Category Archives: Passion & Purpose

A Journey of 1000 footsteps

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu

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This past weekend was filled with the wondrous gift of friendship and insight, followed by the gift of giving, and, that gift was then given back to me with a warm feeling of admiration and love. With the icing on the cake, Sunday being a day of knowledge and self-reflection. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend in my entire life.

And as Sunday drew to a close I concluded with writing in the final page of my journal I’ve kept for the last year. I’ve kept a written journal of my thoughts since I’ve been in high school. Close to more than a decade of thoughts written in books, it’s been a great source of inspiration to me to go back and see how much personal development has occurred within the span of 10 years, yet alone the last year, which, has been proven to be a year with the most highs and lows in my entire life.

I’m not 100 percent sure what in my life possessed me to keep writing a journal for so long, but I was reading the biography of Benjamin Franklin, and it seemed less “childish” to keep a journal of your thoughts. Ben wrote about his daily activities, experiments and other parts of his life as did Da Vinci, I believe its a great way to monitor personal growth and can be a great source of inspiration for future generations to come one day. I’m glad that I did and continue to do so, never know when they will come in handy.

It’s also great to see how life is full of highs and lows. I can smile to see how excited I was during certain high points in my life and learn how much emotional strength was created by working through my low points. And just how long did it take me to bounce back each time a low point occurred, and how did I do so and to whom was I with during a time of need.

I’m not going to write about how perfect I am. I’m not going to tell you every single relationship was a positive one and never ended badly. I’m not concern with how it might appear to other people as they read this. Truthfully, I am perfectly, imperfect. I have my faults and my weaknesses in life and I acknowledge what they are. We try so hard to be what everyone else wants us to be and we hold this image in our mind that if we don’t possess certain qualities, look a certain way or act a certain way that people will just not care about us anymore. I like the blunt honest truth, I am that I am, and acceptance has put me that much closer in-tune with myself, to then be able to work on my weaknesses in life. To understand relationships better and attract more wealth not just in possessions but spiritual. (Yeah, I’m one of THOSE types of people, sorry.)

Getting back to this past weekend, the greatest gift you can offer someone is your time, time well spent is time laughing and sharing in fond memories & creating new ones. And just the ability to share happiness with each other can instantaneously alter another persons path, as happiness & positivity is infections. Needless to say I am excited, I am filled with joy by the friendships that are in my life right now. And I wish I could just go on top of a mountain every single morning and shout out how grateful I am for all of them. And I guess this blog could be considered my mountain, but don’t take your friends for granted. Let them know how much they mean to you as a person, for real, it’s the most painful experience to wake up one morning and realize things aren’t how they were before. So appreciate them, not in what you say, but in what you can do, without anything in return.

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Which brings me to another kind of friendship that I do love to have in my life, a person that you might not see them every single day, or week, month or even years but still find ways to communicate. They are there in your heart in some way shape or form, they might not tell you but just how much of an impact you, being you, has had on them.

Some of these friends drift away, gone off to do their own thing for sometime but something always draws you back into their lives. It could be a life event, or someone who is just willing to take the plunge to make an effort to reconnect because they miss that feeling you gave to them, but something draws you back to the essence of their being.

And the magic happens when that time in-between, never even really happened, you just picked up where you left off. You might have grown, experienced different things but you still remember that feeling you got from being around that person.

Friends are like stars they come and they go but only the true ones glow

So what does all these have to do with the above quote at the very top? Everything! Friendships are very important to a persons success, people have the ability to uplift you or drag you down to their level. So choose your friends wisely my friends, You want to surround yourself with individuals that are optimistic, not pessimistic. You want to have friends that believe in possibilities and not just be satisfied with how things are. And lastly you want to be around people that have the same sense of purpose and passion as you do. People that want to be there to share your excitement, challenge you to do great things with your life and can help them do the same in theirs.

I will leave you with this great interview with LeBron James, NBA superstar, who credits his success in the NBA to the friendship he developed before his success.

Be Brave – Be strong and Be Legendary
– Michael

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The Power of Networking & Community

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So, as I sit down to write this blog, all I keep thinking of is to apologize to the reader profusely. This is not going to be a short read but I hope you read it all the way though and feel inspired by it, with that being said this is a blog entry about my three year journey of networking, and being involved in community activities and why it is important not just to you as a creative mind, but as a person.

The three year journey begins where I use to work, the company was the video production company that did all the Invest in Hamilton videos. It was there that I picked up so many skill sets I contributed most of my success from.

I will begin with my love of Social Media, and when I say social media I really mean Twitter. In the beginning I never understood twitter. I thought it was a silly site, writing what you want to say within a 140 characters seemed very ridiculous! But I knew as a company, you must be on the majority of the social media platforms to reach an audience / build relationships with people and other companies.

Perhaps it’s more of the psychologically nature of it, you might not need a service of a company right away but by building key relationships with people, somewhere down the line when they need your services they will instinctively remember you because you might have been the last person they tweeted with.

