I quit carelessness because I saw her watching.

Someone is always watching.

I have a 10-year-old niece who day-in and day-out copies me. She brushes her hair the same way, she downloads music that I listen to, and she’s even asked if she could have my clothes before I die – in a nice way.

I was laying down the other day – she knows that I usually wake up early, go for a walk, and return by the time she’s  having breakfast – so she asked if she could borrow my yoga mat to work-out and then continued to question why I didn’t go for my morning walk. She notices everything. All of a sudden she’s interested in acing calisthenics floor work and eating healthy too. So I got out of bed and went for my walk wholeheartedly.

And I’ve decided, since she’s always watching, that I need to be someone that she can really learn from. I had to think about who she’ll become if she decides to follow my path and whether I could live with that, and be proud of her.
The fact is, we’re all just versions of the people we’ve spent the most time with. A lot of who we are comes from our choices, but it’s our influences that steer us to what those choices are.

Going back to my morning walk – it’s something I enjoy doing. I needed to be reminded that I’ve been doing it for my health, for myself, and I deserve it. But also because I didn’t have a good enough excuse to stay in bed all day and I didn’t want her to think that it’s okay to quit on things because you feel like it.
                              
At times when you think no one noticed (‘that’), or no one cares; I promise you someone’s watching and taking notes.

So if you can do one thing for the greater good of humanity, (without making this sound like a lame pageant speech) work on yourself – just do you. You’re going to inspire people to do the same.

E.T the Hip Hop preacher takes motivational speaking to the next level.

Maybe it’s not that you’re lazy, or careless, or procrastinate, maybe you just need a little motivation to get things going.

I was search through my contact list for friends who are generally motivated. I’d been feeling a bit low and I find that reading self-help books or articles, always lifts my spirits. Some said to download E.T the Hip Hop preacher App (for Android). And I’ve been drawn to the work of Eric Thomas ever since. I’m exercising than usual – I’ve just joined the calisthenics movement; it will be a hell of a long road but I hope that I will reach a level where I am able to compete.
Eric Thomas’ story is so inspiring. Here’s a guy who went from being homeless, to best-selling author, celebrity motivational coach, father and husband because he he was determined. He was homeless at some point and it took him 12 years to finish a four-year degree, but now here he is, earning millions of dollars.

The truth of the matter is that you can be/have anything you want. ANYTHING! Whatever you desire in your life – you can have it. You just needvto know exactly what you want and how far you are willing to go to get it.

People who aren’t sure of themselves don’t succeed. If you don’t know what you really want, you can’t exactly work towards having it.

You can download the E.T app for Android on Playstore or visit etinspires.com for motivational material. I’ve also started following E.T on Instagram, so be sure to check out his profile, here.

4 reasons why I’m giving my books away.

Books are to me what protein is to a muscle man.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve hoped that one day I would have a personal library – a room filled with racks and racks of books extending to the ceiling.For more reason than just sniffing books because I can’t resist the smell of an old book, but I’d banked on the idea that having a personal library of all the books I’d ever read, would stand as a symbol of my appreciation of them, as well as a symbol of my intellect.

So, a few days ago, I decided that I am going to give most of my jewels away. Here’s four reasons why:

To travel light
They’re heavy, fragile and inconvenient to carry. And if you know a story like the back of your hand, you probably won’t bother picking up that book again. Give it a new owner and you’ll be thanked for it. Also, I when I die, I’d like to leave as little material things behind ( something I’ll be sharing in a later post).

To share knowledge
Everyone knows that knowledge is power, and that those who serve, rule. Don’t be afraid to share your stories with others because those people may have new books to share with you, affording you something new to learn.

To give back
We live in a me-centric time where everything is about what can be done for us and too little of what we can do for others. You’re really saving a tree when you give your old books away. Not to mention making space for new and intriguing reads.

For conversation starters
There’s nothing like finding a friend who likes the same book as you, and if you get really into it you could go on for hours discussing your favourite parts. It’s not enough to just read books, you need to bring them to life using your own words and actions; this will be a great way to make new friends and attract people with similar interests.

So tomorrow when you see me and I’m handing you a book, you’ll know the reason.

