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I don’t have qualms with the comic posts you make just about anything you cherish. Often times we get overtaken by events, new places, new people and feel the urge to surprise our friends and followers with our experiences, for example – hey there, enjoying myself with cuzo in Kawangware, hey, I’m now eating chicken wings bought by bae at Merica hotel, in a bus travelling to Rodi Kopany.
The type of posts we make might signal a narcisistic society desperate for symbols to idolise. But it is in the middle of that idolism that we find ourselves posting information inconsistent with our beliefs to get likes and adoration. We not only regret why we even thought of hitting that ‘post’ button, but also realise we have had a fair display of our stupid underbelly. By this time, the whole world would have noted it and probably began to conjure up images of who the hell we are. Well, while we console ourselves it is not important after all what people will be thinking of us – which I agree is a superb behavioral palliative to image destruction, posting just about anything is a terrible habit which only destroys our personal, hard-built brands.
The probability that you post a stupid thing is independent of any other characteristic you have. Economist Cipolla posits “Stupidity is a variable that remains constant across all populations. Every category one can imagine—gender, race, nationality, education level, income—possesses a fixed percentage of stupid people. There are stupid college professors. There are stupid people at Davos and at the UN General Assembly. There are stupid people in every nation on earth. How numerous are the stupid amongst us?” Thats why I’m sure we all poses a fixed percentage of gusto to post stupid content, and I’m helping you to be aware of that so you can avoid it.
Many scholars have researched and written widely about thoughts, and they tell us thoughts are the most powerful human resources we have. Napoleon Hill, for example wrote that thoughts are things, and powerful things at that. The book I currently read, As a Man Thinketh, tends to propagate the same theoritical pedagogy – mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance. Even the good book says as a man thinks so is he. What and how we think is exactly what we show the world. So, if you show the world stupidity, then it goes without saying that your thought process is steeped in reductive mediocrity and idiocy. And people begin to delineate a stupid you. And cut you down to sizes. And put you in your rightful place.Don’t post party photos showing you inebriated or a hand placed where it shouldn’t be. Don’t post what chicken you are plucking or cow you’re milking. Or what you had for breakfast. Don’t you post arguments and rants, you may come across as an overly negative person, not the kind people will want in their lives. Eliminate profanity from your online and offline vocabulary. Stop shairing belligerantly offensive messages. And pictures of dead people even if they were your relation. It is just needless to show people how unreserved you are. And consider it a bold move to block anyone from your digital life who posts utter mediocrity.
Show me what you post and I will tell you who you are.
One common behavioral pattern I have noticed about human beings is that everyone possesses a natural yearning for greatness and power, what author Dale Carnegy summarily calls a feeling of self importance. What irks, however, is our unreasonable want for validation and elussive affirmation from peers and friends. We live for the applause, constantly chasing other people’s approval. So, it begs the question, do we really exist if we have not been liked or favourited? This is a hot debate and will help people grappling with identity crisis answer one fundamental life question, who am I?
OneStepBeyond recently did an unpublished survey with ten people, five ladies five men. All confessed that anytime they post a picture or update an experience on facebook, they constantly log in to monitor how the likes and comments are streaming up. Some send friend requests to millions of foreigners to increase the possibility of getting many likes to help them in image management. Others tag along celebrities. This indicates the height at which our self-worth and self-esteem has been colonised by the digital system. And it goes without saying that we don’t know who we are yet.
The digital age has brought with itself one big problem, folks will not believe in themselves until a community of social media friends have affirmed, either through ‘liking,’ ‘favoriting,’ or ‘linking to,’ that their pursuits are worthy and their efforts are admirable. People are desperate for attention and are bussy building their self-esteem with bricks made of external recognition. We are literally out brandishing ourselves so brilliantly to make people pat us on the shoulders and cheer us up. That’s why I hate to post my pictures on facebook, it is designed to suck maximum self-centred content out of me [ I’m not discouraging positive postings].
What is true is that the number of likes and the cool comments we get are not accurate description of who we are. We end up with a fazzled personality and a self-esteem dangling out of control over a precipice. We really don’t need to feel good because someone like us, we need to feel good because we like ourselves. If practically everybody we meet likes us, it means that we are possibly tying ourselves up in knots trying to offer up an inauthentic picture of ourselves in order to get along with others.
