Inspiration in the shape of a card

If you´ve been reading this blog for a while, by now you will have probably noticed that I have a thing for inspirational quotes and phrases. I have gathered many of them over the years, in different formats: in the old times, I used to cut out newspaper and magazine clippings and keep them in a folder; nowadays I mostly take pictures of them, or copy them from the internet and paste them in a notepad in my computer or phone.

Inspiration can show up anywhere: on a blackboard at a shop or café, in a fridge magnet, in an advertisement… Even at the dentist´s office, or in a biology book from school (true story, I was so sad to lose that book).

Today I bring you four phrases in card format that I have at home (from Quotable Cards), which resonate a lot with me at this moment of my life, I hope they get to inspire you as well:

«Life isn´t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. (Unknown).»

– Oh, so I can create myself then? I can decide what to do with my life? That´s cool! But... Where do I start?

«Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you´ve imagined. – Thoreau».

– Ahhh, walking towards my dreams, that sounds lovely. Living the life that I want, at last. But wait, to achieve that, one has to move, right? And I´m sooo comfy here...

«Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. – Neale Donald Walsch.»

– Ufff, getting out of my comfort zone, that´s something else. Of course, I want to achieve my dream, but, what if it goes wrong? What if I make a mistake? What if I look like a fool? I don´t like being in a situation I can´t control... What do I do now?

«Slow down, calm down, don´t worry, don´t hurry, trust the process. – Alexandra Stoddard.»

– Ohhh, so this is part of a process then? That explains everything 🙂. To be honest, this comfort zone where I am is very comfy (as the name suggests), but it´s also a bit boring; my dream is beyond here. And every time I dare to try something new, to put a foot outside, I feel a bit lost, insecure, even scared... But I already know that if I keep going, whatever the result, for sure I will learn something, and my comfort zone will become a little bit bigger, and that will get me another bit closer to my dream.

A year of BinaryWords

BinaryWords 2.0 is having its first birthday this month!

Twelve months of writing, over fifty posts so far, always published with all my love and dedication 🙂

For me it's been a year full of changes, some of them more visible than others: decisions, new challenges, lots of learning... Starting to forge a new path. And the best part is that this is only the beginning.

I'm already working on the next version of this website, version 3.0. The blog will continue, that's for sure, but there will also be other elements, delving deeper into the world of coaching and personal development.

So let me take this opportunity to thank you again, dear reader, for being there week after week, you're the reason I'm writing this blog. And also to ask you (if you're OK with it) to send me your feedback as a birthday present; it will help me immensely as I take my next steps.

Here are a few questions, please feel free to add or remove whatever you see fit:

  • How did you land on this blog, and what made you stay?
  • What's your favourite post up to this date, and why?
  • What other topics would you like to see content published about?
  • What's the biggest challenge you're facing at the moment?

I'm looking forward to reading your answer, your present. You can reply with a comment right here in this post, contact me through social media, or email me at binarybea@binarywords.com.

Thanks a million!

Year two, here we go 😉

Let´s sing! (and dance)

A quote that made a huge impact on me when I discovered it years ago (thanks Gleb!) was this:

No music, no life.

Quite radical... And probably quite true.

Because, who doesn't like music? OK, we may not all have the same musical preferences, but we don't necessarily have to, and it's thanks to those differences that there's such a variety of styles. But we can't deny that music has the power to connect us, to make us vibrate, to move us. It's a universal language. And if we add some movement on top of it, even better.

I don't know how to play any instruments (unless you count a few tin whistle lessons back in school and a handful of tunes I used to play on my Casio PT-1 keyboard), but what I do like a lot is singing. At work we are lucky enough to have a choir, and this month we've started singing together again in person, so exciting! 🙂

On the first day of in-person rehearsal, after two years of singing on mute on Zoom and not being able to hear each other, we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that we didn't sound that bad. And on day two, the surprise was that we had to learn a simple choreography for our song... So there you go, double challenge for the brain: singing without looking at the lyrics, and doing the dance steps at the same time! It would have been great to have a bit more space (we were rather crammed while rehearsing) and a big mirror like in a ballet classroom, but all in all, I'd say we managed quite well.

It felt great to get to connect and enjoy the music together again, singing and moving along. We're not anywhere close to being able to perform, but that's not the point (though hopefully it will come in due course). The reward we all take away from each rehearsal is a huge boost of energy and good vibes, plus starting off the afternoon at work much more relaxed and with a big smile.

So here's an experiment for you to try, if you'd like. Next time you feel down, stuck in a problem, or in any way short of energy, just play some music, start some movement, and see what happens 🙂

From here

Some time ago I heard a joke that´s supposedly Irish, though apparently there are many versions from different countries: a tourist that´s lost in a rural area stops to ask a local man for directions to get to a particular city (let´s say Cork), and the local man, after a good while of getting mixed up with his own indications, ends up saying to him: “well, if I wanted to go to Cork, I wouldn´t start from here!”

OK, one thing is clear: sometimes we wish that things were different. We would like to be “somewhere else”; maybe we´d like to have already arrived wherever we thought we should have got to. Or maybe we would have preferred to have taken a different path. But the thing is, wherever it is that we are now, that is our “here”, there´s no two ways around it.

So we have two options: to keep complaining about where we are and what brought us here, or to learn from it and finally start walking towards the place where we want to be.

Here´s an anonymous quote that I think summarizes it well:

Though you cannot go back and start again, you can start from now and have a brand new end.

And you? Where are you, and where do you want to go? And do you want to keep wasting time overthinking it, or are you ready now to start walking?

Playing draughts

My daughter Eva, who´s seven years old, is learning how to play draughts. Well, in fairness, I think I recall playing with her a bit some time ago, but for some reason, we had not played again in a long while, so she had forgotten the rules of the game.

Playing with Eva brought me many memories from when I was a child and played draughts with my sister Cristina, who was the one who taught me. And she would always beat me up! I don´t remember ever winning a game… In my defense, I´ll say that she´s six years older than me, and in children, such an age gap makes a big difference. Now she looks younger than me, but that´s a topic for a different post 🙂

The thing is, one of my strongest memories is how stunned I was when all of a sudden she would take two or three of my pieces in a row, and I totally didn´t see it coming. It wasn´t because of losing that I felt so bad (I never really minded too much if I lost at games), it was the feeling of impotence, of not knowing how to play well, and being unable to catch up or get ahead.

And sure enough, now the one getting that feeling of impotence, game after game, is Eva. She doesn´t know how well I understand her.

We all have gone through similar experiences when we start learning something for the first time, and we´re awful at it, or so we think; in reality, it´s just that we still don´t know how to do it, it´s that phase of learning that we call conscious incompetence. It´s unavoidable. And it can be really, really frustrating, especially when we haven´t been outside our comfort zone in a very long time, and we´re used to things always going well for us. Nobody wants to feel clumsy and useless, like a fish out of the water.

But we keep forgetting that every new learning needs to follow its process, and naturally, that takes time. What´s important is persevering, keeping up the practice, and making the most of our "mistakes", so that we can improve our technique, strategy, or whatever it is that we need to improve.

I´ve always considered board games to be a good rehearsal for life, a good way to learn skills that we can apply later on to any other situation. Thiking about this week´s example with the game of draugths, a few things come to mind:

  • Managing emotions like sadness, anger and frustration.
  • Being patient with yourself, and with others.
  • Focusing on learning and improving, as opposed to winning or losing.
  • Allowing yourself to be imperfect and make mistakes.
  • Observing, to become more aware of what´s happening, and be able to foresee your opponent´s moves.

What about you? What learnings have you discovered through games? Was there any game you found particularly frustrating?