Death at the Starting Blocks

Most of us kill our dreams before they even leap from our minds into life.

I’m just not good enough.

It’s been done before.

What if I fail?

What if I succeed?

Who would believe me or buy from me?

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t have the skills.

So and so is better that me.

With so many people out there, I doubt that I would stand out.

What if, what if, what if, usually leads to I’m not going to bother doing it.

Don’t kill your dreams at the starting blocks. Give it a try. If you fail, you learn. If you succeed, wonderful!

The moment you start to plan out your dream and take little steps, you realise that it just might be possible. Then you put a little more effort into it and you start to doubt less and the what ifs dissipate and become when wills.

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Could You Get Up and Go Like Madonna?

Like me, you might have woken up to the news that Madonna fell at the BRIT Awards.

Before you judge or make fun of her, ask yourself if you could get up and go after a huge fall.

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I think most of us would at the very least would lie there for a little bit and say “don’t touch me, just DON’T touch me!”. A fair bit of us would lie there and cry “carry me out of here”. And other would use the cape to cover up and wait till everyone left the room.

Kudos to Madonna and thanks for inspiring the quote for today:

The one who falls and gets up is much stronger than the one who never fell.

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*Photo credit Daily Mail online

What If This Is As Good As It Gets?

This is the question posed by Jack Nicholson in the movie As Good As It Gets. I love that line in the movie and I often pose it to myself. What if ………. THIS …………is as good as it gets?

What if you don’t get that promotion?
What if you never get to meet that guy?
What if you never get married?
What if you don’t get that job?
What if after all that hard work the business fails?
What if you can’t have children?
What if you never have children?
What if your dream job doesn’t exist?
What if no one thinks you are good enough?
What if you can’t make it work?
What if it’s taking forever?
What if all your dreams never come true?

Will you spend your life being miserable? Is THIS as good as it gets?

There are a few responses, I guess, to the what ifs of life.

1. NO – I’m not even going to think about It, it’s going to happen by hook or by crook.
2. If it doesn’t happen I’ll die!
3. Well since it’s not going to happen I’m not even going to try.
4. It’s a possibility it won’t happen but so is the possibility that it may.

I’m sure there are a few more options but I’ll stop at four.

It’s somewhat arrogant to think that everything you ever hope for and desire will happen to you. There is optimism and there is arrogance because to think that it will always happen, the way you want it to, is to suppose that you are somewhat more special than the others for whom it does not occur. After all, we are all special.

In the words of Forrest Gump, “life is not a box of chocolates”. When life gives us lemons we just have to make – you guessed it, another quote – lemonade.

You could keep hope alive, give up, pray, work harder, keep going, get upset, accept the situation for what it is – there are a number of ways to handle the what ifs. Whatever the outcome or our stance, you and I have got to figure a way to be happy or at least content, irrespective of our what ifs.

The Right Attitude Is Everything

There are just moments when your children make you proud not because of what they’ve done but because you can see that what you’ve been telling them has miraculously seeped in.

My son is a lot more cautious than my daughter. He takes calculated steps and he, more than her, needs to be encouraged to be fearless. It often shows up in new situations like the first day school, meeting new people, trying out something new, etc.  And I constantly tell him, give it a try; It’s ok if you don’t get it right or you are afraid.

At his age I had started taking music exams so I asked his music teacher to start preparing him for the first grade exams. When I told him, I think in retrospect, the word exam freaked him out a bit. I could see a slight look of concern wash over his face.

He had his lesson yesterday and ,as agreed with his teacher, he was given a grade one piece to practice.  He is actually a very good pianist and I’m not saying that because I’m his mum.  He really is. 🙂 He played it through with very few mistakes which for a first try was not bad at all.

After playing, I asked him how he was feeling about the exam (which by the way is in the distant future)  he replied, “a little bit scared but quite excited at the same time”. I actually yelped and gave him a high five. That attitude is worth much more than passing a thousand exams!!

By George I think he’s got it, I do believe he’s got it !!!

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner

Dirty dancing was one of my all time favourite movies as a teenager.  It still is. In the days of VHS, we played the tape so much that certain bits got chewed up but that didn’t stop us ‘die hards’.  We figured out ways of using sellotape to reacquaint bits of the VHS reel so that we could hold on to the magic of the film for a little while longer.  My mum was absolutely frustrated at the number of times she came home to find us watching it. 

I don’t know what it was; whether it was the lines, the music, the dancing or Patrick Swayze. Perhaps it was because at the time it was a musical without the cheesy break-into-song bits. It was contemporary and the name alone made you feel naughty. 😉 It was just a quintessentially great movie with great lines and great characters.  

‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’ was the breaking point of the movie; you could call it the coming of age for Jennifer Grey’s character, Baby. She was the virginal debutante and Patrick Swayze was the archetypal bad boy who was going to deflower her. She was over-loved and suffocated by her protective dad who preferred to hold on to an image of his ‘perfect’ daughter rather than see her as the young woman she had become.  He constantly put Baby in the corner where he could protect or, frankly, control her. 

Her father was totally blind to the fact that he was stifling her and her dreams.

Are there people or circumstances in your life that try and put you in the corner? Even well intentioned people? A boss, a friend, a spouse or partner, a colleague? Or a situation that keeps bringing you down like a failed driving test, exam or business?  Someone who constantly tries to undermine you and make you feel worthless?  A situation that make you feel like a failure?  That person or circumstance is not worth your acquiescence. 

After your worst failure always comes your greatest success, but you only achieve that sucess if you try again.
-Keji Aofiyebi

Get out of the corner and get lifted like Baby.

Let’s Face It, Some People Won’t Be Happy When You Succeed

I remember vividly my first experience of this when I was 14. For most of my life I had struggled academically. In primary school, in the days when kids got grades in exams, there were 32 kids in my class and I was sure to come in 16th/17th position every end of term. You could bet money on me and I got used to this position. When I got to secondary school and there were 5 arms in each year, I was somewhere between 100-120th in a year of 200 kids. As I said, I was always somewhere in the middle-ish.

In my fourth year in secondary school, I became a Christian. One of my first prayers to God was for Him to help me do better in class. If this could happen, then I would know He could indeed do the impossible. At the end of that year I came 49th in a year of 220 kids or so. 49th! Me!!! And I was like 9th/10th in my class. It was unbelievable. I went on to get 6As and 3Cs in my final exams. Which for a straight C/D student is nothing short of a miracle. I’ll never forget the impact it had on me. Now before the naysayers start to recoil, I’m not saying God did this (although I am) but certainly becoming a Christian boosted my esteem and confidence in leaps and bounds and that affected my grades. However, that’s a post for another day.

Back to my story. Apart from the impact of my results, I was also amazed by the reaction of people close to me and around me. There were girls in my class that were genuinely surprised but also really happy that I had excelled so well. I remember the squeals and the jumping, as girls do, so vividly. And for a few moments I was the ‘clever girl.’ However, I was surprised by the reaction of one of my closest friends. It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy for me but she wasn’t as enthusiastic as the other girls who barely knew me.

For years, I had watched her, without any jealousy, get better grades than I did. I mean she was cleverer than I was – fact. And this one time, when I happened to do a lot better than her, I’m not sure what baffled her more. Was it the fact that she got poor scores or that she did so badly that even Tomi got better scores than she did? For some reason, my success seemed to beam a poor reflection upon her. I recall a similar scenario with my younger sister when one of her closest friends simply told her that her scores were wrong as she couldn’t possibly have gotten a higher score than she did. 🙂 Oh the honesty of children.

I’ve had this scenario reoccur a few times in my life where people who were used to me being middle of the road were suddenly appalled that I got better scores than they did. They didn’t seem to think of me when I watched them get glowing results whilst I went home with my pathetic school reports. Never once did I begrudge them their scores. They worked hard for them, they deserved them. I only ever wished that my scores would get better, and my wish came true.

Sometimes you get the feeling that people like you as long as your ‘failures’ make them feel better about themselves.

Misery loves a crowd and in a herd, we all look the same. The moment a head pops up, it stands out. The moment one decides to go in a different direction, it’s glaring. Not everyone will like it. It’s not easy standing out in a crowd especially when people don’t seem happy for you. Particularly as, frankly, no one wants to walk alone. Nonetheless, at some point in our lives we have no choice but to take certain paths on our own – a simple fact of life.

Whether or not it’s as a result of this experience, I’ll never know but I abhor being part of the herd. I want to live my life in a way that infuriates the norm. That’s my goal. Hopefully 40 years from now if you ask me how it all worked out, I’ll reply, ‘gggggggreat!