Saturday, December 21, 2013

Staring out of the window…

They say life is what you make of it and when all is said and done, most is said and very little done!

But without getting all melodramatic on this, every year I look back at the last 12 months and what I have achieved, what I have accomplished and what fun I had along the way. But I’m going to make an exception this year. So much happened in the last 365 days (actually less as there are still 10 days left of 2013) that it would take 300 pages to write it all down. So instead I want to share a lesson I learn this year; don’t leave for tomorrow what you should have done today. Bear with me and you will see what I mean.

If you were a regular follower of my blog (or if you have bothered to read at least one of them) you would know that I enjoy writing. And I often write based on my observations and what I encounter in my life. I like to share wisdom and ideas with those who follow my writing and some times offer valuable advice based on my experience. I also express some of these experiences and observations in my script writing. But I have not captured everything I’ve seen this year, and that is where my fault lays. So I’ve decided to start writing my blog on a weekly as of 2014.

I get to see so much in my travels and interact with so many people that often by the time I get down to write I have forgotten most of what I’ve experienced. This year I managed to take 123 flights where I encountered endless tales of the “unexpected” human behaviour. And I regrettably have not recorded all incidents I have come across over thousands of miles travelled. So as part of my lesson learned, from 2014 I will write weekly, shorter blogs that will allow me to share with you more entertaining observations of a traveller. These may also serve as memoirs for the future in case one day I get down to writing a book about my life!

And this idea of capturing everything I see came from a quote I saw in Facebook today from a page I follow called “Freedom With Writing”. They publish quotes to inspire writers to sit down and write and today they place a quote by Burton Rascoe that says “A writer is working when he is staring out of the window” and I thought, “yes it is true but many writers, like myself, have a much bigger privileged window called travel”.

I have often said I am blessed that my job allows me to travel every week. This may sound like a nightmare for those who hate the thought of being away from home, but in my case it is a great opportunity to “stare” out of the window, the window of the world! And please don’t get me wrong, I do miss my family and not being at home, but thankfully I have a very understanding wife and kids who support me in my job. However as I have to travel as part of my work, I might as well make the most of it.

So I sit and stare, stare at the world in front of me. I often get my inspiration through the observation of what I see as I travel, people I meet or situations I find my self in. Artist will often tell you that the best way to get inspired is to observe. Actors learn more about how to play a characters in a bar or a bus than the script they’ve been given. Landmarks or models have inspired all great paintings. The best songs ever written have probably been composed in a park. The most powerful way to get inspired is by taking that time to observe, to look, to stare out of the window, that’s where the hard work is.

But I believe we all have that opportunity to sit and stare out of the window. We all have to get somewhere every day. Whether it is to the shops to buy milk, to work by bus or car, or just simply go out and walk the dog, we all have that chance to take time and watch the world go by. My advice? Take a small notebook with you, your phone, or anything you can quickly make a note of what you have seen. Once you see it, it inspires you and you need to write it down. Then when you get home or to work look at it again and start to develop your idea. And I am not talking just about writing, acting or painting; this idea serves all aspects of life. If you run your own business and want to continue to innovate your product or establishment, if you are working on a project for work or college and need to get that extra edge to it to make it stand up or just simply looking for inspiration to write a card for someone special in your life, everything around you can give you that inspiration you need to make it more special, more inspiring.

This is why I am making this my focus for 2014; I want to write more often to capture even more of what I see. I will also continue to capture some of those inspiring moments in my script writing to bring to life those characters out there waiting to be born.

I also want to take the time here to thank you all for supporting me in my passion and taking the time to read what I write, I promise to continue to provide you all with what I see out there in the world!

Someone once asked me why I liked to write so much and I replied; “I write because someone out there reads”. Have a great 2014 and keep on “staring out of the window”

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Midlife Crisis! A blessing in disguise

Last year I celebrated my 45th birthday and entitled it “I’m, halfway there” because I have aspirations to leave to at least 90, anything after that it’s a bonus! Reflecting on having lived half of my life helped me focus on how I want to leave the next 45 years.

