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Taking the roads less travelled

Do you Kaizen?

Mid December, must’ve been at least 20 years ago. I was sitting by the window on a sort of ledge that was created just above the heater system. This was actually a genius place to put a place where one could sit and enjoy the warmth coming from below (no pun intended).

It is Toronto. I don’t remember much about the area. I can see a Walmart not far from the apartment building, I also remember there are two apartment buildings within the symmetrical complex and in the middle of it was a dome protruding from the ground in the most awkward way. the dome was the roof to an underground swimming pool and recreational center that could be used – at no extra cost- by all the tenants residing within its proximity. For some reason, my friends and I feared going down there. We would sit around, above the ground, and peep into the windows of the dome and watch in amazement the people that actually had the guts to go down there in what seemed to be a dungeon (at least we were sure it was!)

I was an average student at the time. My mom was working two jobs which caused the scarcity of her appearance during the day and early on into the night. I preferred at this point in my life to keep to myself mostly. I did have a group of friends that I would spend time with after school but it was always limited and not as fulfilling as one would think.

One night, the snow came down pretty hard. School was cancelled (for anyone that lived/lives is Canada, you know how awesome snow days are). Most of the public transit lines were also massively delayed or temporarily shut down. My mom made breakfast, and we flipped between news channels watching how the entire city was covered in snow; both of us – i’m sure- internally asking our self: why on earth did we leave our home in Africa and settle here with this weather.

The hours on such days seemed slower than usual. The irony of life I guess: we are the first to complain when there’s too much to do and also the first to complain when we are bored.

My mom and I had a special bond. We spoke openly, we talked about all areas of our lives, where we wanted to be, how we thought we would get there; we basically tried as best as we could to plan out the next few years of our life – a joined road map.

On this day I complained about how I would get bored and not have much to do. This is when my mom introduced me to something that today proves to be an utmost powerful tool.

The Japanese believe that trying out new things, picking up new habits can be somewhat tedious. They explain the human mind to look at new tasks in somewhat a negative light. Not many of us like change and when we see the change dressed in a new 2 hour task every day, most of us run. This is why they came up with KAIZEN.

Kaizen is the practice of performing a task for 1 simple minute every single day.

My mom said – try this: you want to become a lawyer, read absolutely anything about law for just one minute every day. You want to be a writer, write anything that comes to your mind for one minute everyday.

At that particular moment, I was like: Mom, what could one minute possibly achieve. What can anyone do in just one minute?!

Just in my thirties, I think back and pick on those little conversations my mom and I shared, the little pieces of our own little ‘how to go through life’ book and I realize, there are a lot of traits, a tremendous amount of guidance and advice we receive from our predecessors that if taken into account, could really be the change we want to see.

Long story short – I did do some reading on Kaizen and the Japanese literally meant the one minute rule.  Its no complicated story: simply try whatever it is you want to get into the habit of for a full minute every day.

Today begins the journey of my Kaizen lifestyle.

 

 

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Don’t kill yourself this year!

Every year as the clock strikes 12am on the 1st of January, there is a sense of accomplishment that lingers over us. regardless of what achievements have been actualized, what tragedies occurred within the last 365 days – somewhere within our existence at that moment we feel we have done something.

BUT

Whether or not we have progressed is no longer our decision to make. 

Social media, cynical company and unforgiving by standers are now the judge in the court of our success and, in more instances than are true, our failure. gone are the days where we could carry home the report card of the past year and present it to the people we surround ourselves with and receive objective yet appreciated remarks and an undeniable tone of encouragement and support.

The funny thing now is, we do not want to take our track record to the people we care about, we want to take it to the people we hang around. The people we call when we want to have a good time, the people that are our friends and die hard supporters when things are going well. We leave our motivation, our ‘mojo’ in their hands and let them be the judge of our fate.

The one guarantee that life has is that there will always be peaks and troughs in whatever we do. In happiness, in business, in relationships – failure is inevitable; success too!

when you let yourself dwell in the opinions of others, you are turning your back against them – you are giving them the best target. Don’t do it.

Society is man made, opinions are man made and in the most subtle way  success and failure is man made.

 

Let 2017 be a year of you, whatever the outcome – you be in control!

Here’s to a new year, a new me, a new you and lots of writing!

Happy 2017.

 

This Kind of Hate

“We breed it”

writeamuck

I’m not black. And I’ve never been the victim of a hate crime. But I do know something about this kind of hate. The kind born from ignorance. From unintelligence. The kind that never learned how to evolve. Or how to think for itself. The kind that only regurgitated the hate it was fed its whole life without ever questioning its validity. Without ever assessing its merit, its truths.

When that 21-year-old boy’s father gave him a gun for his birthday, did he think about what else he’d given him? Had he given him the ability to know right for wrong? Had he given him his own prejudices?

Did he tell him the purest truths: That all human beings are beautiful? That all life is precious? That all places of worship are sacred?

