African time

Africans are generally considered to be poor time keepers. The phrase ‘African Time’ was coined to mean at least an hour after the agreed time. In the USA they say: ‘we met at 10.00am CPT’ that stands for ‘colored people’s time’ that is not later than 10.15am 🙂

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But why don’t most Africans keep time? And is this the cause of poverty in most African states?

Let me try to explain it from a Kenyan/African point of view and after living in Austria for almost 5 years I have also come to change some of my perception of time management.

First and foremost it is a cultural thing. Africans are very social people there is always time for everything, you could visit an African house at 7.00 in the evening and you will still be welcomed and they will share with you whatever is available to eat or drink. They will stop on their way to work or school to help a neighbor catch a run away chicken or push a strangers car that got stuck in the mud. For many time is a period and not a point. That is why jobs are not paid per hour but per day or per month or per job. African time is not confined to the tick-tock of a watch. Africans have been telling time by moments like sunset, sunrise, cock-crow, length of shadow etc. ‘Better late than never.’ is a common saying among Africans. For Africans, “Time is Money” is an expression that doesn’t make sense. Time has no relation to money, time is in relation to relations, how they interact with each other.

In many African cultures it is considered rude and a bad habit to be punctual. For example if you arrive early or in time for a wedding feast you might be considered greedy you came to eat or in a burial also greedy and maybe you had something to do with the death of the deceased. Elders and people of authority are never expected to arrive on time. If they came early they would be lowering their dignity because people want to welcome them to the event.

Another factor could be the short life expectancy. The average life expectancy in Africa is 52 while the global average is 66. Life is short in Africa so Africans savor every moment. They engage in activities that are exciting, thrilling. They would immediately stop what they are doing to satisfy their curiosity or help someone in need or to have a good chat with a stranger over a topic that has just popped up. That is why despite the poverty Africans are generally happy people.

Here are some interesting quotes about Africans and time:

-Africans never wait for time, Time waits for Africans.

-Africans exist in time not for time.

-When God made man, he gave the white man a watch and the black man Time.

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So is it a curse that Africans are not good at keeping time?

What is your experience with African Time?

 

PS. To be fair and not generalize I have to say that of course there are many Africans who are punctual 🙂

 

How is your 2019 going?

Did you cross over to the new year full of ambition, hope, resolutions that this will be your year?

How do you feel after the first 10 days?

Have you stuck to your resolutions?

Have you shunned those bad habits you promised yourself to stop this year?

How do you feel about yourself?

It is really important to do a thorough honest evaluation of yourself at at least every 1 week interval. Then will you be able to know the direction in which you are moving. But you cannot do an evaluation without clear set goals. Therefore if you have not yet sat down and written your targets for 2019 it is imperative that you do so.

Personally, after evaluating myself after 10 days, I feel a little disappointed because I have not been able to break free from the habits that I really wanted to stop. Moreover, I am not consequent enough with the good habits that I wanted to develop this year.

Do you feel the same?

However, do not despair. The year is still young and if you stay focused on where you want to get you will keep moving toward that direction (that is why it is very important to have well defined written goals). One thing that you need to do, besides staying focused, is killing the nasty ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that make your forward movement difficult.

These guys, negative thoughts, are responsible for my lag in my pursuit of success in 2019. Whenever it gets a little tough, the ANTs immediately creep into my mind and start trying to convince me why I should not try harder and stay in my comfort zone.

Alarm goes of at 05.30am… ANTs: “you can do another 15 minutes you don’t have to wake up so early.”

I want to do my morning workout…… ANTs: “it is too cold outside to go for a run.”

I want to finish my assignments early in the day… ANTs: “you can do that later first check out what you crush has posted on insta.”

This continues through out the day whenever it is about a task that requires effort. The damn ANTs work overtime to keep me in my comfort zone instead of me working overtime to get out of my comfort zone.

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Negative thoughts are based on fears we got from past experiences. Just remember that they are in the past and you are moving forward so kill the damn ANTs. Move forward into 2019 step by step, you will fall back for sure from time to time but remember there is no situation which is permanent. The ANTs will make you feel like that bad time you are going through will last forever. That your year is screwed don’t let them do that to you. Just look forward push on. After 6 months I promise you will look how far you have come and smile with pride.

Write your goals for the year. Evaluate your progress at least once a week. Smash the damn ANTs.

How bad do you want it?

If wishes were horses beggars would ride. This saying does a lot to discourage you from just wishing and waiting for Santa to come through your chimney with a sack full of your wishes because that will not happen. Nothing comes easy we could put it in another way.

Even though, it is natural that you have big wishes and huge dreams. Dreaming about what we want or where we want to be is what distinguishes us humans from the other creatures we share our planet with. We can create the world in which we want to live by first dreaming about it. But that is the easy part. The more challenging part is turning your dreams in to reality.

