I watched a clip earlier in the week on the TV channel K24. The program was called Punchline. It is one of the many commentaries that feature politicians and other experts, real or perceived who come to push their agenda. Sometimes media houses also invite professionals in various fields, intellectuals, and civil society. I feel like we overdo these conversations. There is much more talk than action. But I recognize that we are a democracy so everyone has to be heard.
We are headed full-throttle into the silly season. Elections are next year so very soon we will start exhibiting those ‘mjuaji’ Kenyan traits. Most of us will be overnight experts in political affairs and offer our mostly unsolicited advice on what this country needs to move forward. The BBI campaigns have gotten us to full election mode earlier than is expected. I hope we can read this document for ourselves and decide on how to vote come the referendum. I’m in the camp that’s not read it so I need to take my advice.
The Punchline program featured a professor, a few politicians, and the anchor of the show. The topic was on the hustler narrative. Even before introductions I knew this elderly gentleman was a professor. He wore glasses that seemed a necessity from years of overworking his eyes with endless reading. He also had a full white afro on his head. His grey suit enhanced his academic look. I wouldn’t be surprised if he drove to the studio in a white Peugeot 504 or those old Citroen models that looked like a huge frog. I remember when growing up those cars would sit on their backsides when parked and would rise slowly when switched on. It was a fascinating sight. Peugeot 504 was also my first car. But not because I wanted to be a professor. It was my dad’s influence as that was his favorite car too. Maybe my little man will have a Subaru as his first car too he he. Time will tell.
Professor described the hustler narrative as destructive and a ticking time bomb. It is being advanced mainly by the deputy president, Dr. William Ruto. He’s positioning himself as representing disenfranchised Kenyan youth against the older wealthier class being referred to as dynasty. I largely agreed with the professor’s argument apart from where he used big words that my mind could not process. He opines that the hustler narrative is being pushed by the political class as a vehicle to obtain power and once that power is achieved the young hustlers throughout the country will be dumped to continue hustling without hope.
The end justifying the means is sadly the formula for most politicians and that easily breeds resentment and violence that is seen during elections. What this country desperately needs is statesmen. Men and women who rise above tribe and class to politic positively for the good of the nation and not driven by selfish interests. We’ve all heard this lecture more times than we can count so I’ll stop there and focus on my three feet of influence. If we all do what we can in our circles of influence to make this country better, then those many small circles will slowly but surely snowball into a bigger circle that may just turn the tide for our beloved country.
My favorite short prayer gives hustling an extra twist. I got this from the book Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. His quote, “work like it depends on you but pray like it depends on God” combines two efforts that often appear contradicting yet from this quote praying and working hard (hustling) is now more complimentary.
This position is reinforced by Samuel Goldwyn’s quote – “the harder we work the luckier we get.” I spent most of the last year learning and improving my coaching and photography. I desire to be a great coach who helps folks transition into impact and significance. I also want to tell powerful stories about Kenya through my photography to the extent that I’m sought after to do exactly that. So far, I have had some opportunities to showcase my work and I have also had some paid coaching opportunities come my way. I’m convinced that this manifestation of the life I desire would not be unfolding if I wasn’t hustling consistently.
Many times, we envy people whose lives we admire largely because they have what we like to have. We focus on where the spotlight is shining on them and we hardly look at their lives when they were grinding in the dark. There is a tension between hustling (working hard) and trusting God (or the higher power that you subscribe to). Sometimes we work so hard on something believing that we are on the right path only for the door to be slammed on our faces. That was how I felt when applying for my gava job last year. I had over prepared that application and even started researching on what I’d say at the interview. Only for the regret to come so soon that I wondered if they even went through my neatly printed and organized application.
My way of settling this tension has been to commit fully to what I’m doing. Of course, that should be something that’s in line with the life I want to live and not just being a busy body. As I’m busy executing to the best of my ability I try not to dwell on the outcome I want but wait to be pleasantly surprised should things go my way. And if they don’t then I encourage myself that there’s better ahead. It’s a head and heart issue here folks. Plus, it also helps to have some faith. Sometimes we have to give up control and just focus on the hustle at hand. Success can be predictably unpredictable
May you hustle for what uplifts you and trust that it will pay off. Embrace the tension between the two and life will be less anxious and a bit more calmer.