My journey to life was not one different like many, especially if you were growing up in Africa. I first had to work for my father in exchange for food and shelter, before I could do anything that involved my own development. We had cows for milk and they needed to eat, then there was the small farm my parents rated for agriculture, then the lawn that was to be kept clean and tidy. The worst of all we went many miles in search of water, sometimes late at night and sometimes early in the morning and sometimes in the middle of the darkest nights.
I would like to make it clear, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.
What I feared most for myself at that age was not poverty, but failure. Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after dropping out of college, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived dating and I was jobless, a lone, and as poor as it is possible to be in Africa, without a home, with no income and not living with my parents. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew. I remember one Sunday morning when my girlfriend broke up with me, its was some minutes after lunch. A few days later, my mother whome for a long time had wanted me to go back to college and graduate called me and he narrated to me all the things that I had failed in, and thought at least, I would succeed in marriage. It was the last shot for her.
Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality. So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a passion for business, and big ideas. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies. The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.
So given a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes. Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
Many of the people we learn from are ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to speak against their governments. I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. This man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness. And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.
I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid. What is more, those who choose not to empathise enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.
But how much more are you, CITIZENS OF THE WORLD, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders.
That is your privilege, and your burden. If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.
At the end of May we had the idea with this Iron Blogger thing (We = Adedayo, Christine, David and me)
Eight weeks later, we are nine iron bloggers! We are from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Germany, and France. We created 66 blog posts with a wide variety of topics. Only once Adedayo wasn’t able to blog, so she contributed our first good deed
I noticed, that some people did not understand that they just need to write their own blog. The rest – the aggregation of all those blog feeds and conneceted social media distribution, works automatically:
Every blog post
- will be aggregated on https://ironblogger.cocoate.com
- will be tweeted on https://twitter.com/ibcoco1
- will be posted on the Facebook page https://facebook.com/ibcoco1
- will be mentioned in the weekly summary posts of our ironbloggerbot (we need a profile picture of it )
The Twitter account @ibcoco1
- will follow all of our iron bloggers
- will add all iron bloggers to a Twitter list
- At the moment it’s a bot and I have the user credentials
- it could (and will) be used to re-tweet something important (like the upcoming JoomlaDay in Kenya).
- don’t forget to follow
The Facebook page
- will be administrated by the “Founders” (Adedayo, Christine, David and me)
- If you have any idea how we can better promote this project via a Facebook page – you are more than welcome to comment (or blog about as iron blogger)
- don’t forget to like
Interesting things happen
- David Wampamba created our logo and a WordPress plugin to show the good deed posts in the sidebar of our website (Elegant Category Posts). The source code of the plugin is available for free at Github (https://github.com/awebdesigner/ecat-posts).
- He is is running a website called http://youinspireyou.com which wants to make the world a better place
- David Opati Aswani is organising the Joomladay in Kenya (and should write about ) http://joomladay.or.ke
- I’ll use the Elegant Category Posts to create a News section on our website. If something happens that is interesting for all iron bloggers and their audience, tag your post with ibcoco-news and they will appear in the News section of our website ironblogger.cocoate.com.
- So far, we are seven men and only two women. To make it short, we need to overcome the gender gap ;-). And of course we are open to anything different than men and women that is able to write a blog
You are welcome!
So far, I produced most of my colors by myself, only the primer and the varnish for Passion vs. Ratio I bought.
Doing everything by myself is like a huge field of experimentation and a lot of fun. When tinkering I learn a lot about the successive reactions of the materials and of course, I discover also my limits. I realize, that I do not have enough knowledge about the use and reactions to various substrates and materials and so far I did not really think a lot about the long-term durability of the result.
So I researched to learn more about supports, to learn their properties and necessary pretreatments. Until now I have almost exclusively painted on canvas, one exception is Focus, here I have worked on wood.
The canvasses I’ve bought ready, were already impregnated and provided with several layers of primer. Following advice of a grown artist, I applied another layer of primer. Canvas is a relatively flexible support and must be treated differently than a rigid, such as wood (or walls). A primer serves to make the surface smooth and receptive to the colors, without these being too absorbed and not to be rejected. A common primer is gesso, a mixture of lime, gypsum, rabbit skin glue and white pigments. Quite complicate to produce, since the mixing ratio of the ingredients decides if it adheres well on the support and the paints on it.
That is the traditional mixture, but bought gesso has not always something to do with that and it differs in its quality properties to the price
For the longevity of a painting, a well-prepared support is at least as important as the application of the colours.
As I soon would like to work more on wood, I shall deal more with this subject.
Your tips are very welcome.
Hallo liebe 1aOlivenoel blog Leser,
sie heissen Aphrodite, Hades, Hermes, Kronos, Uranos, Venus. Mit denen und einigen anderen dieser schönen griechischen Götter, habe ich es regelmässig zu tun. Wie bitte … meinst du, was schreibt er denn heute ? Heute geht es nicht um Olivenöl (das Thema finde ich natürlich auch sehr spannend, vielleicht finde ich ja noch den Schwenk an der einen oder anderen Stelle), aber ich möchte euch heute etwas über mich erzählen, was persönliches also. Seit genau 1 Jahr 3 Monate und 25 Tage beschäftige ich mich nun damit. Und bei was ? „#freeletics“ … Was das ist ? Damals kam meine Freundin auf mich zu und fragte mich ob ich mitmachen möchte. Habe so wie die Meisten von euch wahrscheinlich davon noch nie etwas gehört. Sie hat es mir erklärt, es geht um Sport aber nicht nur um etwas Bewegung und so lala – nein richtiges Training. Da ich gerne Sport treibe hat das natürlich gleich mein Interesse geweckt und ich schaute es mir näher an.
Dann ging alles ganz schnell. Wir haben uns die App installiert, angemeldet und wie im Einrichtungsassistent beschrieben den Fitnesstest gemacht. Nach dem Test dachte ich dann für mich …. ok „früher“ war ich sportlich. Der Test bestand darin, in einer gewissen Zeit so viele Liegestützen und Kniebeugen durchzuführen wie man schafft …. ok ich sage nicht wie er ausgefallen ist.
Aber auch egal wir beschlossen, uns den angebotenen Coach, der uns durch die Trainings (Workouts) führt, zu abonnieren. Dabei werden die Trainings (Workouts) entsprechend dem Leistungslevel den man nach dem Workout anhand von 3 Auswahlmöglichkeiten zurückmeldet vorgegeben. Es gibt 3 Trainingsziele entweder „Muskelaufbau“, „Kondition, Fitness“ oder die Kombination aus den beiden. Und da wir im Fitnesstest festgestellt haben, dass es an beidem derartig mangelt, haben wir uns für die Kombination entschieden.
Dann war es soweit – ich erinnere mich noch daran die erste Göttin „Aphrodite“ war ihr Name. In der Mythologie steht sie für Liebe, Schönheit sinnlicher Begierde, oder auch für „Wachsen und Entstehen“. Mit Liebe und Schönheit hatte das Workout aber nichts, gar nichts zu tun. Das Workout bezog sich eher auf den zweiten Teil der Bedeutung. Über eine Stunde haben wir gekämpft mit „Burpees“ (Kombination aus Liegestütz, aufstehen und hüpfen), „Squats“ (Kniebeugen) und „Situps“. Dann waren wir „fertig“, richtig „fertig“.
Warum machen wir das, wir dachten an aufhören, denn das kann nie funktionieren. Wie wollen wir das Schaffen. Mit aufwärmen dann Workout und anschließendem dehnen fast 2 Stunden 3 mal die Woche (oder manchmal mehr wenn Helldays oder Hellweek dran ist )…. Wir haben durch Beruf und sonstige Aktivitäten (Olivenöl ) eh wenig freie Zeit. Doch genau an der Stelle beginnt es – will man ein Ziel erreichen dann kämpft man sich dahin man will es erreichen! Die körperliche Fitess, Kondition und Muskeln haben sich zwischenzeitlich drastisch gesteigert (das eine oder andere Pfund schmolz einfach so dahin ) aber gegen die innere Überwindung muß man dennoch ständig ankämpfen (brauche eine Pause …. nix da weitermachen die Uhr läuft) . Und das Schöne, ausser uns beiden gibt es auf der ganzen Welt viele solcher „freeletics“, die sich jeden Tag der mentalen und körperlichen Herausforderung stellen und sich gegenseitig in der integrierten Community motivieren weiter zu machen um schneller und besser zu werden.
So stehen heute 700 erledigte Workouts auf meinem Konto und 1200 Follower und ich habe großen Spaß dabei und soviel Zeit, dass ich sehr gutes Olivenöl verkaufen kann. Achja …. „Aphrodite“ erledige ich heute in 22 Minuten .
Lust bekommen ?, dann lade ich dich hiermit ein
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Wünsche uns allen eine friedliche Zeit