Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Kenya

My many nasty experiences from university of life

It is rare to find me reading a book in one sitting, the number of pages notwithstanding, come back to it and do the same all over again.

But in There Is No Useless Experience: 20 Lessons from the University of Life, I found an exhilarating piece of art that got me glued from the first page to the last, even sparing time for the bibliography.

The book by Levi Kones, a journalist who gained fame for his stint at Slimpossible show in 2013, is a raw outpouring of a life journey that has had more lows than highs but is told in a brutally candid manner.

Written in simple language and employing an easy-to-read font size, the book not only opens a window into the author’s life but also swings ajar the door for the reader and lets him into the good, the bad and the ugly life experiences.

“Doctors bury their mistakes. Lawyers jail theirs. But journalists publish theirs for all the world to see”.

The 45-year-old goes about narrating his life, turning one page to the next, not afraid of what is written on any with ease and finesse unimaginable.

The book is divided into lessons touching on knowing one’s value, grabbing that second chance, honing God-given skills, taking responsibility for life choices and finding God for oneself; among others.

But who best to give out such lessons? If truly experience is the best teacher, then the adage stands the author in great stead.

Fast lane

Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he lived in the fast lane always doing 90 on a 65.

The world was at his beck and call and nothing could stop him, not even warning signs from a litany of transgressions he engaged in.

Cheating death more than once, losing a daughter because of his reckless lifestyle and even being deported from the US; nothing served as a deterrent to help him curb his appetite for all the wrong things.

Fights with friends and betraying their trust, philandering, partying, binge drinking, dropping out of school at will and battling suicidal thoughts; reckless lifestyle was his portion.

He aptly captures in the book saying: “The road to destruction always has signposts, but we speed through them courtesy of the tunnel vision caused by the high velocity that feeds our vices.”

However, losing his sister at the tender age of 33 in 2009 served as an awakening of sorts.

Drawing from the words of life coach and author Todd Stocker: “Sunrise is God’s way of saying, let’s start over again”, he wanted to turn a new page in his life.

“The amount of pain that indiscipline caused me cannot be fully contained in this book. I have lost money and possessions, relationships and even opportunities because of lack of self-control,” the father of three writes.

Taking responsibility

Nonetheless, he avers that taking responsibility for one’s life is the first step to making amends.

He decided to hit rehab in 2011 after seven years of battling the ghosts after accepting the person he was.

In America, a young Kones was a slave of his treacherous life because of a lack of self-control.

His world came crumbling on one fateful night while on his way to Iowa after being snitched on over his drinking.

He would be arrested and sent to prison in Minnesota where he spent 44 days before being deported in 2004, bringing to an abrupt end to his four years stay.

The father of three’s life thereafter went on a more slippery spiral.

“I had major self-esteem and rejection issues. I was unemployed, had gained weight, was full of regret, self-blame and self-loathing.”

In 2018, at the age of 40, he was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer but he beat the disease.

Mr Kones managed to call himself to a meeting and took responsibility for what had gone wrong in his life, changing his life for the better, happily married Wangeci Kones with whom they have three daughters and is currently a mental health issue coach and advocate.

Drawing parallels between business and life, he says that in business as in life, you don’t get what you deserve but what you negotiate and therefore one should always strive to know their values to avoid being embroiled in a cycle of misuse and being taken for granted.

Further, he avers, talent or skills can take one to the top, character is what will keep an individual perched there.

“What inspired me was the fact that I had read many books about lessons of life from other people and had always felt that people were not always willing to write the whole story, especially if it cast them in a bad light.”

The book retails at Sh1,000 and is currently available by ordering via text or WhatsApp through 0722470238.

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