Saturday, February 28, 2015

Week Nine 2015 – Redefining your focus

Our lives can be so busy we may loose sight of what our focus is and instead of achieving a lot we thin down our successes.

In case you didn’t notice (and this will prove the point of this blog) this is week nine of 2015 and I skipped week eight!  This was done on purpose and I needed to break the norm to find out what this is really all about. After the successful completion of my 52-week blog challenge last year, I began 2015 with the same pace of writing a weekly blog. This was partly due to a very positive comment from someone encouraging me to continue to write weekly, but also because it has become and habit and once a habit is formed it’s easy to continue doing something. I also added to my already fully packed bag of hobbies doing a video Vlog of my travels, inspired by my children who watch endless hours of videos in YouTube and the self indulgent Christmas gift I gave myself in the form of the famous Selfie Stick. So it was only appropriate to adopt this new task and produce this weekly video.

But last week, as I sat and edited my video Vlog and tried to look for inspiration to write my blog and I began to get that feeling that I was doing too much and accomplishing perhaps too little. This thought came into my head as I also stumbled upon an incomplete play I have been working on and never finished. I was really miffed when I opened the file and began to read the dialog and realised I had not finished giving life to the story and its characters and now going back was harder as I had lost the thread of the story and needed to re-read and re-think the idea. I had been so busy writing weekly blogs and video Vlogs that I had forgotten I was working on this script. And to top up all these feelings I watch the Oscars thinking “I’ll never get there if I don’t focus on trying to write that golden nugget that will get me to Hollywood” If I am too busy with lots of little projects I will struggle to get anything big done.

So I put the proverbial pen a paper down and decided to redefine my focus. Whilst I really enjoyed the challenge of writing every week I needed to think about what my focus as a writer is. Apart from the fact that I guess you do run out of subject to write every week and I have added the video Vlogs to my repertoire which I also enjoy doing, all this drove me to neglect my script writing which at the end of the day is where my real passion (and I think my talent) really is. Wanting to be in the limelight and doing so much has made me realise I have so much to give but at the end I am just churning stuff to get it out there. I felt a bit like a reporter of a dally newspaper having to meet datelines and get my work out on time, which at the end of the day takes away the pleasure of what I do and why I do it.

So I have made a conscious decision to continue to bring to you my blogs but not in such a prescriptive manner, I guess just like I did before 2014, I want to write about experiences I see and come across as and when they emerge rather than trying to find these so that I can meet a dateline to get this to you. I know my loyal and trusty readers and follower won’t mind to get my blogs less often combined with video Vlogs and the occasional script or short story (in fact you may be glad you don’t have to read my stuff every week! J) So from now own, some weeks you may get a Vlog, or a Blog or a short story, a script or just simply a note keeping you up to date with my work.

Taking time out is a valuable lesson we should all keep in mind particularly when we feel we have lost our sense of purpose or direction. Sometimes stepping back and re-examining what we do will demonstrate that somewhere along the line we got side tracked, or derailed or even distracted from the real purpose and meaning of our passion, our focus, of the things we really enjoy in life. I encourage you to take time off, like me, to redefine your purpose, your goals, and your focus.  Life is a destination and there are many roads that lead us to the end, but if we loose ourselves by taking to many avenues, we end up in the dirt track with no real direction or clear view of our end goal. I’m off to finish that script I never completed and start the next project, who knows, this may be the one that gets me that ticket to the red carpet one day!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Week Seven 2015 – The power of a Smile

There is nothing more powerful and more contagious than a smile, so give generously!

 They say that love makes the world go round, and I also say that a smile is the fuel of that engine that make the world go round. Have you ever stop to think how powerful a smile is? And how easy is to give a smile? It takes 37 muscles of your face to frown and only 17 to smile, so it’s even easier than you think. And giving a smile to someone can mean so many things; it can give comfort to someone in distress, it can make you feel safe in times of trouble, it can make you feel welcome in strange places and most of all, it gives you that magic energy every time you smile at someone; it gives the receiver that much needed positive energy.

And a smile always produces a smile (at the right time and right place) but without a doubt and failure, if you smile at someone they will smile back. They don’t know why, it just happens. I have conducted this social phenomenon several times in my life but I got a chance to demonstrate this to a group of people this week. And if you have never tried it before, I beg you to try it as soon as you are done reading this blog, it’s magical and it works every time. And most of all it always makes you feel better, as you have just given something to someone that will help them through their day.

The idea is very simple – when you see someone without a smile, smile at them! And I can guarantee, under normal circumstances, they will smile back. As I sat having dinner with a group of people this week we were served by a young girl who looked so miserable and with a long face. She was not angry or upset; she just simply didn’t smile. Perhaps she didn’t like her job, or something bad had happened that day, but she was defiantly not going to give us more than what she was required to do. At one point she dropped something and said in her native language “this is not my day” and then I knew why she was not smiling and I needed to do something. You can’t be so miserable when you are that young, you still have a lifetime ahead of you to suffer!

So I told the group about my theory and that I would make her smile. Some did not believe me and were skeptical (she really had a long miserable face which looked hard to crack!) but I knew she was not angry; she just simply needed some positive energy and what better way to give it to her than through a smile. I sat there, observing her, waiting for my moment to strike. And as she went around taking people’s orders I knew that would be my chance to make her smile. When it was my turn I looked at her as she held her pen and paper and rapidly dropped her eyes avoiding eye contact. So I paused and waited for her to look at me. There was a very short, awkward silence and everyone waited to see what would happen. And then she looked up, I guess she didn’t know what was coming her way and as she looked at me I smiled. And then, as if by magic, she could not resist and smiled back at me! Everyone erupted with laughter and I placed my order.

