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Guest Post: Never Taught in Class.

Post by Samuel Muthomi a.k.a Dj Somi.

When Kawiria asked me to be a guest writer, I was gobsmacked because I’m a big fan of Kawi’Snippets (Stupendous Tidbits).  Her blog has been an inspiration to me and many others. Sharing her life experiences made me realize that it is sharing ones weaknesses that helps other people in their need, not your strengths. I hope to share some of my life experiences that you will never be taught in any class.

Guest Post


Humility Makes you Grow.

Humility sets one on the path to success. Pride will keep one from growing, because one is not willing to learn. Let’s get one thing clear, no one has it all together! I have been successful on the academic front, not because I was the brightest student in class, but because I was willing to learn. If you humble yourself, you become teachable because you are willing to learn.


Remember Pleasant Memories. Forget the Rest.

We can never reverse the past. Sometimes with hindsight, there are things one wishes they had done differently in life. At one time or another in life, there is someone who has deeply hurt you. Learn to let go because regret and resentment doesn’t hurt anybody but you. Learn to forgive others even when they do not deserve it. Be grateful for the good in people and choose to remember the good things about people, the good times and the positive experiences. Pleasant memories are a choice; do not dwell on the negative memories.


Make a Difference. Give.

It is the smallest gesture or thoughtful assistance that makes the biggest impact. My folks have taught me to be generous even when you don’t have plenty to give. My folks came from humble begins and the little that God has given them, they have used to educate a lot of people and help others set up their own business. It feels one with so much joy when you assist someone and help them realize their potential and fulfill their purpose in life. When God gives you the vision, he gives you the provision for it. My vision this year was to start Kipaji Agency Limited and help nature talent. I hope I can make a difference in people’s lives.

Guest Post


Good Friendships Take Time.

To build a good relationship, one needs cultivation, work, and time to build a deep connection with someone. Every deep connection requires communication, commitment and companionship. You don’t need many friends to make it in this world, but a few good friends. Focus on having good (quality) friends not many (quantity) friends.


Serve Other People.

We are God’s stewards and God does not give us gifts, talents and abilities for our own benefit. Our gifts, talents and abilities should be used to serve other people. I’ve always had a passion for music and deejay’ing but I’ve learnt over the last one year, that God didn’t give me my artistic ability just so i can enjoy it. It took me a couple of months of soul searching for me to realize my vision and dream of music being an avenue of service others. Ubantu Festival was thus birthed as a celebration of the historical, cultural, artistic & philosophical legacies of Africans from past times to the present.


Integrity is the Key to Leadership.

The big things in life do not create a good leader. Living a life of integrity doesn’t mean perfection, we all stumble at times. Leadership is built on the small things of life. Our integrity will be tested in our homes, relationships, work place e.t.c. A politician who lies to his wife will lie to his constituents. That is where ones leadership is tested in life. Ones private integrity (behind the scenes) choices of life, makes one a great leader.

Guest Post


Short Term Thinking Robs your Future.

Short-term thinking is one of the great weaknesses of today’s culture. It reminds me of the trending socialites who rob their future to enjoy today’s fame. A person who focuses on short-term gain is doomed to fail. It reminds me of my school mate in Lenana who went into a life of crime after finishing high school and is now serving life imprisonment at Kamiti. Short term thinking sets one up for years of un-payable debt to future generations.


Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

This Is My Confession…

*Cue in Usher – Confessions* I unashamedly forgot my blogversary! 5 years down the lane. Told you I’m really bad with dates, so bad that I keep getting panic attacks that I’ve forgotten some important date, like someone’s birthday, an anniversary or even a deadline. Thank God for planners and reminders. Not that I effectively utilize them either, so another thank you to family & friends who have an amazing memory of all things relevant. The relief that I get when I confirm that I’m still within the time is inexplicable. But all in all, on time or not, it’s better late than never. I think that’s the life saver quote of all time “better late than never”, the moment you say that, no one’s got anything on you. So today, I celebrate my 5 years of blogging *cheers to that*.

Blogging for me, serves as an avenue to relay my thoughts – mostly based on my experiences and life lessons. Not that they are intense or anything, but they’re worth sharing anyway. I think everyone needs that, and most people do it in a way that best suits them, whether through writing, art, music, service, or just being you.

