Thinking. Believing. Daring. - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Thinking. Believing. Daring.



In a thought experiment, I am imagining myself 50 years from now. It's 2067 and I'm 79 years old. I am seated on a sofa listening to Handel's March from Scipio.

Then, I begin to ponder on my life: the career successes and how I've been able to provide for my family. I think of all the great moments I spent with my friends. But then I start to think about all of the things I wished I had done just a little differently: my regrets. I can guess what they might be.

Sitting in 2067, I will wish I had appreciated my parents and told them how much I valued them before they passed away. I will wish I had married a better partner - someone who filled me with joy and emotional contentment, with whom I shared values and interests, who respected me and loved me for my uniqueness. I will wish I had spent more time with my children. I will wish I had better used my gifts to empower others and make the world better. I will wish I had pursued my passions: music, politics, writing, teaching, public-speaking, entrepreneurship and web development. I will wish I smiled more, laughed more, danced more and created more.

Just as I am thinking about all those regrets in 2067, an angel of God appears and tells me, "Thuita, you are a good man. And for that reason, God has decided to give you a second chance at life." All of a sudden, I find myself where I am seated today. Awesome!

It is 2017 and I am in my pleasantly fit and pain-free 29 year old body. I begin to realize that it has really happened. I actually do have the chance to do it over again. To have the same career successes and deep relationships. Now I can optimize. I can laugh more, dance more and love more. My parents are here again so it is my chance to love them like I wished I had done the first time. I can be the source of positivity that I wished I had been the first time around. What a lucky man I am!

Following this chance I have been given by God, what do I need to do with it? Okay, let me think about it.

First, I need to appreciate each successive day, whatever it brings. I should greet each day with a smile and be a source of energy as well as optimism. In addition, I need realize or even rationalize that the grass is truly greener on my side of the fence. Just the belief that it is becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Secondly, I need to pursue my passions and follow my heart. I should remember that real success comes from maximizing my internally derived happiness. It will not come from external status or money or praise. It will come from a feeling of contribution. A feeling that I am using my gifts in the best way possible.

Last but not least, I need not be depressed or overly worried about anything. When I feel down, I should look up at the night sky and ponder the distance to the next star and the age of the universe. That will help put things in perspective.

The ball is in my court. I need to be inspired to achieve my dreams so that when the year 2067 comes, I will look back at my life and comfortably say to myself, "I have made the most of my life. It has been truly fulfilling."

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Using Our Gifts



While leafing through a colourful, uplifting History book at the Kenya National Library in Nairobi a few years ago, I came across a startling fact that the sun will cease to burn about five billion years from now. That means life on earth will also cease to exist at around that time because it is the sun that sustains life in this grand and magnificent planet.

Me thinks that when life on Earth will be about to end, God will summon the living and the dead for final judgement. And on that Judgement Day, God will not first ask us to recite the Ten Commandments. No. Instead, He will first inquire, "What did you do with the life and gifts that I gave you?"

I don't know about you but for me, I have already identified my gifts. They are:
  • Cooking
  • Walking
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Singing
  • Socializing
  • Networking
  • Gardening
  • Web-design
  • Piano-playing
  • Story-telling
  • Public-speaking
  • Computer-programming
There you have them: my gifts, that is. What is most wonderful about my gifts is that they are diverse enough to make each day of my life prosperous, healthful and interesting. That's why I am now striving to make use of them everyday. And I am praying regularly for God to open me doors of earning a living from some of those hobbies.

I beseech you to also join me in this journey of using our gifts. Identify them. Take time to develop the gifts everyday. Persevere when things seem not to be unfolding according to your plans. And remember that what you want to do with ease, you must first learn to do with diligence. Over to you!

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If you've enjoyed reading this story of mine about using our gifts, you might also enjoy another story I wrote sometimes back about fulfilling our dreams and another one about life skills and another one on making life beautiful. Just click those links in blue to jump straight into the stories.

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How to Criticize Constructively



A couple of years ago, I was browsing through the magazines in one of the shelves of Kenya National Library in Upperhill (Nairobi) when I came across an Issue magazine that discussed extensively about self-esteem. I really enjoyed leafing through that inspiring magazine. Unfortunately, I have never seen it again in my subsequent visits to the library but I am glad I made some notes about what I learnt on self-esteem. Let me dwell on criticism today.

Criticism is to some extent virtuous because it helps us identify our weaknesses. But quite often, it is spoken out so harshly that it diminishes our self-esteem. How?

Well, all too frequently when we notice a problem in somebody, we don't say anything initially, which is when we should address the problem. Instead, we bottle it up till we explode. We yell, "You are bloody lazy!" Or, "You really piss me off!" Or, "You make me sick!"

Those kind of phrases sound very angry and accusatory. They also show that we are not in control. And after uttering them, we generally feel worse about ourselves which causes our self-esteem to plummet. See?

From the Issue magazine I have told you about, I learnt a better way of criticising someone, especially a spouse, a work-mate or a family member. It is called the 'criticism sandwich'. Basically, that means looking out for the best in the person we want to criticize and then placing our criticism in between those admirable qualities. Like you might criticize me as follows using the 'criticism sandwich' method:
"Thuita, you are an exceptionally intelligent guy and I am proud to be your friend. I like your ideals and your writing style. But I think you'd even be a better person if you realized it's not proper to share such information as this. I know it's most unlike you to get things wrong; you're so dependable and I want you to know how much I value you."
Notice more use of the word "I" than "you" in the criticism above. It shows you are in control and that you have thought about what you're saying. Try criticizing the important people in your life that way.

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