This blog was created to serve as an inspiration to all who read aspire, to love and to live a life of purpose.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Hax Letter: Facebook & Competitive Feelings

Howdy everyone! How was your memorial day? Mine was splendid. Attended my cousin's baby's christening on Sunday and spent the day carrying, feeding, and playing with the celebrant. She's such a peaceful baby.

She kept falling asleep in the middle of sucking on her feeding bottle. When I'll try to pull out the bottle, she'd wake up and keep sucking. then fall asleep again. We did this over and over again, till I gave up, and let her sleep for a bit, before quietly, and I mean "jejely" stealing the bottle from her grip. Mission accomplished. Sooo cuyute!

Anyhoo, yesterday, my cousin (another one- I have quite a lot :-)) threw a BBQ so it was family, friends, good food and good conversations. Can't ask for better.

So, enough about me and my weekend.

I was reading Carolyn Hax's column on The Washington Post this morning and it was another post worth sharing.

Its about Facebook.

I know one too many people who have deactivated their Facebook account because they can't stand the constant showcase of people's lives and the accompanying feeling of competitiveness. A person posts constant pictures of their wedding, their "loving" boyfriends, their too cute babies, their constant "outings" and in essence, their "perfect" lives.

Here's the truth- NO ONE (and I repeat) NO ONE! HAS A PERFECT LIFE. Do not be fooled!

Over the years, I have learned that Facebook really is just a fraction of each person's reality.  It is undeniable that many people use it to paint false lives. If you start to feel pressured by other people's lives, then you need to drill a hole in your head and put this in it - NO ONE'S LIFE IS PERFECT. People, often, only put on Facebook what they want you to see.

There's a funny article about types of Facebook bragging here. Too funny!

You'd be surprised by the amount of chaos there is in the world. Everyone has problems, decisions to make, pressure to meet and life to deal with. So, never mistake a person's album and statuses as the COMPLETE story of their lives.

Master the art of being content with your life, concentrating on your own path, self-empowerment and being happy, and no amount of social bragging will affect you.

Having said that, here's the Carolyn Hax article on the issue.

Dear Carolyn:

Why do people feel the need to use social media to constantly brag about their lives? I can’t tell you how many pictures of bouquets and dinners and chocolates popped up on my Facebook feed around Valentine’s Day — on top of the already daily descriptions of “perfect boyfriends” and pictures of vacations in real time. When did people stop living life and start just trying to prove to others that they are doing so?
And, my main question, how can I stop from getting sucked in to feeling like I need to prove myself to everyone else? I have a wonderful boyfriend with whom I share such a bond that I don’t CARE how big his bouquet is or how much my Facebook “friends” know or see . . . but I almost feel guilty. Like my indifference toward bragging means this relationship really must not be brag-worthy.
Facebook Facade
Carolyn's Answer
The first part is easier to answer than the second: Just block habitual braggarts from your news feed. Save your page for people who post things that interest you.
Some might say just to stay off social media altogether, a perfectly good and uncluttered solution — but if you see a lot of good amid the bad, then waste a little extra time on your settings to accommodate your peeves.
The second question, how not to care? If only that were about adjusting your settings.
It is possible you run with a crowd that’s particularly competitive socially, but that presents a chicken-or-egg riddle: Are they making you that way, or did you seek them out because you’re that way?
Fortunately, that question becomes easier to answer if you consciously remove yourself from the competition — not just on social media, but in other interactions as well.
It’ll take a bunch of small, on-the-spot decisions (and a few mental recitations of an “It’s not a race” mantra) to break a habit of comparing yourself with others socially. However, if you’re able to pull it off enough to step back from your guilty feelings, then you’ll be able to see whether it’s your environment or your emotional makeup that motivates you to measure your happiness against others’.
From Another Reader
Re: Bragging:
Does that go for posting a “thank you” to your spouse on Facebook for a gift? For me, it was more of giving him credit in front of our friends for what he did for me, rather than bragging about what he gave me. What about those posts on birthdays, where spouses post on their partner’s wall and go on about how much they love their spouse? Is that unacceptable bragging, too?
Carolyn's Answer
Is there acceptable bragging? Why does the “credit” (ew?) need to be in front of your friends?
To me this isn’t about being boastful so much as being needlessly public. Okay, send a bouquet to someone’s office so a person can enjoy the flowers, since often most waking hours are spent there vs. home. But proposing on stadium Jumbotrons I thought was a fad that needed to die, not one that needed to be shrunk down to fit individual screens.
I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this matter... letters, Carolyn's answer and all. and don't pretend you don't have any. Everyone has an opinion about Facebook :-)
Stay Inspired...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

