Ten Things I Learnt From Not Sharing My Work (In 5 Months)

‘The gap between mediocrity and good is large. However the REAL gap is between doing nothing and doing something’

– Clay Shirky

I was petrified.  I couldn’t press publish.  What if nobody reads it?  What if people don’t agree with me?  How am I going to market this on social media?

The last time I published a blog was on 22nd August 2014.  In that time I’ve written at least 20 articles that have never seen the light of day.

Since then I’ve thought about it everyday.  Every.  Fucking.  Day.

Looking back I wouldn’t change it.  Because it taught me……

 

A)     The Time Is Always Now

‘Oh I have to plan my launch first.’ ‘I have to have some food first.’

‘Tomorrow.’ ‘Tomorrow.’ Tomorrow’

These are all things I said to myself.  But as the saying goes Tomorrow Never Comes.  A week becomes a month.  A month becomes 3.

The time is always now.

 

B)      Create For Yourself

I got sucked into the ‘how’.  How to get more readers.  How to create a business.

So I began to think about what other people wanted.  That’s what you’re supposed to do right?

Wrong!  I learnt I had to serve myself first.  And that will serve others.

 

C)      Perfectionism is thine enemy

‘I need to get some lead pages first.’ ‘I need to edit this a few more times, get some more links.’

There’s always something to do before we ship.  It has to look it’s ‘best’.

I realised that the ‘best’ is unattainable.  They’ll always be something else to do.

But like in athletics –it’s all about achieving your PERSONAL best.

So it dawned on me……

The aim is not to be the best – it’s to become the best YOU.

 

D)     You are hurting somebody out there

Many times I thought I was not worthy.

‘Why the hell would anyone want to read my bullshit?’

Yet I had published before.  And someone read it.  And liked it.

By withholding where hurting someone out there – because we could have what they need.

But most of all you hurt yourself.

 

E)      It Could Actually Kill Me

My health deteriorated.   I had two chest infections.  I injured my knee.  My teeth badly decayed.

Now the smoking and the running on a dodgy knee didn’t help!

But I did those things to escape from myself.

Then I realized– this could actually kill me.  My body will breakdown.

So to create and ship is not just expression – it’s the cure.

 

F)      Make a decision

You chose to create.  You chose the subjects.  You chose the idea.

So I asked myself – are you in this, or are you out of it?

Only you know the right answer.

And we owe it to ourselves to honour the reply.

 

G)     Become A Broadcaster – Not A Receiver (Ice T)!

The internet is a gift and a curse.

A gift because there’s so much information.

A curse because there’s so much information!

It’s easy to get stuck listening to other people and not speaking yourself.

Don’t get it twisted I’ve learnt a lot from this art.  It’s why I’m here writing this.

However to know and to not act means you don’t know at all.

Only Knowledge with application comes wisdom.

 

H)  Three Most Powerful Words

I.Need.Help.

Frontin got me nothing.  Pretending I was doing well was hell.

So I keep it real with my friends to make amends.

 

      I)    Everything happens for a reason

I had to go through that place to get to this place.

And I like this place.

 

J)  Don’t Talk About It – Be About It!

Life is like a puzzle – if your words don’t match your actions you can’t create the vision.

So that’s my biggest lesson.  To keep my promise to myself.

Because that’s the only person I hurt if I don’t.

 

 

Crush Your Fear NOW – Fascinating Insights Into The Power Of Your Ideas

‘So how long have you been singing for’ I said. ‘Since I was three’ she replied.

Funny, I thought.  She just told me she only started recording in January.

‘So why did it take so long?’ I said. ‘Because I was scared‘ she replied.

Now I understood. She was scared.  I was scared to. We all are.

The Persecution

Why do we not sit on the things that will bring us joy?  It’s a question I’ve thought about for a long time. Why do only a small percentage of people actually chase that spark?

‘You’re either running away from pain, or running towards pleasure’ 

Ideas are a gift and a curse. They give is so much pleasure of what could be but so much pain when we don’t do it. It hurts.

