Developing Good Habits - Reflections of a Young Man™

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Developing Good Habits

Because I believe we are all meant to learn from one another, let me tell you a little about myself today with the hope that you will glean something valuable. And perhaps more importantly, I hope that you will remember me in your prayers and thoughts so that I may accomplish what I will tell you.

As you might already know if you have been reading my stories in this lovely website of mine, I have been struggling with two bad habits: over-sleeping and over-eating. And from my experiences, I have come to realize that those two bad habits cause:
  • poverty of mind, body and soul
  • unhealthy weight gain
  • missed opportunities
  • shame and guilt
  • low energy levels
  • wastage of time
  • loss of freedom
I am now striving to break those two bad habits. And which ones will replace them? Getting out of bed before dawn after about six to seven hours of refreshing sleep. Eating breakfast after about an hour after waking up. Going for a jog and walk later in the day.

Yes, I am striving to develop those good new habits. Some say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. Others say it takes God. As of me, I believe it takes both God and consistency to develop a new habit. So I have already started living my new habits while praying for strength of heart to sustain the momentum.


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Part 4: Servant Leadership

In black and white in this photo is Stephen Lenai, a sensible high school classmate of mine who also served as my house captain when I was in Fourth Form and in the Institute at Starehe Boys' Centre. He is posing here with Peter Omondi, another classmate of mine who disappeared without trace after we finished high school in 2005. To this day, no one in our class knows whether Peter Omondi is dead or alive.

I recently came across a post on the differences between a boss and a leader that one of my acquaintances posted on LinkedIn. The differences are:
Relies on authorityRelies on goodwill
Issues ultimatumGenerates enthusiasm
Says "I"Says "We"
Uses peopleDevelops people
Takes creditGives credit

When I think of a friend who exhibits those qualities of a leader, the person who first pops up in my mind is Stephen Lenai - yes, the one I have mentioned in the caption of the photo above. Why? Okay, let me narrate.

For all the time I got to know Lenai since we met in Form 1 at Starehe Boys' Centre, he never said anything negative to me. On the contrary, I found him a sensible person who occasionally advised and encouraged me while trying to draw out the best in me.

Like I remember during one lunch session in the Starehe dining hall when we were in Fourth Form, he called me aside and asked me to be controlling my temper. Believe you me, I sometimes used to erupt violently for reasons I will not explain today.

Then on our first days in the Starehe Institute in 2006, Lenai requested me to be attending the 6.00pm roll-call after I missed it when I reported back to Starehe for college education. You see, I used to feel lonely on those first days in the institute because my dreams of landing a job had failed and some of my best friends in high school had left Starehe. But thanks to Lenai who encouraged me to be attending roll-call, my feelings of loneliness began to thaw, which eventually led me to feel at home in Starehe Institute where I acquired a transformative Diploma in Information Technology.

And then later on during our time at Starehe Institute, Lenai requested me on one or two occasions to address house members during 6.00pm Sunday roll-calls. I found that encouraging because while some people saw confusion in me, Lenai saw potential. And thanks to him, I became one of the best public-speakers at Starehe.

But of all the positive things Lenai did to me, the one I will always remain grateful to him was the way he allowed me to sneak out of Starehe early in the morning on Sundays to be with my home-town Catholic Church youth group when I was in Starehe Institute. You see, nothing much used to happen in Starehe on Sundays. We were just expected to wake up at 7.00am, have breakfast and attend a mandatory church service after which we were free to do whatever we wished.

So I instinctively felt Lenai wouldn't mind my sneaking out of Starehe on Sundays provided I was back for the 6.00pm roll-call. And my instincts were right because throughout our time at Starehe Institute, Lenai never minded. I am sure if some people I know had been my house captain, they would have created hell for me by forwarding me to the Starehe administration that I was sneaking out of Starehe. Oh, how I thank God that Lenai was my house captain! He truly was a leader, not a boss.

If you've enjoyed this part 4 of my story on servant leadership, you might also enjoy part 1 and part 2 and part 3 of the stories. Just click those links in blue to jump straight into the stories.


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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 young 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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