Showing posts with label Related post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Related post. Show all posts

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Seasonal love

It's been 15 years now. I won't say 15 winters (I dislike them- at least not hate them anymore, it's progress!) but 15 autumns on British soil.

Each year I fall in love with this season, the incredible feast the red, orange and golden leaves provide to my eyes.

I surprise myself snapping away, trying to immortalise the magical season, in all its glory.

This has become my favourite season. It has just overtaken summer by a hair.
I do love summer. But the aesthetic side of me is just too taken by the beauty of Autumnal colours.

I found out that leaves change colour as trees take the chlorophyll, sugars and other nutrients responsible for their green tint. Once the leaves are "empty", the trees shed them.
But all the goodness is now stocked to survive the winter.

Some say this is a happy coincidence. I see providence.

I see a Great artist and designer, masterful at marrying the practical and the useful, a being who loves us enough to want us to enjoy life, beauty, for free.

Praise Jah!


Friday, 18 April 2014

Productivity enemy #4: disorganized finances

Phone wakes me up from my slumber. "We are Do Gooders Ltd. We can save you time and money by finding you a better price for your current car insurance/home content insurance/mobile phone contract/body/girlfriend....."
I'm interested. I enquire further info.
Ok, the last 2 examples are completely made up. Wait...The company name too.

Anyway. Focus!

These cold callers tend to promise the world, don't they? They sell dreams. You buy them only to find out there are just that. Dreams. Carefully crafted shiny-glittery-shams. Then you wake up and realise you've been robbed in broad daylight!

Yes this is a rant. For all these times I thought I was getting the best deal but I wasn't. All these times I bought something I didn't need because it just sounded cheap.

Enough is enough!!!

If I am to do things the entrepreneurial way, I need to have a firm grip on my finances at all times. I need to save for tax purposes,  to re-invest in my business and also need to have a little cash for rainy days (very important as income is very up and down, not like in employment)

Last weekend I went to visit a buyer expert friend of mine.
I had a serious look at my finances as a result and they don't look pretty. I knew on some level that I was sitting on a time bomb but now I know it with all the fiibers of my being. It's hit home. So I am taking action to defuse it. I'd better not be too late!

I know how much I've got in my account pretty much all the time but until now ,not  how much money I was wasting. Below are the principles I have to apply. This is a note to myself but if you are in a similar situation, it's for you too!

Credit Cards

Don't play the ostrich game.
 Be sure you know how  much you earn and how much your bills are.
Only put on the credit card what you know you can pay off at the end of the month. Pay the balance in full at the end of every month. The card will then work for you, your cedit score will improve and you will be in a position to negotiate better deals (APR, cash back...) because you would have proved you are not a risky investment. If you're not there yet, get yourself there. Aggressively pay your debts, reduce your credit card use, then stop using it until it's all cleared.

Check your bank statements

I got a gym membership that was supposed to be taken each month from my account. Turns out they take it bi-monthly. Thieves! That got cancelled.
I got a gold account from my bank but don't even use the advantages...They don't suit me. That's going too. I easily lose 1K per year on those stupidities.
 I got different insurances for content, life, critical illness...But there's only so many "what ifs" you can cover. The likelihood of some what ifs happening is infinitesimal. However, insurance companies would like you to worry about them so you can pay them for decades for something that may never happen. This is a grey area but I'm gonna cancel most of them. I can't keep losing money over imaginary problems.


Nowadays, you can shop for groceries online, keep an eye on offers and compare prices. This way you avoid the supermarket's tactics to encourage impulse buying, fill that trolley and end up with false bargains that you don't even need.

Car insurance is cheaper 30 days before renewal comes up. It gets more expensive towards the renewal date. The earlier you shop arround, the better.

Negotiate like your life depends on it. The prices you are quoted first are rarely the best.
Reduce your bills by negotiating. Why should you pay more and help businesses profit at your own expense?

Do your research, don't be afraid to pit 2 companies against each other for your business. A friend of mine did that when servicing his car. He ended up getting a lower price than what he was first quoted. Another one did that with a game he wanted to buy. He actually went back and forth between game stores to get them to battle it out. He got a much better price than the one on the price tag.

Banish from your vocabulary that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

My friend got free MOT, free cash back on a credit card, free service on a car just by negotiating (not the same day or from the same company, but still, who would have thought it's even possible).
Saying that, it's a skill she developed in 13 years.

But yeah... I want some of that please!

And it's time to go get it!


