“I want it, and I want it now,” sounds familiar? Needless to say that it is tough to resist the badly behaving inner voice, which demands an instant reward. Like that piece of magnetic chocolate in the cupboard that somehow telepathically stimulates your tastes buds or browsing aimlessly the social media to get an update on your imaginary friends. Of course, not being able to resist comes with a bold headline, featured as “the lack of purpose and meaning.”
While the previous statement is a significant blockage, brain chemistry is enormously responsible for reinforcing the unproductive feeling, such as instant gratification. Once you experience joy, your brain is exposed to dopamine, and deliberately the brain encourages you to continue doing what made you feel good. This is called the dopamine reward circuit, which involves several parts of the brain and fortifies good feelings. Hence, unaware of the joy’s source, anything that triggers the gratification releases the chemicals, and the brain perceives it as a pleasure source.
Now that you know the brain’s basic physiology’s reward system, the next step is to consciously bridge the way for your present self to reach your future self by taking advantage of the feel-good chemicals ferrying in your neural pathways. Having said that, your goals and your future self need not only a vision board but, most notably, a philosophical vision to overcome procrastination or curb instant gratification. That vision, or you may call it inspiration, must be ingrained deep into your values and aligned with your temperament.
Make a list of your goals, your resources, your talents, your shortcomings, and your inadequacies. Don’t be shy jot down all the self-descriptive adjectives to see what you need to improve on and what you could solidly leverage to reach your aspirations.
Once you have the list in front of you, start an inner-dialogue and try to convince your present self why your goals are important.
Attach meaning to your goals by re-examining your intentions. At this stage, the philosophical vision becomes crystal clear.
Choose the most challenging goal. Why? Since you have to work super hard to reach it. As Pluto said: “Do one thing and do it well.”
In full awareness, accept that life is full of agony, traumas, sufferings, and delays.
Tap into your higher intelligence to embrace the benefits of delayed gratification. As humans, we can exert self-control. Make use of it, consider your promise to your future self, know your “why,” and avoid temptations.
Every day remind yourself of your intended goal so that you stay on course.
Be consistent, even if you feel miserable, put as much effort as possible since a fraction of the required work is better than none.
Staying motivated is not an easy task, so don’t wallow on it if you slip up. It happens, we all struggle, rather than giving in to your impulses again and falling into a vicious cycle, the best way out is to know that new habits take time. With patience, you can put your abilities to work to reach your goals.
From the humble beginnings of our ancestors writing symbols with a stylus, the flight feathers of geese to fountain pens, and nowadays, digital pen, this instrument “has been mightier than the sword.”An understated elegance that has been used by royalties to change the course of history. By enlightenment figures who shed light on reason and science, by freedom fighters shaping ideas, scientists that changed everything through their theories, by musicians that touch the soul the deepest, or by a hero soldier that seeks hope and solace by penning “remember that I love you.” A symbol of education, dreams, status, power, hope, affinity, unity, consolation, and purpose, a pen channels ideas and feelings to make a difference. Knowing that your words have an impact, protecting and managing your thoughts should not be taken lightly. As it happens to the best of us, our emotional wellbeing can provocatively be ruffled, and we lose perspective. To shield our reactions, we need a reminder, a protective gear that makes us examine the voice and the thoughts in our head before taking any action. For some can be a mantra or taking a walk, but how about a pen holder. Every time you are about to sign an agreement, write a letter of request, a to-do list, or create a vision, a pen holder serving as an amulet will remind your intentions, purpose, and how it all fits in with the common good.
I had the opportunity to interview Carla Martin, to learn about her creations and how she handles challenges. I invite you to read and explore her leather accessories.
Jupilings: Please tell us your story a.k.a. JEANNE.CHAVANY –
Carla MARTIN: I’ve built my background in the fashion industry working as a purchasing manager for several famous houses. My entire journey has started out of necessity. A few years ago, I needed a new handbag. I was looking for something distinctive, something that would make me stand out, and fit my personality. My husband suggested, as a joke, that if I couldn’t find the right handbag, I should create one. I was hooked on this idea, as I have always been in love with leather. From that moment, I got more interested in leather and started to visit tanneries to learn and understand this noble material while surrounding myself with amazingly skilled artisans to make my ideas and designs come true. Thus Jeanne Chavany was born.
Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-
Carla MARTIN: Drawing a self-portrait description might sound “pretentious”, therefore it would be preferable to mention that I have earned a reputation of being ambitious, passionate, generous, and competitive.
