Tag Archives: richard branson

I fucked up…so screw me, or what???…

Lotta vs ice-cream

Lick that ice cream in style, eh?!!

I’m sorry to tell you, but you have fucked up. Srsly. You have. I’m certain of it. ‘Cuz I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. Branson almost ended up in jail…and Virgin is the most trusted brand in the UK today. Why? I think because he accepted that what he did was wrong, put it behind him and cracked on. It’s the people who keep blaming themselves for yesterday that get stuck. Or the ones that try to justify their failure. Sure, figure out WHY it happened. Don’t do it again. But don’t stand there telling me it was OK to do it. It wasn’t. It’s OK that you did it though. It’s OK. Take the blame. Leave it in the past. And go onto never doing it again. Don’t hold onto it and punish yourself every time you think about it. Don Miguel Ruiz says that humans have a weird idea of punishment – we don’t just punish ourselves once, we do it every time we think about something we didn’t enjoy. The experience itself wasn’t enough, we constantly revisit it in our minds and hearts. That my dears, is no goody goody. I for one am thankful Branson got his act together and his ass out of jail and went onto creating my favorite airline.

Forget about the time you dived into the ocean to impress a six pack and landed on your ass screaming in pain…no it wasn’t because of a banana peel under your foot…get a lesson in how to do it right and get on with it (make sure the instructor is good looking – after all he will be looking at your ass from several different angles as you practice). Learn it. Get good at it. Or drop the idea of diving and simply trot along the beach walk looking fab licking…an ice cream. Move forward in style. Kick some ass peeps. Let’s rock February together!!!!! :0)

Can’t get enough of this song!!!!!!! So true…

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Filed under Humor, Inspiration, Joy, Liberty, Life, Motivation, People, Psychology, Self, Self-confidence, Self-help, socializing, Thoughts

Who’s on your walk of fame?..

When living in LA, sooner or later, you will meet someone who, during a conversation, slightly lowers their voice and says “Actually, I know so and so.” So and so of course being one star, or another.

Network = Net Worth, is an old saying and I believe it is very true. However, if you have nothing to offer your network, you are unlikely to get any net worth from it. What’s more, I think that the part of your network that isn’t all that famous might very well be worth much more than the part that is.

Who do you value the most in your life? Is it the star whose phone number you have, or your partner in crime (…life that is)? Is it your high net worth business contact, or your business partner? Is it the hottie on the billboard, or the hottie in your bed?

Sometimes when people lower their voice and tell me of a star they know, I want to lower mine too and whisper: “That’s so nice. I have some cool contacts too. The most important one is standing right in front of you. Then I also know my best friend, my sister, my dad, my business partner and a whole bunch load of other people who totally rock my world and actually return my phone calls.” (And to that I would like to add, in a west coast accent and high-pitched voice: “Isn’t that like totally awesome? Like it’s just so cool – it’s beeeyoooond!!!”)

Get me right – if Richard Branson offered to coach me in business, or Scorsese offered to coach me in directing I’d potentially faint from excitement, because I have a lot of respect for them. It is very cool to be surrounded by people whom you respect, but if you respect someone on a billboard more than you respect your best friend, you might want to think again. After all, I hope that there’s a reason why you chose to surround yourself with the people you have in your life.

For sure I’d be happy if certain people I look up to became contacts of mine, but until the day they have looked after me as many times as the people in my life have now, until the day I trust them as much as I trust my current business contacts…well, they might be stars, but they aren’t stars in my life.

The same is very true when you have a crush on someone, or really want to be friends with someone who just don’t treat you very well, or simply have no interest in being around you. How many times have you obsessed about a man, or woman, who simply didn’t give a damn? Like seriously? I might break the world record… Those people aren’t stars in my life though, so instead of obsessing about them, why not focus on treating the real stars in my life to my full attention? What you focus on expand. Sort out the bad stuff, but focus on the good stuff.

Keep building your network, because the more trustworthy friends and business associates you have in your life that truly believe in you, the likelier you are of being looked after at all times and given opportunities that have been presented to them, so treat them for what they are: stars. (Oh, and if someone has Branson’s number, please pass it along. A date with Di Caprio would be much appreciated too…and one with Gerard Butler, please, whilst at it…lmfao.)

