Personal Development

The influence of friends and family

You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with… Whether it’s family or friends, you’ve to surround yourself with people who feed your flame.

Between 2013 and now, can you boldly say you’ve developed really well? Can you say that you are proud of the man/woman you have become?

The people we mingle with, the people we associate or relate with, affects or influences the way we think, the way we see/picture our lives and this world as whole or our life in this world.


Friends or peers are great, at least provided you get them right. Having a bad friend or a loser as a friend is just the same as having discouragement as a friend. I mean each time you get a brilliant idea and decide to share with your friend, he/she is either not interested or would laugh at your idea.

Let us assume you sing quite well and you think of making videos of yourself and uploading to YouTube or going all the way to the music industry (“I need to let the world know I’m a talented singer”). Now, that is a brilliant idea, you then decide to tell your friend (your best friend maybe) about it but your friend just laughs at the idea, then you’re saying to he/she “I am being serious” and your friend says “ok, let me hear you sing”…you sing something and it was not bad, with a little more development and you would be really good but your friend just laughs and laughs and for a while, he/she just could not stop laughing. What would you be feeling at that moment? “If it sounded so bad to my friend, how would it be to other people? I don’t think I am as good as I thought I was.”

Your good friend would instead applaud you and tell you how you need to develop yourself first before taking the big step and he/she would add ideas of his/her own and offer to help you on.

Self-doubt: the bad friend has made you lose your self-confidence and last time I checked, in other to develop, you need to believe in your current abilities, then you can consider making them better/developing them.

Your good friend on the other hand has increased your already high self-confidence. Although you are bound to face some challenges on your way to stardom, with encouragement and support from your friend/loved ones, you would eventually succeed.


Let’s assume, you get an idea to go into some sort of business because you’ve tried to get a job, but the system in the country is not working in your favor. Your good friend would hear your idea and think of working on it with you but your bad friend(s) would hear it and start to give you a million reasons why you won’t succeed and thousands of examples of people who have tried and failed. For some reason, they just seem to have the bad news, though they do not really read/watch the news. Now they have planted the seed of fear in you, you knew the risks before but they have just discouraged you from taking the big step, from developing yourself/your status.

Bad friends are simply the worst! You need to get rid of these losers you call friends, they would hinder your “Personal Development”.


In Africa, parents do not really believe in “talents”, all they want is for you to go to school, study medicine or become an engineer. “Dad, I want to become a footballer?” Very few fathers will actually take this from their children, but the majority won’t. “I want you to become a doctor, period”.  The irony of it all is, when an African country is playing in the on-going World Cup, they shout and shout, supporting the country. Wouldn’t it be the joy of any parent to see his kid represent his/her own country, while the whole world is watching? Family is key to any child’s development.

Now your turn, are you surrounding yourself with people who feed your flame or those who put it out?

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Show me a successful entrepreneur who has never failed not once, but multiple times. Whether it is investing all their savings and losing it all before the business even takes off, having extremely harsh competitors who can do anything to keep someone else off their monopolized market or even business partners walking out on you. The list is endless.
If you are in business, or looking to get into business but are too scared to dive into the deep waters, here are 3 successful Kenyan entrepreneurs who have had enormous failures but still made it big.

George Wachiuri – Founder of Optiven Limited

George Wachiuri is undoubtedly one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Kenya. He started his company 18 years ago with savings from his previous jobs.
When he first got into real estate, his focus was on providing value-added plots to Kenyans. However, it wasn’t easy at first. The first plot he bought worth Ksh. 5 Million ended up being a con and he lost all his savings. Things were not looking great. The huge loss took the company through a great depression and Mr. Wachiuri started applying for jobs in order to make ends meet. He got a job as a lecturer at a local University but his income still wasn’t enough to meet his needs.

George once said this in an interview; “After the loss, I swore that I would never do business again, but I remembered that winners never quit and quitters never win.”

He then ventured into property investment afresh having learned from his past failure and went on to make Optiven Limited one of the most successful property investment companies in Kenya.
Optiven has been continuously recognized for its impact to Kenyans and they have won several prestigious awards including coming first in the Kenya Top 100 SME competition and being voted a Super Brand.
Lesson: Do not give up on your dreams even when you fail. Use your failure as a stepping stone and a lesson to do better next time.

