Do you want to be in my gang?

From the beginning of human kind, once there was a collection of people there would be a tribe. The tribe will normally share certain characteristics, sometimes based on where they were from geographically. Then as time went on there were more definers, some which were man-made for example borders and countries. The world has evolved to include: organisation, professional body, team, FaceBook group; Google+ community and Meetup. Question: have you ever been part of a gang?

 

The playground

It was at school where I learnt about making friends, the feeling of wanting to fit into a social group. I made friends and saw some pupils become very close and form their own cliques or gangs. Gangs sometimes conjured up negative connotations. This is because sometimes in gangs, they may be up to no good. They may want to be different from others, and want to either exclude or isolate from the rest of the playground children. At the top structure of a gang hierarchy, there will be a leader, who usually makes up rules on who they are and what made them different. You may wonder why use the playground, but it does not really go away. You grow up, and may be working in an office where there is a playground of different characters just like on FaceBook too.

 

Invitation to a tribe

A few years ago, some time after entering the social media sphere with my brand SophiaWorld, I got an email from lady who was connected to someone in my network. She invited me to have a chat with her. A talk was scheduled in and one afternoon, I pulled over in my car and took her call. She then spent a majority of the conversation discussing her group. [I should have realised that she will be pitching to me] Then came the question: so how can I work with you?  I thought that it was a bit strange as it was our first encounter.  Then she went further to question herself aloud –whether or not I would be a good ‘fit’ for her exclusive group. She went on to describe the code to be a member of her group: how she wanted committed members. I also made reference to a person that I knew, who she had also heard about. She responded with how she likes them, but they were definitely not the right ‘fit’ for her group. As she was sharing this story I thought this very individual probably turned her down – and good on them. The conversation was ‘wound’ up with cordial greetings; and I thought this is not a tribe I want to join. Interestingly enough she referred to it as a tribe.  I did not get a call back; and I did not want to be part of her ‘exclusive’ gang.

 

“You have to belong to this religion to be a member”

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be part of a group, sharing an interest. I have my own book club that I created a couple of years ago, after discussing the idea with another friend. I enjoy it. Although I created it – there is democracy – in that each of us has our turn in choosing the book; and we have fun. There are other types of groups that go further, they may say that you have to be this ‘religion’ to be part of this book club. This to me seems very exclusive and unnecessary; as I question that my faith and spirituality, will determine whether I enjoy romantic books? I do not subscribe to this as this form of man-made separation.  This to me is not love and being part of a community.

 

Is the point of community to get together?

Community to me is coming together and sharing ideas, of course there may be some codes that need to be there to protect each other from harm; and to enforce fairness.

Here is a tweetable:

[Tweet “@sophiaworld: The sum of individuality makes a rocking community! #BeHappy”]

Talking about a community going too far. I decided to leave a writing community recently, as I thought that the leader did not appreciate individuality. She was coming up with rules of why I cannot be myself.  I decided to leave and expressed this to her. She later responded with: “Well I will be changing the rules”. So was this the leader losing focus on what a community was, and being on a power high?

 

Here is a tweetable:

 

[Tweet “@sophiaworld “Why not be your awesome self? #BeHappy””]

 

I shared this in my personal FaceBook page; and how I intended to write an article on this. I thought it was important to discuss groups, gangs and how this is an area which sometimes prevents people being true to their own inner heart, as they have the fear of not being accepted. If you think that people are not going to accept you for whom you are, then they do not deserve to be in your space.

 

Question: Why are you a part of a community? Is it to uplift your awesomeness?

 

Bonus question: do you want to be part of my BE YOU community @SophiaWorld?

 

 

 

 

Dealing with negativity: “The day I fell in love with my frenemie”

Lets face facts, there are going to be people whom we like and others that we dislike. It is a bit like the marmite debate, you either love it or hate it. However, it is possible to acquire a taste for someone or something that you originally had a distaste for. I had this experience when I was younger with Brussels sprouts. I did not enjoy them to begin with, but somehow adjusted my feelings and began to love them. Some describe this as acquiring a taste.

“Where was this seed born?”

