Monday, June 18, 2012

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Today I spent the day cleaning my room, shopping for groceries, doing two loads of washing, reorganising my draws and giving A LOT of clothes and shoes to good sammies. Today could very well have been a boring day. Today could very well have been a mundane day. Today could very well have been a lonely day, but today was none of those things; Today was very possibly life changing.

How could a day spent running errands and cleaning alone in your house be life changing? Easily, my friend, because of the company I kept whilst doing it. Today was podcast central and what started at TED talks ended up with me listening to every commencement speech of Standford University since 2005. I listened to encouragment from everyone from Steve Jobs to Operah Winfrey and it seemed that as my room got cleaner so too did my soul. The same thoughts kept coming through over and over again from all the different people, people that have truly changed the world we live in, people that have innovated technology, founded companies, fought poverty and empowered nations. All of these people had such great things to say and I don't even know how to do them justice in my tiny little blog except to point you towards them and add only my reflections as I sit here in a clean room tonight, Looking and hoping towards a future on my own terms and not the terms of others. Here is the 3 main things I lernt today:

1. Find out what you love and then figure out a way to get paid for it.
Steve Jobs said "The only way to be satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
It got me thinking about who I am and who I was before I let myself be swayed by others. All I know is that I wrote my first Journal entry when I was 11 years old and have kept a Journal religiously since I was 14. Words help me to figure out the world around me, I write so that at the end I may have a better idea of my own head than I did at the start, sometimes it works straight away and sometimes it takes weeks of nutting it out on paper before I have arrived but it is therapy for me and I am my most authentic self when I am sitting with a sheet of paper in front of me and a pen in my hand. I can almost gage when my life is going off course because I stop writing, I stop questioning, I put myself on autopilot and close my eyes in fear that writing will lead me to have to change.
The other thing I am passionate about is people and their stories, I feel completely honoured when someone chooses to open up to me, I cry when I see someone cry, I'd rather watch a documentary over a hollywood movie anyday. I just love peoples stories and the power they have to cut through all the crap and the debates and hit you right in the guts telling you that we are not alone in all of this and there are people who have gone before and will come after and maybe our stories are powerful too.
I'm still figuring out a way to combine all this and get paid for it but for now I'm happy doing it for free.

2. Be true to yourself and your dream.
Susan Rice said "Never want something so badly that you do something you don't believe in to get it."
I know that this will look so different for so many people but for me it comes in the form of my biggest downfall, the fear of rejection. I have a dream, I can almost categorically tell you piece by piece what that dream looks like but I wouldn't because it is huge and I am far to fragile to have it squashed with everyone telling me I can't when I do that enough myself. The problem is I let things get in the way, I let myself get distracted, I've taken all the head and heart space that a little girl of 14 had reserved for her dream and I have dished it out to people, I have put everything on the line to feel loved and accepted by people, dimmed myself so as to not offend, diluted my dreams so as not to come on too strong, actively participated in heading down a path that is not the path I was born to travel, but a path I was willing to take if it meant that people would like me, if it meant that maybe someone would love me. I deeply believe that who I am is unlovable and so I have played the roles that people need me to play and traded in my hearts deepest desires to gain what I never even wanted. I have wanted people to love and accept me so badly that I have silenced myself and done things I don't believe in to get it, and let me promise you something right here, all that does is leave you awake at 2am wondering if this life, the one you actively created, is all there is and slowly but surely your dream begins to die. Which just happens to be a great segway into my third lesson from today.

3. Life is hard and you never stop learning.
Oprah Winfrey said "When something bad happens in life don't ask yourself "why me?" instead ask yourself "what is this situation trying to teach me?"
I have had a lot of twists and turns in my life, I was born with a serious heart condition, I was adopted, my parents broke up when I was 9, I was abused, I was bullied, I suffered a severe eating disorder, was in a rehabilitation center by 18, have been rejected, had my heart broken, and 2 nights ago my boyfriend gave me the finger and told me we were over after I had done nothing but love him and pay his way for a good portion of the last 13 months. If there is one thing I can tell you for sure, pain reminds you of whats important. Things happen in life to redirect us and redefine us and sometimes that really hurts but I know for sure that I wouldn't change a thing about my life because, as cliche' as it is, it has made me who I am today. I don't know who I would be if I had a more functional childhood, I don't know if I'd be a selfish twat but I might be. What I do know is that I can relate so much to hurting young people and I so deeply don't want anyone to ever feel as alone as I did during that time and that makes me 100% more committed to helping people because I know what it feels like to not be ok. I also know that wounds heal, they become scars and they fade. You will never be as if they never happened but you will go on and you will heal. Sometimes it's too much to ask you to get through today, sometimes all I can ask is that you get through this minute, then an hour, then a day, sometimes all I can ask is that you survive until it starts to feel better and it will, I promise it will. Saturday night I cried until I couldn't breath, I sat on the Kitchen floor and I hyperventilated all by myself but you know what, eventually my tears ran dry, I went to bed and the sun still got up the next day. Today I cleaned my room and got inspired and today I wrote again for the first time in 2 months. It took my heart being broken to really get back to who I was and who I was on the path to losing. You will fail. People will hurt you. There will be nights when you cry yourself to sleep and there will be times when hope is absent from your sight but don't despair in those moment, because they are there to teach you something and the quicker you learn it the quicker you can get up and move on.

4. Give back and be generous.
I don't have a quote for this one but it was a theme that every person spoke about. True happiness doesn't come from what you have or how famous you can be, true happiness comes from sacrifice for others and being the change you want to see in the world. The truth is that if you want to have a big house, a luxury car and an expensive boat and you work really hard and save you can have all those things, but they wont make you happy. Money helps you in as much as if you don't have it you will stress about it and it will cause you unhappiness but once you have enough, once your bills are paid, the extras on top? That doesn't make you happy, it makes you capable to affect change. We are the richest people in the world. We live in peace and safety and abundance, we throw away perfectly good food and stand in the shower watching clean water run down the drain, we are already rich. But how can we afford to sleep easily while billions of people suffer, be it from wars, famines, slavery, injustice, corruption, genocide, we throw these words around and reblog some photos and think we are changing things and I'm not saying that isn't great because it is and I love peoples hearts when they do those things but what about things that take sacrifice? Get on a plane, go see the world, get uncomfortable, get angry, witness these words in action because I believe that once we see, then we will be compelled to change things. Not everyone is called to move to Africa or Cambodia or Iraq but everyone is called to help the poor. Jesus Christ, who's opinion matters far more than anyone else I have quoted tonight said "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." When was the last time you fed someone that was hungry or helped a stranger or looked after the sick? This was never a suggestion, never a job for the few who have the time, the money or the skills, this is not a new idea that these people have invented for speeches, this is bread and butter, this is non-negotiable. This is a calling for everyone, however that looks for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Smile often

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