He Can Handle It

This song by Bebe and Cece Winans is one of my favorite songs. I like the playfulness in the tune that accentuates the carefree stance justified by an assurance that God is able to handle all that you can face. Can you think of anything in your life that God can’t handle? I sure can’t.

Enjoy

See you on Monday. Happy Labour Day everyone.

Tuendelee kuongea

He Can Handle It

[BeBe]
I’m talking about X, Y, Z (He can handle it)
[CeCe]
I’m speaking about G-O-D, he can (He can handle it)
[BeBe]
I realize where my help comes from, so my spirit won’t succumb
[CeCe]
If he promised, he will do it.
Just believe, Yea Yea Yea Yea
[BeBe]
Hey, heartache divorces
[CeCe]
Small or atrocious (He can handle it)
[BeBe]
Are you sure (Yes I’m sure)
(He can handle it, handle it)
[CeCe]
Nervous breakdowns,
Guns on the school grounds,
Now are you sure (Yes I’m sure)
(He can handle it, handle it)
Oh yes he can (Yea 4x)
[Bebe]
Handle it (Yea 4x)
[CeCe]
Handle it (Yea 4x)
[Bebe]
Handle it (Yea 4x)

[CeCe]
If you are looking for liberty (He can handle it)
[BeBe]
False written and philosophy (He can handle it)
[CeCe]
I’m talking about a love that’s pure
and a destination sure
[BeBe]
He’s the answer if you want it
He’s the cure
[CeCe]
Hey world hunger and oppression (He can handle it)
[BeBe]
Disease and infection (He can handle it)
[CeCe]
Are you sure (Yes I’m sure)
(He can handle it, handle it)
[BeBe]
Those mid life crisis (He can handle it)
[CeCe]
All other devices (He can handle it)
[BeBe]
Now are you sure (Yes I’m sure)
(He can handle it, handle it)
Oh yes he can (Yea 4x)
Yea – Yea – Yea – Yea

Who is in your hall of fame?


I have a big issue with the media. I am one of those ‘rebels’ who hate to have someone else decide what or who will dominate my thinking at any particular time. In my mind sometimes I feel like while I am sleeping, some committee is seated somewhere deciding and voting on “what Kenyans should preoccupy themselves with this week”. Have you noticed how powerful we have allowed these people to become? I refuse to have Maina Kageni and Mwalimu King’ang’i’s morning discussion, or who Ciku busts, or what Cess Mutungi is laughing about determine the conversation my wife and I will have on our way to or from work and no! the Ocampo Six are not more important to me than how my sons woke up this morning. Yet morning by morning, like a lamb to the slaughter, many people wake up and receive someone else’s agenda for their day. Don’t even get me started on the horoscope junkies. Ok just a bit, how do you know if the ‘Your Stars’ you are reading today is a re-run from 1978? Just asking…

The more I meet or get to know of ordinary people who end up doing extraordinary things, the unsung heroes, the not-so-newsworthy achievements, the more I realize that these are the majority. Those who will never make the headlines or even make it in mainstream media are the majority, the real movers and shakers of everyday life. Do you ever wake up having one of those ‘woiye’ moments? Do you feel like you are unable to accomplish much at times? Like you do not have what it takes to achieve much? Do you sometimes feel like there is something that holds you back? That one thing that if only you did not have to contend with then you would be set for life? Is it a physical disability? Well I believe we have all been there. The three people I will write about today have accomplished a lot more with far less than most of us have. When I think of them, I realize how my life is not, or should not be, determined by the challenges I face daily but by the way I respond to those challenges. I will tell you of these heroes of mine in order of how long I have known (of) them and also how closely I know them. The first two I have never met.

Roger Ebert

Roger Joseph Ebert born in 1942 is an American film critic and screenwriter and was the first ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. He is known for his film review column and for a he co-hosted for a combined 23 years. After a series of surgeries, in mid-2006, he suffered post-surgical complications related to thyroid cancer causing him to lose his lower jaw and his ability to speak. This meant that this famous movie critic would rarely be seen and never heard, but his words have never stopped.

