The feeling that you’re useless…FIGHT IT!

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
~ Og Mandino

A few days back, while vacuuming the living room, I picked up the guitar of my daughter. I was tired of cleaning so I put down the vacuum cleaner and started to ping on the strings. Just for fun. I’ve always love the sound of a guitar and I will melt away at songs that are guided by acoustic guitar sounds. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to learn how to play it when I was younger. Now I’m compensating it by sending my daughter to guitar class. Luckily she likes it a lot and she’s doing really great.

So, I held the guitar that day and looked at the book with music notes. It’s a book for beginners, which my daughter left on the stand after practicing some old songs. The book lies proudly open, as if it intentionally shows me all its contents. It seems not too complicated so I decided to give it a shot. After a few attempts I almost want to give up. the joints in my fingers and my fingertips already started to complain after a few minutes. I feel them burning of pain caused by the pressing on the strings. My shoulders cramped and I couldn’t hit a decent music note. I thought about how well my daughter could play this instrument and I felt like a useless woman.

Okay.. now wait a minute! That’s totally not fair to think that way.

We all know the feeling when something doesn’t go the way as we’ve planned. And unfortunately, most of the time it works like that. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not capable of doing something right or making something to happen. It just means that you need more practice in what you’re trying to do. Perseverance is the key. That and a right mindset.

If you’re feeling bad because something didn’t go as planned. Then stop what you’re doing! Stop and take a deep breath. Let your mind flow away from what you’re doing and let it go for a moment. And then, think of something else. Think of something that you’ve done and that you succeeded in. Think of things that make you happy. For instance, think of that time that you’ve nailed a very complicated cake recipe. Or maybe you’ve once helped an old lady to cross a busy road. Or even think back at the time that you’ve passed you’re driving exam.

All those thing, no matter how small they seem to be, you made them happen. Those are your achievements! Maybe you forgot about them, but the people you shared that cake with, will always remember that cake of yours and admire your perseverance to make it. That old lady will always be grateful to you for your help and the fact that you steer your car so easily around these days, is because you once passed that exam!

So, remember, the next time you feel bad about a thing that doesn’t work out right away, don’t focus on the things that went wrong, but think of the things that make you strong. YOU can change your mind, YOU can CHOOSE on what to think. So, choose the positive matters, because those things can make you feel better and let you believe in yourself. And that is the most important part! Believe in what you can do. Be determined to succeed!

As for the things that did not succeed today, there is always a tomorrow!

i kept practicing on the guitar and after a few days I can now finally complete playing a whole song. Check it out in my latest Youtube video.

 

The Walk

Old age

“Old age: the crown of life, our play’s last act.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

I had a lovely vacation this summer. I went to Slovenia and Croatia. I’ve visited some beautiful places and saw some impressive sceneries. When on the last day I sat on a bench in a nice park in Zagreb, thinking how grateful I am to have the chance to make this journey, I saw two women walking by. One pushing a wheelchair and one leaning on a cane. I guess the wheelchair is meant for the lady with the cane. My educated guess is that they’re in their late 70s maybe even early 80s. I couldn’t help but to follow them with my eyes.

The women walked slowly. My impression was that the lady with the cane couldn’t walk too fast and gets tired easily. They set a few steps and then they will stop to rest for a minute or two. The lady pushing the wheelchair awaits patiently for the lady with the cane to take lead and carry on. I couldn’t make out their relationship. They might be sisters or just good friends. Best friends even, I guess. They’ve definitely known each other for a long time. It’s like they are willing to stand by each other no matter what.

When I look at them, I couldn’t help but to think how their life must have been. Are they married, do they have kids, what have they endured? Are they happy? Do they have regrets? What are their biggest achievements. Are they grateful? Do they visit church every now and then or did they gave up hope and belief a long time ago?

All sort of questions crossed my mind. I would’ve loved to have a chat with them. To hear their stories. To get to know the things that they have experienced. To listen to their achievements and share their regrets, if they have any. I always think of people of old age as one big treasure chest, full of inspiration.

When I was sitting there, watching the treasure chests, my mind started to wander off. Slowly, just like the lady with the cane and it stops for a pause, too, at my past. I’ve learned to let that go a long time ago. But sometimes it still hits me. Don’t want to waste too much time in the past, I urged my mind to carry on and it wandered to my future. What will my future look like? That’s the most mysterious question no one can ever answer. My mind started to come back to me and it accompanied me again at watching the old ladies. And then it told me: make sure you don’t have regrets when you’re at that age. Live today and enjoy life! Whether it’s good or bad. Accept the things that cross your road. Be grateful for the things that you have. And keep on learning. Keep inspiring people and be inspired by life. The past gave you a present to build the future. So, live the present!

