books

Typewriter Tuesdays: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

‘The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships.’ Mark Manson

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Typewriter Tuesdays: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

‘A real woman must always do the things she wants to do, and in her own time too. You must never allow yourself to be rushed into doing things you’re not ready for’ – Bonanle

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Typewriter Tuesdays – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

‘No one is bad with names. That is not a real thing. Not knowing people’s names isn’t a neurological condition; it’s a choice. You choose not to make learning people’s names a priority’ – Mindy Kaling

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Typewriter Tuesdays – Dear Arianna Huffington

Well being, Wisdom, Wonder, Giving

The above are four words that from the point I was done reading the book ‘Thrive’ to infinity will always be ingrained in my mind. I loved this book so much I decided to dedicate this review specially to the author.

Dear Arianna,

All I want to say is thank you. Thrive is a book I have had in my possession since November 2014 and had not bothered to get into it as I thought it would be yet another cliche self-help book but; what makes this one quite different is how well you relate your entire life to the four pillars (mentioned above) that make up the third metric to success according to you. I read this book on a flight back to Kenya from India and I’m not a very fast reader… 8hours later I was done with the book and filled with a whole new insight to life.

We all know that we should take care of ourselves, mentally, physically and emotionally. We should be of sound mind to be able to perform our daily duties well. But the problem most of us face is the supposed ‘lack of time’ to take time out to take care of ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally. This was the basis of your book fortunately (because were it not for your fall this book would not be in existence) and unfortunately (because you got hurt pretty bad, a cut eye and broken cheek bone?? Ouch!) 

We all want success and fulfillment in our careers but at what expense exactly? I took this trip to India to visit my mother who was undergoing treatment there and it could not have come at a more perfect time as I was already feeling burned out (In March!) and in need of a break. I work 5 days a week at my full time job and weekends are spent taking care of different freelancing engagements if any… The life of a writer – the hustle never stops. My schedule isn’t as hectic though compared to some people I know who literally work almost over 20 hrs a day, Monday to Sunday and the only break taken is to either eat, answer the phone or take a nap for a couple of minutes and it’s back to the grind.

“Your business might have a great bottom line, but you are your most important capital.”

The 4 pillars to the Third metric of success all serve a particular purpose to our lives and as this is not only a letter but a book review as well, I will give my thoughts on all four here.

Well Being

Well being is all about getting time to know YOU. You explain to readers that the three things that affect our well being are burnout, stress and depression. We constantly put a lot into our lives that we forget as the damage process goes on in our life, there must be time to repair and renew as well. Renewal happens in the form of meditation and plugging out of our digitally consumed life even if for an hour or less. Every minute not taxing your mind with so much counts.

I have never been one to meditate, I never seem to, for lack of a better word, ‘have time’ to switch off from the world even for 5 minutes. I have always been told it’s a good thing to add to your everyday schedule but I just found it as time wasted when I could do something else like check my email or twitter. The tips you gave on meditation for beginners by the way – stellar. It took me a good 3 days to get used to setting aside 10 minutes in the day to just be fully present and in the moment no matter what else I had going on but it has since helped me prioritize better and take on hectic tasks and hectic people better. A certain *whoosah* moment comes with taking time to be patient with yourself and everything around you.

Getting enough sleep and getting blood circulation going by staying active are two more aspects you talk about to help with taking care of your well being. As a self proclaimed insomniac and night owl, I find this part not impossible to do but it has its challenges. As a creative, I have since tuned my body to function best at night whether it’s when doing work or working out or getting inspiration to work or workout… Everything, according to my life since High school, has always worked better late at night. Getting into the real world after college gave me such a wake up call because the rest of the world functions during the day and never at night aside from a select few. Just until recently, read January 2015, despite having to wake up at 5:30am for my morning run, I would still find myself staying up way past midnight. I am not getting any younger as I work harder sadly and my stamina is slowly reducing thanks to how much I push myself. Sundays were the only day I would ever get a full 7-8 hours of sleep. That has since changed thankfully and I try get in as much as sleep as I can everyday, no matter the amount of work that needs to get done. There is a time for everything.

“When we are all mind, things can get rigid. When we are all heart, things can get chaotic. both lead to stress. But when they work together, the heart leading through empathy, the mind guiding us with focus and attention, we become a harmonious human being”

Wisdom

This was my favorite section of the book because of how open you were about parts of your life such as your daughter’s addiction problem. You were faced with the hardest challenge when the drugs almost took her life, but it taught you and your daughter how to be grateful for the most simple things and how to be vulnerable in the face of challenges.

