A little talk about Attitude.

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Probably nobody has not heard about attitude. A random search on attitude on Google has yielded many photos including the above.

I need not to say much about Attitude but to add a story.

This was shared to us as a class in the final year right before we sat  the Form Four main exam that somehow stuck in my head and never seems to leave me.

I did not learn in one of the best or admirable schools speaking (from a common point of view) basically due to lack of basic amenities such as laboratory, gaming facilities and lack of academic books and so schooling was much of a struggle than learning. Towards the exam, we were taken out to City Park where had a wonderful time playing with the school management and the principal gave a story later:

There was a man who had two sons, the man was such a drunkard that he did not care much about the family and thus the family was dysfunctional. The two boys were very different actually almost the exact opposite yet they were brought up by the same parents. One was a good christian and by all social standards very much okay. However, the other one was a heavy drunkard, who did involve himself in all ill social vices.

This scenario attracted the interest of a psychiatrist who decided to interview them separately and both of them gave the same conclusion, “with a dad like mine, what do you expect?”

The answer was the same, only that both sons had different attitudes towards their father, one worked so hard not to be like his father while the other one just decided to follow his father’s behaviors.

The question we were to ask, “with our school like ours, what do you expect?” the issue is which side of the story each of us would be.

From the story, a lot was evident.

Attitude is like the sunglasses we wear, you wear green sun glasses and everything will look green to you…if you think a task is difficult, you even prepare the mind to believe that it is not able to perform and believe you me it won’t just workimagese

Am glad I’ve been able to try as much as possible to always maintain a positive attitude and generate positivity even in the worst of situations and this has helped me much. Especially with the guide of my mentor, who am able to see the great strides he makes in life and it all gives me courage to keep moving on climbing the ladder upwards and always ensuring that the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

It is common knowledge that most students find mathematics so hard and thus they make it even harder to learn and they easily make conclusions that “you see, I knew it was hard!”

Get your attitude right and see most things working out especially if you know and acknowledge God’s guidance.

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Our Old our Cons

In the society, the old are associated with wisdom, being humble, knowledgeable of many issues and many other good virtues. However, am wondering what is happening in the recent past. Am not sure whether it is this dotcom generation that has already become old such that they don’t hold the virtues that were held by our earlier parents.

Why am I saying this? I’ve had several encounters with the old that made me to rethink this whole issue.

My brother…

The first one is an old grandpa always standing strategically in the streets of Nairobi with a walking stick. My first encounter with him, he stopped me gently telling me how I looked tired and he gave me a few kikuyu sayings that refreshed my memory of home. Later he told me that he was stuck in town since he had gone to see his brother (I can’t remember where) and that he only needed 15 shillings to get him to his destination. My good self took 15 shillings and handed over to him and headed my way. After a few weeks I find the old man again standing in the exact location and stopped me but this time I didn’t, that was not the end, he’s stopped me several times just changing positions and I no longer stand to listen to his old stories. Is it that he’s always stuck, always coming to look for his brother and always in need of 15 shillings?

I need your help…

Another encounter happened so recently (Dec ’14) an elderly woman comes at my work place and says she’s in need of help, without questioning I reach out to my pocket and give her some amount. (Am not bragging) after 20 minutes the lady comes back and tells me that she needs help (without remembering that we had met 20 minutes ago). I reminded her that she was there and that I had even assisted her, she walked away so fast saying sorry. Again after 15 minutes I saw her just walking around the same building; she seemed to question herself on who to approach next, I think she was almost asking me for help.

Building Blueprint…

The next happened to a friend of mine (FityFixy). He was approached by a lady who was carrying a large paper (maybe A3 in size). The woman told him that she really needed help to clear a hospital bill at Kenyatta National Hospital. She went ahead to say that she had the hospital bill with her and so she presented it to him. On looking at it, it was a blueprint for a building to be constructed. On questioning her on the same, she walked away quickly.

Am very sick…

This was the funniest and I don’t ever think I will encounter such any time soon. I lived in a place where there were many liquor dens that hosted many men and women too included some who were very old. So am walking around Ngara – Fig Tree area and I meet this old woman with a young man. They stop me to tell me to assist them since the lady had just come from Kenyatta National Hospital. “She is very sick and in fact, she is micturating through a small pouch” which they showed me. I clearly knew this woman from the liquor den and so I asked her, “when did you get sick? Don’t you know me?” she told me of how she abruptly got sick but clearly there was every indication that it was all a lie, I just walked away laughing. After quite some time I went for a charitable activity at one of the hospitals in which they also have a home for the old but our target were some children who were visiting there. I saw the woman among the old and couldn’t help wondering what she was doing there, I waved at her and she quickly moved to one of the rooms without waving back. I was left wondering whether she really qualified to be there or she was an impostor there. I don’t mean to say that she didn’t deserve to be there but I doubted…

Heading to Ngong…

It is one of the tiresome Fridays as I am standing at Kencom waiting for a friend to shop for some shoes. A woman approaches me telling me that she was heading to Ngong but she didn’t have fare and so she requested for my help. My good self once again gave her a 50 shillings note; I didn’t struggle to give her because the previous night some two ladies had approached me for assistance claiming that they were from Kenyatta hospital. I didn’t assist them and some point I had a guilt that was eating me up and so when an opportunity for clearing the guilt came, I quickly grabbed it.