Tabitha Karanja – Founder of Keroche Breweries

Tabitha Karanja has had to encounter so many challenges that could have completely set her back. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry and getting into a business that was already monopolized, her resilience pushed through to make her one of the top entrepreneurs in Africa.
Some of the major challenges she faced were a smear campaign against her drinks that claimed her drinks were unhealthy for consumption. She also had to fight a court battle on tax where she was asked to pay Ksh. 1.2 Billion in 14 days but she fought the case and won. At some point, Keroche Breweries billboards were pulled down upon charges of unethical trade practice; and these are just a few obstacles she faced.
Tabitha once said in an interview; “The way my challenges came you could never try to think of giving up because if I ever gave up, it meant that I could have hurt a generation, especially my children and anyone trying to come up in business. Then people would have later said… you remember that woman who started a beer business and closed down?.”

Tabitha has gone on to win several awards and she believes that women have an equal chance as men to succeed in business if they set their mind to it.
Lesson; Don’t be afraid to take risks and walk the path that many seem to avoid.

Chris Kirubi – Entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Unlike some of us who had a fairly easy childhood, Chris Kirubi grew up in a poor home, he lost his parents at an early age and he had to start work early in order to meet the daily needs of his family. This experience lay a foundation for him to become the successful entrepreneur he is today.
However, building his business empire did not come without its fair share of challenges and failures along the way.
One of his notable failures was when he tried to venture into the painting industry. Chris thought that as long as he produced quality paint, his product would sell. At the time, the paint industry was dominated by a few individuals who were also the major distributors and contractors. They were threatened by Kirubi’s new product and in order to stifle his product, no big contractor would buy his paint and there was no one willing to stock his product. The few who took his paint took it on credit with the promise to pay back but they never really paid him. After some time, Kirubi went into huge debt and he was forced to shut down the company.
However, this did not stop him from trying out other business ventures after learning from his past failure.
Chris once said in an interview; “All this did not deter me from achieving my vision. It, however, gave me the strength and power to move on to better things. I became wiser and made sure that every business I invested in thereafter would be a success.”
Lesson; Know when to move on when something isn’t working but keep your dream intact.

Final Word:
As an entrepreneur, you’ll never be successful if you are unwilling to take risks. Have an open mind, push for the results you want to see and accept that at times, you will fail. However, do not allow your initial failures to define your entrepreneurship journey. More so, a failure may be the motivation you need to move forward.

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What does it take to be an excellence oriented person?

Do you strive for Perfection or Excellence?

A lot of people strive for perfection – and end up never starting and not doing anything.
Striving for excellence does not mean that you must be perfect. It means that you use your talents, abilities, and skills in the best way possible and get ahead of others by giving that little extra.

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well” – John W Gardiner

Thoughts on Excellence:

1. Excellence should not be seen as a destination to arrive to but a journey to embark on.

2. It is also very important that while on this journey constant and deliberate improvements must/should be made.

3. Excellence is formed by doing things right and in a better way continuously over time.

4. To be excellence means to always seek to give the best at every given opportunity while we take it a step further every day.

5. More importantly, if you don’t have a mindset of excellence, you cannot give excellence and neither can you be a person of excellence.

Accomplishing a task in an excellent fashion gives you great pride and self-esteem since the quality of your work is a measure of the quality of yourself.

What Are The Mindsets That Affects Excellence?

1. Quantity is better than quality:

In this part of the world, somewhere deep in our subconscious, there is that idea that quantity is better than quality. So, we usually compromise on quality and instead go for quantity. This mindset is detrimental to being an excellence-oriented person because you’d often find yourself going for something of less quality just because the quantity is more.

2. You can’t achieve excellence while you are still small:

So many people believe they have to wait till they get to a higher station in life or until their business becomes huge before they pursue excellence because now somewhere in their mind they tell themselves ‘’nobody really knows or notice what I’m doing now” so why the fuss. This is a wrong mindset because ‘YOU DON’T GROW BIG TO PRACTICE EXCELLENCE, YOU PRACTICE EXCELLENCE TO GROW BIG’.

3. You can’t maintain excellence once you’ve grown large:

On the other hand, some people believe you can’t maintain excellence once you’ve grown large. This usually not true because there are many extremely large multinational organizations around the world today who still maintains the same standard of excellence and even improve on it year after year.