Intuition is one other part in the wisdom chapter that equally resonated with me. I’m sure you have all heard the saying – trust your intuition, it’s almost always right. That’s because it is. The examples you give in the book are quite incredible and I have some interesting yet random intuition based connections that have really worked out positively so I truly believe in intuition – that inner voice that can only be listened to if you are mindful of it aka get enough sleep, learn to take time out of the world and be fully present. See what you did there?? Haha everything is one big circle. Well being, Wisdom, and now… Wonder. P.S: The gratitude list was the best thing I ever did for myself and my best friend, love it!

“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me”

Wonder

What I liked best about this section was the fact that the simplest things like the flowers blooming outside (Spring is nigh somewhere in the world) or taking time to disappear into a book, or encountering a random coincidence are all a form of forced reboot as you say. These things force us to stop and think about the present moment. Wondering makes us gain a sense of gratitude for things we usually take for granted.

The story about Scott Simon’s dialogue on death as he live-tweeted his mother’s death really hit home for me. I was with my grandmother during her last few weeks alive and to this day regret not being there during the last days. I was not prepared for her to go, I really wasn’t. I knew she would be home in time for my 20th birthday and we had even talked about what we would do on that day and how she believed that being 20 means I need to start finding a husband haha, she was a funny one my grandmother. Anyway, I clammed up after her death for about two years and with that came a depression that almost made me drop out of college in my sophomore year. It took me those two years to come to terms with the cruel but necessary hand of death and to accept it. To know that it should not be the end of my life and to be grateful for the mere fact that I was alive every single day I woke up. I wonder sometimes what she would be doing now were she still with us, and all I know is that she would be happy. Happy living her life as I should be.

“Don’t Miss the Moment”

Giving

Very self explanatory and important to be reminded about. Most insightful part was the section you wrote about go-givers being better than go-getters. Key word of this section – Social Entrepreneur, thanks Bill Drayton for the clever term. A social entrepreneur is basically a business entrepreneur and social reformer combined. Perfect. More and more entrepreneurs here in Nairobi are in it to better the country they live in while still getting a profit from giving a service as well. I have a friend who works in finance and has always wanted to start her own company. Having studied in the States during her undergrad she got to see how crowd funding works and works well especially for the youth. She has since started her own version of crowd funding locally but with a different twist. Her company, Mradifund, an online fundraising platform, helps small business owners connect with investors who provide both the capital and mentorship to help these young budding innovators get to the next level. The average Kenyan with a big idea gets to see his/her dream become a reality while the investors not only build their portfolio in the process but also get to become a part of the next big thing with each successful idea acted upon. Kudos to you @missvnjoroge!

Thank you Arianna for reminding us that success is not success if it only benefits you.

“Because it is really true that while we grow physically by what we get, we grow spiritually by what we give”

This is quite a long letter but after reading this book, I had to share my sentiments on it not just with you but with the world as well. Once again, Thank you for sharing your life lessons with the rest of the world and with each page of Thrive turned we all gain a sense of well being, wisdom, wonder and a sense of giving as well.

Sincerely,
Avid fan of the Huffington Post and now, Thrive.

N/B: All quotes are from the book.

Taking Stock – Six

Making: Some major decisions in my life. I feel like I am always doing this though lol, so lets scratch that, I’m making major PLANS in my life. That sounds more concrete because it means those decisions will actually pan out. So I hope…

Cooking Eating: So much yummy Indian food! Currently in India visiting my mother and I am cheating on my diet everyday with all this rich and spicy food everywhere:)

Not a picture taken by me! But it shows you the beauty of Indian food:)

Drinking: Lots and lots of water. This Indian heat isn’t sparing anyone and I thought I was escaping the sun by leaving Nairobi for a few days goodness! Craving my ultimate guilty pleasure, the tropical fruit smoothies from Artcaffe, simply bliss!

Reading: Thrive by Arianna Huffington and loving it, book review coming up soon!

Wanting: A new phone, why won’t anyone hear my iPhone 6 cries??:(

Looking: For a really good paper source. Wanna get back to designing stationery and I need really good quality paper. Any suggestions?

Playing: With my hair, which needs to be done like asap once I get home. Braids should not last this long haha

Wasting: A lot of time watching Gotham. I’m done with that show, it has failed me.

Sewing Creating: Many more vision boards in my head than I should be doing on paper lol.. Need to jot all these ideas down before the disappear.

Wishing: I could make everything I want to happen in the next few months happen without any repercussions… If wishes were horses though.

Enjoying: This relaxing mini-break in India, was def much needed!

Waiting: For lunch. Food in india is tres amazing, like I said… been eating way too much

Liking: The progress my mother is making on her recovery, God is really something else:)

Wondering: How to come up with the best scholarship essay yet, I need some tips… Gradschool is calling.