It did for me. It hurt my heart. I had all these things to say yet I wasn’t sharing.

Tomorrow became my rallying call. Tomorrow I’ll sort out the blog. Tomorrow I’ll edit the videos. Tomorrow.  Tomorrow.  Tomorrow.

Tomorrow never came.

We are all sinners. We are committing the greatest sin against the world – with holding our ideas.  Our Art.

Because this is what changes lives.

Persecution To Execution

If you didn’t do it it’s your fault.

This ain’t the blame game – it’s the truth.

And once you know that you can change your reactions.

Years of negative thinking is difficult to overcome in a day – but we can start TODAY.

Practise the 2 minute ruleTake imperfect action.  Embrace the journey.

‘It’s much bigger than you or I…..’

When you see someone playing the game it’s amazing. Watching the singers that day showed me.

The joy the crowd feels. The fulfilment in the artist heart.  It’s what the game is all about.

Think of all the great musicians you admire. All the great products and services that you like.

Now imagine they never started playing. They never started creating.

The changing of one person’s day.  The changing of one life. The changing of millions. Gone.

If you’re struggling to execute I admire you. We are all in the process of growth. Getting better as individuals. Getting off the bench.

I just wanted to let you know that your work will touch one person. Your idea will effect one person’s life.  Whether that’s them being touched by your work, or by them just being inspired that you’re doing something. It will happen.

So if this inspires you to create today, great. If it inspires you to commit to making that idea a reality even better.

Because just by playing we’ve already won.

Because the power isn’t in the ideas – it’s in sharing them with the world

 

Peace!

Dubem Menakaya

4 Lessons X-Men Taught Me About Changing The World

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June 21st 1997.  Saturday.  9.00am. X-Men time!

Cartoons we’re my escape.  To imagine.  To dream.  I closed my eyes and ran around the house with my superpowers…..

As I’ve gotten older my dreams have changed.  Knocking rings out of people and turning Super Saiyan are not my main objectives!

Today I want to create my own lifestyle. I want to innovate and bring something new to the world. I want to control my future.

Alas some are still trying to level up!

Looking back, cartoons showed me how to do that.

There’s one that stands out above them all…..

A)   Controlling Your Powers

‘We have awesome powers, my X-Men. It is our birthright… And, perhaps, our burden. But, as Valerie Said, with that power comes responsibility – and also accountability.’ – Professor X

‘The greatest ability an entrepreneur can have is the ability to control there emotions’ – Pejman Ghadimi

Before a mutant became an X-Man, they struggled with their powers.  They come out at the worst times.

Rogue (whose power was taking other people’s powers) nearly killed a boy she kissed.  Storm was launching hurricanes all over the gaffe!  The inability to control their powers ruined their lives.

 

When Professor X invites them to the X-Mansion, his top priority is teaching them control their powers.

And that’s just like us. Our powers are our emotions. If we let our emotions control us – fear, sadness, depression, anger – we will never be happy.  We’ll never do the work.  And we’ll never allow the greatness in us to fully shine.

B) Having A Mentor

‘A new generation of mutants is emerging, that much is certain. They will be called freaks. Genetic monstrosities. [...] But they are emerging in the inner cities, in the suburbs, in the deserts and the jungles. 

And when they emerge, they will need teachers, people who can help them overcome their anger and show them how to use their strange gifts responsibly.’ – Professor X

“What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.” – Paulho Coelho

Every entrepreneur preaches the value of a mentor.  To learn from someone who has been down the path your on – there mistakes, there successes, there why.

The beauty of the internet is we now have many mentors – whether that’s listening to great podcasts such as School Of Greatness or reading blogs from those you respect and want to learn from.  It’s all there.

Of course, nothing can replace that one-on-one connection. So check out this great post by Ryan Holiday on finding one 

C ) Working With A Team Of Superheroes 

You, my friend, are a mutant – and I have a need of mutants — desperate need!  – Professor X

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ – Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn explains the law of averages

You are who you surround yourself with. And just as the X-Men surrounded themselves with other X-Men.

