MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “motivation”

The talk we don’t need to hear

https://img.clipartfest.com/375b05ec1c968abc0180db030fb44d40_-i-should-calm-down-calm-down-clip-art_433-284.jpegThere is a very well-known fact that no-one ever calmed down by being told to calm down. On the contrary, this only causes further irritation.

Because when you’re stressed, angry, or upset about something – anything, whatever that may be – the last thing you need is people telling you to do the one thing you know you need to do.

You’d much rather have someone say something optimistic, positive, reassuring, caring. Someone who maybe would offer some food – chocolate, to be more precise. Someone who would wrap you in a tight hug that would transmit the feeling that everything will be all right. Maybe not at that very instant, but eventually. You just need to be patient. And believe that things will turn out in the end.

It is true that we need to find ways to eliminate stress from our lives. We already know that. We don’t need to hear the obvious. We’d much rather be shown some tender, love and care instead.

Ordinary is boring

http://www.productivity501.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Being-Extraordinary.jpgSome people take pride in being ordinary; feeling embarrassed if they are even the slightest bit different than everyone else. But in fact, we weren’t born to be the same. We are here to stand out. To do something different and to bring something original into the societies we live in.

There are no ordinary people. Because everyone has a unique aspect that may take some effort to discover. Indeed, “genius is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one” (Erza Pound).

Similarly, there are no ordinary moments. The moments are what we make of them. The feelings we share and the experiences we gather.

We are often prompted to find joy in what seems like the ordinary. Because, cliché as it may seem, it is in the little things that all the great emotions lie.

So when you feel like you’re just ordinary, think again. And do something a little bit different. Dare to change.

Remember, “the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra” (Jimmy Johnson).

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Ordinary

Interviewing a person you want to be like

DSC_8267 (2)Every young writer has a longing to meet the authors s/he looks up to, either for advice, or to find traits in their writing process that fit into their own, thus granting them a sense that they are doing something right, and if they keep working hard enough, just maybe they too will become bestselling authors. It’s an amazing sensation to be able to sit down and chat with a writer you admire. Even more so when that person is not just a writer, but also an actor, a radio producer, a dancer and so much more. And he inspires you too, to just “get out there and fight hard for what you want”.

Kostas Krommydas is a well-known Greek actor having participated in many TV series, theatre performances and movies. He is the author of four books (and more to come). For the past two years, he selects music for a three-hour programme on popular Love Radio, while he has also participated in the Greek version of Dancing with the Stars.

I first met him at a book exhibition where I was lucky enough to convince him to sign his book for me, and was won over by a chocolate he was handing out, like a host at a party. He is slender and tall, yet emits a warmth and generosity that is rare in people who have so much of the spotlight turned onto them. Active on social media, he will respond almost instantly, and I was genuinely surprised at how approachable and cheerful he is. As soon as I finished his book – based on a true story, weaving together seemingly independent tales with a fascinating and fast-paced cinematographic script – I contacted him to ask for an interview. It is always wonderful to meet the person behind the pen. You always learn something, even if it is just the fact that they are quick-witted and love to multitask. But they do it all so well, and that is truly encouraging for someone who is also involved in so many things they need to make lists simply to keep up with themselves.

“Ever since I can remember I always wanted to be an actor and had begun searching for how to become one from a very young age,” he recounts. “But I also wrote from a young age. In an organized manner, though, I officially began to write the last six years. I began with a biographical book of how I raised my daughter, then followed three novels”.

20151202_120354Can an actor and a writer be combined? Kostas says “One hundred percent yes. Each helps the other, because of all the skills, experiences, and images gained from the one, you can use for the other, and by combining the two you can create something great”.

Like every writer, Kostas too says he is influenced by many other authors, naming for example, Milan Kundera’s early works, the Ancient Greek Tragedians (Aeschylos, Sophocles, Evripides), as well as Alexandros Papadiamantis, and Herman Hesse, as just a few. As for his favourite book, he chooses Oedipus Rex, which he says “even today, it is as if it was written yesterday. It’s structure is simply astonishing”.