Now I am turning 46 and beginning to ripe the efforts of my change of state of mind. Back then I began to focus on my fitness and weight lose and work on other things that help me enjoy life to the max. I have always believed that we only live once and you cannot take anything with you to wherever place we end up, so you might as well spend it and get it all done while you are here as nothing is coming with you.

Focusing on these ideals has made me a very different man that I used to be, and fro the record, I am not obsessed with my fitness or staying in shape, I just simply found a way to enjoy my life and make sure I get to 90 in good condition. In my recent holiday to Portugal with family and friends, I knew that in order to enjoy the Portuguese delicious cuisine I needed to get up every morning while everyone was still asleep and go for a run. You may think “Sergio, relax, you are on holiday” and that is exactly what I was doing! By getting up in the morning and go for a run I was doing two things; first spending time with myself to energise and reflect; I see running as a great way to get my thoughts together, think of my writing projects, focus on what I’m going to do next and get just a little bit fitter. Second I was pre-burning those calories I knew I would enjoy during the day. This daily run allowed me to not to worry about what I was eating and whether I was putting on weight, which I will then have to work really hard to get rid of it. How many times have you said that? I know I have and getting rid of it afterwards its a nightmare. But by simply getting up in the morning, going for my usual run, at no extra effort, I could enjoy my holidays and stay in shape.

So no, I am not obsessed with losing weight and staying in shape, I’d like to think of it as just being in control and enjoying my life, enjoying those 45 years I have left. Remember, self-discipline is harder to follow, as there is no one pushing you to do it, it is up to you not to let yourself down.

So am I having a so-called “Midlife Crisis”? Perhaps I am and in this “Midlife Crisis” I have purchased a Rebook ZR9 Treadmill, which is now seating in my front room, a gift for my 46th birthday. In some ways this is my “Parked outside Red Ferrari” because the “Midlife Crisis” comes to all of us in different forms. And by the way, “Midlife Crisis” does not only come to men but to women too, they also find themselves with a new lease of life but may not be in the shape of a “Red Ferrari” or my ZR9!

The reality is that for many people becoming 40 something is a wake up call, a reality check that brings us to change our habits, our outlook and in may cases our entire lives, depending on how dramatic your change is. But I don’t think anyone escape going through “Midlife Crisis”.

But why do we call it “Midlife Crisis”? Reflecting on this and knowing what I‘ve seen in other people, the term “Midlife Crisis” is used because some people’s lives, at the midpoint, had had a very impactful change and become “Crisis”

We’ve often heard the stories; “he left her for a younger woman” or “she met him in the internet and just left her job and career to go and live with him in another country” These changes are much more dramatic than getting a treadmill, but I don’t think they are any different to my new fitness regime, the fact is that when you become 40 something, most people may feel they need to change their life in a dramatically way. I think that those who make a much more dramatic change are seeking something new which comes from deeper issues and a string of unhappiness in their lives. This pushes them take the plunge and make a dramatic change; mine was being unhappy with my health so I began to run, theirs was being unhappy with their relationship or general life so they leave it all behind.

Now I am not suggesting that this only happens when you become 40 something, there are plenty of people who make dramatic life changes before or well after this age, I know I did when I left my first marriage, but what I am suggesting here is that there is a time in our lives, usually around half way, when we become a little bit wiser and aware that time is ticking, that there is no turning back, we know that moving forward the way we want will help us have a happier and more enjoyable life. And so we change, we change our habits, our mentality, our routines, our minds; we just simply know that it’s time to change before it is too late.

So whether you are 40 something, not yet there or you well past already this stage in your life, I hope this personal encounter of such critical time in our lives has help you in some way to either know that change is good and comes to all of us in different shapes and sizes, or to know that whatever your “Midlife Crisis” looks like, it will make things better in your life. And if you haven’t been there yet, you may want to think about it, and like me, take control of whatever time you have left on this earth, because if we do not know where we will end up, we might as well make the most of today and when we get there we can turn around and say “yes I lived my life the way I always wanted”

If this is a subject you enjoyed reading about and would like to enjoy a moving story on this, you can check out my play called “40 something” in my website it is the story of a woman who realises she has devoted all her life to others and never to her, and she knows it is not too late to change.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I write because someone out there reads

I’ve been writing since I was a child. My mother always encouraged me to channel my very vivid imagination to the arts; music, drawing, theatre and writing.

