Posts in lifestyle
Speak Up!
cat calls of New York

There are few guerrilla street art projects that can catch your attention and trigger emotions in you like Catcalls of NYC does. Just imagine walking down the street and reading the sentence "come blow me" or "I deserve to touch that ass"  in rainbow colors under your feet... Impossible to remain impassive.

Sophie Sandberg started chalking pavements in New York shortly after puberty, when realizing that not only men were catcalling her on a regular basis despite her young age, 15, but that passersby weren't paying attention to it.

She decided to dedicate her studies and past time learning about gender equity and raising awareness on sexual harassment, in the hope of empowering both victims and witnesses to speak up.

Listen to her inspiring story and share your experience of sexual harassment in the comments below.

Find your way in the episode:

1:00: How the project started

2:00: Compliments or harassment?

4:00: Feeling powerful by making someone feel uncomfortable

4:50: The #metoo movement

6:00 Tips to learn to speak up

8:00: Why women should be empowered

What Wakes You up in the Morning?
Estimated reading time: 1'

Estimated reading time: 1'

I had it all.

An amazing loving boyfriend.

An exciting and challenging job.

Great salary and perks.

A penthouse apartment in a fabulous city.

Supporting friends. 

Evenings and weekends filled with exciting activities.

I had achieved everything I had been looking for.

But despite all that, something was missing and I didn't know what. I felt empty inside.

It was the 5th time I was moving to a new place, taking a new job, recreating a social life, hoping to find that missing piece.

I used to blame it on the weather. On other people. On anything that would take over my responsibility.

 

Mark Twain once said:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” 

 

And then I understood.

I had not answered the most crucial question:" why am I here"?

So I started to reflect.

And two words kept popping in my head: People & Places.

Those are always the first things I do when I get some free time: meeting people and exploring places.

So I started my side hustles:

Learning everything I can on digital businesses. 

Writing about people's stories and posting about cool spots around the world.

Inspiring others to be stronger, more adventurous, more open-minded.

I don't know where is it leading and I do not have a 5-years business plan quite yet.

But I'm working on it.

And I wake up every morning feeling a flush of happiness and excitement for the day to come, because I have a purpose.

And for me, that's the definition of happiness.

It's All Good as Long as You Apologize
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I met Thomas through a common friend who was visiting me from San Francisco.

We went to a co-working space for the day (we had the luxury of being able to work remote, which means no office, but no real holiday either).

Thomas was another French guy who had his quarters there.

I asked my friend for an introduction.

“- Never mind, you’re never going to get along. 

- Huh? Why?

- Because he’s just the extreme opposite of you. You just won’t connect, that’s all.

He’s just a mean guy!”

I was flabbergasted.

“- Alright, now I HAVE to meet him”.

Listen to his journey from being a social misfit, to finding his way and becoming an influencer with a voice (38 000+ followers on Twitter).

 

Find your way in the episode:

2:20 Truth flows from the mouth of babes & being misunderstood as a child

6:00 The concept of safe zone 

7:00 Teasing as a shell of protection & provoking reactions

9:30 Testing boundaries as a way to filter friends

11:00 Being rude in Southern Europe Vs the States

13:30 Flirting like an asshole

16:00 Being successful and getting a voice on social media by being true to yourself

19:00 The pressure of being on your best behaviour

24:00 Embracing cultures when travelling

You can be rude, but don’t forget to apologize”
Never Fear, Never Wait, Never Regret
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I met Sam while sitting with a friend in a coffee shop in Venice. He was nonchalantly doing a handstand in the middle of the inner garden.

We applauded him and he approached us, asking if he could "do something to make us happy, to cleanse his soul"...

Apparently, he had been doing certain things he felt guilty for earlier that morning, and wanted to make up for it somehow. He had an infectious energy and attractive vibe.

We asked for tips with job searching as I was applying for various positions and afraid of rejection...

That's when he brought up a challenge he had just initiated: 30 days of rejection.

Ask something for 30 days, for which you expect people to say no to.

So the point is that after that month, thanks to the power of asking, he'll likely not care at all about people's opinions, and dare to ask for what he wants without fear. 

We brought him home that day and made some art - his painting "Fuck fear" is standing on my side table as I speak, as a gentle reminder.

Turns out. He used to be scared. He used to be shy and he used to be afraid to ask for what he wanted. 

But he's been in situations where he HAD to ask for a hand. Robbed, with $1.87 left on his account and no place to stay at. Or newly landed in unknown grounds with no friends and without speaking the language. But he always figured it out. 

He's also been experiencing the other extreme of the scale, hanging out with billionaire Emiratis in Dubai, flying in private jets, partying on yachts and staying at Burj Al Arab, and understood that all the money, power and fame in the world won't make up for a life truly lived and experienced to its fullest.