Just the other day, I was thinking of how competitive we humans are. So competitive that we forget the essence of who we are, what we do or why we’re doing it in the first place. We get misguided as we try to figure out or pursue our purpose because we base our abilities on what the people around us are doing or worse yet, have. So it becomes, “but first … let me see what my neighbor/friend is doing, then see how I can do it better.” Rather than, “this is my thing, let me see how best I can do it.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying competition is wrong. I’m just saying if competition is the basis of how good you are or how good you can be at what you do, then that’s the problem right there. I won’t lie, that I’ve not been a victim of comparison from a competitive level. Sometimes I look at my blog here and I’m like, “so and so is pretty good at it”, “so and so’s blog is doing pretty well from the looks of it.” And somehow, a special kind of pressure checks in and I feel the need to do the same or try do the same in a better way, but that’s not my way. So I talk some sense to self and so far I haven’t yet succumbed and that’s what kept me going all the years, just in case you were wondering. No hiatus. I know where I want to get with it, can’t say baby steps anymore, I mean, 5 years down the lane?

Current Situation: Hanging out with a bunch of clowns who totally make my days when I’m with them. Leave days do rock! Oh, I also celebrated my 1 year anniversary too (on 16th Dec) at Chase Bank. I kid, not celebrated per se, but that’s a tiny victory considering I never envisioned myself in banking 1 year go. And this channel (blog), that I shamelessly undervalue most times, heavily contributed towards leading me – smack in – right there.

Friends

(Clowns from extreme front to extreme back) Dion, Flo, Kawi, Lon Jon. Hubby and Homies!

 

Signing Off ~~~*Kawi*

 

When Impressing Becomes Depressing

I get inspired by songs, who doesn’t? I’m the kind of person who loves a song first because of the beat – upbeat, slow-paced, dance-able, catchy tune, gets me distracted, gets my current mood, I can hum along (I never remember lyrics, so I don’t bother, I just hum away or catch up on the bridge) – but even more because of the lyrics (just because I don’t remember, doesn’t mean I don’t listen to them – with a very keen ear by the way). If the lyrics makes so much sense, that artiste wins my heart. I’m that easy to please.

Colbie Caillat, is just but one of the reasons I love country music. I’m more modern than I think I am, at least based on the kind of country music I like. If I gave my mum to listen to her jams, she’ll be like, “that doesn’t sound like country”. Her country is the Kenny Rogers kind.

As I listen to her song “Try”, it speaks ear loads to me and what I see around. So many times, we want to be seen as who we’re not just to please others. You know the “fake it till you make it” kind of thought process. For example, someone gave this example a few years back explaining it, which I found too hilarious. Your dream car is a Mercedes and you can’t wait to make it (of course financially) so that you can get one. But your current state is that you don’t have a car or well, even better, you drive say a Toyota (I don’t why this one would make you feel any lesser than the person who drives a Mercedes). This thought process is such that you carry a Mercedes-Benz key holder with your Toyota keys or with your “imaginary car” keys so that the people you interact with can think you drive a Mercedes. Apparently, they say the faking it is a declaration that enables you to eventually achieve your dream – or pressures you to go get it. There’s some truth that rings to it, I mean you’re being aggressive and declaring your wealth…Amen! But why not be aggressive while accepting the stages of life you’re in – it’s a growth curve.

Why fake it? So that you can impress someone? So that someone can like you better? For some reason, we feel like we have to be some type of way or act some type of way so that someone (funny, it’s mostly people who don’t give a damn about you) can like you. And if we’re not their type of way, we feel the need to go around doing things that can get us to be their type of way or have them validate us. And while at it, we lose ourselves, because we become someone we’re not. Someone who’s driven not by their own passion or desires, but by what they want to prove to others they are, while they are not.

I think the saddest thing would be losing yourself by trying so hard to be whom you’re not, that being who you are or who you’re supposed to be, becomes a mammoth challenge.

It’s a complicated world already even when you’re yourself, so why complicate it further, by trying not to be yourself? Funny that those people we try to impress have their battles too. They may not show it, but they do.  Battles that we don’t even know about, but we feel like when we get their validation, life will be better. Life feels better when you do you, and are good at it – it gives you contentment, a sense of satisfaction even when you have not achieved all that you’d love to achieve just yet.

I usually say this jokingly but I always mean it, “If I don’t have it, I don’t have it. That doesn’t incapacitate me, I’ll work towards it. If I have it, good for me. On to chasing my next dream, because dreams never die.”

Also something about dreams – I imagine that my dream will never be someone else’s dream – you can share goals but not dreams. Even if we all dream to be presidents (whether of the country or a corporation), chances are that we dream of doing it differently and we will do it differently. I’m pretty sure when God made our finger prints different, he made our thought processes just as different too.

