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

True Learning

Picture related to the title of the story
With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from a website called Life Learning Magazine. All rights reserved worldwide.

In his book How to Develop Self-confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking, Dale Carnegie told a story of a banker in his public speaking class who had been assigned a task of giving a speech before the class. When the day arrived for the banker to deliver the speech, he found out he had nothing to talk about. He hastily bought a Forbes magazine and saw an article in it titled "You Have Only Ten Years to Succeed". On the way to class, he read it, not because he was interested in the article but because he wanted to have something to say during his turn to speak.

When the time for him to speak came, he stood up and attempted to talk convincingly and interestingly on the contents of the article. Poor man! He had not digested and had not assimilated what he was trying to say. Consequently, there was no real message in him seeking an outlet, and his whole manner and tone revealed it unmistakeably. There was a surfeit of Forbes magazine in his speech but regrettably, little of him. This is because he had superficially gleaned his facts from the magazine. So his speech sounded dry, disconnected and undigested. He had not thought over his subject adequately. It had not elicited his enthusiasm. He did not feel what he was saying deeply enough and make it worthwhile expressing. His speech was flat, flavourless and unprofitable.

After reflecting on that attempt by the banker to give a speech as Dale Carnegie told it in his enlightening book, I have discovered it bears resemblance with the kind of learning that most of us undergo in school. We don't learnt with the intention of understanding ourselves and the world around us better. Instead, we just fill our minds with facts for the sole purpose of passing exams and then forget what we have crammed a few weeks after sitting for the exams. That's not true learning.

True learning, the kind that makes us wise, creative and knowledgeable, should be intellectually and emotionally arousing. I just like the way Albert Einstein, the greatest genius who ever lived, described the best way of learning in a letter to his son. He wrote:
That is the way to learn most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don't notice that the time passes.
On reflecting about my life so far, I am of the opinion that I first began practising true learning when I started enjoying biology during my high school years. To tell you the truth, I didn't like the subject that much when I was in Form One in 2002 because all we studied that year was how to classify living things. But as my high school years rolled on, I came to like biology so much that by the time I was in Form Four, it had evolved into my favourite subject. I remember feeling high on several occasions after revising biology during night preps. Little wonder that I scored an 'A' in the subject in my KCSE exams.

I also practised some true learning in 2006 when I was in Starehe Institute where I first learnt how to navigate through the Windows operating system. During one night in my first days in the institute, I became so excited as I learnt how to create a slide show presentation using Microsoft Powerpoint. And later on in my time in the institute, I came to enjoy creating computer programs using Visual Basic. I used to find it exhilarating every time I coded a program and it worked.

Besides computer programming, the other learnings I came to enjoy during my time in Starehe Institute were reading quotable quotes. One night prep in early 2007 while navigating through folders in a computer of the institute, I found a document of quotes someone had downloaded. I became very absorbed in reading the quotes which I found inspiring; my only regret is that I didn't bother to save the document somewhere in the internet for future re-reading. Oh, how I would love to reconnect with that document of quotes!

Unfortunately, I was unable to replicate such kind of joy in learning in the electronic & computer engineering degree I chose to pursue when I matriculated at the university in JKUAT in May 2007. I had a hard time understanding the intricacies of the engineering course; I simply couldn't piece together the courses we studied in class in an effort to know how a computer works. We would learn calculus, organic chemistry and engineering drawing, subjects that didn't shed light for me on how electronic gadgets function. That engineering course was in two words, completely harassing.

From that experience, I would advise youngsters out there about to enter university not to choose a course because it is marketable but because they have a passion for it. And once they begin studying for their courses, they shouldn't just study to pass exams but to also develop an educated mind. In short, they should practise the kind of true learning that I have said makes us wise, creative and knowledgeable. That's all I am saying.


Sharing is Caring

Like the above story? Then share it on:
Facebook icon X icon LinkedIn icon

Book Review: "Think Big"

Picture related to the title of the story
This is the front cover-page of Ben Carson's Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential For Excellence. More about it in the story below.

When I was a first-year student at JKUAT in 2007, I bought Ben Carson's Think Big from a book-stand at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi. I read the book and then misplaced it. As the years wore on, I developed a burning desire to read that book again. It's probably due to that desire that on one night last year, I dreamt in my sleep of me purchasing another copy of the book.

Guess what! The following day after having that dream, I found the book I had misplaced while ransacking my father's study room. And it looked as good as it was the last time I touched it in 2007; it wasn't worn out or chewed by rats and termites that are a constant source of annoyance at our home here in Kiserian.

Early this month, I re-read the book. And wow! I found it so beautifully written that I was disappointed to finish it because I wanted the pleasure of my reading to go on and on and on. Re-reading the book felt like having a one-on-one conversation with Ben Carson. Allow me to tell you more about the book.

Think Big is divided in two parts. In the first part, Ben Carson appreciates and lets us know the people who contributed to his success. Among them is his mother who encouraged him to read books and to give his best in everything he did. He also mentions some of his teachers in primary and secondary school who drew out the best in him.

In the second part of the book, Ben Carson sheds light on what contributes to true success in life: acquiring knowledge, reading books and using our talents. He says that every piece of knowledge counts, be it geography or history. So I am thinking that should your child ever decide to drop out of a finance degree to pursue helminthology (study of worms), don't discourage him from his decision as he could end up discovering something that will revolutionize treatment of cancer.

On reading books, Ben Carson exhorts us to read, read and read books. He quotes the following words of William Ellery Channing twice in the book:
It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are true levellers. They give to all who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence of the best and greatest of our race.
On using our talents, Ben Carson writes in the book that "if you recognize your talents, use them appropriately, and choose a field that uses those talents, you will rise to the top of your field."

That insight from Ben Carson has made me realize that the key to fulfilling our dreams is identifying our talents and putting them into use. So I have listed my talents and dreams which are as follows:
ReadingBuild a resplendent home
WritingHave great friends
Public speakingGet engaged to a winsome lady
WalkingDrive a classy car
Piano-playingTravel overseas
SingingBecome famous
SocializingHave inner peace
JoggingHave a colourful wedding
GardeningProduce inspirational songs
CookingHelp the less fortunate

There you have them: that is, my talents and dreams. I challenge you to also identify your talents and strive to apply them in your life since they may help you attain the dreams you wish to realize. Over to you!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on the book review of Think Big, you might also enjoy another one on "Lessons From Ben Carson". Just click on that link in blue to dive into the story.


Sharing is Caring

Like the above story? Then share it on:
Facebook icon X icon LinkedIn icon
← Newer Stories  ||   Older Stories →

Connect With Me

Do you want to receive regular updates of new entertaining true stories and videos? Then connect with me on:
Facebook iconFacebook
X iconX
LinkedIn iconLinkedIn
Goodreads iconGoodreads
RSS Feed iconRSS Feed
WhatsApp iconWhatsApp

Latest Stories

How to Criticize Constructively
on July 20, 2024

What a Day It Was!
on July 15, 2024

Book Review: "The 48 Laws of Power"
on July 10, 2024

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)