So I took up doing a majority of their social media relations, making sure their brand and message was heard through a couple of hours a day doing social media. It wasn’t until I started interacting with clients, that I knew there was more that could be done. Clients boasting about the customer service, which is free advertising to the company never hurts and it is highly authentic.

I was also privileged to work on a couple of music videos as a camera operator with two of my co-workers from the video production company as side projects with them.

On top of my regular day to day stuff, social media, editing and cutting online commercials for directory based business. I was also going out to shoot as part of Invest in Hamilton. It was in doing that where a majority of my networking, community, and relationship building came into play.

Interviewing Hamilton’s high profile individuals either in business, community related, and provided me to meet individuals I call my friends to date.

One such individual was Kevin Browne. Kevin, has been a source of inspiration in my eyes for a such a long time. A community leader in the Tech & Startup field in Hamilton, organizer of DemoCamp and Startup Drinks and very much for the grassroots movement to change a city. (Software Hamilton)

First initially met Kevin during a shoot by Invest In Hamilton for DemoCamp, I was completely inthralled by what was happening in the startup space at the time, all these great and awesome minds building something of value for community use. And I often wondered to myself, why isn’t this being covered more?
I mean, mainstream media covers a majority of the big events, Lions Lair, Startup Weekend, but nothing really at the beginning stages, the moment where everyone gets started. Seemed like a shame to not be able to tell their stories too.

Thus, enters the TechTalk year. For about a year and half now, I made it my mission to cover Demo Camps for the soul purpose of capturing individuals and or group of developers at the beginning stages of their ideas. One individual stood out in my mind which is Ethan Do of OverAir, where just last November he was pitching his idea for the very first time to the general public, we captured an interview with him along with his pitch and since then has gone on to win awards and funding in Toronto and taken his company to the next level.

I don’t find success to be inspiring, success, a long side with perseverance is almost the inevitable. What I find inspiring is hearing the individual story and where they came from and how they came to be and not about the company that has a million dollars. When you talk about inspirational stories from highly successful individuals or companies you’re already putting them on a higher stage and above the individuals you’re looking to inspire. As the quote goes, you can’t compare someone’s chapter 20 to your chapter 1, and I would much rather hear about chapter 1 then chapter 20 right now and get lost in their story of success.

I have been using other networking events such as Startup Drinks as a way of getting validation from Startups and Entrepreneurs to find out ways to improve quality and make TechTalk a more of a sustainable Web Series that creates more value for the viewer. So make sure you keep your eye out this fall as we come back from a summer hiatus to bigger and better TechTalk.

It was also through Kevin and DemoCamp where I met my next source of inspiration, Dale Mugford of BraveNewCode. He has another highly motivating story about how life can throw you a curve ball and turn your entire world upside down, and it is ultimately up to you to wallow in self pity or learn how to adjust the sails and start a new journey.

Having already the privilege of knowing his fiance, Roz of Double Barrel from other encounters, they told me about this exciting new event they want to bring into Hamilton. WordCamp Hamilton, another grassroots movement that is in almost every major city fathomable. Dale thought it was ready to have one in Hamilton to.

Again, another interesting project to work on that was more so self-gratifying to me to be involved in such a great community building event. Bringing together individuals that before didn’t know they blogged or had a word press account and learning from such people Like Kevin Browne, Joey Coleman, Kristen Archer & Seema Narula was a delightful way to spend a day.

They (Roz & Dale) brought me into do some social media engagement, again, knowing what they knew about me and my past and how much I love Social Media they thought it would be a great fit and so well & being that I have become so connected to different aspects of the community from creative to startups to individual bloggers in the city helped me source out individuals that I know would find an event like this valuable. Also helped Roz and Lee of Double Barrel with filming and capturing the event which was sold out by the way for WordCamp Tv.

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Another such instance was meeting Matthew Green, another truly inspiring person that has helped me a great deal and motivated me to do a lot of what I do. He also introduced me to Leo of Empowerment Squared and brought me on board a life changing moment to produce a 6 minute video for his project to build a Learning Centre in Liberia.

This project was many months of us back and forth about how to create a well rounded story that will encapsulate everything that Empowerment Squared stands for, sharing Leo’s story with the rest of the world. The video was recently launched last week, and the only reason why I brought it up in this blog was again the power of networking and building relationships with individuals has connected me to both Leo & Matthew and thus being able to work with both of them on such a phenomenal cause that will make a HUGE difference to the people in Liberia.

Which brings me back to where I have been, and what inspires me. As most of you know and probably think, and the answer is yes, I totally am YouTube obsessed from time to time. I don’t feel it’s an obsession as much as it is a dedication and a sense of passion for storytelling.

