The world through another’s eyes

We often walk through life and only occasionally stop to see the wonders that are in our world. I met a man a few years ago and was touched by his generosity of spirit and the creativity that was clearly abundant within him. His name is Ramy and we met through work. He was the client and I worked for an advertising agency. His passion for the arts was something that was evident from the first meeting, as well his his desire to have the best work we could produce. Clearly in front of me, was a man who saw the world as a canvas, but wasn’t ready to hold the brush himself.

Just over a year ago, he finally found his calling. With a camera in his hand, the light within Ramy shone brighter than any star in the night sky. I was not alone in telling him that his ability was something he should pursue. In fact every single person on his Facebook page was almost insisting he did more. Gladly, he headed the advice and to see how his photography has grown over the past year is something quite extraordinary, and I have worked with some amazing photographers all over the world. The thing that strikes me about Ramy’s photography is that he sees the most human aspect in our world, and captures it. To see the world through his eyes proves to me that it doesn’t matter where you are today, it only matters how you look ahead and how you act on achieving it. Congratulations Ramy, I couldn’t be happier for you.

This is a small sample of his work, Please check out the rest on:

Think of every failure as a stepping stone to success

Sometimes when you fail it can take away every ounce of your confidence. Literally drain you of all the positive energy that drives you forward in life. But if we look at people in the world who have achieved any amount of success we often rarely realize the success they obtained came out of many, many failures. I personally have failed many times at so many things in my career and even if life. But out of every single failure I learnt more about myself than any other experience could have taught me.

I have tried many business ventures in the past, some were bigger failures than others but each time I failed I never once looked at it as the end of the dream. I just picked myself up, dusted myself off and tried to look at all the reasons this happened. One could easily shy away from trying anything in the future but you can never give up on the dream you have, or else you are pretty much giving up on the person you are.

Thomas Edison failed over a thousand times before creating the right chemical mix for the filament of the lightbulb. He claimed he never failed but rather found 2000 ways how NOT to make a lightbulb. Steve jobs, Richard Branson and even the powerhouse business man that is Donald Trump have all stared failure in the face before starting again with renewed vigor. Believe that you can achieve your dreams through every pitfall and barrier you face, because the truth is although you may fail many, many times; you will only need to be successful once in order to reach your dreams. And

Don’t just listen, hear.

In life we often talk about good listeners. People who are always attentive and are the ear for you to bend when things are not going well. But listening is only half of the story as it takes a certain type of person to go from listening, to hearing. We all listen to what is happening around us yet very few people really, truly hear what is being said to us. I know that I have to make a concerted effort to stop myself thinking about what I am going to say or trying to solve the problem I heard in the first few words in order to hear, digest and truly understand what is being said.

This is one of the problems that companies are facing today when it comes to social media. Some are just opening a Facebook page and putting up their corporate mission, thinking that this is all they need to do when it comes to social media. Social media is about listening rather than communicating your messages. Listening and really hearing the conversations that are taking place in the world where your company, brand or product is being discussed. Ignore this, and face a backlash from a new generation of consumers who want to be heard.

There are few things that we can do in this world that are greater than to hear another’s tale or side of a story. We have to remember that not everyone wants you to solve their problems, not everyone is looking for an answer and most importantly people in the world are just looking for someone that will hear their voice in a world where individuals are often boxed away in some category or demographic. So today I will make the effort to try and hear the people I listen to, because we all deserve to be heard.

Sometimes taking a step backwards is the fastest way to move forward

Push hard against a wall and it only resists you more. A problem in your way can feel like a brick wall that appears out of no where. You were doing fine, just coasting along when you suddenly felt the resistance in front of you. In these situations we often try to push the wall down. Our minds determined that nothing can slow us down or prevent us from moving forwards. But not every wall in front of you is a bad thing.

When a wall stops our progress we are forced to stop and re-evaluate what we are doing, where we have come from and where we are trying to go. Most of the times, without the wall, we would have continued on the same course, confident it was the right direction. But I have often found that when stopped by a wall I realize that maybe, just maybe, the way I was heading was not exactly the right course. So I step back from the wall and take a long look at my life, before deciding on the next course of action. Most times I am grateful for the wall. It was obviously placed in my way as a reminder that just plowing through life is not the most ideal way to grow as a person, nor learn the valuable lessons along the way.

So next time you hit a wall, don’t think of it as stopping your progress in life, which we all often do. But rather, as a way of telling you that maybe, just maybe, there is a better way to go, or at the very least make us sure that we are on the right path.

Every exit is an entrance to somewhere else

Many times through life we must focus on new beginnings rather than something coming to an end. Our life is full of chapters, some big some small, but all add up to create the person that is you. Every experience no matter what it holds for you will be a lesson for you to carry forward through the next journey. Sometimes in my life I see the path ahead and it stops me in my tracks, as situations in front suddenly make sense of all the little bumps and turns that came before, of which it puts a smile on my face and spring in my step.

Although certain experiences can be tough at the time I try, and that is easier said than done, to see the positives or to just go with the flow and see where each experience will take me. I am beginning to understand that not every door I see in front of me will even open, no matter how hard I knock I also know that when I am pushed through another door, through circumstances unknown to me, I do not cling to the door frame looking backwards, I just march on through and will take whatever is on the other side of the door with an open heart and mind.

As it is the doors I least wanted to walk through in the past that have turned out to be the best experiences I could have wished for. As one door closes, another opens and I will always try to leave with a smile and give thanks whilst be optimistic about what is on the other side, no matter what it brings.

