2015: closing cycles

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2015 ending

Hello everyone,

With today being the last day of 2015, I thought to share with you a profound and pertinent message, written by one of my favorite authors, Paul Coelho. I found it both insightful and I hope you do too.

Read below and have a pleasant New Year in advance:

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.
Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?
You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.

You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.
But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister.
Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.

Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.

Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.
Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.

Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.”

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.
Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.
This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.

Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

Culled from Paul Coelho’s Blog: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2015/12/27/closing-cycles/

Image credit: www.interstaff.com

Reblog: How to Live in the Now

Roxana writes about what she considers to be the now moment and offers a way to experience it and use it to manifest the life of your dreams.

Source: How to Live in the Now

5 ways to spot a catfish account on Facebook

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catfish 2

As part of my marketing efforts to generate interest for my novel, Twisted in a Positive Way, I have been doing some social media promotion, as well as answering interview questions from other bloggers. As a result of this, I have also gained more Facebook friends and few more Twitter followers.

One of such Facebook friends was a man I will call Gerard Smith for the purpose of this post. (Apologies to all the actual Gerard Smiths out there)

So Gerard Smith added me on Facebook, I checked his profile and saw that we had two mutual friends so I accepted his invite. Not long after accepting his invite, he made a nice comment about one of my pictures so I checked out his profile and saw that he had only 5 pictures, all of which seemed very recent. I thought that was odd, but decided not to think too much about it.

Later, he sent me a message wanting to know how my day went and I replied, asking how he knew me because I could not recognise him.

Gerard responded stating he did not know me but saw my picture and “liked” me. In my head, I was wondering how someone could possibly like someone without knowing the person. Surely that person could turn out to be a serial killer. So I replied with “fair enough”.

One thing that was very obvious from our chat was that Gerard had a poor command of English, often using “were” in place of “where” and “your” instead of “you are” amongst other mistakes.

When I asked where he lived and he replied “uk”, I then checked his profile again and it stated his location as Clapham, Lancashire. Still something didn’t seem right so I asked what part of UK he lived in and he replied, “clapham”.

Now, I know of two different places called Clapham here in the UK. One in London and another, in the North Yorkshire region.

Still, I wanted to test Gerard, so I asked him where Clapham was located and he stopped replying.

He finally replied the following day with just one word, “south”. This got me thinking, surely someone who lives in Clapham, Lancashire should know that Lancashire is not in the south.

At this point, I had all the evidence I needed to prove that our friend Gerard was a catfish and an unintelligent one at that.

Based on my very brief experience, there are 5 quick ways to spot a catfish.

  • The person has only 4 or 5 pictures on Facebook

 

Facebook has been around for long enough for people to have more than a few pictures on it so if someone adds you and he or she has only very few pictures on it, this should be a flag. You should even be more worried if all the pictures appear to have been posted recently and within a short period of time. This shows that the profile was created hurriedly.

Dot Con: The Art of Scamming a Scammer

  • The person has poor command of English

 

If the person sending you messages on Facebook has a very poor command of English, this usually points to the fact that the person is located in a different region (perhaps a non-English speaking region) from where the person is claiming to be based.

  • The person does not appear to know much about his location

 

This points to the fact that the person doesn’t live there at all. Surely you should know where the city you live in is located.

  • The person uses endearing words too quickly

 

If a person you accepted his invite immediately starts saying he likes you or starts professing feelings for you, then this should be a massive red flag. I have heard of love at first sight, but surely not that fast.

  • The person has very little limited information on his/her profile

 

This point is self-explanatory.

In the end, use your intuition and if something does not seem right, don’t be afraid to use the block button because in the end, it is better to be safe than to be sorry.

Image credit: http://socialnewsdaily.com/11296/catfishing-infographic/

 

 

Addicted to Perfection

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perfection
December is finally here! I can’t believe that it has been almost 5 months since I wrote my last blog post. “Where has all the time gone?” I keep asking myself.
You would remember in my last post I wrote about the crowdfunding campaign for my new novel, “Twisted in a Positive Way”. The campaign was successful and even though I didn’t hit my funding target, through the campaign, I was able to generate a lot of publicity and interest for it. It was finally published and is available for purchase on Amazon in both kindle and paperback format in the UK click here to buy, and the US click here to buy .

I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you once again to everyone who pre-ordered and spread the word on the campaign. I am humbled by all the feedback I have received so far. One of the funniest feedback I received was from a reader who said that she was quite cross with herself for leaving the book at home for one day and couldn’t wait to get home to continue from where she stopped.
If you have read the novel, please feel free to leave a review on Amazon website stating that you purchased the book through the crowdfunding campaign by clicking here.
Moving away from the subject of my novel, I had a discussion earlier this week with my friend who I would call John. Let me tell you a little bit about John.

John is a nice guy, has a good job working in one of the essential services here in England. He earns a very decent salary, has a nice two bedroom house and drives a good car. To everyone, John lives a comfortable life.
In reality, John is not a happy man because he feels he is overweight. This feeling has affected his ability to speak to women and has caused him to lose his confidence because he feels that they would not find him attractive on account of his weight.
Now, in the time I have known John, I have never really noticed the extra pounds. All I see is a nice, funny, hardworking and blessed young man.

When I got home that night, after my meeting with my friend, I pondered how we humans seem to constantly be obsessed with our idea of perfection. Like John, we think about the things we feel are not perfect in our lives and end up forgetting all the wonderful things we have going for us.

The TV and print media have not helped with this, every day we are bombarded with photo shopped bodies and filtered images subtly telling us what we should look like. Even when we are not are not trying to look like the models and characters on TV, we find ourselves sometimes comparing ourselves to our friends and colleagues.

Thinking about this reminded me of a story I heard years ago. A young man had sought a job for months and finally he got his dream job with the exact pay he wanted and was so happy. He called all his friends and told them of his news and they all congratulated him. He continued in this state of happiness until he spoke to one particular friend. This friend like others, congratulated him and asked him how much he was to be paid. Out of curiousity, he too asked his friend what his salary was. After the phone call, his mood changed because he realised that his friend was making more than him. The fact that he had sought this job for months did not seem to matter. He was no longer happy about it.

Perhaps it is time to stop this neurosis and start recognising all the numerous blessings we have. Whenever you find yourself thinking those gloomy thoughts, consciously stop yourself and instead, think of three things in your life which you are thankful for and dwell on those things instead. They may not be massive things. You could even be thankful for the nice cup of tea you just had, knowing that someone out there is craving for just that and cannot get it. Perhaps you could be thankful for the fact that you just had a nice hot meal knowing that someone out there would gladly swap places with you if they had the opportunity.
Now, I am not saying that you should adopt a lackadaisical attitude to life and not seek self-development and improvement, what I am saying is that it is better to take these steps towards improvement from a place of gratitude having it at the back of your mind that there is no such a thing as perfection.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave your comments. I look forward to reading them.
Love,
Chika

Image credit: jarofquotes.com

Crowd funding Twisted in a Positive Way – the novel

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Last week, I wrote a blog post about taking the first step towards writing my novel.

Now the manuscript is with my editor, I have taking a further step to launch a crowd funding page on Indiegogo. http://igg.me/at/twistedinapositiveway

The novel, Twisted in a Positive Way is an inspirational story which takes us into the life of a beautiful young girl, Adaugo growing up in one of the most notorious neighbourhoods in Lagos, Nigeria.

It tells the story of different stages of her life and her constant and endless struggle to reconcile popular belief systems with her own personal convictions. She does this with the help and guidance of a character called her inner being.

It also has an element of romance mixed with spirituality which would leave the reader with the courage to look beyond present circumstances in the pursuit of his or her dreams.

I have set the following achievable milestones in the run up to the publishing date of 23 September 2015;

End of June 2015 – Complete manuscript (done)

Mid-August 2015 – Complete proof-reading, editing and formatting

Early September 2015 – Procure and customise perks

Mid-September 2015 – Printing and production of paperback copies complete

22 September 2015 – Ship! Ship! Ship!

My goal is for everyone interested to place pre-orders in form of taking perks on the crowd funding website. This would help generate publicity for the book prior to its official release date.

In exchange for your donations, I have created 4 categories of perks listed below;

Perk One – The Silent Believer – £5

In exchange for £5 you receive one electronic copy of Twisted in a Positive Way (Amazon kindle or eBook download) + a personalised thank you email.

Perk Two – The Glorious Adopter – £10

In exchange for £10 you receive one copy of Twisted in a Positive Way paperback novel + Personalised thank you note + Free postage and packaging within UK (Please include an additional £3 towards international shipping costs)

Perk Three – The Active Believer – £20

In exchange for £20 you receive one copy of Twisted in a Positive Way paperback novel + one attractive #TwistedInAPositiveWay branded T shirt (Available sizes and colours include S, M, L,XL and XXL in white, green, blue, black and red colours for male and female) + personalised thank you note +free UK postage and packaging (Please include £5 towards international shipping costs)

Perk Four – The Maestro Adopter – £25

In exchange for £25 you receive one copy of Twisted in a Positive Way paperback novel + one attractive #TwistedInAPositiveWay branded T shirt (sizes available include S, M, L,XL and XXL sizes in white, green, blue, black and red colours for male and female + Free e-book/Amazon kindle download of second book “Living and Learning” scheduled for publishing in 2016 + personalised thank you note + free UK postage and packaging (Please include £5 towards international shipping costs)

If you are inspired to support this project in exchange for copies of the novel, please go ahead and make a donation by clicking my crowd funding page here http://igg.me/at/twistedinapositiveway.

Also feel free to reblog this or share the link on your social media platforms. Every donation you make would take this project closer to being a success.

Finally, if there are any other perks you would like to see on the crowd funding page, please make your suggestion in the comment section and I will look into adding them on.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Love,

Chika

Unplug

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Unplug

An over-indulgence of anything, even something as pure as water, can intoxicate.― Criss Jami

One Saturday, about 4 months ago, I had an idea to embark on a one-day personal experiment to evaluate the impact of social media on my personal productivity. The experiment involved me turning off my phones, closing all the social media tabs on my computer and just focusing on checking off items on my to-do-list for the day.

I decided that from 8am to 8pm on that day, I would not go on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, I would not check emails, and neither would I listen to music on Spotify nor YouTube. I was not actively on Instagram then so that didn’t matter. It would be just me, myself, I and my to-do-list.

Before starting the experiment. I informed my partner that I would be going incognito for the day (just so he would not get worried by my absence or silence) and just switched off.

I thought it was going to be difficult when I started and for the first one hour it was.  I had to consciously stop myself from opening any social media app. I was going to take the cold turkey approach and I was determined to win. Those cute baby pictures and funny videos were going to have to wait.

The result of the experiment was almost mind blowing. I found out that once I got over the initial withdrawal symptoms, it was so easy to focus and complete my tasks. It was also less difficult to get distracted because there was nothing to be distracted by. I had shut off all the sources of distractions.

At the end of the experiment, it dawned on me that in this technological age, we have become addicts to social media. I use the word addict because social media addiction is very similar with the more dramatic addictions such as alcoholism, hard narcotics and even sex addiction.

Just like the drug and alcohol addict is unable to function at an optimum level, he or she is constantly at the mercy of the substance he or she abuses, the same applies with the social media addict . We have become at the mercy of social media such that we are unable to function at our optimum because we are constantly getting distracted from doing what we are actually meant to be doing.

Think about the many times you have opened you laptop to do your work or write something meaningful or perhaps study for your exams and without being aware, you type in facebook.com or perhaps go on Instagram. Before you realise what has happened, you have spent the next hour or two on these platforms. Those hours you have wasted are gone for good.

What alarmed me the more I thought about it was that these platforms we spend our time on are the result of someone else’s vision. Someone else has applied focus and worked really hard to come up with these platforms. We are now essentially paying with our time to help other people become more successful and we are providing this service free of charge.

The time we spend getting distracted from what we are meant to be doing is putting more money into someone’s pocket.

This is not to say that you should completely go off social media. Far from it. The point of this post is to make you aware of how much your productivity is impacted by allowing yourself to get distracted and perhaps urge you to consciously start to balance out how much time you waste on social media.

We all need to stay connected to our family, friends and perhaps enemies (just to see how well they are doing). However, where this becomes a problem is when we start to lose track of our tasks and goals.

I also found out at the end of this experiment that when I went back on social media later that evening, I had not missed much. The difference was that I had completed all my tasks and I felt more fulfilled.

I invite you to try out my experiment for a day or perhaps one week if you are courageous enough. Switch off completely and instead focus on completing those tasks you have been procrastinating on or not just gotten round to finishing. It would amaze you as to how much you could actually get done.

Have a fulfilling new week.

Love,

Chika

Image credit: http://www.theinnerseed.com/

Take that first step

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The law of thought

No matter what burden we carry or how rough the terrain, we always discover that we are stronger than we think. It all begins with the courage to take that first step – Cheryl Strayed

It has been more than a month since I last posted anything new on my blog. In this period I have posted motivational and inspiring quotes on the blog Facebook page. (Please like my Facebook page here).

Another reason behind my month long absence is that I have been in the process of finishing the manuscript of my first book also titled Twisted In a Positive Way which is scheduled to be published in roughly 10 weeks’ time.

Now that the manuscript is with my editor, I have taken some time to reflect on why it has taken this long (about 8 years long years) to complete this book project.

I first had the idea to write a book 8 years ago. As at then, I was not quite sure of what I was going to write about so instead I set up a blog, Living and Learning to develop some comfort in my writing abilities. I later took down the blog about 3 years ago and started my current one which you are now reading.

In those 8 years, I found myself dismissing the idea, I battled with it, fought with myself, procrastinated. A number of evenings, I told myself I was too tired, I would do it tomorrow but tomorrow never quite came.

It was not until the beginning of this year, 2015 that I sat myself down and tried to find answers to my seeming reluctance to start my book project. I found out that my delay was not for want of a title to give the book, I already knew what the title would be 3 years ago. Neither was it from my lack equipment to type with – I had a laptop and even got a Microsoft Surface in 2013 specifically for this purpose. Even if I didn’t have any laptop or mobile device, I had my hands and writing materials and I could also string a few words together to make a bit of sense. So why did I delay?

In my sober reflection, I was able to establish 3 major reasons behind my delay. The first one was pure and simple laziness. I would get home from work and convince myself that I was too tired to do anything other than to sit in front of the television until sleep claimed me. Then I would rinse and repeat the same process the following day.

The second reason was inertia – I was unwilling to change my state at the time, I had become very comfortable with just coming back from work and relaxing. I was happy and content with my life just the way it was.

The third, perhaps most important reason was FEAR. I was afraid I would write a really rubbish book so I did not want to even try. I did not want to have wasted my time and energy doing something that may not work. So I squashed the idea and did not bother about it until January this year.

I have found out that the fear of failure is one of the main reasons why most people do not pursue their dreams nor embark on some personal projects they really want to do. They are afraid of what people would say if they launched out and failed. They are afraid to lose money, afraid to lose their sense of security, afraid to be mocked by friends and perhaps enemies.

Sometimes some people are even afraid to succeed because when they succeed, they may even lose friends. So they seek comfort in what they know, squash their dreams and settle for what they have until the dream becomes nothing but a distant memory.

Perhaps it is time to replace the thought of “What if I fail?” with “What if I succeed?”

The truth is there is no way to know if you would fail until you actually take that step and try. The people you are worried about that would laugh at you if you failed have their own failures to think and worry about.

Even if you do eventually fail, at least you have the comfort and the peace that comes in the knowledge that you at least tried. You gave it your best. That in itself puts you in a better place than a vast majority of people in this world who are too afraid to start anything.

You may be worried that you don’t have access to sufficient information to embark on pursuing your dreams. If that is your fear, do not worry. Just take the first step and it would amaze you how the right people with the right information would show up when you need it the most and because you have started, you would be quick to recognise the opportunities as they show up.

For me, I don’t know if my book Twisted In a Positive Way would be successful. Only time would tell but at least I can rest in the knowledge that I have gone out to finish something I have been wanting to do for a very long time.

The knowledge that you have stepped out and followed that dream of yours despite all your fears to me is success in itself.

I hope this motivates you to take that step that you have always wanted to.

Love,

Chika