Monday, 17 March 2014

Productivity enemy #3: resistance

Let me be straight with you. When I started writing this post a few weeks ago, I was down. Riddled with self-doubt. Why? First because there was not much money in the bank to cover my fast approaching tsunami of expenses. How would I manage?
I was thinking I was not being realistic trying to do "the entrepreneurial thing" without a clear vision of what I'm after, and that I was getting deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole, leading to spiralling debt and overwhelm, not wonderland.
That's Resistance from within.

Second, and this was the biggest trigger for my being down in the dumps, my family was exerting pressure for me to forget my dream. It's unrealistic they say. I should give up self-employment, get a stable job. I would have made it by now if my idea was possible. Some of my friends echoed the same sentiments.
Not to mention anybody else who, as I soon as they realise I don't follow the traditional model they have been taught, feel the responsibility to show me the error of my ways so I fall back in line with them and re-join the 9-5 lifestyle.  That's resistance from without.

Don't get me wrong, there is a time when you have to concede defeat. But what if Roger Bannister had given up just because of all the "evidence" around that running a mile under 4 minutes is impossible (as I attempted to say here)? What if the Wright brothers had listened to the "clues" out there that seemed to indicate man could never fly? What if Chris Guillebeau, Scott Dinsmore, Marie Forleo, and others had listened to the naysayers who thought that they were unrealistic to expect to make a business out of their passions?

Watch Marie briefly relate her journey

Watch Scott Dinsmore explain his in a Ted Talk.

It does take time.
It takes education, persistent experimentation, consistency, focus.
I will not ignore my family and friends totally. I will do something to earn more and help alleviate their fears.

But I can't stop right now, or let their fears slow me down.

A few weeks later after I wrote the above, my finances are a bit better, I found a temporary job that will help for a while. No, I'm not giving up. I just need to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. 
I'm also educating myself so that I don't go bankrupt  while trying to design my own career.
Which, oddly enough, leads me to productivity enemy #4, which I will cover next!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Productivity enemy #1: poor health

There is an enemy of productivity that slips under the radar, wreaks havoc right under everybody's noses. 131 million days were lost because of it in 2013, in the UK,  and it cost the US 227 billion dollars.
Do you think the culprit is procrastination? Laziness? Lack of motivation? Incompetence? Well those have been named, shamed and dealt with all over the interweb. But what about this one?


"Cough, Cough"! My boss is coming down with the lurgies. Yes.I still got a boss (well, several but they don't own me as I'm self-employed).  This boss has the weight of the whole enterprise on his shoulders if his partner is on holiday. And that's exactly what the situation is right now. The way I see it, he can't even afford to be ill as the whole operation would collapse.

Doesn't that show the truthfulness of this statement?
It does not matter your skill or savviness, your health is your most important asset.

Without good enough health, you have nothing.Your health is your wealth

Let's get the elephant out of the room:
We all know that smoking, alcohol, and recreational drugs all have an adverse effect on our health. Also, we can't expect to function long if we constantly deprive ourselves from a good 7-8 hours sleep.

But here's more:

I am a body building aficionado. I found that strengthening your muscles also strengthens your health; and although the sport has the side effect of pushing you slightly towards the narcissistic side, it instils in you a truth that a lot of people don't realise: A strong looking (and strong feeling) body is 25% exercise 75 % diet.
Forget the fads about getting amazing arms or abs in a short time just by doing some exercises. You will never look like the pictures on the magazine without a disciplined diet.

OK, you might not want a 6 pack or bulging biceps. Just good health. In that case, a good diet is still crucial.

The importance of a good diet

When my health went pear shape a few years ago, I learned the hard way that I had to eat more vegetables, less salt, little or no processed food or junk food. I talk about it in the last paragraph of this post.
As a society, we tend to go after quick fixes and treat the symptoms rather than tackling the causes of our illnesses.
We wonder why we are so tired, so easily sick and then we prop ourselves up with caffeine and energy drinks. Or we go to the doctor and expect some magic pill.
 But the problem remains if we do not treat the cause which is that our body does not get the proper fuel it needs to function and yet is asked to over-perform.
Prevention is better than cure

Not only a balanced diet is important but supplementation as well goes a long way to keep illnesses at bay. A friend introduced me to food supplements that helped him fend off colds for almost a decade.I also experienced that when I used these, people's colds around me do not affect me.

