Getting Out of Comfort Zone
A True Story
on Sep 9, 2023
Ever since I started reading motivational quotes and books, I have been coming across the advice that we must get out of our comfort zone if we are to accomplish our dreams. At first, I didn't pay much attention to that advice and probably thought it wasn't applicable to my life. But I now find it pertinent to my goal of becoming an internationally acclaimed blogger.
Believe me, there are times I don't feel like writing a story for this blog. At other times, I feel too bored to play my piano keyboard which I use to practise the hymns I have been sharing in the videos' section of this blog.
These days when I feel that inertia not to write and to stay away from my piano keyboard, I sometimes remind myself of what the great American boxer Muhammed Ali once said:
I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'That quote motivates me to get out of my comfort zone. It inspires me to sit down to write my blog stories and to play the piano on those afternoons when all I feel like doing is doze on my desk.
Besides the inertia of not wanting to write stories and play the piano, my other comfort zone is the tendency to stay at home. I used to get challenged when I had to travel to Nairobi to produce the hymns I have been posting on this blog.
On most days when I forced myself to commute to Nairobi, I would come back home feeling dog-tired and burnt-out. The trips in matatus, the noise in the city and the occasional arguments between matatu touts and their passengers dulled my senses.
Yes, even the trips in matatus dulled my senses. I would sometimes doze in matatus on the way to and from the music studio instead of reading the books I had carried along with me.
One afternoon in 2021 for instance, I boarded a matatu and sat behind a bubbly lass who was engaging a woman who looked like her mother in a conversation. The lass appeared full of life as she giggled and teased the woman on that sultry afternoon. And here was me feeling groggy as if I had slept for days.
Then on another afternoon in 2021, I again found myself in a matatu with three high school girls seated in front of me. The girls, who were travelling home for holidays, were chatty and cheerful. One of them was even dancing to the music that was playing on the matatu radio. The cheerfulness of the girls was a sharp contrast to the gloomy mood I was in that afternoon.
Challenging though my trips to Nairobi have been, at least they have jolted me out of my comfort zone. With time, I have come to relish them, especially the times I get to buy second-hand books on the streets of Nairobi.
This year in particular, the quality of my trips to Nairobi has improved. I have enjoyed observing people and places along the way, reading my Bible in matatus while other passengers are engrossed in their smartphones and meditating on the knowledge I have gained such as Newton's Laws of Motion.
Last Tuesday when I traveled to Nairobi to produce my latest hymn, I felt bright and breezy throughout the trip. The only downside was the way part of the sole of my right shoe came out while I was walking from the music studio to a certain bus stop.
When the sole came out, I looked for a cobbler on the road I was walking on. And when I didn't find one, I prayed that I would reach home without the remaining sole of my right shoe also coming out. God answered my prayer because I arrived home in high spirits and with the remaining sole of my right shoe still intact.
As I look back on the events of last Tuesday, I am gratified to note that the trips to Nairobi that used to leave me feeling dog-tired and burnt-out are now a source of joy and exhilaration. I have really matured. Talk of me getting out of my comfort zone!
NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update three days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn titled "Fill Your Hearts With Joy". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the hymn.
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A Disciplined Lifestyle
A True Story
on Sep 4, 2023
Before I matriculated at JKUAT in May 2007 to pursue an engineering degree, I went looking for piano-teaching jobs I could be doing over the weekends while at JKUAT in an attempt to imitate my immediate elder brother Paddy who juggled medical studies and work. As luck would have it, I landed two such jobs in a timely manner.
But alas! I gave up doing the jobs after my first semester at JKUAT. My lack of good social skills, coupled with the demanding nature of my engineering studies, are what led me to quit the jobs.
Perhaps due to the not-so-good experiences I had while teaching piano during my first semester at JKUAT, I didn't bother to look for work when we closed for a long holiday in December 2007. I just stayed at home over that four-month holiday.
Unenterprising though I was, I had some measure of discipline back then. I did a lot of reading and a bit of some farming during that long holiday. Then over the weekends, I commuted to All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi where I enjoyed singing and fellowshipping with the cathedral's 9.30am English service choir.
It's not until I reported back to JKUAT in May 2008 for my second year that I started becoming undisciplined. I would skip classes, doze till as late as 12pm and withdraw from social activities, a behavior that compelled one psychiatrist to admit me to hospital.
After I was discharged from the hospital, I completely lost my bearings. I would do things without thinking of the consequences. And I would do what others instructed me to do as if I didn't have a brain of my own to think with.
What was even worse was the intense guilt I succumbed to at times. The guilt would make me feel as if I had committed the worst sins in life. It was such an intense guilt.
But slowly by slowly, I found my bearings. I engaged in activities that made me discover I had talents in music, writing, web-design, public-speaking and computer-programming. Engaging in those talents brought me immense joy and satisfaction.
Even though I came to enjoy exploring my talents, I must admit that I have found it hard to shed the load of indiscipline I picked up at JKUAT in 2008. There have been mornings I have overstayed in bed. And for me, overstaying in bed is getting up after the Sun has risen.
With time, I came to find out that much of the guilt I used to feel was due to my lack of discipline. It took me a long time just to figure that out.
Having discovered the source of my guilt, I have endeavored to lead a disciplined lifestyle. I have come up with a plan of how I spend my days as Talane Miedaner advises in her stirring book, Coach Yourself to a New Career.
My typical day begins by waking up at 5.30am. After making my bed and praying, I settle down to read the previous day's newspaper. Then I engage in my talents for the rest of the day, with breaks to eat, bathe, wash my clothes and clean my room. And then at 5.00pm in the evening, I go jogging and walking to my hometown of Kiserian, after which I check my email and social media accounts till 9.00pm when I retire to bed.
That routine works for me. And it took me a long time to arrive at that routine. But I am glad it has brought me peace of mind at last. Whoever said "only the disciplined are free" was on point.
Because I believe there is no one-size-fits-all formula for success, maybe my routine might not work for you since you could be having different abilities, circumstances and opportunities. All of us are wired differently.
I therefore urge you, my beloved reader, not to make the mistake I did of imitating my immediate elder brother Paddy when I was matriculating at JKUAT in May 2007. Just come up with a disciplined lifestyle that feels natural to you. There is freedom in discipline!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed reading the above story on having a disciplined lifestyle, you might also enjoy another one on "Salvation is Free Folks!". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.