That journey began in 2006 when I launched my first Youtube channel, and Youtube was, well very much what it should be today. But that moment changed when Google then bought Youtube and now it’s less about community and more so about eyeballs on your content. But still some of the bigger names still hope for the best and want to do more for the people that are just launching channels which is also nice to see. But growing an audience does not happen over night. You don’t just post a video on Youtube and expect it to automatically reach your target market or demographic. It’s a lot of hard work, 40 hours a week almost to connect with people with similar interest to make a series or vlog successful. And it is not just a one way street, Youtube, like any form of social media is very much a two way street of commenting on other channels.

I became immersed in the vlogging culture youtube adopted. What is vlogging you ask? well it’s simple, right now you are reading a blog, vlogging is just video blogging. People sharing their thoughts and life online. Seems kind of weird don’t you think? But no doubt you’ve got a Facebook account, and isn’t that what Facebook was created for, so I guess it’s not so weird after all?

If you want to see a really awesome documentary pre-google check out the Anthropological look on Youtube
Link is below.

Anyways, getting back into the story, I soon stopped posting, to do the whole school thing but I knew I wanted to come back to it all in some way. I took Television Broadcasting at Mohawk as most of you know and successfully graduated. After looking at the landscape of the television world there was something that sunk into my mind and that is do I really want to be in the Television world?

After spending three years of my life learning everything, it has come down to, did I just waste 3 years of my life? Thankfully the answer is of course no, but that is when I started working for the video production company and worked there for 2 years.

But I started to notice and discover all these high-quality social web series, mostly through Revision3. A network that accuired certain high profile content creators to be apart of their larger network. That Network was then soon bought by Discovery Channel. And that brought the inspiration to do TechTalk as a Web Series and try and adopt their model of using the power and influence of a host to generate ad revenue dollars, same way old school television and radio ads were back in the day.

It also jump started to see if anyone else in the Hamilton area enjoyed creating Youtube videos as much as I did. And again inspired by Kevin Browne and the Startup Drinks meetups I began hosting my own YoutubeDrinks Meet ups.

This was also around the same time Creative Exchange a networking event hosted by the Hamilton Film and Television office shut down their events for the summer. Feeling frustrated not being able to meet new creatives and engage in new ideas that is how Youtube Drinks came to be.

It wasn’t until May/July of last year when I heard about the WebSeries Community growing in Toronto, hesitant to go venture out to Toronto by myself, I willed myself to go and meet new people. When I first got there I felt kind of out of place not knowing anyone there, until I met Rodney Smith (Out of Time WebSeries), an out-spoken, outgoing, vibrant individual that first said hello to me at the bar.

It was there where I introduced myself and told him where I’m from and thats when he took me around to meet some Toronto Creatives. Soon after it felt like I was home, I met close to 50 creatives and had a conversations with. All of them working on some sort of Web Series project, I remember thinking “This is unbelievable!”

All these individuals, are so forward thinking and ahead of their time right now and they are sitting and having drinks all in one room! My first initial thought was this is the kind of community I would love to see grow in Hamilton.

Hamilton’s creative class would LOVE this, and that was the turning point for Youtube Drinks to then become the Hamilton Web Series Community, a monthly meet up for Hamilton’s creative class that wish to do more web based projects & series ideas.

Also, while in attendance at the Toronto web series meet up was their launch for funding to start the IWCC (Independent Web Creators of Canada) a non for profit organization geared to help promote Canadian Content Creators, which has since launch and is now well on it’s way to host it’s first huge public event which we will get into in a moment.

But first, through speaking and networking with the Toronto Community I met an individual by Robert Mills (Rubber Chicken Players, and coming soon SteamPunk Adventures)
who then invited me to be on the panel the IWCC was hosting during FanExpo.


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(photo courtesy of Jess Morton of Jess the Press)

For anyone that doesn’t know what FanExpo is you can check out the link here

It was an honour to be up with the panel with individual creators of such Web Series as Steampunk Adventures, Clutch, Tight & Fights & Pretty in Geek, Kids town, BJ Fletcher Private Eye, and many more to speak about the future of Web Series.

You see, everything is changing now. You have the Canadian Screen Awards which is pretty much the Gemini and Genie awards now open to submission from the Web. Which means your little Web Drama Series can be internationally known.

There is of course WebFest’s springing up in major cities around the world such as LA, Rome, Australia that accept international submissions. And new to 2013 -2014 Vancouver and Toronto will be hosting their own WebFest.

So what exactly does this all mean for a creator? Well, one thing that was talked about on the panel was a screen is just a screen! Doesn’t matter if you’re watching your content through an inferior device such as a Television Screen or you’re watching shows through your smart phone or tablet. Technology has made it easier to watch your favourite content any where at any time.

A network is merely a name that your favourite show is on that you probably don’t even remember the name of in the first place. Services like netflix, allowing you to watch all the episodes of your favourite series to be downloaded or streamed where ever you might be is becoming more of a trend.

