Seven life lessons I have learnt this great year

Friday December 22 2017

By NJOKI CHEGE
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Every end of year, as is my tradition, I do a reflective column, a “think piece” about the year that has been, my reflections and the lessons I have learnt.

It is usually my last column of the year, my 51st or 52nd, slowly stewing and steaming in my mind throughout the year, before I pour out my heart.

However, this year’s “think piece” comes a week early, perhaps because I feel there is so much I need to share.

So here goes my biggest lessons for 2017. If I am inspired, I might perhaps extend this piece to next week’s column.

1. Feel the fear and do it anyway

Fear is often the greatest inhibitor to achievement. This year, I have feared many things.

I have feared for the future, the challenges I have met and the responsibilities ahead of me.

But what I have learnt is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling the fear.

Just don’t allow it to cripple you or make you miss out on the opportunities that lay ahead.

2. Make no apologies for growth

Only a failure will fear growth. Do not apologise for growing.

Do not be afraid to be a different person from who you were last year.

Most importantly, do not be afraid to leave behind behaviour, lifestyles and people that do not accommodate your growth.

People from your former life will not be very impressed by your growth. Grow anyway!

3. Pick your battles

You do not have to honour every fight or argument you are invited to.

A lot of invitations to battles that will come your way are often meant to distract you and pull you away from your mission or goal.

You do not have to prove to everyone what a hero you are by taking up every fight.

So how do you pick a fight? Always ask yourself; will this issue matter to me in the next 12 months? If your answer is no, walk away.

4. When the past calls, send it to voicemail

Earlier this year, I wrote about everyone having a certain past that they are not proud of.

I used the story of the Deputy President owning his past and disarming his so-called “enemies” who wanted to embarrass him.

My point is, sometimes the past will mess you, it will try to come up in your plans for the future.

Don’t give it a minute of your attention. When the past calls, don’t answer.

It often has nothing new to say. Also, still on the past, do not be afraid to own your past.

Don’t sweep it under the carpet. Admit it, and you will disarm those who want to use it against you.

5. Trust the process

I know I am beginning to sound preachy, but trust me, you will need this for next year.

Most of us want instant results, but that is often not possible.

The process of getting where you want to be is perhaps more important than the destination.

There are always lessons hidden in between the long, dreary and difficult process that you will need in the near future.

Just trust the process and you will see what I mean.

6. It is okay to lose

This year, I learnt that we win some, and lose some.

Sometimes, we lose all and win none and go home with nothing.

Don’t fret about your losses; take them in your stride. We invest in many things and we will lose sometimes.

Losing is almost guaranteed in life. It is what makes you a tough fighter. You lost, so what?

Rise again, dust yourself up and live to fight another day.

By the way, one loss does not make you a loser but losing the will to fight, does.

7. Take care of yourself

Be selfish and intentional with your decisions. Before you take care of others, take care of yourself first.

Wear the oxygen mask before you go out helping others.

You need to be full before you can pour out yourself to others.

So, take care of your psychological well-being, surround yourself with positive energy.

Take care of your body; eat well, exercise often (Karura Forest is a great place for a good run) and take care of your spiritual self (prayer works wonders).

And Merry Christmas to you.