Now nothing can stand in the way of my productivity ,right?
In my next post, I'll tackle productivity enemy number 2.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Blast through your own negativity in 3 steps (KA-ME-HA-ME-HA)


How do you read the above? Do you need to clean your filter?
No child is born negative. We see the world through fresh eyes, eager to explore the fun world outside, eager to grow up and experience new things. Then we grow up and are subjected to an onslaught of negativity. The media seeks and dishes out bad news after bad news because we need to be shocked to stay glued to our screens.
But negativity is a filter. When it’s before our eyes, we unconsciously filter out anything positive that we experience and only notice the negative.
It becomes a vicious circle. We see more negativity. It’s been said that we “attract” more negativity. That may be true sometimes. But in essence, we are just ignoring and resisting the positive, thinking immediately “too good to be true” to any opportunity for example, doubting that anything good can happen to us.  
Maybe we believe that one has to cut corners and be a despicable human being in order to succeed. That may have been true for some people. But have we got first hand experience of the validity of that statement? Or is it something we were told?
Maybe we believe that in order to succeed, we have to work so hard that everything else has to suffer, including enjoying the work. What of the Youtubers who make 6 -7 figure incomes by doing what they love a few times a week?

A negative mind is a cage. We may feel comfortable in it, thinking we have figured out how life works and are protecting ourselves from disappointment.  But the cage robs us from living the life we are capable of living, prevents us from even trying, or trying hard enough. It keeps us leading a life of quiet desperation.
The joy is outside the cage of negative thinking. The joy is in a positive outlook, an exploration outlook.
So how did you read the phrase at the outset? “Opportunity now here”?” Opportunity nowhere”?
If you read the former, Hurray! You may be doing the below already, consciously or unconsciously. If you read the latter, do not despair. You just need to clean your filter.
Our filters get clogged up with all the negative messages around. They have to be cleansed regularly.
 This is how to do it:
  • Seek out the positive in your life by committing to writing a list of gratitude each day. At night or in the morning, it’s up to you. But make it a habit for a month. Notice your level of positivity shift.

  • Seek out positive information each day, at the start of the day for 15 minutes.  Read a book by a motivational or inspiring author; listen to an audio programme by motivational speaker or watch an inspiring video on Youtube.  Notice how you start each day on a mission.

  • Be mindful of the running commentary in your head when you experience things that make you feel negative.  Be aware of it. Remember it is just the filter speaking, one you were imposed. It’s not really you. You were born positive. You have the ability to blast through the negative.

Our mind is the helm of the ship. We are the captain.
  By following these 3 steps, we can reconnect with that fact and catch on to the fact that we have more control than we realise. A positive mind will naturally seek ways to have a positive, fulfilling life. A positive mindset can be cultivated. Follow the steps and see for yourself.
If you have another strategy to blast though negativity, feel free to share!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Why Innovation is not what you might think

Back in the day when iGoogle was around, I had a little app about innovation that was supposed to glean the internet for articles on the subject. For the entire 2 years I had the app, there was no article.  Not one single iota of innovation on the humongously huge interweb to talk about?
Well I'm guessing the app was somehow broken. But on reflection,

Real novel ideas do not exist. Every idea is built on another, whether you are aware of it or not.

Innovating isn't necessarily coming up with something completely and mind-stretchingly new. All you have to do is make the right connections between already existing research or ideas.

An example: A few centuries back, the common assumption was that the planets moved in perfect circular motion. Johannes Kepler realised they actually moved in ellipses only after mathematical work he carried out based on Tycho Brahe's stargazing data .

Another example: Galileo did not come up with the design of the telescope  all by himself. He first heard of the idea (it was called a "Dutch spyglass" at the time), got the materials and built a better instrument than the original.

A last example to bring it to modern times: collaboration between musicians is not a new concept. But with the internet, collaboration between musicians from across the world is possible without having to be physically in the same room. This was still a bit of a problem until  Soundcloud came along and addressed the issue.

New ideas need a breeding ground.

In this digital age, we have a planet-wide equivalent to the Lunar society . The Lunar society was arguably the hotbed of the industrial revolution in England. Industrialists, scientists and other intellectuals bounced of each other's ideas and made a big contribution to society.
Nowadays, we can tap into the brightest brains with a few key strokes and a click of a mouse. No membership required, everybody welcome, anytime, anywhere. Whether we want information, inspiration, direction or solutions to our problems, we can google it, youtube it or go directly to an expert we trust, for free very often!
This is the perfect breeding ground for innovation.The stage is set for an entrepreneurial revolution (and it is already happening). Do you want in? I definitely do.

Here is another take on innovation, which goes a bit further (video below).

In the next post I'll tackle how to break the shackles that prevent us from embracing entrepreneurship.

P.S: For tips on how to become more creative and innovative, check my earlier post on the subject.
Peace out


Thursday, 30 January 2014

This is the year

Tempus fugit! 

It's already the end of January.

