Be Yourself And Loudly

I have always enjoyed reading self-help-type articles including the multitude of lists that comes with them, however, I’ve recently found myself questioning their validity. Of course, the will is good and by all means, read what you feel you need to read, but isn’t every ’10 Ways To Be More Productive Beyond Your Wildest Dreams’ post you read ironically keeping you one step further from getting you to where you want to be while you’re trying to assimilate yet another list into your life? And in truth, how efficient and productive do you really need to be?

What’s stopping you being brave? What’s stopping you giving your own voice the chance to be heard above the white noise of the world? If you’re always reading information about how to do things well, that can be a good thing for a while, but when do you actually start doing the thing you want to do? Whatever your field of interest may be, what’s stopping you daring to have the confidence to follow your own path and contribute something of quality to help the world? It could be music, art, photography, a book, a good day at work, volunteering at a charity, spending time with your family, gardening, cycling or starting a business. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do as long as it’s your thing.

What do you really want to happen after putting yourself out there? Maybe millions will read, listen, appreciate or acknowledge what you have done. And maybe they won’t. Maybe people will love you. And maybe they won’t. But when you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you really need to do or say today? Now even? So much so that it would physically hurt you if you didn’t?

And of course, feel free to think that this is just another post full of white noise. That’s your prerogative. I would much rather you make your own noise. Be yourself. And loudly. Contribute something of quality to help the world. This is one of the ways I do what I need to do. What’s yours?

Feature image by Sebastiao Salgado

The Lost Art Of Being Positive

What are you doing right now?
As opposed to
What are you not doing?

Are you enjoying reading a book and relaxing?
As opposed to
Wasting time when you could be being much more productive?

Are you talking to a friend about an issue you may have with them?
As opposed to
Not doing so and letting any potential issues fester?

Are you focusing on what is actually happening?
As opposed to
What could be, but may not in fact be happening?

How would you prefer to spend your time with the mental and emotional energy you have?

Would you rather focus on the positive elements of any given situation?
As opposed to
Choosing to focus on the negative?

And note, it is a choice.

What is it giving or even costing you focusing on what may go wrong as opposed to what may go right?

Have you not spent time with somebody who does that? If so, how did you feel? Inspired? Or simply much more depressed than you were before you’d seen them?

It may not be easy at times and of course, I’m not saying that we can will things to be good, but wouldn’t it be worth the effort and be better for ourselves and everybody around us to focus on what we can change as opposed to what we can’t? On what good there is or could be in a situation as opposed to what bad there is or could be?

In a world of seemingly fashionable and infinitely easy cynicism and negativity, let’s make a choice together to be brave enough to stand out from the crowd and focus on the good things or even what could just potentially be good as opposed to the negative alternative. It wouldn’t just be better for you, but for everybody around you and that would be a good place to be for all of us, wouldn’t it?

Feature image by Christian Widell/Unsplash

Como Ser Un Realista Más Positivo

Ayer yo estaba en un bar de Granada escuchando una conversación entre dos amigos.

Uno de ellos decía
“No me gusta  este compañero de trabajo, pues no puedo trabajar con él. Va a ser una semana imposible.”

Hay gente que dice ‘No soy cínico o negativo, soy realista’ y tal vez es verdad pero de hecho, ¿qué cosas realistas dicen estas personas? Puedo imaginar la conversación entre estos dos amigos que podrían tener en el mismo bar a finales de la semana que viene.

El ‘realista’
“¡Que semana he tenido!. ¡Ha sido imposible! Sabía que no podía trabajar con este compañero. ¿Te lo dije, no?”

O algo así.

El amigo realista está cansado después de una semana difícil y enfadado con su compañero pero por lo menos, él puede culpar de todo a esta persona. No tiene que tomar sobre sí mismo la responsabilidad de su vida. Al final, era verdad que no podía trabajar con el compañero  y tal vez, si, tenía razón, pero ¿cuál es el precio de tener razón en este caso?

Si tuviera una actitud diferente, digamos más positiva, ¿qué diría?

El realista antes de que comience la semana
“Es verdad que podría gustarme más  este compañero, pero tenemos que trabajar juntos esta semana, pues voy a intentar  sacar el mayor provecho de esta situación. Quizás, ¡podría aprender algo!”

