Work Mantra

I am not sleepy

I am not sleepy

I am not sleepy

I am not sleepy

I am not sleepy

I am…

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No

No. Such a short and simple word yet for some reason I find it very hard to say lately.

“But I say no all the time,” you say. “Why can’t you?”

Well I can. I like to think I’m very good at saying no, maybe even among the best.

Q: “Wanna go…?”

A: “No thanks.”

Q: “Wanna try?”

A: “I’m good.”

Q: “Would you like…?”

A: “I’m perfectly fine but thanks for asking.”

This is how it would go on many an occasion as I relentlessly pursued independence – individuality. Yet I eventually felt shortchanged. I’d been closing doors to opportunities, gifts and friendships because of my affinity to the word ‘no’. My friends and family felt the barrier I was putting up. I was essentially isolating myself. I had to learn to do otherwise. I had to learn to say yes, and like most things I put effort into I learned it really, really well… in this case too well.

Now we’re at the other end of the spectrum. My incessantly saying ‘yes’ has had a detrimental effect recently. It’s taken away my time and has slowly leeches part of my joy. I guess it’s time to take that back by saying what I used to say all the time when asked to do something beyond my means.

No.

Call Me Morgan Freeman

A memory just flashed across my mind accompanied by a tinge of nostalgia. Someone (I know not whom) used to call me Morgan Freeman presumably because of my voice… you know, as opposed to my looks (I’m only 21 after all). I cannot for the life of me recall who it was or when they said it but I genuinely miss the nickname for one reason or other.

Maybe I should stop watching all those “best-acting” compilations on YouTube. After all, Morgan Freeman is in a lot of those.

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? THATĀ 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. šŸ˜… 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.

6 Degrees of Separation

Sticking to song titles this is one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands: The Script. When you are separated from something or someoneĀ you love deeply you may undergo some of these symptoms, more than aptly described by this talented group of artists.

 

“First, you think the worst is a broken heart.”

True line I believe. I think everyone has a different timeframe before it suddenly hits. You’re no longer tied to that person but your emotions – your heart – disagree. That hurts: what’s worse is you think it’s the worst part but it’s not.

 
What’s gonna kill you is the second part.”

The song never does state what the “second part” is. Unfortunately (or should I say fortunately) I don’t have enough first-hand experience to write from first person viewpoint but I can try assume what this is. It’s probably the memories of all the good things done together rushing through one’s head… and the realisation that it all came to nought.

 
“And the third, is when your world splits down the middle.”

You see them at every turn. They are in your mind’s eye the whole time and like some kind of stubborn cancer their memory just won’t go away; even when you try the not-so-chemo-therapy from friends and family.

 
“And fourth, you’re gonna think that you fixed yourself.”

“I’m fine now. I’m ok. I’m better off without them.”

You say it once, twice. Maybe you even start to believe it.

 
“Fifth, you see them out with someone else.”

How can they move on so quickly? Don’t they feel what you feel? You dread to ask but have to nonetheless:

“Was it… was it ever real?”

 
“And the sixth, is when you admit that you may have messed up a little.”

“I wish I’d never…”

Both regret and acceptance. Ā The ache remains but the separation should be complete.

PS I really enjoy listening to this song and would suggest you give it a listen, preferably the clean version because the original does have a word or two you wouldn’t want to hear a toddler saying.

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)Ā 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.