What inspired me to pen this article was a show that I was watching via Google+ hangout, which was hosted by Jo Westwood of DJ Spirit fame. The theme of the hangout was dealing with negativity in everyday life from a spiritual perspective. To provide you with a little insight on the Spirit DJ, she helps people with their self-development and finding spirituality. She often refers to the spiritual book ‘A Course in Miracles’ in her teachings. This is not a religious text, but does use some of the terms in explaining concepts. I am a fan of spirituality and metaphysics. I think we all need to have our own beliefs on how to live a balanced and happier life. And I have previously written material on how negativity is a vibration that can attract more of the same, depending on what you are focusing on. “Where your attention flows, energy flows”.

I have encouraged in my writing to focus your energy more on positivity rather than negativity. But what causes us to get in the mode of projecting negativity out? We can see the different forms in: gossiping, bit@*ching, Internet trolling and downright hating! It starts from within. There can be a trigger.

“Love thy freneme”

In the hangout I shared an experience I had with a friend’s sister.  I thought after hearing stories about her from her sister that she was not a nice person. These prejudgements were so strong that I decided that I did not want to be around her. To the outside world she seemed to be attracting what she wanted. She attracted a good job, a loving and doting partner whom was also wealthy; and she had a beautiful home. Some of these aspects listed are material, and to some extent she did sometimes project that these did not always satisfy her inner peace; but she had a good lifestyle. I soon recognised that there was a little envy there – yes one of the so-called ‘deadly sins’. I then started to question, “So what is the matter of wanting the finer things?” There was nothing wrong with wanting to strive for a good life. Thinking that it was bad, was more a reflection on my thought pattern and social conditioning. I then realised that the issue may lie with me; how I needed to look at my inner working. After some reflection I then thought, “Well good for her, in attracting these positive things”.  From that a miracle occurred – sometimes referred to as a shift in perception – I started to see her in a positive life. And I felt good too. I could not see negativity.

“It’s their issue, not yours”

Later on when I noticed other people projecting that behaviour of hating another person, whom they may not know that well, I started to think it is about them not the other person. They were having an issue, which can be due to their beliefs or what they were currently experiencing. It is kind of like the bully who often attacks another because of his or her own vulnerability. So please consider the next time when someone says something to you that may be out of line that it is their issue not yours. It may be difficult at first, but will do wonders for your inner peace.

Question: Have your negative judgements been about that other person really, or was it to do with you?

 

Eat Pray Love: The cycle of life

I was recently watching the movie again Eat Pray Love, which was adapted from the book of the very same name. It was a nice romcom [romantic comedy] to watch on a Saturday afternoon. As I watched it, I started to think about the significance of its title: Eat, Pray and Love.  How it can often be applied to the cycle of life.

Eat Pray Love

The Cycle

In life we can go through many cycles or chapters, and there will be some highs and lows.

 

 

EAT

Before starting a cycle, it may be good to take stock and look inwards. It can sometimes be good to nurture – eat – instead of going all ‘blaze and glory’ into a new chapter. Eating does not only mean nurturing yourself with food; but also can be feeding with knowledge. This can be seen when embarking on a new journey. For example, you may have spent five years working as an accountant, but then wake up one day and decide that your calling is working as a journalist. This may involve re-training. Another example may be that you are tired of feeling unfit; and decide to train as a body builder. This will again involve feeding information on diet, as well as the body training.

 

PRAY

Sometimes you may be at a crossroad, not sure where it is you want to travel to in this journey called life. This can be because you are finding it difficult to connect to your inner core. In the Western world, it can become very easy to become distracted, as there is a lot of noise around. This can be in the form of too much information. Information from our nearest and dearest to what is happening in the world of social media. Here stillness is required. Some people say to get to this place you can either meditate or pray. Being still can just be being. I have seen people go inwards, just by looking at the mirror and acknowledging where they are now and where they want to be. This may be described as being honest. Some openings to being honest can start with the following:

 

  • “Am I happy?”
  • “Do I want to change this?”; and
  • “What do I need to do?”

 

Remember to be gentle and loving to yourself.  This now leads me onto love.

 

LOVE

 

Love, seems to sometimes be flowing in one direction – outwards. It can be easy to say phrases: “I love you”, “I love chocolate”, and “I would love to lose weight”. But how about saying, “I love my hair, even when it gets frizzy”? This not giving ourselves enough love, can often lead to some deep rooted issues beginning with the prefix self. Lets take a note of some:

  • Self-love.
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-belief
  • Self-worth

 

 

Were there any more that you can list?

 

To fix this, or to prevent the resulting ailments, we need to practice loving being.  In my book “Be happy”, there are 10 tips that I suggest for increasing happiness. One of them is having date nights with yourself. You may be asking: just me?  Yes, I mean just you. It is nice to be in your own company sometimes and enjoy having that bath or carrot cake.

