This post is dedicated to anyone and everyone who owns a business, has a side hustle, made themselves a CEO or wants some trips, tricks and the truth.
This is everything I know about business a year on!
(Please keep in mind I am not a guru and do not claim to be! This is just everything I know and I hope it helps someone out there!)
It was about this time last year (I wrote this at the end of January, I’ve just been THAT busy that I couldn’t finish it) I took on my first two clients. I was an 18 year old first year Architecture undergrad at university. I didn’t have a large master plan to freelance because my ‘Ah-ha!’ moment didn’t hit me for quite a while. I just enjoyed designing, saw that people would pay for something such as personalised Snap chat filters - the first thing I started designing for clients - and the rest is history!
The first thing you need is a talent or which allows to provide a service or a product to sell. I didn’t have all the skills I needed to start MABIN2 Designs which is why I often say the business came to me.
I was teaching myself Photoshop and Illustrator (the two bits of software I use to create my designs) as I was going, watching a YouTube tutorial and then making things for fun, and to help me with my course at university.
Business continued to pick-up and the funniest thing is I was just really praying for a change to enter my life and God provided. Via word of mouth and Twitter, I kept on getting inquiries and I just never said no to any job. There were times where someone would ask me to create something I hadn’t mastered yet but I would never tell the client that I couldn’t do what they wanted, I would learn. I would study what I needed to do and then execute for them and it worked because I’ve never had negative feedback from a client.
I got better and better with each client and would create things for fun to test out different features on the software I was using. I genuinely enjoyed the challenge of learning what to do.
This is the first lesson, perfect your craft.
Organisation is KEY. I am just mastering it after a whole year of juggling university, MABIN2 Designs and a part-time job. Having a routine is the backbone behind being organised. Once I step out of my routine, something will suffer and I feel it really badly. My major thing is when I sleep and wake up. I hate running on 3-4 hours sleep but a lot of the time it has to be done as I like having a big healthy breakfast every morning and enough time to check through my emails, messages and social media. I really struggled with balancing it all at the start but I am getting used to it. I am at point where I am so used to being busy that I have to work on something every day.
This is the second lesson, organisation.
I don’t know how to take genuine time off because I have such a love and passion for designing that it has become second nature to me. If I’m not working on something for university it’s my website, if it’s not my website it’s client work. If it’s not a client I really do just sit down and come up with business ideas, designing things for future ventures. Even down to the books and articles I read, they are all related to where I want to be and get to.
I am such a creative person and it is the passion that fuels me to work, not the money. If and when something goes wrong, it will be your passion for what you do that will push you to correct it and keep trying. When you are sick and tired no one will run your business for you so you passion has to act as your fuel. You can’t call in sick and still get paid like a regular job because your time is literally money. There is no sick pay when you work for yourself.
This is the third lesson, passion.
It would be ridiculous of me to paint the picture like I never rest. I do. I actually have several “stress naps” as I like to call them, all the time. I just lay down, play my favourite kind of music and close my eyes for a good 20 mins. In all honestly I get super stressed out during term times at university. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be great in everything I do but I have learned that you cannot spread yourself that thin.
You need to be strategic in every sense. You must especially be strategic with your time, effort and money. Your time is not like the average person and you must divide it in a strategic way to maximise the outcome.
Money isn’t everything but when starting any kind of business you have to spend money to make money; and have a clear strategy on how you will recover from that loss, your profit, and then how you will reinvest. That means you need to have income coming in from somewhere else or savings ready, all before you make money. Alternatively, you could do the whole I’m-going-to-quit-my-job-struggle-and-fight-until-I-make-it-thing which is only wise if you can actually do this without messing up your credit (and the like), can deal with a complete lifestyle change, have extreme faith and perseverance, and are an extremely patient person. I would never recommend giving up a stable source of income. How are you going to fund and focus on your dream if you’re so stressed and worked up about where your next meal is coming from?
