Execution

Wow! It’s been a while! First things first, Happy New Year and Happy New Month!

Away from the niceties and into the central theme of this article. So, today I would like to handle a critical matter, that is, execution. I felt the urge to begin my writing this year with an important subject that really separates leaders from followers, the successful from the unsuccessful, the rich from the poor, and the wise from fools. In one way or the other, execution is one of the most significant elements to success in any field. Time and again, we have heard that “procrastination is the thief of time.” Also, we know that procrastination is the silent killer of man’s deepest dreams yet we still find ourselves pushing forward a significant activity. How many times have we backed out of important but not urgent matters? In any case, what often makes us fail to spring into action may be fear, paralysis by analysis, or the discouragement concerning the effort that we need to put into attaining the success. At other times, it may be the lack of enthusiasm or drive to just get it done.

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Image Credits: Board of Wisdom

On a lighter note, I read someone’s post on social media where he had written that the year often begins in March; January and February serve as a period of reminiscing the past year and also as a grace period for preparing to enter into the new year. Funny weird, isn’t it? It is easy to conclude that such comments come from a lack of enthusiasm and motivation to seize the day. In effect, inaction breeds immobility and yet time and tide wait for no man! We ought to be in action, but this does not mean that we just move around aimlessly without a purpose. We need to have a purpose and to attain this purpose, we ought to set goals. To accomplish the goals, we need to execute the steps necessary to achieve them. Ever heard of the quote which says, “Dreams without goals are just dreams…and they fuel disappointments.” We hate disappointments, right?

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Image Credits: Quotefacny

The Good Book tells us that, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” [Proverbs 4:7, KJV]. So, in the above scripture, we have two elements – Wisdom and Understanding. The latter is gotten as people gain knowledge. We know that wisdom and knowledge go hand in hand. However, there is an important factor that connects the two. This factor is execution. Even as man searches for knowledge, there is the need for them to appreciate that the wisdom is in the execution! If you cannot put into practice (execute) what you learn, then the knowledge becomes useless.

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Image Credits: Highland Park Baptist Church

Imagine you are an archer and you have really prepared well for a particular global tournament. When you win the competition, you get to walk home with a fortune. So, the tournament is held in an arena as large as the Wembley Stadium and is being broadcasted worldwide. It is your turn to march on to the field and take your shots. The only challenge is that there is no target! What! After all the preparations you walk into a competition, and there is no target? Well, that’s madness, isn’t it? Well, that’s how a large portion of the world is today! Shocked? Yes, we have many people with all the knowledge in the world, but they do not know where to apply it! It is said that the greatest tragedy in life is not death but a life without purpose.

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Image Credits: InspireCast

Knowing one’s purpose is the first step to living a great life. However, we also have individuals who know their purpose, but they have a rough time living their destiny. They have all the knowledge concerning the direction they should take but are still unsuccessful. In essence, their outward life does not portray who they are on the inside. On the inside, they may be having all the knowledge concerning their specialization, but on the outside, they are unsuccessful in their profession. Mercy! One of the challenges could be that they are poor in applying the knowledge they possess. Yes, we all desire to be wise. However, in our pursuit for wisdom, we face a lot of hurdles that at times make us play low in the name of sparing ourselves the blushes. However, there is a remedy for all that. The power lies in the execution. Simply put, “gaining knowledge is good, but wisdom is in the execution/application of whatever one has learned.” Also, “Knowledge is power but knowledge without action is useless.”

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Image Credits: Brainy Quote

Indeed, wisdom is the principal thing. We could go on and on expounding on the subject, but I choose to leave it at this point. Well, wisdom is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and taking the necessary actions to improve further. So, for a long time, I have been battling with execution. It has been a struggle not only in business but also in life. From time to time, I was wondering why my life was not improving despite all the effort I put in gaining knowledge only to know that I was poor when it came to execution. However, now I have a clear picture of my weakness.
For a start, I have begun reading Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan’s book titled, “Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done.” I have not gone past chapter one, and I am already learning a lot. In the book, Bossidy and Charan investigate how great leaders are masters of execution. In essence, they state that most companies struggle to make great strides because they are weak at execution. My reason for reading the book is to help revive my side-hustle which is in the negative zone despite having a great strategy and a grand master plan.

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Image Credits: Amazon

Even you today, you can identify areas in your life where you have failed to take appropriate action and begin to move. Remember, wisdom and power lie in the execution. Also, remember that the knowing is in the doing. And when you are overwhelmed, remember to seek assistance. Indeed, there is no shame in asking for help.

Happy Execution folks!

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Bonus Thought

We have a lot of self-improvement books, and we also have a lot of motivational speakers. In the present age where technology is transforming the way we live, we also have motivational channels and accounts. So, we are well equipped with the knowledge we need to live a great life. However, the challenge lies in the execution. Yes, the information we get from all the books, channels, accounts, and the people around us would not work unless we apply it, period! Even the reading of the scripture and listening to sermons would not work unless you work it out! At times, the results may take longer to manifest, but one thing is for sure, the right execution techniques will yield the desired results.

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Image Credits: Pinterest

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5-4-3-2-1-GO!!

By the time I am writing this, I am sure that we are all guilty of playing one dangerous game. That game involves “resting our eyes for a further five minutes” before waking up. This game is successfully orchestrated where we often set our alarms on a five-minute or ten-minute snooze delays depending on our preferred settings. Woe unto you if you are in employment and fail in this game! I do not want to explain how the rest of your day goes. If you are successful in this game, well done to you because you are a winner!

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Image Credits: Gizmodo

Okay, let’s move away from the dangerous game and look into other events in our lives. Have you ever been indecisive when faced with certain situations? These situations could involve choosing what to eat in a fancy restaurant, choosing what to wear to special corporate evening dinner, or even seizing the moment to talk to that gorgeous lady that you have been planning to take out on a date. In most instances, indecisiveness makes us settle for less than that which we desire.

