The Spirit of a Fisherman

I was spending a day at the shore when a fisherman caught my attention. He would repeatedly throw his bait in the sea and roll the reel back to get his catch. I had no idea what he was doing, and still don’t to be honest. I think it was some kind of recreational fishing, or maybe he was practicing or something. I am not a fan of fishing, and that’s not the point of this post. What caught my attention and what I want to talk about is the act itself. He threw the bait many times and every time he’d get nothing. Still, he’d throw it over and over again while keeping a smile on his face. As I said before, I couldn’t understand what he was trying to do, but it inspired me somehow.

We all face situations in life where we fail, get frustrated, and decide to quit. In other words, we decide to stop trying. We would set goals and get determined to achieve them, but in the middle of the drive we would just stop! Why? Here are some reasons why we stop trying:
– We can’t see the point of going further anymore
– We no more have the enthusiasm we had at the beginning of the journey
– We don’t have enough will to go on
so quitting becomes easier and justified. Let’s say you started a project and was so excited at first, then in the middle of it your performance started to slack off. You no more feel enthusiastic as before and start slowly to get off track. Or maybe you are trying to lose weight, you eat healthy and exercise but you are not really seeing the results you were aiming for. It makes you angry and want to reach for the nearest box of donuts. You assume that since you’re not as thin as you imagined you’d be by now your effort is in vain. That’s not true of course! What you’ve been doing is called trying. Trying is your way to reach your goals. If you are going to give up from your first failed attempt, then don’t expect to get what you want. The difference between successful people and failures is that successful people never give up. They never get tired of trying over and over again to see the results they’ve been wishing to see. Let me remind you of a quote by Thomas Edison: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

I decided to take the fisherman as an inspiration for patience and persistence. Let’s look at it that way:
the act of throwing the bait in the sea equals trying. He doesn’t know for sure if he’s gonna get a catch. But he will never know if he doesn’t take a shot, right? Then he pulls back to see what he got. Now there are two scenarios here. The first scenario he will have a big fish right in front of him. The other one is he will end up with an empty hand. If the second scenario happened would it be the right thing for him to put the fishing rod down and start crying over how he couldn’t catch a fish? No! He would try again and again until he catches something, and it doesn’t matter how long it will take him. The only thing that matters is that he does not quit before he gets what he wants.

So if you are tired of looking for jobs for example, remember the fisherman. Throw your CV, resume, cover letter…etc into the sea of companies and wait till someone swallows the bait. Even if you did not get accepted from the first try, don’t give up. Take another shot and stay optimistic. Always remember: don’t ever stop trying until you see the results you were anticipating. And trust me, all your failed attempts will pay off at the end. The most important thing is to learn from it and use it as your way to a foolproof performance. When you feel like quitting or start to lack the enthusiasm, just remember how important your goal is and how sweet it will be when you finally achieve it. So let’s all have the spirit of a fisherman and go get the catch!

Got the blues? Or…? (part 1)

Have you been feeling down lately? Is it something temporary or have you been like this for a long time now? Are you having the blues? It’s not Monday, you know. Or are you up to something more serious? I want to talk today about a grave subject in our life: depression. The reason why I thought of writing about this condition is that I’ve been having some mood swings lately. But depression is not just some “mood swings”, it’s way more than that.

What is depression?

So what exactly is depression? Depression, according to Oxford medical dictionary, is a mental state characterized by excessive sadness. This mood disorder has persistent symptoms that last for more than two weeks. This illness can affect your thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. So it’s not exactly a case of a bad day, it’s a condition that lasts for weeks or even months. Some people think “it’s not a big deal” but it’s actually a serious illness that needs to be treated in order to prevent any dangerous complications.

How to know if you’re depressed

According to WebMd, the symptoms of depression are:

Psychological symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Physical symptoms:

  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

As you can see, depression doesn’t only affect you mentally but also physically. So, if you have most of these symptoms mentioned above you are probably suffering from depression.

Why do we get depressed?

Generally, there are many causes of depression. It is caused by a combination of factors such as a person’s genes, personal experience, neurochemical (a drug or other substance that affects the nervous system) factors and psychological factors. It can also be due to a chronic illness (a condition that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely) like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and HIV/AIDS. But as a normal teenager or an adult, let’s see why you can get depressed.
Let me talk about the psychological and environmental factors here. As a teenager, you are probably facing a lot of pressure in your daily life. Whether it’s your parents’ high expectations, getting good grades in school, or peer pressure, it could affect you in a negative way. All this environmental stress can cause feeling of frustration, despair, self-worthlessness, helplessness, anxiety, and fear. You keep worrying about your social life and social status, your future, problems in your household…etc. The same thing can apply for young adults and adults. Getting a job, the pressure from your boss at work, feeling like you are stuck in a rut, and all the other ‘real world’ problems can be very overwhelming. You start to isolate yourself inside your safe shell to avoid all this. The next thing you know, you are falling in a dark pit. This can lead you to think of suicide as a way out.

Warning signs of suicide:

  • Talking about killing or harming one’s self
  • Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
  • An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
  • Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
  • Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
  • Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
  • Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”
  • A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy

Getting help!

