9 mei 2018: Diversity Dinner in De Kuip Rotterdam
My big bro Andrew Muhammed challenged my to post three positive things every day, I accepted the challenge but did not keep my promise. In addition, George Arakel challenged me to post video-selfies with the same thing for a whole week. Instead I took a week off from social media as I was overwhelmed by the beauty of my newborn princess which brought me back to the reality and put things in perspective. Ambition and “success” are important but happiness, health and family come first. Besides that I was just too busy working on positive projects. Positivity is a way of my life for me, so instead of posting a list every day I will share 7 tips for a positive way of life based on last week.
My very first tip is to Think big and dream big. The past week I’ve been busy with a few projects especially Ongekende Talenten. For the project I had a few lunch meetings with a few inspiring people such as Sentini Grunberg who will host the event this year and a dinner with Kirsten van den Hul. Both of them can be considered successful women with a positive impact on their environment. Kirsten was the Representative of the UN and wrote the book (s)evolution, Sentini is a young entrepreneur with the ability to energize people. I asked both of them what their secrets and tips where for young talent and both of them said that their number one tip is to Dare to Dream big. Often we learn to play small, In Dutch we say: “doe maar normaal, dan doe je al gek genoeg” but I think this keeps us trapped in the confines and limitations that society has created. Mandela once said: 'There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.' Instead of playing small, indeed we should follow our passions, dream big and do the things we love to do. Last week Pharell Williams was on TV at Humberto Tan the artist and producer spreading happiness and positive vibes through his music. He said his success was not based on rational calculations and his ego but on following his instinct and finding his purpose, that is what makes him happy.
Overcome your fear of failure: The first tip brings me to my second tip which is to overcome fear, especially the fear of failure. When you start to dream big the voice of self-doubt, insecurity and self-criticism will become bigger as well. Am I able to do this? Is this meant for me? Who am I to dream this big? Kirsten van den Hul called this little voice of self-doubt and fear “little Kirsten”. One of the chapters of one of my favorite books, Do You! By Russell Simmons is called “There are no failures, only quitters”, he writes: “The reason why most people fail to reach the finish line is because they confuse a setback with failure. Setback isn’t a dead end; a setback is just a learning curve on your journey to success.” The bigger your goals and ambitions the bigger the obstacles and setbacks you may face. If you look at problems and setbacks as a test of your resilience and failure as a source of learning and developing yourself you can overcome that fear. Russell Simmons further wrote: “The more you detach yourself from fear of failure the more freedom you'll have to realize your dreams, you’ll see that you do have the stamina to overcome whatever is on your path.”
Tip three is also the slogan of the New Urban Collective: “Improve every day”. There is a saying that goes "a dream without a plan is just a wish”. If you don’t translate your dreams in to concrete goals and action it will stay “just a dream”. During the NUC Unchained London exchange I learned about the importance of translating your dreams and ambitions into 5-year plans and one year plans with concrete goals because they will guide you and keep you focused in the midst of the society full of temptation and distractions. Both Sentini and Kirsten shared a few wise words advising young talents to write down their dreams into concrete goals with a timeline and deadline attached to them. They also said to action everyday towards your goal. Why? Because every step, even if it is a small step, will move you forward towards your ambition generating positive energy to keep you moving and fueling your ambition for the rest of the steps. They say success is a journey not a destination, and a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. If you dream big it will mean you will need to take a lot of steps, it may even mean you will have to take a few steps back in the face of setbacks and obstacles. But with a strictly positivity mindset you will realize that you can learn something new every day, you can improve yourself every day and you can put one step towards your goals and dreams every day while enjoying the journey. Les Brown once said:
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.”
Tip four is to use your creativity to turn negativity into positivity. Thinking positive doesn’t mean that you ignore painful situations, suffering and negativity. Instead, it means you acknowledge, feel and deal with issues without getting caught in them. I believe pain can be turned into power and suffering can be overcome and transformed into something constructive. In every negative there is a positive. One of the problems we face is institutional racism and structural inequality. Many youth get unequal access the resources to resources such as education, networks and capital either because of their cultural background or their socioeconomic status. The unemployment rate amongst migrant youth is almost three times as a high as amongst youth with a native Dutch background. One of the causes is discrimination and the labor market and I was touched by the show of RTL Late Night where Humberto Tan interview Jeffrey Koorndijk who said that he was depressed, disappointed and demotivated because he was excluded from an internship because of the color of his skin. Whilst I acknowledge and understand his pain it is a waste of his precious time and energy to get caught up in it and let ignorant people break you down. Instead use their negativity as fuel to work even harder to realize your goals and ambitions. Develop the resilience to rise up every time you fall or face negative situations like these. Let obstacles and negativity make you stronger. Enko Dijkstra is another inspiring person I had dinner with last week, he was (VONDELING) and was adopted by Dutch people. His teachers basically told him he wouldn’t amount to nothing much and sent him to the lowest level of school but he persevered and was determined to work hard to show them his quality and he ended up at the University of Applied science, won an ECHO Award and studied at the prestigious University of Los Angeles this summer. Martin Luther King said: “growth comes through struggle”. Mandela came out wiser and stronger even after banning him for years from practicing his work during Apartheid, separating him from his family and friends and keeping him locked up in prison for 27 years. He said: “a winner is a dreamer who never gives up”, choose to be a winner. Never give up. The three last tips will follow soon!!!