Author Evan Selinger had me sold with his existential description of the damnation the desire for other people’s approval can provide” For without a healthy dose of self-determination and intrinsic motivation, self-development gets stymied and tasks rich with possibilities lose their potential for meaning”
Nevertheles, philosophers agree that yes we should depend on others for honest feedback that prevents personal growth from getting derailed by ignorance and rationalization. And I suggest the best way to get validated is not us desperately seeking the validation. We should create value and chase success which will automatically draw people to us.
Take an example, in my life and at OneStepBeyond, I’ve conditioned myself not to anticipate any validation and praise from friends or readers. While it is really great to derive satisfaction from peers acknowledging that I produce quality work, it will only block me from achieving what I was meant for. I understand that praise from fans isn’t necessary to motivate the development of a virtuous character: to cultivate expertise, to commit to work requiring meticulous detail, and to embrace a heightened sense of responsibility. I’ve also stopped encouraging and cajoling people to read my blog. Because, what people want to read is value, if my blog is as valuable and authoritative, then I will automatically get folks around reading and subscribing. It’s not for me to attract people to my blog, but it is for the value I create therein to make people develop a pulsating sense of desire to associate with me and to read OneStepBeyond.
These principles not only apply to my life and blog, they are universal. If you try them out, you get the same results. So, why really would we want people to like us, to be on our side, to cheer us, to believe us. We have to do positive things that confer on us the likes.
In summary, we should not live our lives chasing for other people’s approvals. It’s a shallow way to live as it drains our time and energy by pleasing others and recurring feelings of insecurity and emptiness. The invisible people blend in the background of our lives and only become noticeable when things go south.
Any rebuttal is welcome.
Cocacola and Safaricom are two words that pretty much resonate with many people including kids, perhaps because of the strong brands they have struggled to build over the years. Cocacola itself began in 1886 and I bet they would sell everything but not the trademark – because building a brand is not as slopy as anyone with a middling view would think!
Branding has long been relegated to companies but as individuals, we do have brands as well. Your personal brand is how people see you, how they’d describe you. It is simply the set of characteristics and values that describe who you are and guide your choices in life. Your personal brand is what makes you, you. It is that je ne sais quoi that people know you for. A robust brand is preferrable to one that is uninteresting and unpolished.
I recently went for an internship interview with KCB Kenya and was asked to say how people describe me ‘out there.’ What a phenomenal question? I told them this: “Majority of people I come into contact with say I look older than atually I’m, because the level of self-actualisation and maturity portrayed by me is not something you would expect in 21 year olds, I tend to carry all my dealings professionally and I don’t reasonably justify activities and behaviors that are frankly mediocre.”
Building a signature brand might sound elusive to young people but it is really an important ingredient for your personal growth. The image you take on reflects the person you really want to become, it relflects on your beliefs, values and dominant thoughts. And it is not all about faking who you are – all show and no substance, it involves genuinely representing to the world the real, best you. Building your brand on your true strengths allows you to discover exactly what makes you fascinating which will help you to navigate your road to positive recognition.
The mode and capacity in which you represent yourself on social media can make or break your image. Are you the guy who imports sordid pictures from Kilimani women’s facebook page and distribute ad naseum to WhatsApp groups you come across? Well, you may delude yourself to be that creative and funny but it just dents on your image. You create an impression to the rest of the world that your mind reasonably justifies activities and behaviours that are frankly mediocre and low quality. Building a strong brand will require you to monitor on an ongoing basis how you appear and come accross online and to improve upon whenever and wherever possible.
Infuse your personality, values, passions and beliefs to your everyday behaviours. People should know you and identify you with a specific area of understanding, behaviour or expertise, which will make you the go-to person in your industry. Branding will also help you to build authority and following. Building a recognizable personal brand creates a vision for your future and also opens professional opportunities.
As you struggle to sharpen your personal brand, folks will begin to see that you are important and interesting and they will begin to invite you to be a part of their stories.
Meanwhile, I’m thankful that you continue to read OneStepBeyond. This blog is nothing without my audience who keeps me going and inspired.