Likewise the great entrepreneur’s and creators hang around each other.

Now that don’t mean you should cut off everyone who doesn’t have the same ambitions as you. However the people you spend the MOST amount of time with – you should be on the same wavelength.

After all – there’s a reason the best players play on the same team!

Because by propelling each other forward we can ultimately fight together for something that’s greater.

D ) Fighting for a cause greater than yourself 

‘My name is Charles Xavier. I am a mutant. And once upon a time I had a dream… of a world where all Earth’s children, both mutant and baseline human, might live together in peace….’ – Professor X

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”Margaret Mead 

Whether it was fighting against Magneto and his crew, or fighting against human oppression, the X-Men always had a cause.

And that is what kept them together even when times got hard.

We as individuals must realise there is a cause greater than us. That playing the game is has a much wider impact.

The poem by Marianne Williamson (via Coach Carter) sums it up

‘Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate…but that we are powerful beyond measure’

It’s about being an example.  Standing up and taking control.  Showing others they can do the same.

Winning the inner battle.  Harnessing those powers

By you controlling your powers and changing your life – you can help others do the same.

And together we can fight the old system.  Show the next generation that it is possible to live the life of your dreams.

To do what you love and love what you do.

We’re all X-Men – once you make that choice to bring something new into this world you are a superhero!

Peace,

Dubem Menakaya

The Number One Thing You Should Do Before/During/After You Start Chasing Your Dreams

‘If man has a why, he can bear almost any how’ – Friedrich Nietzche

I left the blog. Didn’t edit the interviews. Turned off my phone.

It’s always something small. Some small bullshit. But that stopped me from playing. And put me right back on the bench.

These little things eventually become big things (in our minds anyway).  And we lose our way.

We’re not match fit anymore.

Much of it is our own internal pressure. I wanted to be the best writer. I wanted to showcase these amazing interviews. But why?

Start With Why

I took a course to become a better writer.

There’s an exercise called ‘Start with Why’.

Basically you time yourself for three minutes and write down Why you want to do something.

So I did ‘Why Do I Want To Start Getting Off The Bench’ and wrote the following:

GOTB is to show that we can BE who we are and live our dreams  It’s to bring the REALNESS back to it – and show young people what it really takes

It’s so I can help and pass on my knowledge

It’s to UNITE us – instead of individuals being all over the place let’s come together

It’s to SHOWCASE – so we can tell these stories of young people killing it and how they did it

It’s to spark a REVOLUTION – let’s change the averageness that society places for us and not just AIM for the moon – actually build our rockets!

It’s so I can express myself – and really put my message into a book.

It’s also so I can do these things – so I’m not just talking about it I’M LIVING IT  

Because it’s FUN!

Clarity

‘Thank God for granting me this moment of clarity’ – Jay-Z

Writing the why cleared up the mess in my head. What I’m doing is beyond me – yet it’s all about me. If I cannot play the game, I can’t tell and show others to do the same. That was my clarity.

Beware!

Alas this is not a fairy-tale. I didn’t live happily ever after. There’s still much more to do. I had to build new habits. To train every day. To be grateful. To pray.

But this was the start.

I often look at it when I’m feeling fearful. When I don’t want to push publish. Or when an obstacle comes up.

So that’s what I’d like you to do. It will only take 3-5 minutes. Whether you’re playing or not. Time yourself and ask why are you doing/want to do whatever it is?

Because is man has a why, he can bear almost any how.

‘People don’t but WHAT you do – they buy WHY you do it’ – Simon Sinek

Peace

Dubem Menakaya

P.S Here’s an amazing Ted Talk by Simon Sinek to give you some inspiration

The Butterfly Effect – The Power Of Pain And Why It’s So Important For Growth

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‘When a larvae is born it grows into a caterpillar, a cocoon & emerges as a butterfly. It had to grow & change to realize its destiny, to fly’ – Che Lingo

We all want to fly.  To spread our wings and show our colours – to live a life of passion and never ‘work again’.  A butterfly – flying in nature showcasing our colours and their talents for the world to see

Fuck it – that’s what I think anyway.  I want to be known for what I do.  I want people to be happy that I was here.  That I left them with something.  To amaze, to engage.  And that it enables me to be happy and make those around me happy.