Crossing over to the other side of Moi Avenue, I meet the same woman begging around. Inasmuch as I was so tired, I got interested to know what she was up to ultimately. I believe that before she borrowed me she must have received some amount elsewhere. I decided to trace her to her final destination. She entered a quick food joint and I stood there lamenting over my shillings, she left I traced her for almost 30 minutes and witnessed at least 4 people giving her a handout. She ended up at Githurai stage where she approached the conductor and had a few words then she boarded the bus. (She had told me that she was going to Ngong). The fare as at the time of her boarding was 40 shillings.

I think she did that as a part time business in the evening, since she had a bag that she was carrying maybe indicating that she was selling something during the day. I felt so bad, stood there and were it not for the fact that it was late at night, I wanted to board that bus and sit next to her and spark a conversation and know more about her and why she would do such.

Assist me with your phone…

This one was observed by a friend of mine…an elderly lady approaches someone and requests to use his phone to ask for someone to pick her. She takes the phone and dials a number and then she returns the phone. As the person goes, he is followed to the vehicle that he boards; now the lady is accompanied by some two men. On entering the bus, they claim that someone had stolen the old lady’s phone and so to know who the person is, they need to call the phone. They call the good Samaritans phone and it rings indicating that the phone belonged to the lady. A scuffle occurs and the man has to surrender the phone in the name of stealing it from the lady and so they walk away. Before he convinces the other passengers of the whole story, the old lady and his accomplices are long gone.

I don’t know who is to blame for all this, but maybe the society at large is to blame. We really need to take care of our parents regardless of how they might have treated us while we were young, event at the worst, at least they let us live. Think of the many that were aborted, think of the many that were left in the forest, think of the many that were strangled or thrown in the pit latrine.

I don’t think anyone would be well to know that their parents or grandparents for that matter are involving themselves in such vices just to make ends meet. To some extent, I believe that one would be pushed to do that since there is no way you expect an old person to go looking for employment.

The last issue is a reminder to all of us that someday we’ll grow old. Just yesterday it was January today it is December. There is need for each person to start planning for the future days now. Get into a saving scheme, even if you are not formally employed in an organization that forces you to do so. You don’t have to wait till it’s too late.

I wish this would have been the case.
I wish this would have been the case.

Am I half-baked?

IMG_20140721_104525

IMG_20140721_104542I recently walked along this man who was wearing a gown and carrying a bag that didn’t seem to match with the gown. I don’t want to assume that he was not a graduate. I walked besides him for quite a while and I would keenly observe how the people were reacting on seeing him with amusement. It is assumed that the person has completed tertiary education. Of course, I had time to remove my small smart phone and to take a few photos of him. I didn’t have the audacity to try and ask him a question or two probably because of an encounter I had once with a lady friend we were studying with in class eight. We met many years after and I was so glad to meet her. I decided to say hey to her. This happened in front of a church but to my shock, she shouted as if she had seen the devil himself and so I walked away dishonorably only to hear later that she is not fully in her senses owing to the fact that she was ‘bewitched’[1].

That was not the story but my story was about this man who I met. By the fact that I am almost clearing years in the university, it troubled me so much knowing that soon enough God-willing, am going to be dressed in such a gown and probably many buses will come from my home village to celebrate the victory of myself of the victory I will have attained.

The question that kept drumming in my head is that, “as I leave the university, what am I carrying out to the world that has lots of expectation on me as a learned person? The world out here is in dire need of people who will deliver and bring about change, efficiency in delivery of service in the different sectors…. have I acquired enough?…I have had these discussions with a few of my classmates on this matter and they at times felt as if they were empty yet there is so much that they have learnt.

It’s a good question to ask whether they are able to apply what they’ve learnt in class in the real life situations and in their work places or were they just learning for the purpose of passing exams?

It is one thing to learn about shares, bonds and other forms of securities exchange in class and even know how to do one or two calculations on the same, but how many even know where the NSE trading floors are?

How many have ever seen a share certificate?

How many even have a CDS (Central Depository System) account?

Can one name more than one Investment Bank in Kenya or even list down 5 listed companies?

In all these, I came up with a conclusion that the effort of the student is very critical in this area and as the old maxim holds that the teacher only gives 25% while the student is to get the 75% remaining. That is the ideal situation but what if it doesn’t happen? What if the student just wants to pass the exam and clear school? This I pose as a challenge to the universities, if they are able to come up with policies to address these discrepancies of connecting the theoretical studies with the reality even as the students continue to study and not only through the industrial attachments that is not done by everybody. The corporates have for a long time complained that the universities are offering half baked professionals.

My opinion would be that students need also to take an initiative to do other short time courses that improves on their hands-on skills these may include advanced excel, SPSS, STATA, and EVIEWS that are offered by firms like:

InQuest Research & Consulting Company, (http://www.inquestconsult.com/)

Finstock Consulting (www.finstockconsulting.com) and many others.

The other suggestion is to also sit for professional papers like the ACCA, CPA, CFA…their scope may be limited as compared to a university degree but deals with the scope intensely. On the other hand, a degree offers an extensive area of coverage but not as deep. Doing a professional paper ensures that you are affiliated to a professional body thus ensuring that you have some backing as you start or grow your profession.

In wrapping up, it is said that unless one keeps equipping oneself with new knowledge and skills, two years after school you may easily find yourself as green as one who has never seen the doors of school.

Author: Martin D. Mwangi

[1] I don’t know what they meant by being the term bewitched neither do I support whether it was true or not