So what’s the difference if you find a series on Youtube such as H+ Digital (Produced by Bryan Singer)

Or Video Game Highschool

or if you watch it through something like CTV’s mobile App that is now accruing Web based content to be apart of their library, is there really one any more?

Such as the Web Series GuideStone that went from Youtube to the CTV site as a series.

And CBC, publicly funded by Canadian tax dollars to bring you Canadian content, isn’t that relatively the same as a content creator with a large enough audience to do a crowd sourcing campaign to bring you a second and third season… and they do it because they have a choice to do so.

Another item spoken about at on the panel, does length matter, if you’re trying to gear your web series towards a television audience is it better to make 26 minute long episodes and then break them down with the idea in the back of your head that it can be commercialized at some point down the road.

With all of that being said, being on that panel was terrific experience and I loved every minute of the discussion, now the question is where do we go from here.

From Hamilton’s side of things, I hope this blog post encourages more young vibrant creatives to come out to the Hamilton Web Series Meet ups. I hope it inspires them to get actively engage more so than ever to be apart of this growing movement. I hope that the more established individuals come out so that they can offer assistance with a younger generation wanting to get into the digital production space.

From the Independent Web Creators of Canada stand point, they are well on their way to becoming the flagship to build a strong united frontier. Future programs I would love to see come from the IWCC are more panel discussions and mentorship programs (which I’m sure are already in the works) to take your idea from start to finish learning from already well established Web Series.

And create a bridge between the city of Hamilton and the City of Toronto’s Web Creators, utilizing Hamilton’s unique city landscapes, and tapping into the Hamilton creatives to help build projects,
and of course for Hamilton to do the same within Toronto.

I also would love to see IWCC become the “gatekeeper”, where funding can come direct from the organization that has the creator driven mindset. And understand the challenges every web creator must go through in order to make a project successful.

And for us to continue to grow and learn from one another, build strong relationships with individuals even if you don’t know the reason for meeting each other just yet, the answer will reveal itself over time.

I will leave you with this Quote from the late Steve Jobs.

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Here is how I determine this quote it to be in reflection of my own experiences, you can either work for someone else and see their dreams come true, or you can really focus on what you’re passionate about. And sometimes it means to work while you’re working. Taking on one or two jobs just so you can self fund projects with out having to worry about the headaches so be it, but never lose sight or feeling you have in your heart. Never stop building relationships with people, never stop networking and meeting individuals that some day down the line might be able to assist you in accomplishing your goals and dreams. Always be community driven with the best intentions to help others discover what makes them come alive inside.

P.s I also had an opportunity to have my picture taken with Hannah of Verses Valerie.

Which again I thought was pretty cool!

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And as always, Be Legendary.

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5 Things I wish I knew in college as a creative

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I learned in my college years at Mohawk College as a Television Broadcasting student the past few weeks. And had many conversations with highly engaged community driven creative individuals and I can’t imagine what the future for creatives in the city will be like in 5 to 10 years down the line.

The industry is changing very drastically even from a month-to-month basis that it’s hard to know how everything in the digital space will pan out. I’m not going to write something like Television is completely dead. It really isn’t, but how we consume our media has drastically change.

Our society has slowly changed, we no longer have valuable family time on a Friday night, watching Family Matters, Full House, and Whose The Boss. We no longer sit down at 6pm & or 11pm to watch the evening news… why would we? We’ve checked out our facebook, twitter feed and got the news updates as it is happening in real time. It use to be normal just have one single television set in the family room where we could all congregate, and then, it became normal to have a television set in every room of the house… okay, I’m exaggerating, perhaps one in each bedroom, plus a family room.

But as the digital age progresses, fewer people are watching “television” the way we use to think television should be watched. A majority of television consumption is now through our Smart phones, Tablets, laptop and desktop computers. We are also consuming media in shorter lengths of time because our attention span as dwindled down right to the core. If it doesn’t capture our attention within the first 30 seconds you’ve lost the audience. If you’re not a die hard fan of the concept why do I care to watch it in the first place.

So with all that being said, I wonder what kind of education is being programmed into young idealistic minds today to shape the future of tomorrow. Are they learning about the importance of content being produced and know why we create with an idea of cross platform purposes. Are they merely being taught the basics of video production or other technical aspects that would go into storytelling or finally are they being taught to think in new innovative ways, and think beyond the box we tend to put ourselves in.

So with that being said, I comprised a short top 5 list of things I wish I knew when I first got started in College.

1.) Networking, biggest favour to yourself is getting out in the community and network with other creatives, bring your friends, along with you too, force them into it if you have to!

Networking at events such as Creative Exchange, anything by Factory Media Arts, Cobalt Connects, get out there now, even if you’re just starting out and have nothing to show, it doesn’t matter. The skills you develop by actually interacting with people that are doing something in real time will go a long way with your professional career.