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Image Credits: 3coze

On another note, indecisiveness makes us ineffective and inefficient. For instance, at your workplace, you may be contemplating on whether you should make a call or send out an e-mail to a particular client. Nonetheless, you could be in a meeting and you feel this burning desire within you to propose a particular point of view but before you know it, the manager has already moved to the next agenda and you are left to “die” with your proposal. Your work could also involve sourcing for new clients, and so you may be on your commute, and you spot a prospective client, but then one thing keeps you from pitching your idea to them. This thing is often indecisiveness that is plagued by the fear of the outcome – rejection.

Besides indecisiveness, there is another type of habit that makes us ineffective and inefficient. This habit is characterized by the feeling of not wanting to do something that you ought to do. Some individuals may call it laziness. For instance, you may walk into your room and find out that there is a quite large pile of laundry that needs to be done or worse still a huge collection of dirty cutlery and utensils. Frequently, you may not feel like cleaning the items especially if there are still clean ones that can be used at the moment.

So what are you to do to overcome the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness that are brought about by indecisiveness and the feeling of not wanting to do what you ought to do? Well, there is a solution. And the answer is simple yet so hard. The solution is this – the 5-second rule. The proponent of this rule is Mel Robbins, a renowned motivational and keynote speaker. In essence, the rule is summarized as follows: “If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds, or your brain will kill it.” This means, if you are meant to take a certain action, you ought to act within 5 seconds or else you won’t take any action. To fight the hesitation that often comes before you take a certain action, Robbins proposes that you should count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action. Easy, you may say. However, the challenge comes because you have to deal with “you,” you who within whom lies all the excuses and the triggers of hesitation! So, you need to push yourself into action the moment you reach the 1-GO stage lest you remain stagnant.

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Image Credits: Four Minute Books

What makes the rule effective is that it tricks the brain into doing things that it would normally not do. The reason why 5 seconds is chosen is because there is a 5-second window between when we have an instinct to act and our brain coming up with excuses as to why we should not take action. The reason for counting backwards 5-4-3-2-1 is that the process requires our focus and concentration. Additionally, counting backwards wakes up our prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex switches our mind onto the decision-making process.

Let us get back to the beginning of this post and look at snoozing. For a long time, Robbins was having a difficult time waking up in the morning. It is only when she began applying the 5-second rule that she overcame the challenge. I was also having the same challenge waking up in the morning. It seemed like my bedding had conspired to make me enter the comfort zone and miss out on my morning routine! However, since I began applying the rule, waking up has become so easy. So at this point, I would like to pose a challenge to you that starting tomorrow morning; you will apply the 5-second rule when you encounter difficulty when waking up. I would be glad to hear your feedback.

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Waking up without snoozing (Credits: Runtastic)

This rule is effective in overcoming the hesitation and indecisiveness that we face each moment that we are on the brink of taking action. There are situations where the rule operates on the premise: action now regrets later. These situations are those whose outcomes you are unsure of such as pitching to new clients or even talking to a lady that you have been admiring for a long time. In most cases, there are no regrets but joy for having taken action!

 

Left: Employee after successful deal (credits: Techedge)

Right: A successful date

Robbins opines that if you did things that you did not feel like doing, then you will have everything that you ever wanted. This is the motivating factor that ought to push you into applying the 5-second rule. Or best still, everything that you have ever wanted is on the other side of fear. On the same breath, I would like to state that everything that you have ever wanted is on the other side of indecisiveness. For instance, getting that client to sign up for that policy or even getting to take out that charming lady on a date or even proposing a certain idea during a tense corporate meeting or even talking to strangers. All the desired results lie on the other side of fear and indecisiveness.

So that is it on overcoming the challenge of waking up in the morning, indecisiveness, ineffectiveness and inefficiencies. Remember, 5-4-3-2-1-GO!

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5-second rule visual summary (credits: Visual Synopsis).

More info concerning the 5-second rule may be found at: https://melrobbins.com/

 

 

Hiatus

Wow! Just wow! What a while it has been!

Sincerely, I missed blogging. It has almost been a year since I last composed a blog post (314 days to be precise). Well, I attribute it to a hiatus, a hiatus pegged with many factors: work, travel, reading, business, and worse of it all – writer’s block.

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Image Credits: Wine In

On the one hand, I would say it was necessary that I have the long break from what I used to do best. On the other hand, I feel that I have missed out on a lot regarding the advancement of the mckanyanga brand. Essentially, this is the first blog post for 2018! Just imagine what I have missed for the past eight months!

The hiatus has taught me about life’s brevity. There are so many moments I told myself that I was going to finish the next part of Almost doesn’t count. I had even mapped out the story’s outline. However, I just could not come up with the words to fill it up! I was stuck. I suffered the writer’s block. There are other moments that I wrote a paragraph, and before I knew it, I had hit the backspace key to clear it! I could not feel the flow of the words. I could not make sense of what I was writing. Many writers will tell you that they often have to feel the flow and make sense of their work before they publish and share it with their audience.

During the hiatus, I have learned significant lessons about life which I would like to share with you.

It is okay to be tired, but never to give up

“I think that writing/business/ministry/accounting/sport/law [insert any pursuit here] is not my thing…”

Many are the times we have heard people complain that a particular profession, pursuit, or job is not their thing. In most cases, they reach this point after a long period of trying here and there. It is common to hear them say,

“I did everything right, I followed the rules, I put all my effort, I dedicated myself to the course, but things are not working out at all!”

Perhaps, such comments are made when one is tired, and their mind is clouded with negative energy as a result of the toil. During such time, it is necessary to unplug and do whatever you like – taking a walk, cooking your favorite meal, munching your favorite snack, watching your favorite series, or even listening to soothing music. Such activities have the effect of “deceiving” your mind into forgetting the negative and focusing on the good vibes only.

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Image Credits: Virgin

Remember that it is never that serious. Being tired is okay. Being tired makes us human. In essence, being tired shows that you are putting in the work and that is good! However, take care not to be chocked up in the negative mood that is brought about by fatigue. In this case, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing – focusing on your work.

The break is necessary

When one suffers a writer’s block, they cannot achieve much. It is at this point that taking a break becomes handy. The break is necessary because it helps calm down your mind. Research shows that the brain generates fascinating ideas when it is at rest. As a writer, one of the most important assets to have is a creative mind, and that mind is often achieved when one is at rest. It is advisable that one writes up the fascinating ideas that come through their mind during the break. These notes are necessary for coming up with future blog posts.

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Image Credits: Meet, Plan, Go

Perhaps, breaks are essential in clearing up your mind and hence enable you to come up with better ideas. Additionally, taking a break is instrumental in shaping up your view of the world. In essence, during the break, you tend to focus on other things besides writing, and these activities influence you to see the world from a different viewpoint. Besides, these other activities may give you the answers or inspiration that is needed to fuel your passion.

So, the next time you feel stuck, remember to unplug from what you are doing and take that break.

Consistency is key

Consistency, or lack thereof, can be the defining factor between failure or success. Let’s say that I decide to do a blog post every fortnight and stick with it; it would somewhat be predictable for you to check into my blog for a new post, wouldn’t it?

Consistency enables you to measure your performance. For instance, in the above case where I choose to blog every fortnight, it would be right to say that I would come up with two blog posts every month and twenty-four in a year. My work would somewhat be predictable, and this would prompt me to come up with the best pieces.

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Image Credits: Quotefancy

Besides, consistency breeds accountability. Perhaps, if I know that I should have a blog post two weeks from now, I will start coming up with an outline soon. I would not want to miss the satisfaction that comes with the successful completion of the blog post. This satisfaction and the desire to be consistent in coming up with blog posts would be the catalysts that will enhance my accountability.

Do not chase the result

Your whole focus ought to be on the process. In writing, there is the tendency to focus on the number of likes to your blog post, the target reach, the number of individuals visiting your blog, and the money you make out of writing. It is worth noting that these parameters are not the main goal. I was guilty of focusing on the result, and I was frustrated when I never got the anticipated feedback. Eventually, I forgot the passion, the first love – writing.

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Image Credits: Float Universe

What I appreciate is that I have learned my lesson. When you focus on chasing the result, you will rarely get them. Instead, you ought to focus on the “why” of your work. Perhaps, it could be to inspire lives of teenagers out there or to guide first-time parents on how to raise their first child.

Remember, chasing after things and results only produces a tiring life. Essentially, focus on the “why,” and in no time, individuals will recognize it and start giving you what you are seeking – be it likes, readership, or money.

Have fun

During the hiatus, I invested more time into my business. It is less than a year old and is yet to break even. Of course, as a businessman, there are other great businessmen that I look up to for inspiration. One of them is Sir Richard Branson. Branson is known for his mighty exploits in business through his company named Virgin. I happened to study his autobiography titled Losing My Virginity (I am not talking about what you think here), and one of the essential lessons that I have learned is that you got to enjoy the process. Branson prides himself in having fun at work. If you look at the company’s structure, it is evident that he prioritizes the needs of the employees. He understands the importance of having fun in attaining the desired results. Well, I also transferred the same idea into my work plan. I would rather have fun while writing than being grumpy and grinding out an unsatisfactory piece of writing.

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Image Credits: AZ Quotes

Well, that’s it. Remember the break is necessary but do not give up yet. Consistency matters. Focus on your passion and have fun while at it.

Cheers!

[Featured Image credits: bradsknutson.com]

Conejo

Do dreams mean something?

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Image Credits: Courtesy

Have you ever woken up in the morning with a dozen-load of questions in your mind like Hell no! What was that? What did I just dream? Is that even me? Is that even possible?

Indeed, dreams take us away from reality, and that is what they are – dreams. If dreams were a reality, then everyone would be that millionaire, or that famous Hollywood actor, or that great politician. Likewise, everyone would own that jet, or that tower, or the latest Ferrari model. In short, if we were to live in dreamland, we would all have attained our desires.

Dreams are there to make life worth living. The dreams we experience at night while sleeping are a product of what lies in our subconscious. According to scientists, the subconscious is the most powerful portion of our brains. As a matter of fact, the subconscious is smarter than we might think. Most of the times, we feel that we are in control especially when our brains figure out puzzles or read words. However, we should understand that this capability comes from our conscious mind. We should also understand that the subconscious can prepare simple stimulus-response actions, deliver basic facts, recognize objects and carry out practiced movements hence perform functions that would prove a challenge to the conscious thought.

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Importance of the Subconscious Mind

Humans daydream, and that is normal. However, we should not be carried away by the daydreams. During these sessions, we see ourselves in another state that we desire. To a large extent, this state is always contrary to our reality. At night, we lie down in our beds and also experience dreams. Indeed, dreams play a significant role in our lives. Georg Kaiser said, “If we couldn’t dream, our lives wouldn’t mean anything anymore.” Another great man said, “A life without dreams is like a garden without flowers.” So, dreams give meaning to life.