Many of us would have had resolutions and broken them already. If that's you, how serious are you about those resolutions?
By this, I mean are they really what you want or is it something you were told to do? Do you see their value? If you don't, you can't expect to be driven to fulfil them.
I wrote this post regarding connecting to what you really want and also that one on proper goal setting. Have a read. Have a think.Then when you have a resolution that you are truly aligned with,  work at it strategically.

No more willy nilly,  wishy washy, dilly dally or your year will go before your eyes and you will have nothing to show for it.

Break it down!

You  need to break your goal down in small chunks, decide on some stepping stones then evaluate how you are doing throughout the day,week, month, year. We all know that life will throw things at us that will make us forget our goals, throw us off course. But there are ways to stay on course. This is what I was thinking when I posted this video.

In it I give a few pointers that have helped me remember and work on my goals more consistently than if I just rely on my forgetful and changing self because I'm like you, I don't want a whole year to go by without the satisfaction of having produced enough.

Hope it helps, leave a comment!
Peace out.

Friday, 24 January 2014

What you can expect from this blog in 2014

Dear reader,

Maybe you've read me before, maybe this is your first time.
Well in whichever case you might be in, here's what you can expect from me:

I will relentlessly explore, reflect on and sometimes question the paradigms that society promotes in the field of entrepreneurship, personal development, spirituality and health .
I stand for taking control over our lives, breaking the shackles of old ideologies that are redundant at best, designed to keep us ignorant and under the thumb at worst.
I don't presume to start a revolution. I don't stand for anarchy. I'm not here to change the world. I'm here to continue refining myself inside and out, and thus   And in the process maybe inspire others to do the same.
Sometimes you will share my views, sometimes you won't. But I will be as authentic as I can be.

Who I be?

Just a bit of background. I grew up in Guadeloupe, French West Indies. My working life has been spent mainly in the UK where I entered the corporate world and came out disillusioned in 2010.
I thought there must be a better way than handing over my soul in exchange of a few pounds. When you have to leave your best judgement and personality at the door to do whatever is asked of you because the company "owns" you, it feels like slavery to me.
My ancestors didn't fight it for me to willingly go back to it.
I believe there is another way: entrepreneurship.
Although my financial life has been up and down since putting my foot in the door of this new world, my inner life has never been so rich and exciting.
I feel free at last, free to explore and rekindle my neglected talents, free to learn the principles that will help me turn them into ventures.
I am not totally there yet. I do derive income from it, but not enough of it yet. It's a journey. But this year I will have a more purposeful crack at it.

I will share my journey here.
Stay tuned!

Peace out.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Wanna grow? Prepare for growing pains.

Previously, in this post, I talked about how we resist change, consciously or not. You would have thought that knowing this on a conscious level would have set me free, right?
Wrong! here's why, which I found out while perusing a post called "do you have an upper limit problem" by sassy business guru Marie Forleo.

"We shall rrresist!"

I have noticed that while pursuing goals towards being coherent in my professional/spiritual/physical life, I have to contend with myself. I find myself feeling down sometimes while I should celebrate a success.
It feels like my subconscious is comfortable with constant struggle so it resists any idea of me becoming struggle-free or figuring out how to struggle less.
Yes, I'm a contradiction. But I know I'm not alone...Well, I hope I'm not!
Anyway, that is what prompted me to record this vlog.

"It's just a matter of getting through the pain barrier"

On reflection, growing pains occur during any transitional period. When you're growing up and have a growth spurt (remember the sudden clumsiness, the emotional turmoil, the physical pain and maybe stretch marks?), in the initial stages of learning a new skill, language, system (different pain, but as real)...
Hey that's just life. The pain eventually goes away. It's just a matter of getting through the pain barrier. Of course, the alternative is giving up.
But tell me, if we gave up each time something felt uncomfortable, would we ever walk or talk? A good job we are not wired that way when we're young.
In fact, we long to grow up and do grown up stuff. Before we get there, we go through quite a few mishaps, some of which we may be quite ashamed of. But we live and learn. Then one day, we're there, eventually.
So chin up, don't give up.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What inspirational stories don't tell you

I have been binge reading/ viewing motivational stories for the past few months and I've come to the conclusion that there is no shortage of people out there who have overcome tremendous challenges and done great things.
The media laps these stories up,  packages them to feed our need for an uplift in these challenging times. It's become a bit of a trend. But they don't tell the whole story.

These are 3 things that are not always apparent in these stories:

  • Overnight success is extremely rare. Most successes are the result of hard work over a relatively long period of time (no less than a year).

So be prepared to work hard to get your idea/business/art fine-tuned with no return on investment for a time.

