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This is Why You are a Child of God and Your Playing Small Does not Serve the World

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I have an automatic system that sends articles to over 5000 readers as immediately as they are dispatched.

And my consistent dissemination, when I have just begun, has elicited a bother to a paltry section who thinks I clutter their inboxes with unsolicited stuff.

While I have a wonderful team of young people who are dedicated to read, apply and teach whatever I have to post, regardless of my nondescript social milieu in citizen journalism, it will be worthy to recount my not-so-good experience with one pesky reader who recently left a comment with some elements of snide remarks ( I ‘trashed’ the comment as we have the prerogative to review each of them before releasing to the public eye).

Much to my chagrin, he said that, I am boasting with writing, that I should not show people that I can write. That I should keep it within myself, lest God sees it and take it away from me. By and large, his prepositions are not central to the ethical and conventional estimations of chest-thumping – you can attest.

I am quite willing to contend with criticism in my life. But destructive criticism has got a sly habit of rendering the victim to a default position, a kind of patronizing well-meaning pity.

And this leads me to addressing something, just briefly, because I did not plan to write this week. And I will draw from the Bible, just once. You have heard the parable of a lamp. A lit lamp should be placed on the lamp stand and not under the bed. So, show the world what you are doing. Let people know the difference you are making. Talking about what you are doing adds a certain layer of public accountability and you begin to set certain expectations in your mind. “If I don’t do it, they will think of me as a quitter”

Some people harbor a penchant for shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around them. This is wrong. You are a child of God and your playing small does not serve the world. You were made to make manifest the glory of God that is within you. Arise and shine for your light has come. Happy Sabbath.

#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺

Women’s Day: Meet These Two Powerful Women in my Life

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Today is The International Women’s day. I feel the urge to recognize how crucial women are and the enormous value women of whatever stripe adds to the socioeconomic system.

I write this with the focus of celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women for creating a wonderful world for us in their unique small ways.

As we celebrate this creation, it is very needful for us to give women a bigger space in political, economic and social circles.

Gender equality

While gender equality has been made a political and ethical concept overnight, a society can only be healthy when true equality exists among the groups composing it. Marriage does not suspend the ‘legal existence’ of wives. If anything, the legal subordination of one sex to the other is wrong in itself and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement, it should be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no privilege on the one side and disability on the other. And woe betide any man who thinks the submissive and sat on women of yore still exists.

To the Little girls and my female friends

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Please listen;  As we celebrate you, I want you to find solace  in this excerpt from a TED talk given by Nigerian Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, some years ago:

So, in a literal way, men rule the world. And this made sense a thousand years ago. Because human beings lived then in a world in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival. The physically stronger person was more likely to lead. And men in general are physically stronger; of course, there are many exceptions. But today we live in a vastly different world. The person more likely to lead is not the physically stronger person, it is the more creative person, the more intelligent person, the more innovative person, and there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, to be creative, to be innovative. We have evolved.

Singling out

Now these two women deserves an ode:

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My mother and I, upcountry

My very mother for her role in my life. Especially for being dedicated to pray for us everyday, I have never met as prayerful a woman like her! And that is the oxygen upon which we continue to tower and become great every single day.

She taught me the value of having unparalleled preparation in my life – while many people seek entertainment, I seek education and learning. Ordinary people seek entertainment, extraordinary people seek education and learning

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Moses and Diane, 2011

And to my American mom Diane Carlson Robinson, I owe you a debt of gratitude. She is the first person to tell me that I would be a powerful voice in Africa. You profoundly believe in me and what my future holds.  You keep me in motion even when I am not up to  the challenge. And thanks for always finding time in your busy schedule to think of me and send inspiring emails my way. You have helped me develop mental resilience and the power to hope. I promise to be who you really want me to be. I will not let you down.

And of course we thank God for giving women an uncanny ability to shape our lives.

Happy women’s day.

#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺

A Lilting Testimony, In his Own Words

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Hello, I am grateful for this post made by Willy Kipyegon, a Public Health student at Kissi university. I did not cajole him to write, he just did it. I thought you would like it. Enjoy

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I did Not Achieve it in Isolation

In every society that we live in, everyone is a communitarian, thriving best in social connection. Relationality is everything. And even so, we get help from one another, we build each other to become a successful team. And my story with writing is not far from this idea of communitarianism and relationality.

I always had a burning desire to breath, sleep, walk, eat and talk through writing. At first I thought I did not have the courage to write but when I read Moses Auma on magazine Reel and asked for his email, that’s when I realized that there were just things I needed to know before I could write.

I remember pretty well, it all started with emailing. After a short exchanges and telling him that I like writing, our friendship took a new turn. I remember him telling me that those who like reading and writing automatically qualify to become his friends. And to be a good writer, I had to be trained, for we don’t assume we know!

The training started the day that followed. He put me through a rigorous online training. Where we really looked into many aspects: Developing a catchy title, coming up with an engaging paragraph one that draws in the readers, how to research and get articles, effective paragraphing, short and clear sentence structures, unity of words, graceful narration, the ending, and how to achieve the desired word count. Among many other aspects that are really, really important.

