‘What you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.’ – Oprah
‘Privilege comes in many forms, and being popular is one of them.’ – Luvvie Ajayi
After about four months of barely reading anything I’m finally back on my usual routine of actually completing a book before an entire month expires. With time I’ll soon be back on the one book per two weeks steeze too – watch this space. But I digress…
‘The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.’ – Dumbledore
This book was gifted to me by my mother a day before I moved to London and once I started reading it, I understood why she gave it to me – it’s a story based in London, about a young woman living in London… Thanks mum, I see what you did there.
Making: A bunch of travel itineraries, the rest of the year is going to be filled with quite some adventures
Cooking: Made some teriyaki ribs last night, hope that still counts!
Drinking: Nomu’s Skinny hot chocolate – it actually tastes super amazing for a ‘diet’ drink
Looking: For Betty Crocker’s frosting. I can’t seem to find any in all the major supermarkets here. Anyone know where I can find some?
Playing: Words with friends with my brother and winning everytime!
Wasting: Fuel with all the trips my mum makes me do to town to buy her wool… For those who don’t know, my mother has this sudden knitting obsession and will not sleep until she gets the wool of her choice – everyday.
Sewing Creating: My vision board for my upcoming school year. So exciting yet so nerve racking!
Wishing: I had more time left in Nairobi:( I’m ready to leave but then again, not.
Enjoying: The time I have been spending with friends of late, each moment being fulfilling, fun and stress free.
Waiting: For 6pm to get here already because @missvnjoroge’s sister is hosting us for a very intimate art show at her home and I can’t wait to see all the beautiful pieces.
Liking: My sudden love for lip stains, I wear one almost daily now. I still can’t fathom wearing any lipstick but maybe one day I’ll get that bug too.
Wondering: When I’ll be able to get these dreams I have all realized…
Loving: The weather in Nairobi right now, no more dull grey skies!
Hoping: For a great academic year ahead. Didn’t I say I was excited earlier??:)
Marvelling: At the progress I have made in my own personal growth. This year has been quite the journey and there’s still more to come.
Needing: An Oreonilla milkshake in my life! Urban Eatery should deliver
Smelling: Mum’s perfume, she just walked into my room lol.. Prada – Candy, yum!
Wearing: Black and white striped maxi dress
Following: @IndieByline who is basically my spirit animal. Love her page, her blog, her story… I wish I met you while I was still living in Atl, you are too cool:)
Noticing: How much more hydration I need in my system, my face is starting to break out thanks to not drinking enough water. 1ltr and more all day everyday from now on.
Knowing: That if I don’t get out of this bed I will be late for lunch today with my former @UPNairobiworkmates… Don’t kill me Adam, I already know I’ll be late.
Thinking: About my trip to Rusinga next week… Bittersweet feelings.
Feeling: Hungry. I really should start getting ready
Bookmarking: @iamnecole’s new site! I was an avid fan of NecoleBitchie and I am loving the newly revamped website xonecole that is a women’s lifestyle website carefully curated by women making it all the more powerful, inspiring and motivating. #WomenForWomen
Opening: My Mogul page, I recently started contributing to this site and would love for you all to check out my articles when you can:)
Giggling: At my very awkward moment that happened this past Tuesday haha.. NSFW – the end.
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.
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 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”
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”
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”
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.
Avid fan of the Huffington Post and now, Thrive.
N/B: All quotes are from the book.
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.
Turns out Quentin and Corey (played by William Levy and Tyson Beckford respectively) were a) a psychopath and b) a former inmate and so ex girlfriends were brought into the mix, near death situations as well because neither man wanted to see Zoe with anyone else yet she had told them she was married from the very start.
“Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”
Thanks to Beyonce, we all know this snippet from Chimamanda’s powerful TedX talk. Ms Adichie has gone on to write a short e-book based on this talk, the book suitably titled- ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. That was going to be the title of this post but I have to stick to the typewriter tuesdays theme because this is actually also a review of the book though I know I will go off on quite a number of tangents. Bare with me:)
Of course I agree with my all time favourite author that indeed we should ALL be feminists because it is quite necessary in this day and age; not just women, but men as well. Chimamanda did a sort of extension of the TedX talk because she wanted to fully explain why she is so adamant on her feminist stance and also why she thinks we all need to join the bandwagon. Being a feminist myself, I know you all may think I will be biased on this post but I will try my very best not to favour my opinion so much.
Chimamanda starts her book by telling a story about her long time friend, Okoloma who passed away in 2005. Okoloma was the very first person to ever call the author a feminist. She explains how at the time she had no idea what it meant but the way that her friend had said it, she thought it an insult at the time. Fast forward many years later, after the release of her novel, Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda was called a feminist yet again by her peers such as journalists, academics and the like. The word feminist according to these people was an unhappy woman who could not find a husband. Feminism was ‘un-African’ and an influence from the Western world; being a feminist meant that she hated men. Chimamanda took the moniker with pride and made it the exact opposite, calling herself a happy, African feminist who does not hate men. As the constant criticism kept rolling in, she could see that the word feminist was associated with so much negativity and she wanted to change that.
She tells another childhood story of how she was appointed class monitor but immediately lost that position to a boy simply because he was male and she was female despite being top of her class and earning the right to be the class monitor. Because boys were usually the ones that were class monitors, it became a norm that could never ever change. It is sadly not just an african mentality but a global one as well… ‘If we do something over and over, it becomes normal. If we see the same thing over and over, it becomes normal’. Chimamanda talks of her life in Lagos, how extremely male dominated it is that even a simple girl seen walking into a hotel is looked down upon as people assume she is a sex worker as opposed to someone who really is just coming to the hotel for say a meeting or for lunch with friends.