”I’m a big fan of starting small. Trying differrent things to see which one works and which one doesn’t. And iterating based on feedback” – Moses Auma
The historic book; How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie has sold more than 15 million copies all over the world! But it is not the volume of sales and revenue collected that matters, it is the new found magic how this book was started that really matter. It was started small, very small. And that is the achievement.
While giving a talk to a group of people, Carnegie said “I prepared a short talk. I called it ‘How to Win Friends and influence People. I say ‘short.’ It was short in the begining but it soon expanded to a lecture that consumed one hour thirty minutes.”
After delivering this talk, Dale found that the attendees started discussing their experiences and some ‘rules’emerged. Ultimately, the talk became a course and a need for a textbook of sorts emerged. Here is Carnegie on how the famous book became a reality:
“We started with a set of rules printed on a card no larger than a postcard. The next season we printed a larger card, then a leaflet, then a series of leaflets, each one expanding in size and scope. After fifteen years of experimentation and research came this book”
Yet still, we know that Richard Branson started the Virgin brand with a Student Magazine, but Virgin and Canergie’s book are just two of the many examples which shows that the reality is counterintuitive: truly, the best things we know and adore started as tiny things with almost inconceivable future.
Life isn’t defined by epiphanies, big or grand starts. I’ve always felt life is better defined by lots of small starts and finishes. No supreme moments of clarity, just decisions to try something slightly more challenging than the day before.
I’ve noticed that great things almost always start small. I find similarly that some of the most important achievements I’ve made started as little projects. OneStepBeyond itself is a great example. It started as a short service messages sent to my contacts and classmates via WhatsApp. When I realised people received my messages with positive affirmation, it hit me that I could put pen to paper.
Then I asked magazine Reel to be given a column to pen down a few inpiring words. After one year of consistent contribution, I realised I could create and maintain a blog as part of giving back to the society what I have been privileged to learn from others. Many small starts and small projects, evolving a direction as I went. And I have witnessed OneStepBeyond grow into the most authoritative blog for success, the only journey that the youth need as a manual for success.
We all love to be part of big things. But that leaves all of us looking for big moments. For instance, an agribusiness management graduate will look forward to a bigger job position and huge perks. But you have to start somewhere, continously aligning yourself with the right skills managers look for that grants you such a lofty position. We can’t arrive at success by one magic wand, we have to be patiently working hard at each stage. Small starts don’t need to be perfectly correct, they just need to move you another step further towards the goal.
The art of starting small demands that you don’t wait to jump into your dreams, if your life is inclined towards business, why not start hawking lollipops or ‘kangumu’ or credit cards to your campus friends? If you intend to become a politician, why not contest a campus election and lose? If you want to become a writer, why not start a free wordpress account and fumble? If you want to become a political analyst, why not take your time to study the lives of the existing gurus in that field first?
It is essentially not so bad to have ambitious thoughts. And depending on the type of an individual, one either think big too much or don’t think big enough. It is those who think big too much who should need to pay attention to this post the more.
The day you busk in your success is the day you will be thankful you started small.
Social media undoings
Breaking up used to be a largely personal matter. You could easily toss away all the photos, love letters and anything that is remnant of past relationship, never to be seen again. But social media makes it extremely difficult for people these days to get over their exes. On facebook and WhatsApp, you see their new pictures and statuses pop up all the time. Their lives is so accessible that you find yourself stalking all the pictures you had with them. And you find yourself missing those moments with this person. And you find yourself wanting them all over again. And that’s when things can get dangerous.
Being a friend of divorcing partners
I begin to think this is what it must be like to be a friend of divorcing partners. Before, there was one truth, one story, one reality; now there are two. Each side accuses the other, and amid the raised voices, the unappeasable points of view, the vitriol and distress, the obfuscation and exaggeration and blame, the only thing that is demonstrably clear is that one side is ruder than the other. Seems to me that even if you didn’t know what they were arguing about, you would have to come to that conclusion.
It just sound disingenuous to cause a social faux pass with your personal issues altogether. Deal with it within your faculty.
Before, there was one truth, one story, one reality; now there are two. Each side accuses the other, and amid the raised voices, the unappeasable points of view, the vitriol and distress, the obfuscation and exaggeration and blame, the only thing that is demonstrably clear is that one side is ruder than the other.
Post Break up Competition
Whenever a couple calls it quits, they begin to engage in a race of petty display of who can move on quicker or appear happier to the world. Cluttering up social media with constant updates of how awesome they are without an ex, stalking them to investigate their progress is what I call break up competition. A total madness.
Come on guys, this is real. Take a spot check on the social pages of your dejected friends who feels their partners took them for a ride. You could see a first order violence indirectly meted out on them in terms of: lurid tittle-tattle, suggestive pics which are meant to outshine and all manner of sinister phraseologies. All these are meant to reel them back into nolstagic hell as much as they try to flee into the future.
Just a few examples of facebook posts and WhatsApp status updates:
“I heard that you are a player, nice to meet you, I’m the new coach”
“I would not complain if climatic change saw an end to, say, mosquitoes, hadedas and sharks. Or anything really, that thinks it can bite me or shout at me before the sun even rises. I’m including an ex-boyfriend here.”
“More bold and more beautiful and more happy.”
Every human being is born with some degree of competition in their blood but the one place this primal trait should never rear its ugly face is after break ups. It makes you miserable, it is time consuming and expensive.
I’m no expert on breakups management. To be honest, I suck at them and avoid any confrontation that it can bring. But doing these activities to obliterate past memories will be your panacea for piece of mind:
- Block them. On everything. And anything. It sounds harsh, and unecesssry but, it is truly the only thing that will finally let go of the sadness and pain that breakups bring. Out of site out of mind. When you don’t see their pictures pop up everywhere, you will start to adapt to a life without them. You will not feel the urge to see what they are up to. Clicking on that block button will make your future self thank you. And your ex will probably be thankful too.
- Unfollow on instagran. While it may feel extreme and aggressive, it feels unhealthy to be bombarded with photos, period.
- Recondition your mind to associate those things you used to do with your partner with other people. Simple, overwrite your ex.
- Beat bad memories with busy work. We don’t have time to waste daydreaming about ‘What ifs.’ Use every second of your time to optimize your lifestyle.
- Show you still care. While your ex may fire some social media jabs, it is imperative you refrain from revenge. They always expect you to retaliate and defend yourself. They want to feel they have a hold over you and a degree of control. By responding to their pettiness, you are indicating you still care and that your life is impacted by what they have to say about you.
- Move on with your life and let someone who is on your level find you. Your ex is not.
- Repeat after me: Stop following your Ex on Social Media.
No one can predict the future, but plenty of people are out there talking about what the future could be – with a changing technological, legal and cultural environment. Our glitchy human behavior may make it harder for us to take actions that benefit our future selves.
But when you can imagine concrete details of a possible future, it’s easier to close the future gap and put yourself into that future and it will become less of a stranger.
Like many students, I’ve fallen prey to a cardinal paradox – poisoning the present by agonizing over a future hardship that might never materialize. The greatest fear of many students is how they will begin life after their last university paper. See, we are wrapped up in things that have not yet happened. This makes us excellent problem solvers, but appalling worriers at the same time.
So, in this article, we want to ruin our short time alive by setting expectations of how we think everything should be after our university.
University comes with a lot of free things: free flowing water, free electricity, inexpensive accommodation, free WiFi and the fastest internet connections, free meeting rooms, free playing grounds, free gym services, free books in the library, free consulting from professors who always love getting involved in student run startups, free comrades – there are so many ways you can use your comrades for free, of course for mutual benefit, whether it is being shown how to use an application system in the computer, or holding your legs as you do sit-ups – virtually free everything you would pay dearly for outside campus.
Finishing your last paper means you are kissing the world of freebies goodbye. And you begin to live independently. The minute you threw that tasseled cap in the air, your student loans are no longer mythical numbers you’ve ignored for four years, Monday – Friday, 8-5 is a real thing, the year becomes a whole 12 months not two semesters and a break.
First thing pay attention to the present, ensure you have lived a full life so that you will not whine about those things you did not do in college. Fifty years ago, philosopher Alain Watts wrote in The Wisdom of Insecurity,
“It is in vain that we can predict and control the course of events in the future, unless we know how to live in the present. It is in vain that doctors prolong life if we spend the extra time being anxious to live still longer.”