Adobe Creative Suite does cost £25 a month (student subscription). I also pay annually to have the domain name MABIN2.COM and the email address info@MABIN2.com. Nothing about being self-employed is free or easy. There are clients who are difficult, days where you just want to switch off and I have definitely had dry weeks where I received very few clients. I believe you have to find YOUR formula for YOUR business or hustle. You can read as many business books, watch as many interviews or try and copy as many entrepreneurs as you want but there is something unique about every business because each CEO is different.
This is the fourth lesson, strategy.
The money is lit. It’s great BUT not all the time. I can’t just live off MABIN2 money because it’s not a reliable source of income. I have to grind harder for MABIN2 than I do at my weekend job but 3 logos = earning the same amount as a weekend at work. The most enjoyable thing is that most of the time I could spend X amount on Monday and know that by Friday I’ve made it back but please remember it’s taken me a year to reach this point. It wasn’t like this at the start. It’s liberating to have a source of income that comes from your passion and it really gives me a taste of the life I want to live in the future and my career once I graduate. It is easy to get carried away but financial discipline is something you must master. When you own a business there are always little surprises resulting in you spending money you never intended on spending. Money management and back-up funds are so important. My parents are strong believers of living within your means and I am really adopting this notion, especially in 2018 as I have some larger financial milestones that I wish to reach this year. Am I rich? No. I swear to God you will really know if I was really making the money I want to make. I would be decked out in Fendi’s latest season collection. Am I better off than a lot of students? Yes. However, I recognise that God can take it all away quicker than it was provided and the amount I work does impact my academic success (I average at 2:1’s and could probably get firsts if I didn’t work like I do but that will all change in my final year of undergrad).
That is the fourth lesson, money.
Get business savvy. Big brands have several people in several different departments to make everything perfect. You don’t have his opportunity YOU must become your so self-dependent. You are the CEO and the cleaner, the marketing mogul and the accountant all rolled into one.
Read books, I heavily recommend Otegha Uwagba’s Little Black Book - a toolkit for working women, watch YouTube video’s, hire someone to perfect your brands graphic presentation (hire me!), master how to up your engagement on social media and so on. Back in the day you’d have to go out handing your business card to everyone you can, now LinkedIn can do the job for you. Twitter can be your networking vice. Instagram can be your virtual advertising campaign. It is so easy to flourish if you do it the right way! I would not have received as many opportunities and blessing as I have if it wasn’t for Twitter especially.
That is the fifth lesson, research and marketing.
There are some very amazing women that I look up to, what they do and their socials are listed also. Follow them all! They are hustling, grinding, and making a name for themselves. By showcasing their hard work, I only get inspired by their consistent dedication and progress:
@MelsWardrobe - Mel is effortlessly stylish, she’s an amazing celebrity stylist and interior designer & her Instagram stories are hilarious! She has tirelessly worked hard at her craft for years and I look up to her because she reminds me of me! I think it’s an Aquarius thing!
@ConnaWalker - House Of CB. That’s all I need to say. I’ve watched House of CB grow from Celeb Boutique to an internationally recognised, celebrity worn brand. I remember the first time I left Westfield’s with a stripy hot pink bag I received years back. I could talk about her story for ages and how she inspires me but I recommend you do some digging, read into her story, and be inspired.
@DazhaneLeah - I first acknowledged Dazhane on my radar when I was a young teenager (maybe 14-ish and I’m 20 now). She posted an outfit in cute overalls, white vest and a chain on Tumblr. I was instantly inspired. Since then she has propelled herself, utilising social media and her gorgeous white room to showcase her amazing hair, outfits and body, and phenomenal photography skills!
@aysh9t / @Certifeye - CEO of Certifeye, Aysha is a genius when it comes to cosmetics! The way she has utilised social media, high quality branding and packaging (as her little glitter eyeshadows come in the cutest pots that remind me of fairy dust), and expanded into men’s grooming also? She’s simply amazing.
@owusuism - Sarah is a beautiful, talented artist that uses her work for good, painting everything from black legends and icons to breathtaking patterns for charitable causes like Give Me Tap. Her work is bold and unparalleled - I have not seen anything quite like it before! She speaks to my inner artist and I get a craving to lift up a paintbrush every time I see her creations!