A woman footing the bill at a restaurant is looked down upon, as if she cannot afford to pay her own bills. I have seen that a lot here in Nairobi as well, though I must send a shout out to the waiter at 360 Degrees, who placed the bill right in front of me at the end of a meeting I was having with a friend. I think because I got there before my male friend, he assumed I was the one who planned the meeting. When it’s a group of 2, even just 3 people meeting at a restaurant and one of them happens to be male, waiters/waitresses automatically assume it is he to pay for the meal. It is something we have been so accustomed to since time immemorial and hence, it became normal. So when a woman pays the bill, the man usually takes it as an insult to his ever fragile ego. When in essence, she is just doing what a man would do as well. She is paying for lunch/dinner/drinks etc, just as he would normally pays for the lunch/dinner/drinks as well. It is OKAY. She is capable of doing it herself so let her. Don’t judge her for it or take it personally. In fact, you should be glad she can pull her own weight in whatever situation just like you as a man, can as well. Equality can’t be that hard a thing to fathom can it?
Chimamanda emphasizes the fact that as humans we have really evolved but our ideas of gender are clearly still stuck in the medieval ages. Here in Kenya it is not as suffocating for an independent woman as it is in Lagos and that I am thankful for. Seems we are slowly heading in the right direction. A woman in Lagos cannot be able to do practically anything without a man, and it is not because she is fully dependent on a man but the society there has made it such a norm there that sometimes she has no choice. A woman in Lagos cannot enter clubs alone, she has to be accompanied by a man otherwise she will not get in. When seen hand in hand with a man, the man will be acknowledged but not the woman. The woman is basically invisible. She is just an object as opposed to a human being. I’d like to see the clubs in Nairobi try that and see if they’ll ever have a full house.
The work place is yet another place where people really need to understand why feminism exists and fight for the injustice that women go through on the daily. We all know how condescending some men can be, I say some because it’s not every single man who feels all high and mighty towards women. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook wrote an entire book just based on this. Assuring women that they have a right to sit at the table as well, they can give their ideas and opinions and take action without the fear of being judged or even worse getting the sack. If we kept living in that fear, the Daily Nation would have a very hard time finding Top 40 women under 40 candidates for their annual Business Daily segment.
Chimamanda teaches a writing workshop in Lagos and she talks of some participants who have been warned to stay away from her workshop. That listening to her ‘feminist talk’ would make these women absorb ideas that would destroy their marriages. I don’t know why marriage is such a heavily talked about issue in African communities. I am only in my early twenties, but the pressure to tie the knot in this generation right now is crazy! I know some families that wait for their daughter to graduate from school and then the next thing is to find her a husband. Not get a job and build your career or even possibly get another degree, no… It’s all about – Get a man. Get a reputable man, get married, have kids. That is your role in life as a woman. Finding a life partner is not to be looked down upon of course, no man is an island after all. But this man should come into your life because of how you live your life. Not because that is all you want in life.
She not only focuses on women alone though. Like the title says, Chimamanda wants us ALL to be feminists. She has a section on men as well and how we as a society have done a great disservice to them in how they are raised. Masculinity is defined in an extremely narrow way and putting young boys in such a cage so early life teaches them to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of being human. This has left most men with very fragile egos. Any small thing, like say paying the bill at a restaurant instead of letting him do it, bruises their ego so much and they feel like you are challenging their manhood. Guys its okay to not be all put together, it’s okay to accept help when you need it. One of the quotes from this book that really spoke to me and relates to this was a quote Chimamanda said when asked whether she worries about men being intimidated by her… “A man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in.”
Back on the marriage topic, it is quite sad that women are being pushed to get married by a particular age but men can stay single all through his life if he wants to. An unmarried 30 something or 40 something year old woman is seen as a failure yet for a man the same age it seen as him taking his time to choose a wife. Society needs to change its stance on these gender ‘rules’ if at all equality between the sexes is to be achieved. Women will give up jobs, career dreams, even going to particular places or acquainting herself with particular people all to please the man whilst in a relationship. Why do we never see a man making the same compromise?
The sad thing is we live in a society where men seem to have all the power, and why? Because it happens all the time that it has become normal. Feminists are not bad people. They are not trying to say that women and only women should rule the world, all we are saying is that society should really give us a break. We can’t wear what we want without being judged or some man seeing it as his chance to take forceful advantage of our bodies. We can’t go to work everyday and come home without a man expecting us to cook and clean and raise the kids as well yet he is quite capable of doing that himself. We can’t expect to be as successful as the man because the man expects us to be seen and not heard. So many rules and gender expectations are placed on the woman, especially the African woman and people are still wondering why Feminism is on the rise? Chimamanda talks of men feeling threatened by the idea of feminism, she feels that this is triggered by how they are raised… ‘Their sense of self-worth is somehow diminished if they are not naturally in charge as men.’
Culture may have stated many years ago that women are to be subordinate to men but culture is constantly changing and we should adjust accordingly to the changes. Chimamanda perfectly concludes her book with this powerful statement- ‘Culture does not make people. People make culture.’ She posed a question to her readers that I will post here as I am posing the same question to all of us…
‘What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?’
Would like to know your responses to that so feel free to comment below! This book though only 70 pages long is quite the short story, one I won’t forget anytime soon.
P.S: I think is the longest post I have done this year, goodness!