Jupilings: How do you describe your brand-
Carla MARTIN: JEANNE.CHAVANY is a cocktail of passion, integrity, boldness, ethics, innovation, and sustainability. A family-owned business, all products are handmade in our workshop in France. Each piece is made to order, unique in its own way. Customers need to pre-order and join the waiting list, it takes time to create the magic with a wait of 10, up to 18, weeks for a handbag to be made. This is one of our answers to reducing waste, whilst having transparency during production by sharing with customers the steps in the handcrafting process. Mass production does not fit our philosophy.
Here at JEANNE.CHAVANY we believe that creating by hand is more meaningful.
If something is beautiful and fair and made without harming people, that object has a spiritual dimension of dignity and appreciation of the work.
We are a Human Brand built on respect for each other. Our customers, partners, and artisans are our biggest assets.
Jupilings: Please tell us about the philanthropic aspect of JEANNE.CHAVANY –
Carla MARTIN: We all have a sense of social concern to support charities. It is the ethical importance of our social responsibility.
Philanthropy is not only the ‘right thing to do’ but also strengthens company culture. Helping others and giving back to communities is hugely empowering and rewarding.
From the creation of the brand, I injected all my personal values, principals and ethics. As JEANNE CHAVANY caters to contemporary businesswomen, it was obvious for us to support education. Education is the key to becoming an entrepreneur.
And so it made complete sense to team up with NGO Professors Without Borders, which relates directly to the brand’s values, to support education and empowerment in schools.
Professors Without Borders NGO was founded by HRH Princess Tessy de Luxembourg, whose mission is to provide free and equal access to quality education to all students, especially women.
Their vision is to create a global community of academics and professionals who want to share their passion for knowledge with students around the world.
Professors Without Borders aims to bridge the educational divide between countries, as well as between students and their teachers. They aspire to halt the brain drain by bringing teachers in rather than taking students out.
In support of this venture, JEANNE.CHAVANY has designed a pen holder aptly named “New Beginnings”. 10% of each purchase will be donated to support empowerment in schools.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. – Nelson Mandela.
Jupilings: Do you have a daily ritual to help you de-stress-
Carla MARTIN: What creates stress during the day, is that we try hard to find a balance between work, life, and family and this requires discipline and organization.
My daily ritual: I look after my mind through study, after my soul through meditation and prayer, then I focus all my attention on work.
Jupilings: The best piece of advice you have been given-
Carla MARTIN: Time flies by so fast, use it wisely as we do not have a second chance/life.
Jupilings: What challenges did you face when you were starting your business? 3 tips on how to avoid or overcome them-
Carla MARTIN: Starting and creating a business from scratch is an “up and down” journey. I call it a roller-coaster. Beware to those who are afraid of high adrenaline. The challenges are multiple: from finding skilled artisans to the supply chain, sales and production, from marketing to communication … we face challenges every single day. Some are easier to deal with, some are more complicated. And the more difficult it gets, the more I enjoy it as this requires mind-stretching, looking at situations from different perspectives and trying new things. I am a “scientist” who changes the “formula” again and again and again until it works. If it would be easy, it would be too easy.
Jupilings: 3 tips on how to avoid or overcome challenges-
Carla MARTIN: This is a tough question as it depends on so many criteria. Entrepreneurship is not a destination, it’s a long journey and its secret lies in the mindset. It is crucial to continuously push yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and grow from both personal and professional perspectives.
I would say:
Patience: overnight success does not exist.
Become the best version of yourself
Believe in yourself as the way up to the top is a lonely and often painful journey.
Jupilings: How do you motivate yourself-
Carla MARTIN:“Be miserable or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice” Wayne Dyer.
On any journey, there are times of joy that make me feel like I can accomplish anything, which gives me strength and motivation to move forward, but also moments of hesitation, of doubts, of negative feelings and emotions that could easily take over. It’s simply human nature.
Never wait for motivation to get started. So I have created some “strategies” that work well for me:
Work out for at least one hour. This will give me a lot of energy, good vibes, and endorphins.
Listen to favourite music
Reward me with a nice and delicious meal
Meditate and express my gratitude for what I got.
Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-
Carla MARTIN: My way of getting through obstacles firstly is to start by acknowledging that they’re there, to be honest to myself. To put me back on track all I need to do is to remind myself why I started and what lit the fire…I am very fortunate to do what I love and I do it with passion, this simplifies the situation.
Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-
Carla MARTIN: There are so many amazing people out there who do and achieve so much in their lives. I look up to them with admiration as they inspire me so much. People like Melinda Gates,Michelle Obama, Lady Diana,Greta Thunberg, Nelson Mandela, Sheryl Sandberg,Serena Williams … just to name a few. If I had to choose only one name, this person would be Leonardo Da Vinci. He does not only inspire me but fascinates me. I would love to travel back in time to meet this genius and discover the “anatomy” of his creativity …
Jupilings: Tips on building resilience-
Carla MARTIN: There is no magic formula. Just be positive, be optimistic, be kind to yourself. And take action.
