Business & Finance · Life

How to use social media to your advantage in life, business and everything else

My phone is a job. I have a hate and love relationship with it.

It’s like carrying a pocket TV with my favorite channels in my pocket. Except that these channels are social media and the shows are my friends.

I love them, but it’s not worth being bombarded with drama and news all the time. With 24 hours of attention at my leisure, I’ll always feel like crap when I spend it going down the YouTube rabbit hole or liking puppy photos on Facebook.

So, let’s use social media to my advantage:

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Communication

Why Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ Speech is one of the best speeches of all time

Speeches make and move the world. They are performances: tests for any man, woman and child to show their conviction. They need to, in order to move the crowd. They want to, because that is who they are.

When you do a speech, you’re not speaking to one person. You speak to nations. You speak to markets. You speak to voices of their own. You speak to the lives, burdens and emotions of people.

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Life

Why being poor is a good lesson for all of us

I envy dumpster divers, especially freegans. For those of you who don’t know, freegans collect their food and nourishment from discarded food (think of restaurants who have to throw all that lovely food at the end of each day). Essentially, they can live their lives from other people’s trash. In their bags (if they have one), you can find only the bare necessities. By definition, they are considered poor.

How does that phrase go?

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?

It’s a great phrase. It’s a good skill to recognise value in other people’s things as they are thrown away. For some, it can get annoying: thoughts of people wasting things all the time, finding items that can be reused.

But not everybody can recognise value of their own items, and by the time we do it may be too late. At any moment in our lives, we could lose the things we take for granted.

This is why being poor can be a good lesson: we start to notice the differences between our needs and wants. I’m not saying to give all your money away right now, but you can emulate a poor environment by limiting certain things. Question: What do you need to survive?

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Life

How we see good is how we see ourselves

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. 

Charles R. Swindoll

How do we learn to filter out the bad?

For a majority of the time, we can’t help but react to bad news from around the world. Shootings, bombings and the like: it’s bad for the soul. I don’t like it, and I don’t think you do too. But how should we react?

We can spend time letting it overwhelm us: Spend the rest of the day thinking about it, how it could have been avoided, who to blame, and other things.

We can spend the whole day thinking of what-ifs, but not the what-nows: What things are happening around us now, things within our reach. That you’re still breathing, and that your friends and family are doing just fine, and that you can still make memories with them. We have to learn how to be grateful for the things around us even if all the bad shit is happening around the world.

So, the bad news that comes to us should only serve as a reminder for gratitude and nothing more. It’s bad for the soul if it floods us with negativity.

Some people find ways to cope through alternative means:

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Business & Finance · Life

The difference between good mentors and bad ones

There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the Light of God pass through them. 

Shams, The Forty Rules of Love

Note to self: anyone is a mentor in some way. You have bad ones and good ones. The bad ones barely teach you anything, and the good ones teach you naturally. The bad ones don’t care about your improvements, the good ones know how important it is for you.

In a nutshell, bad = bad. Good = good. But how do you tell the difference?

Here’s what I noticed for the time being:

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Life

Life needs to be hard before it gets better. This is why

As a Sufi, I had been trained to accept the thorn with the rose, the difficulties with the beauties of life. Hence followed another rule: The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new Self to be born, hardship is necessary.

Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love

We have those days when we are down. The loss of a family member, poor exam results, you didn’t get the job you wanted, and many other bad situations. It feels like life likes to punch us in the face.

But when things get better, it can be due to two main forces:

  1. The environment around us changes for the better
  2. We grow, and change for the better.

There’s a limit to how much we can control number one. The most that I can think of is to move to a nearby jungle, away from civilisation, and if that is a good change for you then go for it. But I’d like to focus on number two: giving ourselves the chance to grow.

But hardship is necessary. It’s like exercise, training heavyweights at the gym so that we can get stronger. We train with heavier weights on purpose because we grow that way. Life is the same: It needs to be hard before it gets better.

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Life

How to face fears, doubts and control the moment

Ella and her dog stood side by side under the late-spring moon, staring into the thick, vast darkness, similarly frightened of the things moving in the dark, frightened of the unknown.

Elif Sharak, The Forty Rules of Love

The unknown is a scary place. It’s ominous: you don’t know what’s lurking in there. It makes sense then that most fears appear in the dark. Fears, doubts, lack of control: it haunts us all the time.

Why do you think fear stops us from doing the things we want to do? We have doubts to stop us from taking steps forward. We have second thoughts about doing things we want to dive into. We have past traumas that prevent us as if on reflex:

“This bad thing has happened to me before, what’s going to stop it from happening again?”

There are two ways to handle our fears:

  1. Get rid of them
  2. Learn how to traverse them.

Number 1 is dependent on your fears – I can’t teach you that. That is entirely subjective.

Instead, I can share with you ways to understand that fear is there, present, and move forward. Train yourself well and you can learn how to use fear and doubt as a weapon to further yourself.

But first, a primer on what we are all made of:

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Life · Society & Culture

The People Around You Define your Creativity: Midnight In Paris by Woody Allen

Creativity differs according to each individual.

Either way, how we express ourselves can be scary at times. No matter how creative we can get, there will always be jabs at us.

Some people find this overwhelming, and choose to conform their creativity to acceptable levels. Others go the opposite direction: they strive to improve their craft.

This post is about the latter, and how a movie reminds us of just how creative we can truly be. That is, creativity through other people.

The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence. -Gertrude Stein

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Life · Society & Culture

Is Self Expression taught in education? Let’s find out

The concept of expression is a strange one. It differs with each individual.

We are free to do whatever we want.

Write what we want, dance, play: live a life however we want.

While some may be able to express themselves better through painting, others express themselves better on the rugby field, speaking on stage, or performing complex calculations for experiments.

All of these are expressions of the inner character: We share what we are most passionate about through expression.

But, were we taught to express ourselves? Do we have the freedom to do this around the world?

It is fun to express: we learn as we grow older that we have this need to do so.

We want to prove that we are the best artists. We want to shout that we are the best in our fields: Talking with the right people, by expressing humility and grace. Showing we want to learn more, by expressing a willingness to be a student of life.

How was it taught in education?

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