A True Story
on May 27, 2023
Several years ago when I was plump, my brother Bob Njinju was fond of commenting on my weight. He once remarked during a family meeting in 2016 that I probably weighed over 100 kilograms. During another family meeting later on in 2016, he bluntly told me that I was gaining more weight.
Since I have always desired to be lean and athletic, I didn't like the comments that Bob was making about my weight. I thought of informing him the next time he remarked about my plumpness that I would lose weight once I found a fulfilling job. As it happened, I never got the opportunity to inform him so.
Looking back, I am glad I never informed Bob that I would lose weight once I found a fulfilling job. Why? Because I came to realize that I first had to change on the inside before my outside circumstances could change. I also realized that I had here at home plenty of opportunities for personal development. Before I tell you about those opportunities, allow me to say something brief about my past.
All my life, I have never worried about where my next meal will come from or who will pay my bills. Somehow, my family has always met my needs. I have therefore been spared from the stress that some people go through as they struggle to make ends meet.
Perhaps due to the way my family has always met my needs, I never acquired the spirit of hard work that I have seen in the people who have to juggle multiple jobs in order to feed their families. Not surprisingly, I morphed into a lazy and gluttonous young man when I was at the university in JKUAT in 2008. And that's how I gained excess weight.
After dropping out of JKUAT, I would try again and again to re-mould myself into an early-rising and hard-working young man. But guess what! My efforts would come to a dead end as I would give up on my resolutions to be diligent in the face of adversity or mood change.
The only virtue that I grew up with and which has been my saving grace is the habit of reading avidly. I used to study a lot when I was in primary and secondary school. Even during my university days, I often had my nose buried in a book in my free time.
Having grown up as an avid reader, I have found it easy to carry on with reading in my adult life. These days, I can devour two books in a week, something many people find it hard to do. Maybe in the same way I have struggled to be a hard-worker, so do many people struggle to be avid readers.
And you know what? I have access to plenty of books, magazines and newspapers that my father used to buy for us when my brothers and I were growing up. In addition to that, I have a laptop, a piano keyboard and an internet connection which I can use to hone my talents in music and writing.
One thing I have learnt in life is to never compare my life to that of others, for we are all facing different circumstances and opportunities. So instead of laboring at someone else's business, I have found it wise to use my time to hone my talents in music and writing while my parents are still meeting my needs.
But I am alive to the fact that my parents will not always be there to meet my needs. They will eventually get sick and die (ouch!). That's why I have resolved to work really hard at becoming a great writer and musician before it's too late.
For the past three years, I have been engaged in reading those books, magazines and newspapers that I have access to here at home. As a result of that reading, my life has become more exciting. What's more, I have lost the excess weight that my brother Bob used to tease me about.
It was foolish of me to think of informing Bob that I would lose weight once I found a fulfilling job. I am saying it was foolish since I had access to plenty of reading materials that could occupy my time. And my beloved reader, those reading materials are the opportunities for personal development I am talking about.
By the way, when I was a big fan of the WWF wrestling program back in the '90s, I noted the program used to warn its audience not to try at home what they watched on the telly. Similarly, I warn you not to try what I am doing in your home if you have a family to feed and bills to pay. Just get a job and don't forget to seize the unique opportunities that come your way. Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on seizing opportunities, you might also enjoy another one on "Blooming Where Planted" which I wrote more than six years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Why We Should Be Humble
A True Story
on May 22, 2023
Much has been said about the virtue of humility and the vice of pride. You've definitely heard of the biblical verse that says, "Before his downfall a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honor." What you may not have heard is that humility is the only virtue Satan can't imitate.
As for me, I have always preferred being humble. It's just like me to be meek. One of the reasons that motivates me to remain humble these days is the uncertainty of the future. The fact that I don't know what may happen next week keeps me from becoming conceited. It also makes me dependent on God.
This is how I reason it out: I may boast today that I am healthy and full of life, only to be involved the following day in a road accident that leaves me physically disabled. Or I may be proud of owning a nifty Samsung Galaxy smartphone, only for it to fall in water while preparing a meal in the kitchen.
Another reason that motivates me to remain humble is the vast amount of knowledge I don't yet understand: in Medicine, Calculus, Economics, Accounting, Aeronautical Engineering, just to mention but a few fields. I also don't know how to speak French, Arabic, Chinese and many other languages. Neither do I possess skills in masonry, carpentry and tailoring. Lacking such knowledge and skills keeps me from boasting about what I know.
I wish everybody could follow my example and embrace humility. But unfortunately, I have seen so many proud people. For example when I was at JKUAT and at the University of Nairobi, two local institutions of higher learning that I attended but didn't graduate from, I encountered lecturers who were proud and arrogant. They acted as though they knew everything there was to know.
At JKUAT, one Chemistry lecturer was so proud of his achievements that he asked us to google his name on the internet so that we could get a glimpse of what he had accomplished. He also talked pejoratively of Indians and verbally attacked a male student who had plaited his hair.
Then at the University of Nairobi (UoN), we had this Political Science lecturer who trash-talked a private university in downtown Nairobi, saying it was no match for UoN. The lecturer was so arrogant that he once commanded a female student to get out of his lecture for committing a minor infraction. During another lecture, he furiously tore a student's textbook because it was photocopied.
Another UoN lecturer, who taught us Economics, also exhibited similar levels of pride and arrogance. He was fond of speaking so highly of Europeans and so lowly of Africans. And I will never forget the morning he castigated a fellow student for coughing in his class. When he tried to enlist my support in castigating the student, I refused to join in.
Far be it from me to judge those proud and arrogant lecturers but I wish they could realize that even though they possess a PhD in one or two fields, there is much they don't yet know. And not that I detest education but I think they should also realize there are college drop-outs who are richer, happier and more successful than some PhD holders. Such realization could humble them.
This world is full of proud and arrogant people for shizzle. And they seem to know everything and to be in control of the world. But the truth is, it's God who is in charge of the world. And He favors the humble. I just like how the wonderful hymn of faith "Tell Out My Soul" puts it this way in its third verse:
The uncertainty of the future, the much that I still don't know - these facts have made me resolve to remain humble should I attain my dream of becoming an internationally acclaimed blogger. Never will I boast of my success or parade my achievements on social media.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by;
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
The hungry fed, the humble lifted high.
My beloved reader, I exhort you to also abhor pride and embrace humility. As author H. Jackson Brown Jr. quipped, "Be humble. A lot was accomplished before you were born." And always keep in mind that it is pride that caused Satan to fall from heaven, according to the Bible. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on why we should remain humble, you might also enjoy another one on "Developing Hope & Optimism" which I wrote about three years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.