Life’s a funny thing. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. So, we must get the most out of it today. And if we are lucky to live till the age of the ladies in my photo we have to make sure that every day counts and that we don’t have regrets on the last day of our lives.

The women went on their way. So did I. As our ways separated I turned back a few times to watch them. They became smaller each time I turned around until eventually they’ve disappeared into the distance. This was the best scenery I’ve seen this vacation. I wish them both the best last act of their play.

Live or survive

“If there’s no struggle, there is no progress.”
~ Frederick Douglass

It’s been a few months now that I’ve been jobless. Last October my boss gave me the news that my services weren’t needed anymore after 1st January. At first I was very surprised. The news hit me like a thunderclap because I didn’t see that coming at all. After the feeling of surprise was gone, the feeling of fear showed up. Finding a new job is just a hard thing to do nowadays. There are so many people looking for work, the competition is huge. But I do also realise that I can not give in to fear. All the fear I have is just about money. No income means trouble. Especially if I still need to pay off some debts. But I can not let that fear control my life. And to be honest, I didn’t really mind that I lost my job. Long before my boss announced the termination of my contract I have already thought about quitting. But I didn’t quit because of…money.

As of today I still haven’t found a new job yet. At least, not one in which I get paid. In the past few months I’ve been struggling with the well-known problem; lack of income! But not just that. I also struggled to be myself. The constant fight between my heart and my mind makes me crazy sometimes. I know I have to find a paid job to survive life. But stubborn as I am, I don’t want to give in to my ego. My heart tells me that I won’t be happy if I have to go to a boss on daily basis doing the things I don’t really like to do. And that is true. It would kill me slowly. But I need to survive! I just don’t want income coming from a daily job behind a desk at a boss’ office. I wan’t to be my own boss. Doing the things I love to do. And there comes struggle number three! I have quite a few things that I love to do and that I want to use to earn my money with.

I love to write, to construct stories all day long. I love photography. I want to take photos all day long if possible. Filmmaking, another thing that I would love to do on a regular basis.  And last but not least, making my own graphic designs, I just don’t do it, because I don’t know what use they have. I love to do all these things and I can use them to earn money. But somehow i just don’t know where to start or how to start.

Something is holding me back. But what exactly is it? If I dig deep, the answer takes me back to where I started; fear and ego. Although I have practised these skills for many years, I’ve never done that on a professional level. My biggest problem: lack of confidence. Ego 1 – 0 Jessica. The chance to earn an income with these skills and establishing a career from this point just seems impossible to my ego. It keeps telling me that I need money and I need it fast. To be honest, worrying about money and struggling to get bills paid do really keep me awake at nights. The best way to solve this problem: find a job, any job. Just not the one I want.

Is it the right reason to give in? Am I too stubborn? Maybe. But it just don’t feel right to do things against my will just because I need money. I’ve done that for the past twenty years. There has to be other ways! I just refuse to give in to fear. So, as stubborn as I am, I will keep finding a way to earn my living by doing things that I love. And I found one that might just work.

I started a webshop selling t-shirts with prints that I design. My photos, my designs! Two things that I love to do. it gives me an opportunity to show my work to the world. It might work, it might not. But I won’t allow my ego to win. I will try with all my heart to find a way that works for me to earn my living doing things that I love to do!

If it succeeds, and I do believe it will, then after all those struggles, progress will definitely show! And I don’t have to work anymore. Because I will be doing things that I love to do.

Please check out my first step of combining two things I love do: DL3 store.

Do what you love

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”
~ David Frost

Have you ever felt like you don’t know what you’re doing? As if you are lost on the road of life? No? Great! You’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing. Be grateful and enjoy every moment.

For those of you out there who do struggle with your jobs sometimes; I know how it feels. Sometimes you just got the feeling that you’re doing it merely to survive rather than enjoying it. You want to change that, but you’re too afraid to change the steady life that you’re living. Because every change will cause insecurity and you don’t know what it’ll bring. It’s okay. I get it. It is scary. But do keep in mind that it’ll always stay the same way. If you don’t change it, it won’t change itself.

But why giving up something that is safe and start doing something that we can’t predict the outcome of…

Let me tell you why: because you won’t be happy if you keep doing something that you don’t really enjoy. Imagine something that you hate to do and you have to do it the rest of your life. For instance, I really don’t like vacuuming at all, but I have to do it, otherwise I get a dirty house. I can make myself comfortable by listening to music while I vacuum and that’s okay. I can survive it once in a while. Even when I have to do it twice a week, it’s still be fine. But now let’s assume that vacuuming is my job, I have to do it day in, day out…. It’ll drive me crazy in no time. If that is what you feel about your job, then it’s time to change! Because if you don’t it’s not only affecting you but at some point it will also affect your surroundings; your family and friends. People you care about. So, step over your fear and start doing the thing that you love. So you can be really happy.

One of the reasons that we’re not eager to change what we’re doing, is the fear that it will be not successful. We tend to think about the outcome instead of the process. That’s because we live in a material world. Bills need to be paid, mouths need to be fed. But when we think that way, success will not come. We all know some stories about successful people. If you compare those stories they will have one thing in common: they didn’t think about the outcome when they started to do the thing that made them successful. They just did it because they believe in it. Sometimes we need to be bold and just start. Deep down in your heart you know what you have to do. But instead of listening to our heart we let our minds overrule.

Now, you don’t have to quite your job or change your life drastically in order to do the thing that you love. But you have to at least make a start and do it. Make time for it and pay attention to it. If you want to be a painter, start to paint! Do it in the mornings, the evenings or at night! But just start picking up a brush and dip it in the paint and make something cool! If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is pick up a pen and a notebook and start doing it. Jot down your thought, your ideas, start a blog, share your stories. If you believe in it and you believe in yourself, you will make it successful!

Believe in yourself, believe in the thing that you love to do. Pay attention to it and let it grow. Baby steps at a time, but give it a chance to let it grow!

 

What do I want?

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.
~ Mary Lou Cook

I have been struggling for a while with what I really want to do. For the past 5 years I’ve worked as an importer of Chinese herbs, a caterer, promotional employee and receptionist and I can’t quite find my way in all these jobs. There was even a time that I was a software engineer and I have owned a restaurant. I can’t say my life is boring. But non of these professions gave me satisfaction. I just can’t find peace at any of them. I started to wonder why.

I took a pause and asked myself, what is it that I really want? The answer was quite clear: I want to be a screenwriter and filmmaker! I’ve always knew but I I’ve never told the world.

The reason I have not told the world earlier about my dreams is because Fear and Ego were controlling over me. I was scared that people will laugh at me and think I’m silly. And then Ego will tag along with Fear   and tell me I have no talent. A little voice in my head keeps screaming at me that I’m better off doing something else than to pursue my dream. It’s very annoying! Fear and Ego dominated my life for a very long time. It caused me to gave up my dream once. I won’t let it happen again.

So, now I’m yelling it to the world: I WANT TO BE A SCREENWRITER AND FILMMAKER!

I’ve always wanted to work in the film industry. Once upon a time I’ve even taken acting classes. But due to circumstances I did not persevere. Deep down that dream didn’t fade away. It’s like an itch underneath my skin that I have ignored for too long. And now it has turned into a wound. The wound is open and it has to be healed. It can only heal if I nourish it and be gentle to it and use the right medication.

Three years back I started to write my first screenplay. It took me six months to finish it. All the scenes were so vivid in my head and I just wrote them all down. I know it’s not a masterpiece, but at least I can put my name on a finished screenplay. And maybe it will never (well, never say never…) get produced, it gave me satisfaction creating it. It made me feel alive, it charged me up and pumped me full of energy. I’ve used the energy to write more stories and now my name is on two other screenplays too. That’s the power of creativity! It provided me the right medication to heal my wound and the best weapon to fight against Fear and Ego.

My next goal is to start a vlog channel on Youtube. I’m preparing for it and I’m watching (and learning from) successful Youtubers to see how they do it. One of them is Peter McKinnon. This guy is so funny and full of energy and he has soo much fun doing what he does. It just makes you happy watching him. In one of his latest episodes he gave tips to his audience on how to start a vlog! That can’t be a coincidence! Just as I need the courage and support soo much, this guy decides to make a vlog about how to vlog! It’s amazing!

And there is another photographer called Sean Tucker. He also has his own vlog and it’s quite artistic. He is all different from Peter, but his channel is even fun to watch. Sean is more timid and shy where as Peter is all funny and active. And they both have their own audiences. Both of them have said that the main thing about creativity is to have fun. Step out of your comfort zone and do the things you love to do. Enjoy doing it and don’t bother what other people think of it. Because you are the game changer.

So, I decide to follow the advice of these two men; have fun doing the things I love to do. Step over Fear and give Ego a punch in the face. I might take some risk walking down the road of screenwriting and filmmaking, make mistakes, even fall down a few times, but I’m sure that every time I get up again I will know more about that road and it will only bring me more fun walking on it.