Forever hopeful

Hope is born in moments when you have no reason to believe in the moment that is to follow, but something good unexpectedly lands in your lap.

It’s born when that unexpected call changes your life for the better.

It’s born when that stranger smiled an understanding smile in that moment that you thought the world was oblivious to your presence.

It’s born when you wake in the morning and discover that despite your worst premonitions, you have a good day.

Hope can be torturous when the events of your life have given you little reason to believe that the good that you experience will last for more than a fleeting moment.

But, knowing that it’s possible for it to last beyond that brief period of joy is what makes it impossible to ignore the hope that bubbles beneath the surface.

Hope is faith. And faith is hope.

Both are intricately woven into the fabric of our struggles.

When we focus on our struggles only, we lose sight of all those moments that planted the seeds of hope in our hearts so many lifetimes before the present moment.

In forgetting, we burden ourselves with more than the burdens of life. We burden ourselves with the burden of ingratitude as well.

Focus on hope, and faith will have your back.

#hope #expectation #sincerity #optimism #perseverance #motivation #goals #ambition #success #selfawareness #selfrespect #mindfulness #inspiration #zaidismail #ownyourshit #ownyourlife #theegosystem #embracingME #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthrecovery

It’s not yet time to quit

Inspiration…if it came easily, it wouldn’t really be inspired, it would be convenient.

It’s in those moments when everything we want to take for granted is not available that we are pushed to consider the impossible as a possibility.

That’s when we dig really deep.

That’s when we abandon convention.

That’s when what we question the limits that we assumed were unconquerable, and attack it with a ferocity that reveals its irrelevance.

Inspiration is what we discover at the end of exhaustion, when giving up is not an option.

Don’t stop.

Keep pushing.

Keep believing.

Your dream is within reach.

Just don’t stop reaching for it.

#hope #expectation #sincerity #optimism #perseverance #motivation #goals #ambition #success #selfawareness #selfrespect #mindfulness #inspiration #ownyourshit #ownyourlife #theegosystem #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthrecovery #zaidismail

More than a wish

Wishing it’s a sunny day when it’s raining is not going to make the sun come out.

Leaving your umbrella behind is therefore an act of foolishness, not optimism.

Optimism without evidence or action, or both, is a delusion we use to cope with an unpleasant reality.

Wishing away reality only allows that unpleasantness to fester and gain momentum, because natural cycles that are not disrupted by deliberate action will continue to grow in strength.

Let your optimism be based on your belief in the effectiveness of your efforts, not in wishes that have no support in becoming real.

And faith, of course. But faith is the basis of optimism, and faith, without effort, is simply wishful thinking.

Start by taking action, and then have faith that your action will create opportunities to achieve your goals.

Do this, and optimism will take care of itself.

#hope #expectation #sincerity #optimism #zaidismail #lifecoaching #dreams #relationshipgoals #goals #ambition #ownyourlife #ownyourshit

It’s Been a Year

I almost forgot the anniversary of my protest. The day I chose me, my sanity, and my self-respect. It feels now like it was a sabbatical more than a new path. The enthusiasm with which I journeyed into my new reality hasn’t faded, but it has changed shapes and forms many times over the last year. Walking away from a well-paid job seemed foolhardy to almost everyone around me. Most considered it yet another impulsive decision, but almost no-one tried to understand it for what it was; the same way they chose to judge before understanding so many other decisions that I’ve taken over the years. I can’t hold it against them. Stepping into someone else’s reality is ever more daunting when our own reality already roots us to the spot with impossible-to-articulate fears.

I’ve learnt expensive lessons over the last year. Lessons that cost me financially, and reminded me of the nature of man. The world is so starved for hope that people quickly latch on to the promise of success without considering the commitment needed to see it through. Of these I have encountered many on my journey through life, but only fully experienced the desperation of such souls when faced up close and personal by their demons. Our demons subdue our conscience more often than the threat of poverty. Our demons threaten us with poverty to drive us towards despicable actions. I cannot count, and care not to count the number of people that drew strength from me in their darkness, but quickly disparaged me when they were reminded of their weakness after the sliver of light returned to their horizon.

The sad reality is that most of us settle for the dawn because we don’t believe we’re worthy of the sunrise. Feeling our way in the dark makes the reprieve of the early light appear as relief, or success. Fixated on the fear that the darkness may never recede, the first hints of light promise safety from that torturous space, so we bolt and brace ourselves to the miserable hope that it offers, hope that feels like sublime joy in the face of the darkness that we just experienced, too afraid to push on to the sunrise and the beginning of a new day. The new day remains a dream meant for greater spirits than ourselves, and the slivers of light arrest the fears of succumbing to the darkness again. Half a loaf of bread is not always better than none.

