Talent Working Hard

D! That was my average in Art. I eventually got better to the point my teacher mistook one of my drawings, of a robot – for a lion. I was so terrible I had to label my art, else-wise it wouldn’t be understood. I drew cars in high school the same way I’d drawn them when I was 6… the upgrades arrived 12 years too late 😀 To say I was bad at drawing or painting is an understatement. I had no talent whatsoever.

If you didn’t know me then you’re about to find out; I was an incredibly sore loser! Joe wasn’t comfortable with his fluctuating D grade (normally trending closer to E than C). It was embarrassing to the point I disowned myself (as seen by the temporary switch to 3rd person). Sure I’d often act like I didn’t give a tosh in front of the boys but deep down it really hurt. That awful grade would have an adverse effect on my class position come end of term and even if it didn’t – it just doesn’t feel nice to fail. It never does.

So, I worked! One day we were given an assignment to do over the weekend. That day I told myself, “This time I won’t fail!”

The assignment was to draw a hanging cloth using pencil. I was incredibly stoked about it having made my decision to (finally) succeed in the Art department. Art had given me way too many Ls. I got myself one of the kitchen cloths and hung it from a nail in the wall (fitting for it was designed to hang art upon). I duly informed everyone in the household of the importance of this piece of work and that the cloth should not be moved under any circumstances. I guess there was a steeliness to me at the time for no one questioned me or even so much as sneezed in the direction of that cloth.

Two whole days! Half of Friday, all of Saturday and part of Sunday I spent honing my image of the cloth. Carefully caressing the edges and smoothly shading in the shadows. At the end of it I don’t think I’d never been prouder of anything in my life up to that point. My young sister was impressed by something I’d produced for the first (and perhaps last) time. Coincidentally (or is it?) she’s now the artist of the family and a bloody fantastic one at that I must add.

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(This isn’t it by the way. It’s the first thing I was drawn to when I searched ‘hanging cloth pencil’)

Monday arrived and it was nearly time to hand in our bodies of work. A friend, Felix was his name (I guess still is unless he’s changed it), was mid-conversation during break time, some 20 minutes before the Art lesson, when someone mentioned the homework that was due. “Oh no,” he said. He hadn’t done it. I was feeling real smug as he went about scrambling for a sheet of white paper to use, eager to show off my masterpiece.

Long story short – I got 89%. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a masterpiece. I’d worked my socks off, paying immense attention to detail. I can’t recall a time prior where I’d put as much effort into anything that wasn’t leisure than I had during that period. The people that knew me were shocked. Phrases like: “You didn’t draw this, did you?” and “Wow. Must have been a fluke.” were bandied about. I had the highest mark in the class IN ART! Me! Unbelievable right? That was the case, especially because that was factually incorrect. I had the highest mark of everyone whose assignment I’d compared my work to. To my astonishment Felix had received the highest mark. 90%… The man had natural talent I instantly concluded. “Impossible!” I exclaimed internally, heart being sliced apart with a metaphorical weed hacker and whatever was left behind put through a figurative shredder. Maybe I do him a disservice and there were an untold number of hours behind the scenes that led to him having such obvious skill, but he had bested all of us – me especially I felt – in 15 min without a point of reference. The man’s cloth hung on a nail inside his head. It’s not like Art is a subject about competing but I was a sore loser remember. I therefore became incensed. I was so angry I wasn’t even mad.

This event got me thinking for a long time. What if he had actually tried, like I had? Wouldn’t he have gotten an even higher mark? I was speechless. The saying goes “Hard Work Beats Talent, When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard”. That didn’t turn out to be the case in this story. But what if talent DOES work hard? What happens then?

I guess this is just a reminder of a previous post , only this time in story form. Find your talent then work hard at it. I don’t know what he does now but if he’s anything like the talented individuals that worked their socks off in the past – we’ll soon find out because he’ll be well-known all around the world.

Thank you for your time:)

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(I guess this is a good representation of what I saw Felix’s assignment as through my filter of envy 😀 gg Felix!)

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Ambitious Yet Content

Teach me to be ambitious enough to do the things that others thought impossible, to solve the problems people thought had no solutions, to impact more lives positively than I had the right to.

Also, teach me to be content with the process.

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
PK-01 [DF-09158] – Will Smith (left) and Jaden Christopher Syre Smith star in Columbia PicturesÕ drama The Pursuit of Happyness. Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal
Thank you for your time:)

Thanks For Teaching Me How To Love

“How?” he asks beyond incredulous at this point. “You’ve seen the statistics, you watch the news, you talk to you people, your friends, clients, classmates… So tell me, how? How can you be so naïve? Why do you still believe? It just doesn’t work.”

