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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.


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.

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.