Make opportunities, and they will make you…

Generally speaking, we all want to be successful, productive, flourishing beings. But generally speaking, we simply are not.

Why?

Because we are lazy. We are so used to alarm clocks waking us up, the internet providing the answers to all our questions and social media telling us the latest gossip, that we expect everything to be served to us on a fine china plate.

If you want to be average then fine, live like this. I mean, if this gives you survival and happiness, then be my guest. But deny it all you wish; you want more.

In Maslow’s theory of motivation, he suggests that the common goal of all working humans is self-actualisation. This is the idea of reaching full potential- ‘enlightenment’, you could say. However, it is also important to note that Maslow proposed that this could never be truly reached, because we as humans will constantly strive for more.

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And do you know what? I love that! I love that I have been born into this species of ambition and determination. Yet even though self-actualisation may not be fully achievable, I would at least like to have a good shot at it.

So how can this be done?

First things first: Stop waiting for opportunities to magically present themselves; make them. And, stop using excuses to protect your self-esteem and reputation; we all know you’re just lazy.

However, it is very easy to say ‘make your own opportunities’; but not so easy to act upon. Many a time, people have presented me with this phrase. And each time, I have left the conversation feeling pumped up and motivated…. but all for nothing. All for nothing because i simply did not know how to make these said opportunities.

Well, I think I finally have the sledgehammer to knock this wall down.

Before you go wandering the streets, eyes peeled for something screaming ‘SUCCESS’ to greet you, have a think about what you actually want to achieve- or even just a general idea. For example: I know that these are a few of my aims…

  • Go somewhere with my writing
  • Make a stand with human rights
  • Succeed in my exams and go to university
  • Give motivation to others

As you can see, these aims are very vague! But that’s the whole purpose of making your own opportunities; they really can take you in any direction.

So now you have these aims, it’s time to work out how to get there. I found it useful to brainstorm everything I could possibly think of to do with the aim, and then choose the ones which most appealed to me. With the aim of ‘go somewhere with my writing’, my brainstorm contained all sorts: Blogging, competitions, poemhunter, book writing, article writing… And immediately, I could see these opportunities emerging.

If I now entered a competition and won it, it would mean I had succeeded the aim. And the way I would have succeeded the aim is by creating my own opportunity (by finding and entering that competition).

It is as simple as that.

Too often, we wait for someone to give us a shove before we stumble into success. We wait for someone to grow an idea in our minds that we had actually already planted a long time ago. We are awake for roughly 720 minutes a day- if not more- and all we can come up with is a meek idea every month? I don’t think so.

It’s time to be sharp. To be innovative. To be motivated.

It’s time we say goodbye to the TV (not completely, don’t worry!) and hello to the drawing board.

And remember…

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. -Milton Berle

Next post: The little things that mean a lot

Why so emotional?

Emotions are extraordinary things; sunshine and rain, goldfish and sharks, raging riptides, looming forests, rocky mountains and unwavering waves. And the crazy part? All in the same day.

Well sometimes, anyway. (Lets not portray yourself as a complete emotional mess, Ellie.)

If we feel too much, we are ‘irritating’. We are ‘melodramatic’. We are ‘a wreck’

If we feel too little, we are ‘robots’. We are ‘cold.’ We are ’empty’.

This is all according to societies rules. Or sometimes even our own. Sometimes we construct things in our minds that don’t even exist.

Me? I’m an overthinker. Every single, tiny, detail ticks away in my brain until confronted. If not confronted, it absolutely will not go away. Instead, a little army of these thoughts will build up and build up. Except, this army does not carry weapons, and eventually, is defeated.

Don’t overthink.

Now, if you are a overthinker, you will understand the complete and utter absurdity of this advice. That’s like saying ‘Don’t be british.’ or ‘Don’t be female.’

You are who you are, and that’s okay.

IT’S MORE THAN OKAY!

I’m a happy person. I’m a lucky person. I’m a happy-go-lucky person, you might say. I complain, like everyone else. I moan and groan, like everyone else. And yes, I get upset too. But guess what? So does everyone else.

I set myself standards too high. And these standards seem quite simple: To always be happy. But in reality, it just isn’t realistic or achievable. Being sad every now and then is natural- it makes us human! Being sad shows we can relate; it shows we care.

But sometimes we feel more down than your average glumness because someone cancelled on you or something like that. Sometimes there isn’t a reason for these emotions, which is the most frustrating thing- because it also means you can’t find a solution to them!

Spoiler alert! This was me the other day.

Every 30 minutes I wanted to cry, everytime someone spoke to me I snapped and everytime someone asked me what was wrong, my answer was ‘nothing.’ And the odd part was, that this was true. Because although I wasn’t okay, there really was nothing causing my sadness.

I spoke to the person I am closest to about this, and they said ‘Crying is like admitting to yourself that you are happy or sad.’ This stuck with me, because although I felt sad I knew I wasn’t sad. In life, things are going well! I’m close to amazing people (CRINGE), I am doing fine at school, I have a part time job and am learning to drive.. and I will be an Aunty in 2 months!

So what was going on?

I decided to concentrate on myself that day. I cancelled my plans, turned off the TV and other distractions and went on a walk. When I got back, I made a mindmap of things that defined ‘me’. I also included things I wanted to learn or hobbies I wanted to take up. (I’m a control freak and having a plan makes me feel immediately better). And like all fairytales, Ellie ended the day feeling happily ever after.


Aside from this lovely life story, there is a point i’m trying to make (hoorah!).

The point is that emotions are natural- the good ones and the bad ones! But in order to stay on top, you need to take time out solely for yourself. Why? So you don’t lose your focus on who you are and who you aim to be.

— But similarly, don’t do this ‘solely me’ thing for so long that you end up as an isolated, lonely, lazy, fat slump. —

No-one wants that, do they ;)?

 

Rights, fights and what you need to know

Before I launch into my series of posts battling sensitive topics based around the breach of human rights, I felt it was important to make sure everyone is on the same page.

In our youth, we are not taught what our rights are. And even in adolescence and adulthood, it is still not reiterated to us. Why the education system feels the need to teach us differentiation and integration but not what our simple rights are? I wish I knew.

Last year, I entered an Amnesty Youth competition for human rights. I will get more into the details of this shortly, but whilst I was at the ceremony I was given a book containing- in the simplest form- a list of our human rights: (See slideshow images below)

 

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Our issue is not just that we do not know of these rights, but also that should we know of them, they are not something we act upon. The one which most strikes me is: ‘Everyone has a right to learn.’

Initially, you may not think that among all the awful things happening in the World, this is a large concern. However, imagine each individual having an education. This would mean everyone could be educated on their rights and how to combat conflicts with these, hypothetically resulting in a slowly improving World. It also means people could be educated in a way that will ensure they do not do wrong and cause further conflict. Plus, children can then see from an early age the undesirable qualities of criminals, terrorists and so forth.

It is fair to say that an education for all could be a gateway to meeting the needs of the many human rights. In this Amnesty competition I mentioned, I begun to express my concerns on this in the form of a spoken word poem. I would love to be able to show you a video of this, however my parents were on camera duty and ‘filmed’ the whole thing without clicking record… Instead, you can see some awful photos from the event:

(If we can put the unflattering down angle and lifeless hair aside then it is a proud moment)

Getting into the top 3 for this competition and having the opportunity to perform really was one of my proudest moments. Not just for the selfish triumph, but also because I felt like I was helping a cause that really mattered.

However this year, i’d love to be able to do more. Whilst focusing on a broad range of topics, I would like to hone in on global education and find a way to really make a difference.

Somewhere, right now, there is a child- thousands of children- preparing for their life as a rice farmer. They are staring at their blistered feet and feeling their aching limbs in wonder: What would it be like to go to school, just for a day?

I understand that when living a privileged life it is easy to turn a blind eye to these issues elsewhere. It is difficult to put yourself into shoes that don’t fit and become a tailor to these needs. But i urge you to try, for all the difference it could make.

‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the World.’ – Nelson Mandela

Next Post: Looking into education across the globe.