  • Positive thinking is not enough. Results come from competence. Competence is gained through education and persistent action.

So be open to learning new skills. It's an adventure. Enjoy being an explorer. Don't expect quick results.

Last but by no means least:

  •  People buy from  people they trust.

No matter how good your product might be, nowadays people like to know who it came from, your story, what you are about. If you have integrity, if they can relate to you, if you can touch them, inspire them, educate them and/or entertain them, they are more likely to buy from you.
So pay attention to your online presence. Don't spam. Be prepared to give more value than you ask back. Be nice. Avoid cutting corners.

Who doesn't want to earn a living doing good things in their community and grow as a person? Its not all about money. Why do you think Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Bono, Warren Buffet etc... do so much philantropic work ? Because "there is more happiness in giving than receiving"


Ultimately, we aspire to contribute something positive to those around us, feel connected, make a difference.
It's all love.
The nice thing is, most people respond to love. We are built this way. Receiving love makes us feel good. Showing love makes us feel better.

Anyway, that's my view on this. What's yours?

Friday, 15 November 2013

3 rules to kick-starting your creativity (the organic way)

Do you use your creative muscle a lot and find that it's starting to fail you? Or maybe you need to exercise it more than usual for a short period of time but find that it does not respond as well as you'd like?

Staring at a blank piece of paper, holding your brain to ransom until it comes up with the goods may sound like the best idea, but you see, I've had an ephiphany! There is a better way that has been staring us in the face all along.

Society is now so obscessed with productivity and economy growth that it shoots itself in the foot and encourages everyone to do the same.

It is common knowledge that we have a work/rest pattern that is essential to follow if we want to operate long term.
I have been working on my now yearly goal to do 100 push ups consecutively. I need a rest day after each work out. Otherwise I don't recover from aching and/or I don't do as well the next day.

You don't even need to work out to know that deprived of rest, your body gets slower and slower (then you feel you have to use caffeine to hack it).
But it's not just us.

Even the soil needs rest to allow it to regenerate itself to yield good crops (hence the now unfortuately defunct practice of fallowing). Otherwise you keep depleting it until it's got nothing to give (then you have to pump it with chemicals but that's another story). So...

Don't play the intensive farming game with your brain. Go organic.

Rule 1: If your brain isn't producing anymore, stop! Let it rest.Take a nap.

Rule 2: If you can't take a nap, perform a task that doesn't require creativity eg. filing or writing your to do list for tomorrow.

Rule 3: Consuming ideas is as important as producing them.
When the creative well runs dry, you can fill it with other unrelated ideas. Go on Youtube, read a book, read my blog ;), dance, sing, do something fun. It may spark another idea.

If you feel your creative muscle isn't big enough for the task ahead, exercise it in short sessions (say 30minutes) rather than long ones. Have as many sessions as you feel comfortable but always remember rule 1!

To finish off, a little story of mine.
Back in 2002 I had no recording gear, no keyboard (although I could play). Then I stayed for 2 weeks at a friend's who had a piano. I wrote about a dozen songs in that time. Then when I got my own gear and was constantly playing, my output was quite poor.

Can you now see why the difference in results?
At my friend's, I had a short time to play with so I had to fit in as many small creative chunks as I could without making myself a nuisance or anti-social. I was also looking forward to those sessions.
When I got my own gear, I had no real schedule to play. No limit. So I played way too long.  I played the intensive farming game with my brain!
No more!


Monday, 11 November 2013

The trap to avoid when diving into personal development

While on holiday, I could not help myself reflecting. I found myself on the same beach (where I did THIS) I was on my previous holiday there.

You probably can understand why, with this picture. But still, doesn't it show that we are creatures of habit? We go back to what we are familiar with so easily.Is that why we can also easily go round in circles?
I feel this is a trap we can fall into when diving in the ocean of personal development. Yes, knowledge is important, going back for it as often is too...But there is something else that is even more important.

"What else?" I hear you ask. Well, take a stroll with me on that beach and find out.

This is just one thing to really watch out for. Any others spring to mind?
Lemme know!

Peace out!


Tuesday, 20 August 2013


Haven't been posting for a long time... I find it much easier to write when I have something to say rather than write just  to say something, get me?
Anyway, since you're here reading, let me tell you about the global and relentless plagiarism that's been taking place without anyone raising so much as an eye brow. I'm exaggerating slightly but this is what it feels like to me. Let me explain.

Let's consider eponymous discoveries. A few examples:

America was called thus after its discoverer, Amerigo Vespucci (yeah, he beat Columbus to it, actually). Did  he have anything to do with its emergence from the sea floor? Nope.
The Doppler effect was named after Christian Doppler. Did he create it in a lab? Nope. He just proposed an explanation for a pre-existing phenomenon.
Edmond Halley calculated the orbit of a comet. Did he launch it into orbit? Nope. Still it's called Halley's comet.
I am not saying these people deserved no accolade for their intellectual or navigational prowess, just that they were given too much credit.
Somebody said that the person taking the credit for a scientific discovery is never the actual discoverer (Stigler's law). He argued that it is invariably the one with the perceived importance (posthumously) and connections.
   I would push this further. I would say that credit is denied not only the actual discoverer but the originator of the thing being discovered.
  The formation of land, the universal laws of physics cry out design. Is the Designer celebrated, or at least acknowledged? Less and less. Apparently it's not scientific to do so. The only celebration of the creator that I see in Science is through Bio mimicry. 
  It is Science's underhanded compliment to the Creator...

There also is a plethora of self-help principles that borrow form God's word, such as "to become the person you would like to be, surround yourself with people who are already that way" (compare that with Proverbs 13:20, or the saying" 
Be careful what you think…
Your thoughts become your words, 
Your words become your actions 
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your character" (compare that with James 1:14-15)

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

If the creator should put a monetary value on and sue us for all the intellectual property infringements perpetrated against Him, it would probably make the UK's current trillion pounds debt look like a millionth of a drop of water in the ocean.

  If you doubt the existence of God, please read my previous post on the subject
  If you doubt that there is such a thing as God's word and you have read this far, please ask yourself:
How did bible writers know, (before world travels and scientific exploration), that the Earth was round ( Isaiah 40:22) and hanging on nothing (Job 26:7)? 

  If you want a bit more, please read my previous post on the subject.
  If you want somebody to go through this with you, go here.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Easter Bunny Rant

I love an idea that can be weaved into a story so inspiring that it's magical. I'm guilty of loving animated movies for that reason. They appeal to the little boy in me...ehrm...and also to the adult in me (must be there somewhere) because there are real world themes in them (parent-child relationships, for instance.)
I'm often teary eyed when I watch them (alone of course. Me no cry when people about. I is man).
But if a story has no point, no morale that you can take away, what is the point of it? Is it not just a pure and simple lie?
What is it with the stories of rabbits laying chocolate eggs at this time of year?

What do you think is the point?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Struggling to find your passion? Reconnect with yourself in 3 steps

I have heard and read a lot about finding one's passion, finding what the heck we are so good at that it  makes us perhaps stand head and shoulders above the rest.

The idea is if you discover this je ne sais quoi, this Unique Selling Point that you have, you can use it and make yourself more attractive and relevant  not only to clients or prospective employers but  to anyone you would come in contact with. Because you would be crystal clear about how you can be most valuable to others.

Some people seem to know quite early on in their life what they are passionate about, and stay that way. Others tend to have multiple passions that fluctuate and evolve with time, which make it difficult for them to identify what they are really about.

But even for those, there is a pattern in their life. There is a hobby, an interest that has outlived all the jobs they have ever had. There is one or several activities they turn to whenever they need to invigorate themselves.

What if you cannot find this pattern/hobby/activity? It could be that you are looking for the wrong thing. It may not be a specific subject matter like Science, Literature or Business. It could just be that you relish making a difference in people's lives by putting order in their affairs, making them laugh, inspiring them, educating them, healing them, understanding them, uplifting them...or a combination thereof.

This is a non exhaustive list, by the way.

It can take some time to discover our own wirings. Why? Let me put this to you: how many times have you heard it said that "you're here to do a job", implying that your personal values have to stay at the door?

Is it any wonder that, in an effort to please everyone, we bury our preferences deep within ourselves and gradually lose our own sense of identity?

All isn't lost though. Reconnect with yourself!

Take 15 mns to answer these questions:

  1. What have you done for as long as you can remember that energizes you when you feel drained?
  2.  What would you enjoy doing everyday if money was no object?
  3. Create your 30 second video of it to help you crystallise it in your brain.

Remember, it doesn't have to be just one thing. I personally have several, some of which are in this video.Create yours here, it's free!

If you feel like it, leave a comment with the link to the video you created. Let's start a trend!

Here's mine for inspiration


Try our video maker at Animoto.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Where is Guadeloupe?

What springs to mind when I say Guadeloupe ? How do you pronounce the word? ("Gwa-da-Loo-Pay" or   "Gwa-Duh- Loop"?).

