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


Lessons From Colin Powell

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This is the cover page of My American Journey, the endearing and well written autobiography of Colin Powell. More about it in the story below.

There is this friend of mine called Ben Sang who I once teased on Facebook, "Which song did Ben sing?" He must be a talented computer programmer because he successfully pursued a degree in computer science at JKUAT where I failed to complete my degree in electronic & computer engineering.

One afternoon in 2009, I visited Ben Sang in his room where I found him engrossed on something in his personal computer. After exchanging pleasantries in a spirit of brotherhood, I sat beside him to continue reading My American Journey, the endearing and well-written autobiography of Colin Powell - a black American, born of immigrant parents, who rose through the military ranks to become the National Security Advisor under President Ronald Reagan.

As I became hooked to the autobiography, Ben Sang interrupted me and asked, "Now, how will that book [about Colin Powell] help you?" Apparently, he thought computer programming books were the only meaningful materials to read. But I didn't get discouraged because I continued devouring the 606-page paper-back edition with the zeal of a he-goat on heat.

I could feel myself absorbing Colin Powell's clarity and fluency of thought as I read the book which led me to be the great writer that some people say I am. And I ended up learning a number of valuable lessons from it. Okay, let me tell you what I learnt from book.

First, I learnt that no one ever made it to the top without getting into trouble. That was an encouraging lesson given the way I have messed up on a number of occasions in the last ten years of my life.

Secondly, I learnt that we should never be buffaloed by experts; we should be ready to challenge them, even in their own backyard. That's a lesson I have strived to apply in my life.

Thirdly, I was touched by Colin Powell's description of great leaders in his reference to President Ronald Reagan with whom he worked on ending the Cold War that would have potentially led to a nuclear holocaust. Colin Powell wrote, "Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers who cut through arguments, debates and doubts to offer a solution everybody can understand."

Perhaps the best lessons I gleaned from Colin Powell were his rules that he hid at the end of the autobiography. So if I had gotten discouraged by Ben Sang from reading the book, I would have missed the gems of wisdom which were pertinent to a young man like me. The rules of Colin Powell were, or rather are:
  1. It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done!
  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don't take counsel of your fears and naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.[1]
All told, the autobiography of Colin Powell impacted my life wonderfully, something I will mention to Colin Powell if I ever get a chance to meet him. And I will strive to apply the lessons I learnt from the autobiography in my life. So help me God.

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RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story of mine on lessons from Colin Powell, you might also enjoy another one on "Lessons from Ronald Reagan" which I wrote sometime back. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.

[1] I have extracted these rules of Colin Powell from page 603 of My American Journey by Colin Powell, published in the United States by Ballantine Books in 1995.

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Battling My Weight Again

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This is me in 2011 looking young and determined. I have set a goal of regaining that youthful swagger by December 12 of this year, God willing.

To tell you the truth, I have never wished to grow fat and big. I remember during one choir get-together we had in 2008, a friend of mine asked me to feast on as much meat as I wished but I mentioned to him that I feared growing plump.

And guess what! When I went astray at the university in JKUAT several weeks later after that get-together, I gained the excess weight I had always dreaded.

What happened was, I just stopped attending classes and started hanging around at the university without communicating home. After I was apprehended, the professor who handled me thought I was mentally ill. So he referred me to a psychiatrist who had me admitted in hospital for several weeks where I gained weight because all I did was eat and sleep.

Several people commented on how big I had grown after I was discharged from hospital. And that lowered my self-esteem. In an effort to lose that weight, I visited the offices of a company that sold weight-loss supplements but their high cost discouraged me from buying them. And when I tried fasting, I soon gave up on it because I didn't enjoy going without food for several days.

Then when I matriculated at the University of Nairobi (UoN) in late 2010, I found myself feeling full of life again - a part of me I had lost in touch with after I went astray at JKUAT in 2008. With such kind of high spirits, I ended up doing a lot of walking and writing which led me to lose weight (see photo above).

But then, the circumstances that befell on me at JKUAT in 2008 happened to me again when I was at UoN in 2011. I was forcefully admitted to the university's clinic after I sent messages to my family that I would never go back home. What a wretched young man I was!

After dropping out of UoN, my weight gradually ballooned again over a period of several years. I did try losing that weight but I found myself lacking the will-power to follow through with my resolutions.

Late last year when I could no longer stomach that excess weight any more, I got into the habit of jogging every morning. And wow! After several weeks of jogging, I lost weight to my desired levels.

Somehow in the course of this year, I lost momentum and gave up the habit of jogging every morning. For that reason, coupled with a lot of eating, my weight has again ballooned. So I am now back to square one and I badly need to lose weight.

This time round, I want to lose weight the way I did when I matriculated at the University of Nairobi in 2010. That's by writing and walking a lot as well as by limiting my food intake. I will stop waking up in the middle of the night to eat - a bad habit I picked up when I was at JKUAT hospital ten years ago.

Why have I included writing as part of my weight loss program? Because I love it. I love playing with words in an effort to weave a compelling story. And whenever I pen an interesting story, it elevates my spirits which makes me enjoy my walking.

Again, let me say I am now back to battling my weight. Hopefully by December 12th of this year, I will have regained my youthful swagger, this time once and for all. Watch this space!

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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."

~Unknown

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)