Loving: The philanthropic nature of Indians in general. There is hope for humanity after all

Hoping: To get back on track with my fitness regime when I get back home. My accountability partner @nassstro1 says I have been super slacking lol, I’m sorry!

Marvelling: At the growth of so many of my dear friends in regards to their professional and personal life and I am in awe of them. Kudos to you all, you know who you are:)

Needing: I not only want a new phone, I am in desperate need of one. My poor phone is dying out on me gradually. I should start an #Iphone6Fund lol

Smelling: Gauze and methylated spirits… I’ve been living in a hospital for the past week, don’t judge me

Wearing: Capris, a blue tee and a striped sweater

Following: The TVs in this hospital are constantly tuned to CNN so every morning I have breakfast watching the Amanpour show with Christine Amanpour and I love her as a journalist. Never watched her show before and these past few days have made me an Amanpour groupie all of a sudden. As a fellow journalist, it’s only right that I began following her after watching one show. She’s awesome.

Noticing: Once again I shall speak on the greatness I have around in form of the friends I have. Young people taking charge of their lives and doing what they want and doing it super well. It’s a great thing because its assuring of the fact that our future has great leaders in its midst, great thinkers and innovators alike as well.

Knowing: That despite everything going on, all will be well. That is what I tell myself all the time especially when things feel like they are the end all and be all… all will be well. God never gives us something we cannot handle.

Thinking: About writing a short book, like a short story of sorts. It’s been a while since I did any fictional writing, let’s see if I can pull together about 6000words?? haha.. This writer turned editor/reporter is scared. But nothing is impossible. I shall share it here once it is ready and you all can give me feedback on whether I should get back on the fiction train or stay at the editor’s desk lol

Feeling: Hungry, lunch is taking too long to show up

Bookmarking: Nothing of late but I’m back to perusing through Stumbleupon for inspiration purposes, try it out too, you never know what you may stumble upon there haha(pun fully intended).

Opening: The page to this amazing event, Chanda Chema where I should be seeing you all on March 14th! PS: I shall be selling my cupcakes there, come through for some!

Giggling: At some of the comments my mother makes lol… She is one satirical and hilarious woman.

Typewriter Tuesdays – Adultery

Another Tuesday, another book review!

Hello fellow bookworms. Are you all feeling the pinch of January yet? It’s payday week and I’m just counting down the days man, it’s been way too long, the struggle is so real. Anyway, that aside… I finally got done reading Paulo Coelho’s much anticipated new novel, Adultery and for the first time ever… He has disappointed me.

Let me at least give you a short synopsis first before I give my own two cents. Adultery is a story that revolves around Linda, a successful journalist with a loving wealthy husband and children she adores. Despite all this, Linda is depressed. She hates her life, her marriage and is looking for some kind of drastic change to her monotonous life. She takes on an interview with her high school sweetheart which turned into more of an office romp than anything else… and it is after this that she does a double take on her life and makes it her mission to find out why she is so depressed. She tries to reignite the spark in her marriage with her husband, it worked for like two weeks and back to days of melancholy she went. She tried to ‘talk it out’ with a traditional healer… He only made her feel worse. She seeks vengeance on her high sweetheart’s wife but even that didn’t give her the satisfaction she needed.

There is of course a lot of what Coelho is known for in the book, a lot of deep quotes that give you insight to various aspects of your life and it is actually those sections of the book that kept me reading by the way. He knows how to keep his readers glued to his books despite the poor storyline in this one. And of course in relation to the title, there are some forced sex scenes.. because she is actually committing adultery (guess he had to put that in somewhere) and this book kind of makes you question what you want in regards to love in your life.

The review in the Independent had this much to say about it… “This reader would be open to a moment of seeing the divine in Nature, of being reminded we are small beings part of a larger mysterious entity: “And the eagle tells me: ‘Come. You are heaven and earth, the wind and the clouds, the snow and the lakes.’” But, at odds with the words and actions gone before, the resolution is too glib, verging on the patronising.”… Ummm yeah, so I’ll just leave that there.

Paulo Coelho, I love your work but this; I think this was just an ‘Omg I need to release a book before everyone thinks I have stopped writing’ type of lightbulb moment. Not your best. Let’s go back to the Manuscripts in Accra and Brida story flow types, we’ll always be your loyal fans no matter what though, don’t worry.

2015 really hasn’t started out with the best written works for me it seems. I need to pick the next book I read very carefully, I have to write at least one positive review before March. Yes, before March, suggestions are highly appreciated! I’ll leave you all with one quote from the book that particularly stuck to me:

“Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s an art. And like any art, it takes not only inspiration but also a lot of work.” Coelho

Enjoy the week ahead and hope we all get paid by this weekend! January needs to end.