Finding your passion is easy!

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Really the question is easy… I swear… totally easy! You can solve it in 5 minutes or less!

I love this Ted X talk for its genius simplicity and most of all because it’s allowed me to find the best answer to that cursed question which everyone gets asked all too often : “So what do you do?”

So I dare you now, dear reader (yes I figured, it was time I connected with you a little instead of leaving you sitting quite comfortably in front of your screen…), answer these simple questions for yourself and let me know your answers!

Enjoy!

PS : here are my answers! 🙂

  1. Who you are? Issa
  2. What you do? Inspire Love and Beauty through writing, speaking,       teaching piano and performing
  3. Who do you do it for? For myself, humanity, youth and our future generations
  4. What do they want or need? Wisdom, confidence to learn a skill and believe in themselves, a listening ear, experience simple beauty
  5. How do they change or transform as a result of what you give them? I see my students develop self confidence, creativity, I see it bring joy and sometimes frustration which inspires them to grow. Most of all I see profound beauty in what they do and who they are

A break from it all…

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I’ve spent these past few days feeling like I was ‘half-assing’ everything I needed to get done…

Change in season and general fatigue were not helping either, so tonight I decided to pause from the self-imposed expectations and stress and just relax for a while by rewatching a movie from one of my favorite Teenage book genre : Divergent!

Although this was not really one of my favourite dystopian trilogies (I only read the first book) or movie (let’s face it… Hunger games was just amazing), I really had enjoyed giving myself this ‘guilt free’ break and found that you can find wisdom anywhere without even going looking for it!

SOOOOOO instead of the half written imperfect article I was planning and struggling to publish on perfectionism this week, here are some of the lovely quotes on fear that moved me in the movie and could inspire kids, teenagers, grown ups now, tomorrow or in any twisted factioned future =)

Enjoy!

“Why I am an Impostor… Or is it “imposter”?” The struggles of overcoming insecurities and feeling like a fraud

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May I be honest one moment? I have absolutely no idea what I am doing… Whether it’s with this blog, with my studies or small teaching jobs I’ve been doing. I have this constant feeling of inadequacy, insufficiency and doubt that arrises anytime I start or think of starting something. Like I’m an impostor bluffing my way through a role I don’t know.

For example, regarding this blog… I started it because of the “Start a Blog” challenge launched by the Live your Legend blog. To be honest, I actually started it last January as part of  last year’s LYL”Start a Blog” challenge but was always too scared to share it with anyone before this October. Why bother writing a blog you say if it isn’t to share it with anyone? Because I felt I had something to say and share with the world. Simple as that.

But now here is all the chit chatter happening in my head which stopped me from initially sharing anything I wrote : I felt unqualified to publish anything (even a simple blog) or write and express my ideas and thoughts in a structured way (I must spend almost twice as much time reworking or erasing sentences than actually writing them in the first place. I also google words far too often to check for spelling and correct use of terminology… because who really bothers ever taking out a dictionary nowadays?). To be honest, I also had no clear idea what I really want to accomplish or say with this blog in the first place and felt afraid to share any project or idea that wasn’t fully matured with anyone. I felt I could never be a blogger had I not mastered all that beforehand.

Initially, I simply had the idea of sharing Ted X talks that inspired me on the blog. I would spend hours passively watching and searching for the next “feel good about myself ” TED X video and I thought to myself what a lazy bum I am for just sitting around watching amazing people tell amazing stories and do wonderful things. 

Then I started thinking…  (terrible idea… I hightly recommendi it) and very naturally overthinking… Sharing videos could have been enough but I wanted to expand the simple idea and started posting other articles about personal thoughts and general ideas floating around up there and that’s when the Impostor syndrome started running strong in my head. 

