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.

Being Trustworthy

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

Over the past four years, I have been composing hymns once in a while. Since I don't have recording equipment here at home, I have been forced to seek the services of music producers who live within commutable distance. And you know what? All the producers I have dealt with seem to be cut from the same cloth: they are untrustworthy when it comes to keeping their word.

In May 2019, for instance, I went to record a hymn with a producer named Jason who I had been connected with by a famous musician here in Kenya. Though we had a few hitches while coming up with the right instrumental accompaniment for my hymn, we recorded my hymn successfully. And once we were done, Jason released me with a promise to send me an audio copy of the hymn the following day.

Come the following day, morning turned into afternoon and afternoon into evening without Jason sending me a copy of my hymn. I kept contacting him and when I finally reached him via phone, he informed me there was a power outage in his studio. Even though I suspected he was coming up with flimsy excuses for not fulfilling his promise, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and asked him to send me the hymn once power was back. He did send me the hymn, but after keeping me waiting for more than a day.

Then last year, I went to produce another hymn with a producer called Isaiah. I had gotten to know Isaiah through the alumni network of Starehe Boys' Centre, the institution where I had my high school as well as college education. Isaiah happens to be an alumnus of Starehe who attended the school a decade before I did. The day I met him, he regaled me with a few stories about Starehe as we walked to his studio which was in his house.

When we reached his studio, I was struck by how everything in it looked old and worn-out. There was only one loudspeaker whose cover was missing. The microphone was small and had issues. And the keys of the studio's electric piano keyboard were held together by sellotape. Because of the backwardness of the studio, we recorded my hymn in a style that I didn't think was world-class. And once we were done recording, Isaiah released me with a promise to send me an audio copy of the hymn later on in the evening of that day.

But alas! When evening reached, Isaiah began coming up with one alibi after another as to why he couldn't send me the hymn we had recorded. First, he told me his wife, who had the smartphone he used to access the internet, had traveled. Then, he informed me the wife had been held up in a burial arrangement ceremony. The evening ended without him sending me the hymn. He sent it to me two or three days later.

And then early last week, I went to produce yet another hymn with a producer named Sylvester. But the dude didn't turn up, an experience I narrated in my previous story on this blog. Irritated by Sylvester, I decided to seek the services of another music producer called Lenny. Let me spare you the details of how I got to know Lenny.

When I contacted Lenny last week, we agreed to meet at his studio on Friday. So when Friday reached, I woke up earlier than usual and traveled to Lenny's studio. I was feeling rather cheerful and clear-headed as I commuted to Lenny's studio. And when I finally arrived, I was impressed by the quality of machines in Lenny's studio and its ambience. The white walls of the studio combined with its fluorescent lighting to give it a heavenly look.

We recorded my hymn in an hour or two. And once we were done, Lenny released me with a promise to send me an audio copy of my hymn by noon the following day. But alas! The fellow didn't keep his promise. What's worse, he ignored most of my calls on Saturday. When he eventually picked one of my calls on Saturday evening, he apprised me that he had other clients he was dealing with. While asking me to exercise patience, he promised to send me my hymn by Monday or Tuesday.

It's now Tuesday afternoon as I pen this story and I am yet to receive an audio copy of the hymn I recorded with Lenny. What an untrustworthy fellow he is! I feel like I have been taken for a ride again.

Drawing from my experiences with those music producers I have told you about, it has dawned on me that trustworthy people are a rare jewel. They are as hard to find as gold. I have therefore resolved to be one of those few trustworthy folks by always keeping my word. And I will from now on rather say "no" than agree to something I can't do.

My dear reader, I exhort you to also be trustworthy. Either keep your word or say "no". And when it comes to keeping your word, I urge you to under-promise and over-deliver. If, for instance, a friend requests you to scan an old photo and email it to him, promise to do so in two days time and then do it the following day. Be trustworthy. It's that simple.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on being trustworthy, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about two years ago on "A Kiss of Adventure". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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The Virtue of Punctuality

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

Sometime in 2018 as I was ransacking our home library, I came across a letter my brother Paddy wrote in 2004 when he was a student in the institute division of Starehe Boys' Centre. He was requesting the Starehe administration to be granted an opportunity to go for a gap-year to one of the foreign schools that Starehe was associated with. And he mentioned in the letter the virtues he had learnt at Starehe. One of the virtues was punctuality.

