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.

Controlling Enthusiasm

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

If you are not familiar with my past, let me inform you that I used to suffer from bipolar disorder, a psychosomatic illness which made me experience bouts of excitement. During those bouts of excitement, I would talk a lot, what is known as verbal diarrhea. And if I didn't have someone to converse with, I would send messages to my friends.

It all began in 2007 when I was in my final months at Starehe Institute where I was pursuing a diploma in Information Technology. One night that year, I felt euphoric after delivering a speech to Starehe students during evening assembly. In my euphoria, I stood on the staircase of a certain building where I babbled to myself for almost 30 minutes.

Given how euphoric I sometimes felt in those final months of my time at Starehe Institute, I wonder how I would have reacted had I been accepted at MIT, the world's premier university in science, technology, engineering and math. I would definitely have become so excited that I could have been hit by a moving car as I celebrated my success.

In May 2007 when I matriculated at a local university called JKUAT to pursue a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering, I continued experiencing bouts of excitement. Fuelled by the excitement, I would go walking in all the highways and byways of the university without caring how security guards would respond to my behavior.

And then when I enrolled at the University of Nairobi (UoN) in September 2010 to study a less demanding degree than the esoteric engineering course that made me drop out of JKUAT, I had bursts of excitement that were similar to those I used to have at JKUAT. On some nights, my joy would become too much to an extent that I would go for an entire night without sleeping a wink.

I will never forget the evening in early 2011 when, in the heat of excitement, I went jabbering to a boot-faced man hired to look after bags left by students entering the UoN library. Seeming annoyed by my talk, the man bluntly instructed me to just ask for my bag and not bother him with useless chatter.

Even after I dropped out of UoN, I kept having those moments of excitement during which I would be unable to concentrate on one task. My inability to focus on a single task made me wonder how Bill Clinton, my hero, used to sit down and read a book during his years in the White House. Had it been me in the White House, I would have felt so elated that I would have gone walking and talking to people in my neighbourhood.

With time, I came to realize that my bouts of excitement weren't taking me anywhere. I wasn't being productive by talking and walking around aimlessly. Even Mr. John Mwaura, one of my high school teachers with whom I shared my university experiences via email, remarked to me that my behavior was abnormal when we met on one Saturday in 2012.

Having realized that my bipolar disorder was detrimental to my progress (it made me drop out of JKUAT and UoN), I have over the past two years been striving to control my enthusiasm through willpower. I have aspired to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances. Or to borrow the words of one of my favorite hymns, I have tried to be "controlled and cleanly night and day."

These days when I feel full of enthusiasm, I strive to channel my energy in doing something constructive instead of talking and walking around aimlessly. Some of the construcitve tasks I do include reading, meditating, writing, playing the piano, singing and composing hymns.

I am praying that the first time I will accomplish my dream of travelling overseas, I will remain cool, calm and collected. Because there are negative people in overseas countries, I don't want to incur their wrath by jabbering to them in the heat of my excitement for having flown abroad.

My beloved reader, I exhort you to also be controlling your enthusiasm, especially when something wonderful happens to you. Meet with triumph and disaster with equal calm, poise, peace and grace. And always remember that we all die in the end, so avoid undue elation in prosperity and undue depression in adversity. That's all I am saying.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the story above on controlling enthusiasm, you might also enjoy another one on "Practising Self-control" that I wrote two years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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How I'll Raise My Children

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

Ever since biblical times, some marriages have been rocked by infertility and childlessness. Among the biblical heroes who struggled with barrenness were Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth. And their inability to conceive a child distressed them a great deal. Hannah had to go to the Lord's temple where she repeatedly pleaded with God to grant her a child.

In modern times, among those who have had trouble getting a child are former U.S. First Ladies Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton. After trying several times to have a child to no success, George W. Bush and his wife Laura were preparing for adoption before they happily discovered that Laura was pregnant with twins.

Barack and Michelle Obama also had difficulty conceiving a child. Michelle had a miscarriage. And when she was unable to get expectant again, she resorted to IVF (in vitro fertilization) through which she became pregnant and gave birth to two beautiful daughters.

As for Hillary Clinton, she too had trouble getting pregnant - a setback that made her visit fertility clinics together with her husband Bill Clinton. When she finally became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, Hillary must have been elated, for she described that as one of the greatest miracles in her life. And I surmise it was infertility that made Bill and Hillary Clinton not have another child because I don't think any well-meaning couple would deny their first-born child a brother or a sister.

From the experiences of those who have struggled to have a child, we can conclude that the Bible is right when it says in Psalm 127:3 that "children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him". So if you are a young woman and feeling broody, let me tell you that carrying a baby in your womb is not a right; it's a privilege.

Having realized that children are indeed a gift from God, I have resolved that should I ever get married and have children, I will treat the birth of each of my children as a miracle worth relishing. And I will go out of my way to spare them from the heartaches I've gone through. One of the heartaches is mental confusion.

During my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre, I was often accused of being confused - something I have written about many times on this blog. Back in my Starehe years, I didn't understand why my schoolmates termed me as confused since I was neither conscious of the confusion they saw in me nor did I understand its root cause.

I found it sickening to be described as a confused lad. And unfair too. When other schoolmates forgot to do something, others would take it as part of being human. But if I forgot to do something, they would attribute it to my confusion.

What I find even more puzzling is that I had a better memory than most of those schoolmates who were clear-headed, was more organized than some of them and out-performed quite a number of them in exams. It really was puzzling.

As I have already said, I didn't understand the cause of the confusion that my Starehe schoolmates saw in me. With time, I have realized it was caused by the poverty-stricken environment I was brought up in and the constant criticism I was subjected to. The intensive reading I did in primary school also played a part in making me confused.

So as to spare my future children from a similar confusion, I will bring them up in a heavenly home with well-lit bedrooms, a space-age kitchen and a well-manicured compound where they can play. To borrow the words of one of my Facebook friends, I don't want my children to claim they come from.a humble background. That must end with me.

I will also smooth the way for my children by buying them plenty of books to read. Because not all books are well-written, I will plow through all the books I buy and hand over to them only those I think will interest their minds. And I will set a good example by inviting them to my library to see me read, the way President John F. Kennedy used to have his son in the Oval Office as he worked.

Perhaps most importantly, I will teach my children early what I learnt late. And some of the things I learnt late is the importance of having a healthy self-esteem and excellent social skills. I will cultivate in them a positive self-image by having meals together, during which we will swap stories and share ideas, and by imploring them to play musical instruments, especially the piano.

Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to say that I'll make life too easy for my children. Even though I'll try to spare them from the heartaches I've gone through, I'll make them do chores at home such as cleaning the house and making their beds. After they turn 18, I'll encourage them to get a part-time job. And I'll have them earn and pay part of their university education. That's all I am saying.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on how I'll raise my children, you might also enjoy another one on "Visualizing Success" that I wrote more than four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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