Articles Tagged Success

Nov 28, 2004
A focused mind brings success

We’re all very busy, aren’t we? At least those of us with jobs and businesses are. This is the paradox of modern Kenya: a large number of citizens sit idle, unemployed or under-utilised; simultaneously, a small number of workers are buzzing around like deranged bumble bees, seemingly carrying the weight of the entire economy on […]

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Oct 24, 2004
Strong values underpin economic success

What does the word “globalisation” mean to you? In the minds of most people these days, a host of negative connotations emerge spontaneously. We think about “exploitation” – that we are being stripped naked by the rich countries and their storm troopers, the multinational corporations; about “volatility” – that we are being sucked into the […]

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Aug 15, 2004
Why we are all slaves of delusion

Imagine this: some prisoners sit in a cave, chained by the neck, hands and legs. They have been this way since birth and so have no conception of any other way of life. Shadows keep appearing on the wall in front of them. The shadows are caused by jailors who stand behind the prisoners, unseen. […]

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Aug 08, 2004
Only growth will pull us out of poverty

We must grow! There is only one solution to entrenched poverty such as ours, and that is economic growth. It has been proved again and again: growth has to be the principal strategy for raising the incomes, consumption and living standards of the poor. Consider this: a recent study by Xavier Sala-i-Martin, a Columbia University […]

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Jul 25, 2004
Self-help is the only help we need

It is now widely acknowledged that waiting for the government to do anything for you is an epic waste of time. If you are a rural Kenyan waiting for services to reach you, you may well be required to wait until Kingdom Come. The government, you see, has many more pressing things to preoccupy itself […]

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Jun 20, 2004
If we fail to become authentic, we fail at everything

Here’s a story often told in management circles when discussing culture and change. It concerns an experiment involving some chimpanzees in a cage, a bunch of bananas and a hosepipe: Five chimpanzees were put in a cage. In the middle of the cage was a step-ladder with a bunch of bananas placed on top of […]

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May 02, 2004
Why we all have to learn to set high standards

Reading Kenyan newspapers these days tends to be distressing pastime. Consider the following news items that appeared over the past few weeks: Forty-one people were injured, two seriously, when a train rammed into a speeding bus in Athi River town. How did this happen? Because the bus driver approaching the railway crossing, in a mindless […]

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Apr 18, 2004
The proper role of government in our development

Successive governments since independence have, in varying degrees, been devoid of vision, devoid of ethics and devoid of competence. In other words, as they took charge of the bus called Kenya, they drove us round in circles, failed to maintain the vehicle until it collapsed, and ran away with all the passengers’ money. Given this, […]

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Feb 08, 2004
We must emphasise skills and knowledge above all else

Last week I wrote about the remarkable progress India is making in transforming its economy. India is attracting the attention of economic commentators around the world; most agree that the country has come out of an economic ‘Ice Age’ and is going into a dramatic ‘takeoff’ stage. What can we in Kenya learn from this […]

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Feb 01, 2004
India became an economic powerhouse before our eyes

This is my 50th article since I started writing this column nearly a year ago. To mark the milestone, let me take you on a trip beyond our borders. When I was a schoolboy in Nairobi in the early 1980s, we would often compare our economy with that of India. Kenya was growing at a […]

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Oct 12, 2003
If we want money, we must learn to give it away

Most of us are unlikely to achieve true enlightenment in this lifetime. By and large, we will remain ordinary folk striving to make a decent living and extract some meaning from this brief and unpredictable existence. We will have jobs to hold down, mouths to feed, and obligations to meet. Money will naturally loom large […]

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Oct 05, 2003
Wealth: let us heed the words of the wise

If you still believe that the pursuit of material wealth should be our guiding light, both as individuals and as a nation, then you are putting yourself up against some of history’s most enlightened thinkers. This week I take you on a little tour of what the good and the great of this world had […]

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Sep 28, 2003
The folly of making the rich our idols

Why does everyone in Kenya want to be rich? Why do we look at rich men and women and envy them? Why do tycoons and magnates hold us in their thrall? Why do we fall at the feet of the wealthy and hang on their every word? The value that we place on material wealth […]

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Aug 10, 2003
Let us teach self-belief to our children

Last week I wrote a mock ‘travel advisory’ for Kenyans travelling to the UK. Baiting the British in this way is great sport, particularly because they are so smug and self-righteous in their dealings with Kenyans of late. But having fun does not really take us anywhere. Every time we find ourselves turning on outsiders, […]

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Jun 29, 2003
Money madness will produce many more Goldenbergs

Why are we so fixated on money? It appears to be the measure of everything we do. It is the reason we get up every morning and start working. It seems to make our world go round. Even the Leader of the Opposition was in full flow recently, attacking the former vice-president. He dismissed him […]

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Jun 22, 2003
If we want performance, we must value ability

Are we serious about becoming a ‘performance-orientated’ nation? Do we mean it when we say we’re looking for results? The president has taken a strong lead in the matter: he’s exhorted us to roll up our sleeves and get working. He’s warned us that there are no more handouts. He’s asked us to take charge […]

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Jun 15, 2003
The lost art of speaking plainly

Do you understand the following words? “The government is committed to developing innovative, proactive and goal-focused policies that reflect the aspirations of all Kenyans and meet the expectations of key stakeholders. We will focus on efficient and effective service delivery in an environment of transparency and accountability.” Or consider the following typical ‘mission statement’ from […]

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May 11, 2003
A tale of two countries

In 1963, two countries in different parts of the globe emerged from turmoil and entered a new era of hope. Country A had just freed itself from the yoke of colonial rule and was breathing the fresh, heady air of self-determination. Country B was coming out of a debilitating war with an aggressive neighbour. Both […]

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May 04, 2003
Freeing ourselves from the prison of self-centredness

As we embark on rebuilding this nation, we mull over the losses we have incurred over the past two decades. What exactly did we lose? We certainly lost law and order; economic investment and growth; institutions and governance; roads and power lines. All of these can be reclaimed. Indeed, we are embarking on a journey […]

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Apr 13, 2003
Economic growth is about mind, not matter

100 days is a ridiculously short period in which to start evaluating the performance of a new government. I guess it’s a nice round number, and gets public attention. But it is absurd to expect any real outcomes in just three months. Have new jobs been created, is inflation coming down, has forest cover increased? […]

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