And as a kid, I wrote a few short stories that amused my mother and those who cared enough to read them. I never got any feedback or told if I was any good, but I enjoyed writing them and it really helped me to get my stories immortalised.

I then gave up writing, became a young actor and I was able to release my mind through the performing arts. And for many years I tried hard to become an actor. Difficult profession, but one that gave me real satisfaction knowing I could use my imagination to transport myself into the characters I was playing. At a later stage, with the help of a local amateur theatre company called Group 64 in Putney, London, I discovered other forms of expression such as directing and designing. I had the opportunity to direct several plays and it was at this point I realised that being an actor was not for me, I really wanted to work doing something where I was able to project what I could see in my mind, and place it on the stage, with actors, costumes, lighting and scenery.

And the amazing discovery for me was realising that you could take a play and place it on the stage in any way, shape or form you liked. Proof of this was when I was given the opportunity to direct one of my favourite plays, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Luiggi Pirandello, which takes place during a rehearsal of a play, a play within a play. It’s an easy production to stage; all you need is an empty set, a theatre and a group of actors plus a few props and lighting.  As I was planning the production in my apartment I suddenly had a vision. Why not turn the whole things around! Let the audience sit on the stage. After all, the action takes place during a rehearsal and generally actors sit and hang around the auditorium during rehearsals and the stage is usually bare. So we did, we brought the audience in through the workshop and onto the sage, sitting facing the auditorium, a view not many had experienced before!

The production was a great success because we had good actors and it is a great play but I also believe it was because of the setting; it was interesting for the audience to experience something very different. And I knew at that point that imagination is the most powerful tool we have and I needed to put my to good use!

During my time with Group 64 I found again my passion for writing and wrote several plays. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to put them on the stage. I say fortunate because people don’t like to take risks, especially when it comes to new plays/scripts. There are so many sequels littering our cinema screens, Hang over 3, Fast and Furious 6 and if Stallone could have done it, we would be on Rocky 20! Mostly it is because Hollywood in particular won’t take risks, as unknown writers don’t pay the bills! So instead to taking risks and investing in new scripts, they re-make successful films over and over again.

And that goes for anything to do with the performing arts: plays, musicals, films, songs, it is very rear that you are given the opportunity to show case your work and launch your career, specially as a writer.

I left London through my day job and I moved away from my artistic path, finding my feet in the hotel industry, where I have been able to build a good career. And I forgot about my writing, for a while.

But 6 years ago I got promoted and my job required me to travel around Europe. Not a bad job if, like me, you like travelling. I found myself spending the majority of my time on the road. And I mean on the road as the time it takes to get from one place to another. After a while of being “on the road” I realised that I was spending on average 16 hrs a week to get to and from my destinations. At first I used to do what most travellers do; read, eat, watch a movie and sleep.

But soon I realised that when you have 16 hours a week, which I considered being dead time (strap to the seat of a bus, taxi or plane) then there must be something better to do with this time. And I remember, I remember my passion, and I picked up my journey from where I left and began to write again.

It was perfect! I had time, a computer; I was tied to a chair and a vivid imagination waiting to burst out! The four key elements to be able to write. And over the last five years I have accomplished a lot as a writer. I have developed several plays, ranging from monologs to full-length dramas, I have drafted 3 sitcoms with several episodes, I have put together 3 full length musicals using songs from famous artists, I have written 3 film scripts, 4 short stories, several articles like this and drafted many ideas for scripts which are waiting for me to put down on paper (or rather laptop nowadays) and all that in just those sixteen hours I have every week.

Now, all of my work, except for one play a comedy called Lodgers, which was chosen by a company called Writers Avenue as part of their annual competition “The First 20 minutes” and performed in Soho Theatre, London in 2011, all of them have never been performed or read by more than a handful of people. We are talking about hundreds of hours of work, put together in scripts and stories, the fruits of my hard labour, have only been seen by a few lucky ones, those few that are usually forced by my to read them!

