Category Archives: Learning

7 life lessons learned from my cat

She just entered the house as a stray cat and immediately became the queen of it.

20160122_113503

My stray cat who I named”Nasty”. It truly reflected her personality at the time.

I am often thinking about renaming her after all these years. But that might encourage her to become nasty again, which would require me to rename her for the second time. I deem it unnecessary exercise, not to mention the bureaucracy that might lead to.

Nasty is a very independent cat and a sort of a cat-philosopher. Merely by observing her I have learned many things about life. Seeing that she will not become literate enough to write a book any time soon, I have decided to voice her life views in this post.

Life lesson 1: Boredom does not exist.

Boredom is just the result of a tired mind, which is unwilling to explore, observe or learn. Look around! There is always some new sound, smell or movement to examine.

20150811_091715

Life lesson 2: Life is too short to be fake.

My cat often turns her back at me (and at other people phew!) when she does not feel like communicating. “Hey baby kitty Nasty, you are so cuuute! Such beautiful eyes!” (runs away or turns her back with 3-4 tail wags. To quote her more precisely: “Life is too short for small talk!”

20151014_162141

Life lesson 3: Listen to music & words of affection with your eyes closed.

This is to dive in the moment and for your heart to absorb as much warmth and light as possible. We need to keep both for a rainy day.

20150911_114338

Life lesson 4: Get to know new people entering your life.

Sniff them from top to bottom. Figuratively speaking! Do it patiently and consistently! Do not let anyone in your life unless they have passed the initial scan.

IMG-20151031-WA0037

Life lesson 5: Be inquisitive!

Curiousity killed the cat is a myth aimed at gullible cats (and people) who are looking for excuses to stay stale.

IMG-20151031-WA0038

Life lesson 6: Meow and you will be given.

Meow (or the equivalent) at the top of your voice! Inform the world about your needs. Be pushy! Be concentrated on your end goal! You have to express your desires for the universe to respond. Like it happens with food. No cat got food for being silent.

20150620_182058

Life lesson 7: Do not count to 10.

Counting to 10 might lead to cardiac arrest. Do not repress emotions. Let them flow! Cats might have 7 lives, people have “just” one. Do not count! Live, learn and grab anyone by the tail if they annoy you 🙂

12238312_10206557557912426_3673691990902353982_o

Signed: 🐾

Willing to get more journey, street and cat wisdom? Love storytelling? Subscribe to receive updates here

 

 

There is nothing positive about India

Glad the headline grabbed your attention.

India is a rich country.

People there have the single most powerful weapon that matters.

Not nuclear weapons.

Not money.

Not petrol.

Not even tea & spices.

The unbeatable, sincere, wide smile.

[…]

During my 3-week trip in India, my Indian friends were asking me whether I’m having a blast, where I’m going next and whether I need any help.

Meanwhile some of my dear European friends were asking me whether it is really THAT dirty, whether I have diarrhea and whether I have already had a mosquito bite, because malaria is a very dangerous disease…

To alleviate (to coin a phrase) the “ill-curious” and their suffering:

Yes, there is poverty around every corner, there is garbage and I saw children throwing bottles in the sea instead of pebbles.

Misery exists all around. Of course, if that is what you’re looking for.

As to the diarrhea, I’m happy to inform you I fully enjoyed the fantastic Indian cuisine.

My trip to India was a trip within myself. What would I really see?

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, as The Fox advised the Little Prince.

Indian heart

Indian heart

Ok, but are most buses really without windows?

Yes! What a major inconvenience! Once you are on an Indian bus, the lack of windows would be your smallest concern. In other words, evangelists should really think about preaching in the Indian buses. When you see the manner of driving, you immediately start praying. 🙂

And did you see people peeing on the streets?

Yes! And you know what… they actually seemed truly relieved after peeing 🙂

Unlike the “rich” Western travellers who were coo coo-ing about a ‘proper WC’, ‘Oh my Gosh, it’s disgusting!’ They seemed very tense.

So did Indians share any recipe for happiness?

Western folks just love mindless recipes and formulas 🙂

But I think I can shed some light on that matter.

The Indian people I met along the way have just surrounded themselves with amazing colours (I have hardly seen any black or grey colours: the corporations’ favourites).

Also super intense, joyful, emotional music with the weirdest lyrics possible (because they don’t care what others think. They want to have FUN!)

And let’s not forget about the chaotic dances (because it’s important to grab the moment with your friends – without airs and graces).

Finally: the bargaining! True pleasure and art! It’s just the daily hobby.

Trade is art

Trade is art

The secret sauce? I guess it is staying true to themselves that makes their faces radiant and their hearts glow.

Do you think I am exaggerating? Maybe you’ll label it as the ‘post-travel, romantic effect’. But I have evidence 🙂

Working in the creative industry, I’ve learned to research.

My personal brief for this trip was to smile at everyone. No matter how hot it is outside, no matter how unfriendly some people might seem, no matter how many mosquitos or rats are around me.

I got a 100% response rate. To spell it out: A hun-dred per-cent.

Not a single person did look me as if I am crazy for smiling ‘without a reason’, ‘without asking for anything in return’.