For Guadeloupe, you need the latter pronunciation. The former is for Guadalupedifferent place altogether.
Anyway, this post isn't a geography lesson. It's just that Guadeloupe is the island I'm from. A small pile of dust in the Caribbean sea, surrounded by more or less bigger piles. I have grown to expect that noone ever hears of Guadeloupe in the English speaking world.

Not true anymore! Guadeloupe is being put on the map by the British TV series « Death in paradise ». I never knew about the programme until somebody mentioned it at work. How the heck did she notice and retain that useless piece of information? I haven't got the foggiest. What's more is that she remembered that the series was shot in Guadeloupe but the island was  called Sainte Marie on the screen. 

I know who I want on my quiz team!

P.S: I'm following the series now, just because I'm just kinda pleased, maybe a little proud...But I don't like the male lead role...And I don't like that the photography doesn't do the weather there justice, in my opinion...

Oh well! Could be worse.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Proper goal setting in 3 steps

You may have noticed there is a plethora of self-help advice out there (AKA "personal development"). A lot of gurus have stepped up to the lime light in the last decade or so... Or maybe they tend to be noticed by a particular type of people (people like me). This post is a condensed version of what I have gleaned from them so far.

Does Zig Ziglar ring any bell to you? Les Brown? Tony Robbins? If so, well you may well be like me. If not, bear with me, we're not that different.

I won't write an expose here on the reasons why I find the self-help/personal development movement particularly of interest. Maybe I will in a later blog. Let's just say for the time being that people like me are always in search of inspiration... And we see it in unlikely places.

Anyway, I'm quite sure that everyone find themselves in that situation from time to time. Lacking motivation. Not feeling like we're moving forward and yet not doing much about it. Or maybe just going through the motions, doing things mechanically, with no fire, no energy....and little result.

Do you relate?

Well, there is something that the "gurus" say that ring true and that I have experienced myself. A lot of us do not set goals properly. Do you remember that job interview question "where do you see yourself in 5 years"? I used to dread those because I had to make something up... I literally never set goals that far ahead. I was young then. I feared setting goals anyway because I almost invariably ended up somewhere else in the end.
What was wrong? Not that I didn't grasp the theory of a SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive). I did. And I'm sure most of the people who have broken their new year resolutions this year had SMART goals. But this is what I found is missing from SMART goals:

  1. The goal has to be aligned with one's core values. It's got to feel right. In my case, I'm a tough cookie when it comes to compromising my core values.No point in me setting a smart goal to be a money magnet when money itself doesn't do anything for me for example... 
  2. Emotions have to be involved when designing and recalling the goal. Reflecting on the benefits of reaching the goal to reinforce the desire to do the work is paramount. Emotion = energy in motion. The energy to get there is within you if you generate it.
  3. The goal has to be verbalized/visualized constantly. Otherwise it will get buried in the clutter of modern living. Motivation has to be fuelled regurlarly  otherwise it dwindles. "Fix your eyes on the prize". I find if the goal is constantly in the forefront of my mind, worded  in a positive way, it's as good as done.

Those 3 missing ingredients mixed with a SMART goal transform me into a powerhouse. I remember this period when I was under a lot of pressure at work to hit targets, train people and muddle through the fog of office negativity at the same time. I achieved it all because every morning I was visualising and preparing myself mentally to kick butt that day. I was on a mission.

Another time, I was in quite a bad period of my life when I read a book by John Assaraf where he talked about how the brain can rewire itself in a matter of days. So if you were a negative person and set about becoming more positive, you can do that in less than a month. I kid you not, the month after, I could not recognize myself. My positivity rubbed off on a few of my friends too.

Now, John isn't a scientist so you can take what he says with a pinch of salt but noone can deny the extraordinary power of the brain to repair itself. It's made of cells like the rest of our body. Cells renew themselves, unless very very very severely damaged. Even when some are, the others manage to compensate  for it.
Also, what we choose to think about make us who we are. If we don't like who we are at the moment, we haven't got to lump it.
The brain's plasticity means nothing is set in stone. We can choose to think about who we want to be. Regularly, vividly. Even if the negative voice in our mind says it won't work, it will soon get in line if we keep ignoring it. Think of it like good advertising: bombarding your conscious and subconscious with the things YOU decide are important, for a change.

What other choice is there? Listening to someone else's propaganda...or even worse, listen to that inner voice saying that there's no changing you, you are what you are, take it or leave it.

The thing is, that voice has no sense. It's only trying to preserve the status quo. Is your status quo worth preserving? Or is it in need of a good kicking?

Food for thought...