So why do I continue to write, when I know only some will read it? Very simple, there are two things I believe in and I express through two sayings:

“Our dreams are our realities of tomorrow”
“I write because someone out there reads”

These two phrases, as a writer and an artist, keep my soul alive, my heart fuelled and my pen moving! And I know that if you are reading this article, I have fulfilled at least one of the phrases, because someone out there is reading this…

Keep on going, no matter what obstacles there is, at the end, the journey is only the path to our success.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Don’t burst my bubble!

Have you ever stopped to think where this phrase comes from? 

Positive Energy is something that drives humans to get through the day. It all begins with you getting up in the morning and mentally telling yourself “Today I’m going to have a great day!”

From that moment you are destine to have a great day. Positive Energy is easily transmitted in all you do and it is a mental state that tells you body to keep going feel good and full of energy, somehow it all fits into place. The cells in your brain transmit to your body those electrons of that give your strength, your PMA or Positive Mental Attitude helps you deal with your day and achieve all you wanted to do.

To put this into context, let me take you through a day where you have an energy bubble created by that PMA. So you get up in the morning, on the right side of the bed, and you go to the bathroom. There you look at yourself in the mirror and say to your self “Today is my day” As you open the shower, the water is hot and powerful and you feel that energy the drops of water transmit to your skin, re-charging that self-battery to it’s full capacity. Then you go to the bedroom and turn the radio on, and no matter what song comes on, your feel good. The clothes you chose to wear that day make you feel powerful and in control and you know you look good in them. You have a good breakfast, a good conversation with your family or friends and on top of all this the sun is shining! You set off and driving to work knowing you are in control and look forward to a successful day. The roads are clear, there is no traffic and another of your favourite songs comes on. Finally you arrive a your work place.

So far you are having a great day! Your positive energy has governed most of what you have done so far and most of it is not by chance, it is just that a PMA makes you see things in a positive way. You know you can take on the world, you are ready for anything; your PMA is driving you there.

So you meet your first work colleague. “Good morning!” you say with all that energy oozing out of you, “How are you today?”

“Terrible! I had the journey from hell to get here today!” says the deeply depressed and tired worker as he/she walks by. Their PMA is somewhere on the basement and their negative energy is like a small kindle that gives a little prick to your bubble of energy. As you feel the air coming out you cover this small hole which is beginning to let some of your positive energy out by just walking away from that person and focus on your day ahead, after all, in the words of James Brown “You feel good! You knew that you would”

Your next interact is also similar to the person you just met, bursting your positive energy with a phrase like “Not to bad” or “I’m ok I suppose” or even “fine”, all common phrases we know and use on a day to day bases but that have a negative connotation and contradicts the positive energy you are feeling that day. And each of these encounters is another little prick that is letting your positive energy out of your bubble. You are running out of fingers covering these holes and soon you won’t be able to stop the air from escaping.

And then you meet your boss, who by all accounts never recognises what you do or appreciates your work, but you deal with it. And they call you into the office.

By now your bubble is pretty much damaged by all the negative energy surrounding you and it only take one word, one sentence, one statement from that person to “burst your bubble”

You leave the office and now you are a field of negative energy. You are angry, annoyed, pissed off! And things start to go wrong. You get more bad news, the deal you were working on has fallen through, the package you were expecting has not come, there is a customer complaint lading on your desk and you just shouted at your assistant because she forgot to book an appointment you were sure you told her to do.

It’s time to go home, you had enough! You car won’t start. Finally when it does and you are sweating because of the stupid heat, you hit a traffic jam, some idiot has had an accident! You get home, the food is cold as you forgot to tell your partner you were going to be late and she/his not happy! There is nothing on TV, you’ve run out of beer so you can’t even have drink, the dog has made a mess and you have to clean it up and finally when you get to bed, your neighbour is playing loud music and you can get to sleep! You lay there, looking up and thinking, “Can’t wait for the day to end!”

Interestingly, at this point you are now so full of negative energy that you cannot see the good feeling you had when you woke up this morning, your world was crushed by the negative influences of those around you, in other words they burst your bubble.

Have you been there before? Have you had that feeling? I know I have and can bet you must people also experience this many times. It is a hard thing to combat, to deal with and you need to be both, physically and mentally strong to make sure your bubble is not burst.