The question is How bad do you want it? The answer to this question will determine whether or not you will get what you want. You can be sure that whatever you dream about or wish for in your life you can have it. It comes down to how bad you want it and what should you do to get it.dandelion-1119310_640

Many humans have had it their way and you are no exception. They did not posses superior abilities that gave them advantage over other humans. We are all the same. How we react to stimuli is what determines our levels of success in different circumstances.

Now, one thing that I have come to understand is that in order to get what you want there is a process that has to be followed. The first step is to have a burning desire to have whatever you want. This desire, will be the propulsion you will need to go for it. Think of the time where you got sleepless nights because of something really exciting that you were expecting. That same desire is what you will need to drive you into action.

Next, you need to give up something in exchange. Nothing comes easy, nothing is for free. Giving up something means that letting go of stuff in your life that you do not need to create space for the new stuff that you want. Now this is the hard part. Because we are programmed to be attached to what we have even though we don’t need it. We have this fear of letting go. This fear hinders us from moving forward because by stopping ourselves from exploring new territory we prevent the discovery of new aspects. In order to move forward you need to leave behind your current situation. Let NOT the fear of losing your comfort zone stop you from giving it up for the greater wishes that you want. If you wish for new clothes, rid your closet of the stuff you’ve not worn for the last 6 months. Nature abhors a vacuum. That is how Bob Proctor put it in his book You were born rich.

After giving up something in exchange, you will have room for what you have been dreaming of. Your desire and the space you created will be the perfect conditions for you to receive what you have been wishing for. How bad do you want it? Bad enough it gives you sleepless nights? Bad enough to let you give something away that you have been holding on to but you don’t really need? If the answer is yes, that bad then go for it and you will get it.

The change the World needs

We are all made in the image of God and each and everyone of us humans are unique and perfect in our own respective ways. The environment and circumstances in which we grew up are what molded our characters and personalities. I have come to learn that those people who are ‘evil’ or those who hurt other humans either emotionally or physically are actually reflecting the troubles that they went through in their lives and the weaknesses they have accumulated as a result of what they have experienced from their families, friends, relatives and societies.

Having said that, it is imperative to understand that you can not get even with someone who does you wrong by doing him wrong too. Because that will also translate to the fact that you face the very same negativity that your oppressor has dealt with or is dealing with in their own lives. With this line of thought it is impossible to change somebody. An example that I have in mind are the poor individuals who sit on the streets begging for change. These less fortunate humans will still come back to the street every day to beg even though they could decide to use the money they get in another way so that they would have to disgrace themselves by sitting in the cold and rain with their best sad faces on to win the sympathy of passers-by. In essence, those coins we give them don’t really help them change their lives. I am not suggesting we don’t give to the poor; my point is that these individuals can only change their situation by themselves. What they lack is the self-awareness that they could, as a matter of fact, live dignified lives if they decide to use the change, they get every day in another way. We could help them, more than by just giving them change, by treating them with a lot of love and respect hence igniting the spark that has been extinguished by life’s challenges that they could live without having to beg on the streets.

It is impossible to change somebody, but we could activate the emotions necessary for them to change themselves by being the change they need to become.

Stephen Covey in his book 7 habits put this perfectly;

We can choose to reflect back to others a clear, undistorted vision of themselves. We can affirm their proactive nature and treat them as responsible people. We can help script them as principle-centered, value-based, independent, worthwhile individuals. And, with the Abundance Mentality, we realize that giving a positive reflection to others in no way diminishes us. It increases us because it increases the opportunities for effective interaction with other proactive people. At some time in your life, you probably had someone believe in you when you didn’t believe in yourself. He or she scripted you. Did that make a difference in your life.

The environment, the society has a lot of influence on people’s character and behavior. If we all decide to do good this will also have a ripple effect on every other human. water-2636443_1280Therefore, the most important thing to change the world is to start with yourself. Examine yourself and seek to make the best version of yourself. If someone does you wrong do not react, yes you will be emotionally imbalanced and at this state a reaction will do nothing but escalate the situation. Always remember that whatever a person does is a reflection of their own weaknesses. We need NOT react to other people’s weaknesses we can instead show them our strength by not reacting rather responding in a positive way even though we could be boiling inside. Walking away, for example, is a response to a situation that might turn violent or verbal if someone tries to intimidate you. Don’t allow yourself to be the guinea pig of someone who needs to verify their own self-awareness. By responding and not reacting we show a strength of character and we might inadvertently awaken the other persons mind to question the sense of their own behavior and even if not; by standers who are witnessing the situation might learn and want to re-examine themselves. The best investment you can ever make is investing in yourself and the way to change the world is to change yourself.

Villains are the real Heroes!

The fictional Heroes we have so religiously followed and with awe and admiration related with for decades, from DC and Marvel comics et al, are a fake brain-washing concept that are, either intentionally or by mistake meant to convince the consumers minds that to be a Hero means having some super power.

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First of all, who is a super hero? It someone who saves the world by using super human abilities that they got by either inheriting enormous wealth, being bitten by an insect, struck by lightning, an accidental chemical reaction, a secret government human-weapon project or coming from another planet.

What do I deduce from our super heroes? You can’t be a normal person and work your way up to be a super hero. I don’t know one hero who started from nothing and went a head to be Super and save the world.

Wait a second, come to think of it I do know one and this one is not even fictional. The great Shaka Zulu. Born of illegitimate relations, raised up by his mother, yet rose his way to be a conqueror and a great leader.

Villains are the real heroes they are mostly normal people who are driven by injustice done to them or someone they care about. Yes, someone may argue that some are driven by greed to take over the world or accumulate wealth. But my point is Villains mostly rise from nothing or humble beginnings. Their desire for revenge for the injustices or, if you like, their desire to become rich and powerful leads them to work so hard and be able to ‘almost’ achieve their goals until some dude in a costume and supernatural powers, which they didn’t work for, comes and thwarts all their efforts.

I am not justifying the horrifying stuff that villains do. I am appreciating the work they put behind to get there. The entertainment industry is not showing us, our kids, that somebody can be successful, rich, powerful and good or a hero by working from bottom up. Otherwise we would have Heroes from third world countries too.

Personally I will be watching a movie and celebrating every time that costume guy gets his ass kicked. I know that at the end he or she will win but it will be really satisfying to see that the Villain, who worked so hard to get where he or she is, is not defeated before landing a few blows.

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On a serious note it is time to infuse education into entertainment. Let the fictional action movies and super heroes have a realistic touch to it. I want to read about that poor African, or third world country kid who like Shaka Zulu never gave up stayed focused to his dream and ended up being Iron Man or Bat Man. My kids should understand that success doesn’t come by chance it is worked for.

As of now Villains are my heroes.

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That Mosquito Bite led me to think involuntarily.

It was a nice warm Saturday evening. I was sitting in a tent at a grill-party sipping my chilled beer as I listened to stories being told by friends and enjoying the feeling in my stomach after a sumptuous barbecue.

Summers are notorious for mosquitos. Our host made an extra effort to keep them away. There were repellant candles lit all over as well as a strong anti-mosquito spray that formed a shield of vapour which the mosquitoes couldn’t dare get near.

But somehow one mosquito managed to breach the tight anti-quito security and bit me at the most bizarre of places. I felt an itch at the back of my head. How insane is that? I have never in my life heard somebody being bit on that part of the head. I mean it is possible but not when there are many more juicier parts to bite and hallo it was summer we were all scantily dressed the choice skin was exposed. But this guy decided to go for the back of my head.

The bite caused an unrelenting itch. My hand was perpetually behind my head zealously scratching the occipital region. After sometime it became noticable and my friends asked me what I was thinking about? And I replied: ”It is a mosquito bite” That sent everyone to a roar of laughter. They thought it was a joke. I wanted to tell them that I was serious but I thought well I was funny right there, so I kept the ball rolling and explained how that SOB breached the layers of security and instead of biting anyone else chose me and as if that was not enough it left out my legs and arms and went for my Occiput. The laughter continued for another 10 minutes and the mosquito bite became the subject matter for another 30 or so minutes.

Three days later I am still thinking about that intriguing bite. As much as I was on the warpath with mosquitos after that nasty itch at the back of my head at the end of it all it really brought out good vibes and led me to steal the show for a while.

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Lesson learnt: It is all about how we react to bad situations or better still; respond to bad situations.

I remember someone said; ‘you do not react to a mosquito bite with a hammer.’

Another good one is: ‘It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.’ Epictetus

Bob Proctor puts it beautifully: ‘When you react you are giving away your power, when you respond, you are staying in control of yourself.

Gave a Taxi driver more than a Tip; got back much more than I bargained for.

The evening was amazing it was one of those times where the conversation effortlessly flows and the good wine lightens up the soul. Time flew by and before we noticed it the waiter said that they are closing the restaurant. We decided to continue with the sensational evening at a friend’s place half of the group drove by car and me and two of my friends went for a Taxi.

We saw a white Toyota hybrid and a bald-headed Arabic looking driver. The Taxi driver asked where we were going. We knew where we were going but none of us knew the exact address.  So we used like 10 minutes, could be less, to describe our destination.  The Taxi guy finally pin pointed where we wanted to go.20171218_123059-1

We were in a merry mood making jokes all the way and laughing out loud. But what made us crack up the most was the Taxi driver. It was one of those hilarious moments where the driver’s laughter was funnier than the joke. The driver laughed heartily from his belly accompanied by coughing we just couldn’t stop laughing. At a red light another Taxi stopped next to us and was dumb-struck at a Taxi full of laughing people. I rolled down my window and said; ‘hey man why do you have such a long face? Come on laugh along!’ Then everyone in our Taxi burst into laughter again and the other driver joined in and was laughing his ass off. Now there were two Taxis driving across the streets of Vienna with people laughing for no reason.

