I hope you had a Merry Christmas? As we prepare to cross over to the new 2014 I am looking back and reflecting on the lessons 2013 had for me. This year has been really challenging for me as I made some big life decisions and my learning curve really took a steep rise. I have compiled 9 lessons that I will take from this year 2013.
1. Investing is not as easy as it seems
During finance class, investments and investing sounded so fun and easy, we all thought, “wait I go out there am going to be a millionaire in no time.” Fast forward present moment and nobody seems to have the same fire, ‘rags to riches’ does not seem like something tenable but just some story you hear every other day. Can one multiply 10,000 bob to 1,000,000 bob? Many don’t think so, we want 1,000,000 upfront to make the next, but this is never the case. If you ever read The Richest man in Babylon you know every penny counts to becoming wealthy. 2013 I tried investing in a few projects and I have come to realize it is not as rosy. I sometimes have a habit of counting the chicken in eggs but this year I must say most of my eggs went bad… Others I just cross my fingers and pray they will hatch and give me the expected chicks.
2. Entrepreneurship path will make you fall out with your friends
“Pesa pombe siasa na wanawake zinafanya wanaume wauane!” That is from a song by Mashifta of Ukoo flani, back then I just sang along without thinking much about the message in those lyrics, now that I am older I do appreciate the truth in those words. You start something when you are really close as friends, it starts showing promise and then you will start noticing a change in attitude; some may want it all, original agreements start flying out the window. Once upon a time good friends become estranged, which brings me to the following:
2.1 Have all agreements in writing
Yes you are friends, yes you trust each other, but you can go so far with verbal agreements. Ensure you ink down everything, every little detail, if you can get a lawyer to do it even better, you never know what the future holds and proving a verbal agreement in any arbitration avenue may not be such an easy task.
3. Insure! Insure! Insure!
Insure your life
Insure your health
Insure your family’s health
Insure your future
After a medical cover settled a really huge bill for a friend I have come to appreciate the importance of insurance, even if it is the mandatory NHIF, please enroll, it may save you a lot on a rainy day. I had also been toying with insuring my phone sometimes in October, after being mugged few weeks ago I now appreciate how important insurance would have been.
4. Learn when to cut your losses and move on
If you are an optimist like I am, you may tend keep giving “one more chance” to situations/people you shouldn’t. A close family member got into business with a friend and they got swindled quite a tidy sum. The said friend was not depositing loan repayments in the bank but instead taking them for himself. By the time they realized what was really happening a vehicle they had bought for business was taken by their bank to recover defaulted loan repayments.
Yes, I know trust is essential, but also you need to keep your trust in check so it doesn’t blind you from red lights. When you see the first red light, be alert by the third, it is time to move on. Just like just a band sing in “thank you rebel and a cause”; fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on me, three times shame on me, four times it never will be. Learn when to say enough, accept you had a misstep and move on.
5. Love does not need analysis
Sometimes we over analyze things. We have a set of ideals we plan to settle for, but then you meet an amazing person with a few flaws who you feel drawn to. Don’t over analyze go for them! (Disclaimer: take my advice at your own risk!) I was told if you show a lady you like them early in the process of knowing each other, they will hold the hard to get card over your head. I must say this year I did show my liking early, and had a situation of carrot and stick, by the time I smelt the coffee, made decisions on cutting my loses and moving on time had been lost and I really felt like a jackass. My friend Henry can’t get enough of poking fun at my optimism, we live we learn ey? Maybe I should loosen up, because if I continue analyzing too much I foresee an intervention (my mother is already commenting about never meeting my female friends lol) and that is not a situation I want to be in.
6. Having a plan and a contingency plan also will save you a lot
Take time and come up with a plan when you want to do something big in your life. Also make a contingency plan in case things do not go as planned. My biggest challenge this year came when I decided to move out. I had this alternative income stream that I was sure would have been able to see me sail through the few hustles that one faces when they leave the nest, but as luck would have it, that income stream stopped the very month I moved out! Talk about things not going to plan, this is where contingency plans come in handy to keep you afloat. Always remember Murphy’s law and have a contingency plan in place, that is all on number six.
7. Don’t be scared to speak your mind/ don’t be scared to make a move
The loudest person in the pack is not always right, if you are introverted you may let such incidences pass, but you shouldn’t if you feel that they are wrong say it, speak. Than later starting to beat yourself about things you should have said. With this also learn when not to say anything and when to stop talking!
I was surprised that someone I really liked, but was scared of telling them, had a crush on me, if only I had summoned some balls then and made a move…
8. Take risks
Do not be afraid to take risks. We had a somewhat crazy idea with some of my friends, I call it crazy because of the feedback we got when we shared it, I was shocked when I found our crazy idea on the shelves of Uchumi supermarket the other day, I ended buying it! If you are busy over analyzing your idea someone else somewhere will be busy doing, and trust me, playing catch up sucks. You need to act fast and have the first mover advantage, late comers always share the crumbs…
9. Quarter century crisis is real!
I wrote about the quarter century crisis here and it is real! You will start asking questions and wonder where your life is headed, but this is just the beginning of many more crises to come, take them in your stride and you will survive!
P.S: In a totally unrelated note; I now seem to like the idea of people just calling to check up on me, no agenda required! 😉