Currently working on another book, Kostas says he would like to write a genuine crime novel. All of his novels, however, contain an element of crime, and the last two in particular are based on true stories. “If you look out there, there are amazing stories that life has written, so you don’t have to imagine them; on its own, life hands you a lot of material to take and develop.” Yet, he recognizes the huge responsibility that lies in this, “in basing your novel on a true story and developing it, making it into a version of what the reality could have been”.

Do his books entail something personal? “One hundred percent, yes. All my books have something mine in them. I really like to include a piece of my life, of the images and feelings I have; I think it makes the text more lively that way”.

And what about where inspiration comes from? “From everything. Music, nature, people around you. A lot of things inspire me. I may see something in the street, I may hear music, and be inspired. I think that generally, if you let yourself go and observe what is going on around you, inspiration will arrive on its own”.

IMG_4301That moment when you see your views converge with that of an acclaimed writer is priceless and fills you with a sense of satisfaction. And then he goes and inspires you even further, because how easy is it really to decide what you want to do and simply go and do it? “It is both easy and difficult at the same time. Sometimes it’s simply about deciding what you want to do. But on the other hand, taking that decision is the hardest thing in the world. It all depends on the person, on where in life s/he is when that decisive moment arrives, and whether you take or not those decisions”.

In his latest book, Kostas beautifully writes, «Grab every minute of all the life that is given to you and add value to it. You live life today, in every second that passes by with no return, and not in future desires that never become actions”.

So what advice would he give today? “To do what I did – to go out and fight hard for what you want; to chase after the things you want to achieve. Success rarely comes and finds you on its own.

His words come out flowing, like a strong current full of knowledge, experience and passion for the life he lives. And this is exactly what he both motivates and encourages others to do. After all, he even writes it in his books: “it is better to do something wrong, than to never live it at all…”.

When everything screams go

standing-out-from-the-crowd-conceptWhen everything screams go, why do you stay?

Why would you persist in something you know might not even work? Why do you insist on devoting your time, energy and soul into something that may not even be worth it in the end if it doesn’t last?

You do it because you secretly hope for something that will change. That will make the fantasy in your head the reality that you live.

Thomas Edison tried and failed many times before he finally invented the electric light bulb. He himself stated, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”. Effort doesn’t have an expiration. All it needs is your perseverance.

Would you consider yourself crazy for staying, when everyone else leaves? Because as everyone rushes to the door, you stay to put out the fire. Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis believed that “every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all is not to have one”.

It takes more courage to stay than to simply run away. Because you know what you have to deal with. You know that the situation is not in your favour. But you still choose to deal with it and fight rather than surrender and abandon all hope.

Maybe you are a little crazy for doing so. But remember, “those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones that do”.

The unreachable star

star on top of mountainEver since Joe was a child, he knew what he wanted to do and was determined to accomplish it. He spent days and nights looking out of his window gazing over the hill at that star that shone so brightly it was visible even during the day. It seemed so unique, so magnificent, that he was sure there was something extraordinary about it. If he could just get closer to it, he might figure out what it was.

When he became of age, Joe set off to climb the hill. He didn’t know how long it would take, as the hill turned out to be a mountain once he got closer to it. It’s funny how distance is so deceiving, he thought; it makes it all seem smaller and closer than they truly are. Nonetheless, Joe did not lose hope. He wanted to reach the star and made it his ultimate purpose.

As he climbed the mountain, setting his own pace, he came across little animals whom he befriended as much as possible, rare flowers and rural beauties. They were all things he had never seen before and that made them even more special. Days passed and Joe was still climbing. He could see he was quite high now, as the view of the town below became spectacular. The wind was also getting colder as he climbed and he could sense the oxygen levels dropping.