Just be you, it might not impress everyone, but it’ll definitely impress someone without making you step out of your skin.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

#ThrowBackThursday: Campus, Groups and Lessons Learnt!

Today, as I was busy doing my work, minding my business and sipping my water – from a KOR Water Bottle brand placement much, a very random thought crossed my mind, campus days! Not the fun times we had, because we had a lot of those – I treasure my campus mates for that experience. I’m talking about the tough times. The ones that make you wonder why you were studying what you were studying in the first place. I did Business IT in my undergraduate and there are some really difficult and unnecessary courses we did – ethics, computer graphics, programming, business accounts … it’s a long list, those are just a few of which I can remember as I write.

The tough times, really, were managing groups and the complications that come with being in a group. From the selecting members that will be in your group, availability of those group members, handling the assignments, the art of utilizing everyone’s strength within the groups and equally identifying their weakness – because that could be what takes you down, overcoming the group mentality and the solidarity in results.

Selecting group members

This must’ve been the lectures favorite part on the first day of the semester, “now get into groups which you’ll maintain for the rest of the semester.” It must also have been the students’ worst part, because woe unto you if you land into a group you don’t dig or don’t get along with the members. One has to be smart about the people they select to be in their group (if given the choice), else the struggle becomes real. Sometimes you realize you’d rather not select a group based solely on friendship – same concept with business.

Availability of those group members

So you have the group, good stuff. You have a plan as to when you’ll meet, but there’s a conflict of interest. Others are not available, others are not willing to sacrifice a little good time to attend a boring group meetings about assignments. Sucks when you have a group of 6 but only 2 or 3 are available – at all times. It’s very non-progressive.

Handling the assignments

So the 2/3 who meet decide, “Let’s peruse through the assignment and assign each group member a part”. I mean, their contribution is necessary, if not mandatory. You send the assignment and responsibilities to each member and give a “deadline” preferably a few days before due date so that you can work on the correction and formatting. Sounds perfect huh?

Art of utilizing everyone’s strength within the groups and equally identifying their weakness

Very important. When you’re in a group, you need to accept the fact that everyone is not the same, we’re absolutely different. Sometimes you might think, “If I can do this, why can’t he/she do this? “ Well, because he/she is not you honey. This is a tough lessons that many can attest to. If you’re not good at it, you’re just not good at it. Chances are that someone else is, why not support this person.

For example, we had a programming course, most of us loathed it. I know loath is a strong term, but that best explains our emotions towards that course. Unfortunately, it was a compulsory course. The lecturer happily gets us into groups of 6 and we’re assigned a project. The projects involved designing, developing and presenting a system. Presenting it to him the same way you would a client – including the manual.

Remember the part we loathe programming, that was 3 ½ of the group members. One (Valentine Wambui) loved it and she was the IT girl when it came to coding. The ½ (must’ve been Christine Were or Jean Opiyo) liked coding but wasn’t really good at it. The rest (Janice Muringo, Julia Wanjiru and I), don’t mention coding. Well, coding was just a part of the project, albeit being very important. For the project to happen – we needed to come up with the concept, design the interfaces and the database, code the system to being and then document the manual. Some parts like designing and developing the concept, interfaces and databases, you have to sit and do together – like one big happy family, that we did. However, someone had to take responsibility for each part, to make sure it’s done & well inputted or recorded. I love documenting, so if memory serves me right, I must’ve done the manual.

That’s the one time I saw the power of group work, because we aced that project – it was a Wardrobe Management System. Plus I had so much fun working with them and see the project materialize. I don’t know what happened to it, because that was way back in 2006/2007, when we used diskettes for storage.

TBT, Throw Back Thursday, Diskette

Group mentality

Perfect not! When everyone in their mind decides, “Someone will definitely do it!” Who’s that someone? Considering everyone in the group has a name. Once you overcome this mentality, chances are that you’ll thrive. Put a name on it. Have a group leader and let them distribute the work load based on who does what best and what can be done together.

For instance, we had a naughty group member who never participated or contributed towards any group assignments, but on the d-day always appeared concerned. So after bitching A LOT, we (Thuku Ndung’u or Rodney Senga, seconded by the rest of us) decided for that semester, he would contribute to printing and binding of the assignment, and any photocopies we would need during presentations – that stuff was expensive – given that it was campus with our ever eluding little pocket-money. He was moneyed, identifying strengths, no?

Solidarity in results

Whether you participated in the group assignments/activities, or not – you all get the same results. If it’s an A – y’all get an A, if it’s a C – y’all get a C. Unless you rat someone out, the lecturer looks at the group as 1, not as 5 or 10. When in a group, you’re fully responsible or in change of your group members’ success, and your participation is what will let them prosper.