Jupilings: What is the issue you want media to talk about most-
Carla MARTIN: Most of the subjects are well covered by media. To answer your question I would say; Education, Education, Education.
“Education is the foundation for our future. It is empowerment to make choices and emboldens the youth to chase their dreams”. Nita Ambani
Jupilings: What is your life motto:
Carla MARTIN: Well, I do not have a motto on which my life should be lived or built around. It is more like a personal philosophy: believe in myself, I am curious about everything in life; also dedicated and very patient, never rush the process of “creation”.
Do you feel misunderstood, go through bitter self-recrimination, be confused about how you feel, cope with life challenges, or be distracted? Occasionally, we feel sad and display a lack of energy or vigor; however, gaining a deep understanding of the reasons behind the distress enables us to regulate our mood. The awareness allows us to remedy our feelings either through finding a solution or adopting a restorative method.
The problem arises when unknown anxiety, procrastination, fear, or an undigested disturbing experience pushes us to nihilism. When we cannot identify an accurate reason for the lingering inner conflicts, we tend to gravitate towards the negative path. This complication prevents us from gaining insight into what has triggered our despair, anxiety, or other impaired emotions. This is when self-help stops working, and you need a confidante, someone who patiently and supportively listens.
When your efforts and resources are ineffective and blindly steering the wheel, it’s time to establish a personal interaction that acts as a catalyst—a professional who can improve your wellbeing and resolve your worrisome behaviors and thoughts.
On this account, to learn more about how to deal with self-criticism, not to take offense, and develop a growth mindset, I had the opportunity to interview Krista Roesler M.A. RP, a registered psychotherapist and a professionally trained life coach at Psych Company located in Toronto:
Jupilings: Please tell us about your background and areas of expertise-
KW: I am a registered psychotherapist and a life coach. I have a masters degree in psychology and life coaching training from the Adler Institute/the University of Toronto. I work with individuals and couples on a wide range of issues from finding purpose in life and achieving dreams and goals to dealing with more severe mental health issues such as addiction, trauma, depression, etc. Please see the website for a more detailed list: www.psychcompany.com
Jupilings: In the context of living a meaningful & a mindful life, how can we distinguish between who we should be and whom we want to be-
KR: In the context of living a meaningful & a mindful life you can distinguish between who we should be and who we want to be by getting familiar with our values or what is really important us. Start by writing a list of all the things you feel like you should do, have to do, feel obligated to do or others told you to do. Now cross off everything you don’t want to do. Now start a 2nd list and of the things you actually want to do and try to get more of that in your life.
Jupilings: How to deal with self-criticism-
KR: One way to deal with self-criticism is to first become really aware of it by writing it down. Next, separate your self-criticism from your own voice. Tell your self that just because you are thinking these thoughts it doesn’t mean any of them are true. Explore and think about where the thoughts originated. Did you have a critical parent? Next, think about what you really need to hear to feel empowered? Do you need to hear that you can do it? Do you need to hear that you are smart enough or good enough?
Jupilings: How to become braver in life-
KR: You can become braver in life by trying and doing things that are out of your comfort zone or that you didn’t think you could. This will help build your confidence.
Jupilings: How not to take things personally-
KR: You can stop taking things personally by recognizing that it’s usually about someone else’s issues and not you. These issues might be that someone might have a bad day or be under stress for example.
Ask yourself if they are like this with everyone? If they are like this with others than it is not personal.
Be curious and wonder why that person might behave that way? If it’s a bully. Were they bullied at some point in their life and now bully others? Is it someone who is shy and that’s why they have trouble with eye contact, responding, talking? When you can try to understand why someone behaves a certain way you can free yourself from taking it personally.
Jupilings: What are your 5 golden tips to help us develop a growth mindset-
View all obstacles/challenges/criticism as a learning opportunity
Embrace imperfection, mistakes and failure
Enjoy the process of getting there and don’t hyper-focus on the end result
Learn from the mistakes of others
If you haven’t mastered something yet, allow time to practice and improvement.
Jupilings: We do negotiate with ourselves and others each and every day, what are the necessary traits that need to be nurtured to help us negotiate from a position of strength-
KR: Non-judging is one of the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness. Any tips or practice that will support our efforts to adopt a non-judgemental attitude.
A tip that will support our efforts to adopt a non-judgement attitude is to be more compassionate with yourself and others. A good way to do this is to think of someone you deeply care about and want to protect such as your child or best friend. Now ask yourself if you would ever say those thoughts to your best friend or child. If you wouldn’t think about what you would say to them instead and say that to yourself.
Jupilings: “If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool”. What are your tips to deal with our lack of understanding and to stay calm in unpleasant situations or being annoyed by people’s behaviours-
KR: A tip is to try to have empathy and to try to put yourself into that person’s shoes. Become curious about what made that person act or think that way. Remember we are all doing the best we can with where we are. Remind yourself of all the times in the past that you didn’t know any better and also acted like a “fool.”
Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-
KR: Setbacks are a normal part of life. I expect setbacks to happen. I factor the expectation that setbacks will occur into everything I do. It means whatever I want to do will just take a little longer and little more work to get there and that’s okay. That’s part of life.
Jupilings: What is your life motto-
KR: Action leads to success. Every little step forward will get me closer to where I want to be.
Past experiences and preconceived ideas have great value when it comes to making decisions about everyday activities. However, they are tainted to the degree that we cannot absorb the new reality of the present time or the face value of an action, a discussion, or a situation. It is always comfortable to skim through the information to support and validate our previous experience; nevertheless, we tend to lose the possibility of learning a new way of doing things or transforming our ideas for the better by seeing things with fresh eyes.
Everybody knows that some things are simply impossible until somebody who doesn’t know that makes them possible. - Albert Einstein
The real problem starts when you are an expert, one who has more assumptions than questions. Fending off new ways of doing things or not being receptive to new ideas happens to the experienced. An apprehension swishes and contaminates the mind, which in turn will end up either with cherry-picking to justify the established rules and practices or simply dismissal of the new approach.
When we adopt the mind of a beginner, we endeavour to look at things as if for the first time, free from the influence of the past or speculation about the future. We open ourselves to what is here now, rather than constructing stories about what we think is here. Much like a scientist who observes without bias, beginner’s mind allows us to collect raw data. This opens us up to new possibilities, rather than being confined by habits and conditioning. — Tracy Ochester.
A beginner’s mind is keen to meet a new person, have a fresh outlook on familiar people, or learn a new skill. Practicing beginners’ minds (or shoshin in Japanese Zen Buddhism) feeds a growth mindset. An outlook that refuses to have more of the same for the rest of its life knows well that the safety zone is not always the right place to be. It stales the mind and prevents you from growing and reaching your potential. By default, we prefer to stay in our comfort zone, yet adopting a growth mindset requires courage to embrace vulnerability and humility. To acknowledge that there is always a better way of doing things or when it comes to human relations, we give people the benefit of the doubt.
Ways to Cultivate a beginner’s mind
Adopt the notion that endless possibilities exist.
Switch off the autopilot mode.
Be in the present moment.
Listen carefully when a familiar topic comes up; you don’t have to rush to express your opinion or add value; observe and ask questions like you didn’t know about the subject.
Explore something to re-experience the feelings; it can be basic as eating your meal or making your bed.
Stop labeling and notice that you are on auto judgment – Ask yourself why you consider things as bad, good, right, or wrong? Is it out of habit? Integrate seeing things in your life as they are!
Learn a new activity to integrate challenges to your comfort zone
Mingle with people who have a different view of life and explore their perspective and lifestyle.
Change a routine in your life, your walking route, exercise, or things you eat.
Practice gratitude and appreciation – it weakens the habit of taking things for granted.
In a world full of endless choices and challenges, self-doubt is the non-stop humming in the background. The overwhelming feeling from the incoming mixed messages in our head is confusing and debilitating, and exhausting. Feeling stuck or lost happens when our brain cannot make sense of the outside information or process the internal feeling associated with the new context.
Our capacity to feel confident and make decisions based on our authentic self is to shield our brain from the bombardment of mixed messages from the outside world and the numbing of our useless tweets in our head.
It is possible to learn how to trust yourself and start making decisions, yet; you have to accept that emotional vulnerability is part of the formula. Growth and transformation are not possible without the willingness to be exposed to discomfort and anxiety.
You can cultivate trust by shifting your attention from external and pointing it towards yourself. Paying attention to your emotions, experiences, and thoughts with a nonjudgmental attitude builds confidence in yourself and your potential. Gradually, you realize that all the incapacitating walls you have built over the years to defend yourself against challenges are not that daunting. As you learn to trust your inner resources, you grow confidence in your strength, and the threats weaken in whatever might come up.
Ways to increase self-trust
Be aware of your thoughts and feelings as much as you are focused on what you are doing – Whenever doubt creeps in, retreat, contemplate and identify the source of the emotions. Do not reject or judge your feelings; being uncertain means that you don’t have enough knowledge. This insight gives you the clarity to charge ahead and learn.
Be conscious of signals from your physical body, cravings, pain, or pleasure. As your body continues to perform its function, such as breathing or blood circulation, the concept of trust moves from perception to reality. An abstract idea manifests in the form of a physical system. This realization gives you no reason to doubt your capacity.
Make a list of all the qualities you like about yourself. Once you become aware of all your capabilities and virtues, you have created an intimate relationship with your trustworthy self. Rationally, when you are competent, reliable, and sincere, there is no reason not to trust yourself.
Recognize those poor choices you have made in the past that do not define your nor set in stone your path and destiny.
Respect your feelings as much as you respect others.
Express your views and give input when you do have an opinion.
Like anything, you can establish an intellectual trust with yourself by setting the intention, paying attention and practice. For more information, please refer to mindfulness meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
One of the pillars of mindfulness meditation is based on non-striving. An attitude that helps us disconnect our energy & emotions to the outcome of a task at hand or a pursuit. What it means is that the only thing worth striving for is to be in the moment. Like in a meditative state, you seek to stay calm and reach the highest point of being; the non-striving approach shifts your focus from the result to the action.
The idea is not to abandon your desires and goals in life. On the contrary, it is about you pushing that boulder up the hill and not looking at the peak of the mountain but have your eyes on the rock while using your energy to push it forward. Recognizing that you and your diligent efforts are good enough, no matter the outcome.
Nike’s slogan “Just do it!” is the perfect example of a mental state that has set a goal, is fully immersed in the performance, and is not controlled by the result. To give you a clear image of how to practice a non-striving attitude is to partner your goals to your intentions. Let’s say you have set a goal to complete a project at work by a particular time. Now, if you integrate your goal to expand your knowledge and nurture your team, then the stress will be reduced, challenges will be seen as opportunities, and the exchange of ideas and support will be welcomed. The reason is that intentions within you set the tone to move towards your goals and life in general. Once you are clear about your intentions, the focus on the course of action will drive you to do your best without anxiety or stressing over the unknown future.
Non-striving takes patience and a non-judging mindset. Every day choose an activity to loosen the grip to an outcome. For example, you go for a walk every day to lose 10 pounds. The goal is clear; now add the intention to enjoy the scenery and greet everyone you meet along the way. Pay close attention to your body and emotions when tension arises every time you think about your goal, and when you let go of the outcome. The exercise will cultivate the strength to detach and learn the non-doing attitude.
On the final note, the ability to stay focused is the driver to reach your goals. Never allow the feeling of worry or the uncertainty of an outcome derails you from materializing your dreams.
The present time is full of possibilities, so why can we not edit our thoughts to actually see the threads that can lead to a desirable experience? Almost always, the answer boils down to our inner struggles to keep things together! Every day, we are bombarded by stressful questions or circumstances, by the urgency of decision-making, or feeling anxious about the unknown future. We might have a master plan; however, we will encounter setbacks or disasters along the way. Often, the course of actions needs to be modified, adjusted, refined, or totally removed to be replaced by the new approach.
Appropriately, we all need supporting tools, strategies, and definitely a mindset that helps us manage stress, anxieties, and improve the quality of life and our wellbeing. Deep interrogation of our attitudes reveals how we see the world and what mindset determines our value system. In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck distinguishes between fixed and growth mindsets. Her research clearly shows the difference between the two extremes. The fixed mindset has no safety net for challenges and disappointments, and the growth mindset develops tolerance in the face of adversity and frustrations.
If there is a seedling of desire planted in your heart, despite a voice in your head sending signals “No, this cannot be done,….”, make no mistake you are suffering from a fixed mindset! It’s time to pay close attention to your thought patterns. The good news is that you can develop a growth mindset.
Invariably, we need to change our inner dialogue, identify our limiting beliefs, and cultivate a set of attitudes that will respond supportively and intelligently to uncertainties and setbacks. The amount of time we put into self-deprecating can be thrust into deliberate practice.
The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.”
Consider the following steps to shape a growth mindset and strengthen your abilities:
Mindful self-knowledge – consciously start examining your attitudes and your intentions. Detach yourself from your self-made identity. Take a bird’s eye of your inner perception and your destructive & hindering thoughts. Notice the triggers. Replace them with the desired mental pictures, value learning, and efforts more than innate intelligence.
Apply strategies into your daily routine– to develop a new communication network in your brain. Include mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, as an integral part of your day-to-day life, strengthening your neural pathways’ connections. Erase negative self-talk, create positive core belief that you can improve your abilities, and learn new skills.
“The power of yet” – (Carol Dweck) replacing the “I am not good at this,…” with “I am not good at this, YET,..”
Try new things – It helps with self-compassion and understanding of others, especially in difficult or worrisome situations. A beginner’s mind is curious, resilient, and creative.
Keep in mind that knowing is not enough!You need to practice!
It is worth mentioning that we have a social responsibility for the benefit of society and our individual lives to engage, be useful, and lead a meaningful life. To fulfill this obligation, two of the fundamental elements that reinforce our state of mind’s wellness and enrich our experience and life for others are cultivating our strengths powered by optimism.
“When you have come to the edge of all the light you have and step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of the two will happen to you, either you’ll find something solid to stand on or you’ll be taught how to fly!”
The point is that there is always an opposite to a condition. Problems – solutions, adversity – opportunity, and the list goes on. Having a healthier outlook in life means transcending stagnation and despair. Fine, disappointments, intense adversaries, or distressing conditions happen, what can we do? We can contemplate for hours, days, or even years blaming situations, people, or even ourselves for being cut off at the knee, drowning in bitterness and resentment, or disassociate with negative feelings and shoulder responsibility to get out of the dark pit.
Like Dory in “Finding Nemo,” befittingly remarked, “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.” Agreed, so how do we embark on shifting our frame of mind and capitalize on our possibilities?
Revisit your goals or set up a new set of goals and purpose – Knowing that your path towards them will not be on a straight line, and you might need to reorient yourself at times, but eventually, the winding road will take you to your intended aspirations.
Change your inner monologue, make sure that they support your goals, make a positive argument against a negative thought that slithers into your mind. A good practice is to look into your mind as a detached observer to search for what sets you apart from your true potential. Slice your line of thinking and actions into parts. Which one of these parts is more aligned with your abilities, intellect, and motives? The part that regularly criticizes, argues, is judgmental or the part that listens, learns, and knows that life is full of challenges and is tainted with difficulties still it has the nobility to rise above with an admirable footprint. As humans, we are capable of thriving under stress and problems. Why? Because our core being is built to support our transcendence from the stage of apprehension to what we want to be. Hence, stop using half-hearted vocabulary. Your words matter; conscious use of positive talk will bring out your inner courage to pursue goals.
Recognize that as an intelligent being, you can identify your shortcomings and build on your strengths – the idea is to be better than you. You can transform and face undesirable insightfully. Just as you go to the gym to attain your physical fitness goals, the same mentality can support your positive outlook. You start a fitness program with the belief that with discipline, practice, and determination, the plan of action will realize your resolution.
You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.
Work on having a problem-solving mind – rational thinking is about progress, well-being, and awareness that life has setbacks and difficulties; however, the knowledge gained through scientific findings, reason, and humanity will enhance our perspective to seek solutions and flourish.
Believe that progress is real. As humans, we have come a long way to improve our quality of life from life expectancy to human rights to increase leisure time, and the list goes on. Zoom in; personal growth is tangible. This belief is not fiction is a fact.
Keep in mind that stationary conditions to seek security while you have a fighter spirit will only lead to boredom and boredom in turn to spite and malice. To fight against the negative emotions, go forward in life, and fulfill the ethical duty to create a meaningful life and reach the best version of ourselves is the recommended motivation.
Overblown and imperfect, sensual and symbolic, are layers of different circumstances and conditions that Alice Zilberberg explores in her compositions. An Award-winning Fine-Art Photographer, Alice communicates complexities and possibilities of human conditions in our contrived world. Her visual language merges hallucinogenic scenes and what appears to be a reflection of the reality. She elevates her subjects mythically, however, she does not spare them the fallibility of their entity.
The images go through mutations, they change in form, become fragile, dramatic or grand. Still, Alice exposes her subject matters in symbolic ways. The confluence represents the unconscious and the notion of seeing one thing through another. Alice Zilberberg taps into her imaginative psyche to open a dialogue about the female power, nature and challenges the philosophical questions about self.
Interview with Alice Zilberberg
Jupilings: Tell us about yourself and how you got into art/photography-
AZ: I started drawing and painting when I was very young. I started playing around with manipulating images even before I shot my own. When I picked up a camera in my last year of high school, I saw that I liked the detail that the medium of photography gave me, as well as the dichotomy of the real/unreal that I was able to achieve using digital painting. I’ve been working in this style since.
Jupilings: The fundamental principle in your creations-
AZ: I would say that principles change during different periods in my creation. At the moment I am emphasizing trying every idea that I have, without being scared, and eliminating expectations of what it “needs” to be.
Jupilings: What is your perspective on life-
AZ: I always try to keep in mind that we have a limited amount of time here, and death is inevitable. We should try to enjoy and explore things we want to create or do as much as possible.
Jupilings: What are you aiming for in your art-
AZ: My latest work asks questions pertaining to the state of being, particularly our relationships, whether to ourselves or others. In it a find a kind of peace that I hope helps others look inward and find answers about their emotionality.
Jupilings: What surprises you most in life, even though as an artist/photographer, you narrate dreams, ideas, out of ordinary situations,..through images-
AZ: I’m surprised by different things, and I am used to the surprise. I think it’s important to keep learning and exploring as much as possible in the world. I think being curious and asking many questions is a really healthy thing, which provides you with wisdom for your next step in life.
Jupilings: What motivates you to take pictures, is it an emotional state, philosophy of life, politics or advocacy-
AZ: The creative process is a therapeutic one for me, and I hope that my work inspires others to look inward as well. It’s about trying to make sense of the complex human condition, to provide some sort of relief and even a sense of control over our lives.
Jupilings: Do you have a preference in camera, software or technology ? & why-
AZ: I am not a technology-oriented person. I’ve always been in the mindset of getting your hands on enough to create what you want to create. We often get carried away with all the technology can do, instead of thinking of what we need to do what we already do.
Jupilings: Which photographer has influenced you most-
The works of many photographers inform my work, but I think my ultimate favorite artist is Salvador Dali.
Jupilings: What is your favourite subject to capture-
AZ: I rarely think of my work as photographing just one subject; photography becomes a kind of canvas for me on which to create and paint over, making an image that feels like a digital painting rather than a subject. My favorite thing to work on is whatever I’m working on currently since the excitement, and the possibilities take over me.
Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?
AZ: It means being in touch with yourself, your cravings, and needs. Going for it no matter what gender you are.
Jupilings: What are your tips about building a brand name as an artist/photographer-
AZ: I think that when you are starting out, it is important to just focus on creating whatever you want, without labels, branding, or anything. As soon as you are put into a box and labeled, it could be restrictive to your work, and you could kill the very creativity in you that drew you to create in the first place. Later on, it might be more important to develop a language around your work that you feel represents you.
Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt-
AZ: When something overwhelms me, I just take the first step in the direction of trying something. I then try to focus on the next step. I find that if I do this, I very quickly either get into a flow or see that the experiment is not working. I will learn and move on.
Jupilings: What are your thoughts about the blockchain technology especially in support of digital art?
AZ: I think different options to sell your art are always great, especially one that addresses the authentication problems for digital artists. I haven’t explored this area myself, but I look forward to seeing the changes in the art market.
Jupilings: Would you consider using the blockchain technology platform to reach global digital art/ photography enthusiasts? What are the problems in your industry do you want these platforms to solve-
I am open to it, I think the blockchain and art relationship is still evolving, and I look forward to seeing how it develops.
Jupilings: What superpower you would like to have ? and why-
AZ: I want to teleport to any place at any time, it would save me so much travel time and jetlag for any projects I’m working on.
Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the lead actor-
AZ: I would hate being the lead actor in any movie; I am terrible of being put on the spot!
Jupilings: What is your life motto-
AZ: This is your time to do whatever you want to do.
Robert Vanderhorst’s creativity propels us to squint and examine the original or the rational with intention. At that point, you discover the conflict, the unacceptable, the unpleasant or the hidden desire. The imagery gushes over, the psyche is liberated, and the visual stimulus unravels the nuances of our ideas and rules. He is adept at bringing together various mental pictures into a fusion of tenacious conventions, compromised perceptions, and wavering imaginations. His capability to point out that impressions, symbols, and patterns have unrealized possibilities, rattles the viewer. Although he deliberately composes the uncertainties, the freedom of thought, choice and the inclination of progress orbit symbolically and eminently in his artwork.
Jupilings: Tell us about yourself and how you got into art-
RV: My talent comes through my father’s side of the family. He was an artist/graphic artist in Holland, and he continued that profession after coming to Canada post-WWII. Once I understood that art was my passion, my career path was set. Seeing Dali and Magritte’s work for the first time cemented my love for surrealism.
Jupilings: The fundamental principle in your creations-
RV: Exploration and mystery. Keep everyone thinking and guessing.
Jupilings: What is your perspective on life-
RV: Life is short. Be kind and generous, work hard and stay true to your passion, play when you can, travel and experience life as much as possible and keep your sense of humour intact.
Jupilings: What do you sell in your art-
RV: To think outside the box.
