Find inspiration by learning to read between the lines

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We’ve had debates on whether it is important to have New Year’s resolutions or if you should just stick to old guns and start a new war.

I’m a big believer in everything you do having perspective, so there’s a ritual I have every end of the year.

I take a book and write down all the achievements I made that year. I then flip a page and write down all my failures.

I tend to focus on the failures and ask myself why I failed and how to improve. The achievements will give you a measure of progress – the failures will give you new challenges and new ways of doing things.

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Since it’s a new year, let’s do things differently for if we continue with the old ways, we’ll end up with the same results.

Family and friends

As a screensaver on my phone’s lock screen, I’ve put up most of the new habits that I need to adopt and follow. Every time my phone locks, I’m reminded of my goals.

One of the areas of focus is spending more time with family and close friends who believe in the vision and qualify to be called family. There’s also getting positive energy from my surroundings.

We recently had a Kaka Empire dinner at one of the fancy hotels in Nairobi, and it just so happened that one of the people I had been planning to meet was in the hotel lobby.

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We talked for a few minutes, and then I noticed he was carrying a book – it had a black and white cover with yellow and white writings on it. I took a closer look and noticed its title: Sacked? So What! by Vincent Ogutu.

As the conversation continued, he noticed that my focus kept shifting to the book in his hand. When we were done and were saying our goodbyes, he handed me the book and insisted that I read it and then give it back to him after I was done.

The quotes

If you have been a regular of this column, you’ll have noticed that I am not big on quotes. I feel quotes are a reflection of one’s understanding.

If Mandela came up with a quote while he was in prison, then he has the primary meaning. We will understand it in our context. So I tell my friends and the few people that I mentor that every time you read a quote, apply it to your life if you hope to give it meaning.

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The book had many quotes, and this is how I applied them in my context.

“Your time is limited; don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs

Be original. At the beginning of my career, I wanted to be Chiwawa so badly, and then I got the chance to interact with him on a personal level and I realised everyone has his own path, and it would take me years to join his lane. We are all built differently, and trying to be him was just a waste of my time.

(Now take this quote – and the rest that follow – and apply the same formula to your life story.)

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

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Find new ways of doing things. If I had not attempted to design the Kaka Empire logo way back when, and put structures in place, then we would never be what we are today. It was uncharted territory then, and it has taken many failures to make it work. Take new risks, and since its all growth now, they’re calculated risks.

“The question isn’t who is going to let me in, it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

This quote is very powerful, especially in the context of my career. When I finished my first music video and it seemed impossible to get my song on radio, I came up with marketing strategies that got presenters to call me. When it looked impossible, I was most motivated. It’s a similar story with Kaka Empire. The only person who can stop this dream is myself.

There were quotes at the opening of each and every chapter, but the main idea behind the book was that if one door closes, go through the window. Or create your own door.

As we start the second half of this month, I wish you the best and hope you’re able to open new doors and windows. And another thing, read more books.

The writer is an award-winning artiste and entrepreneur.

king kakaSteve JobsPablo PicassoNew Year’s resolutionsentrepreneurship