But against all odds, some developments took place in early 2010. After several years of speaking with a computer-generated voice that Ebert activated by a keyboard, the writer stumbled across the work of CereProc, a Scottish company that analyzes prior recordings of a person’s voice to recreate a computer generated sound that is extremely similar to how a person actually speaks. For Ebert, there was no shortage of archived sound to draw from and on March 2, 2010, after months of work, he debuted his old voice on Oprah.

He wrote, “We will go full-tilt New Media: Television, net streaming, cell phone apps, Facebook, Twitter, iPad, the whole enchilada.” “The disintegration of the old model creates an opening for us. I’m more excited than I would be if we were trying to do the same old same old. I’ve grown up with the Internet. I came aboard back when MCI Mail was the e-mail of choice. I had a forum on CompuServe when it ruled the web. My web site and blog at the Sun-Times site have changed the way I work, and even the way I think. When I lost my speech, I speeded up instead of slowing down.”

Watch Roger Ebert’s TED 2011 talk here.

Randy Pausch

I want to celebrate the life of Randy Pausch, an American professor of computer science and human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. At the age of 45 and at the height of his career, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and then a year later, he was given a terminal diagnosis of 3 to 6 months of good health left. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-deadliest cancer, killing 75 per cent of sufferers within a year. Only 4 per cent make it to their fifth year.

At this point, the previously unknown computer science expert delivered a remarkable lecture to students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
The talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures labeled “The Last Lecture” where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk”, with a topic such as “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?” Pausch, a 47-year-old father of three, didn’t have to imagine anything when he gave his own “last lecture” on 18 September.

He started his lecture by acknowledging that he was not in denial, that he was dying soon; but went ahead to do a few push-ups, claiming that he was in better shape than most of his audience. During the lecture, Pausch was upbeat and humorous, alternating between wisecracks, insights on computer science and engineering education, advice on building multi-disciplinary collaborations, working in groups and interacting with other people, offering inspirational life lessons, and performing push-ups on stage. The audience was oscillating between tears, laughter and applause in full acknowledgement of the reality of “a dying man does not lie, he has no reason to.” This hour-long speech went on to be heard by millions for it became a popular YouTube video and led to other media appearances. It has since changed lives, touched American politics, and it spawned a publishing phenomenon. Pausch talked about his students, friends and colleagues with great warmth and humour. Their tributes showed that the professor was much loved. While facing death, Randy’s focus was on the beauty of life.

After his death on July 25, 2008, Randy’s wife and widow Jai testified that their marriage was actually stronger in the end than it was at the beginning because one of the things they did during the cancer odyssey was to listen to one another, tried to hear each other’s points of view. Even though he was dying of cancer, they still worked on their marriage. Every day…..every day.” Randy was known to say of hope “ ‘in my family hope is just making sense of things.’”

Watch Randy’s Last Lecture here.

Reuben Kigame

Reuben is the only of these that I know personally. Reuben became blind at the age of three. We have been friends from about the year 2000. At the time I met Reuben, he was heading the Word of Truth Ministry and at some point I was privileged to chair the board of this amazing organisation. To this day, I have not forgotten the day I met Reuben. I went to his house in South C and he walked majestically down the stairs, with no assistance at all, shook my hand and immediately memorised my voice. He once told me that when he would move to a new house, he would ‘learn’ the house, count steps etc until he could walk around and find whatever he needed with no assistance. I have never seen Reuben use a cane. He would never engage in ‘pity-parties’ and is more likely to be caught up in a biblical/philosophical discussion for hours than to be sitting around feeling sorry for himself. In fact, some of the funniest comments I have had with Reuben have been about his condition. I remember once sitting with him, he received a text and said to me ‘Danzo, please read this text for me since as you know, I have a little problem with my sight!’. He also would occasionally say things like, ‘You cannot tempt me with visual pornography’ or ‘If you frown at me when I give a speech, I will not notice!’

I have told Reuben that I believe that he has been able to accomplish more than many of us, fully sighted, will ever dream of accomplishing in several lifetimes. He speaks at least six or seven languages, he has recorded close to 20 albums, plays the piano and other instruments and has reached, challenged and impacted thousands upon thousands of people in his ministries (Word of Truth, Fish FM Eldoret, Sifa Voices and more). When I spoke to Reuben last week, he had just been awarded the Presidential Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW) for his outstanding contribution to music in Kenya.