If you show the signs of depression and/or suicide or know someone who does, you should get help immediately. There are a lot of methods to fight depression, and different treatments works for different people; whether it’s support from your family and friends, a lifestyle change, or professional help. I recommend you get help from a mental health professional. They can offer effective treatments such as medication, group therapy, and alternative treatments. Also your family and friends can be a great source of hope that will help you to recover. Do not shut yourself from the outside world and say that you are better off away from everyone else. A night out with your friends or a road trip with your family can definitely lift your mood and prove to you that there are people who care about you, and you’d be selfish to think of leaving them.

Still, some of us might not be able to reach for professional help, or too afraid to ask. And maybe your friends or family can’t provide you the support that you need to get your life back. So in that case, what can you do? I am going to discuss ways you can fight depression if you are alone in this. In Got the blues? Or…? (part 2) I am going to talk to you about how to beat depression from within and finally reach the light at the end of the long dark tunnel.

You can find more info about depression here:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml

You can find more info about teen depression in this link:
http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/teen-depression

Friendship-wrecked

If there’s one thing we can all agree on that would be the importance of having a close friend in our life. Most of us have at least one close person to talk to freely about anything and everything, while knowing that we won’t be judged. That’s whom we call our bff, bestie, best friend, best mate, bro, my man…etc. Regardless the name we give them, they all represent the same person to us: a true friend. This reminds me of a quote by Bernard Meltzer “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” But what would happen if this emotional sanctuary is wrecked?

Researches show that the presence of a friend/friends in our life is very important for our mental health. No wonder that is true! I mean tell me how are you suppose to keep your sanity after a long tiring day at work without going out with your friends, or who’s gonna comfort you with a big bowl of ice cream after you’ve been let down by someone or something? We sure wouldn’t be able to make it through all these psychological ordeals without our friends. That’s why it is very important to have and to keep friends. Researchers also say friends may have a healthy influence on harmful behaviors such as smoking and drinking, and affects our mood and self-esteem. This in return helps to live healthy and promotes a longer life. But enough with the statistics and researches, you don’t need to know about all that because you’ve probably experienced it somehow. I know the reason you are reading this is possibly because you recently had a fight with a friend, a very dear one. So what is the right thing to do now?

You might be very angry because your friend did something you despise, or upset because your friend has got you in a terrible situation, or you fought again about your different political views…etc. and you might be feeling guilty by now and want to make up, but then your pride won’t allow you to or maybe your friend is the one who doesn’t want to. So let’s see how something like this can be tackled.

If you want to make things up between you and your friend you need to take a trip down memory lane first. Remembering all the sweet memories and the good times you’ve had with your friend will show you the importance of their presence in your life. You will also see how amazing this person is and how they affected you. It’s not only the good times you need to remember, but the bad ones too. Do you remember when you were having a bad day and your friend was the only person in the world who understood what you were going through and was able to draw a smile on your face? And do you remember who stood by you when you got into trouble? Yes, your friend; the one whom you fought with over something that might be insignificant. Friendship is one of the supreme gifts life can give you, and it would be such a shame to take it for granted. And no matter what the reason behind the fight is, I don’t think it’s worth it!

Now that you understand how stupid it was to declare war between you and your friend, it’s time to wave the white flag. I know that you’re probably saying “why don’t they come and make things up?” Well, let’s remember the famous quote by Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Yes, be the one who’s willing to make the first step in the path of reconciliation even if you are not the one who started it all. I have few ideas to help you make things up with your friend. Some of it might sound too crazy for you, but why not try it?
1. You know your bestie’s favorite song, right? Then get up and walk to them and start singing their favorite song in front of everyone. Better yet, ask them to join you! Too crazy? Try the next one.
2. Write them a song or a poem to show them how precious the friendship is to you. If they wouldn’t read it then again, get up and recite it in front of everyone else.
3. Find out if there are going to be any concerts or shows in your town which your friend might be interested to see. Or maybe an art exhibit or even a new action flick in the theatres. Just buy two tickets of whatever they’d like to see and give one to them with a sincere apology.
4. Are you a good cook? Have you created any recipes before? Why not bake your friend their favorite cake or pie? Or better yet, cook them one of your creative dessert recipes. You can write your apology on the dessert and give it to them in a nicely decorated box.
5. Are you into handcrafted jewelry? A handmade bracelet saying ‘best friends forever’ or that has both your names on it can be a great way to remind them how great is your friendship. Also you can make them a necklace and use a picture of you together as the pendant.
6. If your friend is the one who started the fight and you are the victim here, you can do the following: ask them to meet you in their favorite café, diner, restaurant…etc. and talk to them frankly about the problem. Be straight forward and honest, as the always say “honesty is the best policy.” Tell them you are willing to listen and admit if you were wrong. But also tell them how they have wronged you in a certain way. Don’t be hostile though, try to be as calm and friendly and open-minded as possible. Try to show them how concerned you are about your friendship and that you are willing to make up and ‘forget and forgive’.
These are just some ideas, and I bet you can come up with better ones. Whichever way you are going to use, be sincere when you’re doing it.

Remember the quote “True friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.” So next time you feel like starting a fight with your friend, be careful of what you are about to say and remember that your friendship would be at stakes.

Tell me your opinions in the comments. You can also send me an email if you still have questions regarding this. Finally, I hope you the best of luck and a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Overcoming life's obstacles