Today, I am thankful for that throw back, because it has just made me realize that for the rest of your life, you deal with groups – whether it’s at home or at work. And campus was the best stage of life to learn that important lesson, because it’s brings into perspective the saying, “Man is not an island.”

Happy Diwali!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

My LinkedIn Summary

Summaries. I hated those. Especially when in school you were asked to read a book and summarize it in one page (or a limited number of words, they liked 300) in a way that someone will understand what the book was about. I remember in my previous workplace I had a colleague who loved the word ‘one pager’ that on my first day of work, he told me to come up with a ‘one pager’ for a project I was completely clueless about. It made me research, and that’s what actually made me understand the scope & objectives of that project. Because with a one pager you can’t write nonsense, it needs to be straight to the point. Plus it’s a quick read, so you can’t bullshit, or someone will know you are. Especially if they have knowledge of that project/book.

Well, that’s the same feeling that creeps up when I’m asked to give a summary of myself. I’m 27, that means, I’ve had quite a bit of experience and a story to tell. It might not be moving like some I’ve heard, but it’s something to say the least. Plus it doesn’t help that I’m not the best story teller or pro in giving an account of events that happened to me. Most I forget, then remember when something happens that touches on that experience.

I am, About Me

The thought of my LinkedIn summary has disturbed me for a while now. It didn’t cause me sleepless nights, but it made me a little uneasy because I didn’t feel like I was properly representing who I am and what I do in terms of my career.  I’m a lover of social things, especially those on the digital front – Facebook, Twitter, IG, LinkedIn, G+, Blog – basically, I’ve embraced digital. I always feel like they have a multiplier effect and they expose you to people you don’t know – but most of what is exposed to those people is what you share with them, what you want them to know or how you want them to interpret who you are. So to some extent you have some control. And so I changed my LinkedIn summary and made it a little more personal. It kinda made me feel good about myself, you know when you realize what makes you tick when you’re working. Here goes;

Armed with an IT, Project and Strategic Management educational background but actually practicing as a Marketer, an Online or Digital Marketer to be exact. It amuses me. It’s after all, what I am passionate about.

Thinking about what the person on the other end of the screen (computer, mobile or print) wants to consume when it comes to content. The process involved in conceptualizing, designing, developing and eventually sharing it – through the various social media platforms and having conversations around that content because it affects us whether directly or indirectly.

Coming up with plans/strategies on how to make the consumption of this content as interesting and stimulating as possible for the consumer through partnerships and teamwork. It’s through these two that we have had successful campaigns and achieved our desired results.

I am also a sucker for content that builds people, useful content. Content that inspires, impacts or influences someone (even if just one person) in one way or another. And that’s the main reason I run my personal blog at – Kawi Snippets.

That’s just about it. Happy Thursday Lovelies.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Things Unsaid and Thoughts Unexpressed

It’s awkward to write anything about death, even when it has happened. It just feels off. Maybe because it’s a loss that you cannot redeem despite how hard you pray or work. Lazarus was a lucky man to get a second chance at living. Then again, we’re mortal and death happens. It’s a phenomenon that’s happens every single day, hour, minute. As I type this, something is happening to someone that’s taking away their life, the core of their being. That’s scary. Actually what scares me, is not the dying in itself, it’s the process of it. The how and the what. The how. Experiencing the feeling of not being able to breathe or if there’s a pain that comes with it (I believe no one wants to experience immense pain, I mean unless it’s a crazy fetish). The what. The people who care about me suffering emotionally. I think emotional pain is to some extent more daunting that physical pain.

Things Unsaid, Thoughts Unexpressed

 

When I was a kid, I feared any mention of death, but for some reason I still used to read the obituaries page in the dailies. My mum is a nurse, and I think with the profession and the exposure it brings, comes the acceptance of this phenomenon. I remember her joking about reading the obituary, saying, “It’s good to read it just in case someone mistakenly puts you there and you’re here”. It was kind of funny, now that I think of it, but then, not. Or when she said something about when she’s not there, how she’d like things to be done, that we don’t have to spend an arm and a leg, or she shares her passwords just in case of anything. Oh my, that completely freaked me out. Like let’s just leave it there, let’s not talk about it. In essence, there should be nothing wrong with discussing about it, because it’s part of our existence.