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Image Credits: Pinterest

The reason for writing this blogpost is simple and a rather funny one. I had a weird dream that made me jerk out of my bed to try and find its meaning. I was roaming out and about in the countryside. I then entered grandpa’s house, and there I saw a rabbit that had just given birth to two kits. The kits were having a peaceful bonding session with their mother when suddenly a cat appeared and devoured one of the kits. I could feel a violent, uncontrollable anger rise within me in my sleep. I hit the cat using a hoe killing it instantly. Mysteriously, I found myself in the airport talking to a high school classmate who was then a pilot. We reminisced memories from school, and just as we were about to board the plane, I woke up. Nkt! Why do dreams have to come to an end during the intriguing moments?

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Image Credits: Air Charter Service

After waking up, I set out to find the meaning of the dream, and this is what I discovered:

  1. If you ever dream of vehicles whether it is a car, an airplane, a train or a ship, the vehicles in our dream can reflect what direction we feel our life is taking, and how much control we think we have over the path ahead of us. Vehicles can give us the power to make a transition and envision ourselves getting to our destination — or highlight the obstacles we think we are facing and need to work through (huffingtonpost.com).
  2. Seeing other people in your dream often is a reflection of the different aspects of the self. The people in dreams can relate to characteristics that need to be developed. Specific people directly relate to existing relationships or interpersonal issues we need to work through (huffingtonpost.com).
  3. Dreaming of a baby often represents something new: It might be a new idea, a new project at work, new development or the potential for growth in a specific area of our waking life (huffingtonpost.com). [In this case, I had a dream about baby rabbits].

Wow! Wonderful! Isn’t it? So the dream meant that I have control over the path that lies ahead of me and that I should reach out to that friend to help me take charge of the next phase of my life. On the rabbit dream, I concluded that I should start rabbit farming and that I should tackle head on all the obstacles that come my way as I match towards my destiny. Funny isn’t it?

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Rabbit Farming

In as much as we are told not to struggle to make meaning out of a myriad of thoughts that cross our mind, I tend to disagree. My disagreement is based on the fact that it is through questioning of our lives that we can unlock ideas which we could never have imagined that we would be able to.

(Conejo is the Spanish name for a rabbit.)

Featured Image Credits: Anipedia.

 

Bon anniversaire

So, what is the best piece of advice you can ever give to a person celebrating their birthday? Or what inspiration or motivational talk can you give? Indeed, there is so much you can share with such a person. From telling them to plan, dream big and accomplish the impossible, to seizing every opportunity that comes their way. To others, you may advise them to live life to the fullest, travel the world and explore the undiscovered areas. To others, you may advise them to keep on keeping on with the good work especially if they are doing a commendable job.

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Sample Birthday Advice

Image Credits: Technique Junkies

But, the big question is, what piece would you offer to the uninspired? To that young person who works tirelessly day-in-day-out devoting 100% to everything they do yet, they see no tangible result? I know you will say that they ought to hang in there, and that good things take time. Well well well! Ahem! They will say that if there is anything that motivates them each day is that someday they know that they will get it.

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Image Credits: Pinterest

An individual’s birthday presents a favorable chance for them to turn over a new leaf. It also gives them the opportunity to review the year that has passed and see where they ought to rectify or enhance. I tend to view it as a time to conduct a SWOT analysis of one’s life. It is during the birthday that you will decipher your strengths and find ways to maximize on them. You will know your weaknesses and come up with a plan for minimizing them. You will probably look back and wonder why you did not grab that opportunity when it presented itself. In the end, you’ll look back and thank the Almighty for delivering you from hazardous moments that almost took your breath away.

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Image Credits: PESTLE Analysis

Today is my birthday. After a stock take, I have come to look at this new year as a chance to practice kai zen.

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Image Credits: mt.kaizen.com

I consider myself a Work-In-Progress. I choose to put in not 40%, not 75% but 100% in everything I do. As for commitment, this will be my principle: if I am in I am in, no dilly-dallying, no hesitation because I know that I am only as good as the chances I take.

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Tom Cruise on commitment.

Image Credits: Courtesy

Too often, we are faced with situations where we are required to choose. For long, I have been battling with choosing: I always want it all. The “I want it all” mentality is driven by the “fear of missing out” on the benefits of the foregone option. I suppose I am not alone in this. However, I am still learning to stick to a decision till it bears fruit. I have come to appreciate the fact that I cannot be at two places at the same time and that is what makes me human. If at all I am to pursue two things, then it is better off when I delegate the other duty.

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Image Credits: Frank Sonnenberg Online

Summing everything up, this year is a year of action, not hesitation. A year of focus, not divided attention. A year of constant improvement, not being a sloth. These are my goals. However, I am still in need of counsel for the scripture reminds me in Proverbs 11:14 (AMPC) that, “Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety,” and in Proverbs 19:20 (AMPC) that, “Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.”

So, please feel free to share your piece of advice with me at the comment box below.

Happy Birthday to me!

Life lessons from poker

Indeed #LifeIsLikeAGame of poker. Simple lessons in life can be drawn from the poker table. We have heard too often that we should  play our cards right to have the life we desire. That is just one sentiment regarding life and poker. Have a look at the summary below:

Lesson One: Play the hand you’re dealt

Perhaps, we have heard of poker. We all have different views concerning the game. However, one underlying thought that we are all accustomed to is that to win a game of poker you have to be lucky. Luck is an enthralling subject such that we tend to think and conclude that the people around us who seem to be more successful were born lucky. However, that is not the case on many occasions.

Lemmie keep it simple. The first lesson I learned from a game of poker is that in life, you have to play the hand you are dealt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the First Prime Minister of India, said that “Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play, it is free will.”
The first lesson applies in poker and life because we do not get to choose the cards we are dealt, we simply play the ones we do have to the best of our ability. Yes, it is harder to win with crap cards, but it is not an impossible task. On the same breath, it is hard to work your way through your low moments in life, but it can be done.

