A True Story
on Dec 13, 2019
As I have said before in this blog, I first read the endearing autobiography of Bill Clinton in 2007 when I was a first year student at JKUAT after my Communication Skills lecturer lent me the book. Imagine I read the 969-page book during my first semester at the university while keeping up with classwork. And I still managed to pass all the first semester subjects. I was such a diligent student.
So as to get more insight on how I too could achieve my dreams, I bought my own copy of the autobiography when we broke for a long holiday at JKUAT in December 2007. I re-read the book during that long holiday and again in 2010. While re-reading it, I was inspired by the following words of Bill Clinton in the prologue of the autobiography:
When I was a young man just out of law school and eager to get on with my life, on a whim I briefly put aside my reading preference for fiction and history and bought one of those how-to books: How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, by Alan Lakein. The book's main point was the necessity of listing short-, medium-, and long-term goals, then categorizing them in order of their importance, with A group being the most important, the B group next, and the C the last, then listing under each goal specific activities designed to achieve them. I still have that paperback book, now almost thirty years old. And I'm sure I have that old list somewhere buried in my papers, though I can't find it. However, I do remember the A list. I wanted to be a good man, have a good marriage and children, have good friends, make a successful political life, and write a great book.On analyzing the life of Bill Clinton, I have realized that he achieved all those life goals that he set when he was a young man. He has been a good man; he has been happily married to Hillary Clinton; he has had wonderful friends around the globe; he became President of the United States and led his country to peace and unprecedented prosperity; and he wrote a compelling autobiography that stirred me to action.
What I find wise about Bill Clinton is the way he put "being a good man" at the top of his goals. I find that wise because at the end of our lives, what matters is whether we were good people. Don't you agree?
Inspired by Bill Clinton, I also penned my life goals in 2010. I basically copied Clinton's goals, then added several more. And when I publicly shared the goals on email and social media in 2015, some people criticized me for setting many goals. Even my senior brother Bob Njinju thought my goals were too many to be attained; he advised me to focus on one.
Coming to think of it, Bill Clinton wasn't that stupid to set as many life goals as I did. He was smart enough to focus on a few he had the ability to accomplish. That's why he succeeded in attaining them. So I have also decided to focus on a few life goals. In addition to being a good man, making great friends and having a wonderful family, my other goals are becoming a gifted writer and a best-selling musician.
Over the past three years, I have been working hard at becoming a gifted writer by reading a lot and practising the writer's craft. Even with all that diligence, I still feel I have a long way to go in becoming a great writer. But I am nonetheless impressed with the progress I have made so far because these days, I no longer plagiarize the writings of other authors.
As of becoming a best-selling musician, my focus is on composing hymns with tuneful melodies and inspiring lyrics - the kind of hymns that will leave people humming them as they commute to work. So far, I have produced five hymns which haven't been as great as I'd have loved them to be. The hymns are available in the videos' section of this blog.
From my experiences of composing hymns, I have found it hard to come up with tuneful melodies and even harder to come up with lines that rhyme. Some people have praised me for writing good English, but the fact that I have trouble coming up with rhyming lines for my hymns leads me to believe that I am still not a master of the Queen's language. I however believe that with focus and with God's help, I will eventually evolve into the great hymn writer that I am aspiring to be.
Recently, I watched on TV a choir of more than a hundred people sing the wonderful old hymn "Joy to the World". And as I listened to the choir, I felt envious of Isaac Watts, the composer of that hymn. Isaac Watts must have been bursting with pride, as he reposes in heaven, to see his hymn being sang by a prominent choir. Such is the kind of achievement I'd love to attain.
My dear reader, I beseech you to also set life goals. And don't make the mistake of coming up with too many life goals. Select a few that you have the ability to achieve, and then focus on them. The keyword here is "focus". Remember sun rays are harmless but when focussed with a magnifying glass, they can start a fire. It pays to focus.
