20. Passion is a choice

by Njuhi Chege

My Passion:

I’m passionate about self-discovery, Riri Jewellery, Chess and riding bikes (novice). Actually, most of what I do is for me to understand more about the creature within. I love finding out which boundaries I can push and/ or how I would react to different people and circumstances.

Looking back at the last decade of my life, my motivation has been to prove that I can do things that I earlier thought were too far out of reach for me.


This journey took me to starting my own business. I wanted to test if I could do it. I had to drone out the people who said, “You’re not talented enough, You’re not this, you’re not that, Do you have the qualifications?” And other such nonsense. If I could withstand the pressure, how far I could take the company, what the journey would look like, would I overcome the challenges, would I fulfil my wildest dreams, what would I find along the way and more importantly, what would find me.




What I know is that my life has been partly about planning, and mostly about serendipity. We cannot plan all our existence. A curiosity about my life, and fulfilling a ‘wonder’ on what lays ahead for me, has been my pull through life. Indulge the “what if’s” and life will be one BIG SURPRISE…good and bad, but not in equal measure!


Discovery Journey

Passion, I believe, is not a magic card that you stumble upon. If anything, passion is an active decision made over and over and over again. In that sense, the only way to know that you are drawn to something, is through hindsight of what you keep choosing to do over and over and over again. Passion is the thing we do because we choose to do it (out of love, compulsion, or other scientific reasons that cannot always be explained). Passion is a choice.


I discovered I was passionate about Riri Jewellery because it is what I initially dreamed of doing, did and have kept doing for the past three years. It has taken up most of my thoughts, time, energy and relationships. Did I know I would be passionate about starting a jewellery business ten years ago? No. But I was fascinated about the thought that “just maybe I could do something with a business.” Maybe I could change my life. Maybe I could touch someone else’s life. Maybe I could positively impact my community. Maybe I could make my family proud. Maybe I could win at business. I say maybe because even though I had all these dreams, I knew that in real life, anything could happen but all that was needed from me was to take the next step, then the next…


Speaking about next steps, I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would one day address the smart kids of Harvard Law School and share with them about my jewellery business, I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would have my jewellery sell on Kenya’s National Airline- Kenya Airways and I sure did not ever dream that we would showcase our products at Trade Shows in the United States, or that I would interact with amazing artisans who would let me into their lives and knowledge so openly.


A passion is not decided upon by the warm fuzzy feeling in the gut, a passion is nurtured, worked for and given the time for it to direct your energy in ways you didn’t imagine. Indulge the “what if’s.” 




How did you know this is it

I feel that in finding what we love to do, there are no finalities. A passion has to be broad enough to leave room for questioning, learning, doubting, building confidence and experimenting. That is the fun of self-discovery, it is a never ending expedition on the things you love to do. Having an interest is all it takes.


I remember always dreaming about riding a bike but not knowing where to start. I did not know anyone who rode a bike, or owned one. I would chat up biker girls (because I’d blush too much for the biker guys as I always thought they are HOT!) and ask them how they started. One day I was invited to give a talk at PAWA 254, a space for young creatives in Kenya, and there I bumped into a biker girl who shared the number of a trainer and that was the beginning of learning how to ride.


Passion happens when you are busy living. It’s not something that is thought about and decided upon.




Try it

To get started just requires one thing, to decide to start. That is all. Whether it is making and selling jewellery, riding motorbikes, playing board game, coding, mentoring people, helping others, flying planes, writing…it is all a decision one must make and commit to going as far deep into the rabbit hole as their life will let them. If you’re curious about jewellery making, buy beads, then buy string, then string them together. If you enjoy it, buy tools and make many more styles. Show your friends, sell them at a festival or market. Repeat. The same goes for any activity, take the next step, then the next and keep going. “Help will find you along the way” is the advice one of my sisters gave me just when I was starting out. Keep it simple, keep it light, and keep it manageable.


We waste a lot of hours thinking, weighing up the pros and cons, debating, second guessing while time ticks away never to return. We only have an average of about 2,500 weekends on this earth. What are you gonna do with yours?


Go for it!


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