Not a single person did look worried, because don’t forget the beginning of this article: Indians are rich in smiles. It costs them nothing to smile back. They don’t think twice about it.

How about the driving? Is it as bad as Youtube videos show?

Haha, yes! Maybe “worse” when you (hopefully) live it!

What happens on the Indian roads is a mystery to the foreign traveller. It’s some kind of live magic performance under the music of hundreds of sound horns.

The cultural difference here is that Western people use the horn to curse somebody and to show general annoyance and impatience. While Indian people use the sound horn as a communication tool, just saying “Hey, I am here, I am passing.”

Long live road symbioses in India!

Ok! But are you SURE you didn’t get the Delhi belly?

Convinced. It must have been really amusing to the restaurant staff that I was sweating over a portion of butter chicken, which an Indian Friend of mine defined as “sweet”… Wherever I have had my meals, I’ve encountered acceptance of the fact that I am a foreigner. I had the freedom to clean my utensils before use, I have been asked for my spice tolerance, and I have been checked on during the meal and after it.

Indian food is a celebration to the palate.

India is a celebration to the soul. If one takes everything as it is.

India

The insights

A bus without windows is less scary than a face without a smile.

Eating without utensils is less worrying than a heart with no sympathy in it.

Malaria is less dangerous than indifference, negativity and envy.

I am happy I shared my Indian truth with you. Have you been in India? Please share your experiences below. I promise: No judgment, only acceptance!

Subscribe to receive updates here

Why working part-time or how to be quicksand-proof?

Have you noticed that Big Fish like General Motors are creating more and more part-time opportunities within their company? Have you heard all the talks about pension benefit cuts? Is the shift from the full-time economy to a part-time economy apparent enough to all of us now?

The assembly line was just the beginning of automating human labour. But thankfully certain things like imagination and communication cannot be automated.

With this in mind, I decided to slowly get out of the quicksand-like economy. Although one is not advised to move fast when trapped by quicksand, it was about time for me to leap.

Being in an office with people I loved and a job I liked has been amazing and I am very lucky to have found stickee. But my insatiable feeling for exploring the world was taking me over week after week. It would not have been right to stay there: gloomy, pensive and absent-minded. Dangerous mental uprisings crept in: ‘Why stay at one place when I could work from every place in the world?’

‘Why booking my personal time for 25 days a year? If life is really that short, is it not much more normal to own 365 days a year instead of 25?’

Reading ‘The Leap’ By Robert Dickie, I realised I only did a very mini-leap towards my personal freedom. Besides courage, the journey to my self-directed future depends on my faith, continued focus and actions.

Skills

According to Dickie one should start from their ‘God-given’ design: skills and passions. We must pursue a career that is in total alignment with our skills – this is like swimming in a river with a powerful current. For me this is writing in its various forms and applications.

Direction

When leaping, it is dead important to have a direction. To visualise it better, imagine Google Maps. Where are you? Where do you want to go? Which route would you choose?

And while the route is optional, the starting point and the final goal are pre-determined by your own capacity, talent and discipline.

The deathbed moment

Another important question is: ‘How would you like to be remembered?’

I like advertising. It is about finding a playful and creative approach that leads to measurable results. I think it is a great way to communicate brand/social messages and reach out to the world. But fast-forwarding to my deathbed, I would not like to be remembered with that great Coca-Cola campaign I did (as a cog in the system). It simply would not have added value to my life.

I would rather be remembered as the person who wrote books, shared insights and spent quality time with their family. Somebody who made people smile and contributed to peoples’ lives positively by telling stories, showing love and sharing harmony.

Banal but beautiful, right?

Several months later, after attending Vipassana and after a very enriching trip to Sicily, I still have some fears when it comes to writing. ‘ The Leap’ made me identify these ‘anchors’ clearly:

The mental anchors

Mostly self-imposed. Why according to me things would not pan out? I highly recommend writing down all the reasons you think would prevent you from reaching your goal. Some of them would definitely make you laugh at a later stage. Then work on dismantling each of them. Dickie talks about two types of locus – external versus internal. The former is all about the external circumstances that would affect your accomplishments (passive stance), while the internal is focused on actions and self-coaching (‘I will do it if I work hard & smart’)

The financial anchors

All sorts of debts or a lack of a freedom fund (savings). Be debt-free, as simple as that.

The physical anchors

“There is no special pill that can undo a lifetime of bad habits” so taking care of yourself comes first. Surely the best way to stay healthy (which I know) is doing sports.

The spiritual anchors

Faith is the firmest foundation one has. Whether one is religious or simply believes in their own powers, faith means strength. Since The Leap would consume all your energy, it is vital to give your aim every ounce of faith. No one else can or will do it on your behalf.

The heaviest and the rustiest anchor is this of regret. One could not live a life sitting with their back turned to the future, looking at the rearview window. Start from the deathbed and carry on to forming your daily tasks towards the big goal. Having a long-term plan is advisable, although I would personally like to call it a sketch, a vector. As Mike Tyson said: ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.’

How many punches in the face do we need to start acting?

*** For more inspiration on similar topics, please visit http://smilyanp.com/?cat=9

Subscribe to receive updates here