Sam took me on a skydiving adventure shortly after to prove to me that I could overcome anything...

Listen to his story and challenges on this third podcast episode.

Find your way in the episode:

0:00 Moving to the States with no plans, no English, no place to stay at and no friends

1:55 The Rejection Therapy

4:00 The 30-Day challenge

10:00 How the journey started

Never fear - never wait - never regret.
— Sam Polyvyanny
Get Your KEYS - Keep Educating Yourself
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EPISODE #1 - WILL LATIF LITTLE

In this first episode, I have interviewed an ex-prisoner and cold-blood killer turned motivational speaker on the topic of empathy.

 

Find your way in the episode:

02:00 Father figure and self-identity

09:00 Moving away from bullying and fear

11:00 Street life & hustling

18:00 Turning point

20:00 Education and spirituality as an escape

24:00 Behind the scenes in jail

31:00 Forgiveness and creativity as an outlet

 

References:

His TEDX talk - How to Become the best Version of Yourself

His website: www.willvlittle.com

His book: Inner City Youth

 

Go further:

Subscribe to Lives/Disrupted on Apple podcast

Subscribe to my newsletter to receive exclusive motivational content & pre-order the free e-book on "How to Disrupt Your Life"

 

 

Get your KEYS: Keep Educating Yourself
— Will Latif Little
Life is a Game
Estimated reading time: 9'

Estimated reading time: 9'

If I had to choose a person in my entourage whose path has impressed me the most, I'd pick Hanine.

Hanine, the guy who, in less than two years...

- Participated in TEDx and other conferences in front of thousands people, but who used to shake in front of his sheet of paper at the board at Uni,

- Trains 3-5x a week and ran a marathon in 4 hours, when he did not understand the point of playing sports a year and a half ago,

- Can go out alone at night and head home with 10 new numbers saved in his phone and make girls fall under his spell with the right one-liners, while upon his first attempts, he was unable to string two words together to a stranger,

This is the guy for whom everything is possible, provided that you see life as a game, don't take things seriously and go full speed.

How did he start his transformation? I asked him directly when I came back to Lille, France, for the holidays.

 

"I did a lot of work on myself when I originally moved from Morocco to France, and I've been a personal-development enthusiast ever since I was 18. I was reading all the books and watching all the videos and documentaries I had at hand.

I wanted to improve my social skills, my EQ and gain self-confidence. I prepared myself before going out for example... The first hits gave me more confidence and it became easier and easier.

Maybe you can now picture me as an extravert or a ladies man, but it has not always been this way :)

The learning process was complex because every time I was working on my social skills, it did not work out in the long run: I was completely dependent on my mood swings. If I had the chance to wake up fresh and energetic, I would work on myself and push myself. On the other hand, if I felt lazy or tired, I would not get anything done.

My energy level was key.

One day, I read one of Tony Robbins books explaining how nutrition can impact your energy levels. It was new for me as I'd only associate healthy food with "weight loss" or "muscle gain", and never thought that it could impact my mental abilities.

At the time I was eating a lot of industrial food. I started each day with 4 or 5 chocolate buns and a soda. Then I'd swallow 5 or 6 coffee cups and vitamin C tablets throughout the day, to try and get those energy levels up... I was looking for supplements to be energetic, without realizing that I was fueling myself with the wrong gas from the start.

That's when I decided to give it a shot and stop eating sugar for a month. No need to take it to the extreme, just one month, to see how it would go.

On the 3rd week, I started to practice sports more intensely. On the 4th week, I started to meditate & stopped watching news.

If I'd describe my life before, I'd go to work, come home, watch a movie and order pizza. On the weekend, I'd get hammered and spend days recovering. If I was depressed during winter, the problem was not just the lack of light, it was also my physiological state. And if I could strengthen it with the proper food, rest and workout, I wouldn't be as impacted by external factors. All of a sudden, after I stopped sugar, I would come home and want to do more meaningful activities.

When I took sugar for the first time again (and I still do, exceptionally), I noticed the switch in my energy and it confirmed that it was the trigger. It gives me a brief peak of energy that then falls back and makes me even more tired during the digestive process.

Think about it.

If I prevent you from sleeping and eating for two days, and I make you watch a masterpiece, say your favorite movie. Are you going to enjoy watching it?

No. Because you aren't physiologically healthy. It's like swimming against the tide.

That's how my 365 days challenge started.

Every day, I'd wake up and think: "what can I do with this excess of energy?"

It wasn't a boost like after a coffee cup, it was a continuous and stable level of energy.

I started googling activities: dance classes, exhibitions, guitar lessons... & eventually gave myself the challenge of doing a new activity each day for a year, and started blogging about it.

People tend to think that the lack of time is the issue. It's not.

I used to waste 25 hours per week watching TV. "I don't have the time" literally means "I don't have the energy". That's the difference between those who have time for their career, friends and family and can be awake for 18 hours, and those who feel like zombies.

If you want to change your situation, see life as a game.

Somebody is likely to have had the same problems as you, so you can look it up. For example, at work: how can you sign more deals? How can you negotiate a raise? Change your perspective and see those obstacles that used to bring you down as fun challenges... That's how I tripled my salary in a year.

In my opinion, the fear of failure is also a fear of losing energy, and it goes back to the basics. You are worried of losing energy if you don't have an unlimited amount of it.

When I look back, I was the first one of my classmates to get an permanent working contract, paid twice the minimal salary, despite being an "immigrant", while others were simply looking for a fixed-term contract, remunerated the bare minimum. It happened because I knew that if I did not find anything, I'd have to leave the country, so I became more creative and staked it all. I accepted rejections and analyzed them to get better. In fact, winning 10% of the time is a huge statistic.

Friends I used to hang out with would say "look at X, he has a Master's degree and is a cashier, I'll never find a rewarding job either..." Those people did not even try and ended up like that too. I did not believe that I was better than anyone else, but I was thinking "they might be right, but I am the producer of my own life". If I got rejected at an interview or with a girl, I'd think "let's rework this and that". I never question myself for who I was and thought "they rejected be because I am Arabic". If you have a limited belief system, you'll limit yourself.

Self-knowledge is probably the best starting point if you want to make changes in your lifestyle.

I see myself as a train that stops at different stations. For instance, if the girl I am attracted to steps on the train, she is the right person for me and this is the right timing, is not, she simply is not and I let go of her, I am not an Uber, i’m not changing my destination, I keep driving until the next station.

The second most difficult part of personal development is acting out. People love to read tips and imagine how their life could be, but once they put their book down, nothing major happens and life goes on at the same pace. I personally have to display originality and creativity on a daily basis, hack my brain so to speak, to be able to take action.

When aiming for personal goals, we usually have plenty of intrinsic motivations, but not enough extrinsic ones that are stimulating (for instance, a boss that will fire you if you do not show up in the morning, competition with your colleagues). So one way to make the process fun  and random is to introduce hazard. At some point of my 365 days-challenge, I put a bunch of ideas in a box and would pick a "mission" to fulfill randomly in the morning. I literally felt like a kid on Christmas Eve!

Also, make sure to have fun. You'll spend more time "on the road", going from point A to B. As long as you have fun on the way, you can go very far, you won't stop at difficulties because you won't be only attached to results. This is what makes the difference between people who give up and those who keep it up.

Finally, prepare for the times you'll be less motivated. I call the doubtful side of me the "little Hanine", and the bolder version of me the "big Hanine"! For example, if I want to wake up early in the morning to work out, I'll prepare my outfit by the bed, socks included, as if I were to prepare items for a four years old. I'll also place my alarm downstairs (I live in a duplex), in case I lose my motivation when 6 AM strikes. Once awake, I'll put my clothes on without even thinking. If you start thinking, that's when you weaken and think: "it's fine, I can miss the gym one time, I'll go tomorrow". 

There's also people who are going to doubt you, or situations that will make you feel like giving up. One thing that boosts me is reading biographies of people I admire, and get inspired by the way they've handled challenges. A good example is Elon Musk, who had to figure out how to pay his employees, in millions of dollars, kept going when everybody thought that he was insane...

I keep on challenging myself every day and am working on an app* to help others do the same, because I truly believe that once you understand how the brain works and start seeing life as a game, anything is possible".

I love the idea of getting outside of our comfort zone to reach our goals. And when looking at Hanine's example, I've understood that it only takes a small step. Wether it is stopping sugar for a month, going to the opera for the first time or saying hello to a stranger, this creates new patterns in our brain that allow us to test new things and get excited rather than scared, and grow. I've actually tattooed a butterfly wing on my wrist that symbolizes just that - the butterfly effect.

Each small step you take may seem insignificant, but it brings you closer to your goals and to a better version of yourself, one wing flap at a time.

There's a quote saying "losers have an objective, winners have systems"... Here are some tips for getting outside of your Comfort Zone successfully:

- Audit your life and find ways to improve your energy levels

- Know yourself

- See life as a game

- Start easy and gradually increase the difficulty

- Act out by implementing various motivational techniques (extrinsic motivators, hazard, planning ahead for weak moments)

- Have fun on the way!

___

*N.B. an app that helps people get outside their comfort zones by sending them daily challenges.

Hanine's blog -> bit.ly/GoodbyeComfortZone

Which challenge are you going to take today to get outside of your comfort zone?