 

So next time when you feel that you are about to leave a chapter and start a new one, consider the cycle: Eat, Love and Pray. This can be an adventure. Where are you at on the cycle?

 

 

 

“gioia di vivere” or “joy of life”: I love cornetto ice cream

I do not speak Italian but I love Italian food, country, culture and expressions. Often when people make reference to the Italian culture, they say that the people are passionate about life. This can be conveyed in the food, design and of course in romance.

What is passion?

Here are some definitions of the word passion that I came across:

(from the Latin verb pat? meaning to suffer) is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.

any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.

strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardour.

 

strong sexual desire; lust.

 

You will have noticed that passion is very emotive. I had people describe me as being very passionate at times. I agree I do get passionate, especially when I have strong feelings about something that I believe in. I would go as far to say that without passion there is no pulse. Why am I talking about passion? Is because people can become comfortable with a situation and become unhappy due to there being no passion. This does not necessarily mean sex, love and romance but your life in general.

 

 

“Gioia di vivere” or “Joy of life”

 

It is so important to find passion and joy in your everyday life, as without this you can lose purpose.  Question: how many times have you walked around in your day-to-day life, and gone by a passer-by whose face is withdrawn and looking downwards? You may count numerous of occasions. You may answer that there may be reasons for this; it is more linked to the experiences that they are currently going through. I am not going to say here that there is always joy, and happy moments, as this would be untrue. We all can face different challenges at times; which may be linked to our different life relationships – money, food, health and work to name some. It is always about perception. We may have thoughts like: “why is this happening to me?” “This is painful” “I feel numb”. Yes, when you are in an emotion it can be hard to move away from it. It is good to allow, instead of “boxing” it to later – which will result in it resurfacing later with more force. What helps is for you to maintain a beautiful perspective in life, is how we appreciate and focus on little details around us.  I will share one life altering experience with you.  I was single at the time and recently came out of a long-term relationship. Up until that point, I believed that it was better to be in a coupling rather than being single. But on that sunny Sunday afternoon, I was sitting alone at a Chinese restaurant with people around me who were in company, and I thought it was nice being in my own company. “Life was good”. I did not feel unhappy and alone. There were amazing things to appreciate, like eating and savouring the different flavours. Often we forget to do this, in the noise of the world. There is joy. Like the Italians would say: “giola di vivre” or “joy of life”.

 

“How do I find joy?”

 

For some readers of this post, you may have a general interest in all things called wellbeing, so you may have come across expressions such as: “be appreciate”,” take time out and be grateful”, or ” write daily gratitude statement”. This can be all good. Here are some more steps, which you can apply to your daily routine:

 

1. How you start your day, shapes your day. It is nice to have a mission and decide how you want your day to go. I like this sentence that I recently came across and if praying is not your thing, then you can replace it with: “Today I would like…”

 

Today I pray for.jpg

2. Start off your day nourishing yourself. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it gives you the fuel to keep focused and progress with your day. How about nourishing your mind? This can be through reading positive quotes that may be sent to your inbox via a subscription service. You may allocate 30 minutes of your time to read fiction or an educational book that may push you further to achieving a goal. It is a nice feeling when you are progressing.

3. Send a smile. In this age that we live in, it is easier to communicate with people. We can communicate in person or virtually in real-time. Smiling and laughter can be infectious. On a daily basis, send out a smile. This can be to a person you are sitting across on the Tube/Metro. Do not worry about what people may think. Two things may occur 1: they may ignore you or, 2) return the smile. Smiling can take place virtually. You can send a text message to a random friend or contact, wishing them a great day.  You may not know how much that can mean to the other person. You in turn will find joy.

Here is a link to the song Smile, if you would like to listen to music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu-rLA4POkI

 

4. Appreciating art. There is much joy to have in appreciating art. It is everywhere and around us. From the architecture of buildings to looking at Instagram pictures. Also take a moment to think about the passion, which went into it!

Sophia and graffiti near Portobello road

5. Play. When we are younger we play, have fun and do not think that it is wrong. As we get older we forget about this. 

 

IMG_0126

 

6. Enjoy the flavours. Sometimes we may get very busy, that we forget to taste the flavours of the food that we are eating. Some scientist says that food should be chewed much slower, and it can also be better for nutrition. This same concept can be applied to other life situations. By the way I love treating myself to cornetto ice cream.

 

1897009_10152266561070630_167899726_n 

7. Take joy in your surroundings. Some people say it is good to get back to nature as it helps is get grounded. Here, I’m talking about breathing in. Noticing the people and dialogue. Sometimes we may get wrapped up in our own lives. 

There is a blank space – no picture!!

 

Question: what today can you take joy in? If there are any others that you wish to list, please feel free to share in the comments below. And have a joyful day 🙂

It’s your life: Defining your timeline

I was watching a webinar last week, which was being presented by Katie of the Daring and Mighty. One of the points that jumped out was when she discussed how we often get attached to the identity that describes our situation. How this in sense can either lift us or depress us.

“So tell me more about yourself?”

wine glasses

Within moments of meeting someone for the first time, they will want to identify who we are. In Britain, where I am from, people may place you by your accent. They may draw conclusions from which region you were born to your class. To go much personal when you meet someone at a social gathering. The opening question may be, “please tell me about you”. They may probe further with specific questions like:

  • “What is it that you do?”
  • “Are you attached?”
  • “Do you have children?”
  • What is your fetish?”

Only kidding with the last point, but can you see how people can place identities on you? Lets take the relationship status one, the following dialogue I have often heard, “Well, she finally has a boyfriend and I was starting to think that she may be a lesbian”. So, yes, society can be judgemental. But how about how we identify with us?

“Who am I?”

We are our experiences

 

I was recently asked the question “who are you?” by an acquaintance. I was taken aback by the question, as I had build up a relationship with this person. What connected us is our love for art, and expressing it in words. I thought she knew me through my words, as this is how I express how life inspires me. I mused for a bit. I thought back to how I have identified with self. I come originally from a corporate background, where I worked for some big names and had some good work contracts. After the big world credit crisis around 2008, work then became unstable. I soon found myself out of work. This deflated me, as up until that point I had great success with work and felt that I was secure.  My ego was bruised and money was running out. I felt like a loser, as I had defined myself as being successful at work. This was despite having other aspects of my life, including being in a love relationship, being healthy and having friends.

Talking about relationships, I answered with what makes me who I am, was how I relate to the different aspects of my life. This includes being an aunt, and loving spending time with my niece. Meeting up with my friends and discussing the chosen book for our book club; whilst having one friend ask me when will she be wearing her outfit for my wedding. Seriously, I was not joking about the last point, she has already got an outfit made for that day! Then of course, there are all things inspirational, including writing for SophiaWord.

“It’s not about the race, it’s about the pace” – scene 1

People like to compare where there are with others, in business terms it may sometimes be referred to as benchmarking. How you need to have some form of measurement to see how well you are doing. This also occurs in everyday life – it probably started from the day you were born with your parents mapping out your future milestones. When you were younger you may have envisaged what career that you will have, whether you would like to marry and have children. I did this too with certain aspects of my life. I even shared it with friends. Then I learnt one lesson, as I got older, how things do not necessarily go to plan. You may start off in what you perceived to have been a good relationship, not really looking at the person’s core and find out later that they were more of a Prince Harming, instead of a Prince Charming. At the same time you may be checking out how you are progressing against your friend, causing even more pressure. Years ago, when I use to hear of an impending marriage I would be happy on the hearing the news, as I love weddings. But then later there will be a dip in mood, as I ask, “When will my time come?” My mother when growing up would often say, “Nothing happens before its time”. Being the impatient person that I was, I did not fully understand this”. Later I realised the importance of going with flow, trusting that life events will happen when it is the best time for me. I saw it with a past love relationship. Although marriage was discussed, I felt that this person was not right for me. I envisaged the marriage being very short. [No, I am not a doomsayer]. I look back and have gratitude, for not racing into a situation that may have led me to depression, low self-esteem and unhappiness.

 

 

“Do not judge a book by its cover”

Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. You never know what happens behinds close doors. Using the illustration of dating again, that seemingly one-half of a couple may deeply be unhappy, despite having the supportive family and healthy babies. They may feel a tinge of jealousy for their single friend.

“It’s not about the race, it’s about the pace” – scene 2

Going back to the timeline. The best timeline to follow is yours. Not your friends, parents, or what society says. It is nice to have a goal, or a plan, but these can change. Being open to new possibilities is amazing and it can take you to  unchartered, beautiful destinations. [By the way, I do love to travel] My word for the year 2014 was “allow”. This means setting my intentions, taking action or no action, and going with the flow.