6 Keys To Fearless Empowerment ~By Anne Taylor

Hello Everyone. 
Happy Sunday! Hope you had a great weekend and for those of you, in the U.S. Happy Memorial Day. May your day off tomorrow be filled with delicious burgers, family, friends and laughter. 
Came across this incredible article today in the Huffington Post. I couldn't have written it better myself. Very inspiring and you know me, anything that inspires me, is worth sharing... :-) 
I hope this piece will inspire you as it has done me, to empower your life, knowing that the power to live a full and fulfilling life is within you.
The power of love is within you. You have access to it at all times. The power of love is soft and yielding, not addictive and stressful. In loving, difficulties dissolve, harshness melts and conflicts merge into the harmony of agreement and one accord.
With love, we achieve our heart's dreams and desires because we have more energy to move forward in our chosen direction, and the openness to receive the guidance, support and results we seek.
Loving attitudes and actions conquer fear. How? With a loving attitude you are free from the negativity that can cause you to feel trapped and isolated. With loving actions, you can direct negative energy into fulfilling a positive purpose or objective. Have you ever found that going running, cleaning the windows or doing yoga can lift your spirits?
Here are six foundational keys to empower yourself toward a fuller, richer all-round experience of your life. Right now, you have:
Power to Value Yourself
Think about who or what you treasure most in your world: your child, a pet, your business or vocation, for example. Look at the value they have for you. Are you aware of your own innate value? Who are you, deep down? What are your unique qualities, strengths and personal assets? How can you fully love and appreciate yourself to recognize your own value?
Power to Invest in Yourself
Look at the care you give to you. Do you eat well, get enough sleep, take time to nurture and refresh your spirit? How can you invest your love, time and money to promote, create and allow your greater health and well-being? Listen to how the loving spirit within you guides you now toward a richer life.
Power to Say No to Addiction and Other Limiting Behavior
Say yes to what works well for you and no to what does not. Embrace what you truly love and let go of what no longer serves you. Love your sweet spirit and treat yourself to kindness, compassion and empathy. Befor yourself.
Power to Forgive
To be forgiving can become a healthful habit that leads you to appreciate the larger picture, purpose and meaning of your life. Start with forgiving yourself. Find the power of love to direct acceptance and understanding toward yourself.
Power to Be Grateful
Gratitude expands your awareness of the wealth you are and have to express. Start and end your day recalling at least five things you are grateful for: your home, your gifts and talents, your loved ones, the water you drink, the air you breathe, for example.
Power to Celebrate Your Successes
Remember the small daily successes. They are the building blocks to your larger dreams and objectives being fulfilled. Praise yourself for what you achieve, not out of ego but out of the genuine appreciation for your commitment and effort.
The power to love is in your own heart and hands. Your power to love dissolves fear, doubt and separation. With love, you have the power to transform how you experience your life in simple, practical ways. Each day, you can take one action to live more powerfully and fearlessly.
Stay Inspired....

Friday, May 25, 2012

Modesty: Incredibly Expensive!

So! As we all must have heard, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg married his long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan last weekend.
The way the Zuckerbergs handled the engagement and wedding is inspiring. Its a lesson in Patience, Modesty and Independence.

First, the couple got married after a nine-year relationship. They first met when he was a freshman at Harvard and started dating when she was a freshman and he, a sophomore. I mean, like they say, behind every successful man, is a strong woman. This is a woman who seems to have stood behind her man as he built his empire. He has admitted in interviews that he consults with her about big decisions regarding Facebook including when Yahoo offered to buy Facebook. She loved him before he became one of the richest people in the world and its inspiring to know he's loving her back now. She was patient enough with him to give him time to become his own man. I can't say for certain whether or not she was screaming marriage in his ears since after the 3-4th year but all I know is that she waited. Last Saturday, her patience was rewarded. Its evidence that all hope is not lost in the world. That, there are still men in the world, who even though they can score ANY woman on the planet, no matter how long it may take, will choose the one who supported them on their way up.
Second, when I saw the engagement ring and the wedding gown, I was awed. In a good way. Those two, being the highlight for any bride, is evidence of any couple's character together. I've always known Mark was simple and never one to dress his status (big money suits and the like). The dude walks around in hoodies. But this is evidence of a deeper character trait- modesty. The ruby ring, which he personally designed, cost about $50, 000. Granted, that's big money for any normal person but for a man worth about $20 billion, you'd think he would've bought a diamond ring worth millions of dollars. I mean, even a ring of that caliber won't even dent his wallet. I'm sure he could have got the ring for free if he contacted a jewelry company and made himself known. What's more is that the bride bought her classy dress off the rack for $4,700 at a bridal store without being noticed. Talk about modesty. If it were other celebrity couples, they would've created a show just based on her shopping for a dress. Mschew.