Please don’t go chucking your textbooks away or handing out things you’ve never read. That is not the point. Reflect on these four themes and join me if you’re keen or let me know what you think.
Lastly, don’t be too selective of who you give them to, someone you never thought would enjoy a certain book, may surprise you.

1 week: 1 wedding, 1 funeral, and a birthday party.

It’s been an eventful week filled with laughter and tears.

What have I learnt this week? You can’t just pass the days surviving, you need to engineer your life, work it. When you begin to feel like an extremist, you’re on the right track.

The week: exciting and draining – I lived between two extremes and you won’t believe it until you read it.

My family lost a legend, a charismatic women beyond physical beauty, and that’s depressing. But we also acknowledge that she lived a good life, and that she expressed gratitude to her deathbed. She was pretty amazing.

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Her death brought about lots of crying, reminiscing, and wishful conversing, but not mourning.

People are usually so selfish about death; they worry about what they’ve lost and how much their lives will change, but there was none of that; just gratitude and sharing.

Then as the weekend drew near, I had to prepare for a friend’s wedding; a partner of two ambitious beings, who are so deeply inlove.

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I don’t think I’ve seen love like theirs before; it’s quite charming and hopeful.

I went to the wedding alone and for some time during the reception, sat by myself as well, watching them. Ofcourse I didn’t think it was weird since I came out especially to see them wed, and it was beautiful.  But I left shortly after their first dance to get ready for a birthday party, and ended up listening to a man rant of how he wished that he could have a fraction of what they have, to extremity.

The story of his relationship was nothing but thorns and twigs it seemed, he even went so far as to say that he hated his life right now, feeling trapped in his relationship. It was awful. And I remember thinking, “good God, this is why I’m single”; ” I really don’t want to have to go through this”.
But then I realized that delving into the unknown can really bring you anything; maybe you find the love of your life, or the bane of your existence, it’s such a gamble. You can play it safe and risk nothing, lose nothing, and gain nothing. But that will not be living.

Then came Alexandra’s birthday party, which I have to say fit right into the mess of emotions I’d been experiencing throughout the week.

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(Photo/Kirsten Holman)

I needed to unwind a little and it was just the perfect situation for a good drink, dance and great company. Followed by a sunday in bed, watching too many episodes of series.

What a week right?

Cancer, you vicious bastard

You will never believe the morning I’ve had.

After a great struggle to get out of bed, I went to visit my dearest uncle. I was two-minded about going to see him because he lives very far and I was planning to have a rested day of pampering myself. I hadn’t seen this side of my family in a while so I figured it would do me some selfless good to go and see how he was doing.

Nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see. The night before, my cousin, his daughter, had called to tell me that he was really sick. She said that he had asked to see me weeks ago, but I had been too busy to make the visit. She was so eager for me to come and see him that she’d offered to fetch me from my house and take me home again, so I knew it had to be serious.

I decided to take the trek and in just short of an hour, I was there.
I walked through the richly varnished doorway and I could sense the urgency for our meeting. His name is Henry, but everyone calls him Basil- by his second name. He is my mother’s eldest brother, and a true stickler for attention to detail.

I had to climb some red stairs on the way to his room and there I saw him lying flat on his bed, covered in a sweat of his stage 4 cancer. My mind could not prepare my eyes for such a sight fast enough, to which I immediately burst into tears. He laid there bedridden and delirious, fighting just to keep his eyes open.
I sat at his side and in my best Afrikaans, told him that I was here. This of course made no sense to him because he didn’t recognize me, not even a mumble of recollection. And that hurt. It hurt so much to see him in that state that I had to leave the room to control my tears. To see a man so put-together, so disorientated, is a sight that I don’t wish you to ever see. Despite my very self-centered morning feelings, this man’s life means a great deal to me.

So when I eventually walked back into the room, I stroked his head and I kept telling him that I was there, hoping that he would realize that there was someone else visiting, in support for his recovery. His daughter came and served him a sip of water; again, telling him that I was there, and with that he turned to me and asked, “When did you get here?” Now, if you know the harmful effects of cancer, you know that added medication like morphine causes a patient to see double or blurred vision, but he saw me. For less than a minute- with a sound state of mind, he really saw me. He asked me when I’d gotten there and he cried, then we all cried with him too.