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Magical meetings and serendipity…

Ever so often you run into a person that changes your world, so if only for a second. It might be they open a door you really needed opened, or close behind you a door you really needed closed. It may be that they understand what no one else has ever understood, show you a piece of life you were missing, or become so big a part of yours you can’t imagine life without them. The funny thing is, before they happened, you could never ever have guessed who they were or what they would be like.

I met my best friend, like really met her, the day I jogged up to her in PE and told her I was in love with the same boy as she was and shouldn’t we start taking dance classes together? (The guy happened to be a dancer.) I guess only someone as crazy as her would have agreed. Maybe because we both knew we wouldn’t get him, it made friendship possible. After all, we had the same favorite topic: Tommy.

Soon our topics changed – we fell out of love with the guy, but we fell in love with dancing and discovered we both loved cooking, health, spirituality and any kind of creative venture – nothing was safe when one of us got hold of a pair of scissors, a hammer, a needle, a rolling-pin, or a paintbrush. God knows how many paintings we have made, clothes we have revamped, flats we have decorated, or dishes we have invented. Not to mention how many guys we have discussed and life decisions we have made together.

I was set on becoming a doctor of medicine, but that fatal day in PE my life changed (or maybe it was when I laid eyes on Tommy on the beach that summer?). I really did fall in love with dancing. Realizing though that I had started late and that I couldn’t sing (making musical theater a difficult profession) I needed to find something else. Just before, or after, turning seventeen I went to see Entrapment. Catherine Zeta-Jones happened to have the same birthmark as me above her upper lip. Contemplating this that night I had a sudden revelation – I was going to try out acting.

I went to Vancouver that fall, took classes in Acting at the Vancouver Film School and realized I loved it. Still having problems choosing career paths though, as I wanted to do pretty much everything to do with art and health, I decided that filmmaking was it – because in the movies you can do anything.

After that me and my best friend decided that we were going to New York together to become stars. That year, or the one after, I also met Richard Branson. That is to say: I came across an article about him because someone sent me a magazine by mistake, mistaking me for being a millionaire (it is free and only sent to rich Swedes in the hope they will fall for the advertisement therein). I thought his life sounded fabulous so I decided I wanted to become an entrepreneur also. To this day I have never felt as understood as when I read Screw It Let’s Do It – Lessons In Life And Business. At least there is one other nutcase out there who has more business ideas a day than most people have in a life-time and he is a billionaire.

When me and my best friend decided we were going to NYC we thought we were going to live in a converted factory building as poor artist, before fame would come to us (or rather: us to fame). We even wrote a musical on the topic and put it on too. To this day I don’t understand how we managed to pull that venture off, but we did, albeit with a few hick-ups along the way.

Anyway, given NYU wanted to charge me incredulous sums of money for their filmmaking program (I never forget how my heart broke into a zillion pieces when I had to say no to them…), we ended up studying acting and directing in London and living in a place that looked like a converted factory building. Fighting mice, rats and hatching pigeons on the window sill we discovered that really, stardom better come quick.

At the same time as we were in London studying acting and directing, Tommy was there studying dancing.

We were still set on our plan to get to the other side of the pond, so we finally figured we’d have to continue our studies over there so as to get a visa. Said and done – we moved to LA to continue our studies and got rid of the mice in the process (I am still debating whether there are more mice or men in London).

Now we are about to set up our first business. Of course it is arty. Of course it is playful. Of course it has to do with food. Of course it has to do with health. Of course it is sexy. Of course it will be set up in NYC.

I don’t know if our biz venture will succeed or if we will ever be stars to the people outside our circle of friends that have seen our talents and eaten our foods. I know that if I had become a doctor I would have earned money the day I left school. I would have fulfilled my dream of working with children in Africa and Latin America without first having to earn millions so as to be able to help them in the way I want to. But I also know that if I hadn’t run up to my friend that fateful day in PE, I wouldn’t have known what it feels like to make leaps across a dance floor, see my scripts performed, direct a play that receives good reviews, move to LA, be best friends with my best friend, or really truly fight (with the mice) for a crazy dream you created at the age of seventeen.

Tommy came second in Britain’s So You Think You Can Dance this year. He became famous. So how about us?

Let me see…I ran into Tommy on the beach, I jogged up to my friend in class, I stumbled across Catherine Zeta-Jones’ birthmark on the big screen and I got Branson in my mailbox. Then there were a number of other people I bumped into during my journey…and yet more to come! I don’t think I could have dreamed up a single one of the these meetings. They really are too strange to be made up by anyone but life.