To be happy, it is also about doing what is right for you. I call it being honest. This is something that may be hard to do, as you may have been programmed to think that this is what you should be doing. With the word “should”, there is an implication that others are influencing you. Please forgive me; I am going to be using the “s” word again. If you are measuring yourself against progress, it should be on what you measure as being happiness. I suggest doing a check-in of how you feeling in the different areas of your life. This can be family, friends, and health and love relationships. Then the next step if you feeling that a change is required, is what you can do to change this.

Question: what are you doing today to make you feel joy and enjoy the timeline?

 

“Just get by”: Are you really wanting to change?

In order to get to a new destination, some form of movement needs to take place. In our everyday life there are different forms of movement taking place. You may decide to go on holiday. The mode you will take may be an aeroplane. In order to do this, you make your booking and take your passport in order to board the aeroplane. One important part of this journey is that you need to feel comfortable on that plane. If you do not like flying then there may be other modes of transportation. Some may take longer, for example going by boat or by train. You may wonder what the point that I am making here. It was with the word I began with, “movement”. If you want to make a change, reach a different destination then a form of movement needs to be made.

“They were comfortable in their zone” 

Let’s get creative and look at a story of fiction that can be played out in the real world. After all, they do say what you imagine can become reality. There were two characters: Zena and Zodus. Zena has always been a bit of an adventurer. She will travel to different continents to explore different culture and food. Most of her experiences were positive. Even when things did not go according to plan like when she met Vadar – a dark lord – who made her feel disconnected from her inner love. Life to her was about exploring, and this meant that she had to move out of her own natural comfort zone sometimes. Zodus was one of Zena’s friends. She loved hearing about Zena’s adventures; even there was a part of her that was jealous, as she wanted to have some more adventure in her life. Zodus had convinced herself that living in her natural comfort zone was fine. She will always work her life around it. Even stop pursuing one dream so that it can be workable on natural comfort zone. One day she asked Zena, “how do you do it, I would like to have more freedom coins, than what I am getting now from my part-time job?”. Zodus did not like working full-time hours. Zena thought that she was asking for a passive freedom job. But first, she thought that it would be better to find out what Zodus wanted. Zena sent a wheel of life survey to her. Two days later Zena asked her, “So how is the wheel of life survey going?”. Zodus replied, “I started and stopped in the middle”. From this Zena delved further, she soon found out that Zodus wanted her to play a more active part in helping her to get more freedom coins. She wanted Zena or someone else to invest in passive income, take risk without herself putting time and money in. When Zena explained to her that she will need to sometimes step out of the natural comfort zone, then Zodus then said, “You know what, I think I am happy being in natural comfort zone”. Just at that moment WrightWise, the local wise man, announced over the tannoy: “To be comfortable with the unfamiliar is the Zone to be in!”

“Change is about doing things differently, not the same way”

You cannot on one hand want to have a change in your life, but continue to perform the same actions. You know what albert Einstein said about insanity – expecting things to change. Here is a reminder:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

“I decide”

Like one celebrity coach said to me once, you do not need to necessarily go out there and strive for more. So for Zodus, it is fine if she is happy with her current destination. If, she wants to travel to a different zone then she will have to accept that she will need to move away from her comfort zone. She also needs to believe enough in the wanting to make the change. She cannot expect other people to simply invest time, money and not willing to take a risk.

Question: so have you met that person, or are you that person whom complains about wanting to change their life; but decides to manage it just the same to just get by?

 

 

I have a vision “finding my Harry Goldenblatt”

Back in late 2012, I attended a workshop where we exploring having a better relationship with love. It was an interesting day, we started off in the morning with yoga poses. I was not too flexible but I have always preferred Pilates – strengthening the core! But then came the second part where we were to do the practical: create our own vision board. [Duh Duh Duh] Up until that point I had always felt a bit apprehensive when the words vision and board were put together. It felt scary.

Why did the vision board scare me?

I grew up with my mother saying that it was not good to interfere with the unseen spirits. She referred to horror stories of friends and people in her local community who delved with Ouija Board, and shortly later falling very ill or worse. Yes, there were perceptions planted into my head about how playing with ‘certain’ boards was not good for the spirit. Then there is the other element an image: a picture is a thousand words. So a lot can be sad in an image, it can be quite powerful. It can express an emotion: happiness, elation, relief, or sadness to name some feelers. Thus an image was something powerful. Seeing this on the board of how I like to see the future was scary.

