Still in the state of the Cardinals, I sit in my kitchen overlooking our porch as I watch the remnants of winter’s touch melt away. It’s the top of a new year, it’s the first day.
It seemed like several years ago that I donned a Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtle pajama, while huddled with my brothers in our living room as my mother chorused, 10 minutes! Squealing with the crowds of people on our television set, we would watch with bated breathe “the decorated ball” when Dick Clark would say, “10………….9……..8………..7…………..6…”
“Cups up,” my mother shouted. Going around the room she would pull out our favorite drink of the night, Welches Sparkling Grape Juice. Clinking glasses as the New Year lights met the ball, the room filled with noise, “Happy New Year!!!” Starring into my brothers’ eyes then and moving toward my mother’s —we knew that things would get better. Standing in a circle, we held each other’s hand. We prayed for each other’s health, future and prosperity. This became our tradition year after year.
“You’re going to need this whip for this horse,” said the instructor. Raising my eye-brow in disbelief with my friend we asked, “Why is that?” He responded, “Zilla. Well, he is stubborn.” My face lit up with joy. Not for the fact that he was stubborn, but because I was going to try something new, horseback riding.
Zilla. The first horse I rode, taught me to pick the cherries off the branch and not just trot passed them. In other words, cherish every moment and don’t take time for granted — even if it seems that we don’t have enough of it. We all have those moments.
We spend so much time working hard toward an end goal. That goal can be a wide range of things: careers, advanced degrees, expanding a family– you name it. It can take on a whole host of forms and you know what ? We can get lost in the moment. We can lose ourselves to work and forget the simple joys.
You want to bypass that experience– trust me– by setting out time for yourself each week to unplug. If you plan everything in life, start planning time away. Make it a weekly thing. That’s what Zilla taught me on our trail.
At times, Zilla would be more concerned with the leaves on branches than staying on trail. He would often try to veer of course ignoring me and often forgetting that I was on his back . He would pause ever so often to play with twigs. He was in his own world and I was just there experiencing it. For that moment, I was not thinking of deadlines, projects, meetings or the like. I was thinking, “How magnificent it was to be on this animal’s back. I was in his home ( his neck of the woods– literally) all 1100+ Lbs of him.
He showed me that sometimes I should take the back seat to enjoy the more scenic route of life. Walking along our set trail, my friend took Montana:
If you have to set time aside to plan for joy, by all means do it.
What have you tried for the first time that brought you joy?
The crisp cool air has finally made its invitation. And you know what? Autumn has just arrived, and is quite jealous. Holding no prisoners, the trees are going to be confused with color: spotted brown, yellow hues, and green patches.
So long are the days of summer. The days of cool rides down the Hudson river on a kayak, sweet smells of a freshly cut lawn, sparkly stars flying down our driveway–being chased by nets from overly exuberant children– saying, “Look Mom and Dad, I caught one–a fire fly.”
Those were no ordinary days. Hello autumn.
Padding down the Hudson, I stick my toes one last time out of my kayak and into the river.Drawing from the remnants of summer, I muse. The happiness of it all: lush leaves, pregnant bellies of ripe trees, and gregarious laughter clinging from the ferry boats of Manhattan’s South Ferry Station saying,
“Lolita, we are going to be late!”
“I can hear the festival from here, relax Les — we’re the Jazz festival.”
“Just look at us,” said Lolita as she tucked her blue peacock feather behind her ear.
It seems like a water color painting now. The laced garb, beads, feathered headbands– the boyish cuts, straight out of the “Roaring Twenties.” An adventure of sorts for the young honeybees as they made their way to the nest called, Governors Island.
Boy — has that painting faded.
The water is cool, the air is fresh and the sun has barely glazed its warmth across my body. My skin is prickled –goose bumps. Autumn is such a sneaky girl.
There are so many layers that make up people. We’re now living in this open society, accelerated by the advancement of technology in a digital age. People are so free in sharing everything they can. You name it, someone has possibly seen it. I remember growing up as a child in Philly, being one of the few who had a color printer on my block. I’m 26, just to give you an idea– it was not too long ago. Back then AOL was thriving more than any other internet provider. I remember that people were shy in exposing their identities online, even if they had a website. In my observation, a majority of persons would hide behind these default avatars to use for social platforms. Today, this is definitely not the case.
Silicon Valley is home to the greatest tech companies in the United States, if not world. Facebook is well on its way to achieving a billion members. I’d give it two to three years. In most interviews I’ve read of Mark Zuckerberg, he has always remained firm with the mission of his social media empire. It has not wavered since its inception of being a platform to create a more open society. It’s eerie to see how far of achieving his goal he has delivered.
In doing so, we’ve also created a sense of knowing people based on their digital imprints. It’s intriguing and dangerous all at the same time. Similar to public figures and celebrities, people think they know but have no idea. You can only truly know someone by developing a relationship offline. One that’s not filtered, contrived, or influenced in any way. I worry when I think of children who are impressionable and eager to make friends.
The ability to influence something or someone to help execute a (larger) project. “Larger” in the sense that the impact is so great that it could not have been accomplished if it were done by just one person. Leadership– real leadership is the ability to inspire those around you to invest their energy toward something greater than themselves. You’re working toward a shared vision, everyone is investing their time toward that thing.
001. Read A lot: I’ve learned that in order to improve as a writer, you have to continuously read good material. It’s not easy, but I am finding time because I’m making the time.
002. Live: My post Wednesday spoke about the importance of experiencing life– and making yourself available in the moment of your own “experience.” That means, limited to no tweeting or instagraming in real time. You want to get lost in the moment to rejuvenate your spirit, and be inspired by the world around you. It’s a great way to avoid writer’s block. You must get out there and humble yourself before nature to absorb all its beauty. The thoughts and creativity will soon flow– trust me.
003. Just Write: Free-writing is a great technique to clear your mind and strengthen your voice. Grab a notepad and write whatever is on your mind. Grammatical errors aside, write whatever is on your mind. Keep a journal, online or off– make it a game. You can get a magazine and cut out a bunch of words. Each day, pick a word or a photo and just go ahead and write. Write . write.
NEIL GAIMAN says, “Apart from reading a lot and living, every now and then I run into really good writers who have nothing to say. At that point you want to say, start writing and go get a job somewhere. Go run the world, go do stuff, go get your heart broken and then come back and write some more. Normally what you want to tell people is write. Because for most people who want to be writers, it never occurs to them to do it (be writers) is by writing. All writers have this vague hope that the elves will come into the night and finish any stories for you– and they won’t– it’s only you. So, you have to write and you have to finish things. You have to get them read, start doing things, and that’s really the secret. Put one word after the other — like big bricks onto a wall and sooner or later you look and you see that you managed to build a palace. ”
Jenna Goudreau was on to something with her recent piece, Could Wearing Red Boost Your Earnings ? In the article she highlights different studies, which show women who wear red in certain professions, earn more and are perceived differently among their peers. As cited in article, France’s University South Brittany– gathered data among waitresses in 5 different restaurants who wore either red, blue, black, yellow, and green. The data collected were their earnings over the course of 6 weeks with 722 patrons. The results of the study showed that women who wore red earned 15-26% more by male diners, while female patrons were not affected by the color of the waitresses’ clothes.
Goudreau later explored whether this finding held true in more professional work environments. How much of a role does color hold with our own perception on things or people?
I’ll never forget the day when I heard about Oprah’s Legends Ball. It was an all white/black affair. She surprised her guests when she walked into the room with a bright red Vera Wang gown, fit for a queen.
All I could think back then was, “That’s how a powerful woman let’s her presence be known.”
Image Credit: Oprah.com
Power In Style Series:This series runs every Tuesday on AmandaEbokosia.com. You may send ideas, questions and comments by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Q: Sitawa asks, Do you have any tips on time management?
A:Time management: A fashion that will never go out of style. As an entrepreneur, I find myself always reinventing the wheel (looking for new ways to keep my team and I ahead). I say this as my inbox floods and my calendar is marked with yellow highlights and post-its, I get it. It’s tough to manage time effectively, but it’s not impossible. Sitawa, here are some tips I offer:
EXAMINE FLAWS: Let’s reflect on your typical day. Where do you fall short? Where do you find your time used ineffectively? Are you procrastinating by wasting time on your favorite website or answering way too many e-mails in one session? We want the time we use to count so that we can have more time for ourselves, and yield better work– work that matters. Let’s think about how we can minimize our junk time. My junk time is watching TV during the week. I try to watch my shows over the internet during my “off” days (I have more control). During the week, I focus on productive work throughout the week. The times I used to watch shows during the week, are now replaced with reading and producing new ideas for programs. I try to take the night down by drinking peppermint tea, it relaxes me. Map out where you fall short during your day, and find out ways to minimize that time–the junk time.
SET GOALS:When you set goals for what you wish to accomplish, you’ll have more control over your time. I knew of a Life Coach who recommended setting 5 clear goals a month, while defining a weekly task toward each goal. She felt that making a million “to-dos” were not practical, which is true. You want to set clear monthly goals. You want a few goals that are attainable and a few that are reaching for the stars. In a sense, it’s like applying for college. You have your list of safety schools (schools you’re likely to be accepted in/ tasks you can accomplish easily) and the reach schools (schools that will be a challenge for you to get in/ tasks that are much more difficult to accomplish).
BE PREPARED: I had a graduate adviser who gave me the best advice. I used to come into her office every quarter asking, “How can I make all of this better ?” I was referring to my busy life, life as a student, and work. She asked me, “How do you plan your days ?” When I gave her my calendar, she glanced at it and said, “Where is the time you eat lunch, dinner, laundry, and sleep ? She urged me to pencil it all in–months ahead. Planning ahead will afford you more discipline and focus. TIP: Create a Google Calendar and sync it to all of your technological devices. You can even set certain routines, while activating alerts and reminders for each.
DELEGATE: When you share your responsibilities with others, you decrease the likelihood of being overwhelmed with the time you have to fulfill your duties. You want to continue to do great work to the best of your capabilities, while nurturing yourself with some free time. That only comes when you’re able to relinquish some of your “power” or control. You need to be able to learn how to delegate and share your responsibilities.
Read my article below about mastering the art of delegation:
Q&A Segment Series:The Q&A series runs every Monday on AmandaEbokosia.com. You may ask her anything, and she may feature your question on the website. Only your first name will be published. Submit your question (here)
Eggplants are a great source of fiber. I’ve sauteed it, fried it, and now baked it– Eggplant Parmesan. I did this under the guidance of Yahoo Shine’s contributor, Chef Fabio. He did not follow me into my kitchen physically, but he was there virtually. View his cooking demonstration below, you’ll also see a photo of my creation too Sunday afternoon around 4 PM. Please let me know if you’ve ever incorporated Eggplants into your diet. I’ve been having the most fun cooking and baking with foods that I’d normally pass up in the supermarket.
Have you tried anything new this week? Suggest something for us to try!
Something New Series:The “Something New” series runs every Friday on AmandaEbokosia.com. This series was made because I believe everyone should always have a “first” anything, it gives life new meaning and a sense of excitement.
If there is ever a time that you need to feel motivated, watching Will Smith’s wisdom video– could ignite the spark you need to go out fulfill your goals.
Will Smith says the following points directly from is infamous, “Will Smith Wisdom” video. Enjoy and add to it, in the comments section.
Please Note: The following is a transcript of what Will Smith said directly in this 10 minute video clip. You can print this out, and slip it into your wallet. The transcript is long, I posted the link to the video at the end.
Will Smith says,
I have a great time with my life and I want to share it.
I love living I think it’s infectious, its something you cant fake.
Greatness is not this wonderful esoteric elusive god-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste.
It is something truly exists in all of us.
It’s very simple, this is what I believe and I am willing to die for it.
I know who I am and what I believe, and that’s all I need to know.
We did not grow up with the sense that– where we were, was where we were going to be.
We grew up with the sense that where we were almost did not matter– because we were becoming something greater.
The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel and have dreams and want to do things. Talent is what you have naturally, skill is only developed by hours and hours of beating on your craft.
I never really viewed myself as particularly talented, where I excel is ridiculous, sickening– work ethic.
While the other guys sleeping, I’m working. While the other guys eating, I’m working.
There’s no easy way around it. No matter how talented you’re– your talent is going to fail you if you’re not skilled.
If you don’t study and work really hard– and dedicate yourself in being better every day, you’ll never be able to communicate with people– with your artistry– the way that you want.
The only thing that I see that’s distinctly different about me is I am not afraid to die on a treadmill. You might have more talent than me. You might be smarter than me, but when we get on the treadmill together, there is two things: You’re getting off first or I am going to die. It’s really that simple.
He said (Smith’s father), Now– Don’t you ever tell me there is something you can’t do.
You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t set out to build the biggest, baddest wall that’s every been built. You don’t start there.
You say, I am going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. And you do that every single day and soon you’ll have a wall.
There was an idea that my grandmother always had she said, “If you’re going to be here, it’s a necessity to make a difference. She always instilled in me the responsibility– the spiritually responsibility– that you have to make every group you come in contact with, better.
I want to do good. I want the world to be better because I was here.
I want my life. My work. My family– to mean something.
If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time.
Your life will become better. by making someone’s life better.
I want to represent an idea. I want to represent possibilities. I want to represent the idea that you can really can make what you want.
One of my favorite books is the Alchemist — Paul Coelho, and I just believe that. I believe that I could create whatever I wanted to create.
The first step before anyone in the world believe it, is that you have to believe it. There is no reason to have a PLAN B, because it distracts from PLAN A.
I think that there is a certain delusional quality that all successful people have to have.
You have to believe that there is something different that can happen than the last 50– 50 million years [Laughs]. You have to believe that something different can happen.
Confucius said, “He who said he can, and he who said he can– are both usually right.”
Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.
Why would you be realistic? What’s the point in being realistic? The second that “it’s” already done– it’s done. Now, we just got to wait for you all to see.
It’s unrealistic to walk in a room and flip a switch and lights come on. That’s unrealistic. Fortunately, Edison did not think so. It’s unrealistic to think that you can bend a piece of metal and fly people over an ocean in that metal, that’s unrealistic. Fortunately, the Wright brothers and others didn’t believe that.
It just seems like such a ridiculous idea to me to embrace the idea that something is not going to happen. As soon as you say it, now– you just made that real.
Our thoughts, our feelings, our ideas, are physical in the universe.
If we dream something, think something, and commit ourselves to it– that is a physical thrust towards realization that we can put into the universe.
The universe is not a thing that could push us around. We are going to bend the universe and demand it to be what we want it to be.
I study the patterns of the universe. There is a redemptive power that making a choice has.
To have the level of success that I want to have, it’s difficult to just spread it (focus) out to multiple or different things. You really have to focus with all of your heart and creativity.
I’m motivated by fear. I hate feeling scared to do something. See the video clip here.
Mind, Body, & Soul Series:The Mind, Body, & Soul series runs every Friday on AmandaEbokosia.com. This series will awaken your spirit and motivate you to create the life you want. You may contribute, ask questions, or supply content and be credited. E-mail: email@example.com