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You are what you eat ....

September 20, 2013

I know most people prefer keeping their toilet-room experiences to themselves though we all know everyone uses this room. I guess what differs is where your toilet is, how big it is and how it looks inside. Obviously, besides the nature of the business that takes you in there, I guess the aforementioned factors (to some extent) determine a lot how much time you are likely to spend in there. All the same, I believe we all unanimously agree that it is a very important room.

Personally I find it very relaxing in the sense that it's the one place I can multi-task without anyone else feeling ignored. For instance, while perched on the seat I could be reading a book (actually this is one of my favorite reading times), or if it's in the evening, I could be reviewing (in my mind) the day that was and planning the next day. As you know, in most cases, while busy doing something with your mind, you stop concentrating on what is happening "down south", especially if it's a terrifying experience. That said, I'd like to share an experience I recently had in that room.

I have a very disciplined digestive system in the sense that regardless of what time I eat, I only seem to "offload" at a designated time of the day. So it was with some concern that I was forced to visit the small room several hours before my usual time, to engage in what I call "hard labour". Without being too graphic let me say it was quite a task to the point that I was sweating. As usual, I tried to shift my mind "off things" by reading a book, but not even the wise words of the writer whose book I was reading could make me temporarily forget my ordeal. Of course that forced me to think back to what I had eaten and at that point I got my usual lightbulb moment.

You see, if you are an ardent reader or follower of fitness blogs and quotes like I am, then you must have come across this school of thought that says"you are what you eat..." I guess I was given this lesson first hand on this day; I had obviously eaten something that didn't agree with my system, hence the ordeal I was going through. Plus I like pilipili so, ....Yeah. Anyway, I digress.

These fitness gurus also say that whether its abs or curves, 70% of these are made in the kitchen, while the remainder is polished in the gym. If you have a tendency of eating healthy, then combine that with exercising, it goes without saying that you will be one healthy person. If the opposite is true, i.e. eating wrong and exercising not, then the person we see on the outside represents the person on the inside.... I believe I don't need to explain this further.

While I was perched up on the seat, all these previously read quotes and sayings were going through my mind and then suddenly it hit me; the same policy of being what we eat not only applies to our physical body, but it also applies to our non-physical being. Whatever you feed your mind, your brain and your soul definitely affects your general wellbeing. If you feed on stuff that gives you a positive attitude all day long, then no matter what comes you way, it might attempt to dampen your spirits but since you are full of positivity, that positivity will neutralise that negativity.

For instance, if you hang around the wrong crowd, people who are visionless and plan-less, then what makes you think you will be any different? If your circle of friends is full of rumor mongers, then what are the chances that you are the rumor-free one in the group? In order to fit in, won't you be forced to monger some rumors too?

On the other hand, assuming you truly don't do what your friends are doing, how will you convince those who see you together that you are innocent? Besides, I believe the old adage I learned in school dinosaur years ago that says "birds of a feather flock together" is very relevant in this case. In my mother tongue, we have a saying that goes like this "Mucera na mukudu akudukaga take", which when loosely translated would mean, "you become what your constant companion is".

With this in mind, then I believe that if you want to have any progress in life, you must associate yourself with progressive people. For instance if you want to be the best motivational speaker in town, then you need to learn from a higher authority in that field, someone who has something s/he can teach you. If you want to be progressive in your career or in your profession, then you must align yourself with people within your area of interest who have been there, done that and lived to tell their success story.

I don't speak "eagle" and I don't understand it either, but I believe it is for the same reasons mentioned above that Eagles don't hang out with chicken. Though chicken are classified as birds, Eagles know that hanging out with them, or spending any amount of time with them will only hamper their progress, thus making them retrogressive. Now, if Eagles have the sense to know whose company not to keep, why can't we as human beings use our superior intelligence to do the same? Besides, can you imagine what would happen to an Eaglet if it was to grow up with chicken? The poor thing would live its whole life thinking it cannot fly! I think I just heard an Eagle flying above me chirping "Amen...". Anyway, moving on...

The same concept applies to human beings. We become influenced a lot by our surroundings, by the people we interact with, by the movies we watch, by the books we read, by the websites we visit, by the friends we keep and of course by the food we eat. One of the reasons why it is important to choose your friends/company wisely is peer pressure. This is a common phenomenon and though one might say they are above it, very few people have the guts and the discipline to say no to pressure from peers. And yes, peer pressure exists even beyond teenage years. If you don't believe me, visit Twitter and Facebook to see some random posts being posted by fifty year olds; in some cases, you will be forgiven for thinking the posts were made by some teenager high on some cheap stuff.

As I come to the end of this post, I cannot reiterate enough the importance of surrounding yourself with the right stuff. Whether it is in an office setup, or in your own personal life, be wise in choosing your close friends; I don't need to remind you that there are more fake people in the offices today than there are Chinese phones in Kariakoo at any given time.

Secondly, choose to feed your mind with material that builds you and helps you develop yourself. Read the right books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and websites. Watch the right movies, TV programs and documentaries.

Thirdly, associate and align yourself with the right people, people who will genuinely be willing to help you improve yourself. Such people do not fear telling you the truth right there on your face when you need to hear it, and neither do they hesitate to push you in the right direction when you ignorantly take the wrong turn; I call such people mentors.

So, as you start your week today ask yourself this question; as an Eagle, are you hanging out with the right birds?

PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 15th September, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"

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