Yet for me, what I admire most about Reuben is his love for God and desire to be used by him as he is and in whichever phase of life the Lord takes him through. The way Reuben handled the death of his wife Mercy in 2006 challenged many and was proof of this. Spend any amount of time with Reuben and you will have no doubt in your mind that God exists and has a wonderful plan for your life.

Read more about Reuben’s extraordinary life on his website.

So there, three ordinary people, three extraordinary lives. Roger, Randy, Reuben (hmmm… interesting coincidence)

Who are your heroes?

Tuendelee kuongea

These Things are True of You

This song by The Promise Keepers Band is by far the most played in my list, by far. It is both a prayer and a glimpse into some of the attributes of God that we should all endeavour to have/show in our lives. I find it so powerful.

Enjoy

See you on Monday. Happy Easter everyone.

Tuendelee kuongea

These Things are True of You

Unshakable, immovable,
Faithful and true
Full of wisdom,
strength and beauty
These things are true of You

Fearless, courageous
Righteousness shines through in all You do
Yet You’re so humble
You laid down Your life
These things are true of You

(Chorus)
And as I turn my face to You
Oh Lord, I ask and pray
By the power of Your love and grace
Make these things true of me, too
Make these things true of me, too

Patient, compassionate
Love flows through You
You never give up on the hopeless ones
These things are true of You
Holy and blameless
You stand up for justice and truth
Yet You love mercy and forgiveness
These things are true of You

Repeat Chorus

The God of Kshs. 2,500?

Image: www.artistinchrist.com

Scenario 1

5:30am. Kawangware, Nairobi. John is woken from his blissful sleep by the loud, repeated hooting of matatus at the nearby terminus. “Why do they make so much noise?” he wonders. “People in the area need to go to work so whether you hoot or not, they will come to take the matatu to go to town”. As he gets out of bed he begins to remember the heavy burden he has in his mind as he went to sleep. Today is a “make or break” day for him. He feels that if he doesn’t focus on God and His goodness, things are going to go really badly today. He sips anxiously on his strungi (tea without milk) and dashes out of his one room house he likes to call maskan. After walking about fifty metres, he stops and rushes back to the house hoping that he remembered to lock it. “I’d better be sure that I locked it. I don’t want people stealing my stuff”. He confirms that he had locked it and resumes his walk to work. He almost laughs at himself when he thinks of how little there is to steal from such a house and the irony of being woken up daily by vehicles he cannot afford to take to go to work.

He tries to put on a brave face though he knows that if by the end of the day he does not raise the Kshs. 500 his landlord has been demanding from him, he will find another padlock on top of his. About halfway to work his cellphone rings, he looks at it and decides he will not answer it. It’s his dad. He knows he is calling about money. His younger brother is due to start school today and he has a fee balance of Kshs. 1,500 from the previous term. The school has agreed to have him start the new term and pay the fees in installments but on condition that he clears all previous outstanding balances. No, he can’t answer it, what will he tell his dad? And who knows, maybe there are even more problems at home that need more money. “No, I can’t answer it”. After it stops ringing, he can’t help thinking about the ringtone he has on his phone, Jemimah Thiong’o singing Akisema Atakubariki (when God says He will bless you). Irony. “Where is God lately?”, he thinks to himself, just last week they demolished the ‘workshop’ he was operating near Yaya Centre to pave way for road expansion, fuel prices are going through the roof and from what he has been hearing from home, there will be a miserable harvest due to poor rains this season. This means that his parents will depend on him more heavily for their upkeep. In his mind he knows that God does amazing things for people, yet for him today, all God needs to do to prove Himself is to ensure that by the end of this day, he has raised the Kshs. 2,500 he needs. Of course the extra Kshs. 500 is to enable him to survive until his business stabilizes soon.