I remember going to networking events and watching the public speakers.  Motivational speakers like Brad Burton and Tony Robbins.  People we’re on the edge of their seats.  Taking notes, smiling, dancing – the transformation was happening right there.

I knew that’s what I wanted to do.  To spread a message of endless possibilities – to say shit that matters and means something to people.  To bring something into this world

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‘Be the change you want to  see in the world

How could I help anyone when I couldn’t even help myself?  That was in 2011 and I’d just gone back to Uni.  I’d been ‘removed’ for failing first year.  I got depressed, smoked a lot of weed, watched a lot of Jeremy Kyle (they definitely go hand in hand!).

I’d got over that though.  I had the first glimpse of the vision.  Entrepreneurs.  The visionaries, the game changers.  Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg – I wanted to be those guys.

I was still caterpillar – but I had made that decision to change.

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‘The only decision that’s wrong is an INDECISION – Because an indecision keeps you paralyzed for life’ – Wilson Luna

 

That’s where it all starts.  With that decision that I WANT THIS.  I don’t want to settle for MEDIOCRE.  Fucking Uni man – a lot of its bullshit.  They want to put us into these boxes.

A friend of mine, Jeet Banerjee said it best – ‘A lot of University is designed to make us robots’

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The system is designed to make decisions FOR you.  But you’ll never be happy witha decision that’s not your OWN.

 

We’re the microwave generation – fast broadband, fast food, fast sex.  Everything is quick!  But that dream, that transformation – that is not quick.  I read books, I went to events.  I started blogs and gave up after a week.  I had ideas that would change the world one day (the face to face chat room where you can learn a new language is still gold!), then would get frustrated at all the shit I needed to learn, go smoke up and get depressed that I was still a caterpillar the next.

All the while I was growing without realizing.  After that decision and taking that action you’re learning all the time.  I learnt that I wasn’t the only one.  That this was a movement.  Young people not settling for that straight line path.  A whole generation chasing after that dream – some already there, most not – yet still going through the same struggles as me.  There was something there.

Without realising it, those events, those down times, going through the University system again – I’d been growing the whole time….

 Gary-Vaynerchuk-Entrepreneur-Picture-Quote-For-Success

‘Do I have angst, sure.  I’m 36 I’m getting older, I’m worried about the time.  Can I do what I said?  But I’m betting on patience, betting on getting better every year I get better – knowing that the 2006 version of me was punk compared to the 2012 version of me – because that’s the truth you keep getting better’ – Gary Vaynerchuk

This quote is from a video of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk dropping some real personal bars on a plane.  I’ve listened to it countless times that’s the bit that always gets me.  He’s done so much – New York Times Bestsellers, Multi Millon Pound Business and hundreds of speaking Gigs – yet he knows he’s still growing.

I grew in that time period from 2011 to now.  I haven’t created that amazing business that changed the world and I haven’t rocked an audience with my amazing speeches.  But I grew.  I evolved.  I’m still a caterpillar but the wings are sprouting.

It will take time.  It took years for all the legends.  But if you ever doubt yourself, always bring it back to the mission – to the vision.  There’s nothing wrong with falling down and starting again. In fact, that’s the only way!

My wings will soon grow.  And yours will too.  Let’s fly together.  You can’t deny your heart.

Pain-is-the-breaking-of

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding’ – Kahlil Gibran

The Power Of An Open Mind

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‘When I was young, I read a lot, I wrote poetry – I would have been a totally different person had I not been exposed to those things’ – Tupac Shakur

When we’re young, we have a freedom of imagination and expression that we don’t appreciate. I think about those times and realise how that was when I was most free. I could read what I wanted, watch what I wanted and be free to dream and think of ideas that eventually my surroundings would make me embarrassed about.

