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Many, often, tough lessons I learnt this year

Saturday December 29 2018

 

NJOKI CHEGE
By NJOKI CHEGE
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What a year 2018 has been!

I am ending this year with some personal reflections of some lessons that I learnt — both painfully and gleefully — throughout this year.

Just do it: The Nike slogan “Just do it!” could easily pass for my 2018 mantra. In 2018, I learnt that the key to tackling that tough task ahead of you is really this simple, start simple and just do it. Don’t aim for perfection, do not aim to be the best. Don’t wait to be ready, because you will never be, and don’t wait for the right time. In the coming year, I am urging my readers to tackle that difficult project you have always been putting off by just doing it.

POTENTIAL FOR EVIL

Good things take time, great things take longer: For an incredibly impatient girl, this lesson is yet to sink in. I don’t like waiting in line, slow people get on my nerves and I believe that bureaucracy is the killer of creativity. But even in my hot-bloodedness, I am gradually appreciating the power of waiting. When you are as impatient as I am, life comes at you fast. You are made to wait for things that ideally do not take that long to come, just to teach you a lesson in patience. I am still waiting for some things that I thought would have happened by now, but the beauty of it is that I now know for sure, that delay is not denial.

Forgive yourself: Forgiveness is by no means easy. Forgiving yourself is harder. So you messed up, took a few wrong turns and made a few stupid choices. Our natural inclination is to beat ourselves up and sink into a bottomless abyss of regret and self-depreciation. This year, I have learnt to cut myself some slack. To forgive myself a little more and finally experienced the joy and freedom of living guilt-free.

Naivety: I thought of myself as many things, but naive was not one of them. Until I realised how naive I was in some things and how trusting I was in some circumstances. But in my naivety, I came face-to-face with the human potential for evil and learnt some great lessons. For example, I learnt not too be too trusting, and I understood — first hand — that human beings have the capacity to look you in the eye, swear by their unending support for you, but plot your downfall behind closed doors. What I am saying is that not everyone that laughs with you is on your side, some are just laughing at you.

CREDIBILITY ATTACKED

“Bad guys rarely win”: I got this line from Steve Jobs biography, which I just completed. I learnt in 2018, to do good to others, even if it is not the fashionable thing to do. In a world full of evil, I learnt to remain graceful even when it made more sense to avenge.

“Laugh this stuff off”: Another line I got from Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming, in a passage where she was detailing how she deals with the detractors and the critics. This year, I have been accused of the most atrocious things. I generally have a strong personality which comes out through my passionate and sometimes aggressive pursuit of what I want. I have been accused of being “disrespectful” of being “too aggressive” of being “rude” and a girl who would “do anything” to get things done. I have been hurt by rumours and false accusations, my credibility has been attacked, just because my sassiness and my feistiness makes some people uncomfortable. I have cried and I have thrown tantrums, but I have also learnt some great lessons, just laugh some of this stuff off and let is slide through my back.

Stand your ground: This is perhaps the highlight of the year. In 2018, I found my voice and finally learnt to do what I have always admired in my role models; to stand my ground. I learnt to live by the famous words of Margaret Thatcher “The lady is not for turning”.

So I learnt to take decisions and stand firmly by them. I have finally mastered the art of putting my foot down, and letting people know that my “no” means “no” and to remain strong in my convictions. The greatest lesson of 2018, for me, I think, has been to allow myself not be a pushover. And there is no greater feeling than know that “This lady is not for turning”.

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