Saturday, June 23, 2007

Staying afloat

Failure is never the problem. The greatest problem is falling and staying down there. When you fail once, twice or thrice, it only shows you that you need better tactics and fresh plans. And these are never in limited supply. Have plans A-Z. If these still don't work, start on numbers, which are forever infinite. At some point one of the plans MUST work. Of course who says its easy? Difficulties are part of the journey, but you will be surprised by how many people focus on the difficulties rather than the end!

Competing against others vs challenges

The greatest mistake many people make is to focus their efforts on others rather than on the obstacles. By focusing on others, you limit yourself and fail to know the extent of what you can achieve. It is therefore not surprising that many out there are frustrated and desperate because they don't get to realize their goals as they spend their lifetime concerning themselves with the lives of others. At the end, they start blaming the world for their failures.

Let your eyes rest on the challenge, be it little education or illiteracy, lack of money, joblessness and the like. Look for all the possible ways of tackling the challenge. You can talk to successful people you admire and ask for their guidance. And never limit yourself to what is seen and known. That professional, businessman or minister you admire may just give you an audience.

Looking squarely at the challenge and the challenge alone will enable you to work hard and solve only that which is paramount to you, your environment and your future. Never waste time trying to compete with people because we cannot be the same in the world. But when you work on eliminating your weaknesses and challenges such as those mentioned above, you will be amazed at how comfortable and peaceful you will feel seeing the result of your efforts.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Taking one step at a time

Taking one step at a time is usually a hard thing for the human nature. The norm is that we always want it all here and now. But more often than not, this is never the case. Sometimes, it can get so disappointing that one may think it is the end. In reality, many would agree that at some point or another, they have come upon obstacles so challenging as to make them think that they have reached a dead end. At this point, many give up. However, a few often try to push harder not believing that it is the end. Always seeing a light at the end of the tunnel even when everybody else is seeing no hope, no future. That is the quality inherent in achievers. Those who never take no for answer. And that is what often separates the successful from the laggards.

A director with a national NGO in Kenya describing his earlier steps in starting an anti-drug abuse organizations recollects a period of disappointments, negative comments (from the most unlikely sources-friends and other close people). This did not deter him in his drive towards bringing something positive to the surface. 'It has never been done', came the darkened words, 'you wont make it', came another'...blablabla... A few years later (actually 3 years), his vision had blossomed into something tangible and serious. Within this short period, he had appeared on BBC, SABC (South African national station) among many other media anti-drug discussion panels. Similarly, he has brought hope to a number of those affected by drug addiction.

This further tells us that whatever it is that the heart is directed towards, nothing should stop you from pursuing it. Try all the channels possible. Knock all the doors, seek all the ways and ask all the questions. Just when you think all doors have been closed, God will open for you another window and that is not philosophy but something real. Something tangible. Something that is and will always be above human understanding. Keep on trying. Chase your dream. If you believe its what is meant for you then don't stop. It ain't over until its over. Never give up.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Managing your time effectively

You have just woken up, taken a shower and dressed up waiting to go to work. Suddenly, you remember, the work assignment or investment club meeting you were supposed to attend to. You take a look at your diary and find that the event is not keyed in. As well, you have to go to work and finish up some stuff. The first thing to do is to always have a diary or planner with you wherever you are. The planner or diary can serve the dual purposes of taking in your thoughts and schedules.

Always make sure you finish the easy assignments first. If all it requires is making a call. Do it and forget about it. Make sure you also take on your assignments in order of priority starting with the most important ones first. You will be amazed by how they get solved smoothly.

Anything positive you think of should always be put in writing (in your diary or planner). Avoid putting your thoughts on scattered pieces of paper. They are more than likely to disappear together with your thoughts and ideas. Never dismiss positive thoughts even as big as they might seem to you. The conscience putting them right there in your mind knows that you can pursue them, take them on and succeed in making them a reality. So be sure to have a planner or a diary next to you everytime waiting for that time when a flash of a bright idea or thought comes lingering on in your mind.

Writing and reporting for international media

Perhaps, the greatest challenge many budding writers meet along the way is the prospect of reporting or writing for international media. This is never easy considering the many qualified people who also apply for the postings. However, its also never impossible. Many of the reporters currently flying high in the world of international media such as CNN started somewhere and so can you. CNN Correspondent Zain Verjee, for example, started from a relatively small media house in Kenya back in the days (1990s). Her excellent work and dedication saw her submitting some reporting pieces for CNN, which ended up accepting them setting her current international media career path.
What of CNN Africa Correspondent Jeff Koinange? He too started in a small media house somewhere and look where he is a couple of years later. Success is a journey, not a destination, one adage goes. So the most important thing is to strive to be always one or more steps better than you were the previous day. Of course, its never easy, nobody says it is. But its never impossible either.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Writing appealing articles

Writings do not necessarily have to be pleasing to the readers. As a writer, your sacred duty is to put issues and points across. This requires sobriety, a fertile imagination (for fiction and prose writers) and a flair for the pen. Let these guide you. A clear conscience is also very important.