I'm impressed. Its a lesson for all the vain and shallow people of this world.

  • Just because you have the money doesn't mean you have to show it off.
  • Just because you can afford something doesn't mean you need it. 
  • Just because you have a million-dollar engagement ring and wedding gown doesn't mean your marriage will last (take Kim Kardashian and numerous other celebrities for example)
I was still reveling in the beauty of the Zuckerberg modesty when I read Linda Ikeji's post on her blog about it. She was basically calling the Zuckerberg's cheap and his wife ignorant as to what she could get from her stinkingly wealthy man. Read the post here. Now, <-----that's the main reason Mark married the woman he was sure wasn't a gold digger. Enough said.

Third, Priscilla a.k.a Mrs. Facebook inspires me because she could really sit her butt at home doing nothing and still live a more luxurious life than you and I. I mean, she just married a man worth $20 billion. You would think so right? Chic is a classic example of an independent woman, accomplished n her own right. I'm impressed by her credentials alone.

She graduated High School in 2003 as a part of the National Honors Society, she studied Biology in Harvard (and stayed put even when Mark quit school to focus on Facebook), she taught as a fifth-grade science teacher for a couple years, then proceeded to attend medical school from which she just graduated. She hopes to be a pediatrician. This is a woman who seems to know what she wants to achieve in life and is pursuing it, independent of her man and what he has. If only all women thought that way. Sigh.
I don't know about you but I AM Inspired! Although I've never been a big Zuckerberg fan, the way he and his new bride handled their engagement and wedding has given me cause to respect him more.
Congrats to the couple! In a world filled with unnecessary vanity (what Nigerians call effizy), its good to know there are still a few modest people out there :-)

Stay Inspired...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How To Pay Off $90k Student Loan Debt in 7 Months

If you go to school in the United States, you KNOW about student loans. If you dare go to graduate school in this country, you Definitely KNOW about student loans. You pay all this money, get a certificate, then sit around and ponder how to pay it all back.  In 20 years? In 10 years? In 7 months?

It's possible. That's what Harvard Business School graduate Joe Mihalic has proven. Here's the story in short hand. 

Joe Mihalic graduated from Harvard Business School in 2009 with his M.B.A at 26. He got a good job at Dell in Austin Texas and was doing so well, he could afford a nice house, two cars, and a motorcycle. Except he had $101,000 in student debt. 

By mid 2011, he had paid over $22,000 towards his debt but still had over $90,000 because of interest (its a demon, that thing). Shocked, and realizing if he didn't get proactive, he would be paying this debt off for 10 years, he decided to commit to paying off the loan in 8 months by any means necessary. 

His two objectives were; (1) Increase Revenue. (2) Reduce Expenses. 

Towards the first objective, he sold a car, motorcycle, roadbike, drove a pedicab and started a weekend landscaping business with his buddy. Towards his second objective, he stopped contributing to his 401k, didn't go home for Christmas, brought a flask with liquor to bars where he'd order a Coke, didn't buy any clothing, used duct tape to repair his car, and found two roommates, among other such sacrifices. 

For more motivation, he chronicled his experience on a blog, "No More Harvard Debt," where he described each challenge and moment of self-doubt.

On March 29, 2012, he made his last loan payment. Now he's debt free. He was also lucky...rather blessed to not experience any major disasters during his commitment period, he is single, doesn't have a child and lives in texas which is pretty low cost in living. 


I don't know about you. but this is hell (or heaven) of inspiring.  Congrats to him.

Lessons Learned:
1. If you commit to something and put your mind to it, you can make it happen. 
2. Discipline & Sacrifice "pays off" (Literally!)