The only way you can combat negative energy is to block it from your day. People with negative energy will transmit this to you, so you have to be strong and block it.

But how can you do this, when there is so much of it in our lives? Walk away from it, don’t let it feaster in your mind, think of the positive energy you have in you and re-charge your battery by focusing on the good. A bad encounter with a negative person can leave you drained and excused. Here are some things I know work for me:

·      Take a walk, get some fresh air, re-group with your positive thoughts and do something that will bring back your positive air into your bubble.
·      Make a call to a loved one just to say hello, their voice is your inspiration to keep going.
·      Watch a clip that would make you laugh, or find something funny, laughter is the most powerful weapon we have against negativism and it produces that all important positive air as you laugh.
·      Put it into perspective. Think what is the worst thing that can happen in life, then work backwards and think where you are now, most of the time what you are going through is nothing compare to what is the worst thing that could happen in your life.
·      Do what you like doing best. Sing, write, take a picture, draw, run, skip if you must!
·      Be silly, pull a face, do a silly walk. All these release some of that negative energy and you’ll make other laugh!
·      And finally say, “Sod it!” even if you don’t swear, still say “Sod it”. There is something about this phrase that has a magic effect. It’s like a good cure to all your troubles and helps you move on.

And then move on. This is the final hurdle because no matter what happens, you have to move on, deal with it and leave it behind.

Positive Energy can get you through the toughest situations in life, as well as enhancing the way you live your life. I am a great believer that the more positive you are, the more energy you have, the more you become immune to the negativism many people bring into out lives.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Extraordinary lives

Last weekend I went to London with my family and some friends. As part of the weekend with the kids, we went to see Ripley’s “believe it or not” museum, which has been going on for several years. My son, who’s 11 years old and loves stuff like the Guinness Book of Records, had suggested some time back to go and see Ripley’s famous exhibition but back then I thought it was too expensive and I didn’t want to pay so much money just to see a bunch of statistics and facts about humanity, so we bailed out and never went. But thanks to the word of the internet and on-line offers, our friends found a “buy one get the other for one pound” offer and off we went to see the wonderful world of “human oddities” as it was described in one of the brochures.

I was pleasantly surprised by the museum, it was very nicely put together and it captured the audience’s imagination. Most of it is based on things that Ripley has put together of “extraordinary” humans or things that he has come across in his life, telling the astonished visitors tales of extraordinary tall humans, quirky facts and bizarre creatures like a 3 legged chicken. And as you go around, you spend most of your time looking at pictures or exhibitions from these “extraordinary” things.

But it was after we left the museum that I began to reflect on what I had seen and the true meaning of what Ripley’s “believe it or not” exhibition is all about – EXTRAORDINARY LIVES!

Extraordinary lives of people who have in some way or another done something extraordinary. And if you place Ripley’s museum in the same league as the Guinness Word of Records, side by side, you can see the same things, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

A few days later I happen to see a documentary about a man who had no arms and how he was able to live an ordinary life, even learning to play the piano and driving a car. The narrator of the program described him as “an extraordinary man” living an ordinary life.

And my thoughts turn to the recent Paralympics games held in London and how we have developed a full event of what was described as “extraordinary people” pushing themselves physically and mentally as never seen before, doing ordinary sports in the Olympics.

So I became fixed on trying to understand what is an “extraordinary person” doing what you and I see as ordinary. Straight away what jumps out is the fact that all these individuals are impaired some way or another from doing things the way an ordinary person does, so when they achieve what they achieve is extraordinary. But this is not always the case with everyone who has been described as “Extraordinary” and so I wanted to understand this further.

I want to break this into tree words; Extra, Ordinary and Life. Let us start with the word “Life”

I guess it is a good starting point as everything stems from life. We all have our own lives, no matter what background you come from or what circumstances you live in. Everyone I saw in the exhibition had a story to tell about his or her life. The man with no arms, the documentary was all about his life, and we heard many of the athletes’ lives described during the Paralympics games and how they ended where they are. Everyone has a life, a story to tell, about his or her life. Every life is a story, in its own right, and it describes how we got here, what we did and how we will end up. Some lives have been told from start to finish, some have just began and many are still in progress.

But not every life story is told in an exhibition, or a TV program or even during an interview at the Paralympics. Not every life story has been written in a book or told in a film. Not every life will be told to thousands of people for them to whoo and ahh at this “extraordinary life”

In fact many stories will never be told, and perhaps because they are seen as “ordinary lives”

I want to now look at the word “ordinary”. Many lives of ordinary people may not ever be told because they are what we consider “normal”. With millions of people living in this planet, many of us will live an “ordinary life” meaning we will never make it to Ripley’s “believe it or not” exhibition, or will never appear on a TV program, or even attend the Paralympics games or have a book or film about us. We will just get up every morning, go about our business and go back to bed at the end of the day. Day in and day out we will just live our ordinary lives, some of us enjoying it and some of us not. It is a fact of life; we are living our ordinary lives.

So what about the word “Extra” meaning “more”? When we talk about extra we talk about doing more, more than ordinary. I’ll do extra time today, meaning I will do more than the ordinary hours I usually do. Extra piece of cake, more than I would usually eat. Extra effort meaning I will work harder at it. Extra, assuming this was more than what it was expected, by others and ourselves. Actually when you think about it, the word extra helps us move away from ordinary and hence why when put together they produce that wonderful word “extraordinary”

Extraordinary People. Extraordinary Lives. What this means then is that these people who are seen as “Extraordinary” and have lived “Extraordinary” lives, all they did was to do more. Take the man with no arms, because of his birth defect; he had to do “extra,” more than an average man with arms, to live an ordinary life. But because he had to combine the efforts of not having arms (the Extra) with trying to live his life (the Ordinary) he has ended up living an “Extraordinary Life”. We admire this, and quite rightly, as he’s had to work harder at it, he’s had to do more than you and me just to go and get a carton of milk. He is an “Extraordinary Man”

But the beauty here is that you don’t need to have been born with missing limbs to still have an “extraordinary life” and become an “extraordinary person”.

And how do we do this? Very simple – start doing the “Extra” in the “Ordinary” Think about it, it is really quite simple, I’ll give you an example; you know you’ve always wanted to stay fit? But never have the time, or the will to do it? Well guess what? You need to find the “Extra” in the “Ordinary” it only takes 20 minutes walking every day to become a fit person, the 20 minutes is the “Extra” in your “Ordinary” life.

Whichever way you cut it, it comes down to the same thing… anything you will do in your life that will be “Extraordinary” has to come from the extra and not form the ordinary, whether you bake a cake, paint a picture, write a book, stay fit, climb the Kilimanjaro, learn to play the piano or just be the best in your field, will require you to do more in your life.

So why not start today and turn your “ordinary” life into an “Extraordinary Life”Ripleys london

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I say YES!

 We all grow up and spend most of our lives hearing the word NO.

On average a child hears the word NO 450 times a day; From parents., Teachers, siblings, friends and the media. “No, you can’t have it”, “No, you can’t do it”, “No you can’t play”, “No, don’t touch it!” I guess some times we do have to hear the word NO otherwise we would walk around with burns all over our hands or end up jump into the middle of the road and get run over by a car. But 450 times a day? That is excessive!

Then as young adults we continue to become familiar with this word. Again from those close to us or even total strangers; “No, you can’t go out”, “No I don’t want to go out with you”, “No, you have to do it this way”, “No, you can’t come in, you are wearing trainers!” And as young adults some time we do need to listen to the word NO to avoid ending up with the wrong crowed. But gain, it can be excessive the amount to times we hear this word as teenagers! I suspect it’s higher than when we were kids.

And then we become adults and we embark on our long life journey. And as we grow up professionally, we try to be nice to people, as we don’t yet know how to deal with the adult word, our first managerial lesson we all receive from our boss is “You are going to have to learn to say NO to people!” How many of us have heard this phrase at least once in our career! And if it is not from our boss, we usually get this advice from a friend in the pub after a couple of drink when we have poured our heart out as to how busy we are. They will give us that advice too; “say NO to people”!!!

So the word NO becomes a strong part of our lives and upbringing. And needless to say, it has a massive effect on us; our behaviour, the way we interact with people and how we feel about life! Such negativity can sometimes take over and rule how we go about business, relationships, and friendships and even how we raise our own kids. If you are old enough to have them think about this; how many times have you caught yourself saying, “I sound like my mother!” That can be a massive complement if you turned out all right, but think about the implications sometimes it has on how we raise our kids. I know for sure that often I get pretty close to the 450 mark when dealing with mine! It’s an instinct; some times you can’t help it, because it’s embedded in us, from years of having learnt to use the word NO!

There is good news though. The opposite of NO, of course, is the word YES. And I suspect we also hear this word a lot when we are kids, but probably not as much as NO or at least not as much as we should do. And think about the important impact the word YES can have on us? Think back to your upbringing and how it felt when someone said YES? When you asked for permission to do something and that adult said YES? You almost fell off your chair in shock! Because you knew the usual response was NO! I have sometimes, as guilty as I am for excessively using the word NO, heard my kids start a petition with the sentence “I know you are going to say NO, but…” and that is shocking! More than when I say YES and they are shocked!

And as a young adult the word YES becomes even more scares and a luxury when we get it. Most of us, average looking people, never dared to ask a girl out because “we know she will say NO” or every time we ask permission to go out with our friends we were told “NO, it’s late to go out” And even when trying to get into a place to have a drink, there was a big sign hanging outside with a big fat “NO under 18’s”!

Of course I understand the rules for restricting alcohol to a teenager, but isn’t it a fact that if we say NO makes them drink more? The more people say NO, the more we want it? So why not just say YES and help them learn to use that power of choice on how much alcohol they drink.

And finally, as Adults, the word YES becomes almost a thing of the past! Every time we apply for a job we hear NO! If they write to you, that is! When you apply for a loan, or a mortgage, when you ask for a favour to a friend or ask to have some days off at work; no mater what we ask, we are more likely to hear NO than YES. And when we finally do here that magic word, we feel happy! One of these occasions is usually at our wedding; “YES I do” we hear our partner say and we can’t believe they said yes! And then it all goes down hill... Why? Because we go back to use the word NO!

So this year, 2013, is the year I want to say YES!

13 can be seen as an unlucky number. Most hotels don’t have a room 13, airplanes don’t have seat number 13 and some building will jump from the 12th to the 14th floor. So when I looked at this year and realised it has the number 13 in it, I thought “you know what? This will be my year! My lucky year!”

But if we move to talk about the word LUCKY, we are moving into a territory of many arguments, opening a massive can of worms! (by the way this expression has always baffled me, I have never been in any supermarket where they sell a can of worms, so do let me know where they stock them!) I digress, sorry!

So I then thought about the word LUCK and I understood I did not mean LUCK. I am a great believer that luck comes from within. And it is driven by ourselves providing opportunities, and this opportunities in turn occur as a result of our attitude and this attitude is driven by self believe and positive thinking. And positive thinking, of course, comes from using the word YES!

Now, remember that in this life, it’s all about choices and we all have the freedom to choose. With this in mind, I have chosen 2013 not as my LUCKY year but the year I say YES! I have chosen to drive everything I do with the world YES!  And everything I do, no matter what it is, I will do it with YES! This will be my year of YES!

Does this mean I will say YES to everything? Of course not! I don’t do drugs and I will say NO to watching Big Brother and listening to GangNam Style any more! You’ve got to draw the line somewhere!

But I’ll tell you what it means to me; YES stands for “Year of Excellence and Success”

My mission and vision for 2013 is to do everything with YES! (in other words, do everything with Excellence and Success) I want to excel in everything I do, no matter what it is, personal or professional. I want to succeed in everything I do, no matter if it is big or small. I want to do my outmost on everything I drive, interesting or not. I want everything around me to be great, in good and bad times. I want every challenge I take to help me better myself, whether I succeed or fail. And I want this year, and possible for the rest of my life, to live with a YES attitude, and attitude that tells me “YES you can!” “YES you may!” “YES it’s yours” “YES and a hundred times YES”

Nothing in life is impossible, nothing in life is unachievable, we have the power to say YES, and we have the choice to live our lives with Excellence and Success!

Aim for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll still be amongst the stars!

Enjoy your own year of YES!