One night, he almost froze, but just before the crack of dawn he woke up staring into two big blue eyes. Her name was Jill. She lived in the mountains and had golden hair, which she had tied into two dreadlocks either side of her small round head. She was mesmerizing, kind and sweet and had saved him from freezing. The blanket she had covered him with was made out of sheepskin and she had also brought warm soup in a natural flask. Her family knew how to survive in the mountains, and so did she.

It wasn’t long after he described his quest that Jill announced she would accompany him. Joe was delighted. After all some company was more than welcome, and he could not have asked for anything better than this.

More days passed and these probably turned into months too. But the mountain top still seemed far away. Jill began to lose hope, something she said she rarely ever did. Joe tried as much as possible to console and revive the feeling of excitement he had seen in her eyes when he first described his mission. But to no avail. Jill became sick and decided she could no longer carry on. She turned away with tears in her eyes as she began her descent back home. Joe was once again left alone.

The star was shining brighter than ever.

It may have been a month, it may have been a year. Joe finally reached the summit. The view from up there was incomparable to anything he had ever seen. He was literally standing on top of the world – at least the one he knew about. It was amazing, and he had managed to reach his destination. He was proud of his accomplishment. Until the time he looked up.

The star was still far away. And it even seemed to be at the top of the adjacent mountain. Joe could still not discern what made it glow so brightly and so exquisitely. Perhaps he should go and climb the other mountain now. He thought about all he had learned and experienced during his ascend. He had witnessed more natural wonders and had learned more about survival and personal quests than most people would manage in a lifetime. Yet now the only way forward was down. So he sighed, and began his descend. Maybe the answers would be found there.

As he slowly climbed back down the mountain, he kept looking back and staring at the star shining behind him. What was the lesson to be gained out of all this? he thought. And then it struck him. No matter how far you climb, some things are always unreachable. It is the journey that will teach you the lesson. Yet it is always disappointing to realize that your initial goal cannot be accomplished. Sometimes, though, all you can do is go and start over, hoping that this time you will find a target closer to your reach.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Envelope Pushers

Saying ‘yes’ to ‘no’

Very busy manIt’s nice to be nice. But how nice is nice? Lost? Everyone wants to be appreciated and thought of kindly. And for this, many choose to act as such too. Often it leads to doing things over and above your limits or endurance. It means going out of your way to please other people, sometimes at the expense of your very self. But sometimes, all you have to do is simply say ‘no’.

It’s not easy, but sometimes it is necessary.

Trying to please everyone and be on top of everything, controlling as much as you can, because of the popular belief that ‘if not done by you, it won’t be done right’, will at one point of other result in more than just a perpetual state of “busyness”. It will lead to burnout. And then, being nice is no longer an option. It simply does not exist.

Like this amazing article explains, “burnout happens when you’ve been experiencing chronic stress for so long that your body and your emotional system have begun to shut down and are operating in survival mode.” It leads you into a state where you are unsure about everything, cannot make decisions, do not want to do anything, and have no desire to snap out of it either. It is close to depression, but with the added exhaustion, both physical and mental.

We tend to live in societies where being available 24/7 is seen as advantage but feels like the exact opposite. We need to feel the constant vibrations of phone calls, or hear the constant bleeps of emails and messages arriving to feel important. That’s why we spend most of our day with our faces stuck in a screen, to the point where we even fall asleep with these still in hand.

Somewhere along the line of technological development, we forgot that we are human beings, and transformed into “human doings”. We are the ones who created this “disease of being busy”. And we now occupy a world in which “we have more and more and more to do, with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?”

We have become so wired up, that it actually feels strange when we have nothing to do. As if it is a sin to not run around constantly. Life coaches themselves state that we need to allow ourselves a little break every now and then; to say “yes” to life by saying “no” a little more often. To allow ourselves to wonder at the marvels around us, to enjoy the small pleasures of life, to actually live.

We cannot please everyone. And no matter how hard we try, we never will. So why don’t we all just try to do the best we can, and enjoy the little time we have in this world. It all starts with two letters: “no”. Sometimes it’s all it takes. And if said as nicely as possible, you won’t lose face. You will just be seen as a person who knows and admits to their limits. And that takes more courage than struggling to do everything.

 

No one is too busy in this world. It’s all about priorities”.

Willpower is not an energy drink

In a period where all you hear is “no” and all you get is rejection letters, how do you find the motivation not to give up? With the highest youth unemployment recorded in decades, how do you convince young disheartened spirits that the best is yet to come and that their future lies ahead, when even that now seems so bleak? When at the most creative period of their lives, all they can do is watch idly as it passes by and disappointment settles even deeper. If like the Ancient Greeks said “the beginning is half of everything”, how do you get a chance at even starting something when the perpetuating contradiction reigns: you can’t get a job if you’re not experienced, and you can’t gain experience because you’re not given a job.

Motivation is key to success. To prevent your morale from sinking into gloom and despair. To convince yourself that there is  always light at the end of the tunnel. And that you will eventually take your first step that will lead you closer to achieving your goals.

Motivation can be found in a variety of places. From the wise words of a friend, to the courage demonstrated by another; from the moral of a book, a quote of an inspiring intellectual, to simply the galvanizing of the willpower within to just not give up. As humans we are the source of so much energy. All we need to do is harness it for the right purpose.

Strength lies in having the power to continue despite rejection, defeat, failure. A Chinese proverb says “fall down seven times, stand up eight”. Strength is inextricably linked to motivation and finding ways to engage yourself in opportunities that will demonstrate and even enhance your skills, is a clever way of both keeping yourself active and of setting up the right conditions. The right opportunity will come when the time is ripe.

All you have to do is look ahead and don’t despair.

Good things may come to those who wait, but they come faster to those who make an effort.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Pep Rally

 

Hello world!

7 August 2012

Kermit the Frog says “it’s not easy being green”. It’s not being any colour actually. And in this day and age with the economic crisis looming over practically every nation globally, it is actually not easy being anything. Finding work is extremely hard, and keeping it is just as difficult. People end up working ridiculously long hours for a wage that is just as ridiculous, and in the end when “you pay peanuts you get monkeys!” (Sorry K, I’m stealing that! 🙂 ). It is becoming increasingly difficult not to be depressed or despaired and it’s at times like this when we just have to find the smaller things that make us smile. You don’t have to be happy all the time. But you should be smiling. Even if, as my friend says, smiling is a reflex to mask what you are feeling. Either way, people would feel better looking at smiling faces rather than gloomy ones.

So, with a smile on my face, I’ve decided to start a blog. It’s something I’ve been considering for a long time given that writing is my passion. And given the fact that I don’t have much of an opportunity to be creative with it professionally, I will be whispering my thoughts to all of you, who would honour me by listening to them, and even by sharing your own.

My inspiration for the name came from a most unusual source: a horse. Competing in the London 2012 Olympics Equestrian Dressage, Whisper is the name of the beautiful horse belonging to Hiroshi Hoketsu of Japan, who is also the oldest athlete to ever compete in the Olympics, at 71 years of age. Not so much as a tribute to the man himself, but to the wonderful name for a horse, I’ve adopted it for my blog. Just for the sake of noting, Whisper ranked 40th in the Individual Dressage Grand Prix, but together with its rider made Olympic history.

There are many issues on our minds on a daily basis. However small or large they may be, significant or trivial, I believe it’s better to express them. Let your thoughts flow out, rather than keep them locked up and risk erupting like a volcano at some point. So it is here that I will be sharing my thoughts. And I do hope you will contribute too. Although I do agree that “it is better to stay silent unless what you have to say is better than silence”, I think that once you start talking, or typing for that matter, you will find there is a lot to say.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

Eleanor Roosevelt

 

N.B. This also answers the “Million-Dollar Question” of the Daily Prompt: Why do you blog? 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Origin Story

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