We got to the destination paid the driver and he said we are the most cheerful passengers he has ever had and he will never forget. We also thanked him for making us laugh too. After he drove off I noticed my phone was missing. I could have left it at the restaurant or in the Taxi. My friends tried, calling, it was ringing, but nobody was picking up. I told my friends not to worry I am going to find it.

The next day I went to the restaurant and asked about my phone they told that they didn’t find any missing phone. I just realized my greatest fear; I must have left it in the Taxi. I went to the spot where we took the Taxi and it wasn’t there. I decided to stick around and wait probably he will show up. After 30 mins I saw a white Toyota Hybrid Taxi pull over and driving was a bald-headed man. I got excited and jumped on my feet and approached the Taxi. The driver looked a little bigger and much younger compared to the one I was expecting to see. I asked him if he remembers me and shortly narrated the events yesterday. He said he definitely didn’t drive us yesterday he was not even at this particular spot at the time I was talking about. He further told me there are like 500 white Toyota Hybrids and they don’t park at the same place everyday. The only thing I could try is to call the Taxi Central and request them to radio call all Taxis and ask for my missing phone. I left the place disappointed but still hopeful I had a lead.

When I got home I tried tracking my phone through my laptop. I was then sure that I had left it in the Taxi. Google showed me exactly where I was and the exact times. After being dropped off by the Taxi my journey continued up to 5.30am with short breaks to different parts of the city. It ends at the point when the phone shut-down after the battery got empty.

I tried calling the Taxi Central explained my predicament. The kind woman told me that she has a phone and a tablet with her but they don’t match the description of my phone. I should, therefore, call again after a few days and probably the Taxi driver would have brought my phone to them. I requested for the radio call and she said that she can’t do that. I was slowly running out of options. But giving up on finding my phone was not an option. The same day I went and bought a cheap phone and replaced my SIM card. On my way home I passed the spot once again to see if I will see another white Toyota Hybrid Taxi. There was none. I went home again disappointed.

At home I turned in the Tracker once again just in case the Taxi driver would charge my phone and turn it on. But there was nothing new. I spent the rest of the evening telling the people I am frequently in contact with that I am not available on Whatsapp. Then I remembered the tones of Data I had saved on the phone. I quickly logged in to my cloud and everything was there. All the beautiful moments I shared with my boys when they were little babies it was all there in the cloud. I really appreciated the advance in technology. These photos and videos are priceless. I would strongly recommend that you check your cloud if your data is there and if not it is clever to store it there. It not only frees your phone of memory space but also will prevent loss of valuable data lest you lose your phone.

I tried once again the next day after work to go to the same spot but this time it was more of just passing by just on the assumption I see something. There was nothing and I resigned. I argued that it was anyway an old phone and all the important data was safe. There was no point of wasting more time looking for a needle in a hay stack. I went back home once again disappointed but this would be the last time as I was ready to move on forget about that phone.

On my way home I observed that almost everyone on the was either having headphones or looking at their phones or both. I bet I was also the same when I had my smart phone. I took out my book and started reading an old lady sited next to who all along stared at her phone turned and asked me what I was reading. It is really rare that a total stranger starts of a conversation this way. It led to a very interesting discussion on religion and politics and the people in the neighboring sits joined in and put away their phones. I got home very satisfied with the conversation. I learned that the smart phone robbed me of a lot of opportunity to converse with people.

I was on my way to work the next day and I decided instead of using the shortest route to work I would use a longer route that passed where I first took the Taxi just to have a look and kill some time. As the train passed that place there stood a white Toyota hybrid and the driver was bald. I immediately got off at the next stop and ran towards that place hoping that he would not get a client and drive away before I arrived. 20 minutes later I was there and there it stood. The man was indeed bald-headed and Arabic. “Do you remember me? You drove us Monday night… We were laughing and making jokes all the way… Then I left my phone….,” I asked without pausing till I finished. “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yees!” he answered and burst into his hearty laughter once again. I couldn’t help but join in and praying that he would not say that he has not seen my phone. He came out of the car, went to the trunk and in his rucksack he pulled out my phone neatly tucked inside. He told me we were the most hilarious clients he ever had and was parking at that spot everyday hoping I would show up and pick up my phone. He told me has been looking for a charger and thought if he charged it and turned it on I would be able to track him or someone might call. I couldn’t thank him enough. He in turn told me that we should continue being so jovial as he was having a long day and we made him laugh like he has never laughed in a long time. We gave him more than a tip I got back much more than I bargained for. Important lessons of life. Placeholder Image