Too often our minds are set on getting somewhere else. Each beautiful day comes to an end with hundreds of unnoticed moments behind us – we didn’t notice them because they were insignificant to us. And over time our entire lives become a massive pile of unnoticed and insignificant moments on our way to more important things. Then the important things get rushed through too… to get to the next one, and the next, until our time is up and we’re left questioning where it all went. But it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. This moment is your life, and you can make the best of it. The future hasn’t arrived. The only thing that’s real is what’s happening right now.
Choose your environment wisely. The environment is more powerful than your internal resolve. As a human-being, you always take on the form of the environments you continually place yourself. Consequently, the best use of your choices is consciously designing environments that facilitate your going one step beyond. Don’t spend all your time with idiots and then wonder why it’s hard to meet someone great to provide you opportunities. Go where the people you want to be like are.
If you move home, have a deadline how long you are going to stay there. It is comfortable yes but the distance between comfortable and complacent is surprisingly short.
Keep learning. Just because your formal education might have ended doesn’t mean you should stop learning. You have got to keep old skills sharp and continue learning new ones.
As for me, I will be willing to do any job in my field that provides an opportunity for moving ahead. I’m a big fan of starting small, trying different things to see which works and which doesn’t. And iterating based on feedback.
Leaders are self-made through chosen responses, not born. Because of intense transformational experience, people make choices that enable them to become leaders. People make the choice to be taught or to teach themselves and to follow the teachings. In summary, leadership is a function of choice- Moses Auma
A decade ago, during our formative years, societal values on leadership were based on the most ephemeral and frail of things. The attributes hero-worshiped then have only remained a pale shadow of what we value nowadays.
Leadership, positions, privileges and favorable evaluations we got from those around us were, in their entirety, pegged on physical strength rather than the ability to perform. I mean the physically stronger carried the day – set the pace.
If you could physically beat all people around you, it automatically conferred on you cheerleader-ship. If you were a lady and could win arguments and quarrels with fellow ladies, you got conferred on a higher position and a revered status so that you became sort of a role model. I am talking from a perspective of rural life, you know.
It is impossible to talk about physical strength without talking about power. In local schools, those who were huge, tough and powerful were made prefects. The school of thought was; they were able to exercise control over other students – through beatings and caning. And that’s how leadership was designed and distributed locally.
Those who had the drive, the zeal and zest to lead but lacked in the physical strength and bulky bodies were tossed to the back. Never in those days did schools practice sensitization of prefects on their role in school governance.
We grew up with a misguided mentality on leadership – if you were able to flog without resentment or rebellion, you made a fine leader. And any time one was made a prefect, the crux of the matter was “am I able to cane everyone without any threat of being beaten back.”
Ladies were often gagged, relegated and adrift because they did not harbor as much physical strength as did their male counterparts and were conspicuously missing on positions and local debates and opinion talks. The explanation for the clear under-representation of girls in school management could go even beyond body size probably because they were neither capable nor interested or they were both capable and interested but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible leadership barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes, that prevents women from accessing the ranks of power.
What students knew was that leaders were prefects. That was a classical thought then and it stands in stark contrast with my current definition of leadership which simply is inspiring other people to find their voice by affirming and communicating their worth and potentials in ways they come to see it themselves. And that’s what I do in this blog.
The presumptive superiority of huge and tough pupils were, within such an environment, premised on corresponding assumptions about the inferiority of a whole range of other groups.
These societal agreements on leadership and power have since been debunked by time. Today, it is not the physically stronger who will lead, hold office or positions. It is the most knowledgeable, the most innovative, the most creative – and there are no hormones for those attributes. Small men with big brains are leading big corporations and multi-nationals. Women too are shattering glass ceiling and we have been told that the only difference between a woman and a man is the anatomy.
While disapproving these traditional ethos of leadership, we need also to conceive the idea that everybody is a leader. Leadership is about influence and more less about authority according to Ken Blanchard, management expert and bestselling author of The One minute Manager. He says, in an article exploring why you should think of yourself as a leader, that anytime you are influencing the thinking, beliefs or development of someone else, you are engaging in leadership. Everyone has the ability to influence other people whether it’s a younger sibling at home, a co-worker or spouse.
Leadership is therefore more of the intrinsic makeup of an individual.