P.S: I'm an INFP. You can read about what that means on Wikipedia or on this site , which I think is more straight forward. Have you taken the test? Do you know what personality type you are?
P.P.S: If you would like me to call you to account or just give you an extra push daily for a month, check out my online course 
P.P.P.S: I'm launching a new blog, check it out!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Men and Guns and the method behind my madness

I've never understood this love affair. I was going to describe it as bitter-sweet love but where is the sweetness? I can't see any sweetness in the dying of so many people - among them innocent children- made easy by fire arms.
I mean even the US president who is in my opinion capable of making anything look ultra cool cannot really pull it off.  I mean look at this pic.

It still looks wrong. It feels like a contradiction.

A decade ago, an old friend of mine, a painter, said something along the lines of " If everyone on Earth took up the arts, they would have no desire to take up arms". I agree wholeheartedly. There is something soothing in creating, whether it be poetry, prose, music, painting or dancing.Creating is at the very least therapeutic. I personally would add that there is something divine in arts. I mean by that that we experience something akin to what God might have felt while creating all that surrounds us. Life, beauty, originality, intricacy and functionality. There is no doubt in my mind that the Grand Creator is the Greatest Artist ever.

Anyway. You see, that's my explanation for how messy my blog is. There is method to my madness. There might not seem to be a backbone to all this activity but there is: I create. What for?  For the sheer joy I derive from producing novel things, novel ideas and also because it makes me remember my Grand Creator, in an indirect way...

So yes, I'm a singer songwriter. Yes, I'm a dancer. Yes I'm a wannabe writer and yes I'm a nutter.... but it's all creativity, see?
If you couldn't before, I hope you can now see the underlying logic underneath all of this mishmash!


Sunday, 20 January 2013

The big lesson I've learned about negative thinking

If you are reading this post, you may suspect that negativity isn't a great coping mechanism for possible disappointment. You have heard the reasoning "I'm gonna do this but I won't keep my hopes up" many times, (from yourself and/or others)closely followed by a " I knew it" or "I told you so" and you sense there is something sinister underneath it all. You're right. Let me show you what it is.

Negative thinking is cunning. That gremlin is having you on, taking you for a ride, he's playin' you!

If you believe something won't work, your brain will automatically try and find reasons why it shouldn't work. You will even make them up if they don't exist. You will interpret things in a way that support your negative thought, even if you are utterly wrong in doing so. The scary thing is that your actions will align themselves to the negative thought so you get a negative outcome. 
Then you think you were right all along but actually, you've just been played.

Been there, done that. Got too many T-Shirts.

Case in point:

I recently was in urgent need of extra work. I was in a bit of a negative frame of mind to say the least because I hadn't had work in almost a month. I went to an interview, got the job although not in the department I was interviewed for. Then I got an email with the shifts I was on. I read it so fast I only noticed the negative: I wasn’t going to get all the shifts I had applied for. But I actually misread.I thought I was only going to have 3 shifts in 2 months!I had totally overlooked all the other shifts. I might as well had read the email with my eyes closed.

Ok, ridiculous image, but you catch my drift?
I was looking so hard for signs that I was going to be disappointed that I was temporarily blind to the evidence of the contrary. This could have made me miss my first shift and very likely the job. 

I am thinking many opportunities have been passed, many positive things overlooked because of this negative thinking. I know I'm not the only one (or am I???)

Obviously positive thinking alone cannot guarantee success but at least, it certainly doesn't impair our faculties like negative thinking does.

So remember that (talking to myself too) next time the gremlin strikes. He's-a-playin-you-(wo)man! Don't let it cheat you out of the many positive outcomes that are out there competing for your attention. 

The big lesson I learned from this episode is that I should always take the time to do my due diligence before jumping to conclusions. If I don't analyse the situation properly especially when I am not my best self, I will automatically gravitate towards negative conclusions and unwittingly attract more negative in my life.

Makes sense?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Beatbox journey to the Caribbean - Part 2

As promised, this is PART DEUX.
Here you can catch a glimpse of what a beach is supposed to look like.
And as a bonus, my old school then my dubstep beatboxing. Apologies for the camera shakiness, it was amplified by Youtube (I used a "fix it" feature that was supposed to minimise it but in the end it made matters worse)

A little digression. I'm reconnecting with my INFP self and researching about it the modern way: via Youtube.
My first reaction is one of wonder - not surprising for an INFP. It's amazing how, no matter how different we look on the outside, however far apart we are, however different our culture may be, we are wired in similar ways. How odd for a french-Caribbean born  man like me to find that he totally relates to an American Youtuber girl (Called Roses of Sunshine3 ) and that even what she says about how SHE functions resonates so much with him?

Like I said, Amazing. I might make a video response one of these days..



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