Wrenching myself away from people like that has been a difficult struggle and an unneeded distraction over the last year. Many sang my praises and celebrated me to the world in their moments of upliftment from the drudgery of their existence, but didn’t hesitate to shortchange me the moment the liberty returned to their tired souls. If trials prepare us for greatness, and the aid of the Almighty arrives when things seem most desperate, I have nothing to fear but settling for the dawn in the days ahead.

To settle for comfort and mediocrity when excellence appeared possible was never a choice I considered worthy of pursuit. I am reminded so often of the bitter expressions of darkened spirits that found my language to be flowery, and my ambition to be unrealistic. Recalling it now beckons the aftertaste of betrayal, but the overwhelming sense of sadness that I felt for them when I saw them lash out at the world because they allowed their social structures to define their worthlessness.

A year later, I still have a clear vision of what I wish to achieve, but I remain adrift in finding the correct course to take to achieve it. The pain and anguish of trying to reach beyond the confines of the environment that I am in makes the journey more onerous than it needs to be. Seeing what is wrong with your world and wanting to make it better only feels like a fulfilling endeavour when those who stand to benefit believe that there is something wrong as well. Complacency and fear combine to dull the vision of many. Sometimes it seems cruel to stir the sleeping dogs, yet at other times it feels obligatory if we hope to improve the state of this world before relinquishing our stake to the next generation.

Hope remains firmly footed, but enthusiasm is fading. Purpose continues to drive me to stretch myself beyond the confines of my current reality, but neither purpose nor vision pays the bills. Finding the balance is always a challenge, but not having the comfort of a predictable income makes it somewhat more distracting. Will I find the inspiration, the audience, and the sweet spot before my resources run out, or will I have to yield to the drudgery of capitalism and commoditise myself yet again to remain a functional member of a deranged society? If the last year was interesting, I doubt an adjective exists to fully describe what the year ahead holds for me.

That I have value to offer is not at all in question. I have tested this relentlessly over the years and confirmed it to be true. My challenge is to find a new audience, rather than the jaded ones that look for excellence as defined by the system of mediocrity that defines their lives. I am reminded of this quote:

I must learn to love the fool in me–the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of my human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my Fool.

Theodore Isaac Rubin

That I am a fool to believe in more than life has proven to be possible thus far is unquestionable. But, like village idiots, fools are needed to bring hope to those that have given up on hope itself. The struggle continues…

To Tell Your Story

After an insightful and engaging workshop that lasted all week, I found myself contemplating whether I have a story worth sharing. There are far more intriguing and gut wrenching stories than my own, and no shortage of them being from my own demographic as well. So I was forced to consider why mine is any different.

To understand why I found reason to question this, you need to be aware of my aversion to writing for the sake of getting attention, or sharing stories to get sympathy. I think deliberate sensationalism is tantamount to selling your soul, and publishing a book so that you can get the accolade of being a published author is only tainting the profession more than self-publishing already has. This probably sounds hypocritical from someone that just self-published their own book. (By the way, it’s called The Egosystem and you can find more info about it from the link on my homepage).

Cheekiness aside, accessibility to platforms like self-publishing is great for people that have a sense of pride in their work. People who don’t live their lives believing that everything they do is inspired, and everything they say is inspiring. It’s for people who have a healthy level of doubt and care enough to question the quality and value of what they’re putting out there. I’m not suggesting that they must have a perfected product before hitting publish! Not at all. But when I contrast that against the so-called writers that brag about the 42 or 50 books that they self-published just last year alone, I must question the quality and the seriousness with which they’re pursuing their craft.

Self-publishing is a blessing for writers that don’t have the funds, resources, or connections to get a publisher to take on their project. It’s also great for someone that has something of value to share but doesn’t have the network of support or means to get professional services before releasing their publication. However, if you have the ability to self-publish, then you also have the ability to do research and fact-checking. You have the resources and skill to produce more than just a dreadful cover that looks like a 10-year old’s doodle in PowerPoint, and you definitely have the ability and tools to understand the basics of plagiarism.

The problem with people that don’t take these basics seriously is that apart from destroying their credibility as writers, they fill up the online stores with such a huge load of absolute crap that the good stuff gets buried so deep that it is next to impossible to find. That means that any writer that takes their craft seriously will have to spend that much more on marketing and promos, and put in that much more effort just to find an audience. Contrary to common belief, word of mouth is not as viral or available as many world like to believe it is.

Every indie author dreams of publishing their book and then getting friends, relatives, and acquaintances to buy it, read it and tell everyone that they know how amazing the book was, and in that way sell enough copies to get the attention of a major publishing house so that they stand a chance of hitting the big time. If that ever does happen, there is more fluke involved than there is a well thought out plan to make it happen. Like many other indie authors, I also got a rude awakening when I realised how expensive social media advertising is, and how unsustainable paid advertisements are for getting and keeping your audience’s attention for long enough for them to make a buying decision. Unless you have a small fortune (preferably a large one) to invest in promoting your book, there is a good chance that it will remain a well kept secret, all thanks to the flippant writers that think that being able to publish without restraint is a license to dump garbage on the Internet.