4. Without a lot of money, excellence is impossible:

Most people believe that excellence is impossible without a lot of money. This is a wrong and dangerous mindset as it often causes people from pursuing excellence. The truth is that ‘IT’S NOT RESOURCES THAT ATTRACTS EXCELLENCE, IT’S EXCELLENCE THAT ATTRACTS RESOURCES’’. Try and be excellent at what you do and where you are now, and more people will seek you out and as you are known for excellence, you’ll begin to attract valuable resources to yourself.

5. Only top/rich people deserve excellence:

This is a poor man’s mentality that must be scrapped by anyone who wishes to attain great heights in life. What you can’t see in your mind, you cannot see in your life. You must first see yourself as a person of excellence before you can ever become one.

Excellence is a must because things are improving around us daily and you don’t want to be left behind.
However, excellence attracts excellence and communicates value attached.

Here are some practical ways of bringing more excellence into your life:

1. Always give more than is expected of you.
2. Have a passion for whatever you do for a living.
3. Believe that what you do matters, and that it will make a difference.
4. Challenge yourself to excel all the Time – and build your confidence and competence.
5. Focus on one thing at a time
6. Use all available tools.

Remember, living a life of excellence is not difficult, it’s just an attitude of mind.
Simply decide right now to give it your best shot – and you will be amazed at what life gives you back.

Article contributed by: Timilehin Abodunrin









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A guide to a successful journey

People are always asking “How can I be happy?”

But really is that the right question to ask? I believe it will be much better if you ask “why am I sad?” by knowing why you are sad can help you find your lost happiness.

One thing for sure, happiness is always within us, everyone has happiness in them.

However, we often let sadness overshadows our happiness and for us to get our happiness back we need to know “WHY WE ARE SAD”.

For you to know where you are going or want to go you first have to know where you have been. So, look around you, the people, and places, things that make you sad and get them off your life. They say you cannot choose your family but sure you can choose your friends, the people you hang around with, the people you seek advice from, and most of all the people and things you believe in.

Try to get rid of toxic people in your life, never ever spend time with energy vampires, they will suck the good out of you and leave you with bitterness.

Know your circle and know the people you spend time with, give your life a positive balance by spending 30%/40% of your time with people that want to learn from you and spend 60%/70% with people you want to learn from. Stop spending time with people or in places that do not worth your time.

Spend time and Learn from people that will do you good! People that will help you grow, help pushes you to go forward, people that tell you “oh yes you can” even when you believe you can’t, people that help you believe you can do, have and become anything in life.

Know the type of people you call mentors/leaders.

Never be a follower of someone that never supports you to become a leader someday.

A leader is someone that takes their followers in the right direction.

Someone that is willing to listen to you and help you learn by giving you positive advice.

A leader is someone that never make their followers feel inferior or act as if they are superior to their followers.

A leader is someone that is smart but don’t use that as an advantage to stupid people.

Someone who is willing to give their life for you, because they know their purpose in life is never about themselves but the people they are leading.

A Leader is not someone that tells you to do this and that without giving you a clear blueprint how to do it.

A leader is someone that always check on you to know how you are doing when they give you a task to do or is willing to guide you again and again and again until they see you can do better.

Don’t listen to a mentor that tells you “oh you are doing wonderful, you are great” when you know within yourself you are not. Sometimes they only tell you that just because they don’t want to spend time with you and they are not willing to help you grow, so the best thing they could do is to make you feel that you have all the help you need and you are doing just fine, but the truth is you are not.

Don’t listen to a mentor that just tells you “you can be great, you can be successful, and you can be a leader” however they never ever show/guide you how to be great, successful or be a leader. These are not mentors they are procrastinators.

A mentor is someone that lights the fire in you, then helps you raise up your standards and help push your drive to the next level.

A mentor knows what to say to you and when to say it.

A mentor should be able to know where you are going and should be able to guide you in your journey.

It is better to take advice from someone with experience than someone with just a knowledge.

A mentor with experience will speak to you with passion, because they don’t just know what they are saying but they have been there before you so they know how to guide you.

It is better to listen to an entrepreneur with a successful business than to listen to someone that have MBA with no Business at all.