Possibly, it would be nice to be born into money like the Kardashians, and it would be nice to always get Pocket Aces when your opponent has Pocket Kings. However, this is not always the case in poker as in life. We are all born into different circumstances, how we handle these situations determines how high we rise or how low we sink in life. Hence, we need to play the hand we are dealt no matter what.

On another note, always have your eyes set on the bright side. As they say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and you will begin to discover that when you are dealt a crap hand, and you do make it, it is so much sweeter.

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(Image Credits: Philosiblog)

Lesson Two: Make your own luck

Thomas Jefferson said, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

Have you ever realized that the more hard work you put into something the more things fall into place? It is during such moments that you tend to fall for the notion that you are indeed lucky! However, at times, you lose the spark that once motivated you to put in the hard work and all of a sudden things come tumbling down. During such moments, you can sit around and hope things work out for you, or you can take the necessary steps to reduce the role that luck plays in your life. The case is the same for poker game when you are dealt a pack of unfavorable cards.

However, you need to realize that being good at something doesn’t mean you won’t need to be lucky some of the time, it just means you won’t need to be lucky all of the time. Basically, the point that I am driving home is that the old saying of, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” is flat wrong, because if you’re good at something you don’t need to be all that lucky.

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(Image Credits: CBS News)

Lesson Three: Be open-minded

George Bernard Shaw said, “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Well, that is self explanatory, or isn’t it so?

Even though pundits would have us believe otherwise, not everything is black and white, and there isn’t always a “correct” answer. There is an awful lot of gray in this world.

What I’m telling you is, don’t close off your mind to other ways of thinking or other potential solutions to a problem.

Most of the time, in poker and in life, the answer will be clear-cut and simple, but other times it won’t. There isn’t always a right or wrong way to play a hand of poker, and the same holds true in your everyday life, sometimes you’ll find that there is more than one right answer, and on rare occasions there can often be no good answers and you have to choose between the lesser of two evils.

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(Image Credits: Poker News)

Lesson Four: Be PROACTIVE not REACTIVE

According to Steven R. Covey, the first habit of highly successful individuals is that they are proactive. Being proactive means that one takes responsibility for their lives; they do not blame conditions and circumstances, or the conditioning for their behaviour. They understand that they choose their behaviour. On the other hand, reactive individuals are often affected by their physical environment. They search for external sources to blame for their behaviour. For instance, if the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather.

Pro-activeness can be likened to aggression. An aggressive person pursues something rather than waiting for things to happen in their lives. In poker, there is an age old axiom, “Aggression wins.”

In contrast, reacting to everything that comes along limits your chances to succeed, as sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns and exert your own will. The perfect example of this occurs in poker: When you call you can only win by having the best hand, but when you bet you can win by having the best hand or getting the other guy to fold.

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(Image Credits: Meta Management)

Lesson Five: Know when to cut your losses

Jackie Robinson asserts that, “Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.” This scenario can be likened to the pursuit of one’s losses with an aim of minimizing it.

In poker, chasing your losses is a prescription for disaster. As a poker player, you need to separate the money you’ve already invested in the game as well as in the current hand from your current decision. It is worth noting that the players who don’t follow this advice, and say things like “I’ve already put so much money in the pot, I can’t fold now” don’t last too long, or at least there money doesn’t.

You’ll find the same thinking is even more prevalent in your regular everyday life as well, with people simply unwilling to trade in the old car that they have been bringing to the shop every month because they just put so much money into it already. Or the people who buy an autographed artefact for lots of money that suddenly drops in price, but they won’t sell it (and cut their losses) because they can’t get what they initially paid for it.

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(Image Credits: 888 Poker)

Lesson Six: Enjoy the journey

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is Journey not a destination.”

A good poker player will tell you that poker is played for the long-run; you don’t look at individual sessions or even weeks or months of results to determine a player’s ability; it’s simply all one big, long game.

Likewise, in life, you should not sweat the small stuff. Moreover, you do not have to beat yourself up over setbacks. However, you should enjoy the process of becoming a skilled practitioner in whatever you choose to do. Sometimes it will take a long time before you become a winning poker player, but when you do those early losses will be wiped out fairly quickly.

Indeed #LifeIsLikeAGame

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(Image Credits: Etsy Studio)

Lesson Seven: Life simply isn’t fair, nor should it be

Barbara Kingsolver said, “Don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you’re good, bad things can still happen. And if you’re bad, you can still be lucky.”

If you want fairness you won’t find it at a poker table, and you won’t find it in life either. Doing the right thing doesn’t always guarantee a good result, and just like in life, the poker tables can be unusually cruel and heartbreaking at times, but such is the nature of a card game and a world where randomness rules.

That being said, in between each of these kicks in the groin the poker gods give you there is a lesson to be learned; focus on what you can control and let the uncontrollable events happen around you; trying to control, or dwelling on, everything is a pointless exercise and takes away your attention from the things you can control.

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(Image Credits: PokerStars)

Lesson Eight: Protect yourself

From time to time, we can be swindled or be taken advantage of. As a result of this, we all have to learn how to protect ourselves at some point in life.

So, always be alert, be skeptical, and as Benny Binion would say, “Trust everyone, but always cut the cards.”

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(Image Credits: Gambling Sites)

Lesson Nine: Discipline

Thomas Henry Huxley said, “Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, whether you like it or not.”

In life, no matter how skilled you are, without discipline you will implode sooner or later; likely sooner. Likewise, in poker you need to be disciplined and control your emotions, you need to have a disciplined approach when it comes to your bankroll, and you need to be disciplined in the way you play, study, and approach the game.