I also attended Starehe Boys' Centre for my high school as well as college education. And while I can't exactly tell whether it was in that school that I learnt the importance of being on time, I do know punctuality is now one of the traits that I admire in people besides honesty, kindness, tolerance and a sense of humor. There is nothing that annoys me these days so much as to be kept waiting by someone with whom I have agreed to meet.

One morning in 2019, for instance, I travelled to one of the outskirts of Nairobi to produce a hymn with a music producer named Jason. Having agreed with Jason that we meet at his studio at 10.00am, I made an effort of leaving home early so that I could honour our agreed time of meeting. But alas! That fellow Jason wasn't in his studio when I arrived there on time.

I kept calling Jason to ask him where he was. And every time he received my call, he would promise to be in the studio in a short while. When it clocked 2.00p.m. and he still hadn't turned up, I began to run out of patience. I contemplated heading back home and demanding from Jason the money I had paid him as a down-payment for my hymn production.

On second thought, I decided to just wait for Jason. He did finally come to the studio at around 4.00p.m. - that's more than five hours after I had arrived. Even though I came to admire Jason's expertise in producing songs and the quality of machines in his studio whose software resembled the cockpit of a commercial jetliner, I didn't like the way he had kept me waiting for more than five hours.

Then last Monday, I commuted to Nairobi to produce another hymn I had composed. This time, I had planned to record the hymn in the studio of a guy named Sylvester who charges me much less cheaply than Jason. I had also come to like Sylvester because he can be at once kind and humorous. But last Monday, I saw an ugly side of him that I hadn't seen before. And that's a total disregard for other people's time.

Well, Sylvester and I had agreed to meet at his studio at 11.00am last Monday. Since I value punctuality, I arrived more than thirty minutes early at the building that houses Sylvester's studio, hoping against hope that Sylvester was in the building whose gates are always under lock and key. But when I called him, he didn't pick my calls. Since I couldn't enter into the building without permission from a tenant, I decided to hang around.

The sky was endlessly blue and the sun relentlessly hot. So I went to a shadowed spot next to the building, sat down and took out my Bible to read while I waited for Sylvester. I re-read the books of Judges, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Job. Okay, not the whole of those books but the verses I had highlighted in my previous readings.

And wow! I ended up enjoying re-reading those verses. So much did I enjoy them that my spirits started to rise. I especially remember learning from the book of Job that we should submit to God, accept His instructions and lay up His words in our hearts if we want to prosper and have peace. And from another book I have forgotten, I gleaned that it's unwise to rejoice at our enemies' misfortunes.

While re-reading those inspiring verses in the Bible, I kept pausing to call Sylvester. But the dude wasn't receiving my calls. And when he finally phoned me at noon, he informed me that he was held up somewhere and then promised to call me in 15-minutes time. Guess what! The dude didn't phone me again. Worst of all, he didn't pick my calls. After phoning him more than 10 times, I eventually gave up and decided to head back home.

I went back home feeling burnt-out and let down by Sylvester. My trust and respect for him was greatly diminished after that Monday. And if it hadn't been for the moments I had enjoyed re-reading my Bible, I would have considered my Monday wasted. Oh, how it annoys me to be kept waiting by someone I have agreed to meet with!

My dear reader, I beseech you to cultivate the virtue of punctuality. Show respect for other people's time by turning up for appointments on time. And if you are going to be late for an appointment, have the courtesy of calling the person you're meeting with to inform him you'll be late. Punctuality may not be mentioned in the Bible but it sure is a great virtue; as great as faith, hope and love.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the virtue of punctuality, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on how I was deeply offended. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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