Beyond the above challenges, the key challenge facing a new writer is finding the confidence to share their story because with the millions of books out there already, chances are good that a similar or better story has already been told. What I’ve realised this week is that it’s not just the story that matters. It’s so much more including the authenticity in your narration, your unique expression, and of course a little bit of luck and a thick skin that all come together to give you a fighting chance of producing a book that more than just a few people will be willing to pay to read.

If you have enough self respect to care about putting your name against a piece of work intended for the enjoyment or benefit of others, and you believe in the value of the story that you want to share, then share it, but be authentic in your expression and don’t try to be someone else. And most importantly, show due respect to your intended readers by producing a quality piece of work and not something that resulted from a wet dream of fame and fortune because you hope to stumble upon the correct numbers for the lottery after publishing.

(This probably sounds arrogant and condescending to many, but I don’t care because liberalism holds no promise for those wishing to master their craft, and offers no direction for those seeking a new path).

The Lonely Path (II)

That incomplete thought process is hounding me. It feels as if the main point that I tried to convey in the first take on this subject eluded that entire post. The main point was simply this. Before I continue, I am well aware that me using the term simple when explaining what’s going on in my head is quite the oxymoron. So there is no need to snigger about that.

Anyway, the point is, when we choose to pursue a greater calling in life that stretches who we are and what we stand for, we need to realise that the people that are familiar with who we are will no longer know the person that we are striving to become. Under ideal circumstances they will grow with us. But ideals are most often talked about and rarely implemented. So expect to feel a creeping sense of isolation when you push yourself beyond the norms that surround you.

Understand that when you outgrow the environment that you’re in, those that have grown to be defined by that environment will quickly assume that you are trying to be better than them. Or maybe they will assume that you think you are now better than them. Whether that is true is irrelevant. What is relevant is that you are different. You are hopefully a better version of you. But unless you surround yourself with people that appreciate and grow with you, that’s when the lonely path appears before you.

You’ll find yourself growing uneasy as you feel at odds with what used to be familiar and comforting but slowly grows to feel discomforting and somewhat annoying. The comfort of familiarity will be replaced with the realisation of exclusion. Not the exclusion from social circles because that remains consistent for the most part. But the exclusion that leaves you emotionally wanting while physically accepted. An ambivalence sets in that challenges what you believe to be true against what you think may be an assumption of grandeur.

Believing that you are capable of more borders precariously between confidence and delusion. Choose delusion, and you’ll be delusioned about your dreams and aspirations, resulting in an embrace of mediocrity so that the familiar comfort of fitting in continues to stroke your ego. Choose confidence and expect to be tested each time you take a bold step towards being the better version of you. Each time you break away from the norm you risk ridicule or rejection, or both. More importantly, each time you step up, you face self-doubt about your ability to succeed, and your motivation to want to succeed.

Are you still serving that greater purpose or are you serving your ego? Are you pushing yourself to escape complacency or are you courting the admiration of others? The questions that hold you back never cease while the strength to push on is always just out of reach. That’s when you need to stretch yourself into unknown spaces. That’s when doing what feels comfortable and safe threatens to undo every bit of progress that you made up to that point. Even if no one else noticed that progress, you’ll know it was there after you gave it up. Give it up silently and it will haunt you quietly for the rest of your life as you wonder if you would have been able to pull it off. Protect that progress and nurture it into something greater, and you’ll face the reality of success and the horror of failure every few minutes in the back of your mind as you try to focus on what you feel passionate about while trying to subdue the self-doubt that gave you reason to procrastinate for so long.

At that point you’ll slowly begin to realise that life was never about persevering through trials, it was always about facing the fears of success. By focusing on the trials we have something to raise as a trophy just by surviving. Succeeding in moments that trounced others feels like success, but once the moment passes, once the recognition of our struggles and our bravery fades, we’re back to facing off the same questions that taunted us when we grew restless in the first place when we first looked at our life and saw all the gaps we could fill to make it better and improve it beyond meaningless embellishments. You cannot unsee what you stared in the face. The more you try to ignore it, the more exhausting the effort to distract you from it.

The lonely path is the only path that showed others that there is a better way. It is the sacrifice of one that improves the lives of many. Needing the guarantee of reciprocation or reward before setting out to improve this world feeds the transactional greed that defines too many of our interactions. Be like everyone else and you’ll always feel like you belong, except when you’re taking your final breath, or when you’ve aged beyond your fickle social needs. When your energy and your health no longer allows you to pursue with gusto the passion of your youth, desiring to change the world will be nothing more than self-inflicted torture. Building hope on the empty promises of inclusion by society is a foolish way to burn your candle. If you hope to die knowing that the world is better because of your existence, don’t shy away from the lonely path, embrace it.