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….

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‘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.

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

Regrets Part II – 4 Things You Can Do To Move Forward…..

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In Part I I explained some of the regrets I went through and how it affected me.  I was hurt.  I might not have shown it outwardly but inside it was eating me alive.

You can get through it though.  You can use that pain. Make it your leverage and turn those regrets into something wonderful.  You can make it the catalyst for the most impactful positive change in your life.

That’s what happened to me.  All those things that I went through ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me.  It helped me go on the path that I’m on today.

Now the change won’t happen overnight.  It’s a process.  It takes experiences to make you.  So here are my top 5 things you can do NOW to get over regrets and get through pain

Read

In this Youtube and Itunes era you would think the written word had been shunned.  In fact, just the opposite has happened.  More people are reading  than ever.  At the same time, some people never read at all.  It’s a shame because blogs, newspapers, magazines AND books are the gift of life.  The knowledge and the stories, they will help you see things from a different perspective.  For me it was reading entrepreneur biographies.  Duncan Bannatyne’s was my favourite because he had a tough life.  He never achieved anything until he was 33 and even labelled himself a ‘beach bum’.  Seeing where he got to showed me I could do it.  I also read about mental health, personal development, spiritual guidance.  Now I didn’t do everything those books said.  Surrounding myself witht hat knowledge though, it has a subconscious effect.  I’d recommend the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  Start there and take the journey…..

Talk To Friends

It’s hard to open up about things that are gnawing at you.  You may value your friends but you may only talk about ‘surface issues’ – sport, music or what’s happening with your other friends.  To go on that deep level you have to have friends you trust.  Most importantly though, you have to actually TALK to them.  Open up.  Be vulnerable.  If there your true friends it won’t matter and it won’t change their opinion of you.  Most mental problems get worse because we ISOLATE ourselves.   ‘Nobody will understand’ ‘I have to do this by myself’ ‘What will people think of me’.  Yes I’ve said them all and I’m sure others have to.  Well it’s all bullshit.  Sorry to be so harsh but it’s true.  Opening up to my friends helped me so much they probably don’t even know.

Do Something You Loved As A Kid

Being a kid is one of the best things in the world.  I remember when I was young and all I wanted was to be older.  To be like my older brothers and have independence.  My mum always used to tell me ‘to appreciate these days because you’ll miss them.’  Well it’s not so much being an actual child I miss, it’s the freedom and the endless possibilities.  To be able to explore and do different activities.  To imagine (yes I had many imaginary friends!).  We lose that as we get older.  Rediscovering that though, will help you embrace your ‘inner child’.  I used to love reading and riding my bike.  We would put fizzy drink cans in between the wheel and the frame and pretend we we’re racing motorbikes.  It was fun and getting back on the bike and just exploring, it allowed me to forget, to see the bigger picture.  So try and find something you loved doing as a kid – give it a try and keep an open mind.  Keep doing it and you’ll realise your essence is still there – the other stuff is just covering it up.

Change Your Environment

When I was kicked out of Uni and the regrets engulfed me I spent a lot of time on the sofa.  Ate there.  Slept there.  Heck I would have pee’d there if I could!  Then my Grandmother died and my mum decided we we’re going back to Nigeria for the funeral.  As I wasn’t in school I had no choice.  Being in that environment gave me a whole new perspective.  It makes you feel incredibly ungrateful for the things that we do have.  People are struggling to eat and get electricity to stay on (blackouts are a major problem) yet I never even think of these things as a problem.  Now it’s not like that everywhere, but seeing these problems made me revaluate what I’m doing.  When I got back I couldn’t return to the couch.  I didn’t transform overnight but I knew I could never go back.

 

These are just four things you can do that will really enlighten you and help you see the bright light ahead of you.  There are other things like volunteering and practical things like exercise but there was so much I couldn’t fit it in.  Try all of them though.  Find what works for you and keep at it.  And remember, after every dark night, there’s a bright day – it’s up to you to open your eyes.

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 (Video)

A video on Regrets and the Power Of Now.  I explain some of my own regrets and why it’s important to let go off the past and live in the moment.  Also use one of my favourite songs by Jay-Z, hope you like it!  let me know what you think abd what are some of the things you’ve had to let go off?

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