And even after the training and into the execution stage, especially when I wrote garbage-like articles, I felt like giving up and always looked for a valid reason to cushion my giving up formula, lest I be judged as a quitter. Auma could not have possibly allowed that to happen, he reached down and held my hand up explaining to me that it was quite in order for me to begin small.

He not only emphasized the need for resilience, he brought articles which we discussed on WhatsApp and this really opened my literary eye. He recommended that sometimes, I stop writing to give more time for reading.

What is more, he dedicated his time to edit my articles to give it form and authenticity, which he continues to do and I am grateful for. His unique ability to hold someone’s hand until you really know how to do it is what makes him a true leader. He really never gives up on you even if you make the silliest of mistakes.

His training took me off the ground with my first article being featured glamorously on Magazine Reel. The article is here and I know you will love it; Write Because you Have a Story to Tell Says A young Campus writer. Since then I have been blogging with WordPress as well on;  kipyegonwilly.wordpress.com.  I will be a columnist in Kenya one day, I am positive.

It can take me forever to recount on each and every step with Moses. I’m forever grateful to him, he has been with me to this far. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. There is certain joy and peace of mind you get from writing. For crying out loud, I would recommend any aspiring writer to have him take you through the online article training. And to mentor you. That is the start point. His training is out of this world!

The Most Important Secret to Success: Going One Step Beyond

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It is known in certain quarters that I make use of this phrase: Go One Step Beyond. It sounds witty. And beautiful.

But there is a hidden power behind this four-words-phrase – it embodies a call to action; to take whatever courses we are advancing to the next level.

Human beings tend to shift towards complacency. Look, we all experience a life comparable to mountain climbing. Those who set to climb mountains have to endure a series of summits before reaching the peak.

Climbing just a couple of summits do not guarantee your arrival to the peak.

So in life, you don’t sit back thinking you have arrived, completely at the top of your game. You’ve got to re-invent yourself, create new different ways of doing things. This is called going one step beyond your comfort zone.

Take this personal illustration I have: I am a writer, currently contributing articles with magazine Reel – the best Kenyan campus news site. Any time I want to do a write up for the same, I am tempted to think that I can draw from my lifelong experience.

I can’t. I have to improve on the content, style, graceful narration, plot development, sentence structure, paragraphing, unity of words and truth-telling. I have to become more creative, more intelligent, innovative and more inspiring. I have to train myself.

My readers are not blind and does not want insipid, poorly done crap. Interestingly, in this age of information cluttering, so that folks don’t know what to read and what not to – whether to focus on Trump, NASA or who won the jackpot and how, readers won’t give your stuff attention until they have skimmed through every angle and ascertained it is worth their time. By then, the world would have moved. So I have to cut my space as that authoritative, consistent good writer. This is for another day.

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I keep a self-educational program in which I read, with a writer’s eyes lots of ‘ These portable worlds’ – books and articles and take notes, then revise. What is the point of all this? To become an engaged, skeptical, learned reader who does not just own books physically, but mentally.

This takes more time than most people are willing to invest, but if you want to be different, you have to learn how to act differently.

And it often gets my friends telling me that I am naturally creative. No, mine is acquired! I commit the capacity to go one step beyond, through application of vision, discipline and passion – which rules the world.

Reading and being able to use what you’ve read are completely different things. Without purpose and intention, the knowledge gained and ideas sparked easily slip away, we can have awkward retention.

These three attributes, as we have partly seen, will help you go one step beyond: Vision, discipline and passion.

On vision, American and internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher and organizational consultant, in his book The 8th Habbit- from effectiveness to greatness (which is one my best) Stephen R. Covey writes: Vision is the beginning of the process of reinventing oneself or of an organization reinventing itself.

He writes then quotes from William James “Most of us dont envision or realise our own potential” “Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being, we all have reservoirs of energy and genius to draw upon of which we do not dream” ” each of us has immeasurable power and capacity to reinvent ourselves”

Here is Covey on discipline: it is the executing, the making it happen, the sacrifice entailed in doing whatever it takes to realise that vision.

And on passion, Covey writes: Passion comes from the heart and is manifest as optimism, excitement, emotional connection, determination. It fires unrelenting drive.

President Obama summed the whole idea of going one step beyond in his address at Kasarani stadium when he visited Kenya:

I always say that what makes America exceptional is not the fact that we’re perfect, it’s the fact that we struggle to improve. We’re self-critical. We work to live up to our highest values and ideals, knowing that we’re not always going to achieve them perfectly, but we keep on trying to perfect our union.
And what’s true for America is also true for Kenya. You can’t be complacent and accept the world just as it is. You have to imagine what the world might be and then push and work toward that future. Progress requires that you honestly confront the dark corners of our own past – These are supremely powerful words for any youth out there!

If you study the lives of successful people – celebrities, billionaires, erudite educationists, scientists among others, those who set things rolling and inspires positive media coverage, you will find a pattern. They took one step beyond their current state of affairs.