SophiaWorld Vision Board

I soon had a change of thinking. I am traditionally a word person. And I do believe in having visions. This has always been what has helped me to remain focus. So I a person that likes to write things down, map it out. Have you not noticed the stickie within the logo for brand SophiaWorld. Go and take a look, as it symbolises how I like to process things and work. After that afternoon of cutting out, not only images but words, I found it to be fun – not too scary. By me being clear with the image, it was just reconfirming my intention to the Universe.

my vision board

my vision board

genius

 

 

 

 

 

Finding my Harry Goldenblatt: how did this experiment go?

Some of the things materialised in terms that  did find myself in a hot location the following year. I did not stay as long as I thought, but sometimes it is all about timing.  The Universe does like to work with you; and your desired outcome may come out in a different way to what you expected. This is okay. As I write this, I think of a Sex and City episode where the character Charlotte, recaps on how she was on a mission to find a husband. In this mission she found Trey [hope I got the right character for the right show], and she thinks that she has found the one. By her best efforts she tries to sustain the relationship, up until she has to draw the line and divorce. She has a second attempt with a new divorce lawyer, Harry Goldenblatt. On external appearance, he was not what she usually was attracted to. But she started to fall in love with his core. He was fulfilling her ‘inner core’ list. So have you guessed the morale of he tale: how the Universe works in it’s way with your ‘described” vision.

Have you created your own vision board? I love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

If you would like to follow my electronic vision board, please see the link.

 

 

Your Dreams Are Valid

As I write this post, it is the day after one of the biggest annual events in the film industry – the Oscars.  From the time of when I was younger I always found Hollywood, the film industry, as where you can escape into the stories. There was ‘magic’. One of the big winners of the night was for the actress Lupita Nyong’o who won the academy for Best Supporting Actress.

 

There had been quite a buzz around her leading up to the big night, as she starred in the film “12 years of a Slave’, which depicted a dark time in history the Atlantic Slave Trade that lasted four centuries. There had also been a buzz due to her being a talented actress, and demonstrating that beauty was not only for what traditionally Hollywood defined it as. As she accepted her Oscar she made reference to the child sitting at home, whom may not feel confident about their dream being realised. She said that no matter what your dream is, it is valid.

 

This was touching as it also applied to grown up people, who may have been told by false belief systems that they can not achieve. How there are limitations. But yes, you can make it happen. Your dreams are valid!

the FEAR

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It’s interesting how you start writing something, and then you may get side tracked as inspiration may wane or your mind may flow to something else. I have a confession, less than a month ago I got inspired to write a post with the title, “the Fear”, inspired partly by the Lily Allen song and what I perceived was a common energy in today’s society: wanting to constantly strive for something because they were scared. I am glad that I decided not to write it and wait until now, as I have just completed reading Olga Levancuka [AKA Skinny Rich Coach] latest book, The Ill Society.

Raving fan

Before I begin the review of The ILL Society, I will provide a little background into what inspired me to read Olga’s book. I actually read all of her previous books, and have got them personally autographed by the author herself. Yes, I am a raving fan! Yes we have met and she would not describe me as a stalker. I am neither a groupie, as I like to be my own person and was never one to conform to the general “consensus”. I am I.  And following on from this point this is actually one of the qualities I admire in Olga that she supports people thinking for “him or herself” At the opening of the book, you will see that this is expressed almost as a legal disclaimer when she, to paraphrase says, “you may or may not agree with me but this is okay. I want you to generate your own opinion”. This can arguably be the first time when she approaches the theme of individual responsibility.

Screenshot 2014-01-30 09.44.41

 

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Before I read the book, I conjured up thoughts on what the book will be discussing based on the title a summary. Yes, the saying does go, “do not judge a book by its covers”.  My first prejudgement was that the book will be how in the medical world, that they are creating labels for different mental illnesses in order to keep the pharmaceutical companies rich – duping us.  For example, when I was growing up people whose mood oscillated from one extreme to another were sometimes referred to as manic-depressives. Now today in the digital world, where we can instantaneously find out digressions of celebrityville , we are hearing the term bi-polar. As I write this, the pop star Justin Bieber has been behaving not so well: getting arrested and playing bad-boy. I am waiting to see if he is labelled ‘bi-polar’. Please note here, that I agree that there are mental illness issues. But it seems that labels are being placed too quickly on people.  As Olga asks, are we ill?

