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!

STOP!

Close to a decade ago, I came across my little brother’s exercise book. I must say the book was old judging by the wrinkled and stained pages contained therein. It would pass for paper used in firing up a charcoal stove. However, something caught my attention. Indeed as they say, never judge a book by its cover, I proved this adage to be true. In the middle of the book were written the words STOP STOP STOP. The final stop had been broken down into an acronym with each letter standing for something.

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Image Credits: https://thislittlecreature.wordpress.com/2013/06/

 

S-Stop

T-Think

O-Observe

P-Plan

I began to connect the dots. Previously, he had written the word ‘STOP’ on the wall using a red marker pen. We couldn’t understand why he wrote it. In fact, mom gave him a thorough beating for dirtifying the walls with nonsense. Later in the evening, I asked what really pushed him to the extent of writing on the wall. His reply was unimpeachable.

“Teacher alituambia tuandike pahali tunaezaona kila siku. Sa mi nkaona ukuta ndio poa!”

You know how kids are innocent. From this experience, I was able to draw one lesson. And that lesson is the importance of taking a pause. At times we may find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. This is the point when we need to STOP. In that period of a pause, we need to examine the current situation and determine the causes of the setback. We need to think of a way out and then devise a plan to take us to our destination.

Games have halftimes, conferences have tea and lunch breaks, racing competitions have checkpoints, and schools have break times. You also need to have a break time in your schedule. This is a time where you reflect the seeds planted so far and the results achieved in the day, the week, the month or even the year. That is the reason jobs have leave days and holidays.

Despite having tight schedules, short deadlines and the desire to achieve more, just find it within your schedule to set aside time to STOP. It acts like a checkpoint towards your destiny. So the next time you feel restless or are stressed, STOP!

Anger..

In today’s world, there’s no shortage of things to make you angry. But is angry really the way you want to be?

Anger certainly grabs your attention, heightening your awareness, giving a burst of energy. Yet once that happens, anger has nothing more to offer.

Maintaining anger will drain your energy. And what you get in return is nothing of any value.

Be angry if you must, then quickly let the anger go. Free yourself to respond in a way that’s beneficial and effective.

Don’t let yourself be trapped by anger and forced into destructive reaction. Step away from the desire for revenge or punishment, and find a positive response.

Focus on the good you can do, on the positive difference you can make. Leave anger behind as you move forward with the commitment to make things better.

Overall Blogpost credits: http://greatday.com/

Future…

Every prediction of the future is based on the past. No person knows for sure what will happen tomorrow, or next year.

If you are tempted to be discouraged about the future, avoid that temptation. The results are not in yet, and you can act right now to dramatically improve those results.

There are billions of people in this world, seeking to live prosperous and fulfilling lives. Each day, a whole lot of them are doing so.

Countless new and worthwhile ideas are born every moment. In our highly interconnected world, good ideas and their implementations can quickly spread.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring. Yet there’s an enormous shared incentive, spread throughout the world, to make tomorrow a little better than today.

Let yourself envision a bright future ahead, then do something to make it so. You can be sure many others, every day, are doing the same.

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Image Credits: http://quotesgram.com/future-quotes/

Overall blogpost credits: http://greatday.com/

Appreciate your why…

You are in the process of discovering your why and as you do so, you come to know your how. Your why is the purpose of your life or what you intended to accomplish, and your how is the manner you choose to go about that.

Everyone has a why but not all discover it because they may think it needs to be something big or obvious, but the smallest and simplest of goals such as being a good employee, friend, or supportive person can be a why.

Every experience you have had, adventure you have taken, and things you have done in your life have been a part of your individual journey to your why, and as you examine all those things closely, it becomes quite apparent to you.

Now as you discover your why you inspire others to do the same, which is a your why.

In the words of William Barclay:

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Image Credits: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/143130094381498273/

Decide…

Today is the perfect day for you to decide who you desire to be. You have these days several times throughout your life and it is vital that you consciously take advantage of them.

Now it is never that you cannot do, be, or become whatever you desire, but it is difficult for you to accomplish that if you have yet to make the decision for yourself.

The reason you must continually do this throughout your life is that your particular goals or those desires of who you envision yourself to become will change because your awareness grows.

You have difficulty with this because you were taught that you should always stay with one thing. Give that up.

Remember:

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Image Credits: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/506458-stop-waiting-for-the-perfect-day-or-the-perfect-moment

Overall Blogpost Credits: http://anyadvicefortoday.com/

Give up!!!

It is high time as human beings that we should do ourselves justice. Doing justice in this context implies that we should increase the frequency at which we give ourselves credit. We need to appreciate the little we have or even the little that we have achieved. We should avoid focusing on the negative, avoid stress and also instances where we find ourselves whining about how life has given us lemons instead of pineapples!

It is only fair that everyone appreciates where they are and as they do that, they should make it a point to GIVE UP on the following:

1. The Shame of Past Failures
Your past does not equal your future. All that matters is what you do right now

2. Letting the opinions of others control your life
It’s not what others think, it’s what you think about yourself that counts. You have to do exactly what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everyone else

3. Being indecisive about what you want
You will never leave where you are until you decide where you would rather be.

4. Procrastinating on the goals that matter to you
Accept the responsibility. Also remember that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now!

5. Choosing to do nothing
You don’t get to choose how you are going to die, or when
You can only decide how you are going to live, right now
Every day is a new chance to choose.

6. Your need to be right
Aim for success but never give up your right to be wrong.
Because when you do, you will also lose your ability to learn new things and move forward with your life

7. Running from problems that should be fixed
Stop running.
Face these issues, fix the problems, communicate, appreciate, forgive and LOVE the people in your life who deserve

8. Making excuses rather than decisions
Most long term failures are the outcome of people who make excuses instead of decisions

9. Overlooking the positive points in your life
What you see often depends entirely on what you’re looking for.
You will have a hard time ever being happy if you aren’t thankful for the good things in your life right now

10. Not appreciating the present Moment
Too often we try to accomplish something big without realizing that the greatest part of life is made up of little things.

Only then shall we be able to enjoy every step of our way…