Man In The Mirror

“I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life.”

– Michael Jackson

If you’re going to have a positive impact on anyone else’s life, why not start with yours? You know by now what’s holding you back. Make that change!

“It’s gonna feel real good. Gonna make a difference. Gonna make it right.”

So do it!

Just…

Start with the man in the mirror.

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Thank you for your time:)

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How To Show Off Right

Don’t you just get so annoyed when people show off? I do. A lot actually. I grow very annoyed at the beginning – it’s both intense and internal – then I’m at peace again afterwards. I let it go after telling myself that they don’t know what they’re doing.

I do wish I was always calm and nothing ever annoyed me but show-offs do… then when I found out I was one of them (albeit unconsciously) I was shaken to the core!

“I show off?” I asked increduoulsy.

Couldn’t believe it! So I started paying closer attention to myself… eventually I started noticing when I did.

What helped pick it up was that I was blessed with people that would let me know when I was doing something wrong (only after I’d given them permission to share such opinions… that makes me sound intimidating doesn’t it? But I’m a nice guy. Believe me.)

I got the hang of knowing when this awful behaviour would happen. Turns out there was a common theme.

I would show off with things that were given to me in some shape or form.

That’s stupid isn’t it? Well I came to realise that I came with nothing into this world… so everything that I have/had was given to me by someone else. Everything I’ve achieved is through someone else’s help whether I acknowledge it or not. So I have no right! I never did. Neither does anybody else… no right at all to show off.

“But it was all me. I worked for this so I can show it off.” I hear you say it. Don’t act like you don’t. Well at the very root of it all you’re a grown zygote that originated from a male and female, then there’s even more to that equation. Time to be grateful as well as humble.

But you still want to show off your ability. We’re ambitious us humans, we have an ego. I know that… I feel you. Lucky for you there’s a right way to show off. How? Well – not showing off. I know it sounds ludicrous but stop for a second and listen to this simple instruction.

Don’t toot your own horn. (Except perhaps as a confidence booster within yourself when you really need it.)

Work as best you can to perfect your talent in whatever role you play… once you do that – someone will inevitably do the tooting for you. And trust me, they’ll do so much – MUCH better than you ever could.

Why

Why?

We all die in the end right?

So… tell me: Why?

Why wake up in the morning?

Why make friends?

Why strive for anything?

Why try to stay alive?

After all in the end no one survives it – death.

So – why?

Why work hard?

Why fall in love?

Why do all of this if the end is inevitable?

Why?

 

The Response

Why not?

 

Rejected

“Unfortunately you’re not what we’re looking for at the moment.”

“You have shown great credentials but unfortunately you will not be…”

“You’re great but…”

No.

 

Rejection sucks! There’s nothing like giving your best or opening yourself up only to have someone else decide you’re not good enough. Very few of us take rejection well, I’m definitely still learning and have a lot more to do but I’ve been given some advice that has helped make it easier. It’s still pretty damn hard though.

Rejection comes in all forms… maybe even literal ones. You apply for a job, scholarship, internship, raffle prize – and you’re told you won’t be receiving it. Sometimes you don’t even get that courtesy and you’re left guessing for ages until you figure out that it was a “no”. Humans don’t like hearing that, “no”. It hurts. How most people circumvent the painful feelings is by saying things like, “I never wanted it anyway.” or even “I’m too good for that place.” Although it may numb the heart a bit to the pain, this is one of the worst ways we can react. It is widely accepted that a key component of growth is, ironically, acceptance. You know who reacts badly when not getting what they want, every single time? Babies. As we grow we have to learn that sometimes things don’t always go our way. At some point in your life you will get rejected. #Fact

I guess rejection helps give life purpose. If you had everything at your disposal at all times, with no effort required – what would be the point? I know you’re probably saying “I’d rather have things fall on my lap all the time than feel the sting of rejection even once,” I sympathise with you even as I type this, but I believe it’s something programmed deep inside of us that makes us want to succeed and break barriers. How can you succeed when there is no competition, no opposition? What barriers are you breaking when everything goes your way instantly?

The good thing is this and I’ll ask that you hold on to it.

‘Rejection will let you know that you are aiming high enough’.

If everything is moving smoothly without a hitch then you aren’t extending yourself. It’s like going to the gym and doing a session with 50 g masses. It will be easy to do because it’s not hard for your body. The heavier the weight the more difficult it is to complete sets. You know you’re at your level when you can just about finish/fail to finish. Anything less is too lightweight for you. So rejoice for a little rejection, you’re in good company.

Then comes the matters of the heart. I so wish that love was a feeling that one could concoct in a pot and dish out at parties. I wish cupid actually existed and would shoot love arrows at whoever you aimed at. But that’s not how things work, those are just wishes. Regarding this sensitive issue, there are several definitions of love. I have one that I think is consistent with how people that say they love each other act (or should act). Here it is:

Love is wanting to do what’s best for someone at all times. Love is a choice, not a feeling that just magically happens.

If love is a choice, if you have to choose to do the very best for someone at all times then surely you can choose not to? As beings of free will we deal with choices daily and therein lies the conflict. I could want to do the very best for you, always… sometimes you may even know it, but you just won’t have it. It’s your choice. You may be the best thing for said person in the whole wide world – but even though we know broccoli is really good for us, many people still despise it.

So sometimes you will get rejected. If there’s anything you’re going to take from this blog post, take that! Everyone gets rejected. Even though you may feel like you’re alone – like your pain is your own and no one else feels like you do, the person you’re looking up to right now was rejected one way or another. This should help you to move on and try again with even more zeal, more enthusiasm. The feelings of pain and frustration, use  them to motivate you so that you don’t feel the same way again. After rejection ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • “What is it I can improve?”
  • “Am I the reason for this rejection?”
  • “Is it worth trying again?”

The last one is a bit tricky but unfortunately sometimes we reach that crossroads when we need to know to let something go, especially when it comes to relationships. Human beings are stubborn creatures, sometimes they won’t budge no matter how much you shower them with love and attention. It’s funny how a majority of us are attracted to those who don’t care at all about us and sometimes don’t even acknowledge our existence yet there’s someone out there willing to love you as much as you’re willing to love your “crush”.

In the end, failure or rejection doesn’t define you. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ It’s not that you were rejected that matters… It’s all about what you do after.

 

Slow To Anger Quick To Apologise

I’ll keep this one short.

The tube. A truly magnificent place. No? You disagree? Well one can’t deny it’s effectiveness. I was using the tube to get to Angel Station yesterday evening. Spiderman: Homecoming was only showing at their Vue cinema, the others had called it quits for the night. In typical London fashion people were rushing even though it was past ten in the evening. Several of them were in a rush. When people are in a rush tempers are quick to flare… most of the time. This was one of those times.

I myself was in a bit of a hurry. It was very wet, the first time it had been this wet in quite a while in the London summer. A brief respite to the heat was more than welcome… except this was more than brief. It rained for 24 hours straight. I’d treaded through this rain without an umbrella because in my head I’m some kind of power ranger I guess. Anyway I was in a rush and I moved about the tube as I typically do. Wherever there are steps I will climb them, be it on an escalator or as an alternative to the elevator. I’ve actually always been one to fancy a race with the elevator. With this mindset I moved about Angel Station as I typically do. People usually are in a rush and I am usually a tad faster than they are… Only yesterday I wasn’t. This one guy moved a lot quicker than me. I had no idea what he was heading towards.

Let’s call this stranger John. John stepped on my heel as he tried to overtake me. To be honest it took me slightly by surprise but I didn’t react adversely towards the action. I ignored it and soon noticed in John’s body language that he had acknowledged what he had done. It was eating him up. Proof of that came when a couple of seconds later he doubled back and apologised very softly saying he hadn’t meant to do what he had done and he was sorry. Pleasantly surprised I tapped him on the elbow and said, “It’s all good man, don’t worry about it.” I let it go. John continued on his way up to the next escalator where he walked up a few steps then stopped.