My answer?

“Ah… but it does. I’ve seen it.”

I’m sure you know the saying: monkey see monkey do. I’ll be the last to call myself a monkey but kids do learn a lot from seeing their parents/guardians in action. I will have you know, this guy’s been doing a lot of seeing, this guy’s been doing a lot watching – when your guard was up or when it was down. I was listening when the words were smooth. I was listening even when annoyance had long barged in. I was learning – I still am – how one ought to love and how one ought to accept being loved.

As your son I’d like to utter words that might seem odd to you now but ring true nonetheless. You’ve done a stellar job! Thank you… and I’m so proud of you. I need look no further for a greater example of how I want my marriage to be. Yes the journey is still ongoing but you’ve done real good so far, hontou ni (there’s that Japanese becoming useful). Obviously this is from my selfish point of view but I hope you keep it up… so your grandkids can learn this lesson from me, their mom… and from you too.

It’s because of you that I can say these words with ease and with meaning. I love you 🙂

So… to my heroes, to my parents, to my inspiration –

Happy anniversary

What Does It Feel Like?

Dear Follower,

I’d like to say that this break I’ve been taking is because I plan on churning out fantastic content on a weekly basis as opposed to mediocre to good content daily. If I said that I’d be lying. I set myself a target: to produce great pieces daily, no matter the cost. Obviously I’ve been slipping. So… I’ve decided to try something different. I’m fast approaching the 50 mark for blog post followers (yes… and thank you!). I believe it’s time for me to open up a discussion which might help me with a project I’m working on. The topic is:

What Does It Feel Like To Be Hit On?

If you would like to contribute please feel free to use the comment section. Anyone whose ideas I use for my project will make my “Thank You” page. They will also make my day.

So… Start typing. Thanks in advance.

Yours,

Joe

I Am THAT Guy

I am THAT guy. That wasn’t always the case. I used to be that guy. I started out really petty, for what reason I will never be certain. I craved success and absolutely detested failure, I still do, but my attitude towards obtaining both has changed. Young Joe would pout if he lost. He’d think about it all day and all night and would not be consoled until he either forgot or won at something else. If I’d lost in a competition then whoever would have beaten me couldn’t be my friend. At the same time though, cheating wasn’t something I would take pride in. I remember a race I took part in, in 1st grade. We were meant to race to a building touch it, then return. I remember racing to the building, turning back without touching it, taking first place for the majority of the return sprint and… I still finished 3rd. In the end it wasn’t coming 3rd that hurt – it was doing so after having cheated. I didn’t talk to the boys that beat me, that was the way I was back then.

I liked being top of the class. In 2nd grade I didn’t; I came 7th instead. Who remembers what position they came in 2nd grade? I do, isn’t that odd? Well it’s because it pained me greatly. I went to the prize-giving ceremony and felt like a big helping of poop watching my peers receive prize after prize while I was relegated to just watch and clap. I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t let that happen again. I was beyond jealous and couldn’t even bring myself to applaud the winners.

That was the old me.

After teaching from my lovely parents and role-models as well as a bit of first-hand experience, I shed that skin off. I decided to be THAT guy instead. You know THAT guy? THAT guy who celebrates your victory more than you would. THAT guy who you can always tell your success stories knowing you won’t receive resentment, just encouragement and an supermassive dose of enthusiasm. Part of the transformation was being taught to value the success of others and never to moan when someone one-ups me in anything.

Use the success of others as inspiration, as motivation. Celebrate them as you would celebrate yourself and if possible, find out how they earned that success.

So what if we went in for the same scholarship and you got it and I didn’t? So long as you don’t follow me on the way home saying, “Sorry you didn’t get it,” or “I totally smashed you!” (You probably wouldn’t do that because you’re not a certified prick) I would be glad for you. I would probably want advice on how you edged me and feedback from those that made the decision so that next time I have a greater chance at the scholarship. Of course I would be sad I didn’t win it. I’m bound to be if it’s something that I wanted but I would also be happy that you did. I will strive to congratulate and motivate, “You did fantastic! You deserve it! Keep up the good work! Hopefully next time we’ll both get scholarships.” It’s in my nature now and whether you think it’s cool or not, I’m not getting rid of it.

That’s what I’m all about. Tell me about your victory, it motivates me to pursue my own. You need a hype-man to bounce your excitement off of? I got you! I am THAT guy, I like to say probably even the best THAT guy! If you didn’t know that by now, you probably don’t know me very well.

P.S. You can be THAT guy too. It’s so much more liberating than being that guy.

