Category Archives: Self-development

7 life lessons learned from my cat

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

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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Signed: 🐾

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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

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