Normally I walk up the escalator steps but in the current situation that would mean encountering John again, John who looked troubled as well as remorseful. He even looked back and met me in the eye. I could tell that he was considering walking up the rest of the steps to remove himself from the place as soon as possible but for some reason decided against it. So as not to fuel his obvious guilt or cause an awkward moment I decided to let the escalator do the moving and stayed in place a few steps behind him. This would be a peaceful night… that’s what I thought at least.

A hulking figure, let’s call him Pete, seemed to be in a bigger hurry than the rest of us. He came bumbling up the escalator like a mad bull. His right shoulder clipped John in the face and he barely turned back, although looking at his body language the impact had registered in his mind but he decided he wouldn’t own up to it and chose to continue running up the steps instead. Now… John was furious. I honestly don’t know what was going on in his life but John was clearly distressed for some reason. Even as he had been standing on the escalator he seemed to be contemplating his life. He was far above the rest of us so he can be forgiven for standing in the middle of the step (standing in the middle is normally frowned upon, you should stand on the right and climb up the left). It’s not often that someone runs up the escalator like I tend to do, or Pete chose to do on this occasion but it happened – and John paid for it. Unfortunately he didn’t like what he was paying for.

John wasn’t scrawny by any means. He had a tough gangster look about him, the kind belonging to someone raised in a tough neighbourhood. But Pete looked like someone who slept in the gym. Either way, an enraged John chased after Pete hurling a barrage of obscenities at him. Pete looked back at John then continued his trek up the escalator, hoping to run away as he had done initially… but John was quick, quicker than Pete even and caught up to him near the very top. They exchanged blows. I half feared one of them would come tumbling down the long escalator. But they moved to the ticket platform and began to shout unintelligibly while Pete held his chest out trying to intimidate with his soft voice… I don’t know what happened next.

Perhaps I should have stayed and played peacemaker. That was my thought in retrospect, a minute after I’d walked away. I had Spiderman in mind and I wasn’t about to be embroil myself in something that could involve the police, not in this foreign country. “Security will handle it,” I thought. Yet the guilt still followed me. Of all the people in that station the best person to defuse the situation was me. All I needed to say was:

“Hey John remember when you stepped on my heel not to long ago? I forgave you when you apologised. Hey Pete, just say sorry to the man. I saw you bump into him and not give him a second thought. Just apologise and let it be over. Nobody wants the police involved.”

Even enraged sense would have prevailed, at least in my mind it would have but thinking about it a minute after you’ve walked away isn’t good enough. I guess if these guys had been slow to anger and quick to apologise they would have gone home with far fewer bruises and a lot more joy than they eventually did go home with.

Inspired

It’s 21:33 as I write this in my room. I hear a train bouncing along train-tracks not too far away. Sweet music interspersed with footsteps somewhere down below. The singer has a male voice, not too incredible but soulful, passionate; more than enough to draw one’s attention… more than enough to make one wish to be musically gifted. Do you ever feel the same? Whenever I come into contact with someone displaying their talent I go through these 3 phases:

  1. I am awed.
  2. I appreciate them via word of mouth or internally.
  3. I become inspired.

That third bit is what I am going to talk about today.

Inspiration, motivation, stimulation, catalysis. My nerves just light up like fireworks whenever I hear that perfect score in a movie *note SpiderMan (Raimi) and Unlimited Blade Works*. I can feel the goosebumps crawl up my skin whenever I hear that pitch perfect voice. My pulse races when I reach the climax of that 1000+ paged fantasy novel I randomly picked up somewhere, or witness Lionel Messi score the winning goal in El Clasico. There’s just something about talented people working that energizes me… and I love it!

I become a different person when I’m inspired, in my opinion a better person as well. I would strongly disagree with anyone who claims that I have an inferiority complex, quite the opposite I’m afraid, but I would understand the sentiment. I often do walk down the street thinking I’m not good enough. That’s because in my mind I’ve set this incredibly high bar of moments where I have felt magnificent, of a character whose personality embodies the very best of all of my traits. When I’m inspired I push this character through the monotonic self I sometimes clothe myself with. For example:

Someone: Hey how are you today?

Me: I’m good. How are you?

While you may see nothing wrong with that exchange inspired me would be absolutely appalled. Inspired me is instantly suave, honest, jovial, comedic, witty, compassionate, bold and a lot more. He refuses mediocrity and would rather be shut in a cell than be drab even for one second.

It’s crazy isn’t it? How watching something, listening to something can make one change their perspective so radically. It’s a sort of high that dies down with time but one I relish. This is why it’s important to note what you watch as well as what you listen to. Seeing someone do fantastic things makes me want to do everything to the best of my ability.

I watched Spiderman: Homecoming last night. It was raining and I would have missed the bus unless I ran for it. So I RAN. Inspired as I was I ran faster than at any point previously. I’ve never truly pushed myself on the track-field, why would I? My heart was never in it… But I ran for that bus and stressed every sinew to extend my stride. I could feel the thudding of my feet as they beat across the wet surface. I glided across the street and felt like how Bolt must have felt when he broke the record in Beijing ’08. I felt ecstatic, pulse-racing as I caught the bus. I was even content stepping out of it when I realised it was the right number bus but going in the wrong direction. Why? Because I was inspired.

Learn This My Son

“Learn this my son: they are called “loved ones” for a reason. Love them with all your heart. Say you love them as often as you can, show that you love them always. Put them first before yourself. When you are famished offer them food. When you thirst ask if they would like something to drink. This is what a man ought to be. Your family will cherish you for it.

“Learn this my son: it is called hard work because it is hard. Is what you are doing hard? Then you’re probably doing it right. Persevere! Do not shirk away from your duty. Chip at it like the mason working on his prize sculpture. Remember to always aspire! Visualise, my boy! Plan ahead before you set your chisel against the stone, lest your eagerness ruin the masterpiece long before it is realised. o this and your goals will be achievable.

“Learn this my son: stay away from negative influence. Anything that clouds your judgement blocks your route to success. Read! Surround yourself with people with clear agendas, with goals as high or even greater than your own. Learn from them. In their presence do not speak the loudest, listen the most; this is how you’ll grow.

“Learn this my son: yesterday was yesterday. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow you will be one day closer to heaven than you are today. Do not be afraid! Be excited! You know now that you have limited time… make the most of it! Live every moment! Push as if you’ll never push again. Strive to your maximum at every attempt. Do this and you will have no regrets. Do this and you will be content.

“Learn this my son: laugh. I cannot stress this enough. Laugh! This way the aforementioned ‘Stress’ will not be enough to stop you. Laugh in the face of adversity, your family will cherish you for it. Laugh, for that is how they will know they will get through it. Laugh while you do all that I have tried to teach you and your days shall be long and joyful…

“Learn this my son: I am but a man and I teach what I have witnessed with my own eyes. Your true guide awaits you to find Him. Search for Him for He has knowledge far beyond my capabilities. Learn how to be a father from Him, He is the greatest Father of all. He will help you find one to share your love an laughter with. He will give you direction and strength. He will show you where opportunities lie. He will endow you with wisdom my boy. My son, do all of this and you will make me undoubtedly proud. Do this and I will be as proud as a man can be.”


“Father; this I have learned and continue to learn day by day. Now these principles reverberate throughout my whole being. I appreciate especially that these are not words uttered by you, Man of Few Words – instead I am learning how to be a good man, a good father in the best possible way… through watching you. It is testament to your great example that I can say with no hesitation. You are a great man, Dad. I love you.