Think of it this way; it’s fun to play soccer or even basketball, but it’s not so fun to do all of the conditioning drills that will make you a better soccer or basketball player. Often times it’s the little things –the things we hate doing– that are the difference between success and failure.

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(Image Credits: www.theprosplaypoker.com )

Lesson Ten: You don’t have to be the best

It is said that, “To succeed in business surround yourself with geniuses; to succeed in poker surround yourself with idiots.”

In poker, the key to success is to know your limitations and to find games that you can beat and the same holds true in life. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t make promises you cannot keep.

In life, it is important to know that when you are in need of help or advice, ask for it!

It’s simple, but if you understand what you can and can’t do, are willing to seek out the advice of others and actually listen to it, and do the absolute best you can in whatever you choose to do, your life will be a whole lot easier.

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(Image Credits: Vegas Young Professionals)

(NB: Much of the content in this blog post is retrieved from http://www.nj.com/onlinegamblingnj/index.ssf/2014/02/10_important_life_lessons_i_le.html)

 

The Game..

Too often, we have come across the following quote, “Life is like a game.” Many philosophers and motivational speakers have also contributed to the thought that life is indeed like a game. For instance, take Alan Rufus who says that,

“Life is like a game of chess. To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with insight and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are accumulated along the way. We become each and every piece within the game called life.”

On the same note, another wise man pointed out that,

“Life is like a game of chess, changing with each move.”

Chess is indeed a fantastic game. Surprisingly, its origin still remains a subject of mystery. This has left many individuals wondering how a person or a group of people could just sit down and come up with the game. It often comes as a coincidence that from generation to generations, parallels have been drawn between the game of chess and life. At times, we have to give up the thing or things we love the most. As one great man once said,

“Life is like a game of chess. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice the things you love most for the better.”

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Image Credits: TechnoBuffalo

Indeed, love is life. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Where there is love, there is life.” The same applies to chess. Each piece has a role to play. Funny enough, chess has been compared to true love. In true love,  a boy is always afraid of losing his queen, and the girl risks everything just to protect her king. Wow! How charming!

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Image Credits: Pinterest

In life, there will always be ups and downs. There are moments when we may seem to be taking two or three steps back and a step forward. In such a season, we often feel like we are not making progress. It feels like being stuck in the wilderness. However, we ought to remember that in all these, everything is working together for our good if and only if we are focused on progress rather than on the problems at hand. Back to the chess game, we ought to remember that no one has ever won by taking only forward moves. Sometimes it is necessary to move backward to take better steps forward and eventually win the game. That’s life.

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Image Credits: Pinterest

We ought to live organized lives. An organized life entails coming having a vision and backing it up with SMART goals. The scripture reminds us that, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV). Without the vision, life is not worth living. Without vision, we lack a sense of direction. Without vision, a project is already a failure even before the foundation stone is laid. However, we ought to remember that in between accomplishing the vision and the goals lies hard work, discipline, and consistency. Additionally, living an ordered life involves taking calculated risks. The same goes for a game of chess where the players ought to take calculated movements to win. As Bing Gordon asserted, “Life is like a chess game – you don’t want to waste a move.” Indeed, we ought to be deliberate with every move we make.

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Image Credits: chess.com

Our lives are made up of the past, the present, and the future. We ought to dwell much on the present with eyes set towards the future, and this is why we need vision. The past is behind us with its achievements (which we celebrate and esteem highly) and failures (which at times frustrates us but we ought to learn from them). Forethought is considered as an essential element in our lives. So, what is forethought? It is simply planning ahead. It is becoming a visionary individual. It entails having a careful consideration for what lies ahead of us. Much of the problems we experience can be avoided when we become prudent enough to engage in forethought. Even in chess, the players engage in forethought before making a move because one mistake can cost them the whole game. For this reason, “in life as in chess, forethought wins.”

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Image Credits: Pinterest

One of my favorite authors, Stephen R. Covey notes that one of the seven habits of highly successful individuals is beginning with the end in mind. This habit or principle is also applicable in a game of chess. Before making a particular move, the player ought to have seen the consequence of the move (whether it will favor them or their opponent or whether it will move them one step closer to victory). The same way, we need to look into the consequences of the actions we intend to take. It is only when we do so that we shall avert the adverse outcomes.

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Bobby Fischer.

Bobby Fischer, one of the greatest chess players, said, “Chess is life.” Indeed, life is like a game.

My Dream Breakfast

Not long ago, I was listening to one of my favorite radio programmes. The topic of discussion of the day was, “3 people I would really want to have breakfast with.” I must say that I found the discussion very interesting as callers kept jamming up the lines, and text messages streamed in thick and fast. On my end, the topic reflected a time for reflection. It made me dig into my bucket list that contains the influential people I really dream of meeting one day. These are the people who I esteem highly and view as role models. My list of 3 was quite simple. Have a look below.

  1. Joyce Meyer

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Joyce Meyer delivering a sermon.

Credits: JoyceMeyerMinistries

Joyce Meyer is a Christian author and preacher at Joyce Meyer Ministries. Despite facing sexual abuse from her father, she grew up to where she is today and frequently shares about the abuse in her meetings.

I first came to know of Joyce through GOD TV programs back in primary school. Having little or no clue at all about what she was teaching, I used to change the channel and move on to interesting programmes. However, as I grew older, I gave more attention to her programme. I have made it a point to listen to her each morning at 4.30 a.m. on Family Radio 316 and I must say that her message usually gets me kick-started for the day! Supposing I miss the morning show, there is always a repeat at 1.00 p.m. Mondays to Friday.