¿Es diferente, no? La situación es exactamente igual pero la actitud es completamente diferente y claro está que  no hay garantías de que vaya a pasar pero la probabilidad es que cuando transcurra la semana, la conversación podría ser así:

El realista más positivo
“Podría haber sido una semana imposible esta semana pero aunque no seamos amigos, trabajamos bien juntos y de hecho, he aprendido algo de él porque tiene experiencias diferentes.”

Es como estar hablando de otras personas en otra situación, ¿no?

Sin embargo esta vez vez lo único que ha cambiado es su actitud y su lenguaje, ahora  ambos son más positivos. Más realistas y positivos.

No tenemos que reformular todo lo que decimos en positivo. Me gustaría tener 1.85 m de altura pero eso no va a ocurrir. Tengo que ser realista. Esto no puedo cambiar. Pero la cuestión de cada día es ¿cuánto soy de realista? Yo prefiero  ser un realista más positivo.

Sé que puede ser difícil pero si se usan palabras positivas en lugar de negativas, la situación puede cambiar en algo más positivo. Por ejemplo:

Negativo
– No voy a poder nunca hablar otro idioma con fluidez. No soy capaz de aprender idiomas.

Mientras, la misma situación con un actitud más positiva:
– Tal vez algún día podré hablar mejor este idioma. Será un reto y voy a intentar hablar más en intercambios  para mejorar mi idioma . Voy a valorar el progreso que hago.

Es importante coger control de tu situación y no ser una víctima de uno mismo que no puede ayudarse. Tu vida es tu responsabilidad. Es demasiado importante para culpar o dar esta responsabilidad a otro.

Pues, ¿qué es más importante?

¿tener razón porque has predicho ¿? una semana terrible?,

¿ dar la responsabilidad de tu vida y tu felicidad a otra persona que no te gusta?

O decirse al final de la semana que has tenido una semana difícil  pero has aprendido algo.

Finalmente, ¿quejarse porque no puedes hacer nada?

¿O cambiar tu actitud en positivo e intentar hacer una cosa que quieres hacer?

¿Qué opción es más positiva?

¿Qué opción preferirías?

Sé cuál elegiría yo.

¿Y tú?

 

World Of Dust

Other than writing blog posts, hanging out in Spanish cafes and my new dog, my primary passion in life has been making music. For many years, writing songs on my old acoustic guitar and in the last few years, I’ve also been using my laptop. My latest project is called Pearl Viper and the mOnk and in January, we released our first EP ‘Immortal’.

Like all Pearl Viper and the mOnk tracks, ‘World Of Dust’ came about after listening to one of teapotmOnk’s ‘Empty Your Cup’ podcasts. In this post is new artwork for the song based on a photo taken round the corner from our studio. What do you think?

We will also be posting each new title on our Facebook page (with accompanying artwork) each week when we are not also working on our new video for the first song from the EP ‘Right Now’ at Viper Studios.

As someone with an interest in Eastern philosophies and taoism in particular, I’ve always liked the idea that we are merely dust in the wind. We are born, we live our lives and we die. The much more important world does its thing around us while it gives us temporary permission to take up some space, live and make our own contribution to the world.

TeapotmOnk says:
“Dust is everything that holds back that drop of pure spirit within each of us from riding a boundless wave of energy, from wandering between crossing paths, from delighting in spontaneity and moon light and laughing to the rhythm of music in the wind.”

I wanted the sound of ‘World Of Dust’ to be quite primeval, hence the heavy percussion throughout the track. It was also a nod to Burundi drumming and my childhood heroes, the very drum-friendly Kings of the Wild Frontier period Adam and the Ants.

You could even say that Pearl Viper and the mOnk literally have our own world of dust not far from Viper Studios in the desert of Almeria in the south of Spain. However, it’s the awareness of the metaphorical dust which helps us to live better lives, isn’t it?

Jason (Pearl Viper) & Paul (teapotmOnk)

‘World Of Dust’ is the second song on the new ‘Now’ EP of Taoist-inspired songs by Pearl Viper and the mOnk which will be on Spotify, Itunes, Apple Music and all online download/streaming outlets in May 2016.

In case you haven’t seen or heard any of the songs on the ‘Immortal’ EP which came out in January, you can do just that via the links on the Pearl Viper Facebook page.

How Flies Can Help You To Be A Better Person

I’m sitting in a bar near where I live in the south of Spain and it’s already hot outside. There are already 9 flies circling around in the bar doing their fly thing and other than having to swat one from time to time for getting near my breakfast, we seem to get on perfectly well.