Image: lookingoutsidemybrokenbox.blogspot.com

Scenario 2

Frank’s life has been transformed lately. He is surely moving on up. Some of the things he is able to do these days amaze him considering how his life had been since last December when he landed the job of his dreams at one of the fastest growing mobile communications companies in the region. He has bought a new car and now lives in one of those areas of Nairobi many call the leafy suburbs. His work has also entailed considerable travel throughout the region and that has come with all the trappings of his new-found socioeconomic status. It is only a matter of time now before he acquires his own house, a wife and even begin a family. He has to think this way as he has begun to see that now more than ever, he seems to have an amazing appeal to girls who had little or no time for him when he attended church. Some these days even call him when he fails to show up in church due to his work schedule, some have even taken it upon themselves to poke him repeatedly on Facebook when he seems to delay or even fail to put up his usually witty status updates.

But deep inside, Frank knows that though his life is far better than it was only a year ago, he is not handling the pace well. Yes he has a good salary and now so many of his issues are sorted, but all this has come with heavy responsibilities and loans that sometimes overwhelm. Banks managers that only last year would laugh at his attempts to borrow money now insist that he should not queue with the other ‘regular’ customers, but instead he should sit at their office sipping tea while waiting to be served. This pampering has made him let down his guard and borrowed more money than his payslip will justify. One of the managers has even hooked him up with informal money lenders whose terms are not as complicated as the banks but the money he borrows from them attracts between 10 and 15% compound interest per month and heavy penalties on defaulting. “It is not like I borrowed all this money just to waste it”, he tells himself in an attempt to justify his choices. And it was not unreasonable to borrow as much as he did. In one instance he had been involved in a little traffic issue that threatened to go out of hand. This lady he was driving behind suddenly braked and he rammed right into her car with his Nissan xTrail. Trying to explain that his phone had started ringing while he was driving and he could not reach it as it had fallen to his feet did not seem to be a reasonable story to give the traffic policeman who had seen the whole series of events in person. So he just agreed to fix her Toyota Vitz assuming that since the car was not so expensive, repairing it would not be a big deal. A few weeks later the lady sent him a demand letter through her lawyers for what he estimated was half the value of the car. The lawyers had attached his signed agreement to meet the entire cost of repair.

The other amount he had had to borrow urgently was for some of the Cisco Certification courses he had registered for. He had failed a couple of times due to his crazy work schedule. But this did not worry him too much as he knew that he would get a promotion shortly after passing the exams and get fully reimbursed by his employer. The problem is that now the shylocks were on his case and the amount had grown to Kshs. 250,000 in a couple of months and could easily spiral out of control. God, he thought, would have to come through for him in a mighty way really soon if he is to get out of this mess.

Image: www.funmunch.com

Scenario 3

Joseph’s car business has seen better times. A few years ago, Ngong’ Rd. was the ideal location to have a car yard. But of late, in typical Kenyan fashion, more and more people have decided to start the same business in the same location. Most potential customers these days only pass by to ask about his prices and do not seem to have any intention of purchasing. The new KRA requirement that vehicles be registered before leaving Mombasa has also had a major effect on such businesses especially the ones that have a lot of stock. “Kenyans buy registration numbers,” he explains. “A person will not buy a KBK… when now everyone wants to have a KBP…, it does not matter how I try to convince them that the KBK has not been used since it came to Nairobi, they sometimes will not believe you.”

But for Joseph, this is not even the problem. As with every business, one wrong decision can jeopardize years of hard work and a great investment. Joseph’s big mistake was to not pay as much attention to an inner voice when some two gentlemen who came and told him that they represented a major taxi cab business in Nairobi. They said that the firm had wanted to boost its fleet by more than 50 units and wanted to do so in phases in partnership with a car dealer. They said they would make him a very good deal if his price was right. They had wanted to buy 10 cars at a time. The first batch had gone amazingly well. They paid the money straight into his account. So had the second batch. For the third batch, they had paid half and promised to pay the other half within two months when they sort out their finances and they even offered to buy the cars at 10% higher than the agreed price. That was six months ago. The men seem to have vanished into thin air, lost without a trace.