Of course there are other meetings too…lovers, friends, or people who just seem like they can read your soul…

So what magical meetings have you had that have changed your life?

Oh, and Tommy? www.tommyfranzen.com (I can’t believe we once upon a time danced on the same stage as him…that was a looong time ago…)

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Admiration…

In the drama school where I was trained, you weren’t allowed to have any “gods or idols.” With that they meant that you weren’t allowed to worship anyone or anything without questioning. Our principal came from Russia and had trained at GITIS, where they worked with the Stanislavski system. What our principal came to discover when he left was that Professors on Stanislavski all over the world had very different opinions on what Stanislavski had meant with this or that, but most people, himself included, just worshipped the man and did not question him. However, if no one understood him, how could he be “right”?

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Mastery Of Love says the same thing. He has 3 rules:

  1. Don’t believe me.
  2. Don’t believe yourself.
  3. Don’t believe anyone else.

So what does he mean? Well, you might have heard that Buddha said something similar and probably every other “guru” there ever was. What I believe they are trying to say is that first of all, just because a person is in a position of authority, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are right.

In Blink Malcolm Gladwell talks about a famous experiment where the subjects were told, by a person with authority, to submit electrical shocks to people when they answered incorrectly to questions posed. People followed suite to the point where the electrical shocks where lethal (what they didn’t know was that it was actors acting out the shocks, not receiving them). (You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment#The_experiment) Of course it is easy for us all to say that we wouldn’t do that. Again I have to refer to mentalism…the things people can make you do are stunning (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=befugtgikMg). Basically – we listen to some people and not to others, we trust some people and not others, but why we do it isn’t always the right reasons. We simply do so because they behave in a certain way, they put forward their words in a certain way, we have certain things in common with them, or a certain amount of people already believe in them. Not because their message is true.

Secondly, look at your own thoughts. Has it ever happened that you wanted Chocolate Fudge Brownie AND Half Baked ice cream and couldn’t decide which one to buy? Have you ever wanted to date this person AND that person? Have you ever thought this is true BUT that is also true and they are complete opposites? Well, if you had one mother and one father, that’s probably the case. One person said one thing, one said another and you came to believe in both. In most cases you don’t even know where you got the ideas you got from, but you hold them all for being true, even if they are seemingly opposite. For me the only resolution is to meditate, because it feels like I rise above the conflicting issues and look down on them. I am no longer sitting in them. Usually, I realize that none of them are the ultimate truth. I just see that one part of me was formed by certain influences and like one idea and the other part of me that was formed by different influences like  another idea. I’m not sure I can completely disregard these influences, after all, all I am is what I know, but I can do my best to look at life from a perspective of totality rather than engaging in either part(s) of me.

It’s the same thing when you are cheering on the anti-hero of a story. The nice thief. The lovely criminal. And haven’t we all been in love with a lovely criminal at some point or another? The person we know is either morally corrupted or utterly insane, but we still like them? Because a part of them ring true to a part of us and depending on how big that part is, we are more, or less, in love with them.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t admire people for certain talents/skills they have. It’s all very well to seek inspiration, but when we get that slightly glassed stare in our eye and we wax on about something…it’s time to watch out. The person we are talking about has in some way or other made us putty in their hands. And we will focus ONLY on what we like about them, the other things will be swept under the carpet. We are also very unlikely to question what they say and it’s nice to question things even if they are good, because we then find out more about them. A good example is when I went to see Shutter Island a while back. I always say that DiCaprio + Scorsese = Match Made In Heaven. I really, really wanted to say I loved that movie, only I didn’t. There was something lacking in the direction, because I did not see the characters for what they were. Sure you are meant to be tricked by the story, but not by the characters. To me, the hospital workers seemed mean. They weren’t supposed to be mean though.

With the years I have learnt that people are human. Even the (biz)man of all men…Richard Branson. I enjoy looking to people for inspiration. I enjoy learning from people. And I get passionate when I talk about them. However, to believe that they are flawless is a folly. And if anyone has ever talked to someone they really respected and they have looked at you and grimaced in distaste, well…you felt bad, but who should really have been feeling bad? I think the person that just behaved like an ass.