What else was given to that boy before someone pushed a cool metal barrel into his…

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Photos: Forbidden from riding bikes, fearless Afghan girls are skateboarding around Kabul

Determination comes in all forms and sizes. Strength and courage comes from within. It’s not how bad your situation is, it’s how you handle it that matters!

The Parents

Dedicated to false promises and broken hearts.

Teri Carter's Library

Morning_sun_coffee_newspaper_table_590Today, my mother is dead 13 years. One of the last things I promised her was that I would look after her husband. “When I’m gone,” she said, “he will have nobody.”

A few years later I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen, in her vacant chair, having coffee with her husband. I remember it was about nine in the morning and he was telling me how he needed some help in the house. “I had me an old n***** woman once …” he began, and I set my coffee cup hard on the table. He dipped his head, laughed, and tapped me on the arm. “Oh kid, lighten up,” he said, “I don’t mean nothin’.” A few minutes later he offered me a Little Debbie snack cake and told a joke. “There was this n***** …” the joke began. I said, “Knock it off, or I’m leaving.” He kept…

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All things positive

All things positive.

40 brilliant idioms that simply can’t be translated literally

Lost in translation 🙂

TED Blog

Tomato_Eyes What does it mean to “have tomatoes on your eyes?” Find out below…

By Helene Batt and Kate Torgovnick May

It’s a piece of cake. You can’t put lipstick on a pig. Why add fuel to the fire? Idioms are those phrases that mean more than the sum of their words. As our Open Translation Project volunteers translate TED Talks into 105 languages, they’re often challenged to translate English idioms into their language. Which made us wonder: what are their favorite idioms in their own tongue?

Below, we asked translators to share their favorite idioms and how they would translate literally. The results are laugh-out-loud funny.

From German translator Johanna Pichler:

The idiom: Tomaten auf den Augen haben.
Literal translation: “You have tomatoes on your eyes.”
What it means: “You are not seeing what everyone else can see. It refers to real objects, though — not abstract meanings.”

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The REAL December – Not so Merry #justsaying

The REAL December – Not so Merry #justsaying.

The REAL December – Not so Merry #justsaying

The time has come again to create your New year resolutions, set your goals and plan out the next year, the next 12 months. December, in essence, is the month that comes hand in hand with family bondage, love, friendship, appreciation and celebration. or does it? Sure this masked ball of love seems, from an Ariel view, like fun and laughter and intoxication and endless parties. But have you ever sat down to nit pick this month and strip off its layers to reveal its most inner intentions?

Think about it, you spend 11 months of the year (January – November) slogging away, trying to achieve all your aspirations and fulfill your utmost fantasies when the truth is: most of us are just doggy paddling trying to make ends meet and the little extra we have: we spend on social gatherings and – more importantly – hi tech phones and gadgets that will enable us to take the best instagram pictures/facebook profile pictures to show the world that we are actually working hard and ‘playing harder’ (and to make ourselves feel better too). After all, isn’t everyones world these days judged by their social media pages?

After these long and hard 11 months of monotonous routine and tireless complaining, we get into December with our motivation at full rev and our spirits singing away. The beginning of the month doesn’t seem it could go any slower, all the planing, all the email invites and Whatsapp conversations regarding parties and new cocktail mixes, all the hype about the holidays and who’s going where; simply exciting. The middle of the month then strolls along fashionably late, and by this time you’re just about ready to pop from all the exciting emotions you’ve been suppressing all these months. Christmas comes around and the celebrations begin. not at all as hard or as exciting as you had planned them out to be. Most of your friends will be a no show, the parties you booked a table at 5 weeks prior will be dead and it will seem like everyone else had better plans and much better information than you did.

Nonetheless, the drinking will be at its peak, your liver will get most of the thrashing and your body will feel like you’re 40 years older. parts of it will hurt that you never even knew existed.

Closer to New years eve, the excitement will be back on a high, you will try and rectify the mistakes you made booking lame parties over Christmas and you will now not care about your savings that you struggled to scrounge over the past 11 months and you will dig deep to book the most extravagant affair to ensure your social media doesn’t suffer due to your foul party choices!

If anything, you may have a massive hangover from a mediocre, over priced party you attended to bring in the new year. There will be pictures you are proud off and there will be even more awkward, drunken shots you will look at and question if that was really you.

New years day will be upon you. The first of January, the beginning of a new year, a new time. A chance to work harder, play even harder and exploit social media to its complete exhaustion. A sense of determination, drive and focus will fill your veins very briefly before it comes crashing down and brings you to realize you are now probably in debt worse than before, most of your body feels much older and despite the new year: you still have the same job, the same friends, the same home, same pets, same car… everything is still the same.

You start to question your age and compare your achievements to those you have been following on social media. You will realize you are getting much older at a rapid pace and you have done nothing to be proud of. The rest of January will wander past you looking down at you while you battle your demons, question your being and try desperately to make your real life even half as good as you have portrayed it to be on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Some of you will prevail, most of you will not and the year will go on as the last.

#justsaying

Happy Holidays 🙂

cartoon-christmas-4

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