Joyce uses exactly 25 minutes to deliver her message in a programme titled, “Enjoy Everyday Life.” It is amazing how she does not sweat out or seem to be in a hurry to get the message home or even lose track of what she is preaching on in such a short span of time. Besides preaching, she also has sessions where she answers questions regarding one’s walk with God in a programme titled, “Everyday Answers.” She also posts daily devotional messages. Her social media pages are full of messages of encouragement mostly drawn from scriptures. As an author, she has written several books such as Start Your New Life Today (2008), The Secret To True Happiness (2008), and the famous Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind (1995).

I probably want to have breakfast with her as I seek answers to questions regarding life. I might even prompt her to go into her famously known stiff-armed imitation of a robot chanting, “What about me? What about me?”

Joyce Meyer imitating a robot

Video: Courtesy of Youtube

2. Strive Masiyiwa

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Strive Masiyiwa

Credits: Unilever

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder of Econet Wireless, an international telecommunications group. He is also an established entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist. He is also a board member of several organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and The Pan African Strategic Institute among others.

I came to know of Mr. Masiyiwa back in 2015 when he was the Guest Speaker of Kenya’s National Prayer Breakfast. What caught my attention was his humility despite all the achievements. Additionally, I was really impressed with the charisma with which he delivered his 10 minute speech. After the address, the first thing I did was liking his Facebook page and realized what I had been missing.

Through his page, Mr. Masiyiwa usually shares golden tips regarding entrepreneurship. He also gives afterthoughts regarding topics that he has shared and even has the chance to answer few questions from his followers. Recently, his page was ranked as the most influential business leadership platform in the world in the month of April. It is hard to find a public figure like Strive who share tips on what made them get to the top. I urge you to take the time to like his page and follow on his tips.

I would really cherish a breakfast with Mr. Masiyiwa and probably have a chat on starting and running a successful multinational company.

 

Strive Masiyiwa during the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast

Video: Courtesy of Youtube

3. Denzel Washington

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Denzel Washington

Credits: NeoGAF

When one is asked to create a list of successful African-American actors, Denzel’s name would probably be among the top if not top of the list. I bet our parents remember him for his portrayal of Steve Biko in the movie Cry Freedom (1987). I came to know of him after watching Remember The Titans (2000) in which he acted as an African-American coach of a high school team containing players of mixed races. His encouragement to the team members and the way he handled racial differences inspired me to make a follow up on other movies that he acted. Man on Fire (2004), Inside Man (2006), American Gangster (2007), Deja Vu (2006), and Equalizer (2014) are some of the interesting movies he has acted. His movie that impressed me the most is Training Day (2001) where he portrayed a rogue LAPD narcotics cop. In fact the movie earned him an Oscars Award.

Denzel knows how to bring the best out of movie characters that he is given. The charm with which he talks cannot fail to impress any observer. Besided acting, Denzel usually gives short keynote motivational and inspirational addresses. I have always looked forward to his quotable quotes and speeches.

I would probably cherish a breakfast with him and ask him a couple of questions regarding  what makes a successful actor and how one can also be charming and successful in life.

Denzel Washington commencement speech at The University of Pennsylvania

Video: Courtesy of Youtube

I would like to squezee in an extra person: Warren Buffet.

4. Warren Buffett

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Warren Buffett

Credits: AP

Warren Buffet is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and one of the most successful investors in the world. He was recently ranked the second richest person in the United States, and fourth wealthiest in the world.

I came to know of Warren Buffett when I was selecting my university course. Back then, it was all about the money as is today. Money seems to be the guiding factor when one is making a choice on which course they will take up at the university. I settled on a business related course that would lead me into working at an investment firm. At first my parents wanted me to pursue accounting but I was against it. I became drunk with financial markets and therefore settled on finance. Over the campus years, I looked to Warren Buffett as a role model such that when we were required to present a proposal during Research Methods, I chose a topic related to the securities market. In fact, Security Analysis (1934), a book written by Benjamin Graham (Buffett’s mentor) and David Dodd was like a Bible that guided my group during the research process. It was not unusual to hear my group mates and some classmates referring to me as Warren Buffett. To date, I still look at him as a role model when it comes to matters to do with investing in stocks. I am an ardent follower of his advice regarding investment with a longterm view rather than the short term speculative view.

I would really like to have breakfast with him and probably ask for advice regarding the best stocks to invest in now at the Nairobi Securities Exchange especially at a time when the bourse is still recovering from its worst bear run of all time.

So that is my list. Who would you like to have breakfast with? Please share in the comments section below.

Lazylog

Lazylog.

That is the word that we coined together with the milk bar owner. It is a term we formed to refer to individuals who found it hard to own and clean a milk container. It is funny how we came up with the word. Remember 2012-13 when the current Kenyan regime used to refer to themselves as digital? Also, do you remember Smart Joker singing tumetoka analogue sasa tuko digital? Yes. That is how we formed the word. We have the analogue or the BBC (Born Before Computer) generation. We have the digital generation comprised of individuals born in the computer and internet era. They are the tech-savvy generation. Our lazylog generation was born out of the behavior of the present day individuals who found it hard to execute simple tasks such as washing a milk container. To these people, it was easy for them to hop into the milk bar, order their preferred quantity, and have it poured in a polythene bag. They would rather bite off the edge of the polyethene bag and empty the contents into a stainless steel sufuria than having a ubiquitous container. Moreover, they would rather use the disposable polythene bags that would not require them to do cleaning afterward than have a container that should be washed each moment they empty their milk in the sufuria to prepare tea, coffee, cocoa, milo or whatever.

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Milka in polyethene bags.

Image Credits: smmartpkg.com

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Milk in a container.