It makes intuitive sense: if we stop making attempts to be better at anything we do, how many exciting, serendipitous things are going to happen to us? Not many.

Thanks for reading, lets go one step beyond.

#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺

Infamous Heroes in School Are Never Heroes in Life

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There’s some intuitive justification for what sounds like a whimsical, sentimental literary device; infamous heroes in school are never heroes in life. And this is why…

There is a crop of unamenable, stiff-necked and deviant students in any school worth its salt. And they do all manner of negative things from bullying other students – shoving and teasing, stealing, noise making, refusing to do manual work. But the most important aspect peculiar to this group is the disrespect of teachers.

Talking about this group is talking about those people you schooled with. Fellow students we could shudder in their presence. Who made it difficult for us to enjoy the educational process. They trended in almost every ugly incident there was.

While other students came to limelight by sheer hard work, getting paraded for presents and gifts, this lot’s social identity was earned by doing the most uncouth and reckless of things, unbelievably annoying stuff. The former’s fame rested on solid personal achievements: on books, sports, debates and contests.

Almost everyone in school knew them like the back of their hands because every assembly day, we could hear their names called out – for bad reasons of course. Expressing a desire for more control in the classroom, and acting inappropriately made them feel powerful.

They meted out violence on other students, often expedient, crossing lines to be served first in the kitchen and water points. Menacing bullies we could not stand their force. We often shrinked before them.

Relating a personal story, I schooled in a remote primary school in the backwaters of Bondo town. And we got this freaking lot, only we got them in excess. They hid machetes in their clothes, walking around with sagged shorts, feeling important yet in the actual sense, they were all show and no substance.

Any teacher who dared confront them was in for a rude shock, infact no teacher could properly handle them except the headmaster who was often out of school, leaving them marauding like stray elephants.

They could not bring themselves to understand the value and power of school, they had the reciprocal of their priorities.

As a consequence, most of them got expelled from school, devoid of basic education. They have hitherto remained illiterate, unemployed and unemployable, living shaky and desperate lives. They have ultimately dipped themselves into oblivion, they are nolonger heroes!

Those kids who used to be cool, vulnerable and quiet have continued to tower, influencing lives, shaping communities and building the nation.

#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺

I Wanted to Be Like them

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img_20170204_141515.jpgWhen I was in primary school, I admired the school masters so much. They were the greatest achievers in my primary environment. The crēme de la crēme of our society then. Was jealous of their success and often worked hard with hope that I would be one. They were always in command and authority over us and their decisions were final. They had the prerogative of caning kids and directing our overal lives.

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Professor teaching a concept

Then high school happened, met a new crop of school masters – degree holders whose heads carried the definitive substance of our lives. And my admiration grew even stronger. I wanted to be like them. I loved their English and sense of fashion (or lack thereof). I held them, and still am – to some extent, with quasi-religious awe. I just wished for nothing short of a high school teacher-self.

Then moved up the ladder to college, meeting thesis writers, rasearchers, consumate professors, academic journal writers, analysts, consultants and fellows. I really want to be like them.

But my want maybe cosmetic, because I now know. Every stage life donates make me want to be like someone. I’m making a stab, just like any other young comme il faut visionaries at finding my true identity, to discover the purpose of my life.

What is good, I embrace each stage of life with THE POWER TO HOPE, which propels me to the next. This power does not work for a few individuals, it works for everyone.

Cultivating the habit of affirming yourself at each stage, of frequently and sincerely communicating your belief in yourself – particularly as a teenager going through your second identity crisis – is supremely important. It is a relatively small investment with incalculable, unbelievable results.

Things may be pretty hard, but something that is truly meaningful and important can become hard and difficult to achieve. You’ve got to face a couple of hurdles but how to tramp them is the secret to success.

I don’t know whom I would want to be like after a few more stages, but do believe I will be my better self.

#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺

The Pain of Losing Royalty

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I watch with a feeling of resignation the clip in which the Gambian strong man, Yahya Jammeh heartily conceded the defeat. Congratulating the president-elect Adama Barrow. He told him he did not have ill-will. That the Gambian people had spoke and that he was not keen on contradicting the will of Allah. That he was thankful to the Almighty Allah for his 22 years in the presidency.

He even promised Barrow he would guide him into the presidency drawing from his wealth of many years in leadership. He even advised Barrow to have peace and stability as his cornerstones without which no African leader can prosper. That he would now proceed to his rural areas to farm.

But his change of mind is what really appales. And it reveals how African incumbents are vulnerable in the face of loosing an election. After the congratulatory message, lately, his change of mind that is, his allegations that the electoral commission committed gross anomalies exposes the soft underbelly of hypocritical unoriginal African heads of state, their unwillingness and ineptitude to change their fortunes.

ECOWAS and AU have maintained Barrow will be sworn in on 19/1/17 by hook or crook. But Jammeh’s team have insisted that the electoral petition must be considered first, though there are not even enough Supreme court Judges to preside.

This heralds an ugly political impasse tinged with miasma of socioeconomic frenzy. And that needs preemptive solution.