And you never know, you might just end up with a job with a simple handshake and a smile. Find the grassroots networking events, Startup Drinks comes to mind, which is a great networking event that happens once a month that will allow you to easily break the ice, but be consistent when attending. Once you do that, bring a friend, then they feel comfortable and may know another individual that might consider it of value to make connections. That is how we grow together as a community and build long lasting relationships with our peers.

And if at all possible, if you see something missing and you think the creative community could benefit from, build your own networking event. Reach out to the people you wish you could see more of at networking events, never get bogged down being and be an island only to yourself and a select few. The more individuals you know the more opportunities are then created for you to grow not only as a professional but as a person as well.

That’s what I ended up doing over the last year, after I attended my first Web Series meet up in Toronto, I fell in love with the energy that flowed through the space. It was something I was already passionate about so it only made sense to me that I wanted to bring that energy to the Hamilton Creatives.

And don’t be afraid to take the lead, and be a leader if you have to, even if it’s not widely accepted in the beginning. The more you work on building your connections the more people get to know what you’re up to and trying to accomplish.

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2.) If you’re not on social media, start now! And I don’t mean just the usual suspects (Facebook and Google) I mean twitter, Linkedin, even instagram. Use them to build your digital presence, another fellow Mohawk Grad actually brought this up. And after thinking about it, it was so true. You don’t have to have a company twitter account, it is more about getting into the process of interacting with again your community, building trust online, and creating engaging conversation.

Just make sure when you do sign up for twitter, you make your user name as simple as your first and last name. Try not to make it too crazy. The friend I spoke of which most of you reading this probably have seen his tweets, has gone through a few name changes and the only reason for this is as he continues to grow his following on twitter he has changed his work place at least once or twice and with each time he does, he merely changes the end of his twitter handle to reflect the company that he might be working for.

Linkedin, another great way to build relationships and potential leads for future job opportunities. Again, regardless of work experience, start building your professional connections now! It will make the transition process of being a student to a professional a whole lot smoother.

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3.) Take a business course: I would have loved to have more of an intensive class within the 3 year program that talks about the aspect of being a creative entrepreneur. For those individuals that have a passion and drive to build their own business. To be able to learn more about team building, managerial, sales, marketing side of production services. And the knowing what a reasonable rate is for the line of work that you’re doing. Obviously it will vary depending on the situation, a team of one won’t charge the same price as a team of 5 or 6 individuals as a company so that is a must to take into the consideration.

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4.) Development of boundaries: In other words, don’t ever let anyone walk all over you and take advantage of your skill sets as a creative. There is a statue of limitations on proving yourself in the industry and get away from the “It will be a great demo reel piece.” Knowing how much your time is worth, how much your equipment costs and your educational background. You are not a ‘starving artist’ there is no such thing, you just have to develop the right mindset as a creative well in advance before you dive in.

I can tell you through my experience, I spent almost a grand total of 14,000 dollars on getting all of my equipment. I saw it as an investment opportunity, and I haven’t regretted that decision yet. I also spend money every time I go out and buy a new external hard drive so I can properly archive and maintain raw footage just in case if I have to go back to something.

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Now going back to education, if your in Television Broadcasting, you’re using industry leading, cutting edge equipment that probably costs more than anyone is willing to admit. You’re trained in the art of storytelling, knowing what drives a great emotional piece that psychologically compels the viewer to share. You’re using equipment has to be properly taken care of and update and software that costs a pretty penny, unless of course you do it the old pirate way.

So knowing where, when and why you’re setting the boundaries is key. This isn’t a hobby class you’re taking this is your professional career and people have to understand that but most of all you have to understand that. And you might have to say no to projects you really want to take on, but, if you say yes all the time and especially with little to no pay being rewarded it will be that much harder to break later on in life.

5.) Follow your passion: This one is probably the most important of them all. Follow your passion, passion & enthusiasm will set you apart from everyone else. Never let the industry drain your passion to the point that you become jaded. The minute that you come across like that, get out of the way.

And there is a big difference between being realistic and jaded, even when your realistic you still have enthusiasm but if you’re jaded you just rip apart anything that someone new wants to try. And it becomes more pessimistic view on the world. Never let someone else’s path derail you from yours.

Even if they have 30 years worth of experience behind them, the fact is, times are changing. What might not have worked 10 years ago when they first tried to implement the very same idea, could have a completely different impact on how it could work now. Be mindful of these individuals, and stay true to your passionate side, keep the imagination alive and be open to endless possibilities, hang on to that as tightly as possible!

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And my final thought for all of the above is always stay true to yourself, never try and pretend to be like someone else! Be as real as possible. You don’t need to impress anyone, you just need to be you! Let your passion shine through your work like the golden sun breaking through the clouds of a stormy day.

Love and cherish every minute that you spend filling your head up with knowledge and truly empower yourself to be the best creative individual you can be.

