#ValuableDiversity (Interview Series) -Ep. 5 – Spanish Guitar


Introducing you to interesting people around the world


 

Meet Dario Piana

Key Account Executive, Mentor, Song writer (Guadalajara, Mexico)

Today’s guest is an interesting man, who loves people and is very fond of the concept of diversity, coming from Latin America. I feel, therefore, the need to share a few interesting facts about birth place, before sharing his answers.

Mexico is one of the most welcoming countries when it comes to visitors. Family, respect to elders and faith define the existence of every individual. Another interesting fact is that Mexico uses 4 time zones, as well as being the country which introduced corn, chili, Caesar Salad and chocolate to the world.

Guadalajara, the city where Mr. Dario Piana resides in, is also called the “home of mariachi music”, thus we can very well understand his passion for writing songs and delighting people with them. September 15th is dedicated to celebrating the “Charro and Mariachi Day”. In 2005, Guadalajara was named The American Capital of culture, due to population’s interest in large-scale cultural events (such as Guadalajara International Film Festival and the Guadalajara International Book Fair).

My interaction with Mr. Piana was full of gratitude and joy. Also, due to the recent events in my life, I can wholeheartedly state that he is a supportive, warm and an innate helper. To exemplify this, at the end of the interview, you will find a little surprise: a text he considered to help me in these moments. And I tell you, these are the most heart melting, eye opening and emotional words I’ve ever had the chance to come across.

With no further ado, let me introduce you to his unique way of being…

***

1. Good day, Mr. Piana. As this series is dedicated to knowing the human behind the professional, please tell us a bit about yourself. What is the first thing you let show to a new connection/ acquaintance?

Hello Andrada! Thank you for the opportunity.

I suppose one of the first things a new connection/acquaintance might notice is that I enjoy thoughtful and thought-provoking posts, articles, videos and conversations. I’ll happily participate in civil and respectful discussions about a wide variety of subjects.

2. As an individual who is passionate about human behavior, what is the most important aspect that particularly draws you into knowing people?

I am fascinated by the differences in our interpretations of reality. Since I was a very young kid, I remember, for example, wondering whether what we all call “blue” was really the same color to all of us. I wondered, and still do, about how smaller or larger-size beings experience the passage of time. So, in short, I am fascinated by how people see the world and what purpose they find in life.

3. I am curious about the way you perceive diversity. Does it come natural to you, due to your roots?

I perceive diversity as a multi-faceted concept.

As a kid, growing up in Mexico involved a very definite and visible diversity of cultures. However, it was also a somewhat limited diversity. The fact that we were growing up in a culture that was a combination of Spanish and Aztec was obvious. French influence was also evident. US culture, through movies, music and products, was also making its mark.

“Since I was a very young kid, I remember wondering whether what we all call “blue” was really the same color to all of us.”

Only after I had traveled extensively did I realize that there was relatively little as far as food, music or culture from Africa, the Middle East or Asia, for example, particularly when compared to the US or Canada. Even today, finding good Thai food in Guadalajara (Mexico’s second-largest city) is a challenge. In my experience, the more diverse a city is, the more rich its food, art, music and culture become.

4. How did diversity influence your existence? Can you reveal pros and cons? Are there any?

I was very fortunate in that, while my family was not rich, my parents did place a high premium on providing us with a high-quality, multi-cultural education. The fact that I had access to books and all kinds of publications and material from a variety of countries, that I was raised in a bilingual environment and that I had classmates from all over the world was clearly a positive influence for me. It gave us all a wider vision, teaching us the value of individuality and to consider subjects from a worldwide perspective, while seeking to understand a variety of local customs and conditions.

5. Your LinkedIn profile displays a new ventures’ explorer. What drives you into the unknown?

Business and climbing are both adventures, each fraught with its own risk. My desire to explore is an expression of a need to know myself, to grow and understand reality. A man never conquers a mountain, only his own weakness, ignorance and fear.

6. You have “LinkedIn Recognized Expert” listed on your profile? How can you enlarge this? </[>

A few weeks ago, I received a notification saying that LinkedIn recognized me as an expert in my field. It also asked if I’d be willing to mentor others and give career advice, to which I replied positively. I’ve had the opportunity to help a few people with their job search and offering career advice. It’s truly rewarding to be able to help others.

7. You also mentioned that you were interested in collaborations for bringing a new wind of change. Before someone contacts you, what can you tell about this? What would be the impact?

I am working on three very exciting, highly scalable and highly disruptive projects. Each would have a major impact if brought to market.

One will bring to market proprietary software that interprets people’s emotions by analyzing webcam video of their faces. This has all kinds of applications in fin-tech, security, customer service, etc.

The second is a platform that would help people easily find authentic home-cooked food whenever they travel. This would reduce food waste, which is a major problem, while allowing travelers to save money on meals.

The third is a project to reduce shipping costs and fuel consumption through technology, which could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic and, hopefully, accidents.

8. Wow, that’s really impressive! And I wish you all the luck in achieving your goals! So, looking a bit into your work area… How does the B2B sector that you work in combine with mariachi music? How does music influence your day to day activity? And what are the activities that help you relax after a day of hard work?

The sectors in which I’m involved professionally are not directly related to mariachi music, or any other music, really. However, music is an important part of our daily activity, particularly in the construction sector. During their lunch and other breaks, workers typically enjoy listening to music, usually “banda”, “mariachi” or “ranchera”, but also “cumbias”, “salsa” and even, occasionally, classic rock. In the restaurant industry, creating the right ambiance includes selecting the most appropriate music, too.

“A man never conquers a mountain, only his own weakness, ignorance and fear.”

After a day of hard work, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, whether we share a meal, a cup of coffee or just some conversation. Playing guitar is also one of my favorite pastimes and perfect for a short break during the week. I meditate and practice Tai Chi regularly. If I need an even stronger dose of relaxation, I’ll go climbing for a day.

9. That’s some good vibe music, that can move a muscle instantly 🙂 Especially salsa 🙂 Going a bit further, please enlarge the “mentor” mention as well. Do you use it as related to your job or as a description for personal development practices? And what is continuous improvement to you?