Learning from someone that has the experience in what they are telling you, will lead you to the right one direction.

Mentors, Leaders or Friends.

They are not who they say they are to you if they don’t make/spend time with you. If they have no time for you it simply means “you are not important in their lives” so get them out of your life. It is better to be alone than to be with the wrong people.

If they tell you, you aren’t good enough, get them out. If they say you have reached your limit and you can’t go any further, get them out. If they tell you, you are the best, you are number one, you are the most successful but you don’t feel that way! Please get them out of your life, they are only saying those things because they what something from you.

It is better to listen to your true enemy than your fake friend. A lot of people don’t know this; however, your enemy is the best person to learn from because they are the best people to tell you your weakness, they tell you what you are lack of, the areas you need to improve in.

Always invite positive energy into your life and get the negative ones out of your life.

Sometimes we don’t need to learn new things to be better, we just need to forget about some old things that are stopping us from moving forward.

Again; you don’t need anyone or anything to make your life great. True greatness can only be found within yourself.

Article by: Bashiru Mansaray









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The Man Who Refuse To Give Up – Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones is a 26-year-old bodybuilder in the U.S who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a hereditary heart condition that affects the muscles of the heart.









Symptoms of the condition started in 2012 when Andrew suddenly lost his breath while doing his regular runs. Two years after this incidence, he started coughing blood and was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that Andrew had a heart failure that required an immediate heart transplant.

For months, Andrew was unable to do all the normal things he could do before, as he was very weak. All efforts to get a heart proved useless. His doctors had no choice but to attach an artificial heart to his body using two tubes. Andrew, in fact, carries his artificial heart in a backpack which he takes everywhere he goes.

With his artificial heart, Andrew is back in the gym and has begun training again. Doctors have confirmed that Andrew can keep training as long as he follows all the instructions given to him.

To raise awareness for organ donations, Andrew Jones has launched his own charity, which he calls, Hearts at Large.


Andrew’s story is indeed a very emotional and inspiring one. There are, however, several lessons we can learn from this young man. Let’s take a look at five (5) of such lessons:

  1. You are not a failure unless you accept failure- Andrew refused to allow his artificial heart stop his passion for bodybuilding.
  2. Life will always throw challenges at you; your reaction to such challenges determines your success- Andrew chose to continue living his life and pursuing his dreams
  3. A problem can actually become a stepping-stone to your greatness- Andrew’s charity organisation is drawing so much attention globally.
  4. Find your passion, follow it and constantly fuel it- Andrew is passionate about bodybuilding. What is your passion?
  5. Be thankful for life and for who you are- Andrew is thankful to be alive. He carries his artificial heart around with pride.

In the end, success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

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Setting off…

It is not always easy to tread in unfamiliar territories. Just like this New Year 2018 that has never been seen or experienced. This is where the rubber meets the road. There is usually an initial rush of fear mixed with hope that things will go our way buoyed by childlike faith. As the year progresses, we are daily excited by stories of ancestors who made it big maybe after many attempts or who stuttered but did not fail or who fell and got up to productive excellence. While the stories of the vast majority who gave up or tried as they could but did not succeed are waved away as not being our lot.

There will be hills to climb, valleys to fill, oceans to swim and deserts to cross. Whatever it is, never give in to your fears, and refuse to quit. Stay on course. You may break a sweat but soak the perspiration therein. Let your imagination run wild. Find expression. Tame indiscipline. Let go frivolities. Absorb tremors. Trust your instincts. Feed your guts. You never know wherein the lies. Aspirations would be high, there would be times of fun and laughter from success and celebration from good success. There may also come times not so good or outrightly discouraging having put in your all leading to sighs, escape of tears, crying, weeping and even yelling.

These remind us of being human and no one being infallible.

These times will come. Appreciate the victories and accept the failures as lessons to be learned as you eventually become superlative.

But in all, if you remain focused on your dream and give it your very best the good times will far outnumber the bad times and every effort worth your while.

Ignore the naysayers. Stick with the encouragers. It is a difficult world so appreciate help that contributes to your success and every lesson that a setback brings.

To a flying and steady start.

Keep dreaming. Keep pushing. Keep believing.

It won’t be long.

Happy New year!

Contributed by; Dr. Stanley Ehiarimwian.

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