Positive Quote For Today

"The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself."— C. JoyBell C.

Remembering the Good

With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from a website called Quotes Gram. All rights reserved worldwide.

It has dawned on me that most of us tend to remember the bad things that have happened to us. We dwell on our past mistakes, on the foolish deeds we did and on the wrongs that others did to us. Those kinds of memories leave in their wake feelings of guilt and hate in our souls, thus depriving us of the joy we need to enjoy the present.

Of late, I have been thinking that perhaps we'd all be happier if we focused on the good things that happened to us in the past instead of dwelling on the bad. I don't know about you but for me, I have had quite a number of good breaks and great moments that are worth relishing. Allow me to tell you about four of such good breaks and the great moments they engendered.

The first good break I'll tell you about happened in the year 2000: that's when I was transferred to a private primary school called Kunoni Educational Centre. I consider being transferred to Kunoni as a good break because it gave me the opportunity to learn alongside bright pupils from well-off families and to be tutored by a team of dedicated teachers who made a lasting difference to my intellectual prowess.

During my days at Kunoni, I worked fanatically hard in my studies. I used to rise as early as 5.00am and head to school where I'd do some reading before other pupils reported to school. And in the evenings when I got back home, I'd do my homework before retiring to bed. Then over the weekends, I'd do a lot of revision. Oh, how I miss those golden bygone days!

My hard-work paid off because I excelled in the 2001 KCPE exams and got into Starehe Boys' Centre - the then top-ranked high school in Kenya. Getting into Starehe was another good break; it boosted my confidence and self-esteem. I recall with relish how proud I felt to be a Starehian in my first months in the school.

At Starehe, I schooled with brilliant students from all corners of our republic. I had to read a lot so as to beat those brilliant students in academics. As a result of my efforts, I rose from the bottom rung of my class to score an 'A' in the national secondary exams known as KCSE. Believe me, scoring an 'A' in those exams was no mean achievement.

Besides excelling in academics, the other noteworthy achievements I had in my high school years at Starehe were learning how to play volleyball, giving speeches during evening assemblies and accompanying the whole school on the piano during major functions. I must have been a gifted pianist because in 2004, I emerged as the third best student in the advanced category of the Kenya Music Festival piano-playing competition.

After I finished high school in November 2005, I joined Starehe Institute to pursue a diploma in Information Technology. And joining Starehe Institute was the next good break that happened to me, for it was in that institute that I acquired the web-design and computer-programming skills that have wonderfully enriched my life. The institute also gave me opportunities to develop my public-speaking and piano-playing skills. It was during my time there that I sat for my Grade 4 & 5 piano exams.

Perhaps most important, it was during my time in Starehe Institute that I developed some of my life philosophies. One of the philosophies is that true learning should be intellectually and emotionally arousing. I arrived at that philosophy after realizing most of us drill facts into our minds without questioning them, and we call that learning. But true learning, as I have said, should be intellectually and emotionally arousing. I still believe in that philosophy.

After I left Starehe Institute in April 2007, I joined the 9.30am English service choir of All Saints' Cathedral church in Nairobi. Joining that choir was the next good break that happened to me. Not only did I form lasting friendships in the choir, I also developed a passion for hymn-singing. And that passion deepened my faith in God and in the Bible as His inerrant Word.

There you have them: that is, the good breaks I have had in my life so far. As I reflected on those good breaks, I couldn't help perceive them as God directing my steps. And I have this firm belief that the same God who saw me through to Kunoni, to Starehe and to All Saints' Cathedral is still directing my steps - a belief that is helping me face the future with confidence.

My dear reader, I challenge you to also get into the habit of remembering the good times in your past. Recall all the great things that God has done for you. As the American pastor Victoria Osteen recently said on Twitter, remembering the good will strengthen your faith in God and get you through the tough times. Adieu!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on remembering the good, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about five years ago on "Blooming Where Planted". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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What I Learnt From Dabbling in Politics

With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from Azquotes.com. All rights reserved worldwide.

MkSomeone once described politics as a show business for ugly people. Even though I consider myself a pretty handsome young man, I had always had an interest in politics since my days at Starehe Institute in 2006. When I was applying to Stanford University in 2006 for undergraduate admission, I mentioned in my application that I wanted to be the President of my country some day.

I can't exactly tell what attracted me to politics. Maybe it's due to the attention politicians receive as well as the opportunities of traveling and public-speaking they have. But I do know my role models in politics were Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; I would listen to their speeches again and again whenever I was in high spirits, and then visualize myself speaking as eloquently as they did. They really did inspire me.

That interest in politics is what led me to matriculate at the University of Nairobi in September 2010 to pursue a degree in Political Science. I enjoyed studying the degree course; I especially remember one Political Science professor telling us that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". Sadly, I didn't finish the degree course due to financial constraints.

My inability to finish the degree course didn't deter me from getting into politics. In mid-2011, I announced on Facebook that I would be running for an MP seat in the forthcoming Kenya's General Elections. A few months later, I decided to run for a senatorial seat - a decision that earned me criticism from some friends who thought I was aiming too high since a senatorial seat covers a much bigger area than that of MP.

Realizing that I didn't have the ability and financial resources to run for a senatorial seat, I again changed my political goals sometime in 2012 and decided to gun for a county representative seat, the lowest elective post under the then new constitution in Kenya. Gosh, I felt relieved when I lowered my political ambition to run for a county representative seat. It was like a big load had been taken off my back. And I thought campaigning for the seat would be an easy task for me; as easy as a monkey climbing an iroko tree.

Come electioneering period in 2013, I began facing one hurdle after another. First, I was required to collect 500 signatures from voters in my home-area to be registered as an independent candidate. And wa! Getting those 500 signatures turned out to be a Herculean task. I found it very taxing to go around asking for those signatures, and I recall thinking that once I was done with it, I would have an easy time campaigning.

Eventually after I got bored of walking around asking for signatures, I decided to fake the more than 470 signatures that remained. Luckily for me, the election official to whom I handed over the signatures didn't bother to find out if they were real. She approved all my registration materials and sooner than later, I was registered as a political candidate and given the green light to campaign for the county representative seat of my home-area.

Guess what! Campaigning for the county representative seat turned out to be even harder than collecting 500 signatures. I just found myself lacking the drive to go out there to talk to people the way Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had done in their political careers. Not even opening a Facebook group and posting updates on my campaigns could psyche me up.

Imagine I lacked the drive to campaign so much that I stayed at home on most of the electioneering days. And I will never forget the morning I had to attend a meeting of all political aspirants in my county. That morning, I struggled to get out of bed. Only after much emotional effort did I avail myself for the meeting.

Because I did very little campaigning, I didn't go to vote when election day dawned. I also didn't bother to find out how many votes I garnered in the election. But I am sure I did get at least a dozen or so votes because a few people, including my Mum and Dad, were kind enough to inform me that they had voted for me.

All in all, my efforts to run for a political seat were not in vain because I gleaned a number of insights in the process. I would have loved to pass along those insights to you but let me not do so. Instead, let me just honestly conclude that running for a county representative seat taught me more than I learnt in all my Political Science classes at the University of Nairobi.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the experiences I had in politics, you might also enjoy another one I wrote more than two years ago on "Why I Gave Up Politics". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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