This blog contains opinions, experiences, thoughts and observations of the author from his day to day living.
It is subject to comments, criticisms and corrections, and all will be dealt with constructively and do leave your comments I would love to hear from you.
There is no intention to offend, discriminate nor degrade anybody or anything for that matter, only shared feelings, emotions and angsts at the moment.
Welcome to my world.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Choose, Success or Significance?

We all want to be financially stable, who isn't? To have enough to spend and more to store. It is a great motivator and controls most people's lives. It chooses occupations, and controls how time, energy and resources are used. It can influence relationships, schedules and even our families. There are more people so consumed by this passion that many are left broken and moralities in question.
I think we are not called to make this passion our life. In fact, compared to significance, it fades just like that.
I have learned that success is like a tide, it comes and flows with the rise and fall of economy.  As recent years have proven, financial success is always at the mercy of a national economy and increasingly, a world economy. When the economy goes down (as it always does), so does net worth.
Success also ends on the day we die. All wealth and possessions will be immediately transferred to someone else. And even if we get to pick where they go, the reality is that person is always someone other than us. And it is never enough. Financial success will never satisfy the innermost desires of our soul. No matter the amount of financial success earned, it always leaves us wanting more.

On the other hand, significance always lasts. Significance will always outlast us. Even when we are no longer present, our significance will still be ours. And nothing can ever take that away from us. It carries on. Significance keeps on giving. When you positively change the life of another human being and that person changes the life of another who impacts the life of another who influences another, it gets paid off forward. 
I think significance also satisfies our soul. While the thirst for success is never quenched, significance satisfies our deepest heart and soul. It allows us to lay our head on our pillow each night confident that we lived a valuable and fulfilling day.

Unfortunately, many people spend most of their lives chasing financial success. And while some achieve it more than others, many will never find it in the end. When they begin to shift their life focus to significance instead of success, they wonder why they wasted most of their life chasing something different.

Don’t waste any of your life. I suggest to seek significance today. How? Let's see...

Realize that life won’t last forever. We know that we will eventually die but no one wants to think about it. Sad, why? Because I believe that when we think that we will eventually expire, we can begin to live differently, at this moment. We are never too young or old to start to think about our legacy. How do we want to be remembered, and what do we really want to accomplish before we die? I don't want to sound morbid, I am just simply saying, that if we were to make a list of things we would like to be thought of, I am pretty sure we will not find there "drive a nice BMW!"

Try to live a life worth imitating. Live with character, integrity, and morality. Our life should look the same in private as it does in public. And while no one is perfect, just begin striving for a life of integrity. It will be noticed.

Let's try to focus on people. Not money. Begin to change our life’s focus from our bank accounts to the people around us. Rather than worrying about the how to get-rich-quick blah,blah, blah, spend that energy focusing on our family, our neighbor, or the disadvantaged in our community.

Maybe we can start with one person. Find one person who needs us today. Start there. Significance may be as inexpensive as one cup of coffee or as simple as one heartfelt question. If we are unsure on how to start, how about with a smile.
Let us find a career outside our job. Sometimes, our day job leads to significance. But if ours does not, find a “career of significance” outside of our job by learning something else and be great at it (like I did photography). Most likely, our gifts, talents, or expertise are desperately needed. Use our job to pay the bills, but use our “new career” to pay our soul.

I know that too many people think that, “once I make it rich, I’ll become significant.” I don't think so. Let's try to choose significance today. Begin striving for it now. If, then, financial success comes our way in the future, our mind will be in a better place to truly use our new success for broader significance.

Reduce our expenses. Yes we can learn to live with less. Living with less frees up our life to invest into others. And living with reduced expenses allows us the freedom to not spend so much time at the office and more resources on others.

Read books of people who sought significance rather than success. The lives and writings of these authors will inspire us to make more of ours.
People don't often look back on their lives and savor their professional achievements. Instead, they celebrate the impact they have had in the lives of others. Give ourselves much to look back and celebrate. Stop chasing success. Start seeking significance.

I am.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We Can Be Better At Anything We Want, Seriously.