«Who am I to post any of the articles I wrote if I can never live up to them? Who am I to write about The gift of making mistakes when in fact, I’m a full on perfectionist who will spend years beating myself up for every single tiny mistake I’ve committed since I was 12? (I can probably list at list about 20-40 mistakes, social faux-pas, I’ve made since then… Big and small… It may seem ridiculus but I still clearly recall a mistake I had made in my 2d year latin exam… Yes, I’m sure you would agree, It definitely deserves an important place in my “mistakes of a lifetime” list…) Who am I to talk to you about Fear and choosing Love when for the past two weeks (and let’s face it for a greater part of 2016), I’ve felt anxiety and fear get the best of me when I watch and read about international news and politics. Who am I to tell you admire the beauty of the Nature around you when in fact, I have spent the past few weeks cursing the cold shitty grey Belgian weather and I’ve been feeling gloomy and unappreciative about everything around me? (well… For anyone who’s actually lived in Belgium and any other north European country, you would probably understand this last point).What interesting and innovative ideas could I possibly have to share with anyone (in fact… just when I was about to publish my article on feeling like an Imposter, one of the recent blogs I started reading posted a great article exactly on that same subject and far better than I could ever put it… Point proven!)?»

As I’ve learned from past personal experience, overthinking, perfectionism and constant self-criticism often clouds clear judgement. And so I decided to do what any other well established perfectionist would do I sought reassurance and asked my Beau : “Do you think I’m a fraud for not always acting on what I say and write about?” He replies in a teasing yet reasonable and reassuring manner :” you know maybe, Your words are just your first step putting  your ideas into action. You’re human, it’s difficult to push through on everything that you say”

See there is a funny thing about me… I tend to forget I’m “just” human. Capable of the best and the worst. With all my flaws and weaknesses and inconsistencies and all my talents and capabilities. I’m a constant work in progress.  And it’s okay for to learn as I go and to feel confused and lost sometimes. I just keep on going, keep on writing and thinking. Eventually I’ll start to walk my talk.

The gift of making mistakes

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Have you ever screwed up? Have you ever done something that can never be undone and let down the people you cared most about?

We all make mistakes. It’s part of human nature. But the more important question is how do we deal with those mistakes ? Do we justify them? Do we forgive ourselves and learn from them or do we let them run our lives?

The Vasa ship was magnificent. It was supposed to be the fastest, most powerful warship of its time. It was supposed to be a symbol of power for the Swedish Kingdom and was made to be feared by all nations. And it was so… that is, for the 15 minutes it actually sailed before sinking just off the shores of Stockholm in 1628.

Misconception and bad planning were the cause of this tragedy that cost the lives of about 30 people. The ship was too narrow and unstable to keep itself afloat. «Luckily», the dutch ship maker who designed the Vasa had already died when the ship sunk and no one had been blamed for the incident. All in all, the consequences of this one «mistake» were not at all as devastating as one would expect. Quite the contrary, this misconception was in fact, in a way, a gift to humanity. It gifted us with the best preserved shipwreck of the day. Studying the well preserved bodies of the dead seamen also gave us insight on various aspects of people’s daily lives such as food, disease, hight and even clothing from that time.

But What would have happened if the Vasa’s ship maker had lived to see his grand work sink ? Would he have seen a blessing or gift in this event? Probably not… He would most likely have felt the shame, disappointment and disgrace. He would’ve considered this as a failure of a lifetime perhaps and blamed himself. Or on the contrary, he might have chosen to learn from his errors to make an even better ship in the future. I believe the latter would have likely been the case. Because in fact, in those days, ship making was not a precise scientific process but more based on experimentations and learning through trial and error.

Different perceptions of failure 

We always choose different ways to deal with our mistakes and failures. We sometimes accept the lessons we’re offered and move on. Or we often continue to blame ourselves for years on end. Or we don’t truly recognize our shortcomings and are condemned to repeat our mistakes indefinitely until we learn one day.

But very rarely do we actually see any good coming from our failures. When in fact, there always is a blessing in disguise somewhere behind every failure… Only, it’s often years later, when we look back at our lives that we realize that one perceived “mistake” turned us into the person that we are today and set us back on a right track.