Here's the video he made about his journey;

Stay Inspired...

Carolyn Hax: Sons Resent Father’s Financial Aid for their Stepsister

I read Carolyn Hax's column daily. Once in a while, I come across posts I just can't help but share.

This is all I have to say about this: Resentment is a self-killer. So is jealousy. Its like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Dear Carolyn:

Father helped send two sons to law school, though they have student loan debt they’ll be paying for decades. Father has much younger stepdaughter. The sons are not particularly close with father’s “new” family.
Stepdaughter plans to go to medical school. Sons suspect that financial support for her will be greater than they received. Should they insist the stepdaughter receives the same? Less? Don’t sons have right to better treatment?
Carloyn's Answer

Gratitude vs. Resentment

Ugh, no. First of all, “sons suspect” is not the same thing as “sons know,” so treating suspicions as actionable facts is a bad idea to begin with. As is inserting themselves into a transaction that isn’t their business.
Second, accounting fairness nickel-for-nickel is arguably not fair. Father helped his sons, presumably, as much as he was able to at the time. As an older man supporting fewer children now, maybe he’s able to do more. Would it then be fair for him to help his stepdaughter less than he is able to? And what would his reasoning be — because she’s not really “his”?
I imagine stepchildren would have a lot to say about being treated as less worthy of love and support than . . . what’s the adjective you’d use here? “Real” children? “Biological” children? What about adopted kids? Are they less worthy, too, then?
Seems to me the more reliable path to a full heart and a warm life is to be grateful for what you’ve been given and not gather supporting facts toward begrudging what others receive.
There is clearly some doubt here, and should be, since the sons don’t have firsthand knowledge of the father’s finances — and the sons benefit from this doubt. They’re better off assuming nothing beyond that their dad loves them and did his best.
That said, I could argue it’s time for them to get to know this “new” family better, since their fates are linked in many ways, especially as the father starts to fade. Isn’t it better to have people pulling for each other versus against?
Reader's Answer that I REALLY like
Okay, I’m the older daughter who watched my dad buy a Porsche, then tell me he couldn’t help with college — then watched years later as he fully footed the bill for my half brothers. I get it.
But you’re conflating “treatment” with “money.” If this is about his love or the way he “treats” you in everyday life, then talk to him about that. If this is about “I didn’t get a free ride, why should she?” shut your mouth long enough to listen to exactly how selfish and entitled you sound: You’re willing to hurt both your dad AND your sister (who has zero say in this), simply because you’re jealous that she got a better lollipop than you? You really want to be that guy?
You can approach life one of two ways: on the assumption that you are the less-favored child, or on the assumption that your dad loves you and did the best he could with what he had. Either way, you will find plenty of evidence to support your world view. So: Which one is going to make you happier?
Stay Inspired....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

You CAN do it! Ivy League School Janitor Graduates with Honors

Its Mother's Day in the U.S. today.  Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom, Moms-to-be and Moms-at-heart! Its a tough job and today, we salute you all like we should every day.
Scouting for inspiration, I came across a great story today. 

Its about Gac Filipaj, a 52 year old Albanian refugee who's job was to mop floors, clean toilets and take out trash at Columbia University in New York. 

After first learning English, he applied to the University and took advantage of his opportunity as a Columbia employee to take classes for free. 

Today, after twelve years of balancing his studies with his job as a janitor, he donned a cap and gown and walked across the stage to receive a bachelor's degree in classics with Honors. 

To juggle school and work, he worked from 2:30-11p.m, then pulled all-nighters to study, went to class in the morning, and then back to work at 2:30pm. 
Peter Awn, dean of Columbia's School of General Studies and professor of Islamic studies described him as "a man with great pride, immensely humble and grateful" and an "individual who makes his own future" 
Filipaj says he wants to go on to get a Master's, maybe even a Ph.D. 
I say, keep on keeping on. 
It makes me think about the lot of us who are more privileged yet we take it all for granted. 
No matter what dream you want for yourself, STRIVE steadfastly. Its all within your reach. It may take time, but hold tight, you WILL get where you want to be.
Stay Inspired....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

45 Life Lessons

To celebrate getting older, 90-year old Regina Brett of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio. wrote down 45 lessons life taught her. 
I have highlighted my favs :-)

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short - enjoy it.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to be happy. But it's all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words. 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive but don't forget.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Stay Inspired....... :-)