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Sunday Musings

When George Clooney retrenches Bob
Sunday Musings

Retrenchment: The Call in a different disguise

The South African economy is not doing well. Two of the four big banks are going through a restructuring process and hundreds of people are losing their jobs. Many other corporates are going through this. It’s ugly. It’s the Hunger Games.

The world is changing. We are faced with technological solutions that will make jobs as we know it today, redundant. In South Africa, this is the metered taxis being pushed out of the arena by Uber. Centuries ago, this was the spices industry being pushed out by the discovery of ice and fridges. The world is changing…it is the best of times…it is the worst of times.

George Clooney acted in a movie called “Up in the Air”. It wasn’t a good movie. It was, in fact, a shitty movie. George plays the character of someone who professionally retrenches people. So big corporates would hire them to give the bad news to the poor sods not needed anymore. In the first half hour of the movie, this happened, and you need to listen (this is after they give Bob the news he is not needed anymore and Bod bitches about not being able to give his family what they needed):

Ryan Bingham: Your children’s admiration is important to you?
Bob: Yeah. Yeah. It was
Ryan Bingham: Well, I doubt they ever admired you, Bob.
Bob: Hey asshole, aren’t you supposed to be consoling me?
Ryan Bingham: I’m not a shrink, Bob, I’m a wake-up call. You know why kids love athletes?
Bob: I don’t know…because they screw lingerie models?
Ryan Bingham: No, that’s why we love athletes. Kids love athletes because they follow their dreams.
Bob: Well, I can’t dunk.
Ryan Bingham: No, but you can cook.
Bob: What are you talking about?
Ryan Bingham: Your resume says that you minored in French Culinary arts. Most students, they were gonna fryer at KFC, but you busted tables at IL Picador to support yourself. And then you get out of college and you come and you work here. How much did they first pay you to give up on your dreams?
Bob: 27 grand a year
Ryan Bingham : And when were you gonna stop and come back and do what makes you happy?
Bob: Good question
Ryan Bingham: I see the same guys work for the same company for their entire lives, guys exactly like you. They clock in, they clock out and they never have a moment of happiness. You have an opportunity here, Bob. This is a re-birth. If not for you, do it for your children.

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Sunday Musings

The Call

All of us will get it, at one point or another. That is, all of us mucking around with other random stuff that is not what The Call is calling us to do.

Allow me to explain the call:

When writers write a story, at some point there is a call to action that is made to the protagonist…you know…Luke Skywalker…Katniss Everdeen…Neo…those guys. They are called to take up “arms” and “fight the fight”. And so it is in real life too. I have a friend who is called to draw children’s illustrations. I have a close family member who is called on to do landscaping. I have a work friend who is called to help people out with technology. They are called. In the Writer’s world, this is called the “Call to Action”. It is the point where the story takes off and shit hits the fan. If those characters decided not to take the call, there will be no story. Katniss Everdeen will go about her life and nothing spectacular will happen and The Capital will have their way with the districts for the rest of time, Luke will still be on a farm somewhere, Neo will still be a douchebag behind a desk, plugged into the Matrix…like you.

That is the call. We all get the call. The call is there from birth. Like Steven Pressfield says, the oak tree is in the acorn all this time, but when the acorn doesn’t do what it is supposed to do, it gets ‘the call’.
The Call is important. If everyone played their part, life on this planet will be different. Like a play on a stage…everybody playing their part makes for order and a good play. A child illustrator here, a landscaper there, a photographer to the left, a writer to the right, it makes for a well organised planet, with love and passion injected into it.

It is your duty to, in the very least, consider what The Call is asking you to do.

Have you received your call? It can come in any shape. Let me know here.

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Sunday Musings

If someone asked you…

…if you could do anything you want to do from Monday to Friday to earn a living, would you know the answer?

It’s a fun question to ask, because what happens is the same thing that happened to Fischer when Cobb asked him how he got here in the movie Inception. He thought he knew, but when he tried to remember, he had no idea. Watch the movie, it’s a brilliant movie.

It seems like such an obvious question. I mean, if someone asked you what you want for dinner, without flinching you will say you want Pizza. If someone asked you if you wanted a Lamborghini, you don’t even have to look up from your newspaper to say “No thanks, I want a Ferrari.” What’s your favourite colour? Favourite movie? Doggy or missionary? You have answers for all of these and if these were the questions you would have to answer in Who Wants to be a Millionaire with a lie detector test thing strapped to your chest, you’d win. Because you have been with yourself for years and years. You are an authority on you! What kinda question is that?

If this question is the last question for a million dollars, you will lose all your money (phone a friend, ask the audience and 50-50 wont help).

How do I know?

7 billion hits on google when you search “what do I want to do with my life” tell me so. Searching for “finding my purpose” returns 1.5 billion hits. “Finding my why” produces just under 1.1 billion hits.

We went into the big bad world not knowing what we wanted to do. We studied because our parents wanted us to have a degree and because society told us that we are all grown-up and we need to do something with our lives. When we chose the qualifications we wanted, we might has well have closed our eyes, dropped a pen on the list and decided on the one the pen landed on.

Years later we are here. Not loving it. Still not knowing the answer to this question. But at least we got by. But we want more now.

It’s not about passion or purpose. It’s about joy. Joy should be the purpose but it doesn’t require a passion to generate joy. Your minimum requirement should be joy.

I am not passionate about photography, but if I could be an Annie Leibovitz or Danie Bester from Monday to Friday for the rest of my life, man, that would give me a lot of joy.

I am passionate about animals, but I need to earn a living. I don’t know how to do that while doing this kind of charity work…also, I don’t know if seeing the abuse of animals would give me any kind of joy, regardless of the happy ending.

I am passionate about helping people, but being in a hospital most of the day, would not give me joy.

Search for joy.

So, the question (if you could do anything you want to do from Monday to Friday to earn a living, would you know the answer?) has two aspects to it that must be considered in your journey to discovery: a) what would give you joy and b) what would give you joy and earn you a living?

You start the journey to answer this by first exploring finding stuff that will give you joy. Do this by listing the stuff that you can do and not notice time fly by. You love reading? Why not consider a qualification in publishing? You love sports? What about a sports writer or a pilates instructor?

If you do not even know the answer to this question, go out there and experiment. What about that photography course? A few art classes? Why not try your hand at making craft vodka or gin? Sewing and fashion design courses? Web design? Movie making courses?

And now you sit back and smirk at the ridiculousness of it all, because you are in your thirties or forties or fifties. Carrying on the way we are carrying on will make the adage “life is short” completely irrelevant for us. Life is going to become one long shlog.

Have an open mind. Sign up for those art classes or photography courses. You never know.

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Sunday Musings

I don’t like Mondays

In 1979, the Boomtown Rats released a song called “I don’t like Mondays”. It topped the charts in the UK and was the leading single for their album The Fine Art for Surfacing. Amongst other awards, the song was voted single of the year in the British Pop and Rock Awards.

Radio stations across the world still play this song, in fact, there are radio stations that play this song on every Monday at a certain time.

I don’t think the Boomtown Rats didn’t like Mondays. I think they loved it, but Brenda Spencer, a 16 year old girl, living in San Diego, did. She hated it to such an extent that she opened fire on her school, killing two people and injuring nine kids.

When asked why she did it, she said she hated Mondays and she wanted to liven it up a bit.

Brenda isn’t the only one that doesn’t like Mondays and even though there aren’t conclusive statistics on the percentage of people that do hate Mondays, It is reported that is the most talked about day on social media. Do a Google search on ‘Hate Mondays’ and you get over 22 million hits.

A few scientific reasons have been offered as an explanation as to why we hate Mondays: sleep patterns change from the weekend to the week, a sudden change from Sunday to Monday, you are less engaged on a Monday. I am of the opinion that all these reasons are only talking to the symptoms and not the root cause.

Here is the root cause of your Monday Blues (without any scientific data to back me up, but you will not win a debate with me trying to debunk my opinion):

YOU HATE YOUR JOB.

Or at least, you are disengaged from it because it is not what you love. And every single “scientific” reason can be brought back to this fact. Try me.

(For those of you who do not fall in this category, move along, nothing to see here)

But, studies have also shown that people who hate Mondays, hate Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays too. Yeah, they would. They are at the same job on those days too.

So now you have 7 days in a week and you hate 4 of them (I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on Fridays). No wait, you have 4.5 of them because come Sunday afternoon and the depression starts. So 62.8% of your week you despise.

What the fuck are you doing with your life, man? Why the fuck are we doing this? What is life about if this is how we are living it? If almost 70% of life is lived, well, like THIS?

Think about this. Even if it is just for a minute and then you dismiss it because you cannot afford the luxury of day dreaming about something better because you have mouths to feed and kids to keep in college.

And then look at these supposedly ‘normal’ people who decided that they had enough and they want to do something every day that they love:
Nisha Katona: from Barrister to successful chef
Karen Beddow: from Property Litigation Lawyer to Travel Blogger
SJ Watson: from Audiology Specialist to writer

I don’t think they hate Mondays.

As for Garfield, that fat cat has absolutely no reason to hate Mondays.

Are you thinking about it? So this is what will happen if you are thinking about it for the first time, even if it is just for a minute:
1. You will think that you are too old to make a switch now.
2. You will think of those mouths to feed and those kids to keep in college, you need your income.
3. You will have no idea what it is that you want to do, but you know this isn’t necessarily blowing your hair back.
4. You will think that stuff like that, you know, stuff like living the dream only happens to other people.
5. You will think it is not possible.

Go ahead and think that. It’s a natural process. Unfortunately you cannot un-see what you have seen in this text and it will start nagging at you.

Come back here and see how I explore this and how I try to inspire you and find solutions for you to actually do this.

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