Thursday, January 28, 2010

Defining Your Success. Make Your Own Kind of Music - Inspired by LOST

"You've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along."

- Mama Cass Elliot

Inspiration from LOST

All this week, we are featuring posts that are inspired by the TV Show LOST. The final Season of LOST premieres on February 2nd.

Make Your Own Kind of Music

Today, we examine how one can define their own success and thereby make their own kind of music.

[caption id="attachment_531" align="aligncenter" width="248" caption="Make Your Own Kind of Music by Mama Cass Elliot"]Make Your Own Kind of Music by Mama Cass Elliot[/caption]

Mama Cass Elliot's Make Your Own Kind of Music has been featured on several episodes of LOST, mainly in Season 2. Read more about this song on Lostpedia.

Following are the song lyrics:
Nobody can tell ya
There's only one song worth singing
They may try and sell ya
Cause it hangs them up to see someone like you

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

You're gonna be nowhere
The loneliest kind of lonely
It may be rough going
Just to do your thing's the hardest thing to do

But you've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

So if you cannot take my hand
And if you must be going
I will understand

You've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along

You've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music

The above lyrics and artist names are copyrighted to Mama Cass Elliot. They appear  here for educational and personal use only.

Defining Your Sucess - a kinder, gentler philosophy

Alain de Botton gave a very insightful talk at TED:

Watch this talk, download the video and read viewer/reader reactions on the TED web site.

He examines our ideas of success and failure... and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure?

Alain eventually makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work. This too was outlined by Steve Jobs during his Stanford commencement address.

Ready to Shape Your OWN Destiny?

In a world that is increasingly shaped by popular opinion, many find themselves living other people's dreams and constantly succumb to what is acceptable by many.

When they don't measure up to what society defines as success, a lot of people get frustrated.

This should not be the case, if only we would become more decisive and seek to live purpose-driven, fulfilling lives.

So, go out and do whatever you love doing passionately, be very successful in it. Be all that you can be. It depends on you after all.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Focus on Variables, not Constants, to Shape an Uncertain Destiny - Inspired by LOST

"...can't change the past. Can't do it. Whatever happened, happened.
We're the variables. People. We think. We reason. We make choices. We have free will. We can change our destiny."

- Daniel Faraday (LOST s05ep14, The Variable)


I begin today's post by proudly confessing that I'm a Lostie (an ardent fan of the TV Series LOST). In fact, this entire blog was inspired by LOST. Specifically, Matthew Abaddon's challenge that John Locke go on a walkabout - a journey of self discovery. All this happened in Season 4 episode 11 [Cabin Fever]. Read The Walkabout's first post here.

LOST is a very compelling drama which has won awards and kept fans all over the world watching, thinking and discussing the show's rich content. Depending on how you look at it, there is quite a lot to learn from LOST.

This week on The Walkabout, we shall feature posts directly inspired by LOST, as we await the highly anticipated LOST Season 6 premier on February 2, 2009.

The Variable

Our lead quote is from the LOST season 5 episode 14 episode, The Variable. This episode focuses on Daniel Faraday's quest to avert a catastrophic event on the Island. Knowing that a release of massive energy at the Swan Station would trigger the events that would ultimately lead to the disappearance of Flight 815, Daniel decides to prevent this from happening by detonating a hydrogen bomb.

Minutes before Faraday died, he tells Jack Shepherd the following:
Daniel Faraday: But... we can change that. I studied relativistic physics my entire life. One thing emerged over and over ...can't change the past. Can't do it. Whatever happened, happened. All right? But then I finally realized... I had been spending so much time focused on the constants, I forgot about the variables. Do you know what the variables in these equations are, Jack?
Jack Shepherd: No.
Faraday: Us. We're the variables. People. We think. We reason. We make choices. We have free will. We can change our destiny.

The above dialogue is in the following video:

It should be noted that before going to the island, Daniel Faraday suffered severe psychological problems. In fact, he had lost his mental acuity and lived with a caretaker.

Shaping an Uncertain Destiny

Admittedly, we cannot alter the past. What is in the past has already happened, and therefore cannot change.

Just like Daniel Faraday, we spend too much time in our lives focusing on and trying to change "constants" - things that are bound to remain the same.

It is instructive that we change that which we can and ought to, only then can we realize our objectives and realize our goals.

We do have the free will to make decisions that will ultimately shape our destiny. Now is the time to do the needful.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Perils of Indifference

Elie Wiesel

First off, the Perils of Indifference is a speech Elie Wiesel gave on 12 April 1999, in Washington, D.C.

Elie Wiesel survived the Holocaust at Auschwitz. For this very reason, he is an undisputed authority on what humanity, or better still - the lack of it, really is. He experienced untold crimes against humanity first-hand at the hands of the Nazis. His account is every bit as moving as the writings of Viktor Frankl, Anne Frank and other Holocaust victims.

That said, his speech excerpts are in no way new to the well read. They however, are invariably relevant.

Intolerance and Flawed Reasoning

The reason I write this post is the riots that occurred in downtown Nairobi on Friday, January 15 2010, protests that have been extensively reported in the media.

The main reason for the protests was to demand the unconditional release of Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal. Some radical Muslims organized the "peaceful protests".

The protests however turned ugly and brought business to a standstill in the Nairobi Business District. Five people lost their lives, many were injured and one policeman was shot by a protester.

The Perils of Indifference

Following are excerpts are Elie Wiesel's The Perils of Indifference speech.
We are on the threshold of a new century, a new millennium. What will the legacy of this vanishing century be? How will it be remembered in the new millennium? Surely it will be judged, and judged severely, in both moral and metaphysical terms... So much violence; so much indifference.