She walked away and I had proven my point and theory to everyone at the table and they were all so exited by it. Some were still skeptical and we debated the phenomenon for a while and what made someone smile back at you, so I challenged all my companions to give generously and I asked each and everyone at the table to give her one smile. This would give her enough fuel to get through her shift. And one by one, taking it in turns, gave her a powerful smile. And every time she smiled back, and may I add, more enthusiastic than the previous smile.

As the night came to a close, she had moved from a miserable young girl probably hating her job to a more pleasant woman who enjoyed serving our table but still probably hating her job!

In the end, the social experiment had been a success and my theory once more had triumph.

I am sure she went back to work the next day with the same long face, but at least I know we made her life a little bit better that night. But just think what her job would be like If everyone of her customers gave her a smile; not matter how much she hates her job she would enjoy coming into work to get showered with that tremendous amount of energy that would keep her going for the rest of the day.

I don’t understand why we don’t do this more, its great and helps the world go round.

So don’t just sit there not smiling, give it a go, you will enjoy it and if we all do it, it means that someone will do it to you too! Then we will all benefit from the positive fuel that a smile gives to your life.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week six 2015 – the Perception of time

Time waits for no one! This week I’ve learned that time isn’t always what it seems and when you least expect it, its gone!

The subject of time has been the centre of previous blogs I have written and I never get tired of writing about it. If the truth be known, I think time is something non of us really understand and therefore do not appreciate fully. If you are fan of the “Back to the Future” movies or indeed any kind of time travelling stories, you would know that the theory of time travel is based on the premises that you fold time to get to the future faster (or to the past depending on which way you are going!) But how do you fold time when you cannot touch it? I guess I’ll leave that to the scientist trying to discover time travel!

But one thing is for sure; we don’t have enough of it and really understand how it works. Let me give you a couple of examples.

In the past I have talked about having time for everything and that your time is the same as mine, yet one of us can have a more productive use of this commodity. This week I have also come to realise something about time, which I guess I knew about it but it hit me finally in the face. We don’t really know how fast or slow time goes. What does this mean? Well even though we measure time with a clock, I am not sure, just like I’m not sure how you would fold time to get there faster, that time always goes at the same pace.

Of course a clock would accurately tell you what has gone by, how many seconds passed since you last looked at the time, but I am not sure it really shows you how you have “travelled” across this time. This is where this “time travel” theory starts to make sense. I actually think time isn’t always the same and some times it goes faster and some times it goes slower; think about it.

This happens all the time is our lives, but it became more evident to me this week as I travelled to Armenia, which is four hours ahead of the UK. I had a very busy and tight schedule and I was away for four days visiting two cities and I spent two days travelling there and back due to time zones. Part of the trip on Tuesday was to stop over in Vienna where I had a ten-hour layover! Now, ten hours in an airport sound ten too many hours and most people would agree that this would be a killer! I had been offered to go down to the city and spend time there rather than at the airport, but I chose to stay, I had enough work to keep me entertained for the duration of my visit to Vienna Airport! I don’t know what it is, if it is because you keep yourself busy, or perhaps because you don’t think about it, but soon after arriving and settling in the lounge to do some work, I looked at my watch and it was already time to board the plane! Time just flew so fast and I didn’t get to accomplish everything I was hoping for in that ten-hour layover.

So here we see what the perception of time is. When you say ten hours, it sounds an awful lot of hours, but when you think about it, on average that’s how much people spend in the office every day. But when you ask someone who works in an office if ten hours go by fast, they may say no (depending on how much they enjoy what they do)

When I finally got to my destination, it was 5.30 in the morning and my meetings where starting at 9 am. I tried to get some sleep on the plane but I’ve never been very good at it. I’m not one of those people that as soon as the plane takes off they are gone. On the airplane I experience the opposite with time. The flight from Vienna to Yerevan was only four hours, which when you take 40 minutes for take off and landing, it leaves you with just over 3 hours of actual flight. Take another 30 for your mean and it’s really not a lot left to get proper sleep. After finishing eating, I closed my eyes trying to snooze. I only had two and a half hours, but talk about time going slow! After what seemed like five hours of trying to sleep without success I opened my eyes only to discover I’d only been tossing and turning for 60 minutes and I had an hour and a half left! What! I tell you the next 90 minutes seemed like a lifetime and I couldn’t wait to land as the seconds just dragged and dragged and dragged…

When I finally got to my destination I wanted to get to bed as soon as possible to try and get as much sleep as I could before my meeting. I arrive at my room at 5.35 am and I calculated that if I moved fast I could be in bed by about 5.45, I only needed to do a couple of things and jump into bed. And again the “fast-forward time” ghost got hold of my time and the next thing I know it’s 6.15 am and I’m just getting into bed! Where did the time go? I should stop folding my time when I shouldn’t!

I had two days of very successful meetings and I guess being so busy kept me going with very little sleep. By the way time passed so fast for the two days I think I was folding it too much!

I love the phrase “time waits for no one” because it tells you how little control we have over time. You cannot stop it and this week I’ve come to realise you cannot control how fast or slow it goes either. What may seem like a lifetime, it may be nothing to others. Waiting for someone or something may seem an eternity and when they arrive or you get there, then it’s over too soon, and time just passed you by, not waiting for you or anyone else!

But one thing is for sure and I still believe it’s true; don’t waist your time! It doesn’t matter how fast or slow it goes, always put it to good use because once it’s gone, you will never get it back!