– Cheers Michael

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5 things to be grateful for

Today was a great day of self reflection, after doing my morning post I took some time to meditate. It was very relaxing and a found myself in a very peaceful state of mind. I also started watching a bunch of different documentaries about the startup culture in the US, particularly how immigration laws make it difficult for entrepreneurs who move from over seas to the states in order to start a business.

Even if they were creating jobs that would employ 100 employees of Americans in the process they make it very difficult to start anything, I find that to be fascinating since I’ve always stated that North America was founded by immigrants. Now all of a sudden we close the doors and don’t let anyone in? It was a very good documentary regardless. One particular startup had to shut down his already up and going startup and lay off American employees to go through the process of getting a work visa. It’s bizarre.

Here is the link below of the video definitely worth the watch.

I also got into watching the BBC documentary on Steve Jobs, he is the most amazing person when you see his entire life story unfold on screen, it’s getting me very excited to watch the new film about his life ‘Jobs the Movie’ due out August 16 in theatres. I think Ashton Kutcher by the looks of the trailer will play Steve Jobs role very well. Personally probably will be my favourite movie of the summer!

And of course I did a few facebook posts, and tweets about stuff during the course of the day and that was pretty much my day in a nutshell, very relaxing and gearing up for a week of busy work and getting projects done and shipped out there.

I also reflected a little bit about my life on all the things that I am grateful for, and the list is absolutely endless if you really start to think about it you can rhyme off item after item, one by one. There is just so much we take advantage of knowing that it’s just there that we don’t pay enough homage to them.

Here are a little list of things I am grateful for:

1.) I am grateful for life, particularly my life, it has been an unusual journey of self-discovery, something that while there are things I wish I could go back and change in actual fact, things are just the way they should be. Firmly believe that things do happen for a reason, and while you might not know what that reason is right away just have faith that everything was meant to be as it is and should be. I am also particularly grateful for my natural artistic abilities. Something I discussed in the previous blog with the bible quote. It has always resonated something within me about that. And how many of us choose to live a life where we aren’t using our talents to it’s full potential. And lastly about my life is I am eternally grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had so far in my life time. And had a chance to work on some amazing projects with great people!

2.) Family, we take advantage of family so much in our life because we are surrounded by our family all the time. But when our family starts to disappear, and members of our family grow older and move on creating new families, we lose touch with them. It’s sad in a way but it’s always a beautiful thing when that sense of togetherness comes back for a BBQ or just simply hanging out for the sake of hanging out. And during tough times in our lives family is very important, that supportive feeling can be an awesome and uplifting feeling to have at your side.

3.) Friends, I’ve gained friends, I’ve lost friends, and I forged new friendships with people, that is the name of the game. I find that the quote about friendship is very much true…

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I will also add not just ‘real’ ones but people you can count on when in need, people that won’t lie to you just so it benefits them in the end. I would rather hear the truth from a real friend then hear a lie from a fake friend. But even the ones we weed out of our lives as not important to us, do teach us something. Even if it was a bad experience, it can be a humbling realization that humans will be humans and we must take them as they are and not what our idealistic views of how a friend should be like. Some friends were meant to only stay in our lives for a short period of time and when they leave it opens up room in your heart to let new and more exciting people to come in.

4.) Emotions, I am completely grateful for having the ability to freely express my emotions. Regardless of the type of emotions they are, even sadness, pain, and heart ache. Without these emotions we would never know what it feels like to feel in love, happiness, and fulfilment. It also makes you aware just how alive you truly are. I would not want to go day after day only feeling one emotion, even if it was happiness. I don’t think I would every feel right if I walked around with a smile 24/7 for the rest of my life. I need to have that personal struggle in my life to know how strong I am. I need to have the ability to express sadness when I need to, to show I am an emotional human being.

5.) Humbleness and Humility, sometimes we get very high and mighty on ourselves and can prove to be a detrimental, there is nothing wrong with pride. Only if you have the ability to be humble about your pride, and willingness to share a piece of vulnerability in humility. Sometimes life isn’t going to be this picture perfect life. You will fail more times than you will succeed at life. But the important aspect to remember is to never give up, no matter how many times you want to throw in the towel. Especially if your vision is as important to you as the air that you breathe. You will find away eventually, as long as you keep attacking from different angles and never get stuck on one particular thing.

I think from my point of view, I am just blessed to have so many wonderful things in my life, things that individuals take for granted and never seek gratitude to have that in their lives. I welcome pain and suffering just as much as I welcome love and happiness because I know good things never last but neither do bad. It’s part of the roller coaster of life.

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We can’t hide from pain, we can’t escape suffering, it’s better to develop natural coping mechanisms that will help you rise above your discomfort by working through it all to better understand yourself and understand the world we live in. But as we get better at understanding and knowing we will not know everything there is to know about life, the more you will risk and take more chances and when that happens life is a beautiful place.

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The most powerful weapon human kind has, the power of choice.