Life is not perfect, so keep making adjustments along the way.

Self doubt can be the most paralyzing feeling you experience. You can be sprinting down your path full of confidence when from no where comes self doubt and knocks you sideways. It stuns you and blocks you. It stands in front of you mocking the very things you believe. Tearing every shred of assurance you have away. It can be a terrifying experience as there is no way of seeing it coming. It often comes when after being passionately involved in something for so long with careless abandon and complete self confidence that you are going in the right direction, when suddenly you look up and don’t have a clue where you are or how you got there!

You look back at what you have been doing as if it is the first time you have seen it. It looks strangely unlike how it was in your mind, only a few moments before. Is this mine? Has someone swapped my life for another’s without my knowledge? Then, once the panic subsides, you look again at whatever it is you have been doing. Your eyes seem to adjust to what you are seeing and you realize that on the most part you like what you see. A few adjustments here and there should have this back on track in no time, and the smile begins to return.

So many times in the past I either failed to wait before trashing what I had done, or worse failed to look up when charging through life. I came to realize that self doubt happens to everyone but it’s how we deal with it is the difference between those that create and those that freeze. Whatever it is you do understand that there will come a time that you need to look at your work or self and be honest with what you see. It may not always be great, but everything in life is a work in progress, there is no such thing as perfection, just a constant adjustment process that keeps you moving forward. How fast or far forward comes down only to you.

Taking a step in the right direction

In life we often contemplate where we are going. We question the final destination, the if’s and maybe’s that are life’s unanswerable questions. And what is most disconcerting is the fact we have no control of when or what will happen after the journey comes to an end. With this in mind it can paralyze a person with fear and doubt about everything they do. Unless we face facts that somethings in are life are out of control we remain like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights, frozen with fear about every step we make. We must dig deep and summon the courage that will take each single step we make at a time, always forward, without looking back or worrying about the next one. Just simple focus on each solid step we make.

When broken down into small steps even a mountain climb seems possible. In fact, anything is possible when we break down the process into small targets to reach. Take writing a book for example. The entire book is a daunting task to even the most accomplished writers. But break the book down into chapters. Then break down each chapter down into sections and very soon the book is no longer the unsurmountable problem you believed it to be. So look ahead of you now in the journey of your life and focus on the next step. One at a time stride forward with confidence as the journey of your life is yours to make as you want, no matter what the ending will be. We must realize that everything comes to end and as the great quote, I believe from Braveheart(?) says,”Every man dies, but not every man live!”


When you are not involved, don’t complain!

When my life recently decided that she wanted to buy a dog, I have to say I was less than enthusiastic about the idea. With the busy lives we lead and the traveling that both of us do now I couldn’t see the logic behind it. But like most things my wife managed to convince me it was a good idea, maybe she is the one who should be working in advertising! We had discussed it a few times and I kept putting off the idea as much as I could. The a few weekends ago we, my wife and 2 children, were all out having lunch when my wife noticed a pet store next to the car park we were in.

Reluctantly, I followed them all into the store. I was talking with my son next to the cats when suddenly I noticed my wife holding a small dog. They seemed to hit it off immediately and I could see that my point of view on the entire idea had pretty much just strolled out the front door! My son walked over and just said the following words,”She’s your precious mummy.” And that was how the dog became named Precious. So our family had been joined by a black and white french bulldog. Now as French Bulldogs go she is not a bad looking dog but due to the name, the face on the dog and my more than reluctant nature to the entire idea I decided I would give her my own name. I also couldn’t really imagine walking around the streets shouting out Precious as that didn’t sit very well with my masculine side! So my name, for Precious the French Bulldog, is ‘Gollum.’ After the lord of the rings character.

Break through the wall that you built

Is there a wall in front of you? How long has it been there? We all have them in our life. Some we build ourselves, others seem to appear without us even realizing. Whether you are the kind of person that can plough your way through difficult situations or need a more ‘brick by brick’ approach, just start now removing the walls in front of you.

Remember a wall is something in our mind that stops or hinders our progress in some shape or form in our lives. But they are in our minds and we control our minds. It takes time and patients but once you start taking down the walls in front of you, very soon you will not even notice them anymore.

Take the time to stop just for you

If we were to stop what we are doing today and just look around at the world we live, see the beauty in our galaxy and the wonders of our universe; everything that we have going on today, the problems or deadlines, would just pale in comparison. I know how much our daily activities take over our lives and we find ourselves chasing our own tails rather than being in control of our journey. We are often reminded by a great tragedy or maybe just sitting with a child and listening to the way they see it, just brings back into focus what an incredible life we live.

The miracle of us just being on this little rock floating around in space amazes me to no end. How fragile life really is and how much we worry about, what in reality, is such trivial things. Probably 5 minutes after writing this someone will enter my office and my day will begin it’s usual roller coaster ride through the world of advertising. But everyday before that happens I sit drinking my coffee and look out the window and just wonder, ‘If for 5 minutes a day people would just think about the world we live in, maybe, just maybe the appreciation would spread into every aspect of our world.’

That quite moment can sometime be very profound. Sometimes you find yourself doing it without planning it but that breath you take just after that moment is so pure, so incredible it fills you with such a sense of optimism that it truly wipes away all the negativity in your life, even for just a moment. I hope you have more than 5 minutes of this today, I hope your entire life is filled with this, but if not, at least take 5 minutes to have all to yourself, after all you do, you deserve it.