Jupilings: What motivates you to create, is it an emotional state, philosophy of life, politics or advocacy-
RV: A desire to create realistic imagery that engages, asks questions and searches for answers where the answers ask more questions.
Jupilings: What is your favourite subject to illustrate-
RV: Time and space.
Jupilings: What does “confusion” mean to you? Also, what about “Normality”-
Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you-
Jupilings: What are your tips about building a brand name as an artist-
RV: Develop a unique personal style and stay true to your art. Work your ass off, don’t compromise, network and promote using new and old technologies as much as possible.
Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt-
RV: Ignore it. Believe in yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish and ignore anyone who tells you it can’t be done.
Jupilings: The disruptive blockchain technology is addressing the problems of transparency and authenticity for artists; it will increase art sales, democratize art investment, and last but not least allow artists to be fairly paid. What are your thoughts about the blockchain technology especially in support of art? Would you consider using the blockchain technology platform to reach global art enthusiasts? What are the problems in your industry do you want these platforms to solve?
RV: I am not versed in this platform and at this stage not particularly interested in another tech learning curve. Everyone should be paid fairly and on time, artists, in particular, considering they are often taken for granted and put at the bottom of the list. If this tech addresses the issues you’ve stated above effectively, then I’m all for it.
Jupilings: What superpower you would like to have ? and why-
RV: I’m happy as is.
Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the lead actor-
Nobody has a soul unscathed. As famously Nietzsche has stated:
“What does not kill you makes you stronger.”
Truth be told, it is not easy to be resilient in chaos or adversity; however, research has shown that it can be learned. Stretching our mental muscles and drawing on key questions raised by the great thinkers gives us a leg up to control our thoughts and surpass oneself through the spine-chilling maze of setbacks.
Mindfulness,martial arts, and behavior change are recommended; however, lasting success depends on self-reflection. Growth is fueled by practical wisdom and reasoned decision-making. So how to start the introspection to develop resilience?
Training the brain with philosophical counseling sessions to think clearly at infliction points in our ventures or life is absolutely necessary. The process of observing our minds and learning from different schools of thought empowers us to take charge and develop resilience in times of crisis. Like in a plane emergency, we curb the impulse to run for the door by knowing in advance the rules and follow the instructions responsibly. The guidance will shape our perceptions and expectations into awareness, and our behaviors will become more productive rather than reactionary. Ultimately, the self-examination and preparation lead to a disciplined mind that helps us leap over the fatigue caused by unprecedented events, discord, or even malicious situations.
Change Your Perception
“Choose not to be harmed, and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.”
Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote the statement, the adherent of stoic philosophy highlights how perception plays an important role in your responses. A terrifying event has the potential to be agonizing or not, for it all depends on your perception. Therefore, you have a choice to experience the unfavorable circumstances in dismay or learn the skills to build resilience.
As humans, we can exaggerate stressors, fret, and run things over and over in our heads to the uncontrollable point. However, if you can adopt a positive outlook and reframe disastrous to challenging, you will be able to deal with calamities, learn, grow, and move on. A positive change in your perception is not to ignore and distort the reality but to ensure that you have control over your state of mind and emotional response.
Outline Your Expectations
Preparing your mind to question the underlying intentions of your expectations produce a valuable outcome in adversity. Since, the correlation between a challenge, an expectation, the course of action and the end result depend on your disposition. This means that unsettled and implicit intentions, an obscure plan of action or a goal will generate unrealistic expectations leading to resentment. However, the integration of philosophical notions to clarify your intentions influences your response and helps you confront the negative. Meditating on great philosophical ideas to become resilient and recover from adversity breeds self-control. This state of mind nurtures a rational, optimistic outlook to strategically analyze and gain attribution of productive motives from a third-party perspective.
The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.- Gary Zukav
Manage Your Behaviour
“Heroes are heroes because they are heroic in behaviour, not because they won or lost.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Sometimes, the end results are unfair, unreasonably, or wrongfully against you; however, the philosophical reflection will help you develop mental toughness. Ethically responding in the heat of battle sounds virtuous, yet, might not be practical as it is easier said than done! Although you choose to change your attitude or consciously assimilate a behavior and internalize to deal with the problem. Effectively stated by Epictetus on Walking the Walk:
Don’t declare yourself a philosopher or talk about all your principles; walk the walk instead.
At dinner, don’t discourse on the proper way to eat. Just eat.
Here’s how Socrates did it: When someone asked Socrates to introduce him to a particular famous philosopher, he did it without thinking “I’m better.”
When the ignorant discuss deep matters, bite your tongue. Don’t vomit what you haven’t chewed.
When you are told you’re ignorant and you manage to be unruffled, you know your practice is working.