Yes, the police have indicated that they have made great headway in their investigations, but until then, and nobody knows how long it will all take, if Joseph does not find at least Kshs. 2,500,000, things are going to get out of hand. He remembered how he almost broke down as he shared with his home fellowship group from his church this prayer item. That he has tried all else and that he is at the end of his tether. He is now firmly convinced that only God can get him out of this one.

Three different men, three different scenarios, One God.

These three men have needs that they feel are beyond themselves and are bringing them to God because they trust He is able to provide. John and Joseph would honestly be shocked at each other’s needs. To John and Frank, 2.5M is one heck of a lot of money. They probably cannot even picture God answering a prayer like Joseph’s. The same principles apply in all of life – we classify needs in categories; we know the category we can handle alone as individuals, we know the one we need a friend’s input and we also know the humongous ones where we need friends to come alongside us as we implore God.

God only seems to be only as big as we allow Him to be. We allow Him to be big or small depending on how we have perceived Him through our experiences of Him in our situations and adaptation in life. There are standards that we have set for Him and do not expect Him to exceed. If we were to be honest, there are many prayers we would be shocked if He answered. It was the same with the Apostles in Acts 12:15-17, the disciples could not believe that Peter had been released from jail even if they had spent many, many hours earnestly praying for the same. That is human nature that even “Zawadi 2929” beneficiaries last year would jump with a “I can’t believe it!!” answer upon being told that they had won. It kept surprising me that some of them had sent hundreds of texts but seemingly did not expect to win.

Yet God is NOT limited in any way. True fulfillment can only come as a result of relating to a limitless God Who longs for us to experience Him as such, so much so that He came to earth that may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). Therefore, the fewer limits we put on God, the better. To God, Kshs. 25, 2500, 250,000, 2.5M is all the same. If we perceived Him as such, blinding scales would fall from our eyes.

I want to put some disclaimers here. One, I am not equating success with money. Neither does a lot of money reflect a lot of blessings. The different limits that we could be putting on God could be in the area of wisdom, wellness, health, vision or even finances. Two, I believe God works according to His purposes for us. We cannot dictate how much He is to give us; we can only receive what we ask for if our requests are consistent with His will for us.

How big is God for you? Is God bigger than any of your circumstances? Or, when you are in trouble, do you feel God is in as much trouble as you are, sometimes even asking you for suggestions?

Tuendelee kuongea.

Wear Sunscreen

I found this on the net a couple of years ago and though it is hilarious, you can come out with several gems.

Enjoy

See you on Monday.

Tuendelee kuongea.

The lyrics…

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it

The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded.

But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future.
Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.
Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts.
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy.
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.

The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults.
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives.

Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t.

Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t.

Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either.

Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body.
Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it.

It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance – even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions., even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
“Brother and sister together we’ll make it through,
Someday a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know that you’re hurting but I’ve been waiting there for you
And I’ll be there just helping you out
Whenever I can”

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,
but with a precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths:
Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old.

And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you.

Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.
“brother and sister together we’ll make it through,
someday a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know that you’re hurting but I’ve been waiting there for you
and I’ll be there just helping you out
whenever I can
everybody’s free
everybody’s free
to feel good”

What drives you? (Part 2)


Image:
successfromthenest.com

It has been a very exciting week. Thanks for the many comments on last week’s post. Clearly many people were inspired or at least provoked into thinking what their passion is. I have also managed to meet and also hear some pretty passionate people. Passionate about what they do. I am finding myself joining a new virtual community of friends. I may never meet a lot of you, but there is no denying that through this blog, God will do mighty things in our lives. I was chatting with a Pastor this week and we were basically seeing how technology, the web and modernity have changed the scope of the church and widened it beyond just our geographical location. The whole model for church, fellowship, communion etc. is changing. We really are living in interesting times.

A lot of you attempted to guess what my third passion was after the first two. I had varied guesses from writing, serving God, from the comments and many others from Facebook and Twitter. Well, though you had good guesses, let me finally reveal it. My third passion is… teren teren…

Personal development but with a twist

So, there you have it. Personal development. But let me explain the twist. Remind me one day to post about the several ‘silly phases’ I have gone through in my life. They are many. We all may have such phases in our life when we feel we have been sidetracked from our mainstream life path, gone off on a tangent, only to realize this is not the path you would have wanted to take had you thought about it a bit more before. It is very important to me right now that at least one of you confirms that I am not alone in this. When in hindsight you think

“Hmmm… if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have gone this way. In fact, I will go back to where I was before and get back on track with my life”.

For me one of those silly phases was in 2006 and 2007 when I ventured into network marketing. Like I said, I will one day do a full post about that ‘silly phase’ among many others so this is not the main topic for today. But I mention this particular one because out of it, I learnt a lot about myself and my passion and interests. That is one thing I must say all those ‘silly phases’ seem to have in common. You come out of them wiser, having learnt many lessons, many of them the hard way, but still, having learnt.

A lot of network marketing companies have a very firm focus on personal development. Many of them paint a rosy picture of your association with them and it is not surprising to find network marketers who believe that this venture is the only way you can make your wildest dreams come true. What I will never regret is the time that I took to learn stuff about what I value and the realization that the achievement of a lot of that is largely within my control and it is my responsibility. In the numerous workshops and seminars I attended during this phase, I was always jazzed by the overwhelming positivity surrounding them. People were upbeat, psyched, and almost on a perpetual high on personal development materials. I admit, I partook of the stuff!

But what is the twist?

I came out of network marketing a very different person. I was more confident in myself. My perception of what I was capable of doing had changed greatly. I had read so many personal development books. Many quotes will linger in my mind for a very long time. I learnt about some of the greatest motivational speakers around. From Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy and many others. The arrival of the movie ‘The Secret’ and the whole ‘Law of Attraction’ concept only compounded issues for me. I still do read a lot of such books but I must say that I look at all this slightly differently from most people. I depart from this type of personal development, which I must say seems to have a very huge ‘market share’ online, in at least three ways. These three for me constitute the twist.

1. Look within yourself. Really?


Image:
nospeedbumps.com

Many personal development gurus suggest that the answer is within us. Look inside yourself and you will find what you are looking for, the answer to your problems. I can look at myself, look at my strengths and my weaknesses. But the solution is hardly within myself. I cannot be both the problem and the solution. I am unapologetically Christian. I believe in God and I am a born again Christian. Propelled by the desire to be a better person, I seek to develop myself. I have to admit that I have looked within myself and failed to get answers so now I look to God. Last year, I was bereaved and discovered how unhelpful it can be when you tell a bereaved person ‘be strong’. I have said it to people before and I’m sure that those who say it mean well but the more people said that to me, I felt like I was disappointing them and that it was my fault when I felt weak. In the same way, when I am looking for answers to life questions that have to do with developing myself, asking me to look within for solutions can be taken to mean I am to blame for not having answers to my questions. Therefore, the answer can be anywhere but inside me.

2. Nothing is impossible. Really?


Image: abeonaforum.wordpress.com

I believe personal development is basically development on an already created person. Our attempt at developing a person would be futile if we failed to work alongside the Creator of that person. In Matthew 19, After asking a young rich man to sell off his possessions and give to the poor, Jesus further explained that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. Then the disciples wondered who then could possibly be saved and Jesus answered “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” That way He qualified the above statement. Back in Genesis 11, at the Tower of Babel, God said “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” And He confused their language so they would not understand one another. Since then, it has been impossible to attain absolute oneness in human beings thus making “nothing is impossible” remain untrue. It therefore means that the only way that “nothing is impossible” is incomplete unless you add “with God” into the mix. So I say “nothing is impossible with God”.

3. Success = Money. Really?

Image: politicalhumor.about.com

Mainstream personal development tends to have undue focus on financial prosperity. Is money everything? I don’t think so. Personal development needs to be wholistic and cover all aspects of life. We need to look at our spiritual lives, our intellectual development, our relationships, our career and work, our physical development (our body) not just finances.

So with that 3-pronged twist, my third passion is personal development.

So again I ask what is your passion? What drives you? Does it have a twist?