Most of the poets and writers probably started by writing their thoughts down during those idle moments. You will be amazed by how far their writing has gone. Never be idle. A writer ( or an aspiring writer), is always on the look out. The three codes of writing are be an avid reader, listener and communicator. You must be able to sieve what is important from what is not.

A prolific African-Kenyan writer, Mr. Phillip Ochien'g once lambasted the poor writing trend of many of the current crop of African writers blaming it on the absence of a clear and strong moral conscience. While that may be debatable, fact is, without a clear conscience it becomes difficult for a writer to convey a message across without appearing to be babbling.

Readers will definitely see through a wacky piece of writing. This is because human beings are created in search a way that we can always read in between the lines. That is, there is always a 'third eye' pointing to something which meets more than the eye. Our sub-concious mind sees what we cannot see physically with the naked eye.

Elements of a good article

The main problem most aspiring writers as well as established writers often face is the question of how to put across an article to convey exactly what is desired. This is never easy. Many writers have been hounded just because their audience does not comprehend the intended message. What is sometimes worse is when readers fail to take in the satire in an article or literary piece.

A story is told of how a president in Utopia called a newspaper writer to congratulate him for a good piece on his government. The writer, tickled by all these, could only manage a thank you and an ear to ear smile. This was funny considering that the writer, had put across a mind boggling satirical piece. All those who saw the satire in the article too burst into peals of laughter. Such a stylistic device is known as reverse satire. The opposite is plain satire when one bares all just as it is.

Maintaining focus amid the buzz

Keeping one's focus amid the hectic lifestyle, noise and buzz present in the world today is not easy. Perhaps, the most common thing that dents our focus is when our friends say stuff like..'you can't do it' can't be done'...'you are just average'...'you are not beautiful'...'you will head nowhere'...'you are stupid'...and the list goes on.

Her husband told her she was 'just average' and that she couldn't do it. She was distraught for sometime but that did not stop her from pursuing her goal of participating in a beauty show. Despite the discouragements and low self esteem (initially, atleast), she went on to become the winner in a tight beauty peagant. Yes, she is Rachel Love Fraser, a 27-year-old construction company clerk who was crowned 'The Swan', after a four month long competition. On top of the crown, she got $50,000 cash, a new car, a $30,000 diamond necklace, two vacations and a $25,000 full-length mink coat. As well, she got an assignment with Fox TV and a number of modelling contracts. So much for some one who is 'just average'.

What one can learn from this and many other such stories ( Nelson Mandela's, Surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson, Lakshmi Nivas Mittal) is that you are the one that determines the direction of your life. No one has the power, but you to change your destiny. The choices you make determines your future. Remember, whatever discouragements or negative words your friends, relatives or any other person tell you cannot bite you. Negative things never last. They are just temporary. And in any case, they make your resolve stronger.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Call

Feel free to call Mr. Simbowo for any public speaking engagement, writing training or development strategy and organizations skills courses.

He is available just for your personal development. There is always a future. It may take time. But keep pushing. You will get there someday soon. Nothing beats resistance better than persistence. The belief that there is always a way. No matter the circumstances. Mr. Simbowo is here to help you push on. So feel free and call.

About Mr. Simbowo

Mr. Simbowo has been development-conscious as long as he can remember. He remembers writing regionally (school-wise) award winning literature as far back as elementary school. His skills however took a sharp turn when he started pursuing his undergraduate training at Maseno University in western Kenya. Officially, he has been the East Africa Coordinator and Correspondent for the EuroAfricaCentral Network, and Orato Magazine Special Correspondent among other writing engagements. Similarly, he has participated in the research and reviewing of the United Nations Youth and Millennium Development Goals report produced by a UN-mandated Ad Hoc Committee. He has co-authored some journal publications and book citations. He is also a columnist for a Kenyan design publication.

As someone who believes everyone deserves a chance to maximize their potential, he avails his unique public speaking, writing and development strategy consultancy services to you.

His greatest inspiration comes from such quotations as:

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race".

-Calvin Coolidge

"The tragedy of life is what dies in the hearts and souls of people while they live".

"It's not that I'm so smart , it's just that I stay with problems longer".

"Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly".

-Albert Einstein

"If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done'.

-Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, March 29, 2007