Thursday, May 17, 2012

Finding Inspiration: Uncle Steve

I’m feeling a little inspired today. As you may or may not know, I’m a techie. Not in the nerdy or geeky sorta way; but the girlish type :D :D . The type that doesn’t care much about E!. Should I even be using that as a yard stick? I guess not; anyway, that’s not the point of this post but you’ll see the connection (I hope).

There are very few people-living or dead- that I can boldly come out and say I admire or that inspire me. This is because I’m not very heavy on words. If you say something nice to me, I might surprise you and give you a blank stare *sorry*. That’s why I’m terrible at “washing people” Bad behaviour? I know, and I’m working on it. Believe me.
So, when I say I admire (d) Steve Jobs, then you must know that I really do. *insert my techie paragraph above here* You understand why I started with that now, right? Forgive me if you don’t.

Okay, so as I was saying; Steve Jobs was one of the few people I admired in his lifetime and I think I still do even in his death. Why? One reason: Innovation. That, to me is the next best thing in life after God. There’s nothing like being ingenious especially in the very competitive world that we are in.
So, is this something like a tribute to Uncle Steve? Maybe. Followed closely by Whitney Houston and Tayo Aderinokun of GTBank, Steve Jobs tops the list of “significant people” whose deaths hit me the most (I dare not call them celebrities).

Where am I going with this? Yesterday, I read Steve Jobs’ popular Stanford 2005 speech again and a few things I had missed came to light, some of which I want to share:

1.   Connecting the Dots: “Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

#Note to Self: To that statement of trusting in something, I would add GOD. The absolute importance of trust and faith can never be over-emphasized. Is all of life itself not based on trust and faith? How is it that we are able to sleep every night and believe that in the morning we are going to wake up? Isn’t it because we trust that Someone or something has the job of ensuring that? You might take this to be spiritual, but as far as I’m concerned, all of life and living is spiritual. The question is which spiritual force controls you?

2.    Love and Loss: “I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life…and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees…and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired... I was a very public failure…But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did... And so I decided to start over. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life…I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance… I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.”

#Note to Self: It doesn’t matter how many times you fail or even how terribly you fail; as long as you genuinely love what you are doing, you will always rise. So, do what you love and love what you do. It’s that simple. Be willing to start over, but take conscious steps to ensure you don’t fall as a result of your own mistakes; and even with that, if you fall, clean yourself up, get up and focus on the love you have for what you do. Don’t decide to go for the next best thing when you can have the best. I’ve done this man times in my life and a whole book will not accurately describe the pain I felt when I saw the best I could have taken. Raise your head and look beyond that corner; the best is just after the corner.

3.    Death: “…Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart...”

#Note to Self: What is important to you? What defines you? If someone had to describe you in one word, what would the person say? Whether you like it or not, that one word is what will be left of you after you’re gone. So, what do you want that one word to be? Live your life with openness that stems from the realization the one day, you’ll be stripped of everything by death. All the excess luggage will go nowhere with you.

I didn’t know Steve Jobs, but I was distressed by his death. The fact that someone with such intelligence and intensity can die one day is a subtle prompt that one day; we’d all answer the call. The question is will you look back on your life when you’re gone and be satisfied with how you lived?

P.S: This post is not about negativity in any way; it’s just a subtle reminder. Forgive me if it came across that way.
You can find Uncle Steve’s full text here 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Finding Balance

Few months ago, I tweeted that "I am the new definition of tiredness and lack of balance". I knew what I was saying, but I didn't fully understand what it implied.
I first attributed meaning to the word "balance" when I saw the movie "Eat Pray Love". What I know hitherto about balance is:
1. FOOD: you have to eat; sometimes because you just have to stay alive, other times because you got the best food ever and sometimes, out of courtesy.

How does this apply to me? : So I decided to eat. I'm slim, very much so. Someone even once called me Anorexic, but I didn't care then and I don't care much now; but my lightweight isn't as a result of not eating, if you've seen my mum, you'll have a slight idea. Anyway, it worked. I ate just because. I ate healthy and I developed the habit of romancing my food in my mouth (I can give you tutorials if you'd like). It was good. I enjoyed food. I learnt new dishes and tried them out. I had an amazing time making great meals. That's where this story ends.

2. PRAY: I understood this as having an intimate relationship with the God you're serving; being able to go on your knees and pray whenever you needed to talk; knowing God and knowing Him with complete accuracy; and the list goes on. I always remembered this: “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can't even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I'm aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don't have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, and inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.”

How does this apply to me? So I decided to pray. I am a Christian and I believe in the Trinity and the Holy Spirit and I'm proud of that. I found peace with God and I stayed with that peace. It was amazing to say the least. You wouldn't know what's missing until you come to the full realization of the power of God and full acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit. I'm still on that track; I'm not there yet, but I know I'll get there. This story continues from here.

3 LOVE: Ha! The widely used, yet least understood word on earth. I learnt to understand love as a commitment; a decision. I came to understood love as being hardcore. Love is patience, kindness, not holding grudges, empathizing, not jealous, bearing all things, forgiveness, etc. Most importantly, I understood and settled with the fact that God loves everyone. It doesn’t matter if most people don’t love Him back; He still loves us all unconditionally anyway. I found an example in Him.

How does this apply to me? So I decided to love. I learnt to smile from my inside.  It was hard, I was happy, I was burnt, and I cried, I laughed, I was hurt. I got love in return, my love was thrown back to my face, but I loved anyway. I loved God, I loved family, I loved friends, I tried to love enemies; made an attempt to love everybody. I was brokenhearted at some point, but I always remembered the phrase from Eat, Pray, Love: “This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” This is hardly where this story ends.

How did this work out for me? I found balance (or so I thought). My life was finally in the right direction. I’d wake up in the morning and know exactly what to do with myself and how to go about it. I felt equilibrium. I left the house same time every day, got back same time, knew exactly how many minutes to spend doing what. It helped me shed excess baggage, I left many things behind and I felt satisfied.

Something upset my balance though. I had to break my routine for some unforeseen reason and I lost my balance. At home, at work, with everything and anything that mattered, I couldn’t keep up with my life and I was miserable. Very miserable. It killed me not to be able to organize my life and I knew there was no way I could avert that disaster.

I came to realize one truth and that is probably the point of this epistle. Balance doesn’t come from being able to accurately arrange my life. I am not a static object; the fact that I’m human automatically makes me dynamic; so I don’t expect that things will always remain as they are. Therefore, my true balance only comes when in the midst of my craziness; I can still eat, pray and love. It doesn’t matter how many times I’m hurt when I love or who loves me back or whether or not I eat enough or less than enough, or whether or not I’m able to articulate my words when speaking to God; as long as I’m happy, satisfied and fulfilled, then I’ve found my balance.
I hope you can agree with me.
Eat healthy as much as you can
Pray without Ceasing
Love always
Stay Happy
Find Balance.