What’s more, when we admire people, we often put them above ourselves. As mentioned – we give over our opinion for them to decide. They say it’s good, we agree. We don’t question because we don’t see ourselves as equals, i.e. their opinion is worth more than ours anyway, so why question them? Yet, as I’ve said in previous posts: we were born into this world as empty bowls. Then we became filled with experiences – life got poured into us. And from those experiences we start forming opinions, beliefs, thoughts…some conscious, other unconscious, and until the day we take charge (if this is possible, I’d like to think so, but for a fact I only know what I have experienced even if I say from now on I want to meditate before I act) the inside of our bowl run our lives. We are only good, bad or great because we were shaped that way. Don’t fool yourself into believing someone else is better than you. They were just shaped differently. Don’t like your shape? Reshape yourself. Just for goodness sake don’t do what I did and beat yourself up if you don’t immediately end up on the page you want to be, because life will continue to happen. You cannot plan what will happen tomorrow. You cannot force opportunities into your life. If you keep seeking, it is likely you will find answers to your questions and if you keep practicing you are bound to become great at what you are practicing, but you might not get to practice as often as you like. You might get sidetracked by events. You might have a bowl filled with things that make it harder for you to learn than it was for x, y and z. The learnings that take you where you need to go might hurt, until you learn to see them differently. And no matter how great you become, you might never get a chance to direct Leonardo Di Caprio (but I sure hope that I will 😉 )

Let me tell you a personal story. When I was 6 my mom died from cancer. The last time she saw me she refused hugging me because she was in severe pain and really high on morphine. My dad told her off for not hugging me though (he was distressed). She died the next day. And she didn’t leave me any notes saying she loved me (she got sick very quickly and died shortly thereafter). Whilst my mom was sick, one day she peed in her pants and told me about it. I started laughing hysterically. Because I was panicking, I was out of my mind. Shortly after her death I was playing with a friend, having a good time and laughing and she told me it was very weird I was laughing, because she would never laugh again if her mom died.

Now, I was six. After all these events took place I believed my mom didn’t love me and I believed I was bad for not loving her enough – my laughing proved this, right?!? Of course I had it all wrong. Looking back I’m like Jesus, why didn’t someone tell me? Because no one knew what was going through my head. But one thing led to another and I slowly just shut down. I went from outgoing to shy, I became bullied and my life became a mess. It’s taken me years to recover my self-confidence. Because obviously the bullying led me to think I was even more shit. And then I hid even more. And people thought I was even stranger. But I was just a kid that got it all wrong.

Nowadays I meet a lot of people that praise me. Others that desperately want to get my knickers off. Some admire me. Yet, I know I’m the same person people told to shut up every time I spoke. The same person people thought “no one could ever fall in love with”. Why have people changed their minds? Because I behave differently. I don’t think I’m unlovable anymore. I’m still me though. And that in and of itself says a lot about admiration.

What’s more about admiration is this: who do you like? Who likes you? Do you all have the same “good” abilities? Usually people like you because you have what they would like to have, or feel comfortable showing off they have. If they dislike you, it’s usually because you display what they are scared to show. To this day I have a hard time hanging out with people others percieve as geeks. because I immediately think I will be called “geek” again and my life will once again become hell on Earth. And God forbid when I have to act a geek in a play or movie….I go into a state of frantic panic. Of course I catch myself, my judgments of others (both my judgment of the geeks and my judgment of the ones I think will judge others for being geeks) and I tell myself to, quite frankly, go fuck myself. It’s just fascinating to see that that’s still in my brain though.

Today when I react unfavorably to something (like geeks), it’s crap, because I know a little bit more today. I can choose a bit more how I react. So yeah, it’s crap when I react unfavorably because I know I’m doing it, or I catch myself some time later. But like every other mofo I was programmed. And sometimes that programming takes over. I’m on autopilot and I behave in ways I rather wouldn’t. I still get terribly shy and think no one likes me at times. Am I bad for that though? Am I bad if I never become as famous as Scorsese for my directing and Branson for my biz ventures? Nah. My bowl was filled with other things than theirs and I wanna enjoy what’s in mine. Once again – I’m here to experience, not to achieve. Not to judge. Just be.

So next time you think someone else is the coolest person on the planet…maybe…think again…

You wanna be a star…

…or a guru…

…or maybe just someone who sniffs out life…I mean, explores life that is…

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