 I have extracted this passage from the prologue of My Life by William J. Clinton, published in the United Kingdom in 2005 by Arrow Books.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on setting goals, you might also enjoy another one I wrote last year on "Imitation is Limitation". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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What I'd Do If I Got Rich
A True Story
on Dec 11, 2019
For your information, I sat for Kenya's national primary school exams (known as KCPE) in November 2001. We, the pupils of that year, were the first lot to take five papers in the KCPE exams. Previously, pupils used to sit for seven papers. I think the curriculum setters reduced KCPE papers to five so as not to burden our nation's primary school children with too much academic work.
While perusing the 2001 KCPE papers that I sat for, I came across the following question in the Christian Religious Education section of the exam:
Peter, who is a rich man, is thinking of how to use his extra money. As a Christian, what advice would you give him?Well, I can't recall what answer I gave to that question when I sat for the exams back in 2001. Being the intelligent pupil that I was, I must have selected choice B (that is, pay school fees for orphans). But to be honest, I see nothing wrong with the other choices.
A. Go for trips abroad.
B. Pay school fees for orphans.
C. Build a bigger house for his family.
D. Buy a farm for his family.
That question has led me to think of what I'd do with money if I got rich. And I am thinking that I'd first settle a loan I borrowed when I was at the university in JKUAT. Then I'd buy a decent car and build a resplendent house which I would stuff with furniture and modern accessories. Then I'd set aside some money for my children's education because I'd like to have three kids with my future wife. And because I love reading as a way of developing my mind, I'd invest some money in adding great books to my library. I already have in mind some of the books I'd order from Amazon.
Having taken care of myself and my needs, I'd use the remaining money to support worthy causes and help people such as my parents and the friends who have been kind to me in the past. I'd especially love to take my mother to a dentist for a new set of artificial milk-white teeth. (My mother has lost quite a number of teeth, including one canine tooth that has made me sympathize with her when I see her laughing.)
When I talk of assisting the people who have been kind to me in the past, I am reminded of a friend with whom I attended the same high school and university. He was always nice to me. At one time in 2008 when I went astray at the university in JKUAT, he allowed me to spend a night on an empty bed in his room. Then the following morning after I became sick, he took me to JKUAT hospital.
Several years later after I had dropped out of JKUAT, the friend happened to own a soft-copy version of a Calculus book that I wanted to read for leisure at home. He readily agreed to share it with me. Because the soft-copy version of the book was too heavy to be sent by email, the friend went on to sacrifice his time and resources to upload the book on a certain website where I downloaded it.
Guess what! About three years ago, this same friend requested me to help him with some money as he was in need. And when I didn't immediately respond to his pleas, he informed me that even Ksh. 500 would be enough for him. Given the way he had helped me along the way, I wished I could repay him for his kindness to me by assisting him in his hour of need. But the problem was that I didn't have money at that time he was begging me for help. I was in fact depending on my family for my daily needs. So I texted him a few days later, informing him I was unable to help. How unfortunate!
Such are the kind of friends I'd wish to help if I got rich. And I have this belief that I will become wealthy because the Bible says in the book of Sirach that God can make someone suddenly rich. Napoleon Hill also said something similar in his evergreen book, Think and Grow Rich. For me, I say God can lift someone from burning charcoal to using gold.
If I ever get rich, and I am believing I will, my role model for spending money will be Andrew Carnegie, an American industrialist who became exceedingly wealthy in the early 20th century. Carnegie donated much of his fortune to charities, foundations and universities. He must have done so because he was aware he would leave his wealth here on Earth after he died. And that's what happened when he passed away in the year of our Lord 1919.
I have noted that Bill Gates, one of the richest men of our time, is also following in the footsteps of Andrew Carnegie because has been giving out money for such worthy causes as research for cures of diseases. During his 2007 commencement speech at Harvard University, Bill Gates challenged Harvard graduates to use their talents and knowledge to make the world a better place. He told them, "From those to whom much is given, much is expected."
UPDATE: I have updated with new info the story I wrote last year on "How to Win Friends". Just click on that link in blue to read it. I am sure you'll like the story better the way it is now.