 

The F.E.A.R

As mentioned mental illness does exist. Like a virus it may be contained in one person or be alive in many people. This is sometimes referred to as an epidemic. One of the main themes of the book is the illness of FEAR. This can sometimes be referred to as False Evidence Appearing Real. According to Olga, a lot of us are suffering from this word FEAR. This fear may come from worrying about the future event based on past experiences. The question that was being asked was, “whose fear is it?” Beliefs after all are thoughts that you think are true. Some of these thoughts may have come centuries ago, when it was useful for that particular person. It could have been to control or suppress another. Here is an extract from Lily Allen’s song on fear:

I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
And when do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cause I’m being taking over by The Fear

Can you relate to these themes? Are you living in fear?

Responsibility

As mentioned earlier on there was another core theme of responsibility. How we can expand ourselves; as well as participating in society instead of being a spectator. For example, shouting at the TV instead of taken action. Thus the book looks at different social issues, some that may make people feel uncomfortable chatting about at the dinner table: sex, money and politics Et cetera.

 

Taking off the blinkers

There is the great possibility that may I return to re-read parts of the book since there were quite a few bombshell moments where it looked at different lifestyle themes. This is not to say that the book is too overwhelming but it is a books that will make you take off your blinkers, and really open your eyes to what is going on; make you want to tune in to what you ‘really’ want. Why have I created this fear? To take off the blinkers, you can order yours below:

 

The “Expert”

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In this time, which we live in, life is digital. We can connect with people much easier through the World Wide Web. This can be through the medium of sending email messages or having video chats via Skype. We also have access to different informational products. This can be e-books, online courses and so forth. It has become easy to put your message out there; and show your expertise in a subject matter.

the expert

the expert

 

Who is an expert?

 

The days of having credentials behind your name when publishing non-fiction has gone.  People are sometimes calling themselves experts from reading up on a topic, or having personal experience with the topic. I do not have an issue with the latter, as you cannot beat experience – the practical! I do wonder about the former, studying. For many years I was an academic, studying concepts and sometimes applying it to scenarios with regard to legal problems: applying the law to the facts. In some respects it helped to know what the likely outcome will be, based on precedents. Although there were times when this may not be the case, as precedents may not be followed, as the judge may decide to ‘distinguish’ the facts or decide that there is a better way. This is an interesting point that because one rule has [apparently] worked before, then it does not mean you cannot try something new. As I write this post, I am also reading a book that raises the argument about not falling for the dogma. This is good approach to apply when looking at beliefs, as we may forget to question why we still accept this view.

In the world of coaching I have seen many ‘life coaches’ popping up. It is good to get help when it is required, sometimes you may not get this from reading.  A friend of mines years ago said, “I do not believe in life coaches. Why do you need someone to validate you?” Her main thought was that you are the best person to make life decisions.  She could not understand leaving it to someone else to say whether you were on the right path. Coaching is part mirroring the other person, reflecting what they are projecting and giving them the space to help come up solutions. I am weary of the people out there calling themselves ‘experts’ on topics that they have not mastered themselves on a personal level. So you will not see me [at the time of writing this: January 2014], publishing shortly the Money ‘Series” book. Perhaps that will come next year.

 

“You are an expert as you are living life”

I believe that we are experts in life, as we are living it. We go through different experiences: both good and bad. From these we are gaining an insight.  For example, learning that if you drink too much you may wake up with a bad hangover the next day. Please be warned, sometimes we may not take on the lesson that was to be learnt. This can be like that story where a person kept walking down the pavement, which had a pothole, kept falling in and cried in annoyance. Then the day when they decided to not walk along that same pavement, then they 1) did not fall into the payment and 2) no longer felt the annoyance of repeating the same action.

 

“Resonating”

 It is interesting how a theme can develop out of another discussion. Recently I was participated in a FaceBook discussion regarding time.  It started off as a joke, and then I added a point about a so-called expert on time. One participant in this explained how they did not enjoy the book; and felt bad for admitting this, as the author was well-known and renowned as an expert. I interjected by saying that I too could not get into the flow of the book, so therefore did not complete it. The point here is that just because a person is deemed an expert, does not mean that you will connect with the “how” they deliver the topic. It was their opinion. Opinions are not necessarily facts.

 

Question

Next time when seeing someone write or discuss a topic, ask yourself, “are they an expert?”

 

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