Wednesday, 22 May 2013

My Mid-Year Resolutions Review

It’s almost mid-year. Yes, I was equally shocked because it seems like we were singing Christmas carols just the other day. Now, remember those new year’s resolutions you made? I bet some of you are thinking, what resolutions? That is because you forgot all about them.  At the beginning of the year, just like every other year and like many other people, I came up with a list of resolutions. You know, the things that I needed to change in order to become a better person, conquer the world and all that stuff, you get the point.
I am proud to say that this year, so far, I have followed through with my resolutions! So, I made three resolutions this year. The first one was to try and reconnect with old friends that I fell out of touch with. We all get so busy with school, work and everything in between, that we end up forgetting to check up on each other. So I rang, sent text messages, facebook-ed (if that’s even a word), smoke signaled, people I had not talked to in a while and it felt quite nice I must admit. Plus, I read that people who have more friends live longer (weird fact but true).

My second resolution was to live in the moment and not hold on to anger. I am the kind of person who gets worked up if something doesn't go as I had exactly planned. I also tend to worry about the future quite a lot but then I thought, why worry about a tomorrow I am not assured of? Why not make the best out of today? Live one day at a time. As the cliché goes, accept the things I can’t change and change the things I can.

My final resolution was to try and improve on my time keeping. Now, this is a resolution I have made for the past two or so years. This year however, I have actually tried to work on it and made some improvements. These days I try to be one or two minutes early (don’t judge, still a work in progress). I know there are seven more months to go and I will soldier on till the end!

What were your resolutions this year? Or better yet, have you been able to accomplish them?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Last Time

James was woken up by the cold dawn breeze. He studied his surrounding with his half opened eyes. He saw the blurred ‘stop’ sign and a few passers-by who gave him a suspicious look as they quickly walked past him. He sat up and trying to recall how he had ended up there. Then it occurred to him that he had spent the night on the street pavement. His train of thought was interrupted by an old Indian man who started yelling at him while signalling James to move because the old man wanted to open his shop and James was in the way. James stood slowly and staggered like a baby learning his first steps. He made his way down the street while checking his pockets for some money that he would use as his bus fare but found nothing. He knew that he had no option but to walk home. One hour later and with the sun’s bright rays shinning, he made his way through a small path way between two iron sheet houses, which gave way to a pile of garbage on his left and a small pool of dirty and foul smelling water. Soon he was outside his little iron sheet house making his way in. James walked in only to find that he had an unwelcome guest.
“I tried calling you,” said the well clad lady in a crisp white shirt and black pants.
James didn't say a word. Instead, he went and sat on his mattress that was on the floor without even acknowledging her presence.
“I was worried about you, I thought something bad had happened to you”
“Jackie I am OK.”
“You’re my brother, I care about you,” she said “where is the mobile phone I got you?”
Jackie gave out a loud sigh, she already knew the answer. “You sold it so that you could buy some more drugs, didn't you?”
James gave his sister a guilty look, “This is the last time am doing this,” She had heard this before, too many times before. Jackie handed him some food that she had brought him and left.
James was hungry and needed to feed his emaciated body. After he was done eating, he collapsed on his mattress into deep sleep.
It was now 6:00 pm and James was woken up by two of his friends, Kevin a short stocky young man who looked older than he actually was and Joseph, who was known to everyone as Mighty Joe because of is built frame. James knew exactly why they were there. They had to go and rob the hard working citizens during the evening rush. The three left to go to their usual spot and everyone one of them knew their specific roles. James’ role was to distract the passer-by. His two friends would then pounce on the unsuspecting victim.  Everything was going as planned, and their first culprit was in sight. Soon they were frantically searching his pockets for valuables. This had become a norm for these three friends who had been brought together by their common addiction. On this day, fate had different plans for them. The commotion and the victim’s scream attracted attention and an angry mob ran to his rescue.
James and his friends were soon the victims of an angry mob with fists and rocks raining on them. As James lay there on the ground, all that was running in his mind were the last words he had told his sister, “It’s the last time I am doing this.”

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Of Death Grounds and Survival

Someone once told me that I should always create a death ground for myself. At first I didn't quite grasp the
magnitude of what I had been told. Sun Tzu in, his book The Art of War describes a death ground as, a place 
where an army, during war, is backed up against a region with no escape route and the only way out to is to fight for survival or just stand there and wait to be killed by the enemy.  As human beings, we have a very strong instinct for survival and when put in a position where one has to literary fight for their lives-they will fight. Sun Tzu’s death ground theory can be applied in our daily lives.  Say for instance that business you’re thinking of starting or that relationship you’re scared of getting into or ending, take the plunge and do it. Once you’re there and the pressure gets to you, you will find the answers. Here is a little demonstration:

In 2007, a 31 year old man Sampson Parker, found himself in a life or death situation. Sampson was cutting a corn field, when a corn stalk got stuck in the cutting machine. He then reached in to remove it but his right arm got caught in the machine instead. He spent well over an hour trying to free himself. So he took a metal rod and tried to use in the machine to rescue himself but instead caused a spark which caused a fire. Soon, the whole machine was on fire and Sampson knew he had to do something as his skin had started melting because of the heat. He took his penknife from his pocket and started cutting off his arm…yes, cutting off his arm! He managed to free himself and ran to the road where a passer- by saw him and helped him.  Now that’s a real death ground.

How’s that for survival!

Sampson Parker