Eight life lessons from eight interviews

Dan Aceda, founder and Ceo of SemaBox. [Esther Jeruto, Standard]

I think I have had many transitions in my life where I have had to leave things. My philosophy is that in the end, you will win, and if you are not winning, it is not the end. I think you have to be made of rubber - no matter how hard you fall, you have to be able to bounce back.

It is so important because many things can happen to you in life that you never even imagined could happen. It is so important to stay focused and stay positive. You could be struggling, and then the other side happens almost instantly.

Listen to your child: Mwende Mwinzi, Kenya's ambassador to the Republic Of Korea

One of my most memorable moments is from an early age; I was actually in nursery school in Mombasa. Something happened and my hair was cut. I think there was a lice outbreak or something.

Everyone made fun of me. I was devastated. My father came to the school and I told him about it. He put me in the car and took me home and I never went back to that school. The lesson to me, especially as a mother, is that it is those little moments in your child's vulnerability that you need to rise to the occasion.

When your child comes and says, "I need to talk to you," listen. Take the time. Have your inner ear open because it is those moments when the child feels abandoned, in what you may see as an insignificant thing, that they remember and it shapes their outlook. How you approach things.

If you shut them out or do not respond, they might resist coming to you with their problems and they might take their problems elsewhere where they might be victimised. So always have time to listen to your children and be sensitive to their feelings and respond to them.

Most of the things you fear most likely won't happen: Ezra Chiloba, director general, Communications Authority Of Kenya

My most prized possession is a mat that I got from Botswana in my younger days. In the early days of my career, I was more focused on environmental issues and human rights. The NGO I was working with took us on a couple of trips meant to transform the way we thought and viewed the world, so this time, we were in Botswana. The year was 2005.

David Gatende, non-executive director, Davis & Shirtliff. [David Njaaga, Standard]

But the second thing I have learnt in life is that it goes on. After me, will be others who will take the mantle from me and progress things? So our responsibility, really, is for our generation. What difference did we make while we had the energy, while we had the resources we had? If we have given a good account of ourselves, then we can be proud.

You win some, you lose some: Juliet Nyaga, CEO, Karen Hospital

My mother's favourite line, which she even taught my son was, "You win some, you lose some." So the idea of winning everything was never there. You were never supposed to be the best in every subject in school, you were never supposed to be the best in every sport, and you were never supposed to be the best in every extra-curricular activity. You have your strengths and your weaknesses and you must accept that.

That mentality helped me get through my struggle to have a second child. My first pregnancy at 23 had been a breeze, a textbook example of how pregnancy and birth should be. So when I got married at the age of 33, I was like, "Yay, it is time to have more babies! And it is going to work like clockwork just like the last time!"

Emily Korir. [File, Standard]

My friend was really hurt and she told me what had been said. I was hurt too and I cried for a long time. I ended up talking to my mum and my grandmother. Both of them in their own ways told me "You cannot let anybody else's perception of you become your reality," and I knew then that only I can decide who my friends are and what I can do. I cannot let anybody else's perception of me become my reality.

Never feel sorry for yourself: Pravir Vohra - director, Sarova Group of Hotels, Resorts and Game Lodges

I have been through a lot of personal tragedies, but there were a couple of interesting lessons from my father. One of them was to always be truthful to yourself and never feel sorry for yourself. Just because you had a bad day or something bad happened to you, never feel self-pity. Self-pity is the worst thing you can ever feel. That is not the mentality of a winner.

The lesson has come in handy whenever I am feeling, "Ugh, life is hard," something tragic has happened or somebody has lost someone. I have broken many bones and I would always remember my father's words: Never feel self-pity. If you carry out life and you are feeling sorry for yourself then you are never going to achieve what you want to achieve. Because there will always be something that you can blame.