A few days ago I had a few meetings to go to and a few things to sort out with my life, probably one of the better days I’ve had in a little while. I noticed something about myself when I started talking to someone about some of the stuff that I’ve done in the past and what I am looking forward to do, I get really soft and silent when it comes to certain subjects but very loud and animated when I discuss things about community and just in general certain stuff I am passionate about.

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It’s very strange what happened, I wanted to ask to get into this certain program that will help me develop what I want to develop in my field of video production and storytelling, but that’s not what the weird part. The weird part came after when someone sent me an email to a link to the very same program I was looking for more information on, which brings me to the conclusion that this is something I need and must do.

I might have to sacrifice a few things in my life at the moment but I am prepared to take those sacrifices on to continue to build what I would call my legacy, sounds a little bit vain, I know but having an ego is not necessarily a bad thing to have in life. It just means you know what you want, and the image you want to leave behind. And this is merely one part of the legacy I wish to leave with the rest of the world.

These blogs of course are apart of that, making sure I document every step leaving my footprint upon the world and making sure people know, I was here, and I am never to be forgotten. The other most powerful moment of the day was having a conversation with a young creative entrepreneur I met just about a year coming up this August. He is two years younger than I am, but he has this passion and drive and ideology towards life in him that I’ve never really seen before at a relatable level. We talked about his project which is this festival he started and how I come to cross paths with him called “A mid-summer nights dream”.

This is something I captured of the day event festival.

His outlook on life was very refreshing to see, a majority of individuals I meet or are friends with are slightly older than I, and there for have become jaded by pursing something new and with a sense of purpose. That I really enjoyed my conversation with him. His story about struggle and not knowing if the festival will be a success or not but something told him inside of himself to just do it and keep going. “Push on through” as he said things happen during the right time and place it is suppose to happen.

Needless to say he is very excited for this years festival and I to am as excited because I watched his progress and seen how much effort and work he has devoted himself to this festival that it will pay off in droves. I think the festival will have a bigger turn out than last year now that people who were there are helping to spread the message. And I think it is the best time for a festival like this.

You can see it, within the past two artcrawls in Hamilton even for the summer the amount of people that are out and about exploring James St North which is the centre for not only Hamilton, but Hamilton’s Art & culture community. The last artcrawl almost felt like supercrawl which only happens once a year and they shut down the streets, there was enough people and energy that fills James St N that warranted that to happen so people could freely walk down the street rather than a sidewalk.

The exciting growth in Hamilton’s Arts community grew organically, and that growth and excitement is now hitting a huge turning point in how art and culture can revitalize a city.

The third most thing that happened to me on that very same day was a friend of mine took me to a bar and I very suddenly realized that they had karaoke, which again gets me going sometimes when I want to express that side of me. Nothing like belting out my favourite songs to sing to unleash the musical creativity in me. Since I don’t play any musical instruments Karaoke and singing to me are the next best thing I can do to satisfy that need.

Karaoke Playlist: Frank Sinatra – My Way, Bobby Darin – Mack The Knife, Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire, Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World, Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going on, AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

Afterwards my friend that I was with said to me that she didn’t realize I had the range of music, and I was a renaissance man of talent, which often goes unnoticed. This made me smile, because this is how exactly how I feel about me and my art. A few of my idols as artists such as Michelangelo, or Da Vinci were best known for a wide range of talents and I always transplanted that idea in developing my creativity. So needless to say I feel like I’ve done something right now that people are starting to take notice.

It is important to me not just as an artist but as a human being to be able to freely explore the endless pool of abilities that God has given me, and I’m not much of a religious individual, I grew up catholic but I find organized religion to lose its purpose when you have agendas that have nothing to do with a calling from a higher power. I do believe in God, I just don’t believe in the catholic church. I don’t believe in going to a place of worship every Sunday especially since God and the spirit of God is all around us and surrounds us. I believe in celebrating in my own way and I think God would want us to do that.

“For qit will be like a man rgoing on a journey, who called his servants3 and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five stalents,4 to another two, to another one, tto each according to his ability. Then he rwent away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and udug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now vafter a long time the master of those servants came and wsettled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and xfaithful servant.5 yYou have been faithful over a little; zI will set you over much. Enter into athe joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be ba hard man, reaping cwhere you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here dyou have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You ewicked and eslothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 fFor to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And gcast hthe worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place gthere will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 25:14-30

This bible story always stuck out in my mind when I think about talents and abilities, and finding purpose within your talents to be able to share with the rest of the world the gift that which you have been given. Never fear your abilities, realizing that you have so much to give, and the more you give freely of yourself, the more ye shall return by the grace of God.

I am more of a spiritual human being rather than a God fearing individual, so hope you didn’t read into this as if I was just that. I am open to the endless possibilities that can and will only be discovered after departed from this body and where our souls go afterwards. And if you don’t believe in anything like that I certainly hope you’re making the most out of your life if you think that this is the only thing we have to look forward to.

