Life and Lessons

John Mutinda | 6th February 2020

Life and Lessons

Life and Lessons

John Mutinda | 6th February 2020








Today would have been the 75th birthday of Bob Marley, born Robert Nesta Marley. Though departed from us Marley has been and will continue to be an inspiration to many through his legacy.

As eulogized by the then Prime Minister of Jamaica Edward Seaga “His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience that left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind.”

It is therefore in loving memory of this legend that I look back on his life and share some of the lessons and inspirations I have drawn from his life.






Marley's early life was not without a fair share of trouble. He was born to a teenage mother and a white elderly father, who was later absent. The unstable family set up and extreme poverty this was the reality of Bob's childhood.

Perhaps as an escape from this troubling reality, Bob dived into the world of music. Through exploration and the company of his peers, Marley nurtured his musical talents in vocals as well as the guitar.

Despite being in poverty Bob refused to be a victim of the ghetto. A true visionary, Bob Marley created an environment around him that transcended the ghetto and would form the basis of his career.

We live in a time where we are made to believe that “You have to be born in a rich family to succeed in this world”. Well, I beg to differ, when I think about the ingredients of success then most certainly money is not one of them.

That's the motivation I draw from Bob's early life.






Marley's musical career started in 1962 but it wasn't until 1972 that he finally got his big break.

Bob Marley started recording in 1962 and of course, this was not without challenges.

Marley’s career started slowing, gaining very little traction as a solo musician. It wasn’t until he started recording as a group that he found some success. However, this success was to be short-lived as the band would part ways and at the time Jamaica was under a lot of competing for musical influences. This made it difficult for Bob and his band to establish a voice. Another hair in the soup would be the many breakups that Bob had with producers as well as recording houses.

These circumstances did not hold him down; in this period he recorded many songs with a good number becoming hit sensations. It is also in this period that Bob made his religious transition from Catholicism to Rastafarianism and he started growing his iconic dreadlocks.

It took Bob Marley 10 years to achieve international acclaim and to become world-renowned as a champion of Reggae music.


The key lesson from Bob is a lesson of patience, self-discovery, and resilience. Through the continuous pursuit of success, Bob was able to refine his style and musical acumen.

History will remember Bob as the man who went to perform 2 days just after his assassination attempt and without the support of band members who were in hiding for fear of their lives.

Truly fortune favors the bold. In November 2018 The UN has added reggae music to its list of international cultural treasures worthy of protection and promotion.


Bob Marley died on May 11th, 1981 of Melanoma cancer. He was only 36 years old. His last words to his son were “Money can’t buy life”.


Here are some of my favorite Marley quotes to leave you with.


One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.


None but ourselves can free our minds.’


The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.


When one door is closed, don’t you know, another is open?


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