Zendaya On The Tube

If you didn’t know this already I have a unique fascination for celebrities close to my age, none more so than for the young lady in the title. You should bear in mind there are only three occasions I’ve ever gone full fangirl:

  • Agueroooooooooo!
  • Messi scoring past Edwin van der Sar
  • Meeting Will Smith

I thought that would be all… unfortunately I was wrong. When I saw her on the tube my eyeballs nearly exploded out of their sockets. I’m not proud of what I did next. I went berserk I tell you. Berserk!

ZENDAYA! (In the most rural most excited Shona accent I have within me.) It’s Zendaya!

I did this while shaking the person seated next to me. Perhaps if said person were a stranger I could let it go. It wasn’t a stranger – the person won’t ever let it go. Why? Because Zendaya… wasn’t actually Zendaya. 😅 She just looked an awful lot like her. That’s what I’ve been told. Deep down though I truly wish and feel that it was her. Nah, who am I kidding.

Next time I’ll say actually say hi as opposed to the overly embarrassing behaviour I exhibited.

P.S. the events in this retelling may have been embellished for comedic effect.

A Bit Odd? Yes! (Dry Cleaning)

I watch the washing machine do it’s work.

That’s my entertainment.

The sounds and vibrations they sooth me.

They are a heartbeat – after a thousand Redbulls!

Thump thump. Thump Thump! THUMP THUMP!

The clothes pick up pace! Swirling in dirt and waste…

Then – soapy bubbles!

“Bloop bloop!”

I didn’t make that sound.

Not out loud… did I?

Of course I did!

So I walk away from the other fella in the room.

Dry clean washing is over.

PS The clothes get wet; why is it even called dry cleaning? It better not be a dry joke.

Don’t Break His Heart

“Don’t break his heart, his achy breaky heart. I just don’t think you understand.”

Bastille’s cover of ‘We Can’t Stop’ is nothing short of incredible, especially for me. I know how taste differs from person to person so I will say that line in particular strikes a chord in me.

I considered writing about a man with a heart of steel just the other day, I still might because come to think of it it’s an intriguing concept. But a heart of steel – that’s normally a façade. Men have hearts of flesh too.

“Women are more in touch with their emotions.”

Is this a stereotype? I hear this statement often. It’s often coupled with another statement diminishing emotion in men. I can’t speak for all men but from my own personal experience what you see on the outside doesn’t necessarily correlate with what’s on the inside.

I’m rarely envious (this comes with a lot of effort from myself and my parents) but there is a group of people that I can honestly say I’m envious of… those who cry. I’d give a lung to be like that. Unfortunately I’m not. My tear glands are among the most miserly in all the world. How I wish it were not so. I’ll be happy as can be on the inside but unable to show it on the outside. It makes me feel like I’ve cheated whoever has made me happy. If it can be fixed trust me, I will do just that… but this links to the crux of this post. I fail to show my emotions as well as I’d like… that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It is just like a bride behind her veil by the altar. Just because she’s hidden behind her veil doesn’t mean she’s not there. If you remove the veil you’ll see her in all her beauty. If you can remove the veil to a man’s emotions. Well… I believe it could be a wonderful thing.

Bastille adds lines to the song which didn’t exist prior, in Miley Cyrus’ original. The added lined are: “Don’t break his heart, his achy breaky heart. I just don’t think you understand…”

Achy breaky… doesn’t that just bleed vulnerability to you? His heart isn’t steel – it’s just brittle.

Even the way he sings has a brokenness to it. It’s almost like he’s screaming out: there’s a heart to be broken underneath all that macho bravado. The pain of it being broken is just as real. It’s just hard to understand.

We Can’t Sleep

Joe: I can’t sleep. Help me.

Ayanda: Tell me about it.

AJ: Us having a chat won’t help you sleep and you know that.

Ayanda: Selena Gomez!

AJ & Joe: What?

Ayanda: Remember that interview on BBC radio where they had Selena and you said you could be a better interviewer?

AJ: That was a while back though mate.

Ayanda: Well we can’t sleep… so let’s do it!

Ayanda Joe: *awakes from deep slumber* Do you have any idea how much brainpower it takes to project a well-known character accurately? Worse off one you’re making on the spot while slipping in actual bits of your own character? I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s a job just the three of you can do.

Joe: “Just”… I guess this means you’re going to help?

Ayanda Joe: You know me too well.

I was definitely reaching there. No way I can produce a good conversation with self/ves as well as have a fictional interview with Selena Gomez at 4 in the morning. So… I’ll get to it just… eventually. Just let me take a short… little… nap…

Subconscious Joe: You did it! You son-of-a-brilliant-man! You’re finally asleep. You’re finally asleep. Oh, the things I have in store for you…