THE POWER OF WORDS

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There’s a moment of orderly silence before a series of well chained imagination begins in one’s mind. Nerves are in position, thoughts are frozen and anything is possible. Then like a traffic accident emotions begin to randomly collide. From the first time the eye sets foot on the first word to the nerve transmission onto the brain for comprehension is closer to four microseconds than five. The words we read begin to change the game of life as we know it. It doesn’t only alter your life but mine as well.

This is not an ordinary article on the power of words spoken but those written and read.

There’s that strange feeling we all get when reading words in a book. We’re drawn into a world we cannot explain. Something comes over us and its hard to remove yourself from the magical effect one is so lost in. You suddenly feel you’re not yourself. Like your head has been cut off and another’s put in its place such that you see the world through a different pair of eyes. Your body becomes extremely frozen not even the hottest fire can warm you up. You begin to feel physically weak and in no time you’re swept by what you imagine. You’re held captive by the words that are manipulated deftly in the hands of expertise. The words wind themselves around your whole body, you can hardly breathe. And when you’re so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts and slowly begin to work their magic on you.

A character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction is whom you create an emotional and intellectual bond with. In the wink of an eye all human relationships are lost and your life just takes a turn. You begin to live among the paper characters. You love some and love others less. You feel what they feel. You know what they know and not only that, but also live through every situation together; both good and bad. You understand them, maybe just maybe, more than you understand yourself. You can tell when they lie and when they’re telling the truth.

Slowly as you blend yourself into the paper society, you begin to figure out things you didn’t know about life. You start to believe in continuity in the strive to live and result in survival. The words lead you to automatically carve concepts out of the experiences of the paper characters.

Words have power. They can light fires in the minds of men. They can wring tears from the hardest hearts. They can put smiles on the gloomiest faces and warm the coldest hearts. They are the coins making up the currency of sentences and there are always too many coins. They open our eyes to a life outside our own, allowing us to be enlightened and in turn enlighten others. A process that changes lives and turns societies.

“Words… they’re innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they’re no good anymore… I don’t think writers are scared, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead.” A Tom Stoppard quote.

BALANCE IS A NECESSITY

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I know you’ve been hearing this a lot. So does all play and no work make Jack any better a person?

I have boundless enthusiasm for health. It’s just so amazing how our bodies can be a great microcosm of life. I will therefore draw an analogy and comparison from this.
Take an example of sugar levels in the body. For the body to work well sugar levels must be at optimum. Either side, beyond and below, will cause dysfunction and decreased coordination between systems in the body. Hyperglycemia refers to chronically high blood glucose in the body. Persistent hyperglycemia can cause a wide range of chronic complications that affect almost every system in the body. When large blood vessels are affected,  stroke, heart attack and circulation disorders among others occur. On the other hand hypoglycemia refers to dangerously low blood glucose levels. It can cause severe confusion and disorientation, unconsciousness, seizures, coma and even death. The pivot between hyper and hypoglycemia is where the body should be to function properly.

Similarly in academic life, a student must have discipline and maintain a routine that includes proper balance between serious studying and leisure. Psychology should be employed to make sure a clear mindset or attitude is put in place as this is what distinguishes successful students from failures. If any one of these components is missing or out of balance then a student will not perform well and their careers may be at stake.

For most campus students the era when intelligence was a “tourist” attraction is long over. Partying is the new cool. They want to be the most happening people and many want to be linked or associated with such. As a result gangs, crews and cliques are formed. Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. The whole semester is intoxicated and rules flaunted. I guess that’s the motto. Towards the end of four months information is forced into the brain in the quest of acquiring content for final exams. They are high up in the social ladder (hyperglycemic) while their studious behaviour is under sea level (hypoglycemic).
On the other hand there are book worms. These ones work themselves out studying all day and night everyday. Their goal is to have the best of grades in all their units. They let the social world pass them by while their noses are stuck in a book. I bet for them there’s nothing like the smell of books both old and new.

Well both extremes have their own limitations.

I’m afraid we tend to underestimate how much maintaining balance contributes to living life successfully and productively. If you study too much without giving yourself sometime to replenish your brain, you may go into what’s called a nervous breakdown and you’ll expose yourself to the audacious risk of losing mental agility. I’m of the opinion that yes we only live once and we should live life to the fullest. However, everything has its boundaries. When you step over the line then it becomes poison. You may become a maniac! And it goes without say; the biggest betrayer is a man’s mania. Balance is learning to keep one’s mania within bounds.

Our lives can be regimented at times so it’s a good idea to do something out of the ordinary every now and then and learn to give our daily routines a break. Don’t focus too much on either extreme because this will cause problems in the neglected areas. Life is all about working smart and having fun. You are your greatest asset therefore, enhancing and improving yourself by maintaining a clear balance physically, mentally and spiritually will ensure your career continues to develop at its best.

Aristotle once said; “it is better to rise from life as from a banquet- neither thirsty nor drunken”.

HAVE YOU EVER FOUND YOURSELF IN A METATHINKING QUALM?

I bet there’s no normal person in this world who doesn’t use their mind each day to produce thoughts and ideas, an act we all refer to as thinking. As crucial as inhalation and exhalation is to the breathing system so is thinking to our brain life. What do you think would become of man if they didn’t think? Personally, I think man would be no different from a robot. A little programming here and there and maybe that’s what we would call life. What a sad world it would be!