That was my morning.

That was my smack awake for wasting days, a warning to value my own life and the lives of others, to see as much as I can see, before God-forbid, something like a killer disease comes to steal my life from me.

Now, it’s family over everything.Uncle Basil and I

 

What Prosperity looks like

Prosperity is freely available to all.

It’s like those cherries that pop into a game of Pacman at any time – increasing your strength, speed, and longevity.
It’s not easily attainable. It requires you to turn from the mass mediocre yellow dots of the world, and chase after the good stuff, the juicy looking fruit that you’re not even sure you’ll reach in time. It is more than doing well, it is thinking well.

Prosperity is the knowledge that while you’re gobbling up all those yellow dots, that something better is coming. You don’t know when, where or how, but you know that an opportunity will present itself and then you have to fight like hell just to be near it.

And if you’ve ever played Pacman, like seriously played the game, you know that once you see that juicy cherry, all of a sudden things get thronged because Goblins are trying to rain of your parade in the maze. These goblins don’t really care about getting cherries or yellow dots themselves, they just don’t want to see you do well, their aim is to make your gaming experience so difficult that you can’t win.

It seems very dramatic but that’s exactly how it is. Pacman is not a game for the feint of heart, and neither is prosperity.

Life is exactly like a game of Pacman if you think about it. All the characters are there, the opportunities are there; you can even picture yourself in a maze because the only way that you’re getting out of this world is if you die. And you are Pacman. You are the one that the goblins are after and the one that the cherry keeps showing off for. You have the choice to win the game if you position yourself well.

Prosperity is hunger an aspiration for more, not necessary better, but different and valuable. Remain hungry, refuse to neglect your opportunities; maintain your relationships, give your very best and be willing to risk something you already have.

Imagine playing the game without valuable cherries and goblins around; you would end up gobbling all the yellow dots until you have passed every level to win. It would be boring and predictable.  So why do you live like that? Why pause at the sight of seemingly far-fetched opportunity? Why aren’t you willing to risk what you already have for something better? That is what makes life interesting, that is what keeps you alive.

Your dreams, goals and aspirations are what life is worth living for.

There’s a time to be patient and cautious. There’s a time when you have to wait in the corner until the goblins turn blue, so that you can devour them all, but don’t let fear weigh on your ability to sweep up opportunity.

You Will Gain Strength from Rejection

Despite the partially insensitive header, you will definitely gain strength from rejection. Or- if your heart is not accustomed to the understanding of failure- you will let it consume you until you vow never to take a risk again.

Yesterday, I fell asleep in a puddle of mucous and tears. I’d been crying because I had again placed my heart on the opportunity of chance. I had invested in something that could potentially result in greatness, given that the opportunity was granted. But it wasn’t, hence the tears and mucous streaming from my face.

For months I have been on the war path, trying to find a job that perfectly suited me, one that represented an ideology that I could associate myself with. Then last week a publishing house called me in for consideration. I was so happy. I really thought this was it. I then blatantly ignored two secured offers (from reputable publishing houses) because I had my heart set on getting this position. I’d even read my horoscope- one I’d found at the back of the very magazine I was applying to- and it said that I was much closer to reaching my dream than I was in January. I felt like the universe had aligned to work in my favour; I had been through so much shit just trying to get to my first and second interviews, surely God wanted this for me.

My friends stood bewildered when I told them about the other offers; they thought I was quite brave for being able to refuse jobs that were being thrown at me, and in the hope of obtaining one that I certainly had no promise of getting. I casually declared that this is what life is about- life is about taking risks for the things that you think are best for you. And that’s true, but now I realize that life is also about recognizing a good opportunity when it presents itself, even if it doesn’t look as good as the opportunity you were hoping for. Sometimes the best opportunity is the one that only offers a traveling allowance or is situated within a company that was born after you. Sometimes the risk is in being comfortable with accepting less than you think you’re worth, in working yourself to the bone, and hoping that whoever is watching will take cognizance of this- so that you can eventually get to where you want to be.