Birthdays. They’re supposed to be a joyous celebration, right? That one special day each year when we throw a party and reflect on the day our amazing journey began. I’ve had quite a colorful journey and certainly enjoyed many wonderful birthdays in my life. I have tried to surround myself with friends and family during this time, and created some of my most memorable days in my life.
You can just picture that open highway stretched out to infinity before you, beckoning to a future somewhere out on that horizon that calls you to adventure. All that you will become lies out there.
In my twenties, I was a freewheeling single young man. I had just conquered Rheumatic Heart Disease, I felt if death was not around the corner, as healthy as I could be. I had just discovered my passion to travel so I was doing it. I managed to start a business, and enjoyed being the boss…..as they call it, “my own boss” I was also paying salaries, and that wasn’t easy. From monday to Friday I went to work, Friday afternoon I would drive to the UN Commissary and buy a bottle of King Robert’s whisky, sit in my office and waste the afternoon away. Friday Afternoon. Night drives in Nairobi, chasing cars and a 4am dash to my bed. How bad can that be, right? But then one day I crashed my car, it was 4am, and I hated life.
Turning 30 was awesome too! I was living in Nairobi making my dreams come true. Life was good. Driving my 1988 BMW 5 series. If you told me things will change at some point I would have said they will get better.
When you are 50. You’re supposed to have accomplished your greatest life’s work by now, right? Or maybe on your way there. Achieved all your major goals. Changed the world. But what if you’re still working on that? What if you’re just now starting to figure out what you’re really supposed to be doing with your life? You can say many things about turning 50, but one thing you can’t say with a straight face is that you still have your whole life in front of you, especially when you have missed to achieve many things people achieve when they are in their twenties.
At this point in the journey, life has shown you many of its cards. Not all, mind you, but you’ve got a pretty good grasp on how the world turns. If there are still any surprises, they have mostly to do with learning to change the way you see things.
Ultimately for me at 30, I found the answer in meditation. Through meditation I learnt how to become present.
Most of us never learn to appreciate where we are at this very moment because we’re so focused on what happened (or didn’t happen) in a past that no longer exists and worried about a future that hasn’t happened yet.
Meditation taught me that to compare myself to others is the root of human suffering. Because it creates a separation between myself and someone else. A duality. A them and an us. Armed with this new perspective, the next thing I did was to review my life and my experiences to figure out what was working and what was not. This brought me face to face with a rather harsh reality. As much as I liken myself to be a caring person, I realized that I’d spent most of my time focused on my own self-interests.
But you’re walking the path. Celebrate that.
The law says that if you take steps in the direction of your destination every day and keep walking, no matter how slow or how far you must travel, you must one day arrive there. In Tibet they have a tradition. After a long and arduous journey, no matter how difficult, they seek a high vantage point and look back to see just how far they have come. Age is irrelevant. Wherever you are in your journey is a starting point. Whoever or whatever it is you’re chasing, slow down.
Realize there is no race.
Whether you’re 20 or 30 or 50, or 80…something I know very little about, if you never stop seeking then you’ll never cease to be amazed by what you might find.
And if every point is a starting point then every day can be your birthday!
How will you celebrate today?
The world right now is a common heaven for “Do It Yourself” projects. From repairing your car, kitchen projects, landscaping etc. Do it yourself (DIY) is the method of building, modifying, or repairing things without the direct aid of experts or professionals. Academic research describes DIY as behaviors where “individuals engage raw and semi-raw materials and component parts to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions, including those drawn from the natural environment (e.g. landscaping)”.
DIY behavior can be triggered by various motivations previously categorized as marketplace motivations (economic benefits, lack of product availability, lack of product quality, need for customization), and identity enhancement (craftsmanship, empowerment, community seeking, uniqueness). Depending on where you live for example, if you live in Europe, tools bought on a long term projects are cheaper than labour. While visiting my friend in South of France, I was paid €50 for helping in preparing a summer home, it took me less that thirty minutes to earn it.
I was however very enlightened by the project my friend does together with his wife. Living in a small village called Fitou, they buy old houses and renovate them…..making them new and putting them on market as AirBNB. The interesting thing about all this is that they have mastered this art on DIY, and when they are hard at work, they seem to be having a lot fun. This encouraged me to if not to live like them, to atleast try. The difference between Europe and Africa is that when you talk labour, in many parts of Africa, is very cheap if not affordable. The tools on the other hand, are very expensive and out of reach for most people unless you are profiting on their use.
Dress the bed all you want. For me my first complex project was doing my headboard for my new bed. Don’t get me wrong, being an artist, I have involved myself with projects that are art related which included creating murals on big walls, but those kind of projects are normally easy for me to execute. However working with large wood, …..and i mean not making a picture frame, was very new to me. Everybody can have the same cell phone or furniture anywhere in the world. That’s what the Industrial Age does. But with such mass production, what is lost is the personal aspect of the handmade connection of one human being to another.
It’s not about sets, but about mixing different styles, such as a classic bed frame with a modern table or light and dark woods. My DIY projects have basically focused on reclaimed wood. At any given time, when you look at the back seat of my car, you see this old wood that to you would be destined to the dumpster but luckily for me, its the beginning of a new life, a life that involves creativity. Using reclaimed wood in a renovation requires more legwork than just stopping at a home center for lumber, but home improvement project highlights the unique beauty that used timber can bring to a renovation,….and I love that.
Old timber has it’s strength. Recycling timber has become popular due to its image as an environmentally friendly product. Common belief among consumers is that by purchasing recycled wood, the demand for “green timber” will fall and ultimately benefit the environment. For me, I view, recycled timber as an environmentally friendly product. I have used this kind of timber for a few projects now, and I will not stop today. If this will encourage you to start projects of your own, it will be great for you. You will have fun in the projects you take-up and convert normal space into ideal spaces.
We desire success almost as much as we need to breathe, from the moment we are born we want to do more, get more, be more. Well we may have a mental picture of success as striving hard towards perfection, in truth, it’s more natural. Success can be describes as the courage to let out the potent dreams and potentialities already in us, simply to give them air.
Most people don’t do this because it seems dangerous, it’s not routine. Yet those who have gone this way do see it simply as the normal path of life, it feels more like home, a place that should be everyone’s experience. Sometimes the urge for more is drummed out of us by upbringing and culture, so you may have been compelled to lower your expectation and settle for a less extraordinary life. If, however you have recently resurrected your desire to succeed, this article is for you.
Authentic Happiness and sense of purpose, authentic and meaningful achievement. Only you will know whether you have achieved meaningful in life. Some people spent all their life climbing up a ladder, to paraphrase Joseph Campbell, only to realize it was up against the wrong wall. This is why the term authentic is used. Doing something or becoming something that expresses your full personality and ability in the most noble way.
Success isn’t an event, or a result in isolation but an expression of the best that is within you. The world provides endless possibilities for making more efficient, more humane more beautiful, it’s upto you to find your niche. Real achievement isn’t concerned with winning for the sake of it, as Timothy Gallwey puts it, Winning is overcoming obstacle to reach a goal, but the value in winning is only as great as the value of the goal reached. You need to make a decision between a compassion to succeed and the desire for enduring achievement that will inspire, enrich your life and the lives of others. Authentic and lasting success utilises the resources of the world to the greatest effect and with the minimum of waste.
Characteristics of successful People
What makes a person successful? What makes them motivated perhaps prosperous, a great leader?
OPTIMISM, Optimism is Power. This is a secret discovered by those who succeed against great odds. Nelson Mandela, Ernest Shackleton, Eleanor Roosevelt, all admitted that what got them through tough times was the ability to focus on the positive. They understood what Claude Bristol called, The Magic of Believing. Yet great leaders also have an unusual ability to face up to stuck reality so creating a single powerful attribute.
TOUGH MINDED OPTIMISM, Optimistic people tend to succeed not simply because they believe that everything will turn out right, but the expectation of success makes them work harder. If you expect little, you will not be motivated even to try.
A DEFINITE AIM PURPOSE AND VISION, Success requires a concentration of effort, most people dispel their energies for too many things and so fail to be outstanding in anything. In the words of Orison Swett Marden, “the world does not demand that you be a lawyer, a doctor, minster, farmer, scientist or merchant. It does not dictate what you shall do, but it does require that you be a master in whatever you undertake”. So to be successful, you must higher goals and aims and doggedly pursue their realisation.
WILLINGNESS TO WORK, Successful people are willing to engage in drudgery in the course of achieving something marvellous. The genius is the years of effort invested to solve a problem or find the perfect expression of an idea. With hard work, you acquire knowledge about yourself that idleness never reveals. A love success is that one’s first achieved, it can create a momentum that makes it easier to sustain. As the saying goes, Nothing succeeds like success.
Cyrus Fields spent a decade of heart breaking set-backs before the trans-Atlantic cable was laid, everyone lost faith in the idea except him, he believed that instantaneous communication across oceans was a necessity not an option. The great violinist Gerald was asked how long it took him to learn to play, his answer, 12 hrs a day for 20 yrs.
Many know the story of Karl Lee’s, History of the French revolution, the Manu-script was lent to a friend who left it lying on the floor, a maid took it spindling to the fire and it went up in flame in a min or two, though this was a great blow Karl went to his books and spent several more months rewriting it better that the original one. Thoreau’s A week on the Concord and Marrimack river sold so poorly that the publishers returned most of the copies to him, he wrote in his diary “I have 900 volumes in my library 700 of which i wrote myself” a few year later came The success of waldon.
One more; Columbus was rejected by scores of Kings and Queens and Nobles before he got funding to sail to the new world. Show me a really great triumph that is not the reword of persistence.