Before diving deeper into this article, let me ask another question  (I clarify this article is not all about questions and I’ll try not to ask many of them). Have You ever found yourself in a queer situation? Probably in an art of asking why and attempting to look beyond what is on the surface? (Oops those were two).

Looking over your answers, if my guess is correct and you said yes. You probably have found yourself looking at an object and you begin to ask yourself why the creator of the object did what they did. When you look at something you go above and beyond what people think instead of simply seeing what is in front of you for what it is.
Well is that merely a coincidence or do you draw any inferences from some past experiences? If you do then congratulations you’re a metathinker.

People who know me know that I like to think. Anytime an idea springs up in my mind I like to split it and think further about the small pieces. I had never realized I was a natural metathinker until one day, sitting at a career workshop I began thinking about thinking. Reminiscing the fateful occasion, a workshop that was about the issue on writing CVs. There were two ladies from lions of science and that was the subject of my thoughts. I began to wonder why the founders of the organization called it lions of science. Why the name lions? And why science? I mean it could be life or innovation or technology or anything but why did they choose science? I did think about it for quite a while putting myself in the shoes of the founder and thinking about their thoughts. Sometimes I would think about the thoughts that would come to my mind if I’d ever meet the beautiful souls. What I would ask them? How they would react to my questions e.t.c.

I slowly began to realize that asking those “why” questions helped me understand the behaviour of people around me. Their inspiration, dreams, motivation and even challenges. This most of the time keeps me at peace with myself and my environment. Through this kind of understanding I feel a natural intellectual bond with them And would value their feedback because I could attach a stronger emotional components to it. After much questioning I elicit people’s fears of troubles that come when they’re unsure of themselves, when preparation hasn’t been done for such situations and when their confidence in the inevitable responses of other people is flagged.

I confess I have my own fears about my metathinking behaviour and that I do recognize that with every good thing, comes along a bad one no matter how small. But hey the dangers of metathinking is a whole other story, best fit for another day. Bottom line is if you are a metathinker and maybe you’ve been feeling like it’s crazy, let me be the one to inform you that there’s a method to the apparent madness- you just have to look for it to prevent yourself from over thinking. You’re not alone we’re in this together.

CAN EXPOSURE SERIOUSLY DAMAGE NARROW-MINDEDNESS IN STUDENTS?

Over the years the epidemic of narrow-mindedness has affected or rather infected a very large proportion of the world’s population. If right now I was to walk to anyone and ask them a simple question such as is 1+1 ALWAYS equal to 2? I wonder what answers they’d give me.

Mathematically 1+1=2 but broadminded people will tell you that this isn’t ALWAYS the case. In an article I recently read on LinkedIn pulse, the writer proceeds to say that; when two likeminded people work together then 1+1>2 and when two people who aren’t emotionally and intellectually bonded work together then 1+1 <_2. See?

They say people are shallow and ignorant until they go out and face the world? Well, I on the other hand, went out and in comparison realized I was in pretty good standing. There are those that are way worse. Let's face it, before most of us joined campus we had been told all sorts of stories that our academic life would be a walk over. Personally, I was toldthat there would be no need to struggle too hard and burn midnight oil in the library in pursuit for good grades. Stealing exams and copy pasting assignments or rather what many refer to as "degree ni harambee" would help me despite not working hard, graduate with respectable honours. For a long time I was a believer of this bigoted opinion. I admit I nevertook a moment to explore this labyrinth of dark passage nor find out what lied behind the doorways of struggle that were sealed by the narrow minded people who came up with such a solution to success. This type of ignorance has infected many pre-graduate students to an extent that the degree is fast losing its valuable meaning. Still wondering why most jobs list 5years of experience and probably a masters degree as part of requirements? I bet you're thinking widely!

Even as I joined high school, I was made to believe that my co-purpose in school was to study hard and get straight As in all my subjects. I got to form 1 knowing that if I didn't pass all my subjects then I was a failure. I was stuck with that narrow-mindedness of either I succeed or give up, either I do or die, either I go forward or backward. The narrow alley between the two opposites is where I stood. If you also faced this kind of challenge then you understand that we worked incredibly hard to find the fastest, easiest and most sufficient way to secure a spot in a university. The strength was in the struggle and this would most of the time result in swotting.

We will agree that most students are yet to understand what really is the foundation and key requirements for their careers. I have observed this in the past year I've been in campus. Several workshops, career fares and even educative and interactive conferences are organized but only a handful of broadminded students show up. To add vinegar in sour milk, no freshmen attend this events or at least countable ones! But when they get to their final years they begin to run up and down attending all networking events that come down the pike. Act of desperation? You tell me. What ignorant students don't know is that constant and never ending improvement isn't just something one "cheeks off" for the day. Rather its a mindset of perpetual improvement displayed through habit.

Quotes nowadays will inspire us to believe that the only permission, the only validation and the only opinion that matters in our quest for greatness is our own. For your information, Our intelligence is limited by ignorance which is fostered by our opinions. Opinions which are strengthened when we refuse to face reality. The reality of the world is that we need to face criticism and figure out how it can help us move forward. We do know what's best for us, true, But it won't hurt if we actually considered and try to see what others have in mind about us.
The cliff notes version is this; a student with a growth mindset believes that skill development and talents are derivatives of personal will and effort (looking at the broader picture) and that IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE!