31 Oct 2011

words I never said

Lupe Fiasco's song called "Words I Never Said" (featuring Skylar Grey) is one of the songs I really listened to because it has great quotes and words to live by. The video is very creative, I particularly like the use of the masks. I think it represents people accepting being silenced and not voicing their concerns or opinions. 

The main message I got from this song is the importance to speak out. There are so many instances where you think you should have said something but didn't for whatever reason and you end up regretting it, especially when in comes to injustices. It's easier not to speak out and go against the grain but this could lead to really tragic consequences depending on the situation. Below are photos of my favorite quotes from this song.  

Photos : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

29 Oct 2011

dancing brings joy

I've been following Oprah's Lifeclass on OWN for the past three weeks (I encourage you to watch it too, it's a very valuable show) and fridays are Joy Rising days: a day where we get to see and experience pure joy. Even miles away through the television, you get to experience and share the joy. I guess it's that powerful. This time it was about viewers being surprised with a trip to Australia. They were hysterical and it definitely made me smile. I had an "aha moment" when Oprah explained that at the end of the day, it's not about the material things the viewers get but about the feeling you get, the joy. That's what people are really looking for. 

This got me thinking about an old YouTube video called "Where the Hell is Matt?" that brought me tears of joy when I saw it the first time. It still does too. There was this guy making a video of himself awkwardly dancing in different parts of the world, when suddenly a mass of people joined in to dance with him. It is beautiful to see and you can't help but feel happy. It didn't matter the age, race, social status, they were all having the brief moment of joy. What a beautiful thing experience even through the web. 

So here it is. I hope this bring you joy too. 

27 Oct 2011

move . eat . learn

I love traveling. I find it inspiring and rejuvenating. When you're in a new country of even just a new city, there's so much to discover. Traveling is such a great opportunity to learn new things about how other people live their lives, what they eat, what they do for fun, etc.  It also enables you to discover new things about yourself as you're not distracted by the many stresses of your daily life, and new way of doing things. You're also able to touch peoples lives and vice-versa in a positive way. I really believe that if people travelled more, the world would be a better place. 

The following short films were made by 3 guys on a 44-day trip in 11 countries pretty much illustrates that. They definitely inspire me not only to travel more but to travel better. They inspire me to be a bit more adventurous, to pay more attention to the little things and the locals. Entitled Move, Eat and Learn they showcase a young man walking in different cities, trying different foods, and learning different things. 

the real 1% in north america

I'm one of those who don't get the whole "we are the 99%" commotion. I'm sure there are exceptions, but at the end of the day, people make their own decisions and should take full responsibility for their choices.  We're lucky to live in a society where we can make choices, we have a voice and, depending how much we're willing to sacrifice and work for it, we can be whoever we want to be. As far as I'm concerned, the guy in this video represents the 1% so many people seem to be angry at. I consider this guy a mentor.

25 Oct 2011

motivated by chef gordon ramsay

I'm a big fan of Chef Gordon Ramsay. I often find myself watching his shows mainly to learn more about his impressive work ethic and skills, and to pick up some tips here and there about cooking great food. I love his no nonsense approach to things and how he's so knowledgeable about his craft. It's inspiring because I'm planning to be as knowledgeable as him about my own craft, and perhaps even more in the near future. I find that very often, people like him are considered to be the "bad guy" because he says it like it is. I admire that. I wish I was more like that and I wish more people were like that too. It would make life so much easier. Granted you don't necessarily have to yell all the time, but just cut the bullshit. I'm not quite there, but I'm working on it. I think it has to do with wanting to be more honest for myself and realizing (finally) that not everyone has to agree with me and like me, and I'm okay with that. 

I watched many of his shows and one thing he said once, I think it was during and interview really just stucked in my head : 
I have a very assertive way. It's wake up, move your ass or piss off home. I maintain standards and I strive for perfection. That level of pressure is conveyed in a very bullish way and that's what cooking is all about.
I think that's what life is all about. Sometimes, when I don't feel like doing much I find myself remembering this quote, specially : "wake up, move your ass or piss off home!" to shake me up a bit and helps me get back on track because I believe that if I let myself become lazy, life will pass me by and I'll regret it in the future because there's so much opportunities out there, it would be a shame not to test as many as possible. 

Photo : 1 

will smith inspires me

I grew up watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air and listening to DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. The shows and videos were always fun to watch and listen too.  I actually learned many life lessons from them that I probably subconsciously integrated into my life.  But I remember a particular moment, when I was candidly watching an interview with some actors about a movie with Will Smith.  What caught my attention what what these actors said about him and how they said it. I believed it. They said things like  "He lights up the room when he comes on set", "He's so fun to work with, a favorite", "His positive energy is infectious on set and he makes the work environment so much more enjoyable". I remember thinking: "Wow! He must be a really great guy in real life. What a great role model." And to this day, when I see him on TV or in a magazine, I have this thought in the back of my head somehow.

I recently came across this compilation of interviews with Will Smith I had never seen before and I feel I got a better glimpse of what these actors were talking about then. This is the kind of person I would love to meet and be around. The type of person that inspires and motivates you to become better.

I had a lot of "aha" moments listening to this clip :

  • "Greatness truly exist in all of us." It's true! I believe it. I always believed this for myself but always wondered how to tap into it (that's where the Oprah Lifeclasses are helping me a lot! I'm on my way). I also believe it's true for other people as well. The thing is it takes lots of effort and a lot of work. We have to be willing to put in the effort in becoming great. Besides you don't get to get to "great" without going through "alright". There's a process to it. 

  • "This is what I believe and I'm willing to die from it. Period!" My first reaction when I heard this was that it was a bit extreme for me. I'm just not there yet. But I think I'm starting to understand. Bare with me on this, but if you believe and truly understand that EVERYTHING in the universe is energy and that energy can not be created nor destroyed, than what's the point of being afraid to die? I'm not there yet, but there's something logical about that statement to me. Go figure. 

  • "You don't set out to build a wall (...) You don't start there. You say 'I'm gonna 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" That was an "aha" moment for me. More like a Why-the-heck-didn't-I-think-about-it-that-way-before kind of moment. I've always been one to focus on the end results as opposed the the work it takes to get there. And then I soon get disappointed that I'm not there yet and wonder why I'm doing it in the first place. A good example many can relate to is my trying-to-be-more-fit moments. It's been on my to do list for years. I never focused on just doing the right thing every single day to get there. No wonder I'm not there yet! And this way of thinking can be applied in many areas of my life. 

  • "I want to do good. I want the world to be better because I was there." & "If you're not making someone else's life better, then you're wasting your time" This one is an easy one for me. I naturally try to make things better for me and the people around me. The main challenge for me is not to let people get me down for doing this. Sounds odd,  but if you're the type that always try to make things better, which implies making changes, you know you're going to get people almost going against you for disturbing the status quo, forcing changes. Not everyone is comfortable to change, yet it's necessary.  

  • "You have to believe it. There's no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A", "The second I decide it's done. It's already done. It's just now we just gotta wait for y'all to see"  and from Confucius :"He who says he can't and he who says he can are both usually right." Powerful words that make so much sense. Many, if not all, of the people I admire and get inspired by said at one point in an interview that they believed in their dream, they dreamed of it and they achieved it. People like Eminem, Jim Carrey, Tyler Perry, Nicky Minaj, Oprah, Lady Gaga, and many many more. 

  • "Talent, you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.  [...] I've never considered myself as particularly talented but where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethics." It goes back to the fact that nothing comes easy and that there are no shortcuts to success. It takes A LOT of work. That's one of the reason why even when I don't like what a particular artist is doing, I have total respect for them because they didn't get to where they are by being lazy and complaisant. You can't hate that! I certainly can't.  The lazy ones don't last. They disappear and become irrelevant. The hard working ones do and become legends like Michael Jackson, Madonna, etc. An example from today's culture that comes to my mind is Lil Wayne. I remember when he was starting to become more and more popular, he was on e-v-e-r-y top video clips I saw on TV, collaborating with so many people from different genres. I just thought "Wow! This guy just doesn't stop! He works so hard! No wonder he's doing so good. He's everywhere!" And look how successful he became. When he's on a track, you know it's going to be good and it's going to sell. I often wonder when he's added to the remix of an existing song, if they called him to save the song and help increase sales. He's that good. I even decided to emulate his work ethics with my first business venture. I was like : "I have to work like Lil Wayne to become successful. I have to be everywhere."And it worked! It did! The only problem is that I was not using my skills as I thought I would with this venture and therefore, as time went on, inspiration and motivations started decreasing and I was no longer happy, despite the increasing success. Now that I'm taking the Lifeclasses, I actually realized that this current business of mine was a compromise to at least get out of my old 9 to 5 job. I don't regret it as it was a necessary step. My job was dragging me in the opposite direction. By branching out, which took a lot of courage, I was able to start on my own and see what I am capable of.  I'm glad I did and learned many things from it. Now it's time for the next step.

  • "Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity. Why would you be realistic? What's the point of being realistic? " This is my favorite quote on this clip. This tells me that EVERYTHING is possible. It encourage me to continue to pursue bigger things.  If we all were realistic in our thoughts, we would all still be in living in caves hunting to survive, afraid of eclipses, not realizing how big our world is, not knowing that there are billions of solar systems with planets and possible life, not finding cure to many diseases, etc. It's just great stuff. 

So here's the video. I'm sure it will inspire many of you to live the best life you possibly can just as it did for me. 

Also, I want to share this video of his daughter, Willow Smith, during a creative session. It's really cute to see when great ideas just come to her. Yup! Even the younger ones inspires me. There's no age limit to greatness. You can be great at 2 years old or 100 years old.  This time for me, the inspiration comes from her ability to express herself and listen to her inner voice so that she can be creative and unique  without any barriers or boundaries. She's so focused on what she's working on. It's just great to see.

So thank you Will Smith for all your hard work and dedication and for being such a great role model and mentor. Thank you for sharing so many insights and lessons with many of us so far and for the many more that will come our way wherever your are.

Photos : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

24 Oct 2011

visionaries on OWN

Thank you OWN! I recently started watching Visionaries on the Oprah Winfrey Network and I'm addicted. Are you? This is definitely my kind of TV show! There are so many tips and tricks I can get from these great mentors. I even started to take notes as a watch the shows.

I have to admit, I always secretly wished I could just be around certain of my favorite celebrities and just learn from them. I even think that (based on what I've seen and read) some could be great friends I can relate to and feel I could also be a great friend to some as well (silly isn't it? Ah well. It is what it is). I think that probably one of the reasons I like reality shows, interviews and documentaries so much, you get to meet the human being behind the image.  For me it also gives me an opportunity to become their virtual apprentice for a little while.

There are only 5 episodes featuring Tyler Perry, Tom Ford,, Annie Lebowitz and James Cameron. I'll post about each episode in the future. Tyler Perry's episode aired last Sunday and Tom Ford episode aired today. Fantastic shows! Here's below is the official trailer of the show.

Even from the trailer I got great insights : 

Tyler Perry - “Part of it at the beginning was I was running from poverty.” What I get from that is that poverty should be a motivation to reach higher grounds and not an excuse. 

Tom Ford - “Sometimes I have moments when it’s sort of like everything is frozen, everything is absolutely clear and you can feel rather than think”. What I get from that is that you have to allow yourself to feel thing to find your true passion.

James Cameron - “Whatever I’m doing always seems like a quest to learn something. A lot of stuff come to me in dreams and I remember it”. What I get from that is that your gift comes from within but you have to be attentive to find it. - “When you’re not thinking of stuff and things come to you, that’s when you got the magic sauce". What I get from that is that you can't force things but don't worry, they will come. Just be attentive. 

Annie Lebowitz - “You don’t stop. It doesn’t turn off and on like a faucet”. What I get from that is that you can't put a timer on creativity and passion. It's not a 9 to 5 job is who you are. 

For me this comes at such a right moment. (That and the Oprah's Lifeclasses). I'm at the point in my career where I feel I'm waking up and I'm trying to figure out where I should be heading. It's a bit like the inception movie. I woke up once a couple years ago and made positive changes. I grew and now I feel like I'm waking up again. It's a little scary but exciting at the same time. So I'm trying to find clues and I'm taking tips from people I look up to. 

Photos : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 

20 Oct 2011

A great couple is a team

Whether you agree with their policies or not you can deny the love that shines from Michelle and Barack's presence. Every time I see a picture of them together it makes me smile. I get a strong sense that they are really in this together and they are great support to one another. I don't even need to hear them talk, I just need to see how they interact with one another and that's great to see. I wonder if they realize that the love that they seem to have for one another is an inspiration to many and probably help make the world a better place. Not because of their title but how they interact as human beings.

The way he looks at her with such pride and admiration. Which women wouldn't want that? Of course to get to that point you have to work at it and you have to choose the right man for you. I'm sure she worked hard (and probably still does) to get to that point where she can make herself, her husband proud and strangers like me proud. 

I like that during that event Obama said that he "married his cute wife to improve his gene pool". I'm sure that made her feel love and appreciated.

These pictures (1) were taken during a 3-day bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia