EPIC FLOW

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Archive for the ‘Wisdom’ Category

Shift Happens – Flux is fun: The Flow of An Epic Life

Posted by Herman Najoli on April 12, 2011

Living an epic life means that we be open to change and growth experiences. The word shift means to change; for example to shift gears in an automobile from one ratio to another. It can also mean to move; for example to transfer from one place, position, direction, etc. Flux, on the other hand, means continuous change, passage or movement. It may also mean a constant flow.

Life is in constant flow and we must learn to change in order to attain the better life and live an epic life. Embracing change and being open to movement is a sign of great maturity and understanding of the processes of life. In order to attain true significance, our attitude should be: “shift happens … flux is fun“. The flow of an epic life is characterised by an understanding of this concept.

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The Wisdom of a “No-quitting” Attitude

Posted by Herman Najoli on February 27, 2011

One of the things that would greatly improve our performance in life is an understanding of the fact that failure is never final. Many people never “start something” (previous blog) because of the fear of failure. A few years ago while at the University of Nairobi, I wrote an article in a newsletter that I used to publish for fellow students on campus. The crux of my message was that failure was part of the journey of life. What causes us to quit in the face of failure is our attitude. Your attitude determines your altitude. Failure does not mean that it is over.

While reading through some of my material I came across a poem that I think would be worthwhile to share.  

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
And that’s worth thinking about.

We need to develop a “no-quitting” attitude. That will be the key to prevailing over the arrows of failure. Failure isn’t final!!

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Growth Keys for Epic Living

Posted by Herman Najoli on January 6, 2011

An epic life is measured by an individual’s commitment to personal growth – and not just growth without purpose but growth that is geared towards enabling the person to engage, participate, interact and create in society. The key to experiencing the flow of a better life is a commitment to never-ending personal growth. Here are some growth keys for a better life:

Generate a passion for growth within yourself

Personal growth is not easy. This makes epic living hard. It takes a special commitment to maintain consistent growth. The key to this is to make a personal decision for continuous growth. You have to decide that no matter what, you will carve out time for your growth.

Read widely with a desire to expand your knowledge

People who live epic lives are readers. In order to engage, participate, interact and create, you must acquire information that puts you in the know as to what is happening and how you can flow with it. Few people read on a daily basis. What you do daily will decide who you become permanently. You have to read and listen to audio books daily.

Omit useless activities from your daily agenda

Personal growth goes hand-in-hand with time management. In order to develop yourself you must learn to discriminate wisely amongst activities. That’s the key to maintaining focus. Activity doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity.

Wear a whatever it takes attitude

I was watching Tiger Woods play golf on the final day of the 2007 Buick invitational which he won by two strokes for his seventh straight PGA tour win. Tiger has committed himself to continously improving his game. Nobody wears a whatever it takes attitude better than him. You need the same attitude if you will live an epic life.

Treasure the company of others that are growing

Who you become in five years depends a lot on who you associate with today. Find people that are growing and share in their growth. Your environment should consist of people that are going in the same direction in which you are headed. That is the key to contributing effectively in society.

Hammer-out a lifestyle of growth

Developing a lifestyle of growth is not easy. Once you set your eyes on growing, all sorts of obstacles will be erected to prevent you from attaining that goal. You have to “chisel” out a pathway of growth in your life.

Embrace these keys to growth and you will definitely begin to experience the epic life! 

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Growth Keys for Becoming A Born Natural

Posted by Herman Najoli on December 25, 2010

Personal growth has always been a key topic when it comes to realizing personal potential. The truth is that if you don’t grow, you will go. Personal growth is a necessity in today’s world.  The secret to any person’s future is hidden in their level of commitment to personal growth and development. This is particularly true for leaders. It’s your “inner” growth which sets the pace for your “outer” leadership. Here are some principles which can generate a life of continued growth:

1. Have a personal growth plan

Growth is not automatic. You have to make a conscious effort to commit to a daily growth plan. This could include reading books that enhance your understanding of your chosen field, listening to tapes and audio-books that elevate your understanding and subscribing to websites or newsletters that enhance your insight. This has to be a personal commitment. There’s a proverb that goes, “You’ve got to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather is”. Make that commitment. Develop a personal growth plan.

2. Stay out of your comfort zone

There’s a quote I learnt in college that I really like. Ron Osbourne said, “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow”. Many people get stuck in the rut of ”same old, same old”. You’ve got to stretch and expand yourself. Do something new. Do it in a different way. Some wag oce said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Stay out of that comfort zone. Comfort creates ease and ease is the greatest enemy of growth.

3. Grow for who you will be, not what you will get

You need a proper focus if your growth is to go the distance. You can’t just have the goal of acquiring stuff because once you acquire your motivation will wane. Growth should be geared towards becoming a better person, living a better life. Grow to become, not to have. Growth brings good things; good things don’t bring growth. It is more important to be a better person than to have better things. We win in life by being better people, not by having the biggest and the best of stuff. True success is really an intangible thing – it’s the quality of person that you are.