 

While looking at them though, it got me thinking about what we do as people each day. Flies have a justifiable excuse. They are only capable of doing so much. They’re only flies after all. However, what are we doing with each day that we have?

 

Whatever you might want to achieve or even have achieved in your life, we are who we are now. At this moment. Like artists, musicians, writers or businesspeople, we’re only as ‘good’ as our last painting, song, book or deal. And if that’s the case, now is the chance to be the person you want to be and do the thing you want to do.

 

It doesn’t have to change the world as there can be significance in the seemingly insignificant, but however big or small what you want to do may be, if it’s important to you, what’s stopping you doing it today? Otherwise, we’re just flies circling over someone’s breakfast, aren’t we?

 

Header image courtesy of Unsplash/Robert Kresse

Who Do You Want To Be In 2016?

It’s the first day of 2016 and it’s that time when people may be feeling the pressure to make New Year’s Resolutions, some which they keep and others which will inevitably fall by the wayside.

However, although the ‘usual’ resolutions such as losing weight, getting a better job, going to the gym and travelling more are fantastic things to want to achieve, I believe that we should first be looking at a couple of other ‘resolution’ questions:

Who Do You Want To Be?‘ and ‘What Do You Stand For?

Once you spend time focusing on these questions, everything else falls into place much more easily and naturally. You proactively choose things that you want to do in order to be who you want to be as opposed to fighting against things that you think you should be doing in order to be who you think you should be.

It’s not easy and it takes courage to look at yourself and challenge yourself to ask these questions, but it will be worth it.

Following on from this piece, you may also be interested in a post I published last year called ‘What Do You Stand For?’  Read here 

Is The Grass Really Always Greener?

According to my taxi driver this morning, a change is as good as a rest. Maybe it was because I hadn’t had my coffee yet, but I started wondering if that was really true. Is change really restful? What are the benefits of change?

I often find that people see change as a quite stressful experience, certainly initially. The unfamiliar ‘chaos’ can be hugely challenging and quite scary, especially if it’s been imposed on you and you have for example been made redundant or are going through a relationship break up.

And yet, change can also be the most exhilarating and powerful situation imaginable! The thrill of the new perspective. You can almost literally see people and your everyday life in a completely new and invigorating way. So, this all got me thinking about whether the grass really is always greener.

Think about moving house (or even moving country). According to research, one of the most stress-inducing activities in contemporary society. I accept that many people have an aversion to moving, however a conversation with a friend made me see things differently as she absolutely loves moving and I was curious to know why.

She was telling me how when she was growing up, she would move the furniture around her room, even though with only a tiny room, she could only move her bed to no more than 3 positions without blocking herself in. She said that she loved waking up with a different view of the world after having done it as it always emotionally and physically energised her.

As she has got older, she now moves house almost every other year. The practicalities have changed and yet, she still loves the ‘buzz’ of moving and she is more than aware of the irony that the only constant in her life is the element of change, yet she would have it no other way.

Perhaps a more cynical person would say that she is commitment-phobic or that change for change’s sake is not ‘healthy’. All I know is that she’s happy and has found something that works for her. In time, she might find that this is no longer true, however I know she’ll deal with that if the time comes and if anything, embrace more change.

But why is change necessary? Is it necessary? Is the grass really always greener? Like most things, it depends on how you see it. Or perhaps how you choose to see it. There will always be something ‘better’ elsewhere if that’s how you choose to see the world, however, is that not true for us all? Is it just how we deal with it that differs?

In hindsight maybe my friend is simply always looking for a new perspective. Or maybe she’s got itchy feet and is a commitmentphobe? Either way, she’s happy with her life and isn’t that what everybody is looking for?

So, when did you last wake up really looking forward to your day?

When did you last turn your own metaphorical bed around?

Maybe you like it where it is and if so, you’re very lucky to love what you have but if you don’t, what’s stopping you?

If you love where you’re at in your life, keep doing what you are doing. But if you don’t, try doing something different, however ‘small’ it may be. If it doesn’t work, you can go back to where you were at before and maybe the grass wasn’t greener after all.

But what if it does work? You then have the choice. You can either go down the newer, ‘greener’ road or you can choose to stay where you are after having re-evaluated your situation and what’s more, you may then get what you want. And greener grass or not, wouldn’t that be the most wonderful change of all?