Month: July 2020

You Are The Prize

“That’s the juice, baby/Yo, I’m feeling the juice in my mouth” – Marc Rebillet (Work That Ass For Daddy)

The curse of confidence is that lots of intelligent, talented and evidently qualified people don’t have it, and instead wallow in doubt. It’s usually the dumb ones that have it in spades.

I guess that’s the beauty of the universe. An uneven distribution of everything.

But who writes these rules?

While the rest of the world is overdosing on low self-esteem, having supreme and total confidece in yourself (what I call supreme shithousery) is an unshakable belief in yourself and your abilities, especially in uncertain times.

Confidence is not in possessions or looks or sheer brilliance. Beauty like talent is as common as table salt.

It’s acknowledging your doubts, not as barriers to your greatness and excellence, but as buffers to remind you of your human infallibility.

Everyone has doubts, but yours don’t make you. Because you’re the fucking prize!

Act like it!

Are You Good Enough Or Nah?

“I might be too strung out on compliments/Overdose on confidence/Started not to give a fuck and started bearing the consequence” – Drake (Headlines)

It’s either I suffer from a serious case of self-confidence or I probably overdosed on all the positive affirmations my mother showered on me as a child or being forced to thrive in environments where just being good was never enough (you had to be great) did a number on me.

I regularly see people talk about impostor syndrome and I understand.

The hardest thing is standing in front of a group of people to defend yourself or your work.

There’s a long history of technically adept creatives who have had to employ the services of sales and marketing experts just to help them communicate.

This is not to say that communication experts haven’t earned their merit. Or public relations and talking to people is a walk in the park. Far from it!

But too many people are unable to communicate, not because they don’t know what to say (they always they claim they don’t), but because they are insecure.

They are too wrapped up in themselves and the probability of failure and so they’d rather swallow whatever it is they have on their minds than spew it so others can judge.

Many absolutely qualified people get into a room and are scared to death to defend themselves.

I remember getting a call in 2019 to teach Spanish. It was a recommendation by a bosom friend to an acquaintance.

The only Spanish I knew was off Duolingo, Google Translate and checking random words on the Internet. Even the strength of his recommendation was based on seeing me practice it leisurely during our final years in university.

I was stuttering and sounded so unsure of myself while talking to the lady who needed my services. Until she asked me, “can you really do it?”

I knew it was now or never and I had to catch myself and reply in my most confident and reassuring voice: Yes, of course!

But I didn’t think I was great. I actually said yes for two reasons:

1. I knew I was good. Maybe not good enough. But if someone thought I was good enough to earn their recommendation, then there was room for improvement.

2. I was willing to work hard to not let myself or my friend down. Which means I knew I had to improve.

Above all, when asked for what I’d be charging, I quoted a price that reflected some level of expertise.

Saying that particular yes opened a whole vista of opportunities for me. I wonder what my life would be like today if I hadn’t.

All the amazing people I’ve met on that journey. The amazing experiences too.

Not a very popular quote by any means, but Dr Pfeffer says, “If you are good enough to get in, you obviously have enough talent to do well, regardless.”

Although there’s a very small caveat to the above quote: You have enough talent, yes. And that’s why you got in.

But, talent is never enough.

Which means you’ll be needing more or less of whatever brought you this far to sustain you. That’s where smart decisions, work ethic, collaboration etc, come in.

I tell myself the same thing I tell myself whenever I’m approaching a woman: She’s probably as shy and insecure as you are.

There’s no need to have a Cinderella in glass slippers moment and flee.

Tell yourself this same thing when you stare at opportunities in the face: She (opportunity) is probably as shy and insecure as you are. So, why not?

If for any reason you’ve been invited to any room, then assure yourself you absolutely have every goddamn right to be there. Goddammit!


I’m tryna do it all tonight/I got plans I got a certain lust for life, and as it stands/Everything is going as right as it can/They tryna shoot down my flight, before it lands – Drake (Lust For Life)


A most beautiful word.

Also, a most confusing.

Say it under certain conditions and the idea will be a stance of resignation and giving up.

Say it under certain circumstances and the idea will be a corruption of the soul.

But many people miss the idea of how important compromises are…under certain situations.

To achieve anything meaningful in life, there has to be a room for compromise.

Business, relationships, politics, and the entire mosaic of human existence.


A beautiful word.

Also, a most confusing.

Does It Ever End? I Wonder

“Do you even remember what the issue is/ You just trying to find where the tissue is/ You can still be who you wish you is/ It ain’t happen yet/ And that’s what the intuition is/” – Kanye West (I Wonder)

It’s 3 am and I’m wearing an oversized Polo Ralph Lauren shirt, cooking spaghetti and listening to Labi Siffre and Billy Joel.

Five months ago, I was sitting in a danfo with tears in my eyes and listening to this same songs.

I was battling an eviction notice.

What’s funny was after bawling my eyes out, I got home and drank about half a bottle of red wine I’d been gifted at work with a big loaf of brown bread (very Italian Mafia, I know) while playing a slew of love songs.

The combination of alcohol, gluten and sweet nothings was somehow enough to numb the pain.

I won’t really advise anyone to try this because instead of waking up the next day with a clearer head, I woke up and wolfed down what was left from the night before. Bread and wine together.

I casually made a joke that morning about having a drinking problem which made a friend laugh so hard.

But at that moment I somehow understood how people’s lives spiral downwards while they sink deeper and deeper into depression and alcohol and substance abuse.

Not sure anybody starts out wanting to be an alcoholic or a drug addict. Life just happens.

You try so hard to escape from your problems, but the truth is life is just one long series of problems. You are either in one, getting out of one or about to enter one.

And so it’s easy to be melancholic and throw in towel when it feels overwhelming. But what’s funnier is if you find some way to hold on, it always gets better.

But you’ll always have new problems.

Today might be tuition or rent. Tomorrow might be stubborn kids or a cheating spouse. It never ends.

Yesterday, I heard someone I admire so much telling his story about how he went from living in a house without windows and doors to buying the place.

But I’m also sure he has some new problems that aren’t related to shelter.

I don’t either.

And that’s why five months later I’m lounging in my house and about to eat my world-class spaghetti. I’ve got a shit ton of work to do, newer problems that need my attention, responsibilities, dreams to birth to reality, and a life to live.

Today is not Sunday and I have no idea why I’m writing this, but I just thought I should tell you that whatever it is you are going through, it always gets better. Always, always.

And stay away from drugs, kids. And drinking half a bottle of red wine.

The Small Difference

“Please, move with intent/Don’t leave it all to chance” – Show Dem Camp (For A Minute)

There’s something beautiful about luck.

It’s an irony.

Lots of successful people rarely put their success down to luck.

The things that come to mind when you quiz them are hardwork, persistence, perseverance, courage and all the beautiful words found in self help books.

Those with a spiritual or moral inclination would say God.

Not necessarily as a sign of humility. But a subtle way to gloss over whatever explanation is expected from them.

Luck sounds too fickle. Too pedestrian.

Whereas those who have been hard done by life wish they had more luck. Or maybe just a little.

It’s a fact you can create your own luck – good or bad – through the decisions you make on a daily basis.

But then what about the things you have no control over?

What’s even crazier is when bad things happen, and they push you to a better place.

Beautiful serendipity!

The very tiny margin that luck occupies.

But when you magnify it, it’s bigger than everything.

It could be timing. It could be good fortune. But in hindsight, you discover that if they never happened, you might never be where you are in the present.

I’ve had some really bad days. But then again, I look back at those days, and I’m tempted to say I’m happy they happened.

The lessons.

The gifts.

The unexpected.

I’m grateful for them.

But maybe a way to show gratitude would be if we all accepted the power of luck.

Because unknown to us, most of the time, luck is really the differential.

But then again, you make your own luck sometimes.


“If you believe in God/One things for sure/If you ain’t aim too high/Then you aim too low” – J. Cole (January 28th)

Dreams are dreams until you put them to work. Everyone has dreams. It’s cheaper than salt and more common than sand. And so the onus is on you to make it happen.

Your success depends upon you.

Your happiness depends upon you.

You have to steer your own course.

You have to shape your own fortune.

You have to educate yourself.

You have to do your own thinking.

You have to live with your own conscience.

Your mind is yours and can be used only by you.

You come into the world alone.

You go to the grave alone.

You are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.

You must make your own decisions.

You must abide by the consequences of your acts.

“I cannot make you well unless you make yourself well,” an eminent doctor often tells his patients.

You alone can regulate your habits and make or unmake your health.

You alone can assimilate things mental and things material.

Said a Brooklyn preacher, offering his parishioners communion one Sunday: “I cannot give you the blessings and the benefits of this holy feast. You must appropriate them for yourselves. The banquet is spread; help yourself freely.

“You may be invited to a feast where the table is laden with the choicest foods, but unless you partake of the foods, unless you appropriate and assimilate them, they can do you no good. So it is with this holy feast. You must appropriate its blessings. I cannot infuse them into you.”

You have to do your own assimilation all through life.

You may be taught by a teacher, but you have to imbibe the knowledge. He cannot transfuse it into your brain.

You alone can control your mind cells and your brain cells.

You may have spread before you the wisdom of the ages, but unless you assimilate it you derive no benefit from it; no one can force it into your cranium.

You alone can move your own legs.

You alone can use your own arms.

You alone can utilize your own hands.

You alone can control you own muscles.

You must stand on your feet, physically and metaphorically.

You must take your own steps.

Your parents cannot enter into your skin, take control of your

mental and physical machinery, and make something of you.

You cannot fight your son’s battles; that he must do for himself.

You have to be captain of your own destiny.

You have to see through your own eyes.

You have to use your own ears.

You have to master your own faculties.

You have to solve your own problems.

You have to form your own ideals.

You have to create your own ideas.

You must choose your own speech.

You must govern your own tongue.

Your real life is your thoughts.

Your thoughts are of your own thinking.

Your character is your own handiwork.

You alone can select the materials that go into it.

You alone can reject what is not fit to go into it.

You are the creator of your own personality.

You can be disgraced by no man’s hand but your own.

You can be elevated and sustained by no man save yourself.

You have to write your own record.

You have to build your own monument – or dig your own pit.

Which are you doing?”

– B.C. Forbes

It all depends on you.