Of course, indifference can be tempting -- more than that, seductive... for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the Other to an abstraction.

Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.

In the place that I come from, society was composed of three simple categories: the killers, the victims, and the bystanders.

Read the entire speech, download PDF or Flash copies, or listen to an audio recording at the American Rhetoric web site.

Do we Ever Learn?

When I wrote Beyond Politics in January 2007, I quoted the following words by Thomas Blatt, another Holocaust survivor:
Ignorance leads to hate.
There is a need to tell the truth and document the sad facts for posterity.
Revenge or executing the murderers is not the most important thing.
All this won't bring back the victims.
What matters is to get the testimony, for the testimony is for the generations.

The Way Ahead
It was indeed very sad to see biased and irrational exchanges online regarding these riots. The KTN and NTV facebook pages were riddled with such unfortunate commentary that eventually necessitated the deletion of several posts. Online forums such as Wazua also had several posts moderated or otherwise deleted when topical discussions degenerated into personal attacks and anti-religious sentiments.

God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. We need each other to survive.

I end this post with questions Elie Wiesel asked in his speech. Think about the following:
Does it mean that we have learned from the past? Does it mean that society has changed? Has the human being become less indifferent and more human? Have we really learned from our experiences? Are we less insensitive to the plight of victims of ethnic cleansing and other forms of injustices in places near and far?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No more Missed Opportunities in 2010. Seize the Day!

The Years Gone By

Looking back in 2009, we all learnt a lot in life. Hopefully, we became better persons and are now looking forward to a richly rewarding year.

The walk into the future will not be without challenges and hiccups. There are new things to be done, new people to meet, new days to be lived. Informed by what we experienced in the last year, we can use that as a foundation for the accomplishments we endeavor to realize, as stepping stones into new horizons.

Seize the Day

The new year presents us with opportunities to make the most of every moment.

Seize the Day

Otherwise, we may die regretting the time we lost when we already had the chance.

Carolyn Arends

From the Prince of Peace compilation gospel album, Carolyn Arends sings Seize the Day, a deep song that encourages us to make the most of the days we've been given, even as we seek God's guidance and favor.

Carolyn Arends: Seize the Day

Following are the song lyrics:
I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan
She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin
She is an author, or maybe a poet
A genius but it's just this world doesn't know it
She works on her novel most every day
If you laugh she will say

Seize the day, seize whatever you can
'Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
Seize the day, pray for grace from God's hand
Then nothing will stand in your way
Seize the day

Well I know a doctor, a fine young physician
Left his six-figure job for a mission position
He's healing the sick in an African clinic
He works in the dirt and writes home to the cynics
He says "We work through the night so most every day
As we watch the sun rise we can say


Well I know a man who's been doing some thinking
He's as bitter and cold as the whiskey he's drinking
He's talking 'bout fear, about chances not taken
If you listen to him you can hear his heart breaking
He says "One day you're a boy and the next day you're dead
I wish way back when someone had said


Well one thing I've noticed, wherever I wander
Everyone's got a dream he can follow or squander
You can do what you will with the days you are given
I'm trying to spend mine on the business of living
So I'm singing my songs off of any old stage
You can laugh if you want, I'll still say


The above lyrics and artist names are copyrighted to Carolyn Arends. They appear  here for educational and personal use only.

The Challenge

For those of us who subscribe to the writings in the good book:
Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God, and give the Almighty all that you promised.

- Psalm 50:14 (Good News Bible)

Now is the time to make the most of every opportunity. Remember all those new year resolutions you made last week? 2010 is now here with us.

Seize the day... the clock is ticking...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Living in 2010

"I'll tell you something,
It's not hard to die when you know you have lived, and I did.
Oh, how I lived."

- Edie Britt (Desperate Housewives s05e19)

The Year 2010

The Lessons We Must Learn

Only yesterday, I was watching season 5 of Desperate Housewives. The 100th episode (s05e13) is titled "The Best Thing That Ever Could Have Happened". Here, residents of Wysteria Lane remember how the neighborhood handyman Eli Scruggs deeply affected their lives.

Later on in episode 19, the housewives took time to remember Edie Britts, who really lived her life - a life that was one of a kind.

Steve Jobs on How to Live Before You Die

In 2005, Steve Jobs, the legendary Apple Inc. CEO gave a commencement address at Stanford University.

Following is his address:

In his talk, Steve Jobs outlined three life stories that in his opinion, characterize a life well lived:

  1. Connecting the DotsYou can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

    You have to trust in something... because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.

  2. Love and LossSometimes life's gonna hit you on the head with a brick. Dont lose faith.You've got to find what you love, and that is as true  for work as it is for your lovers.

    Your work is gonna fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

    If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking, don't settle.

  3. Death"If you live each day as if it's your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."Remembering that you are going to die, is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart.

    Death is the destination we all share. It's life's change agent, it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday not too long from now, you'll gradually become the old, and be cleared away.

    Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice.

    Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

In Other News...

Today is the first day of the year 2010. Amid all the fanfare and gratitude of making it through 2009 to see yet another year, do we have it within ourselves to let 2009 be the end of something, and 2010 the beginning of everything?

Like Abba said in their 1980 hit song Happy New Year (from the album Super Trouper):
Happy New Year... May we all have a vision now and then,
Of a world where every neighbor is a friend,
May we all have our hopes, our will to try,
If we don't we might as well lay down and die... You and I.

Following is the video to this song:

We at The Walkabout and the greater Complit Communications family do wish you all the best in your life, your work, your studies and your dreams.

Cheers, and Say Hello to 2010!


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