Am back from a weeks' hiatus and my apologies my blogfriends, did you miss me? I did missed you all! So what have I been doing? Well, pretty much a lot! Let me explain...
Since the start of new, actually a couple of months before the new year, I suddenly woke up one morning and decided, believed and accepted a challenge. A what? A challenge, yes, I told myself that I will be a better person this year than the last. Yeah, right.
Seriously, it all began when I started, for the nth time, photography. I realized to be able to take great shots will take not only time, energy and a lot of practice, but also I have to motivate, find inspiration, and drag myself out of bed early morning just to get that geat shot. Then uploading them either on Facebook or my Photoblog and wait for comments and critiques. I love getting them, be it good or bad, 'cause that's the only way I would find out if I am improving or not. And I try my best, at all times. Now I get more positive reviews than negative ones, that's already a huge accomplishment!
At the same time, I changed an attitude at work. I told myself, when at work, do the best. It does not matter if it did not pass anyone's standards, but as long as I believe I gave my all for the day, and you know what? I realized it is hard but doable and I did notice a change, for weeks, I got my focus and I try to accomplish as many task as I can and at the end of the day, I sleep knowing that I did well and what a sound sleep it is!

We can be better at anything we want, seriously. It is just a matter of attitude, looking at things and situations on a different perspective, just be positive and not let anything or anyone affect you regardless of any circumstance. I learn a lot about these things last year and I intend to remember the lessons everytime a situation becomes something familiar.

There are great things to be found in the realization that we can get better at anything we want.

Our lives consists of dreams, wants, desires, things we would like to do. We seek to be better friends, employees, artists, better speakers, a better person. We wish we were better at reading, writing, cleaning, organizing, leading, entertaining, or fixing things. There are numerous good things that we can add to our lives… and start a new life because of it.

How did I do it? It is not easy, for I struggle with each step, but am learning and the important thing is I try and stood by it. First, I made a conscious effort to decide to pursue a dream, a change, a new life. It involves moving an idea from the back of my mind to the front. It includes a thoughtful, decision-making process (i.e., Is this new skill worth the effort? Is this change beneficial? Will it improve my life?). It requires confidence, motivation, and intentionality. And it requires a breakthrough moment where I sat down and decide, “Yes, I’m finally going to do this!”
Next I slowly remove distractions. Now this is harder. Our lives are full. Learning a new skill should be fun, improving oneself should be easy,  but it will always require time. And the more I wish to improve (depends on the difficulty of the new skill and the degree of change I hope for myself), the more time and energy is going to be required. In the end, I must purposefully remove distractions that deviate me from my goals. I try to remove the correct distractions (television, mindless Internet browsing, bumming, staying up too late, sleeping in too long, etc.) and leave the important ones untouched in my life (work, my hobby, my family, friends, my group, etc.).

Lastly, I plan my next step and take it. If you are reading this blog post today, there are countless means available online in almost every imaginable field. If you are in a community, there are likely numerous educational opportunities available. If you have friends, they have countless hours of training/experience in some very desired skills. And the bookshop likely holds at least one book relevant to any skill you’d like to learn. There is almost no limit to the number of “next steps” available… we just need to select one. I did and I have books to read, softwares to learn, videos and a group to perfect my photography skills. I have a good supervisor at work who motivates me to be more responsible and be better. I have a spiritual friend/teacher/guide who never fails to impart words of wisdom and inspiration to keep me going, going, going and going. I take a step, one day at a time and for the first time, I feel I am moving and I know I am going somewhere.

So what new skill would you like to pursue? What change do you hope to happen in your life? And what is the next step you need to take to do it?
Let me encourage you today to take a step. ‘Cause you can get better at anything you want.

God did not plan our lives to be stagnant,
mediocre, boring or declining.
God planned our lives to be growing,
excelling, improving and thriving.
When someone ask you- "How are you?'
Is your reply, "As usual"? "Just the same?"
God did not plan your life to be as usual either.
As a child of God, you are what you declare.
Declare instead - "Just gettin' better."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Hero Become A Zero

I heard and read a lot about prejudism and discrimination, be it of race and gender, and my heart goes out to people who suffers so much because of this. This world although already on the verge of almost achieving anything, still has a lot to learn about acceptance, tolerance and brotherhood. Many people fight for the right to be equal and to be accepted without conditions, separation and hatred.
I never thought that the day will come when I will feel the way these discriminated people feel, just because I am "different"
I met an Arab hero, for me he is, an artist, award-winning, cool, nice and very good at what he does,  I made a way to find out about him and did a research about his art, his passion, and the work that he did. Maybe fate made it a little easy as coincedentally a friend works were he works. I got his email and soon we were exchanging ideas, and I am relating how I admire his work, his passion, his art.
Then after a couple of months a meeting was set for the first time and I was so excited and going way over my head, I prepared my portfolio, memorized his resume so that I will come prepared and I get to ask questions that I so wanted to ask. As an aspiring artist too, I need to meet someone who'd taken the journey and learn from him. The agreed day and time came and we met in a branded coffee shop, and from the moment we talked, it was pure high for me, I'd say I was startstrucked. I digest every word he says, his stories, his dreams, his projects, his work, his style, his adventures, how he create, his techniques, his frustrations, his life. I am hanging on to every word and I never felt this way, the way a fan would feel when he meet his hero. He commented about my work, and labelled me a "lifestyle" artist as most of my work conveys a story, that he admired my "quick" eye in seeing the aesthetic at a glance and how he wanted to learn the same.
There was no moment wasted, three hours of full art and passion, in the end there was an invitation for a collaboration, a group, travels and new projects, and I almost broke his arm when we shook hands after. I went home full of inspiration, positive energy, new hopes and dreams.
But it was all short lived.
The next day, feeling elated and happy the whole day, I received a text message that he doesn't want to see me anymore. I was "what?" and I immediately called him but he never picked up, instead he pressed off to busy the, the next text messages got me asking why and what happened. Apparently, he found my Facebook account and saw my pictures when I used to model (half naked) and my gender identity, he told me that he doesn't want to go out or be with, nor seen with someone who prefers men and who is "different" (at least he used a kind enough word) and he doesn't want to be with someone where he feel awkward to be with,  I was devastated, heartbroken, I felt angry, sad and numb. It felt like sky fell on me, it's the first time I experienced rejection and discrimination simply because I am "different." I told him that my personality has nothing to do with the passion we both love, the art that we do, I told him that my interest and admiration for him is purely of respect and inspiration, nothing more and nothing less. I have no intention whatsoever of crossing any line but of friendship and apprentice. I don't remember  giving him any hint nor showing him any signs. Did he thought I would jump on him? He's not even my type!
Still his closed mind did not agree. His last message was a wish for me of luck and a goodbye.
I hurt the rest of the day, my heart got smashed into pieces, I thought breaking up with my 6 year relation is the worst but this feels even more worst. It almost killed me, and good thing I have a strong sense of who I am and my positivity is strong enough, I made it through the day.
I stopped myself of continuing to argue my case just to change his mind and educate him about prejudism and discrimination. I just tried to let it all go. It's hard, but I do try to let this anger and sadness go. The irony of it all is that he shared with me his experience about discrimination too! That being a local, many other nationalities would not want to work with him because of the stigma that his kind were hard to difficult to work with, that their work ethics is relatively the same as "simply watching the sheep graze along the grassy plain". That these media people would rather hire international professionals than hire locals, even if they spend more. This is one of his greatest frustrations and now this? I think he should know better, he should understood the feeling of rejection and discrimination.
In all fairness though, maybe his being prejudiced is nothing personal, that being a Muslim and his cultural upbringing has something to do with it, but what about brotherhood, compassion, tolerance and love of others? Aren't these also being taught in their religion?
I hate to say that my hero became a zero. Too bad when we could, or might, have a good camaraderie together and who knows create something amazing and grand.
Discrimination is wrong, in any which way you view it. I will stand up against this and show him that I will be better than him in more ways he could possibly be. He is just one person to look up to, well, not anymore, a hero does not have a closed heart, a hero possesses all the qualities people will admire him  for. I guess I'll just find another whom will be deserving to be called one.