Being a mentor is something that I was, literally, called to do. I received requests from connections – young professionals, mostly – asking for my help in achieving certain personal and professional goals. I happily provide as much help as possible, free of charge, follow up on their progress and develop a relationship. That’s what it means to be a mentor on LinkedIn and, I must say, it has been a very rewarding experience for me.

10. Some people may know Mexicans for mariachi, tequila and parties only. What is the less-known detail about your culture that you would like people to acknowledge?

Mexico is a vibrant place to work, full of young, innovative people. Some of your readers may know this already, but I think many would be surprised at the degree of personal freedom that living in Mexico affords regular individuals. Our country has already gone through a nationalist and socialist stage. We have learned the hard way what the alternative to freedom looks like. Our laws still reflect that past, but our culture has evolved beyond them.

11. From our discussions, I noticed that you are a kind man, who takes advice and is open to and grateful for each small gesture/ word of appreciation. When people come to you asking for guidance, what is the first question you ask? And is there any general advice that you can gift to the world?

Thank you, Andrada, that’s very kind of you. I do try to be grateful every time someone offers a suggestion; I understand it’s easier to not say anything than to offer any criticism, since one risks being misinterpreted or coming off the wrong way.

I suppose the first thing I generally try to find out about someone asking for guidance is where that person wants to go; what they are trying to achieve? Then I can begin to find a path that will get them there.

As to general advice, I would offer these thoughts:

Above anyone else’s, it is in one’s best interest to acknowledge one’s errors. As long as we don’t admit and acknowledge our errors, we cannot correct them.

Best-case scenario, the most one can control is oneself.

 He who loves the most, wins!”

***

Thank you very much for being part of this series, Mr. Piana. And for being such a golden soul! Offering your support to someone, even if from the other corner of the world, may brighten their state of mind. I, for one, am grateful for having interacted with you!

As promised at the beginning of the interview, I leave you in the company of the most emotional text* I’ve ever read (sent by Mr. Piana, who agreed to be shared). And to which I gave a title:

Embrace the age

“What did mom and dad ever do for growing old, from one moment to anther?

They grew old… Our parents grew old. No one has prepared us for this. One beautiful day, they lose composure, becoming more vulnerable and gaining “ridiculous” habits. They have traveled thousands miles and they know everything; and what they don’t know, is getting made-up.

They are tired of taking care of others and being an example: it is now the time for us to take care of them and spoil them. They make long term plans no more; now their time is dedicated to small adventures, such as eating everything the doctor prohibited, behind our back.

Their skin gained spots… All of a sudden they are sad… Yet, they are not falling…

Their children are the ones who fall, rejecting the cycle of life. It’s hard to accept that our heroes and heroines can no longer control the situation. They are fragile and forget – they have this right – but we are stubbornly expecting them to have the energy of a locomotive. We fail to accept their weaknesses, their sadness.

We get irritated and, some of us, yell at them if they handle the mobile phone or any other electronic device inappropriately; furthermore, we fail to being patient when it comes to listening – for the thousand’s time – to the same story, told as if they have just lived it. Instead of accepting, with serenity, that their rhythm becomes slower with each passing year, we simply get mad as they betray our confidence – the confidence that they are indestructible, alike superheroes. We trigger useless arguments and we get mad as we insist that everything should be just like it has always been. Our intolerance can only be fear. The fear of losing them and ourselves, as well as the fear of their incapacity of still being lucid and joyful.

With our anger, we only supply more sadness to those who, one day, were our happiness providers. But what would be the price we had to pay if we were a bit like what they were to us? How many times, these heroes and heroines were there for us, awake for the entire night, taking care of us, administrating medicines and decreasing our fever? Yet, we get mad when they forget to take their medicines; and, by arguing to them, we leave them crying. Such creatures we are sometimes…

Time teaches us to seek proof in any stage of our lives, but is hard to accept the stages of others… especially, as the others were our pillars… those to whom we could rely on for always coming back and finding them with their arms wide open; and who, now, send us signals that one day they will depart without us.

Let us do the best for them, today; let us give them our best so that tomorrow, once they will no longer be, we should remember their happy smiles and not the tears of sadness they have spilled because of us.

In the end, our yesterday’s heroes, will be our heroes for eternity!”

*The text was originally in Spanish and I took the liberty of translating it; I hope I managed to keep it intact in its meaning!

***

*The photo used in this article was provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using it without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Dario Piana*

You can contact and follow Dario Piana via his Linkedin profile.

Next week (03.05.2018)Shane Wallace

#ValuableDiversity (Interview Series) -Ep. 4 – Mindfulness


Introducing you to interesting people around the world


 

Meet Richard C. Pryor

– Chief happiness officer, Music Producer (Birmingham, UK) –

When was the last time you were in a (desperately) blue mood? What was your approach for this specific episode? Shut down? Run away?

Well, I want to share a secret with you (if you haven’t read my posts so far)…

My last desperately blue mood moment was on Christmas Eve. (Yup, this last one. 2017.) I knew I’d be alone both on Christmas day and the 2nd day (not sure if the 2nd day is celebrated everywhere, but Romanians do it), as my kids would spend this whole time with their grandparents. Just a thought… But it was more than enough to have me crying my eyes off! In a moment of lucky feeling sent from the almighty power, an idea struck my mind: what if I talked to Richard?

We had only spoken music related stuff in past conversations, so – really – I had no idea why I should have done this. But I chose to listen to that midget in my head (a.k.a my inner voice) and wrote to Richard. That was the best move I could have taken that evening. I will never regret 1 second!

In the interview below I want to introduce you to this “magician of calm and clarity” (testimony of Louise Mccauley). Maybe you’ll get the same feeling I did, one day, and you will know exactly where to go for a trusted, objective opinion.

But get ready to have all your boundaries torn down, all prejudice changed and your comfort zone stretched to the max. You can only work with him if you REALLY want a change to happen!

I quote Richard himself: “I’m hard to work with.” But I’m telling you: it’s all worth it! I, simply, call him “doc”…

Enjoy his full-of-wisdom answers below!

***

1. Hi, doc, I appreciate you accepting being part of the #ValuableDiversity series. But before anything else, tell us, please, a bit about Richard beyond the coach. Let us discover the human…

Great question to start! Well, I am what I would call a “truth seeker”. That is, I am always on the hunt and researching into the very nature of existence, beyond the mind, beyond the material. It’s an obsession, but it’s also what drives my coaching. There isn’t so much a Richard beyond the coach nowadays, they’ve become amalgamated!! I feel the “coach” is me, at my core – my soul journey if you will.

2. The call we had a few weeks ago was so full of energy and good vibe! Tell us how do you manage to be like that?

I am not like it all the time. When I am with family, or on my own, I can be very quiet and reflective. If I get into a more negative mind frame, which happens to us all, I will approach it with deep reflection. But when you connect on that level with other souls, and you’re connected to your own fully (breathing it through your life), then that energy can become quite a natural thing to experience.

“I also feel I’m less of a coach (though I can do the mentality shift stuff, truth be told, that’s pretty basic in terms of a fuller human experience), and more of a “guide”.”

That being said, it does require discipline and practice. But the rewards you will experience are life changing, if you allow them to be!

3. Ok, so Richard “the wizard” has his “blue ball” moments also. What’s your secret to overcoming them?

Reflecting and meditating upon the reality of existence itself. Withdrawing the mind from the physical, and moving it back into consciousness, where problems as such, do not exist. From there, I get a clearer view of what’s going on from a broader perspective, it’s the seat of inspiration. From there, magical things can – and often do – happen!

The realm of “ego mind”, in the more spiritual/consciousness sense, is where all pain is made manifest and then spreads out into the world around us. And, indeed, others can project their own pain into our lives as well.

Miscommunication, ego battles, arguments (you know the kind of things I’m talking about) all derive from this externalization of the mind into reality around us. They’re not pleasant to experience, either as the projector of such or the receiver.  It becomes a mutual engagement in pain and suffering. It’s largely also pointless. The lessons we learn about it, are to guide us FROM it. That is all. It’s no more complicated than that.

Remembering all of this, and deep practice, will allow you to harness that inner resilience; and stop being a prisoner of your pain, or other’s pain. And instead live more peacefully inside, as well as outside.

4. In a session we had, you told me that we should not let our thoughts guide us, as we should only let them rent the house (a.k.a our brain). Please enlarge this principle a bit.

Thoughts can actually be used as a guide, I understand your personal meaning here; but for others reading… what I mean is that thoughts shouldn’t rule us. Here’s more detail of what I mean:

Thoughts are a transient energy; and energy they are, quite literally!

They move and flow through us continuously. From all I’ve come to understand, they’re manifestations of subconscious observations and patterns, and thus, mostly entirely, involuntary! Much like the breath. They carry on without our attention, quietly mischievous in the background until we place attention on them… kind of like a toddler drawing on your walls!

For example, when you place attention on the breath, you may notice your breathing is shallow (rather than calmer); if you pay attention to deep but natural breaths, those breaths can be more soothing/calming.

“There isn’t so much a Richard beyond the coach nowadays, they’ve become amalgamated!! I feel the “coach” is me, at my core – my soul journey if you will.”

Much like as with thoughts; our thoughts are busy – thousands and thousands every day, repeating themselves, over and over. Tedium indeed! And VERY problematic for us, when we’re undisciplined.

Thoughts, however, are merely options; they contain potentials, information about what’s bothering us, memories of the past being brought into the present, and often then forming fears for the future (anxiety). This can, often, lead us into certain emotion states that will not be serving us well, depending on what we’re presently doing and who we’re with.

Because of this, before you are fully aware of what you’re doing, you find yourself in an argument, you’re stressed and tensed, you’re losing your ground… and yet, there’s no obvious reason for it!

The toddler has continued to draw over many more of your walls and now it’s created a reactionary state . Through which ALL of your experience, out and in, is now filtered!

Oooops….

Have you any idea, how many people will go from beginning to end of life, without realizing this?

The shallowness of their life experience controlled by external factors that have created automatic response mechanisms, whilst missing out on experiencing more richness in their life?

Thoughts should never govern, or rule you, they are not supposed to be our master. The mind is our servant, but – unless we give it rules and discipline – it will go off on its own tangents!

Doing it’s best? For sure! But that doesn’t mean it’s of use.

Remember the phrase “The Devil makes work for idle thumbs” ! I believe this can be applied to thought, if we do not give the mind something consciously to do, or monitor what it is doing, and be the “leader”, set a conscious example, and be disciplined with it; then it will drive us forward from nothing more than a collection of habits and experiences. When you think about how many of those experiences we have, well… your life becomes a bit like a lottery, as you leave what will drive and motivate you forward to chance!

Would you let your car drive itself? (no sarcastic comments about automatic driving, I only get to use this analogy for a bit longer…)  NO! But yet you permit your mind to do it, yet the consequences of such can be truly devastating. That is one of the major issues our world presently faces and why we’re engaged with such chaos around.

Of course, when you program yourself right, then thoughts can be a great guide. And when you’re observing them, (think for a moment, WHAT is observing them exactly – who is this “you”?) you can begin to notice changes to your habitual thought patterns.

It’s truly fascinating. To anyone reading, there’s no need to fear this process. It’s empowering!

5. Let’s approach the meditation habit you’ve made. Can you disclose, in a few words, what was the effect you witnessed the first time?

Wow, I have been meditating for so long now that I can’t remember! An old friend convinced me to try out light and sound devices, which I remember to have left me feeling very calmed and relaxed. But it was a while before I truly used meditation often. I’ve had some very strange experiences meditating – what’s important to understand, there are so many different kinds! There are kinds for simply relaxing the mind, some for focus, some for astrally projecting (for those so inclined to enter the more mystical) and there are some for connection to and union with God, or the universal force, whatever you may believe in.

“The toddler has continued to draw over many more of your walls and now it’s created a reactionary state . Through which ALL of your experience, out and in, is now filtered!”

It’s fair to say, I’ve experienced a lot. From a conscious awake out of body experience (physical, not mental (VERY ODD – and pure euphoria – words cannot describe), to simply just calming the mind down a little to observe.

“REMEMBER: Even a tiny little conscious move forward, is still progress.”

6. Ok, and how did you get to a daily practice? Was there an episode in your life that particularly triggered this routine?

What really triggered my movement into this field, was the loss of my dear friend… He was a deeply spiritual guy and guided me through the early stages of my own consciousness awakening process. It was scary at times. It wasn’t your typical “put some headphones on and relax” kind of thing. This is why – as you know – I respect and investigate the weirder side of life. There’s so much we do not know!  Just because our science cannot measure yet, does not mean it doesn’t exist.

That is pure ignorance, born of ego.

An example of such: Electricity has always been around, we’ve only just harnessed it. Meditation was a “spiritual” pursuit; now it’s gaining medical attention – we know it remodels our brain physically. So what discovery will be next? Science, even the mind sciences, tend to be often playing catch up to the old wisdom… Remember this:the intellect must measure, but consciousness simply experiences.

But I digress. It my dear friend’s death (and his preparing me FOR his death before it happened – there was no way of knowing, he was not ill) that made me think “I need to look more into what he taught, out of deference to his wisdom, and to our friendship”. It became indelibly marked in my psyche. We met, he shared a lot with me, and then said he felt he’d done what he came here to do. And was “ready to go”. And go he did – very soon after…!

“Remember this: the intellect must measure, but consciousness simply experiences.”

And now I am doing this – my life is my routine. They are not just casual meanderings or coincidences. He is absolutely the reason I have followed this path (although I’ve always felt a connection to it, since I was a tiny wee little thing!).

7. I know you’re on the verge of launching your own coaching program / course). How did you come to this?

Truthfully? Being nagged by people I’ve helped and by people who know what they’re doing!  Seriously, I get told off A LOT, for not being more proactive in sharing what I’ve come to learn – and continue to learn – in a “coaching” capacity.

Ultimately, though, I didn’t choose this path. Well, not of mind anyway… I don’t really understand why anyone would “choose” to be a coach/guide. How do you choose that? I don’t think you can. That’s the realm of ego. I think it must, for some reason, choose you. Who I am to decide that I should be coaching other people etc? What gives me that right, or claim?

Nothing.

That may seem a peculiar thing to say! But it’s almost become trendy to be a coach, and I don’t get it! On a personal level, I love marketing, social media, music etc., but they don’t feel like my true calling, even after doing music for so long!  I’ve tried to walk away from this path so many times I’ve lost count!! But I ALWAYS get hauled back into it. Despite my protestations!

Does it mean I don’t love it? Of course not, I truly do! But it can also be, mentally, very draining; and as an empath, energetically it can be extraordinarily challenging to sift through all those feelings (especially if someone is going through a particularly tumultuous time).

I also feel I’m less of a coach (though I can do the mentality shift stuff, truth be told, that’s pretty basic in terms of a fuller human experience), and more of a “guide”. I take you to levels that are deeper within yourself, releasing and realizing the true nature outside of your conditioning – IF (and it’s a HUUUUUUUGE IF) you are ready to shed the garments of false reality you’ve clothed yourself in – often to protect yourself, from fully expressing your potential.

8. From our sessions (find one of my next morning impressions here), I know I’m not the easiest to handle, as I have tons of uncertainties and even many more questions to address. How do you manage to keep your composure in times when your clients (I’d rather call them change seekers) involuntarily push some buttons?

Ooooh that’s a great question! It can be a challenge sometimes, because people’s patterns have a life and energy of their own; and those patterns often don’t like the idea of being challenged or, worse, annihilated! I had a client tell me the other day, when I first challenged them on a particular point, they thought “PRICK”. Which we had a good laugh about afterwards, because they realized this was a reaction from an internal pattern structure!  It comes with the territory! Usually, once it’s resolved, there’s a lot of laughing about it.

I am however, human, and so it can, at times, be difficult to maintain composure and know when to be strong, and when to be gentle. None of us is perfect! And, at times, it can give rise to my own patterns/habits, perhaps an old link to some anxiety, so of course one has to always be aware and mindful of that during sessions!

Oh, and for reference, you’re not really that hard to handle lol! The most important thing, is a deep desire to move forward, and you have that; with that, most anything else can be worked through.

9. Thank you! I am grateful for your feedback! As a change seeker myself, I was lucky to get your support, in times of storm. Let’s disclose the most powerful reason why people should reach out to you (besides my presentation above). From your perspective, what makes you more valuable than other coaches?

You certainly know how to pose a question, Andrada! Firstly, my ego, with all it’s marketing knowledge (*wink*)  says “because I have had so much experience, I live & breathe it everyday for good and bad, and I get phenomenal results with people who are READY for it”.

However, consciously speaking, I believe it entirely depends on where you are in your journey; and what feels right to you.  Does working with me feel right to you? Are you getting that nagging sensation that I have the key to help you unlock your very deepest sense of self? If not, and you feel drawn elsewhere, then don’t approach me. Respect your time. And mine. I am not an endless supply of that resource. I will expect you to work, to respect yourself and respect my time.

You see, we are all at differing stages of our journey and those different stages require the appropriate teacher.

I couldn’t do this, as I do now, when I was seeing a counselor, then a psychologist. They helped me understand some things I needed to know. NEITHER gave me strong results, but both were invaluable and critical steps in my own journey to understanding more about what was going on; and I appreciate deeply their contribution to my well-being.

So if you’re ready, I will bring your soul out into the world, you will live and breathe from that place and your life will become more lucid, vivid and you will connect better with those around you. Your deeper empathy (not just psychological practice) will come out and that, in itself, will pose challenges to how you live and how you judge others. It’s a drastic and dramatic change of the way you live, of the very nature of the perception you experience life from.

If you want to tickle the surface, make excuses to keep patterns, to work only at a surface level – to solve a few problems, whilst that’s valuable work – it’s not what we would do together.

It’s intensive. I spend a lot of time outside of our direct work, meditating and contemplating, “tuning in” and reflecting, which is also why I cannot take on many clients at a time!

With all that being said, it’s easy to make excuses to NOT do something.

Now is a good time to ask yourself: how much time are you willing to waste sleepwalking unconsciously through life, and as a slave to thoughts and emotions? Rather than embracing their rich tapestry they can weave into a full sensorial and conscious experience of life…

Fully present, fully aware.

And where are you going to be in another year’s time, if you don’t take that step forward into self realization?

10. That’s some interesting view… Nevertheless, if people want to reach out to you after such answers and the warning of “not being the easiest to work with”, where can they find you to sign up for the course? And what would be the one heartfelt advice you can give someone who faces some kind of lack in their lives?

LinkedIn is a great place to reach me, or you can email me on GoMindFi(AT)gmail(DOT)com – we can discuss what works best for you, I try to accommodate as I can but obviously I have bills to pay as well!! (Unfortunately, consciousness doesn’t stop that happening!).

And my heartfelt advice? Lack is a perspective – you can switch and change and begin to find joy in the moment, to experience what is around you, look for the abundance that already surrounds you – even just up at the sky, to the majesty and abundance of energy in the Universe, contemplate the Sun, and how it supports our life, and how nature is broadly very COLLABORATIVE in terms of supporting a broad ecosystem.  Whilst these will not solve all your problems, they do expand your awareness, and may give you some space to see your problem from a different angle – and encourage the mind to conjure solutions!

REMEMBER: Even a tiny little conscious move forward, is still progress.

Also, don’t give up!! Meditate, take solace in the company of people around you who can lift your spirits, don’t get sucked into “misery ponds”, find little things to be grateful for, try and find lessons you can learn in your challenges… there’s all kinds. But most importantly of all remember this one thing…

YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST YOUR THOUGHTS! You are CONSCIOUSNESS itself!

Meditate upon that idea, and your potential connection to everything around!

***

I hope that, somehow, someday I’ll be able to give back at least 1/4 of what you’ve provided me, doc. This interview will definitely be one of the most valuable treasures I’ve discovered. Keep on inspiring and being there for people exactly when they need it the most.

To my amazing readers: have a word with Richard once and you’ll see how “addictive” his attitude is. Reach out to him by using the below channels:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yourchiefhappinessofficer/

Website: GoMindFi.com (in development)

E-mail: GoMindFi (AT) gmail (DOT) com

And remember: think outside of the box and seek for the beauty #ValuableDiversity holds!

Love,A.

*The photo used in this article was provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using it without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Richard C. Pryor*

#ValuableDiversity (Interview Series) -Ep. 3 – Wordsmith


Introducing you to interesting people around the world


 

Meet Chinedu Junior Ihekwoaba

– Wordsmith, Poetpreneur, Creative Content Writer (Nigeria) –

If writing never existed, my last breath would have been lost long ago. I started writing for self-relief and, as I go, I understand better each day the power of pen. It’s a medicine to the brain, as well as to the soul. This is how I see it. But I know, for sure, that there are other people around the globe that think alike.

One of the most talented poets I’ve got the honor to come across the work of is my guest for today, Chinedu Junior Ihekwoaba, who uses his talent to send powerful messages, with inspirational tone behind each of them. He could easily become a trend setter, if he wanted, due to his strength and knowledge. Though his gift shines bright, he’s friendly and approachable, even a funny guy.

Keep on reading the below lines to get to know him better and I’m sure you will find value in the words of a young, yet wise, man.

  1. Hi Chinedu, it’s an honor to have you as interviewee. Please, let us know a bit about yourself. How was Chinedu the kid?

Chinedu Junior Ihekwoaba is an introvert. Quite stubborn. I am also playful. Rhymes and storytelling is my hobby. I won the Master of Riddles in my Nursery School days. I am a fan of HBK Shawn Michaels and John Cena. Wrestling and video games were my childhood story.

  1. You’re a very talented writer, who can easily instruct words how to dance. How did you get here?

I listen to rap music a lot. Growing up as a child, artists like Jayz, Eminem, DMX, Mystikal, Dr.Dre, Shyne, Tupac Shakur, Xzibit, Snoop Dogg and many more are my favorites. So I fell in love with creativity and wordsmith. I guess that was just it.

“I believe everyone is special. That keeps me going any time.”

  1. All your writings hide powerful messages between the lines. Were the struggles of your life to “blame”?

Struggles of life in general. What I see and perceive in things around me. I discovered so many people are soaking a lot in life and couldn’t speak. Communication is broken and a major reason I am working with Nonye on the#healtheworld campaign. She wrote a book sharing different communication tips. 

  1. Nigeria is your home. With no innuendo intended, how did you break through the boundaries of prejudgment? Were you (even a tiny bit) afraid when you published your first piece of writing?

One thing I didn’t tell you in your first question, I am fearless. I believe everyone is special. That keeps me going any time. You can’t stop people from judging you, so I always show up irrespective of judgment. It is your view.

 

 “My book #chinspires365days is coming soon and I will also be starting a video series in April.”

  1. Referring to the previous question, was the feedback you received constructive? Or did it put you down for a while? (Definitely not for good, since you’re one of the most influential writers on LinkedIn!)

Influential writer? Ahahaha! That’s a big compliment. Any way, I have my ups and downs. I am human. I almost quit when a troll told me this is not Facebook or twitter. Your writing is crab. I almost deleted my account. Then, Michael Chapman, Marchem Pfeiffer, Susan Case, Brett Brody, Uzoma Agorua, Roland Gilbertson all helped me built my confidence and I kept going. Now I have an emotional coach, Omozua Ameze, that helps me. So, I am as bold as a lion. Back then, I contemplated continuity but not anymore.

  1. What gave you strength in times of struggle? What’s your air?

God, my Mom and The boyhood dream gave me strength. I have one dream, to be a motivational speaker and a writer. To travel around the world and thank God, my writing is doing that now. Those three kept me going.

 

“Back then, I contemplated continuity – but not anymore.”

  1. If people were to ask you for 1 advice that saved your life and turned the tables to your favor, what would that be?

Speak out to be heard, speak out to be understood. Speak out to show the real you. That makes it easier to help you.

  1. It’s obvious that communication is an important aspect of your life. Therefore, in a plastic and individualistic society, how would you guide people towards lifting their heads off their phones and make acquaintance with the world around them?

I will do that with my writing. I have always done that. To guide people in different areas of life. I leverage LinkedIn and channel my energy to reach everybody. My book #chinspires365days is coming soon and I will also be starting a video series in April. I will use some of my connections in different fields. Stay tuned. Lol

  1. I’ve noticed that you are a continuous supporter of personal development and a change advocate. How did all this help you?

It has helped me to become a better version of myself. To have a better world, we need better people and that can only come through personal development.

 

  1. Is there any practice you have as a daily routine? And what would be your message to the world in 1 word?  

I read the Bible as early as 5 am and say my prayers till 6am. I write what comes into my head as a content writer and freelancer. Then I cook and go about my daily activities. One word for the people in the world: believe.

***

Thank you for the time and patience you’ve allotted to answering the questions above. You won’t believe the deja-vu feeling I got while proofing this particular interview! May God bless you always and may your message spread like rainbow colors!

(Chinedu’s e-mail ended like this: “Thanks Andrada for sharing your time with me. I appreciate.” – Isn’t he just a beautiful soul?)

Below you can find an impressive piece of writing, provided with the courtesy of the author, as an introduction to his brilliant mind:


“A dream

Comes real

If only

We believe

 

Keep trying

No relenting

Keep moving

Stop looking

 

Make mistakes

We fail

To prevail

By delay

 

Just learn

Get experience

Be persistent

And consistent

Then content

 

Be relevant

It’s important

 

Find it

Try it

 

Be grateful

And faithful

 

Your labor

Has honor

 

Walk right

All time

 

Don’t lie

To fly

 

Have zeal

Be real

 

Try forgive

It heals

You’re free

That’s it

 

Make peace

Embrace it

 

The unknown

Let go

 

It’s nonsense

No essence

 

Being afraid

It enslaves

Break away

Just sail

Have faith

 

While wait

It wastes

 While haste

You faint

 

Just moderation

With determination

 

You’re god

Sounds odd?

Of course

Get up

March on”

Chinedu Ihekwoaba ©2018


You can follow Chinedu through the below channels:

Amazon:    https://www.amazon.com/Chinedu-Ihekwoaba/e/B073PCRTLF

Blog:           http://www.24hrstrending.co.uk/

LinkedIn:    https://www.linkedin.com/in/chinedujuniorihekwoaba/

Medium:     https://medium.com/@Chinexolorgy

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/Chinexolorgy

* All photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to ©Chinedu Ihekwoaba*

#VulneRevolution (Interview Series) – ep. 03 – Aaina Chopra, Content Writer


Understanding Vulnerability

Be welcome, dear readers, to the 3rd episode of the #VulneRevolution Interview Series. Today we present to you the first lady who accepted the challenge of exposing her thoughts on the vulnerability topic. As she is a skilled content writer, make sure you reach out to her posts and get ready to receive a dose of inspiration with each piece of writing.

***

Thank you very much for being part of our #VulneRevolution series!

We want to explore the topic of vulnerability openly and honestly. No judgement or innuendo should follow your feedback, therefore please do your best to answer the questions below honestly, as your help may mean the world to someone else.

If, at any given time, you may consider that you would like to withdraw yourself from this activity, please send us an email (anitei.andrada@gmail.com orlmccauley254@aol.com) within 2 days from the moment you provided the initial information.

As we would like to make sure the information reaches its purpose, you may consider the option of having images added to our story, as “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. However, if you would like to preserve your privacy and, upon your consent to do so, we can always make use of royalty free images on the internet.

Short Bio: Before answering the questions below, please take a moment to reflect upon the visibility you will have on the platform and if you would like us to use your true identity (preferably) or replace your name with initials or even a name at your convenience.

***

1. What is your interpretation of vulnerability?

Being vulnerable for me is to be courageous enough to reveal all of myself, not just “the perfect me” but “me with all the flaws”. It means you are a soul who is ready to pour out emotions that have been flooding your heart and mind.

When people see you being so candid about yourself and accepting yourself as you are, they lean towards you.

Keeping feelings bottled up is a “no go” for me. If I don’t express myself, it gets a little edgy and uneasy for me to handle (In fact quite uneasy 😊). I also believe that it is important that the person who is your confidant to be supportive enough and he/she understands you. You just can’t take out everything about yourself to a stranger.

2. Can you tell us about a time when you were vulnerable in the workplace? What happened?

Few years earlier, I guess it was my first job. The profile I was in, I faced some real problems related to understanding of the details of the project but, as critical selves that we are, my fear of getting embarrassed didn’t let me gain clarity for the issues I was facing.

3. What happened?

The phobia that I may look stupid and silly to be asking “dumb questions” held me back. Will not deny, I went through that phase for quite a time. Until one day, when I realized that there is no going further without the taking this (pretty tough) vulnerability dive.

I decided to ask all what was incomprehensible and unclear to me. After all, what’s the worst-case scenario in putting yourself out? People may silently laugh or roll their eyes. But who cares? It’s all worth it! Just to maintain a fake image of a well-informed one… No, I could no longer ignore the disinterest and monotony it was bringing to my work!

And that is what happened.

I gained a profound and extensive understanding of the subject which motivated me to work towards my goal. Before that, I just didn’t like what I was doing, due to lack of complete clarity.

Moreover, my engagement with my colleagues and bosses strengthened – which proved very conductive to my growth and even the company’s growth) because getting emotionally invested in your workplace does work wonders for both.

My fear of getting embarrassed didn’t let me gain clarity for the issues I was facing”

4. Do you regret it?

I sure don’t regret it!

It added a new dimension to my personality. That day, I discovered that ”The moment you open up with all your perfect and flawed facets with your colleagues and bosses (keeping fear on the back seat), relationship with them improves, at a totally different level. It shows your willingness to be honest about your authentic self and opens door to a world of bright possibilities.”

Two great lessons that it taught me, which I would encourage everyone to hold on to:

  • Break free from anything that holds you back;
  • Embrace the risk to widen the horizon. It’s worth it!

I would call it the miraculous effect of not letting yourself in the grip of fear and self-consciousness and coming forward with your personality. My fear of getting embarrassed didn’t let me gain clarity for the issues I was facing.

5. Nowadays, do you consider that being true to yourself and others is a sign of weakness/ vulnerability or strength? And why?

There may be many faces who mistake you as being naïve and innocent enough for putting yourself all out there. But does that really matter?

I very well know that putting words to my emotions eases me out and takes a load off my heart and mind. It’s a breather for me and that’s what truly matters.

So, for me, it’s a strength. An indication that you love all of yourself and have confidence and respect for yourself, it’s an ability to take other people’s judgements and criticism in stride. Hug it!

6. How did your experience with vulnerability influence your current state of mind? Would you recommend others to talk about it?

It’s a contagious thing. When people see you being so candid about yourself and accepting yourself as you are, they lean towards you as they wish they too had the same courage that you have and lets you wear your heart on sleeve.

I would surely recommend others to voice about it. Open minded conversations foster and enriches the existing relationships and adds to building of more connections. The world begins to seem so enlarged and opportunities multiply.

7. If you can sum up in 1 word how you feel about your experience with vulnerability what would it be?

I couldn’t sum it up in only one word. For me being vulnerable is “Being the beautiful and genuine you that you are”.

***

Aaina Chopra can be reached via her LinkedIn profile.

You can contact/ follow Louise Mccauley and Andrada Anitei at any given moment, by following the links below:

Louise:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisecc/

Andradahttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei/

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to Aaina Chopra*

 

Follow #VulneRevolution hashtag for weekly #PowerUp.

#ValuableDiversity (Interview series) – Ep. 02 – Photography


Introducing you to interesting people around the world


 

Meet Edin Chavez

– Photographer & Founder at Edin Chavez Studios, Miami, Florida, USA –

Arts are part of my life, no doubt about it. Whatever involves creativity, there’s where I’m heading. And there are tons of talented people out there, but they’re – somehow – hard to reach and communicate with. This, however, is NOT the case for my guest for today. What I mean by that is that Edin is an exquisite artist, playing on the fields of photography, yet amazingly easy to approach and very friendly. We’ve been in touch during a harsh event Miami went through last year (Hurricane Irma, September 2017) and he would make sure to answer my messages, though we were miles away and he had no obligation to answer me.

If you take a look (which I warmly recommend, as you have so much to gain) at his work (photos and videos) you will clearly understand the amount of passion this artist puts in there. He describes himself as being “insane”, as he can’t keep himself away, even if he might be put in danger. In front of the camera, Edin is that “what you see, is what you get” kind of guy. He keeps it real and transparent, without being afraid of displaying his humane side (as he did when he lost his home, during the previously mentioned expression of nature’s “wrath” – see the video here).

Enjoy the below interview and I hope you’ll give him your thumbs up and a well-deserved follow 😉

1. Hi Edin, please tell us a bit about your background. Have you always wanted to become a professional photographer? Or did Edin the kid want something else?

I never thought of photography as a career, in fact far from it. As a child I always wanted to be an actor and when I grew up I became a contractor. I had a large painting business with 50 employees and a full office staff. It was not until I was around 28-29 that I really took an interest in photography. I had taken a college class in photography but I hated it as it was all theory and not really hands on. One day I went to best buy and purchased my first DSLR. After that everything changed.

2. If, for some random reason, you were not able to follow your passion, what would have been your alternative?

I have always wanted to be involved in TV. Not necessarily acting but television production or something behind the scenes. I think to this day I still do. Perhaps have my own talk show some day or even host some fun game show.

3. Your talent cannot be argued or counterfeit, yet most people believe that skills get polished in time. Is this your view as well?

I believe with enough passion, practice and perseverance you can accomplish anything. I do not believe people are born gifted but I believe people are born passionate it is in that passion where the magic happens.

4. If yes, would you share with us 1 important tip you used to get where you are today?

Don’t quit, do not follow the rules and keep dreaming. That is the only way to get anything done that fills your soul.

>5. I am sure that your “insanity” is deeply driven by this amazing passion you put into everything you do. However, is passion the only key factor keeping you going through cloudy times?

Passion is the key factor, but passion without hard work is nothing. We need to work hard and do crazy things – at times – that get us out of our comfort zones to get to the top of our game.

6. You are such a good friend of the camera! Be it that you are in front of it or using it to build magic for our eyes. What’s your secret? Were you ever “camera shy”?

I have always been comfortable with my skin no matter where I go, to me that camera is just another set of eyes. I really do not pay attention to it.

7. Did your transparency ever get you in trouble? I mean, you know how people are so quick to judge…

Yes, all the time. I’m the kind of person that has no filter and never think about what I say before I say it. Sometimes it can come off as harsh but deep inside I always mean well. People miss read that sometimes and it gets me in trouble from time to time.

8. I believe that each artist is attracted to a certain aspect of his activity. What’s your “guilty pleasure” when it comes to your job?

I just love being outside and living life on my terms. I love being with nature and when I’m out there I feel I am part of it. I would hate to be stuck inside somewhere. Being free in the outdoors for sure.

9. In your work, nature has a special place (few of my favorites herehere and here). Why is this? Is it the taste of freedom you get when you wander under the sky? This one gives me such a feeling of calm and courage to overcome any obstacles…

I think I answered this one on #8…

10. I know you lost your home last September and the video you talked about this in is really touching. What was your silver line through this storm? What are the struggles of human Edin?

 I am a very balanced person and everything is always in order. I always have a plan b, c, and d. This time I was totally taken off my feet, however I believe sometimes we need that to shake us up and remind us of what is important. What happened just made me want to work harder to get to where I eventually want be financially and emotionally. That has been really hard for me but nothing I can’t handle. As my best friends often tell me: “if there is a person in the world that can handle anything, it’s you”.

***

Thank you so much for the time you took for answering my questions and I hope your future will be as bright as the sun you like so much to capture! ☺

You can follow Edin Chavez through the below channels:

Website:    https://edinchavez.com/

Blog:        http://blog.edinchavez.com/

YouTube:    https://www.youtube.com/user/edinchavez1

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/edinchavezrocks

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/edinchavez/

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/edinchavez

*The photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to ©EdinChavez. *

*This week I was a bit behind schedule, but remember to follow #ValuableDiversity each Thursday, for a new interesting story*

Next week (12.04.2018)Chinedu Junior Ihekwoaba

#ValuableDiversity (Interview series) – Ep. 2 – Photography


Introducing you to interesting people around the world


Meet Edin Chavez

– Photographer & Founder at Edin Chavez Studios, Miami, Florida, USA –

 

Arts are part of my life, no doubt about it. Whatever involves creativity, there’s where I’m heading. And there are tons of talented people out there, but they’re – somehow – hard to reach and communicate with. This, however, is NOT the case for my guest for today. What I mean by that is that Edin is an exquisite artist, playing on the fields of photography, yet amazingly easy to approach and very friendly. We’ve been in touch during a harsh event Miami went through last year (Hurricane Irma, September 2017) and he would make sure to answer my messages, though we were miles away and he had no obligation to answer me.

If you take a look (which I warmly recommend, as you have so much to gain) at his work (photos and videos) you will clearly understand the amount of passion this artist puts in there. He describes himself as being “insane”, as he can’t keep himself away, even if he might be put in danger. In front of the camera, Edin is that “what you see, is what you get” kind of guy. He keeps it real and transparent, without being afraid of displaying his humane side (as he did when he lost his home, during the previously mentioned expression of nature’s “wrath” – see the video here).

Enjoy the below interview and I hope you’ll give him your thumbs up and a well-deserved follow 😉

  1. Hi Edin, please tell us a bit about your background. Have you always wanted to become a professional photographer? Or did Edin the kid want something else?

I never thought of photography as a career, in fact far from it. As a child I always wanted to be an actor and when I grew up I became a contractor. I had a large painting business with 50 employees and a full office staff. It was not until I was around 28-29 that I really took an interest in photography.  I had taken a college class in photography but I hated it as it was all theory and not really hands on. One day I went to best buy and purchased my first DSLR. After that everything changed.

Sunrise (123 of 204)

  1. If, for some random reason, you were not able to follow your passion, what would have been your alternative?

I have always wanted to be involved in TV. Not necessarily acting but television production or something behind the scenes. I think to this day I still do. Perhaps have my own talk show some day or even host some fun game show.

  1. Your talent cannot be argued or counterfeit, yet most people believe that skills get polished in time. Is this your view as well?

I believe with enough passion, practice and perseverance you can accomplish anything. I do not believe people are born gifted but I believe people are born passionate it is in that passion where the magic happens.

Sunset (86 of 161)

  1. If yes, would you share with us 1 important tip you used to get where you are today?

Don’t quit, do not follow the rules and keep dreaming. That is the only way to get anything done that fills your soul.

Everglades (542 of 578)

  1. I am sure that your “insanity” is deeply driven by this amazing passion you put into everything you do. However, is passion the only key factor keeping you going through cloudy times?

Passion is the key factor, but passion without hard work is nothing. We need to work hard and do crazy things – at times – that get us out of our comfort zones to get to the top of our game.

edinchavez

  1. You are such a good friend of the camera! Be it that you are in front of it or using it to build magic for our eyes. What’s your secret? Were you ever “camera shy”?

 I have always been comfortable with my skin no matter where I go, to me that camera is just another set of eyes. I really do not pay attention to it.

  1. Did your transparency ever get you in trouble? I mean, you know how people are so quick to judge…

Yes all the time. I’m the kind of person that has no filter and never think about what I say before I say it. Sometimes it can come off as harsh but deep inside I always mean well. People miss read that sometimes and it gets me in trouble from time to time.

Edin

  1. I believe that each artist is attracted to a certain aspect of his activity. What’s your “guilty pleasure” when it comes to your job?

I just love being outside and living life on my terms. I love being with nature and when I’m out there I feel I am part of it. I would hate to be stuck inside somewhere. Being free in the outdoors for sure.

  1. In your work, nature has a special place (few of my favorites here, here and here). Why is this? Is it the taste of freedom you get when you wander under the sky? This one gives me such a feeling of calm and courage to overcome any obstacles…

I think I answered this one on #9…

Sunrise (44 of 82)

  1. I know you lost your home last September and the video you talked about this in is really touching. What was your silver line through this storm? What are the struggles of human Edin?

 I am a very balanced person and everything is always in order. I always have a plan b, c, and d. This time I was totally taken off my feet, however I believe sometimes we need that to shake us up and remind us of what is important. What happened just made me want to work harder to get to where I eventually want be financially and emotionally. That has been really hard for me but nothing I can’t handle.  As my best friends often tells me: “if there is a person in the world that can handle anything it’s you”.

Sunset (139 of 161)

Thank you so much for the time you took for answering my questions and I hope your future will be as bright as the sun you like so much to capture! ☺

#ValuableDiversity

You can follow Edin Chavez through the below channels:

Website:     https://edinchavez.com/
Blog:            http://blog.edinchavez.com/
YouTube:    https://www.youtube.com/user/edinchavez1
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/edinchavezrocks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edinchavez/
Twitter:       https://twitter.com/edinchavez

* All photos used in this article were provided by the rightful owner, with clear consent. Using them without prior agreement may be object of the copyright law. All rights reserved to ©EdinChavez. *

 

Love,
A.