I am eternally grateful for having this kind of mindset that was nurtured within me, to be humbled by not knowing what might happen after we pass on, but appreciating all religion’s just as they individual belief systems. My favourite religion teacher once said to our class “The secret is just to do and be good, if you do and be good with your life that’s all that matters”. And I believe that to be true. Just do the best that you can with your life and not be afraid. There are no right or wrong answers just experiences. So go and experience as much of life as you possibly can. Be good to your neighbour and fellow man/woman. And love as much as you can with out fear of being hurt in the process, because even in pain there is always a reason and I believe with all my heart and soul that you would not be given a bad experience you were not meant to handle.

Best part of being human is our ability to adapt and gain strength even during our darkest moments, the human spirit will always prevail.

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What’s your purpose?

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” ― Gautama Buddha

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I’ve always struggled to find my purpose in life, I’ve done everything I was suppose to and every time I did I would find myself unfulfilled. Sometimes it felt like I was floating down someone else’s path and living someone else’s life.

The only thing I love is art, and creating art to be viewed, to be heard, to be read, and the excitement I get when someone see’s something I’ve created for the first time and the initial feedback receive is absolutely thrilling to me, unmatched by anything I have ever experienced before. Even when the impact is negative, I don’t take things straight to the heart, I do listen to suggestions about the craft I might be participating in.

One constant theme through out my entire life was storytelling and the art of telling a riveting good story, something that is driven by characters and their purpose. I suppose that’s why I am a sucker for a good 80’s movie. Back before we could honestly say “That movie had some amazing CGI effects”

With my novel project, I wanted to do something completely different, not that I am doing this to make money although that is the end result but it’s about working on a project for a short period of time and then having it self-sufficent later on. Basically while I sleep it could still be generating an income.

I think it takes more courage to do something you’re afraid of doing because the result could go south, then not to try anything at all and follow the path with least resistance. It’s the resistance that makes for great stories to tell at the end. And I think that is part of my purpose is to find that and be daring, not afraid to do it because in the end it could lead to something absolutely beautiful and pleasurable and I would and could be in a position to help others that are in a similar situation.

So I suppose in short, when I talk about passion and purpose within my life, in a nut shell is to be creative in everything that I do. Tell stories that create emotion within people and never hide my talents from the universe and explore how they can all interact with each other building a unique force of passion that challenges me.

So what’s your purpose in life?

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Creative Entrepreneur

So, you want to earn a living doing something you’re truly passionate about, chances are maybe it is something in the creative spectrum.

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While watching television, I thought about something Bob Proctor had said in a seminar I was watching the day earlier. Which was ‘Think’ and he goes on with during this seminar how we don’t use our brain power enough basically.

Which I think is true, we only use as much brain power it takes to take on what ever task we might be under taking at that time. It was at that time I really turned off my television, television really doesn’t help you think. It’s really a form of escapism from our day to day lives.

After I turned off the television set I went for a drive and started thinking about my life and current state it’s been. I thought about all the things I want to do with my life and my future plans. And at that moment I started thinking about the past, as I was heading down a road I use to take all the time that is filled with memories.

It was at that particular moment I realized just how much has changed around me, I instinctively thought but I myself haven’t changed very much. Which is obviously not true and took action to correct that thought.

Physical form, a lot hasn’t changed, environmentally hasn’t really changed a whole lot but both mentally and emotionally I’ve been growing drastically. And then I thought, I wonder why that is? In dealing with all theses shifts and changes that have occurred with my surroundings, I learned how to mentally prepare myself in dealing with change.

Change, regardless of you want it or not in your life is inevitable. Things change all the time, sometimes slow, some times rapidly, so rapidly as such that you don’t even know it has happen.

So getting back to the title ‘creative entrepreneur’ – It’s true, my environment hasn’t changed much sometimes I get a tad bit edge of the seat about this because I want to create movement with my life, so much so, I can actually see the difference.

But what I am coming to understand is through my experiences I am able to call upon these new skill sets in order to really jump start a new life in as a Creative Entrepreneur. I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘New Life’ really however, after looking at my past once more I have and always had a creative Entrepreneur sensibility to me.

One example came to mind, one of my passions has always been photography and I loved going out and taking shot after shot after shot. I developed a fairly keen eye for what looks good on camera. Any rate, I had taken all these pictures and I had never really done anything with them until one day I decided I was going to create greeting cards out of them. Where I was working at the time agreed to let me use a little corner space to have them on display and I decided to sell them for 2 dollars a piece.

I remember the within the first week of having them up people flocked to the display and they were bought and sold within a matter of a couple weeks.

This kind of creative and entrepreneurial thinking must be revisited in my mind, sure it won’t make me a ‘living’ but it is just one of many income streams that could prove to be lucrative. It’s also more than just selling, it’s about developing these creative ideas, and really brining these ideas to life with precision and direct results.

Now it’s your turn, have you ever been in a similar mind frame? How did you over come it?

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