Why is it that certain things like reading, museums and art are seen as ‘boring’ and ‘lame’? Where does the peer pressure come from that makes kids (and even adults) have a close mind?

As I looked at some of the famous artists of our time, I saw that they we’re all influenced by something outside of their normal field. Tupac wrote poetry and went to an arts school where he participated in ballet classes. Steve Jobs spent 18 months studying calligraphy (a way of writing and design).

Knowing the impact they went on to have, shouldn’t we then look to do things that take us outside our comfort zone? Things that don’t naturally line up with what our friends do or what is the ‘norm’?

I remember I used to listen to a lot of soft rock when I was a teenager (Billy Joel, Elton John the classics!). Now, I still listened to my bread and butter, hip-hop, but the soft rock gave me a different appreciation for music. The same with the old motown records. You understand culture. Gain a greater appreciation for art. How everything is different – yet has so many similarities

Most importantly, stepping outside your comfort zone gives you a whole new perspective. You can then bring this to whatever you’re doing. Our creations, our art, our life’s are all dictated by our experiences. What we read, watch, listen to and learn. It all affects what we end up doing. As Steve Jobs put it:

“When we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

So without him taking that class he would have never the Mac.  Apple’s speciality – its design’ wouldn’t exist. Without Tupac being exposed to that arts environment, he would have never have wrote the music that was so passionate, combined with the story telling, that made him so unique.

So this is to say don’t be embarrassed to do other things that may seem ‘wack’ or ‘gay’. To be extraordinary you have to move out of the ordinary. You can’t judge things that you haven’t experienced. This is what will impact you and make you unique.

So this year try something out of the ordinary – mix with people who you wouldn’t normally talk to, heck go see the ballet if you can! You never know how it will manifest itself in the future…..

‘I would rather have a mind opened by wonder, than closed by belief’ – Gerry Spence

Legacy and Nelson Mandela  — Today Not Tomorrow

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“This is the struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and experience. It is a struggle for the right to live. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society, in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But, if needs be, my Lord, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Nelson Mandela – Rivonia Trial – 20 April 1964

I used to be jealous of the rich kids at school.  Not because they we’re rich.  But because when there elder relatives died they would get all that money from there will, for nothing!

That’s what legacy meant to me.  It was money, property – basically all the stuff you accumulate in life and leave behind.  Indeed the dictionary goes along the same lines:

noun (plural legacies)

  • an amount of money or property left to someone in a will (Oxford English Dictionary)

The death of Nelson Mandela this week got me seriously thinking about legacy.  His legacy is not money or property (though of course he has both) – it’s South Africa.  It’s what he did for his country and the ideals , the values he bestowed upon the world.  Just as he said in that courtroom in 1964.

 

He knew what his legacy was long before he passed away.  His morals and values we’re set.  He grew as a person and some things changed, but his core values never changed.

So why do we view legacy as something that is effectively only known when we die?  I mean, it’s true that people are celebrated more in death than in life.  However the legacy is what drives the truly great people in life.

And that’s not just the great leaders like Nelson Mandela- it’s all the people who act to make the world a better place.  I read a story about a Car Worker who went on strike during the 1980’s in South Africa.  He knew that his family may not eat, that he might get fired and never have a job like that again.  However it was the legacy that made his mind up.

What is it that we want to leave behind?  What will we contribute to others?  How do we want to be known? What kind of a world do we want our children to live in?

These are questions that are not just for the celebrated like Nelson Mandela.  They are for all of us.  If we start to view our actions through this prism it changes the way we look at our current or immediate decisions.

The car worker could have kept his job and not gone on strike.  Nelson Mandela could have never gone to jail and accepted apartheid.  However there ideals, beliefs and ultimately the legacy would not allow them to make those choices.

So knowing what we stand for, and what causes we believe in and ultimately the world we want to leave behind TODAY are what really matter.

