Book review: Dying to be me

Hey guys! I’m back again but with a quick book review this time. Yes, I am finally part of a book club and although it is still early days there is so much I have learned from this process as I have always been a solo reader, preferring and enjoying my own selections. Now that I am in a group of 8, there are many dynamics at play, the biggest one being diversity in preferences which is both uncomfortable but enlightening. If interested I can share a bit more on my experience as well as some tips on how to start your own book club and what I would do if I could start mine over again.

I briefly engaged on our first book selection on Instagram about a month ago and you can check it out there if you are interested. Today though, I would like to share on our second book selection titled “Dying to be me” by Anita Moorjani.

Dying to be me is the second book we have selected in our book club. From the moment I began reading the first chapter I was captivated. There are many things I can pinpoint to my love for the book but my top two are how easily I could relate to the author and ease of reading. If I can imagine and buy into the author’s story, I’m a fan. If I can read more than one chapter in one sitting after a full day of work, I’m a super- fan! haha… so Anita had both for me, she wrote like an old friend and the book was set in Hong Kong which is the second last city I visited in 2018 and this made it very relatable for me.

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Tshego in Wan Chai, Hong Kong 2018

In a nutshell, Dying to be me is a book that takes the reader through the journey of the fullness of life. In the book Anita shares her background, growing up as a child in Hong Kong in a middle class household. She shares stories about her conflict growing up in environments with clashing cultures and religious beliefs and often getting stuck in the middle of her own beliefs and values, and living up to the expectations of her Indian community and parents. Throughout her life she has always felt different and not like she quite belonged.  She had always believed that human beings are greater than the social confines they place on themselves.

The turning point in her lifeI would say is when she loses two of her loved ones (a family member and a friend) to cancer. Unknowing at the time, she later explains how the fear of contracting the disease is what lead to her demise and soon after her loved ones passed away she also developed cancer.

What I would describe as the climax of the book is when she experiences what she refers to as a “Near Death Experience” or “NDE”. At this point the cancer has ravaged her body beyond believe and she is literally at deaths door when suddenly she has an out of body experience and enters the spiritual realm which she describes in detail in the book, stating that it exists all around us. In this experience she decides whether to allow herself to leave the earthly realm and live a life of fullness, unconditional love, acceptance and peace or come back to earth and truly life life fearlessly and  with conviction. I will leave the rest for you to find out from here regarding what happens and how the story ends (or continues hahaha).

I now know that everything I need is already contained within me and is completely accessible if I allow myself to open up to what I sense is true for me…

I believe that Dying to be me goes beyond just being a story that one reads. It certainly is a tool for healing, spirituality and how to live in mental and physical abundance. For me, getting to her Near Death Experiece brought me so much closure about my loved ones who have passed on/ crossed over. Some people may not believe in crossing over and reincarnation and that’s okay but this book shed some light on what it is my loved ones may have gone through and what they crossed over to, which brings me sooooo much needed closure. Another thing the book taught me was to believe in practices that spiritually move me. So it completely turns the concept of religion on its head which I love because I believe that spirituality is so complex! I will leave that one there haha… Lastly, I have learnt the importance of slowing down, (in life and in thinking) and understanding that being still does not mean regression. That taking time to acknowledge and appreciate the small things and those around me, won’t make me “miss out” on my destiny. That in fact, my inside voice is my true guide and in order to hear it I must be still and I must be deliberate about following its guide.

Lacking awareness of our perfection keeps us feeling small and insignificant, and this goes against the natural flow of life- force energy- that which we really are. We go against ourselves

There are so many things that the author Anita Moorjani has written about that just drop my jaw and move my soul. From her fear of cancer and worry of attaining the disease resulting in her ultimate (temporary) demise, to coming back to a bigger and fuller life. It’s crazy. Her writing is so beautiful and so easy. Her story just flows and its so remarkable.

Heaven is a state not a place

Anita, thank you so much for sharing your NDE with conviction. I believe that everything happens for a reason and this book couldn’t have come into my life at a better time 💗. This book has brought so much healing, so much comfort and so much perspective. Life is meant to be lived. Fiercely. It’s more than what our eyes can see.  

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5 habits that will lead to happiness: for the serial over thinker


Ok so right off the bat, I’ll admit, I am a serial over thinker. For the longest time my biggest and unconscious habit was finding ways to put myself into a bad mood. I had gotten to a point where my sister created an invisible “power off” button at the back of my neck that she would literally press when she felt that my brain was overheating. It’s that bad. Overtime I have come to realize the power of our minds and our subconscious thoughts and although I will admit, I do not get it right everyday but I have found that when I focus, I have been a much happier, stress-free human and I want to share with you how I achieved this.

  • Habit #1: Take every negative thought and spin it into a positive and RUN with it
    • Literally let your mind run wild and obsess over the numerous positive possibilities. Your mind for example could be telling you that someone might be out to get you, immediately when you get this thought, just start thinking about how much that person has on their plate and this will begin to show you how low on their priority list you actually are.
  • Habit #2: Try not to sweat the small stuff
    • It is so easy to get yourself worked up over the smallest (and oftentimes), unnecessary detail/ action. when you contextualist the detail / action into a lifetime, does it really shift the dial that your colleague walked in without greeting you this morning? Nope.
  • Habit #3: Sometimes appearance is reality
    • Most of the time there are numerous ways that people or situations can communicate with you. if someone or something shows itself as an apple for example, don’t find ways to turn that apple into a banana, its an apple.
  • Habit #4: Exercise or mediate
    • The brain is a muscle that benefits greatly from exercise, I have personally discovered that when I work out, I am much more positive version of myself. I am relaxed and I can think clearer and more logically.
  • Habit #5: Understand and believe that people are inherently good
    • They just sometimes do some really fucked up shit- I will leave this one here.

Thanks for taking some time and stopping by today. If you found my post to be useful, please share it with a fellow over thinker who could find some value in these 5 habits.

Also, its not too late in the year to incorporate a few of these habits into your New Years resolutions. They really work like a charm in getting me out of a funk, I hope you find them just as useful!

Unboxing my Apple Watch Series 4

In the last week of January I finally purchases my Apple Watch Series 4 after years of procrastination. It finally felt right and I could justify the expense better to myself with reasons beyond the aesthetics.

So as some of you know I started my fitness journey, lets say around June last year. when 2019 rolled around and I was still taking the gym life seriously I decided to actually activate my Vitality and as a passive resolution I committed to transform my body into the fittest and healthiest form it has ever been in. Naturally I am a goal driven person and this is why the vitality program works so well for someone like me. Those weekly goals really get me going and the rewards- absolutely amazing.

There comes a point on the Vitality program where you can only meet your weekly goals with the aid of a wearable and this is how the Apple Watch came into my life. it was love at first wear. I am not naturally a watch person, but ever since i got my watch, I have been wearing it EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m in love guys! ❤

I started on Bronze status this year (the second lowest status). It is now March, and I am 7000 points away from getting to gold. To put things in perspective:

  • When you start on the Vitality program you’re on the Blue status bar and all you need to achieve is 100 points in a week
  • 100 points can be attained in various ways but the simplest is either by walking 10 000 steps or swiping your card at the gym (and actually going in lol)
  • As you achieve or exceed the number of points, the goal increased (reasonably)
  • There will come a time when you have to achieve >700 points and that is where I am now and things get a bit tricky because you can only go to the gym so many times in a week and the program only counts 1 gym entrance a day and the highest of all your activities in that day
  • This is when the watch comes in handy as the workout programs are linked to points which are dependent on how hard you exert your body and heart. the points are tiered according to the percentage of exertion on your heart based on your age and they range from 60% up to 80%, the highest securing you 300 points per workout exceeding 30 minutes.
  • With the help of my watch I have been able to achieve in excess of 1000 points in most weeks and this has allowed me to fast track my progress on the program and with the fitness rewards on offer, you can see why my A- type personality is exceeding expectations on this program, and I use the word exceeding because there are people on the program who believe it is impossible to progress more than 1 tier/ status level in one year and before the first quarter of the year ends, I am already well positioned to attain two status level movements. the doubt also low-key motivates me

So yes, we can sit here all day and I explain some cool features on the watch and take you through comparables with the Apple 3 series vs 4 but Im really not here to do that. I am glad I waited until my purchase meant something greater than following a fad. All I want to say is that I love my watch and it has fundamentally changed the way I operate and view my health and fitness journey and it is worth EVERY last cent that I spent.

Thanks so much for stopping by. If you also have a wearable you are obsessed with let me know what it is and why you believe it has made all the difference in your life 🙂

Traveling with colleagues (the DL)

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Source: Tshegofatso Makoe

One of the really cool perks about my job is that I get to travel pretty often. Not many people can say that they’re guaranteed to experience 4 new African countries each year and get paid to do so. I have seen the good and the bad and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything.

Recently, my job took me to Cote d’Ivoire– a place where every second sentence was “bonjour madam” and a very poorly attempted and broken “Je ne parle pas Francais” I’m probably still fudging it up now… I also visited (for the second time) beautiful Kenya and had two new East African experiences with Uganda and Tanzania which I fell in love with.

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Source: Tshegofatso Makoe

You’re probably wondering who I travelled to these countries with and what the purpose of my visits was, I can only answer one of these questions today and it brings me to the purpose of my post today. Traveling with colleagues.

Over the past year I have had the privilege of traveling to the biggest countries (by GDP) in the Western and Eastern parts of Africa with my millennial, and not so millennial colleagues, and I think it would be interesting to share my top 6 realisations on these experiences.

  1. Keep the focus: traveling with millennials is fun but more is expected
    • This one is quite obvious. traveling with millennial colleagues, especially like- minded ones is quite fun however the pressure to produce solid outputs and provide a greater ROI than other non- millennial trips is expected.
  2. Curiosity reigns: you can do more with research and really push the envelope
    • Because everyone is young and curious- the research team picks up more information (especially the left- field data points) and also fewer assumptions are made.
  3. “Alone time” is golden
    • Something we were more deliberate about this time around was scheduling down- time. The result of everyone being in close proximity for 80% of the day means that you all really get to know each other REALLY well. You can gauge when someone is “people-d out” or when a group break is needed. everyone is aligned in thinking and that really strengthens the team bond. When you make time for those random breaks (some late starts and early endings to a day) it really makes all the difference and keeps the burnout at bay. When the team regroups, everyone is well- rested and new perspectives and energy is bountiful.
  4. Give and take
    • Following on from point 3, traveling for long periods as a unit really teaches you a lot about compromising and sacrificing. you begin to see your colleagues as living and breathing humans that you care for to some degree, beyond the commonalities of a shared employer
  5. Connectivity
    • Despite us usually being chaperoned by locals in- country, this didn’t save us in Cote d’Ivoire where we could barely communicate in the local language. The research piece in a foreign country where English is not the primary language is almost futile and here we learned the importance of being connected to a network provider via a local sim. Once we were connected, a local sim provided access to translator apps as well as people in the office who were bilingual, to translate our “on- the ground needs” to drivers and chaperones.
  6. A lil party never killed nobody
    • Emphasis on “a lil” cause a lot will make you lose the plot but “a lil” builds the perfect amount of camaraderie that produces superior results time and time again.

Also, if you’ve read this far, you know it means I’m back on the blogging scene!

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Source: Tshegofatso Makoe

The invitation for men and women in the future of gender equality

“Men are so used to helping themselves that’s it’s like… they can’t help themselves…”

For a very long time now I’ve been trying to figure out why women, black women to be more specific, are angry human beings . I, like many others harbour a silent rage from my own personal experiences as well as those of my family, friends, colleagues and strangers; with this big bad world.

A lot of people ask and wonder why we are so angry and partly it’s because of how we are treated in this world; which is something we will never “get over” by the way. Being born in a world where you are seen and treated like property or an inanimate object purely based on your gender and your race is something to have a raging fury about; no- wait. It’s something to be pissed the fuck off about.

You go your merry way expecting to be treated like a human being; never mind an equal one and even on your best day the world has a huge piece of phlegm ready for your face.

In a recent Ted Talk I watched by Tracee Ellis Ross, she highlights that women have been trained to think that we are overreacting or that we are being too sensitive; or unreasonable. We try to make sense, of nonsense and we swallow the fury. We try to put it in some hidden place in our minds but it doesn’t go away.

It’s an exhausting reality and one which we must not tire speaking about, irrespective of the discomfort and ostracism. Someone’s got to do it and the sooner it clicks that we aren’t objects, we won’t tolerate it and we won’t keep quiet, the quicker it will end.

We are not overreacting and this is not “just the way it is”. The time is up on that. It is men’s responsibility to change men’s bad behavior. I repeat. It is men’s responsibility to change men’s bad behavior.

To find out the roles we aught to play in this future world, I urge you to watch the ted talk below.

The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately…

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If I had a dollar each time a male individual told me that “the world is yours”, seriously, it really would be. The sad reality though is that it really isn’t, it is everyones and the price we pay for our part of the world is taxing.

“The biggest misconception and killer of dreams is the hope that someone is coming to save you/ give you your big break. No one is coming sisi… you must come for yourself.”

As women in corporate, we now live in an era where roles and opportunities are in abundance for African females in African corporates. However, no one tells you how many obstacles you will need to overcome to attain this seat that is “waiting for you”. We are still pushing sis… in 2018 we are still breaking glass ceilings, still fighting back tears from a lack of recognition in a boardroom or for a piece of work we poured our whole existence into. still.

There is this misconception floating around with women in corporate that if we are beautiful, dress the part, are hardworking and smart, we will get recognized and rise up to c- suite level; that our work will speak for us” Its not going to happen sis. No one is coming to save you, no one will recognise you and no one will be giving you a break. It’s not unfair, it is just life. the only person who might just be able to give you your big break, if you work really hard at it, is yourself. but trust me, no one is coming to save us, we need to save ourselves…

If

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

If you can keep your head when all about you     
  Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
– Rudyard Kipling
Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)