Judging others

“She’s Asian, must be a nerd.”

“His body is covered with tattoos, must be a rebel.”

How many times do we find ourselves judging and labeling people? We dare to judge people before we even get to meet them, or even strangers we will never talk to. Often times it is involuntary, automatic. I am confident that many of us don’t do it on purpose, but why are we so judgemental?

Humans are visual and our brains work super fast. We process multiple information before we absorb them with all of our senses. It’s like we have a limited database in our minds, that have this will to relate every single thing or person we see to something we know, or believe we know. For instance, “I’ve read somewhere or know someone who is Asian and smart, so naturally I will generalize every Asian I see and label them as such.” Of course I am being very extreme here, but I just wanted to illustrate with this popular example, clichet I admit.

The reason I am writing this is because I am judgemental myself, and I’ve been working on this, especially because as a life coach, the first requirement is to be non-judgemental. Actually, let’s say I was very judgemental until a few years ago, when I had no idea how harmful that was, not only to the innocent strangers or celebrities I commented about, but to myself. 

Because when one judges, one is putting himself on top of the object of judgment. Moreover, it’s a way of depreciating one another, based on poor judgement and stereotypes. The truth is, when we stop for a moment and think of the reasons behind our attitudes, it only proves the lack of confidence we have on ourselves, and I risk to say that it has to do with pride as well. 
Why so? Because it’s easy to hide our flaws and point at other people’s, isn’t it? Because we humans are competitive and envious by nature. Instead of admitting that we admire someone or wish we had the courage to do something the other person has done, what do we do? We criticize, we judge, we compare. 

I’d like to propose we think of someone we had criticized or commented negatively. Let’s be reasonable and not think of bad politicians, criminals or people who harm babies and animals. I am talking about people we usually judge regarding looks, harmless behavior, taste, etc.

Why do you feel such way towards him/her? Why do you even bother to talk about this person that might not even know of your existance? Why do you feel good about bad-mouthing this person? 

I think this is an extensive topic, worthy of further discussion. That’s it for now, hope you enjoy the reading. 

See you next time!

24-hour Fasting Experience


Today I am inspired to write about something a bit different from what I usually post here, and it has nothing to do with coaching.

Recently I joined a Fasting and Purification Retreat in my hometown called “Nyungne”. It happens every year and has the duration of 2 days. In the first day, starting at 6am, one can drink water or tea and have a light lunch. In the second and main day, the goal is to fast completely between 6:00am until 6:00am of the following day. That being said, no consumption of water or food for 24 hours.

This is the first time in my life I fasted for an entire day. Back in 2009 I had the opportunity to experience the Ramadan in Pakistan, which is a month of fasting during daylight time (between 12-16 hours every day) and at sunset everyone has a feast (Iftar).

The retreat I participated was also a silence retreat, so the purpose was to be more introspective, avoid dancing and singing, using the phone and social media, speaking only the necessary, dressing simple and wearing no jewelry or makeup. When I signed up for the programme, I thought it would be unbearable and that I would feel very sick.  We had an introductory class at the evening before and the teacher said that we would enjoy the experience a lot and that in fact, we should consider it as a gift. Moreover, she explained that perhaps we would not understand the meaning and purpose of the retreat immediately, and later in our lives, we would know exactly what it had served for.

I might not know what the future holds for me, but I can affirm that I already have a hint of what it is. Because I am feeling happy and grateful. I can’t really express in words the exact feeling but I will try my best to do so here. I was not planning to write about it at all, but I feel in my guts that I must share my thoughts. The teacher said that we fast in attempt to stop hunger in the world. Yes, I also had my doubts back then when she said that. However, it makes sense, as you must have heard that in order to reach world peace, one must be at peace with oneself.

I must briefly describe what I felt while I was fasting so you understand why I feel good and grateful. Skipping dinner was alright, as I had a late lunch and I am aware that many people choose not to eat dinner on a daily basis. In the morning I was OK, just felt a bit hungry, just like how I usually feel before lunch. My stomach is usually noisy when I eat, and I thought it would be much louder once I stopped eating, but I can say it didn’t embarrass me so much. Surely my energy level was lower, and during the session breaks, I took naps and walked slower. My skin was dry and threatened to break out. I had symptoms of a cold, like muscle pain, sneezing and runny nose. I could have complained about all that, but then I had the following thought: “I had a choice, what about those who do not have a choice?”

When I took the subway home on the last day, I saw a girl eating chocolate and I wanted too. I saw a guy with a bottle of water and I craved it too. I passed by several restaurants and cafes, and I did not walk in. I would be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind to break the fast  a few times. I had the means to go to a restaurant and sit at a table without being ignored, I had the voice to order a meal, I had the money to pay for anything I ordered. Do you get the idea? 24 hours mean nothing when we know there are people starving for weeks. How spoiled are we when we complain about trivial things every single day? I realized that I have never felt hunger and I hope I don’t.

And my conclusion after fasting for only 24 hours is: I don’t want anyone to feel what I felt at the subway.

Where is my inspiration?

This is so ironic because I am currently encountering writer’s block for this post and also because I am struggling to finish a book at the moment.

Today I’ve decided to dedicate my writing to open up my heart, and for the first time, I just want to have a frank conversation to whoever is reading this today, and apologies if this is not a motivational article. Although rare, I feel fatigued due to some work, travel and lack of sleep and workout, and thought “this could be interesting, people may relate to a real experience and even a life coach has his/her bad days”. So this is a honest and realistic description of how one struggles with finding inspiration.

I wonder if inspiration is something everyone has by nature and that can be lost sometimes, or if it’s a talent we all need to develop. Either case, I am sure I am not the only one facing it right now. Would it be lack of focus, then? Well, I know I am motivated to publish a book, I have also set it as a priority, but why do I still find it so hard to just sit at my computer to write?

The book writing started a few months ago and the first pages went smoothly until I got a total block for some weeks, then I was able to resume the writing and at the moment I am 75% done. However, now I am stuck again, and I am afraid it’s not because I’ve already exhausted all the content. Actually, I have new ideas and insights all the time, but I “just” can’t translate those into words. I’ve been an editor before, so perhaps it wouldn’t be so hard if I already had everything I wanted put into a fluid text. At the same time, typing everything that comes into my mind ain’t something I fancy doing either, so probably I am stuck because I aim at typing a final art, which we all know it’s impossible. There is no such thing, right?

Another hypothesis for my writer’s block could be anxiety. Perhaps I have been skipping a few processes and instead of going step by step, I am already dreaming of the book launch, or picturing the final draft, or even the hard copy! But how would I reach those if I can’t manage to finish the first draft?

So I guess I already have an answer just by writing my feelings and emotions right now!

~Ok Suzana, take a deep breath, remember your motivations, focus and follow the steps in the correct order. You will only get the book published if you sit down and write. Inspiration comes and goes, but if you have what you want clear as water and understand why such thing is important, you will get this right, and done!~

Thanks for reading and please share if you have been through lack of inspiration or writer’s block before. If you have, how did you manage to finish your project?





Making decisions

Decisions are an intrinsic part of our lives, and they only differ in importance and urgency. Also, some may feel more or less stressed in comparison to other people towards the same issue, and that is absolutely normal and subjective.

In addition, maturity plays an important role in a sense that experience and time enable change in perspective for the same problem or matter. A simple example is a parent who has to decide the best school to enroll his/her first child. This parent might reflect for a long time and deal with this decision differently from the second time he/she has to select a school. Not only it will be less complicated but also it will demand a shorter time and the feedback from the previous decision will contribute to this new decision.

We are more prepared than we believe we are, and I can assure this because just the fact of thinking about it and being concerned already make us better than if we did not care about anything. The idea of making a groundbreaking decision is scary and can be overwhelming because it is natural to fear the unknown or the  unexpected. However, life is made of making small and big decisions and there is no correct answer, trust me. If you stop for a moment and think, then you will realize that you are only responsible for your own success and happiness. Who else has the right to tell you that you have made a wrong or bad decision? If one wants to do something that involves a large amount of money and is hesitant and a friend or relative tells him/her to do it, why does he/she has to do it? Whose money is being involved? Whose financial stability will be affected? Please bear in mind that humans in general love giving advice, but in the end of the day, no one knows anything better than the one person who is to make the decision.

Whenever you are in doubt, listen to your own voice and reflect on the following simple question: “What is the worst that can happen if I do this?”. It is important to weigh pros and cons, but you have to believe in yourself before listening to anyone’s advice. Surely it is OK to receive inputs of our loved ones, but they do not necessarily understand how we feel and they are not in our shoes, even when they are very involved in our issue.

There are several aspects that will demand a firm decision, and sometimes they are urgent. However, before taking impulsive actions or getting desperate, stay calm and analyze the entire situation. Once you understand what is really going on, brainstorm possibilities and select those that are doable and that will make you happy. Because sometimes we tend to choose the easiest or the obvious ways, and this is very tricky. Also, the easiest or fastest decision not always will lead you to where you want to be or go. Yes, it takes hard work, patience and even pain for us to get to physical and emotional places. Don’t give up before trying. Don’t go for the easiest path. Remember that ANY decision you make is the right decision, as long as it is what makes you happy. The rest you will nail it, sooner or later.

Happy Holidays!

It’s OK to have a bad day, but…

Firstly, I’d like to briefly open a parentheses to mention about people who act or believe that they have depression. One must be careful when mentioning things like “Feeling down” or “Being depressed”. There is a huge difference between having a bad day, feeling sad or frustrated and actually going through a depression.

I am no specialist, but I still want to address the importance of early diagnosis and recovery. Depression is a serious and complex medical illness that can hit anyone, anywhere, and anytime with no warning. The symptoms are not always obvious and can be misinterpreted for other illness, and sometimes, seen as “laziness” by outsiders.

That being said, if you or someone you know have more than one of the following symptoms, please seek assistance: permanent sadness (months), not wanting to leave the room/house, skipping meals, not minding personal hygiene, wanting to sleep all day, thinking of committing suicide, avoiding friends and family, etc. Please note that these are only some examples to watch out. Every person is unique and cannot be generalized, so if you are reading this post and think that you might be developing an illness, do not get desperate. The most important thing to do now is to seek help and be aware that anyone is susceptible to suffering depression. You will get over it!

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic a long time ago, but I guess it became more urgent after I started reflecting about my own life and people who are close to me. This is just a brief introduction, so please let me know if you would like to read motivational articles on overcoming sadness and eliminating the “bad days” of your life 🙂

What is Happiness?

Disclaimer: this is a spontaneous post inspired on an ordinary pre-holiday night. It shall be very informal, but true to the heart.

While I was washing the dinner dishes, I thought about things that made me happy. Happiness is interpreted in different ways and while for some it is a temporary feeling, for others can be a state of mind. I could list endless things that make me happy, but not necessarily in the long-term.

Even though I consider myself a very happy person, I surely feel blue sometimes. However, I think happiness goes beyond an actual feeling, but extends to the way one sees, or wants to see life as it is. In other words, it is really how one interprets certain situations or facts, and I can go beyond by associating happiness with optimism. For instance, two people working at the same company, having the same job position, salary and boss may have different approaches in their professional lives, and very likely have distinct career perspectives.

Anyway, what motivated me to write today was a sudden (not so sudden) feeling of satisfaction. I am truly grateful for my life and everything that completes it, but the awareness of happiness demands a little bit of reflection. I enjoy thinking about the several changes I have been going through and most importantly, I have learned to move on and accept challenges, which sometimes come along with failure.

I am also reflecting upon situations in which I put too much thought in the past and that today have little relevance. For me, happiness also relates to self-knowledge and setting my lifestyle free of comparisons and let time and maturity set the pace for a more balanced life, also free of judgments.

I just wanted to share that whatever hard time you are going through, there is a solution, or at least, a less painful alternative. Communicating with people is healing and allowing yourself to love and be loved is releasing. Enjoy the little things and why not love many things? Happiness is out there for anyone and everyone!

9 Actions That Will Drive You to Success

The concept of success is subjective for each individual but the actions for success are the same regardless of your personal or professional goals. Anyone can get results as long as he/she incorporates a few actions to the routine. The below actions for success will help you live a more positive life as well.

  1. Focus

This is the most important action for success. It is common to feel lost in a myriad of dreams and to-dos. If you feel like you are doing many things but nothing that is really important, stop and focus on one thing at a time. When you set a goal and concentrate all your energy towards it, you will naturally reach it sooner, don’t you think?

  1. Do what you love

Those who do what they love never feel they are actually working. If you don’t like your job or think you could be doing something else, don’t hesitate to look for something you enjoy because you will be much more productive and successful when you love what you do.

  1. Learn

Have you heard that life is a continuous lesson? People who seek for new things to do are more successful than those who are stuck with the same abilities. Learning is a way of challenging yourself and success results from overcoming challenges.

  1. Be honest

Honesty is an asset and you will never have to think when you are telling the truth. People who seek immediate profit and behave with dishonesty may achieve success, but not in the long term. Whatever you do with honesty you shall get fruitful results.

  1. Prioritize

Time management is a skill and when you learn how to prioritize your goals and daily activities, you will be able to achieve much more. Multi-tasking might seem like a time-saver but it affects your final results. Set what is in fact important or urgent and eliminate tasks that can be postponed.

  1. Be creative

Thinking outside the box will drive you to success because anyone can do what is obvious. If you want to distinguish your work from others, you ought to be creative. Inspire yourself by reading more, being open to new ideas and paying attention to everything around you.

  1. Stay healthy

Nothing is more important than being healthy and able to produce. Regardless of how busy you are, remember to take care of your health by sleeping and eating well. A sane body and mind will definitely contribute to your success.

  1. Discipline

If you decide to do something, you must stick to the plan. No exceptions should be accepted because if you open an exception once, you will likely open it twice and so on. You must do what it is important and have discipline to keep your agenda.

  1. Believe you can

Remember some people will try to put you down, but as long as you believe in yourself and most importantly, that you can achieve your goals, you will. When you believe in a dream, you are halfway thorough making it come true.

I hope you can feel motivated to pursue your objectives with the above actions for success. I’d love to know your perception of success and what you do to achieve your goals.