Tuendelee kuongea

Forgiven

Today’s Friday link is from a song that moved me so much from the first time I ever heard it. I have replayed it lots and lots of time. The lyrics are spot on. Have you ever come across a song and thought, “Wow, that is exactly how I would have put it”? If you understand the lyrics and your eyes don’t well up, then either you haven’t fully understood them or you have no heart!

Enjoy

Tuendelee kuongea

PS: What do you think of God’s forgiveness?

Even though the lyrics will show on the video, here they are in full.

Forgiven – True Vibe

Once I didn’t know about you and I wondered where I’d go
If I left this world behind
Then I trembled when I saw the destination of my soul
And on bended kness I cried

Then My inner eyes were open
And I saw my only hopes was too
Believe that you were sent to set me free

And I am forgiven
Yes I know you are risen
And open up the door
Into to heaven
I m forgiven

What a lord you are, a savior full of life
Everlasting king of kings
What a price you paid, to save the souls that took your life
The very ones that you forgave
With your blood you wash me white as snow
And I don’t worry where I’ll go
No power can seperate me from your love

I am forgiven
Yes I know you are risen
And opened the door into heaven
I m forgiven

Look down, look down, please look down on me jesus
I want to thank you an d praise your holy name

I look up, look up, up into the heavens
And i know thats where I m going one day

Cause I am forgiven
Yes I know you are risen
And Opened up the door into heaven

I m forgiven (ooohh)

Yes I know, I am forgiven
I know
I know I can face tomorrow
Because you live
I know I can face my sorrows
Because that love you give

Sweet jesus gave his love to me
Sweet jesus died and set me free

I know

What drives you? (Part 1)

Caltex once had a worldwide advertising campaign with the tag line “What drives you”. It really resonated with me at the time as I was beginning to identify my main motivation for the things that I love doing. I believe there are a lot of people who feel stuck in jobs they hate simply because of the money. It is all too common to hear people talk about how they hate their job or their boss but they have to hang around since “it pays the rent”. Someone once said that the ultimate in poverty is spending the most productive years of your life doing what you hate so that you can then retire and finally do what you like. By that time, you are too old, too exhausted to do it well or to even enjoy it. Seems to be such an obvious thing but so easy to miss. I am convinced that unless what you do for a living is something you would do without any salary then you are yet to find what drives you. Take a moment now and ask yourself, do you enjoy what you do for a living enough to want to do it with no pay at all? Many employed people I know seem to have what is known as a side-hustle. A job or business that they do in addition to their “job, job”. Sometimes what you do on the side can be an indication of what drives you. All of us have something we can engage in and later say “wow, is that the time? I had no idea so much time had passed”. That something, could be a hint about what drives you.

A word I have avoided so far is passion. Passion is what drives any venture. A driving, compelling emotion, enthusiasm, abundant desire, strong motivation. I think you get the point. I don’t want to define it too passionately (!). Passion can be positive or negative, good or evil, constructive or destructive, but it will always be strong and unrelenting. I think just judging from the sheer energy that passion requires, one cannot be passionate about too many things. You may end up doing so many things and appear to have many passions but I think for most people, all the things they do can be grouped together into at most three. As you look into all those activities you will be able to identify similarities in the goals aimed at.

You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “Did he have passion?”
-quoted from the movie “Serendipity”

“You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing.”
— Dale Carnegie

“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”
– Christian Friedrich Hebbel

“Tell me what your passion is, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
-John Little Prince

So what am I passionate about? What drives me? There are three things I know beyond a doubt that I am extremely passionate (can there be passion that is not extreme?) about.

Computers
My first computer was the Sinclair ZX Spectrum around 1983.

Image: www.geek.com (click to see full size)

It was about the size of an iPad. But that is where the similarities end. You had to hook it up to a TV using a co-axial cable, then to a tape recorder. The TV would then become the monitor and you would save stuff (programs) onto a cassette tape. I cannot tell you how many nights I stayed up playing around with this gadget. My greatest achievement was to do a program that would play the full Kenya National Anthem using the BEEP command. Heaven I tell you!