Posted in Engaging, Fulfillment, Wisdom | 4 Comments »

Your in-flow defines your out-flow

Posted by Herman Najoli on November 2, 2010

With the onslaught of major media, we live in a day when there’s too much negativity coming across all day. The only news coming through seems to be CNN – Constant Negative News. Everywhere you turn it’s negative news – in the newspapers, on theweb, on TV, on radio, at the mall, etc. Our only recourse in this day and age is to turn on what’s positive. researchers have said that it takes one correct input to overcome eleven incorrect inputs. That basically means that for every negative bit of information that comes your way, you need eleven positive bits of information in order tocontinue progressing towards success in life.

How can the ordinary person then attain success given this situation? I think the most effective way to do so is to engage in a lot of positive self-talk. Learn to speak the good, the powerful, the positive to yourself as you go through the various activities of the day. It doesn’t have to be loud. This habit alone can guarantee you tremendous success in your daily life. Constant and consistent positive input is the key to realizing the fullness of your personal potential. You’ve got to feed yourself with material that will enhance your quality of life. Let’s turn off CNN – Constant Negative News. 

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Purpose, Vision and Persistence: How your passion can enable you to smash through barriers

Posted by Herman Najoli on October 4, 2010

We all experience moments in life when obstacles seem to crowd our goals and aspirations. Whether you are a leader of an organization, an employee in a department, a small-business owner, a student, the President or even just a regular guy, we have all experienced many barriers to our goals. I’ve seen so many people with great dreams that would add tremendous value to society but every time they try to plug into their dreams, they get knocked down by societal barriers.

Regardless of your situation or status in life, you to know that you can smash any barriers that hinder your life goals and your organization’s direction. I know this full well because my life has been about smashing barriers. I come from a community that is not well regarded in terms of access to higher positions in my country – Kenya. I was denied the opportunity to come to the United States four times before I finally got the Visa. I came to this country with a big dream and only $140 in my pocket. Imagine all the barriers I have had to surmount in order to get to where I am now. When I told people that I wanted to speak for a living, a lot of them said, “You are barking up the wrong tree, son. You’ve got a heavy African accent, no money, no contacts, ….how do you ever expect to do this?” Well, I didn’t have to know the “how” since I had a solid “why”. My passion has been one – to help people – and that is why barriers are getting smashed as I begin to slice the frontiers of developing people and empowering them to live a better life. Here are some ideas:

Three Core Hammers for Smashing Through Barriers

1. Generate a Solid Idea of Your Life Purpose

Purpose is the key to understanding the “why” of life. When you know what your purpose is, you will not lose heart in the face of obstacles and barriers. Understanding purpose enables you to stay committed and motivated towards pursuing your goals. Purpose produces passion and that is essential in overcoming challenges. Leaders in organizations need to have a clear picture of what the organization’s purpose is.

2. Develop an Enduring Vision

Lots of people have vision but very few stick to it when barriers come their way. If you will smash through barriers, you need to have an enduring vision. The United States as a country has come through many generations of challenges because of an enduring vision that was cast by the founding fathers. I succeeded in finally being able to come to the United States because I had an enduring vision.

3. When Knocked Down, Get Back Up – Be Persistent!

I like reading biographies. One of the stories I have enjoyed so much was that of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had a steady stream of barriers throughout his life and he smashed through all of them. Look at this:

In 1816 his family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them. In 1818 his mother died. In 1831 he failed in business. In 1832 he ran for state legislature and lost. In 1832 he lost his job and wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.In 1833 he borrowed money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the next year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt. In 1834 he ran for state legislature again and won. In 1835 he was engaged to be married. His sweetheart died and his heart was broken. In 1836 he had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months. In 1838 he sought to become speaker of the state legislature but was defeated. In 1840 he sought to become elector but was defeated. In 1843 he ran for congress and lost. In 1846 he ran for congress again. This time he won, went to Washington and did a good job.In 1848 he ran for reelection to congress and lost. In 1849 he sought the job of land officer in his home state and was rejected. In 1854 he ran for Senate of the United States but lost. In 1856 he sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s convention and got less that 100 votes. In 1858 he ran for US Senate again – again, he lost. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States!

My! That’s a long list of barriers for just one single guy! But you know what? He had purpose, vision and persistence. You can do it too! Let’s smash through barriers!

Posted in Creating, Engaging, Fulfillment, Interacting, Leadership, Organization, Participating, Wisdom | 1 Comment »

Focused Potential and the Pareto Principle

Posted by Herman Najoli on May 3, 2010

When I was a kid my dad bought me a couple of magnifying glasses of varied colors. I enjoyed playing with the glasses and feeling like a serious detective as I roamed in and out of the house looking for clues to mysteries that I created in my overactive imagination. Perhaps the greatest power of those glasses, I came to discover, was that when I held them over a piece of newspaper and allowed the sun’s rays to stream through, pretty soon I would have a fire (I was a little older and understood the need for safety). We lived directly under the equator and the sun was always hot and directly above us for most of the day. However, it’s rays never burnt anything until when they were brought to a point of focus.

While bringing those rays to a point of focus might seem like reducing the sun’s power, it actually increased it’s intensity and resulted in the generation of heat. This is the same thing with our potential. When potential is brought to a point of focus it results in greater output and results. Activity is not necessarily productivity. It’s what you focus on that brings about your greatest productivity. Much has been said about the Pareto Principle, which I believe to be true. According to Pareto, 80% of your productivity will come from 20% of your activity (paraphrased). Here’s the key to generating lasting results: find the 20% of what you are most effective at and give it 80% of your time and resources. 

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Nurture Your Ideas

Posted by Herman Najoli on April 25, 2010

There’s a quote that I once heard which has been attributed to a number of people. It’s about the delicacy of new ideas and how they can easily be lost. It says, “A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” My hope through this post is to inspire you to live an epic life by nurturing your ideas.

Ideas are seeds of potential and promise. Careful nurturing of ideas leads to breakthroughs and success. Poor nurturing results in a failure of not knowing what might have been. I grew up on a farm in the Western region of Kenya. We had lots of chicken and one of my favorite tasks was collecting eggs after they had been laid. Eggs for me have always symbolized ideas – you drop them and they are gone. It’s very hard to salvage a dropped egg. I’ve seen some people scoop it up and still use it but by that time it’s already a mess that not worth saving.

Well after the eggs had been laid, I would go around and collect them into a nice padded bucket. Some of the eggs would go to the market right away and others would be carefully selected and put aside so that the hen can brood on them at the opportune moment. There are some eggs that are usually ready to go to the market soon after they are generated. These eggs don’t last long in the market. After a short while they get cooked and eaten. But there are those eggs which are brooded on by the mother hen. These eggs usually hatch into beautiful chicks which become the hope of the future of poultry population.

Now, think about your ideas. Are you sending them to the market too early or brooding on them? Do you want to add value or to multiply value? Which one is more preferable to you: making profits or reaching pure potential? Learn to nurture your ideas and your ”brooded on” idea will become the seed of pure potential. 

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Enthusiasm: The Bedrock of Passion; The Key to Potential

Posted by Herman Najoli on March 5, 2010

Ralph Waldo Emerson, that great essayist and poet whose been quoted so many times, once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”. Enthusiasm is the bedrock of passion and the key to maximizing one’s personal potential. Henry David Thoreau said that the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation. In other words, they do not have a passion for anything. They have nothing to stand for, so they fall for anything that comes their way. How then, can we break through and find something worth standing for?

The key is in having a desire to make a difference. Making a difference could mean changing the way things are or simply contributing to a social condition or situation. Desire is the ignition key, so to speak, of passion. You cannot pursue something unless you really have a desire for it. We generate enthusiasm by having positive desires that will contribute towards a better life and society. Let’s work on generating greater enthusiasm.

Posted in Creating, Engaging, Fulfillment, Interacting, Leadership, Organization, Participating, Wisdom | 2 Comments »

On Eagles, Geese, Turkeys, Crows, Vultures, and Hawks

Posted by Herman Najoli on September 8, 2009

Eagles have always been representative of high calibre leaders. They don’t flock like geese but rather fly solo. While this may rob them of the ability to draft from each other, it provides them with some crucial advantages that are essential for vision development, maintenance, and casting. Here are two: 

One, an eagle and a turkey react very differently to the threat of a storm. A turkey runs under the barn, hoping the storm won’t come near. The eagle, on the other hand, leaves the security of its nest and spreads its wings to ride the air currents of the approaching storm, knowing they will carry it higher than it could soar on its own.

Two, when an eagle is attacked by a pack of crows it doesn’t fight back. All it does is simply fly higher and higher, knowing that pretty soon the crows won’t be able to fly any higher. The eagle plays smart rather than lose its sensibility in the mindless games of small-thinking crows.

What additional insights can high calibre leaders gain from eagle-like thinking? Here are six marks:

1. Eagles are catalysts of experiences – Eagles make things happen based on their skills and abilities. They walk the road less traveled, defying models in order to blaze new trails. They make epic experiences happen.

2. Eagles possess great vision and execution – Eagles don’t perch on a tree and wait for the cows to come home. They go out and look for opportunities. They are not risk averse. They know when to unleash their cards.

3. Eagles are change agents – Eagles influences others in positive ways. They are 360° influencers. Their influence is not restricted by any categories or attributes. They confound the simple while dazzling the enlightened.

4. Eagles are multipliers of value – Eagles multiply the value of what they touch. Geese add value, turkeys subtract value, while crows divide value. Some groups are infested with vultures who prey on value!

5. Eagles empower eagles – Eagles don’t hang out with hawks. Hawks are pretenders. They are self-conceited, wait for the vultures to leave the carcass before they swarm in to make an even greater mess.

6. Eagles are sources of creativity – Eagles hunt for ideas that result in quantum transformation. They bring about the revolutionary advances that cement their status as high calibre leaders. Let the eagles fly!

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