39

If you think about it, 39 is an interesting number. If you multiply the first digit by itself, you get the second digit. If people reset their age every time they become teenagers, I would have been teenager 3 times by now. Most importantly, it warns of an ending and signals a new beginning. The end of a decade is on the horizon and the fourth baton in life’s relay is already being waved.

This probably explains the pensive mood. I am spending this day in deep thought of what this particular day really means to me. I believe that age is just a number and not a milestone. One may spend so much time, maybe even as long as 39 years going nowhere or nowhere significant. Comparing time with distance however measures a performance. It makes me wonder if I’ve covered enough grounds given the time I’ve spent on this planet. It boosts my pride that I’ve done well considering all the stops  and detours I had to take in this journey. It keeps my ego in check knowing that I did not do well enough to say that what I did is spectacular enough to consider worth emulating. As a matter of fact, I can say with humility that much of my life is rather a study of “”don’t s” than of “do’s”. My children would know what I mean. I know that I’m taking this journey on my own terms, my own rules. From time to time, I have to remind myself that because I sometimes tend to compare with others and wonder if my own terms and rules are not made as excuse for not being at par with others.

39 to me sounds like a deadline, a reason to hustle, to achieve something  more significant, something I can use as a starting capital for the next decade. I look at the time and the scores and realize it’s time to rethink some strategies. I am both excited and fearful of that thought.  That’s because I am both excited and fearful of change. I am just thankful of the guiding light my father left me. He said fear is no reason to quit. Fear is a reason to get better, muster all my strengths and do my best. That’s why he’s the bravest person I’ve ever known.That is also why, failure although it scares the hell out of me, never stopped me.

So 39, I guess is a milestone afterall, a milestone of my journey in time.  As I ran pass the marker,I decided that 39 is going to be a year of more more and less less. This year I promise to enjoy more and complain less, to give more and need less,to appreciate myself more and punish myself less, to appreciate others more and criticize less, to work harder and play even harder, to celebrate life and prepare for more years of celebrations.

There are very good reasons to celebrate 39 – a bigger family means more special people to love and a bigger network of friends to share this life with. The thing I celebrate the most is the daily opportunity to touch another person’s life. My wish for the next few numbers that will come to my life is more opportunity to spend time with family and friends and more opportunity to be of use to other people. To the numerous people who greeted me today, thank you! May you stay my friends forever.

Drink from Life

Take a swig, then another and another.

But do not hurry, drink slowly

Let it linger, taste the sweet, notice the bitter and feel the bite.

Acknowledge how it flows down your throat and then to your body.

Be engulfed by its spirit, feel how it turns your world around.

Be here now. Savor every breath, every human experience.

Let today explain yesterday. Let tomorrow take care of tomorrow.

Take what you are given, give back as much as you can.

Drink life, enjoy it, experience it, be intoxicated by it. Know the low, appreciate the high.

Notice who you are drinking with

Every moment is important only if you live that moment.

The Hula hoops of Our Lives

I just saw a girl very effectively twirl three hula hoops around her waist. I thought she must have been bored with one, so she tried two, and then wondered if she can do three, and then she did. I also wondered how long it took her to keep three hulas up. She must have tried and failed several times until she got it. It’s fantastic what people can do if they know what they are good at and then explore how far they can go with it.

We must all have our own version of this girl’s hula hoop. I mean, we cannot be good at nothing. What is yours and how far have you gone with it? If you can sing, have you at least tried to get better at it so you can take a shot at stardom? If you think you are creative, have you exploited that creativity and let it take you as far as possible?

Don’t set your limits, push it.

The Bus Passenger’s Dilemma

Passengers have it easy. They can sit back and choose whether to enjoy or complain about the ride. They don’t have to negotiate through the traffic, decide which lane to take, take an alternate route, speed up and or slowdown. There’s a price to pay though, for letting others take control of the trip for you. They dictate the pace of the journey. You cannot get to your destination faster than how fast the driver is willing to drive. You are at the mercy of the quality of that driver’s driving skills. You can complain and then maybe get off the bus if you don’t like the experience but you cannot take control of the wheel.

In life, you can choose to have it easy and depend on others to take you where you want to be. You can choose to be thankful for what you are getting or complain about the driver’s seeming disregard for what you want. But then, you can choose to take the driver’s seat of your life. Run it as fast or slow as you want to. You can go straight to where you want to be or take all the detours you see along the way. Passengers to your own bus can only complain or get off if they don’t like the ride. It’s your bus. When you’re driving, you are driving.

Are you self-driven or are you driven by others?

Of Coals and Diamonds

coaldiamondCoals are coals and diamonds are diamonds. They may have the same basic ingredient but they are far from being the same. You cannot expect coals to become diamonds nor diamonds to become coals.

Don’t get me wrong, there is no need for coals to be diamonds, they are good as they are. With their abundance, they get the machinery going and they fuel the industries.

I am reminded lately that what is true for coals and diamonds maybe true with people. Sometimes people have the romantic notion that coals should eventually graduate to becoming diamonds. I used to share that notion… Until lately.

Lately I realized that some of the coals I met are not diamonds in the rough. No amount of cutting and piling will make them look any close to being diamonds, and to push them to become one just adds to their stress because while they may be inspired by the thought of becoming diamonds, they just don’t have what it takes to become one. Some of them are just plain uninterested.

As a matter of lesson I realized I need to distinguish between a coal and a diamond in the rough… And let coals be coals.

Off With Those Training Wheels

training_wheelsRecent experience reminded me that  the longer you keep the training wheels attached to a bicycle, the longer it takes for the learner to build the confidence to go without it. Sure they’re useful. They minimize the bumps and bruises. However, being too afraid of the  bumps and bruises could mean keeping the training wheels longer than necessary.The bumps and bruises help a lot in the learning process to you know. They teach us how to get up after a fall and hopefully learn how to balance better to avoid the painful fall. The experience too, should teach us that the pain of a fall is nothing compared to the joy of the ride.

This is true with bicycles as it is with life. As parents, leaders managers, and teachers, we sometimes fear letting go. As children, learners and wards we become too dependent for our own good. We all know those training wheels will have to go one day. It’s just that one day is not today. Remember the lesson. The longer you keep them, the longer it takes for you to face the challenges of life. Remember too that even the best cyclists crash and fall once in a while. My point is, the only way to avoid falling from a bike, is to never ride it. But do you really want that?

That Displacement Experiment

I’m reminded of a science experiment inspired by Archimedes’ eureka moment that we did durindisplacementg elementary school. It’s where we learned a couple of things. One; the amount of water displaced when an object of a particular size is submerged to it determines the volume of the object; two; two objects of similar volume cannot occupy the same space at the same time and third, no matter the weight difference; objects of similar size will occupy the same amount of space.

Now, I’m not good in Science, in fact I’m not even sure I remember this experiment all correctly. However, I am very sure that pretty much the same principle applies to life. That the things you do no matter how important or unimportant occupy a finite amount of space and that no two things of similar size no matter the weight difference can occupy the same space. So I’d say be careful what you put in your life.

I often hear people wanting to be more successful, wealthier or happier or simply wanting to be better but unable to do something about it. More often, this is because their life is full of stuff that do not contribute to the achievement of their goals. There are just no space available for them to place the things that will weigh more heavily in their personal pursuits. So we hear people say, I want to earn more, but won’t sacrifice being out of their comfort zone to try out new ways to earn. Some people ask me to help them become trainers like me. I would give them the tools but they can’t find  the time to use them. They are unwilling to remove some stuff in their lives that occupy the space where these tools could have been used. They can’t take the movie marathons out, they can’t replace their love story novels with books that are relevant to building their training skills. As a Toastmaster, I would hear people say, they want to become better communicators and leaders and Toastmasters looks like their ticket to getting there. They are however, unwilling to pay the price of being there in meetings and participating in the most productive way they can. After sometime, they would quit because Toastmasters is not helping them… No, they are not helping them.

I say look at the principle behind displacement. No two objects of similar size no matter what the weight can occupy the same space at the same time. One will have to be displaced. The question is, which one are you displacing?

Eureka?