So though I wouldn’t mind the money, in the long run I want my legacy to be priceless!

So what do you want to leave behind?  What world do you want to live in?

The Revolution

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We are living in a time like no other.  Everyday people are connecting with each other, learning new things and utilising technology to change the world socially (twitter and social media), politically (the Arab Spring and the mass protest movements), personally (the rising trend of social health movements or the rise of self-publishing and blogs)) and in so many other ways I could go on all day!

At the core of this revolution is a higher level of consciousness.  As we have access to more knowledge, people from all over the world share there insight – whether that’s through the written word or through videos – we are beginning to see that the way things were, and still are for many people, is not how it has to be.  We can live in a just society which doesn’t leave those less fortunate behind.  We can chase after our dreams and ambitions and not have to work in jobs that we don’t like.  We can create value for the world and make a living through that.  We can change our own lives and that of others around us creating a ripple effect and changing the world.

It’s happening all around us.  From the woman on Youtube whose makeup tips make ladies all over the world feel beautiful to the gentleman’s fitness blog that helps people exercise and change their physical wellness – people are chasing after their passions and things that they care about.  You could be a musician who’s posting videos on Youtube and selling albums on iTunes, entertaining and providing joy to people the world over or you could be an app maker creating something that has a fundamental enhancing impact on the way people live their lives.  Value is being created everywhere.  Each individual is beginning to see that they are special and unique.  They can bring something to the world that can help change it for the better.  This is the revolution

 

Regrets Part I

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‘Only thing worse than death is a regret filled coffin’ – J Cole

 

I regretted not leaving private school after I turned 16.  I regretted not having a girlfriend.  I regretted not getting a full-time job that Summer.  I regretted not revising hard at my A-Levels so I could get into my first choice at University.  I regretted not going to that retake exam.

 

I regretted a lot of things.  Holding that letter that said I had failed first year of University sent me into a spiral of regret.  Why did these things happen to me?  Why didn’t I just do what I had to do?  Why was everyone else so lucky?

 

I didn’t understand at the time.  It would come.  I would eventually realise that regret is the most pointless thing in the world.  Now, today is not the time for me to tell my story.  I just wanted to give you a sample of some of the regrets that I HAD.

 

Had is the key word.  Now I regret nothing.  All the bad things, the good things, highs and lows they all had there purpose.  They were supposed to lead me to this place.   Talking to you and hopefully helping you not feel the pain from those regrets as well.

 

I like that J Cole quote.  It may seem a little morbid to some but it has a key point.  Having a bunch of regrets is actually worse than death.  At least with death it’s over.  No more pain, no more thinking (debates on an after life for another day!).  The regrets stay with you though; they nag you and gnaw at you until either you consciously choose to move on or you don’t.  I’m not sure if it’s an official study, but I’m quite confident that regret is in the top three factors that lead to suicide.  Personally I contemplated it (never seriously though, the thought did cross my mind).

 

In order for you to do anything you have to move past the regrets.  They won’t go away straight away.  It’s a process.  It’s up to you to accept the past.  That’s the key.

 

You have to accept the past for what it is – past.  It’s done.  There’s  a famous saying that  ‘there’s no do-overs in life’ and it’s the truth.  Similar situations may arise but the exact same moment will never happen twice.  So accept it.

 

I mean it’s the silliest thing in the world when you think about it, we can’t change the past and we know that so why do we dwell on it?  (There’s actually a term for this Google ‘Cognitive Dissonance’)

 

Acceptance is the key component for building your foundation.  Accept the situation for what it is.  You’re in it and you can’t go back.

 

But you can go forward.  And here in lies the beauty.  Once you achieve that level of consciousness you know that you don’t want to feel that pain.  Now every day you can work towards changing your situation.  Your half way their because now you know how you DON’T want to feel.

 

In Part II I’ll delve deeper into how I moved forward.  I’ll also share some tips on how you can do the same.

Thanks for reading, comments and feedback always appreciated