One of the large fuel retailers in the country asks a question in their advertising. What drives you? I have largely dismissed it but if I would respond to them I would shout that the high cost of petrol is driving me crazy. My next vehicle should be electric. Much friendlier on the pocket and the environment too. With the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, fuel prices will increase and drive most of our lives in the wrong direction.

When fuel prices go up we accelerate but in reverse. Everyone is affected. This war in my view is driven by greed for natural resources. When the big boy bullies the smaller boy into surrendering his lunch. But the fight in the small boy is huge and he refuses with his lunch box. So the big (and greedy) boy decides to take it by force. May the good Lord cover the people of Ukraine and restore that nation tenfold once this ugly (and unnecessary) part of history is over. Putin, Mungu anakuona na halali.

What we take in as fuel is largely what drives us. Fuel retailers are always encouraging us to choose their products promising it will clean our car engines and give us more kilometres per litre. I doubt there’s much difference in the fuel we buy. It is the same product just being sold by different companies. That’s my uninformed view.

Now, let’s flip that to our personal lives where you and I are the moto garis. What drives us? Recently in a halftime roundtable, we were discussing the obstacles that keep us from living our ideal lives. I realized that what holds us back is what drives us. The thing we fear the most is what we give the most attention to. I dislike French beans. Whenever I eat them I feel like I’m eating poverty. Like I’m inviting lack to move into my life.

Iko story hapo. Back in the late 90s, I experienced my first major life transition. Our economy was beyond its knees, more like lying comatose. I would hustle in the day and buy French beans from Wakulima market at wholesale prices. That was our staple diet at home. Back then buying a burger at Steers (there was no java or KFC then) almost made it to my bucket list because it was that out of reach. My situation may not have been as dramatic as I’m describing it but it was dire in my eyes. I was convinced that how I cross this junction will determine the rest of my life. And it did.

I fear being dependent and suck at asking for help, especially financial help. I didn’t realise that until my transition twenty years ago. It has been at the fore of my mind since then and has driven me to work hard and secure the future for myself and those called by my name. It was such a defining (read deep wilderness) time that I even put together a short course when I emerged from that season – Six bumps to overcome on the way to your true north. That was my first halftime even before I knew what halftime was. All things do work for good as the Good Book tells us. I was being prepared to be a transition coach way before I knew it. Embrace the unknown folks. You are being qualified for the task ahead even when you do not see it.

Fear of poverty still lurks around but it’s not as paralyzing as it was before. Initially, I was like a marathoner with lack closing in behind me and breathing down my neck. I feared that If I stopped to catch my breath poverty would overtake me. That’s what drove me. Now after a lot of continuous internal work I can stop and confront that fear. Purpose, presence and passion are increasingly becoming my ‘V power’ fuels of choice.

Folks we need to stop (maybe at your preferred petrol station symbolically ) and empty the adulterated fuels of guilt, envy, fear and even anger from our fuel tanks. We may argue that we are still in motion even on that cheap and dirty fuel but the damage it’s causing is major and we will soon stall. Well maintained vehicles run on clean fuel, drive faster and longer yet leave very little pollution behind. Those with dirty fuel and in poor condition are less powerful and billow smoke everywhere they go leaving evidence of their stinky path.

Luckily, unlike our cars which can’t decide to change and improve on their own, we can make that decision. By taking baby steps towards fueling with virtues like kindness, goodness, perseverance, self-control and generosity.  As we cultivate these positive vibes the power those negative drivers had on us starts weakening. Now I can sleep better even when experiencing financial discomfort. Not having all the cash I want is not as crippling as it was. That’s because I’m learning (and accepting) that I cannot control everything around me and quietly working on my craft in the quest for living a life of meaning. And for that life of meaning to actualize it will take time. Our options also increase when we let go and so does our money. I’m convinced about that.

Perhaps the unknown can also be a good fuel that drives us to endless possibilities. Folks the past is just that, the past. A lot of good and not so good things may have happened to us and that became the fuel that has driven us all along. Now that we are older (although 40 is the new teenage I hear) and hopefully wiser, we can choose (or change) what to top up on and accelerate towards a life of significance.

So tuweke ngapi boss?


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One thought on “What Drives You ?”

  1. David Kimani says:

    Thank you Lucas for this post. A timely, spot on reminder that we must be be deliberate on the choices we make of the values we fuel (add) into our lives for they certainly drive us to the right places or like adulterated fuel vices will stall and even destroy our lives . Baraka tele.

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