Image Credits: dreamstime.com

In this microwave economy where everyone is out to “save time,” it is not unusual to find these types of individuals. Besides that, we have another set of persons who prefer the “ready made” things. On one side, ready made has resulted in job creation in that you cannot fail to trace a mama mboga’s kibanda in any neighbourhood. However, on the other side, it has resulted in the lazylog generation. In the past, people would go to the market and order bunches of sukuma wiki. They would then walk home and chop the vegetables themselves. In the present day, you could come across as a rare species if you order the same sukuma wiki and proceed home to chop them yourself. As a matter of fact, mama mbogas have considered it their obligation to chop the vegetables each time a customer places an order. With long queues of customers waiting to be served, it is not surprising to encounter cases of quarrels among them because the mama mboga serves on an out of sight out of mind basis unlike the first come first served basis that is deeply bred in the minds and hearts of subscribers of the microwave economy. It is not rare to see them stocking the ready made vegetables in different quantities of ksh 10, ksh. 20, and ksh. 40.

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Mama Mboga in her kibanda.

Image Credits: fenesi.com

Shopping malls are springing up fast like weeds in an unattended garden. In these shopping malls, there are supermarkets. These supermarkets have found a strategic way to appeal to the ever-growing middle class that exhibits the “save time” tendencies. Proud members of this social class deem themselves to be ever on the rise up the money ladder. To them, time is money in the form that if you do not save time-oh boy!- money will run away from you like a gazelle being chased by a lion. They want chapati they get it there and then, they want githeri they get it there and then, they want ugali beef/matumbo/kuku/mboga they get it there and then. Recently, there was an argument that the ready-to-eat foods found in the delicatessen (or deli) has led to the emergence of a generation of ladies who cannot cook. Simply put, she gets home with cooked meat, ugali,and mboga. Later, when the husband gets home, it just becomes a matter of her heating the food, guess how? You got that right, using a microwave. The couple then proceeds to eat the “fast” food, fast in the sense that it takes around 10-15 minutes to prepare a supper meal that would normally take close to one and a half hours! Woe unto her when she arrives at the deli late. That is the day she will display her poor cooking skills.

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Garden City Mall.

Image Credits: potentash.com

On the contrary, delicatessens deserve praise because they fill a gap that used to bring trouble in the past, that is, convenience. Imagine this. You are starting out as a young couple each working in top corporations. You do not have a kid yet. To make matters worse, you stay in Ronga. You wake before the rest of Kenya wakes, and you reach home the last. The questions come: when shall the lady cook? When shall she have enough rest to be able to face the next day? How shall the couple create sufficient time to brainstorm and plan together? How will they find a chance to study? Again, you may be a young lad or lass, straight out of college and into your first job and because you are young, you are deemed as the company’s mtu wa mkono. By the end of the day, you feel wasted such that you find it hard to cook a simple meal of ugali mboga or even ugali and eggs. The questions still stream in: how shall you be able to maintain your top performance in the following day? How can you create extra hours of rest and sleep? How shall you get the time to catch up on the current top series and TV show? How will you create time to read your favorite novel? The questions go on and on, and this is where it becomes necessary to pursue the services of delicatessens.

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Customers being served with already cooked food in Naivas supermarket’s delicatessen in Westlands, Nairobi.

Image Credits: Daily Nation.

The bottom line is that if one can chop the vegetables and meat, and also cook for themselves, well and good, let them do so. If one is inconvenienced by the above duties, well then, let them pursue convenient options. Moreover, we should not shy away from the execution of certain tasks. It would be good to learn at least how to cook to avoid unnecessary embarrassment. Picture this. You have welcomed a couple of friends or even business associates then you proceed to get them food from a delicatessen, and then you wife or nanny heats it in a microwave in their presence. How embarrassing! Some may even wonder why you got married to a useless wife. Again, one should avoid becoming a lazylog with an excuse of “saving time.” The joy of life is in the learning and execution of simple task such as washing the dishes, chopping meat and vegetables and even cooking chapati however tough these tasks are. Just try executing these tasks at your convenient time, and I assure you that you shall enjoy the work of your hands.

“…..checking on you…..”

“……….Hey there? Longtime! Hope you doing well. I’m good. Was just checking on you. And BTW Happy New Month!!……”

This is just a simple text that I receive each moment we usher in a new month. I value such texts regardless of whether we have had little contact with the person inboxing me. I appreciate the ‘checking on you’ messages.

On the other hand, I usually send the same type of ‘catching up’ messages to friends and associates. However, in other times, I send them inconsistently. With the advent of technology and more so WhatsApp and Telegram, I prefer to download images bearing the words ‘Happy New Month.’ I get straight to the point. To close friends, I write customized messages to wish them well in the coming month. To friends who I haven’t contacted in a long time, I usually start a little conversation just to check on how they are doing and also update them on how I am doing.

It is usually good to check on people around us. Nobody knows when their time on earth will be up. The unexpected always happens. In the current generation, it has become the norm for individuals to be united by death. It is during the burial of a relative that people get to catch up. I remember late last year when I attended the funeral of a high school mate, the need for catching up with schoolmates and more so classmates arose. A good way of doing so was knowing where each individual resides such that when you are around their neighborhood, you just give them a call and meet them for one to two minutes. Another way was to create WhatsApp groups where individuals could share ideas. The underlying factor was that we should not be united by the death of a comrade.

Death reminds us that we are just but passengers here on earth. The world is not our home. Having this in mind, it would be good to be at least catching up with individuals around us. Make it monthly, or even quarterly. For those close to us you can make it weekly or fortnightly. The rule of the thumb is to know the limits and also to understand the relationship between you and the individual you wish to text. We all need privacy. Moreover, we are wired differently, and as a result, not everyone enjoys chatting. Just hit them up with a conclusive statement like the one shared above. You could start today since tomorrow is a new month. Go through your contact list and identify those people you haven’t contacted in a long time. Get to know how they are doing and also tell them how you are doing.

Happy catching up!