A failed relationship can allow us to discover the kind of relationship we want and the values important us. Cheating in a relationship can bring the gift of introspection, humility and consideration for others. A setback in our studies or professional life can lead us to a completely new and unexpected path in life.

Every ‘wrong decision’ and failure eventually will be seen as a simple milestone in our lives, as a sign pointing us (sometimes painfully) in a new direction.

There’s really no such thing as a «wrong turn» in life because all paths eventually lead to death regardless of the detours we take.

I say this not in a morose kind of way but as a very factual and objective statement. However, I know that it is far from how we truly experience things in reality. It’s easy to say we are simply taking a detour in life when we’re really experiencing feelings of failure, regret and disappointment in the present moment. We often experience failures and mistakes when we feel we’ve drifted away from the path we expect or “want” to be on.

When I talk about the gift of making mistakes, I’m not talking about needing to see a silver ligning in every setback we experience presently. But I’m talking about trusting that beyond our current perception of life circumstances, all our wrong turns do hold a purpose in the future. Our mistakes serve as a compass, pointing us away from the wrong direction we were pursuing. Mistakes are wake up calls that set us back on the right path (should we choose to listen to them…).  And like any alarm you set, they are never pleasant.  But even if we never perceive mistakes as a blessing at the time we experience them, even if we still don’t know where we’re heading and which path to follow next, we can simply trust and move forward, knowing that eventually we will be able to look back at our failures and shortcomings and eventually connect the dots.

The time is NOW…

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It’s amazing how much one election can impact people. Not just americans but at a global scale. We live in a time of interconnectedness… whether it be economically, socially or politically, we can’t ignore what happens on the other side of the world anymore.

But to be honest, I’m not here to discuss politics at all… I’m here to call you to love, unity, peace and compassion. We (as global community) have been through a lot in the past years : economic crisis, high rate of unemployement, political toirmoil, extremist attacks, divisions amongst nations… And a natural reaction to all this is fear, anger and force. Unsatisfaction leads to blame, leads to anger and hatred, even violence and war.It’s always been like this since the age of dawn. Fear leads to more fear. And the cycle goes on… But is this the way things have to be?

After the Brussels attacks earlier this year, I wrote about fear. But mostly I spoke about love and choice.  A time of crisis can be a time of awakening… In my case, it reminded me of how little time we truly have to speak out our inner truth and to stop putting things off and begin to act.
We can react out of fear, pain, anger, we can choose to passively and hopelessly watch and despair over the situation in the world. Or we can choose love, tolerance, openess and compassion us as individuals in our daily lives. Now more than ever, I urge you to speak your truth, shine your light on the world. Every single one of you! Find what makes you tick, find whatever you’re passionate about and do it. Ignore the negative self talk,the excuses… It will always be there anyways. It can’t stop you from doing it. Actively work and choose to make your life as extraordinary as it can be. Strive for happiness, love, joy, beauty. Be a light in these times full of darkness.

Regardless of what happens to the world, you always have a choice. React in fear or act consciously. Now I’m not as naive as to ask you to change the world all on your own, little creature that you are. The idea is to change YOUR world by changing your reaction to it… It’s easy to follow he vicious cycle  we’re conditioned to follow. I woke up this morning, feeling scared, hopeless and defeated. For some time, I wondered if it were not best to stay in bed, shield myself from this world and its sickness and violence. But in fact, I realized how now more than ever, we need to act, inspire and create a better world TODAY for our future generations. And only by changing our perspective, our narrative NOW can we aspire to this better world. And this happens one small act of conscious love at a time. Breaking the cycle of fear is difficult… It takes a willingness to get out of our comfort zones. It takes humility, introspection, patience and perseverance. It has nothing to do with positivism but all to do with Love. Instead of fear, let the love and beauty you see fuel your actions and let that inspire more love and beauty. The fear and ugliness of the world will still remain but it only affects what you do and how you act if you let it.