I started spending a lot of my time at a shop on Moi Avenue called SJ Moore. They are the shop that later became Micro City and moved to Westlands. I would stay there sometimes the whole day just ogling the gadgets that they had in stock ranging from a printer, so that you could print your program in case the cassette tape got chewed while you were saving your word, to the unbelievably more powerful (64KB RAM!) Commodore 64. I would assist customers as to what is the best accessory to buy. I remember once being thrown out of the shop by the owner as it looked like I had employed myself there as a customer service rep! I will never forget the words the Asian owner asked me one day “Young man, you think this is home?” Now as I think about it, I was a bit obsessed as I used to stand outside the shop sometimes through lunch time waiting for them to re-open after lunch. Up till today, about 30 years later, my fascination with computers, programming, gadgets like phones, has not reduced at all. In fact I think it has worsened. A lot of the fights I have with my wife even today come when this obsession sometimes get out of hand. For example, she says I spend too much time on my iPhone or Blackberry and gets upset when I refer to my laptop sometimes as my first wife! (surely, who would have a problem with that?)

Cars and Motorcycles

I was a non-resident for the majority of my studies at the University of Nairobi. I used to operate by bicycle to and from class. We used to live at Kariokor Flats. I have always had a healthy disrespect and fear for public transport. My life as a student cyclist was not without its many mishaps. But the near misses were far worse! I remember once cycling near City Hall behind a small pickup truck that suddenly braked and I couldn’t stop quickly enough. I hit it and was catapulted to the back of the pickup and had to quickly bang the sides so that the driver could stop! I got off, picked up my bike and what was left of my pride and continued my journey.

My first job was with the American Embassy and that is when I bought my first motorcycle. It was a blue Honda 185XL. The six minute (sometimes as long as nine minutes!) ride from my house in Ngummo, to my office at Bruce House and back was easily the highlight of my day. Sometimes when I was feeling low, all it took was a fast ride up Valley Rd and by the time I reached the roundabout at the top of the hill, I was, well, quite uplifted!


Image: www.bikez.com

I also love cars. In fact my two dream jobs are 1) Testing computer games for thrill and addiction, and 2) Test-driving new cars and bikes on long distance trips.

I am beginning to see this passion for cars in my two sons James and Victor. Whenever I am on the road with them they are always on the lookout for what they call “noma” cars. Victor can identify a BMW from so far you will not believe it. They even have names for models of cars. So when you drive with them and you hear them say “Shrek, Ben, Bill, Donkey” don’t look out for movie characters. They mean Toyota Premio (new shape), Toyota IST, Toyota Vitz and Toyota Probox! James who is becoming a very gifted artist has drawn more cars in his 10 years of life than many of us ever will.

So those are two things that I am passionate about. I would spend, and indeed I have, many many hours playing around with computers, bikes and cars over and over. Fixing them, programming them, testing them just staring at them. If you had an Audi Q7 you wanted driven from Mombasa I would do it for you at no cost. You wouldn’t have to pay me a single cent. Of course you may have to call the cops to get it back from me!

What is your passion? What is the one thing (or two or three) that you cannot stop thinking about. What would you do for no pay at all? Just before doing this last bit of this post, I took a break and watched Capital Talk on K24. Jeff was interviewing Benard Otieno, the career sports newscaster. It was fascinating to see Benard’s passion for what he does. He really does eat, sleep, drink sports. I could also see so much about Jeff’s passion for pulling out good stuff by asking good questions. One was talking about his passion, the other’s passion was getting this stuff out. When you are living out your passion, it seems so effortless. Amazing!

Next week, I will reveal to you my third passion, that is if you haven’t figured it out by now. I believe this is the biggest of them all. In fact I believe that these first two passions serve this third one. It is so big that it deserves a post on its own. It is even the main reason for this blog. Until then, stay tuned.

PS: I have noticed that some of you have subscribed by pressing the orange button at the top of this page. This is a good idea as it ensures that you do not miss a single post since you will receive it by email hot off the press. I encourage as many of you as read this to do so.

PS2(!). You may have seen the post on Friday with the link to the funny speech. I am thinking of having a Friday multimedia post in addition to the Monday post. Here I will leave a link to music, movies and other things that are not my original work but has nonetheless brought a smile to my face in a thought provoking manner.

Till next week

Tuendelee kuongea