Inicio Mentor - David Ajena

I was born in a small East African country called Uganda and I moved to Sweden when I was two years old. My mother studied to be a teacher and my father is a trained accountant - none of them have any scientific background and, to be honest they are not interested in science whatsoever.

 

According to my parents I had a penchant for asking questions and learning how things work while growing up. I was a fast learner and I started to excel from a  very early age academically. My childhood dream was actually to be an astronaut and I was teased about this from time to time. I wouldn’t say that I never managed to "fit in," but my interests where very different from the other children. It wasn't until high school, when I was admitted to Kungsholmens Gymnasium, that I found other children that resonated with me.

 

What did you study at university?

I first studied mechanical engineering at The Royal Institute of Technology but I never really enjoyed it. It felt as if I chose that course because so many of my other friends went to study at that university. Upon finishing my bachelors degree I realised that this wasn't something I really wanted to engage in, so I opted to study programming at the University of Stockholm and this eventually led me to become a mentor at Inicio.

 

What does a day in your life look like?

The ideal day for me is the following:

 Wake up at 05:00

Workout from 05:30-06:30

Eat breakfast 07:00

Meditate

Start study session A

Have lunch

Do something completely unrelated to schoolwork

Start study session B

Rest

Play the piano

Do 100 push-ups

Read

Write in my diary

You seem to have a wide range of interests - from astronomy to engineering. If you could study in any other area, what would you choose?

If I could study any other area that would definitely be history or political science.This is my true passion, but the lack of opportunity for a "decent job" has resulting in my choosing computer science instead!

 

So when you are not busy with your study sessions, or working out at the gym, where would we find you?

 

I enjoy training as much as possible and I’ve recently fallen in love with a sport called padel. I’m also involved in a language café and learning new languages has recently developed as one of my latest hobbies.

 

What excites you the most about the future of technology?

 

General artificial intelligence, this will truly be the final discovery we human beings need to make and I believe that if it’s used correctly it will solve all the problems that we are facing.

 When did you first realise you wanted to mentor others, and why do you think being a mentor is so important?

 

I first realised that I wanted to be a mentor when I helped my little sister with her homework. Being a mentor is important as it also helps you hone your own skills in that particular area, and I think that most human beings get a good sensation when they help others.

 

Have you ever had your own personal mentor and, if so, how did this impact you?

 

My uncle mentored me and served as a good role model. He helped me develop high moral standards and many other virtues that I try to live my life by.

 

What would you say to any high school students who are interested in technology, but were afraid they were not "naturally gifted" in this area?

 

I truly believe that talent is very overrated and very few things can actually beat good old-fashioned hard work. This might sound like a trope but I assure you that the older I become the more evident this becomes.

 

Who is a person close to you that has inspired you the most in life?

 

That would probably be my uncle George, who is retired engineer, and my grandfather Daniel, who had an executive position in a company back in Uganda. All human beings have their flaws but what they’ve truly given me is the recipe of how to do the right thing and how to be a man of integrity.

 

Are there any "famous" people that have really inspired you?

 

Fela Kuti: Every boy truly needs a hero and this man was a God send during my teenage years when I was still finding my identity on the road of becoming a real man.His bravery and love for his people truly inspired me and he managed to deliver his message wrapped in music that is hypnotic, inspirational, and beautiful at the same time.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo: He is the embodiment of perseverance and hard work. I always look to him when I start doubting my own abilities in whatever I’m doing in my life.

 

Frank Ocean: A true poet who seems to be in direct connection with God. His music manages to penetrate deep into my soul and it evokes all feelings a human being might possess.

 

Helio Gracie:The creator of Brazilian Jiu-Jiutsu which in my opinion is the greatest sport in the world! This is the only thing that I’ve truly been obsessed with during my entire life, but unfortunately a severe knee injury derailed my career.

 

Akira Toriyama: The creator of one of the most popular manga series in the world (Dragonball). The protagonist in this series is seen as an outcast but still manages to defy all of the odds and become the best. A true source of inspiration!

 

RichardFeynman: His enthusiasm for science and his high intellect just shows the potential of human beings when they use their minds in the right way.

 

George Carlin:A modern day Mark Twain who’s social criticism is both scary, funny and true at the same time.

 

Joe Rogan: His podcast has served as the avenue of free thought in this crazy world. His guests have improved my eating habits, training habits and view of life overall. It’s scary how much poorer my life would have been if it wasn't for this man.

 

What do you wish you had known before entering the tech field?

You can do anything as long as you’re disciplined and work hard.

 

What general advice about life would you like to give as a mentor?

 

Everybody is insecure but some people are better at hiding it than others.

 

Any inspirational quotes/mottos you live by?

 

I have so many but I’ll try to summarise them as best as I can:

 

“Age alone is no guarantee for wisdom and ability.”

-Abdullahi Dool

 

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now…”

-Chineseproverb

 

“If you practice, your mind will become stronger. You will become more confident and disciplined. Secrets of the ages will become open to you. You will become fearless, as your mind longs to tackle any new challenge.

 

But hard work is the watchword. Practice, practice, practice. Think of how bees work busily to get their honey. There is a sort of “honey” in achievement. It is sweet when you finally get a new idea that you did not understand before. There are few experiences as great as figuring things out.”

-Robert A.Adams

 

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