I don’t know how I would deal with the absence of any of my loved ones, or even people I generally interact with a lot. And I really don’t want to know or imagine it. Have you ever been told to write your eulogy and the first thing that crossed your mind, is that the person is telling you to write your death wish? I doubt I did that assignment or I chose another composition to write. At least we were given a choice.

Anyhow, why I thought of this? I just realized that when a young person dies, especially one that is known within my circle of friends even if I don’t know them, I get curious, really curious. I want to know a little more about them, I want to know what happened, I want to know what they used to do and so on. Then I wonder, why the curiosity after someone’s death? Why not be curious before. Although before, you probably didn’t know much about them, just a mention here or a picture there.

Everything is magnified then; how happy or nice a person used to be, how successful they were, how they were a force to reckon with, how they’d done this and that, how people looked up to them and loved the things they did for them and for others. Chances are that this person didn’t even know these things about themselves, they didn’t know that that’s what people thought about them. Maybe they thought less of themselves, or they were lonely and alone. Of things unsaid and thoughts unexpressed.

For some reason when death happens, you are more alive in people than you were when you were alive. I think for me that’s the scariest part. But in my opinion, I wish that’s not how it was.

Maybe the change starts from me and you and that’s why I really admire what Humans of New York does. It makes everyone relevant, even when to others, they don’t seem so. Every time they post a picture with such real and personal captions, it touches my heart.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

My Best Reads

Tagged by my good friend and old neighbor – Wanja Kinyanjui on Facebook  to list the top 10 books that have touched and stayed with me. I’ll break the chain and do it on the blog because I think I’ve posted too much on facebook already. Then I’ll tag YOU my reader. You can leave some of your best reads on the comment section, I might just get a couple for my next read.

Good Reads, Books

 

Wow, I have read a couple of books in my lifetime, mostly school books … lol. But there’s no way in good heavens I am putting those up of course. Thing is, I’m not a complex reader and I came to accept that fact. So I wouldn’t touch a book that’s difficult to decipher or even read – hence why I was unable to do documentaries. I tried … I really tried to be the cool kid with huge books at one point in my life. As well as try read sci-fi’s and ish – you know the Harry Potter’s of this world. If it’s not real, I feel wasted, because I want to relate. Hmm, let’s see my list, here goes:

  1. Little women – Louisa May Alcott – Got it from my mum’s shelf, way back when #beingateenager. I was looking for a book to read and what a better book for a girl growing up than this one. Louisa captures her life story together with that of her 3 sisters. How they balanced their personalities and roles within the home setting. I took ages to read because it was an almost slow book, but interesting because you can relate to a lot that they went through while growing up even if in a different setting.
  2. Captivating – Unveiling the mystery of a Womans Soul” – John and Stasi Eldredge – Gifted by Mum for my birthday. It was about understanding myself as woman. Which got me to write two review posts: Every Woman’s Desire and What Defines A Woman, I was that touched.
  3. Alchemist | Aleph – Paulo Coelho – I bought them. I love symbols, I love interpreting stuff in a way that I understand best and this book allowed me to through the mind of another writer.
  4. Family Album| The Wedding | Safe Harbor | family ties | 2nd Chance | Big Girl – Danielle Steel – I stole most of these Danielle Steel books from my mum’s shelf, she’s a huge fan and so am I by extension. She writes about life experiences ranging from personalities, family, marriage, love, relationships, and careers. I don’t know if she imagines these stories or they are true stories, because they pretty much sound like just what happens. I could read her books all day, errday.
  5. Half of A Yellow Sun | Americanah | Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Adichie – I have a girl crush on her writing. She’s such a storyteller, I love it. When I read her books, I direct a movie in my mind. I even imagine how her cast looks like in my mind and how the scenes unveil. And well, after watching Half of a Yellow Sun, I’m so damn right, or rather she got it right – the movie met my expectations to the dot.
  6. Eat, Pray, Love | Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert – I loved the 1st book, so I got the 2nd . I liked how she was able to openly express herself through her writing. If I was to write a book, I would almost do it like her, but now in my way. The Eat, Pray, Love movie didn’t quite meet my expectations though, a lot was axed in the movie.
  7. There are so many books I’ve bought on the streets of famous writers, the likes of Stephen Frey and his other genius writer friends who are best sellers. Read them but unfortunately I can’t remember their names or their titles. That happens to me A LOT, in movies I’ve watched too.

But just so that you know a little more about my reading life,

“I love books with a storyline. I don’t like motivational books. Especially those that tell me what to do or not to do with my life, I think we all know what to do, we just need some inspiration – tell me a story instead, I can learn from it and derive my inspiration from your experience.”

Terrific Tuesday lovelies.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*