Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On Deserving What I Get in Life

I was late for a meeting this afternoon. This is so unlike me. I'm not good at driving. I'm not even good at lying. But I'm good at keeping time. So being 15 minutes late was not excusable.

Then while coming back home, I read a post by my friend, Ian, from his blog. He was talking about whether we deserve getting all the good stuff in life that we desire. For example, do I deserve to be rich? Do my habits show that I deserve to be a good writer?

Now that got me thinking, especially when he talked about how he's good at keeping time. The person that he used in his story about keeping time is the same person I was meeting this afternoon. And this person made it abundantly clear that, though I was forgiven for not keeping time today since it was the first time we were meeting, he wouldn't forgive me another time. If I could, I'd have written out my oath in blood.

So this evening I wondered, do I deserve all the good things that life has given me? Do I deserve all the opportunities that have come my way, the ones I've accepted and the ones I've turned down?

I realise that the answer is no.

Even when I try to think of myself as a smart guy, I wasn't the smartest in my class. The retakes I got are my testimony. The numerous failures I've encountered in life and in business have been jarring reminders that I don't possess any superhuman abilities.

But the amazing opportunities keep showing up, and I keep taking them up.

Like the other day when a client proposed a change in my payment. I'd suggested that I should get paid half of the money before the start of the project so I could use it to fund the work, and then receive the other half after I finished the work.

He said, "This money you've quoted is all yours. I don't want you to use any of it for the project. Contact my office whenever you need money to run the project and we'll provide it."

Now what's that called? Favour?

Well, whatever it is, I'm learning that I don't deserve what I get. And if I ever become a millionaire or a very successful writer, I'd like to remember that I never deserved any of this. There has been too much grace in my life for me to be blind to it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Please Don't Read This

The Writivism Festival, which just ended recently, got me thinking a lot. Thinking about writing. While I didn't attend most sessions because I was either too busy or worn out from being too busy, I got quite challenged. You see, I haven't been writing as consistently as I'd like to. So this is me writing.

During the festival, I hosted a friend from Kenya, who almost didn't want to go attend the festival sessions because he wanted to stay at home and write. He's writing something that I hope to enjoy when he finishes it. And I hope I feature in the acknowledgments. This is because he was very impressed by the peace and quiet I enjoy at home. He said, "Paul, with such an environment, you need to be writing more."

So, I've finally decided to listen to him and start writing more. I still haven't figured out what exactly I want to write about. I have a lot of interests. But from today onwards, I'm going to start writing a little everyday. At first, I'll just be sitting at my desk, and writing everything that comes to my mind.

I really hope that one day something will click in my head and I'll start writing as much as my Kenyan friend writes everyday. Then maybe I'll write another book.

But for now, I just want to rediscover the joy of writing. And please don't feel obligated to read any of my rumblings and musings. Because, if you've read this post, you've most probably flushed a few minutes of your precious time down the drain.

It's not that I really care. But now I have to stop. Till next time when i get something more important to write.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wordy Cakes: The Story So Far

Late last year, I started Wordy Cakes. These are cakes with words. I started Wordy Cakes because I had experienced the power of words, and wanted to share my experience with the world. It has been a great journey so far. I have experienced some incredible moments, like when a love-struck boy sent Wordy Cakes to his girlfriend with a poem he'd written. Like when my aunt said, "These are the words I needed for the situation I'm going through right now."

But you see, Wordy Cakes is a business. In the beginning, when I gave out a lot of free Wordy Cakes, there was a lot of excitement. It felt good to be able to share something that's so much a part of me: Words and Cake. It was only when it got to the tiny little details that run a business that Wordy Cakes failed miserably. For example, there was the dilemma of pricing. The people who appreciated the words that came with the cake thought that they were priced too low, given the value of the words. But the people who only wanted cake for cake's sake, and these were the majority, thought I was cheating them.

Then there was the issue of partnerships. I never knew partnerships were that hard. It looks like passion is a very expensive commodity. Early on, I realised that however good I was at coming up with some great ideas for product development and marketing, I was terrible at selling. So I needed someone to help me sell. Then I realised that I was so bad at selling that I even failed to sell the vision of Wordy Cakes to the two partners I'd gotten. I learnt that partnerships can be like a romantic relationship. If you want to get serious, get the paperwork done and don't date for too long. Otherwise you'll be dumped like a rotten egg because all along, your partner wanted you fresh, and now he can't eat a rotten egg.

I've learnt that people know how to smile and shake your hand and say all the nice cow dung when they are facing you, but when push comes to shove, only your family and close friends will be there. They are the only ones that know that cow dung can be used as manure for new dreams. In the end, you realise that you needed the hardships to show you who your real friends are.

I've learnt that true love doesn't come to everyone. Not every guy gets lucky enough to have a girl love them for who they are, whether they are broke or not. I've experienced that love (Patience, whenever I think of you, my mind freezes and I don't know what to say). And it has given me the strength to wake up in the morning when I'd almost drowned in depression the previous night. And speaking of depression, how come no one told me how ugly it can get? How come no one said it was possible to get so low emotionally that you're immobilised?

Lately, I'm learning to count all the 24 hours in a day. I'm learning to enjoy every single second of them. Sometimes life sucks, but when you look around you, you realise that you've got a lot of good stuff going well for you: like all the job offers that come around, most of which you have to say no to.

When I started Wordy Cakes on 18th October, 2014, I never knew I'd be seated at my desk, on a new laptop that I'm still infatuated with, typing out this blog post that reads like a eulogy. But one thing I'm certain of now, is that Wordy Cakes still lives on. In my heart where it was created, Wordy Cakes doesn't really care what the world thinks or says. I'll still get those orders, and now because it's no longer about the money, or pleasing some partner who doesn't care how cakes are baked, I'll say yes to the ones that pass the Wordy Cakes test, and no to the ones that don't.

What's life after all, if we don't enjoy the little things we do to change the world?