I am getting better at it with time.
  3. My American Journey: This is the autobiography of Colin Powell, a black American, born of immigrant parents, who rose through the ranks of the United States military to become the National Security Advisor under President Ronald Reagan.

    Of the many excellent lessons I learnt from the book, the one that I will tell you is to never be buffaloed by experts. We should always be ready to challenge them even in their own backyard.
  4. The Book of Proverbs: This is also another favourite book of mine in the Bible, especially the Good News version. It is rich with splendid sayings.

    From those sayings, I have learnt to hate lies, to value hard work, to think cheerfully, to be wary of the wayward wife, to marry a woman of noble character and to choose my company of friends wisely. Perhaps most important, I learnt from the sayings to involve God in everything I do. And I usually do that every other day.
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey: I read this book a few years ago even though I was well past my teenage years. And I learnt from it that laughing:
    • Loosens up mental gears and helps us think more creatively
    • Helps us cope with the difficulties of life
    • Reduces stress levels
    • Relaxes us as it lowers our blood pressure
    • Connects us with others and counteracts the feeling of alienation, a major contributor in depression and suicide
    • Releases endorphins, the brain's natural pain killers [1]
    Those are magnificent benefits, aren't they? God be thanked for the gift of laughing.
  6. A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe: I read this novel as a high school set book for my KCSE exams. And I really loved it; so much that I re-read it last year.

    Although the novel is a bit steamy, it does shed light on the nature of political leadership in many African nations after they gained independence from their European masters. And if I was asked who my favourite fictional character is, I would say it is Odili Samalu - the main character of this short novel.
  7. The Book of Psalms: This is yet another favourite book of mine in the Bible. Some of the psalms in the book were authored by David, the pioneering King of Israel and my hero who I am striving to emulate.

    By reading psalms of David, I was able to identify with David in the way he was rebellious and oppressed. I also came to discover from the psalms that like me, David had talents in music and writing which brought him wealth and honor. That's why I am always striving to emulate him. But I believe that I will never be unfaithful like he was.
There you have them: that is, the list of some of the books I have read and the lessons I have gleaned from them. I hope you have learnt something from this story as well. How about you? Tell me, what have you learnt from your readings so far? Over to you!

[1] I have extracted these benefits of laughing from page 233 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, published in 1998 by Simon & Schuster.


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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)