Now I’ve shared some of the people I look up to, here are some amazing books I’ve read that I think you should read too for all my young bosses:
Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women by Otegha Uwagba
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden
Working for yourself is a rollercoaster but it’s liberating and you can always get off the ride if you like. I want to work a 9-5 for a while in the future as I feel like I need that experience before I really do what I want to do, but I will always keep my business running because it makes me happy. I don’t think a 9-5 is beneath me and neither should you just because you want to or do work for yourself. If a 9-5 is not for you come up with a plan so you don’t have to work one but please be smart. I am all for taking risks but your success story doesn’t need to be raw, including a section on how leaving your job left you broke, eating air for dinner for months all because you wanted to chase your dream.
Please make wise decisions; perfect your craft and walking in your purpose by during your pursuit.
This was a long post but all in all I want you to understand that: You cannot come and kill yourself. I wouldn’t be African if I didn’t include this. Melissa (@MelsWardrobe) says this all the time and sis I’m with you. By all means work hard but never compromise your physical and mental health & well-being.
I am considering creating some sit down videos on a few things related to this post, a possible YouTube channel. We’ll see what happens but please let me know if you would watch me!
I hope you enjoyed this post and feel free to message me if you want to ask some questions! All my socials are on my ‘Contact’ page!
Today marks 365 days since I launched MABIN2.COM. I was so nervous! I turned my notifications off, like I always do when I make a post, because I like to forget about how many people are watching. I find that counting the likes, retweets and views drives you crazy and I never want to obsess over it. I was set on having an amazing year and it has been just that, amazing; however, it has been the toughest year of my life. I had a lot of draining hurdles financially, emotionally, mentally and physically but I pride myself in remaining positive.
One thing I’ve been brought up on is to count your blessings before you count the negatives, and that’s what I’m here to do! Once the main issues of 2017 were steading themselves I decided to make the last half of 2017 something to remember and my hard work paid off.
I have many things to be proud of this year but my stand out two were:
I definitely still can’t seem to forget the moment I received the email and I pray that I create more magic that is worthy of recognition by larger publications. In my lifetime I aim for Architectural Digest, Vogue, Forbes, iD and Dazed & Confused to name a few, but I never put a time frame on my goals, I just speak them into existence.
I started a business which led me to work with people like Holly Boon! I also made the most money I ever have, all by myself. This year marked several mini financial milestones, all down to hard work. My business is under a year old and I didn’t even set out to create it but life has a funny way of coming together and producing blessings for those who are deserving.
I want every single person reading this to enter 2018 without fear. If you continue to carry the fear of what others will think, how something will turn out and the like, you will never every reach any goal you set in your life. You have to step out of your comfort zone, force yourself to do things you normally would not and whole-heartedly enjoy your life because you are living for you.
I don’t like to speak on my plans for 2018 too much because I never make solid plans...
“When you make plans, God laughs”
...What I will say is I write a letter to myself on December 31st every year. I call this The Gratitude Letter and I’ve done it for the past 3 years. I outline what I’m thankful for in the past year and loosely outline what I want to be grateful for in the next. It’s so nice to look back and compare the growth through the years and really count your blessings rather than the negatives. I suggest you start this year, as soon as you read this post, on your birthday or even next Monday (Monday’s are a great time to start things)!
I want to use this post as an opportunity to thank BuzzFeed, every single client, my family & friends and everyone else who contributed to my successful year be it a retweet, a conversation about the things I do or messaging me for advice and to tell me how I’ve inspired them.
Thank you for reading and have a blessed 2018 and look out for more blog posts, more designs and my project ACCIN!
I was contacted to feature in an article about black artists seeing as the month of October is Britain’s Black History month. I was asked to answer the question: What’s your thoughts about representation in the art world? Why is it important to you to draw people?
My response is centred around what I know and my experience as a black artist. I hope my words resonate with someone and that you enjoy my artwork.
I can only express my gratitude and happiness for such a blessing like being a featured artist is in such a massive publication and for all the blessings that continue to grace my life.
Thank you for reading and please show support to the other artists within the article.
Attached is the link to the article - https://www.buzzfeed.com/victoriasanusi/33-ridiculously-talented-british-artists-you-should-be?utm_term=.cnYp6ljbnw#.yuQAOparKV
I think it's generally so important to give yourself the praise you deserve, especially being a creative or business owner. You need to "toot your own horn". Recognition does not fall into your lap, especially with the internet making it seem as though everyone can do what you can do. It's a dog-eat-dog world and your passion can make you money and recognition can make you money too.
Utilise YOU and harness your inner potential and do not stop screaming about what you can do. Make yourself known. Be known for your passion and always work on improving your craft.
From taking on design jobs and gaining clients through social media I have realised one major thing - you have to be your own biggest fan. Self belief is a fundamental part of making it big!
This ties nicely onto a project I am looking to develop - ACCIN (The Afro-Caribbean Creative Industries Network):
I'm working on creating a platform for Afro-Caribbean creatives to help them learn from people who have been in the industry, understand how to gain recognition and how to excel in such white-washed, difficult fields.
This is a very quick post as I am even busier than I ever thought I would be (thanks to the portfolio section on my website) so I have ended up blogging less frequently. I aim to write in shorter bursts and get things out their quicker as MABIN2.COM continues to grow.
Thank you to those who continuously and tirelessly support me. So many blessings have been bestowed upon me just due to this little website and I can't even begin to thank those who continue to engage with it.
I believe social media to be a blessing, something we should cherish, as it advances so many aspects of our lives.
Social media has allowed our generation to share things, such as talents and creations, and then the opportunity to gain recognition, a following and generate income through this. People have found estranged parents through social media, found love and built multi-million dollar companies. Whether it's for funny tweets or sharing an upcoming venture, social media has allowed many people to become their own boss - of their future, their career and their lives (or more how their lives are perceived).
"Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks."
Personally, use social media for inspiration, informing myself, and to take a break. I love social media and use it daily!
Most of the inspiration for my website and future brand MAKOL is from the internet & I need "precedents" to use within my course that inspire the buildings I create (I'm an Architecture undergraduate). However, I also use it to show the world where I went, what I bought, who I’m with and what I look like. I love to laugh at trends/posts on Twitter and I get excited when I stumble across something that sparks personal inspiration. I come across most of today's news through social media too (especially things that the media don't want us to see).
When about 90% of young people use social media, my only issue with it lies in the fact that we are becoming consumed by it. We're being consumed by the idea of looking like we have it all way before we've even started to work towards it. We're being consumed by opinions and likes, rather than just doing things because we want to. We're being consumed by an unrealistic vision of urgency.
Instagram has been recently named as the most detrimental social media platform for you mental health.
See these articles for the data:
We all want retweets, shares and likes, and if we don't receive them quick enough we question what went wrong. We all do it, I just think it's good to step away from it all sometimes and realise too much of one thing is always bad, no matter how fun it can be. We need to stop idolising the wrong things.
Previously, I've mentioned how detrimental comparison can be and I believe social media is training us to compare and compete with each other.
Here's a quick reminder of what I said in my 'Striving For Success' post:
We are part of a generation of over-sharers and watching other people share their "happiness and success"*, while you wallow in self-pity about your current situation, is unhealthy. Very unhealthy. And the thing is, we're doing it subconsciously.
Look on to others for inspiration and not as a benchmark for where you should be.
*Everything that glitters is not gold…
I don't even think that comparison is the worst thing. I think it's the illusion that we know people and their lives based on the things they choose to show us. As a consequence we feel like we know enough about a person to the extent where we can comment on their lives. Wrong!
Social media also feeds this “image” generation where we enjoy looking like we have it all before we’ve even worked for it and feel added pressure to do the things we see other people doing. People aren’t posting their worst days, their downfalls, their flaws or their major issues so we shouldn’t try to compete with anyone, especially when we don’t even know what they’ve done/do to try to maintain that image. You can’t do better than Bolt in a race when you’ve missed all the years of training sessions.
I’ve always been raised to steer clear of trying to keep up with others and to focus on my own ship, because before you realise, yours will be sinking!
(Notice how much I use we in this post. It’s because I recognised some of the things I’m talking about in myself and made a change.)
We take in so much information daily due to social media, way more than any generation ever has, and we rarely take a moment to analyse the impact this has on us. The strongest personal example I can present is the fact that we are becoming desensitised to the brutalisation of the black body, due to the frequency of our exposure to videos and images where black people are murdered (be it police brutality or not).
Recent tragedies occurring in London, and across the world, have also made me reflect on how we are almost losing our humility by documenting everything rather than taking action, such a helping others. Even disrespecting the dead… This is where the line has to be drawn.
I don't think social media is particularly helpful for those with low self-esteem either and people with low self-esteem should figure out whether they are posting for the gratification they will receive from others?
It is important to do things for yourself.
It might not seem that serious but for the younger generation especially I think it's more important for them to look at how they post in such way. I believe when you place your self-worth on how others perceive you, you will find yourself shape-shifting to meet the beauty standards of the time you exist in just so you can receive that gratification. Beauty standards are a trend thus ever changing. If you continue shape-shifting yourself for trends you will end up losing who you truly are in the midst of it. Social media, especially Instagram, exemplifies this.
Our attention is so divided that I believe taking time to refocus is key to our wellbeing. We are becoming increasingly distracted and I think it's not good for us.
So, a quick summary of what I really want you to take away from this post is:
My parents moulded my brother and I into bookworms when we were younger, who then got lost within the world-wide web; however, my book loving nature is seeming to return.
You will find me reading something fictional with a moral or something to enhance my perspective and open my mind. The genre of these books come under Spirituality & Beliefs - Mind, body & spirit, in Waterstones so let’s go with that.
The first book of this kind I read was The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. (I'll leave a link to it at the end!)
This book introduced me to the Law of Attraction and as I result I looked in to what it was and what I can gain from it.
To help those out who are unsure of what I’m talking about and don’t want to read the book, I’ll give you the definition from thelawofattraction.com.
“Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is believed that regardless of age, nationality or religious belief, we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the Universe – one of which being the Law of Attraction. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. In basic terms, all thoughts turn into things eventually. If you focus on negative doom and gloom you will remain under that cloud. If you focus on positive thoughts, and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them with massive action.
This is why the universe is such an infinitely beautiful place, as the Law of Attraction dictates that whatever can be imagined and held in the mind’s eye is achievable if you take action on a plan to get to where you want to be.”
My issue with the Law of Attraction is purely how part of me thinks that people stretched it by writing whole £15 books on it but everybody must get their coin somehow so I respect the hustle. However, I think the pure concept behind gearing your thoughts towards positivity and things that you want to materialise in your life is a good thing.
Flipping this concept to religious terms, I believe The Law of Attraction is valid through prayer. Change the concept of asking the universe for things to asking God or Allah, and you have prayer. No matter how far-fetched something seems, those with strong faith believe prayer can pull you through anything, thus shadowed with the Law of Attraction. By using the Law of Attraction, you are putting out positive energy into the universe. You are asking the universe for something purely through your thoughts. Prayer does similar things. A common principle through religion is simply what you put in, you shall receive - basically karma.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap
If you do good, you do good to yourselves. (likewise)
If you do evil, you do evil to yourselves.
(Qur'an: Chapter 17, Verse 7)
Karma - Action driven by intention, which leads to future consequences.
Karma - A concept in Hinduism which explains causality (the relationship between cause and effect) through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a soul's lifetime. Karma is applicable not only to the material world but also to our thoughts, words, actions and actions that others do under our instructions.
And so on…
Side note: I was born into Islam, went to a C of E Primary School where we would say grace before we ate lunch and sang hymns daily. My parents left my brother and I to grow up without a set religion and allowed us to choose our own religious path when we felt ready. For example, I grew up not eating pork because it is haram, yet singing hymns about Jesus being the son of God. What I know for sure is that I believe in God. Currently, I am on a journey to discover what I truly believe religiously.
Aside from religion, we learn that our actions always have consequences. I believe harnessing the Law of Attraction, through positive affirmations, is just one way to alter your perception of things in life to work in your favour.
You must look at the things you say as a direct reflection of your thoughts, and therefore your actions. You are constantly manifesting, even in through the jokes you make. A friend joking on future misfortune is sending a message of what they are thinking and will carry out actions to enable this misfortune.
Proclaiming you can’t do something, which you know you could do with hard work, is summoning failure into your lie. In this situation, if you do fail, you won’t be as bothered because you never whole-heartedly thought you could achieve what you wanted to. You attracted failure from the start.
You must be clear on what you want to achieve and speak positively on it. Affirmations of positivity, for example, when I wake up every morning I say, “Thank you God.” within the first 30 minutes of me being awake (because I check my phone first and then remember I haven’t even shown gratitude for the fact I have been given another day). I then think about what I need to do for the day to be successful. It doesn’t always work as simply as that, but the things I really set my mind to, I execute that day.
I never realised my parents used this principle in my household. I would say something like, “Ah I shouldn’t have done that I’m so stupid!”, and my mum would reply, “You’re stupid? I don’t remember raising a stupid child. Are you stupid?”. This was her way of getting me to think over what I just said. I would then say something like, “Ok I’m not stupid I just made a mistake”, and she would say, “We all make mistakes, but you’re never stupid.”
That mindset and attitude towards negative words bred confidence within our household.
Even to this day on my kitchen wall at home lies these statements:
If a child lives with ridicule she learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame he learns to feel guilt.
If a child lives with criticism she learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility he learns to fight.
If a child lives with tolerance she learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement he learns confidence.
If a child lives with security she learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval he learns to like himself.
I think the key thing to understand here is time. You cannot affirm something big today and watch it happen tomorrow. We have a habit in this generation of thinking that everything should materialise instantly, because were so used to instant gratification through social media, that we don’t realise how much time it takes to build something great. You can’t start using the Law of Attraction today and see amazing, life changing results tomorrow.
The Secret’s best principle, in my eyes, is the concept of ask, believe, receive.
Ask the universe (or your God) for what you want.
Believe you deserve it and you will receive it.
Receive the blessing once you have started working towards it.
If it’s easier, take all the negatives in your life, list them and flip them.
A lot of us as human beings gravitate towards negativity first before positivity.
So heres 3 things I want you to take away from this post:
So over a month ago I launched MABIN2 and I’ve only dropped one post! I am quite a busy girl but don’t think I’ll ever neglect this blog. Behind the scenes, my drafts are packed (the BLM, Social Media & Law of Attraction posts are basically done) and my portfolio (snapchat filters, flyers, logo’s, artwork, posters and more) is well underway, I’m just a perfectionist who cares a lot about everything I embark on creatively.
Between studying Architecture at university in Kent (UCA), my part time job in London, starting up freelance design work and squeezing in a personal life, I have been working on a lot of things for MABIN2 which I am so excited about.
Tomorrow being the day I turn 19, I thought it would only be right to enlighten you on 18 things I've learnt in my life in my last hours being 18. I hope they’re relatable and applicable.
First and foremost you must be your own best friend. To really flourish within yourself you must prioritise you. This does not mean isolate yourself; however, pick your friendships wisely. Your energy is important and shouldn't be wasted on meaningless connections. Ensure you are surrounded by positive energy, even when your friends are advising you, make sure their criticism is constructive because not everybody wants the best for you - even your own best friends.
Love is a beautiful thing but love is also a choice. Love can mean sacrifice. Do not be afraid of it but be aware of it. It is okay to allow yourself to love and it is mandatory to love yourself.
The glass is always half full and not half empty.
It is so challenging, and unnatural, to stay positive all the time. Don't forget you're human and you have all the right to get in a negative headspace for a little while. Just acknowledge your feelings are temporary whilst you're in that headspace and pick yourself up again.
Your wide nose is a blessing. Your full lips are a blessing. Your copper skin is a blessing. The many cultures you have are blessings. Be proud and never let anything make you feel otherwise.
You don't have them all so stop searching for them. Sometimes, just let things be.
7. It's not personal
Detach yourself from the idea that the things people do are personal. Nothing is personal, even someone's misconduct towards you.
Stop. Spending. Money. On. Bullshit. Invest because your future self will thank you, whether it's that leather jacket that will last you 5 years, driving lessons or starting your business, INVEST.
9. Copy cat
Copy and take inspirations from a vast variety of the things you adore and in the midst of it all you will find what is truly you.
Love is your religion but never forget, you were born into Islam. Your connection with God is strong but you are confused like most youth. Do not stray and rediscover or just discover what religion suits you best.
11. Body image
Your body is purely a vessel. Work on you and your soul and that beauty will radiate outwards. More focus on health rather than image (water and a balanced diet) will instantly improve you inside out.
You are so, immensely blessed to have the parents you do.
You work hard yet you are lazy. Don't imagine you at your full potential, because this comparison makes you feel bad, just work on scheduling your lazy hours (or days).
Not everybody has good morals because not everybody was raised like you.
Stop being a perfectionist. It’s unrealistic so try your hardest but reach a point where you are ok with just letting things be.
“Money and materialistic possessions mean nothing without joy, peace and love.”
The older you get the more emotional you are getting. Stay in touch with them but do not let them rule your life. Your emotions allow you to be compassionate, your emotions allow you to be forgiving, but they also cause you to be naive and too trustworthy because you look for the greatness in everybody. Not everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt.
You have so much to be thankful for. It is ok to want more but don’t get caught up in your longing for it. Count your blessings and then pray for more.
IMAGE: @ILOVEKOTBONKERS / INSTAGRAM
For an immense amount of time, I have been wanting to blog, or to just get my voice out there. I feel like I have too much to say but fear just stunted the progress I could have made. You could call my behaviour self destructive, not on purpose, but my lust for perfection and fear of judgement outweighed my desire to share what I'm creating or what I'm thinking.
Now the year is coming to a close and I'm in a different headspace so here's my first real blog post: I’m going to let you in on why I'm a little bit happy to leave 2016 behind.
Before you start reading I'd suggest you give yourself time to digest this post. It's quite a long one so don't read it in a rush!
Like many forward looking individuals, 2016 was taken over by thoughts of my future. I was in sixth form for half the year preparing to take exams that were made to seem like the be all and end all; meanwhile, I had to juggle the rest of my life around this one priority - my future. This really frustrated me as I am a true believer of living in the moment. At times it would even depress me: Am I going to get anywhere? What if I fail? Have I done enough? Am I doing enough? Why are they at this point and I'm not there when I'm just as capable as them? I thought we were working at the same pace so why is their result better? I really let negative thoughts consume me at times.
I often have this discussion with my friends, and nowadays it ends up being positive, as I have grown to understand what I was going through.
When you're facing an assortment of changes and loosening up from dogmas*, you are at war with what you should be doing and what you want to do. You realise everything you do now will intrinsically effect your future but you want to live in the moment because you’re young right? Being young is all about having fun, right? This issue is perpetuated by social media showing you people, some of them even at your age or younger, living how you want to live and therefore you start recognising the gap between where you are at and where you want to be.
noun: dogma; plural noun: dogmas
The gap between your dreams and aspirations should inspire you and not be a negative weight on your shoulders. The only reason you may feel frustrated or upset is because you have a burning hunger for success and indirectly, happiness. When we want to be successful in our careers want our careers to be fulfilling and make us happy. When we want to have a successful relationship, we want reciprocated love and happiness within the relationship.
A primary goal within life is happiness and (as cliché as it sounds) happiness only comes from within. I completely understand it is easy to say, “Happiness comes from within.” when you are happy but, you and your mind are powerful. Instead of dwelling on how much further you have to go or what you are lacking, showing gratitude for what you do have and what you have to look forward to is a much better perspective to look from. Identify what your true end goal is and embrace the hardships that come with it. Be grateful for these hardships as the journey to success was never said to be easy. Re-adjust your perspective.
(Disclaimer: All of this is especially daunting when you have parents who see education as the only route to success, luckily mine are rather understanding. However, I am in education and was pushed to take an educational route.)
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
- African Proverb
All we are trying to do is develop ourselves and a support system is so vital when you’re trying to do this!
Now, lets not get it twisted. Not everyone you know is here for your success (but I’ll save that for another blog post) so weeding out the unsupportive, negative energies within your life is the first step. This helps you cultivate positive thoughts and therefore your actions. A plant can receive all the nutrients and water in the world, but where would it be without light? When you are in a positive state of mind, everything you carry out will be much more successful than if you were in a negative mind-frame, for example upset or angry. One of the main principles within The Law of Attraction (and again I'll talk about this further in a future post) is that positivity attracts positivity and your thoughts must be in line with what you want to bring into your life. Think positively!
You have to start making choices that make you happy now, with your future in mind, but not dwelling so much on your slip-ups. You are human. You are allowed to make mistakes.
Yes, your future should motivate you to the point where your current actions are aligned with what you want to achieve; however, do not get caught up. You will end up scrutinising yourself to an unhealthy point. Make the right choices at the right times and become more organised. Procrastination is my personal weakness but I will (try to) choose to start an assignment a couple weeks before it's due so that I am not rushing at the last minute. I also might make personal sacrifices sometimes - preferring to miss the best club night of the term, so I can get some sleep and wake up for my lecture the next day, so I don't fall behind (or just leaving early).
It's important to know yourself and know what works for you. Just because your peers can drink heavily for four nights in a row and make it to lectures doesn't mean you can! It will be you falling behind whilst they carry on as normal.
We can all win, just find your own personal way to do so.
One really important thing I realised is that comparison will kill you. When I took a break from checking up on what my social media favourites were doing, what expensive fashion trend I couldn't follow because I spent all my money on nonsense/ did not have enough of it, or what the other "creatives" my age were doing, I reflected on myself. No two journeys to success are the same. We are part of a generation of over-sharers and watching other people share their "happiness and success"*, while you wallow in self pity about your current situation, is unhealthy. Very unhealthy. And the thing is, we're doing it subconsciously.
Look on to others for inspiration and not as a benchmark for where you should be.
*Everything that glitters is not gold and I am going to blog about this in more depth too later. (I know I have a lot to "blog about later" but I'm very excited and I hope you are too!)
You must identify your strengths and your weaknesses. Praise yourself for your strengths and work on your weaknesses, then also realise that you cannot be perfect! My weakness is often organisation and time management. Should I work on it? Yes. Have I tried? Yes. Am I still slightly unorganised and struggling with time management? Yes I am, but I have got better and its okay not to be all the way there yet. Why should I pressure myself to be a complete circle when I haven't even experienced a quarter of my potential life span? Be proud of how far you have come and take some time for self reflection. What are you good at? What are your strengths? Why would you compare yourself to someone on a different path to your own? When did you decide that you are deserving of their current situation? Your blessings are your blessings and they are meant for you! Re-focus on you and your growth. The universe owes you nothing, remember that. Everything you have and want is earned, whether it received today or in 10 years doesn't matter because there is no time limit on your success.
The focus point of this VERY long post is to awaken you to the fact that success is subjective. Your journey to success is personal but do not completely go it alone if and when you are struggling. Of course there is always something more to be done right now, or something more you could have done in the past but do not lament, take care of yourself and take a break when necessary! Do the best you can. Strive for your ideas of success and no one else’s. Be ambitious. Be brave. Be bold. Cultivate your happiness!
So, a quick summary of what I really want you to take away from this post is: