LAST YEAR I started my first Ask Me About Anything series on the blog. I love doing AMAs because my readers are thoughtful and curious and I was hopeful to hear back from you. This year I spent a couple of minutes out of my day every month, to publish my answers to questions about my motivation to write, spiritual practices, and much more. I wish I’d had time to answer even more.
Thank you for writing me in 2021. The Ask Me About Anything list is a collection of the best questions readers asked me, and you can read through the readers’ questions below:
I’d love to answer more of your interesting questions and get a sense of your interests and what you would like to know about me. If you have questions to extend this Ask Me About Anything section, please let me know. I like to hear from you. If you want you can add your questions to the comment section below. I decided to make this an annual tradition. For another new year ask me about anything questions, you can head over to this 2022 list.
If you could give 3 pieces of advice to kids what would they be?
Know when to listen to other people, but also be a little deaf sometimes.
In my experience people like to give advices. Especially when they like you and care about you. However, most of our experiences are unique. What has worked for me, does not have to work for you. If I had listened to the naysayers I crossed paths with in my life and allowed them to project their fears on me, I wouldn’t be here today. So know when to listen, and try to be a little deaf to others sometimes.
Spend your time to things and people that lift you up, inspire you, or give you positive vibes.
Our time and attention are our most valuable assets in life. Be mindful to what kind of things or people you spend your time to. If you want to find some meaning in what you are doing, then put the way you like to spend your time first. There are many occupations or careers that may look great from the outside and sound great as well, but it’s worth nothing if in the end of the day you don’t like to spend your hours doing that. So give yourself some space to figure things out. Energy flows where attention goes. So great things can happen.
Change what you can control, and let go of what you can’t.
It’s a simple one, but not always easy to live by. Yet, when we continue working on things that we can actually change, odds are that life will work out the way you want it more often than not.
What is the number 1 essential skill everyone should master?
We learn a lot of things in school. From how to count, spell and speak. All meaningful skills but I feel emotional competence is an overlooked skill that we need to have more conversations about. It´s the most essential life skill and making yourself a priority is an investment that lasts a lifetime. I wish everyone has the awareness and the competence to make decisions that serve us well. Our emotional make-up is underneath everything we do and so determines the way we look at ourselves and others. It influences the way you feel and it ultimately influences your actions. So to live our best lives we do well by getting to know ourselves.
What do you consider as no-go in conversations?
I like it when everyone express theirselves and get the chance to say whatever they want to say. In many conversations, however, I often find opinions stated as facts. The tricky thing about moralizing is that it simplifies reality to what’s right and what’s wrong, which give certain people the invisible permission to say that their version of “good”is more valuable. I don’t necessarily thrive on that.
Did you ever think you´d run a successful blog?
I knew from very young that everyone has a voice. No matter where you come from and who your parents might be. You find greatness in many areas of the world – from people delivering vaccines from village to village to people who are providing help and support in war zones. Martin Luther King once used the following words: `Not everyone can be famous but everyone can be great, because greatness is determined by service`. I take those words by heart. So, at the time when this platform was just a very tiny space on the internet and attracted only my mom and some bots, I knew back then that I could use it to acknowledge my voice. To spread stories across that are meaningful to me and to use it to uplift others as well. So to answer your question: I could only dream of the size this creative platform has gotten and the impact it has made. The beauty about success and results is that there are too many factors at play. We can only push for the things we believe in, care for and make sure we master our craft and become better at it. And then you knock and knock again for the door to open. It´s of incredible joy when that eventually happens.
Do you have a spiritual practice?
I often remind myself that I never enter a room alone. You take your grandma with you, your grandpa, your mom, your sister, the people that meant something to you at a certain point in your life but are not part of your life anymore, whether they are dead or alive. People you loved or hated. All of those people learned you something. They are part of me, or you can say; they made me who I am today. So whenever I feel alone or confused, I make sure I go into silence mode. To that place inside myself that gives me the courage to do what I need to do, and to be who I need to be. The thing is: why not you. Sometimes you need to find ways to remind yourself of that.
What do you think is the role of artists when it comes to social change?
Social media has given it’s users the power to write freely and to express personal thoughts and opinions. It opens the space for writers, journalists, bloggers, poets to express themselves creatively and authentically and to get their audiences introduced with topics that matter to them. I’m regularly fascinated by the incredible work so many men and women across the globe are doing in fields like philanthropy, business or the arts. Strong voices that are of service to their communities and just need to be heard. Through writing I want to embrace those incredible men and women, start conversations and find the right way to bring their work and those issues to a larger public. Every culture has areas of vast silence – topics that we don’t like to talk about. It’s the artist job to reflect the times. Starting conversations about those taboos or overlooked issues can be of incredible value, since it can remove shame and shows both parties that you’re not alone. Compelling and engaging art can visualise those stories and bring them to life. In many ways I think artists have the ability to connect their generation with causes that will both be meaningful and accelerate progress at the same time.
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