A crisis can bring out the worst but also the best in people. Now is the time to bring out your best and strive to create the best possible world.

When was the last time you had fun?

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I must say… I’m enjoying the blog experience! I’ve been reading so much more about people, stories and ideas that move and inspire me… Writing is a struggle that gets easier and easier to overcome (even if it still takes quite some time to write anything). The moment I decided to let go of perfectionism and setting unreasonable standards for myself, I got to tap into my natural «talker» mode and the writing flowed more.

Anyways, enough chit chat and on to serious business…

What are you here to do? what is your grand purpose?

After the initial reaction of surprise and anguish of having this question being thrown at you (the title of the blog is supposed to be about fun… and well what’s fun about trying to lay out your whole life plan and purpose?), some of you would give a fairly clear answer, simple structured, the fruit of years of deep introspection, analysis and work. But most of you would probably answer this question with a  simple and paralyzing «Uh, I dunno…». Either you haven’t really thought about it because you’re too busy, you haven’t really bothered to worry about the grand scheme of things or you’ve thought about it too much and it’s been keeping you up…

Regardless of the answer, there’s always a sense of gravity and importance that accompanies this question. We take finding our life’s one and unique purpose so seriously. I must figure it all out, I must get it all right at all cost. If I don’t, there might be dire consequences!!! I could pursue the “wrong” career, get into the “wrong” relationship, and just screw up my “entire” life… We believe we need our lives to revolve around that one single purpose and set so much pressure on ourselves on finding it. But does it really even matter? Whether we find the answer to this question or not, we will still be alive and breathing at that exact moment.

We get so caught up focusing either on the little things in life or the very big questions that we forget the here and now. We get lost because we just take ourselves so seriously… When in fact, things can be very simple if we stop taking ourselves so seriously.

Don’t take yourself so seriously, have fun!

I read this awesome blog post from Steve Pavlina who is doing a 30 Day Disneyland challenge… And I simply thought to myself. “that’s must be so awesome to give yourself permission to do that” and I immediately felt like doing it as well! I heard that inner child just shout out joyfully at the possibility. But then, almost instantaneously, I heard that “responsible” voice in me (you know… the one that kind of sounds like your parents), urging me to be reasonable, analysing and judging all ideas, situations… basically this grown up voice shut down my inner child.

It’s human conditioning from years of traditional education which molded us into the «responsible» adults that we have become… But in fact, that inner child voice of ours is much more present than we think. It’s that voice that looks in wonder at some new experience. It’s that one voice that laughs at the silliest and most random things like getting caught in the freezing rain in Stockholm and feeling like we’re getting blown away by the terrible wind in a Mary Poppins movie. It’s that caring, loving and playful voice that comes out when you’re around Friends and loved ones… It’s that voice inspiring you hope and excitement and curiosity. It’s actually your un-conditioned and natural voice under the constant «serious» chit chat going on.

We all have that inner child voice. And my advice to you today is just to listen to it and follow it. Answer a simple question : «How can I have fun today?». Remember that was all you ever thought about? Forget your obligations or any practical aspects at first when thinking about this. Don’t over analyse or plan now… just do it! Be spontaneous! Be a kid again for that one time and see what comes out of it!

When I was a child, I desperately wanted to grow up and talk to grown ups because I thought they were these great responsible, super human beings! Then… When I eventually «grew up», to my great disappointment, I realized all grown ups, not one exception, are simply kids who try to act «grown up». We remain the clueless and lost kids we’ve always been but we take ourselves so seriously with all our many responsibilities and stress! Adulthood really should come with a warning sign :

WARNING : Don’t grow up… It’s a trap!!!

Because to be honest we never truly grow up… We remain small, with our tantrums and ideas and dreams. So since we never do change, the least we could do is truly assume what we are and enjoy the true value of our childlikeness in adulthood… My dear friends, I simply invite you guys to stop worrying one moment and laugh, jump and play!