Starting 2020 well with Seneca top teaching from"On the Shortness of Life"

I decided to publish a few of my favourite Seneca’s quote from his book “On the Shortness of Life” to start this new year.

It is always important to remind ourselves of those things that are truly important in life. It also helps us to prioritise our daily life, our decisions every day and aim for what will add real value to us and others. So, here they are…

“Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future.”

“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”

“You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire”

“But excess in any sphere is reprehensible.”

“As far as I am concerned, I know that I have lost not wealth but distractions. The body’s needs are few: it wants to be free from cold, to banish hunger and thirst with nourishment; if we long for anything more we are exerting ourselves to serve our vices, not our needs.”

“Life is long, if you know how to use it.”

“All life is a servitude.” 

In summary, there are Five Things to Consider as we start the new year:

1 – What should my focus be every day this year?

2- What should I eliminate from my life?

3 – Stop procrastinating, show up and get on with it!

4 – Work hard and smart in the present, seize the moment, and the future will look after itself.

5 – Define what is ENOUGH and live by it, one can find meaning and happiness there.

Have you all a very peaceful, blessed and successful 2020!

What does Merry Christmas mean to you?

ho-ho-ho

I do not want to sound ‘Grinchy’ about Christmas but I must be honest; I do struggle with the whole polite ‘Merry Christmas’ greeting that goes around this time of the year.

If an alien landed on Earth on December 25th and was greeted by “Merry Christmas Visitor”; what would she/he think about it? Let’s say our dear visitor friend would ‘Google it!’ from her/his spaceship, the results would be thoroughly confusing. What on Earth is Christmas? Why having a ‘Merry One’ matters so much?

I often wonder what people really mean by ‘Have a Merry Christmas? What shall I reply to it? Should a be polite or dismissive? When asked whether I like to celebrate Christmas, I normally reply with a Jordan Peterson type of reply – ‘It depends on what you mean by Christmas’.

Of course, people do not want to hear that, and they are not prepared to engage in a debate there and then. There is no time to think about such trivialities. So, just say – Yes, sure, Merry Christmas to you too! – and move along. Why bother!?

I recently realised that the longer I live, the older I get, the more I start looking like Diogenes, the ‘controversial philosopher’, not that I consider myself one. I just have to say something cynical or provoking. For my own regret, I can’t resist. Merry Christmas might mean an awful lot or nothing at all to you depending on what you do with it and how you deal with it. It is not about beliefs as much as it is behavioural or traditions. Some traditions are worth keeping, some others we must challenge, change or leave them altogether.

Does Christmas mean the birth of Christ (surely not in historic terms)? Santa (that’s very good news for Coca-cola)? Consumerism (been there, done that!)? Or, perhaps, having a break from work and not seeing your boss’ raging grumpy face for 10 days or so (that’s fantastic news right)? Whatever your reply might be, you would always give a polite one right?

I have friends from all cultural and religious backgrounds. I myself was brought up within a Christian-Judeo tradition. Most of them, including Sikhs and Muslims, like the Christmas time, for them, it is a time for getting together, eating, celebrating, being with their family. We all like to exchange presents, sing, play and dance, be happy, to be merry! What is wrong with that after all? We can all say yes to such a nice time together no matter which religion or phylosophy we subscribe to.

But there is an invisible Christmas, the one of the homeless, the destitute, the employee who got laid-off and now are contemplating suicide, the daughters whose mom is dying in the hospital, the hundred of thousands living below the poverty line, the couple who is splitting over unpaid bills, the working man who can barely afford the food, the single mom who is using the last few pounds on her account to buy gifts to their children, you can fill your own here. Would they also have a Merry Christmas? Is that possible?

For me the preferred one would be to disappear and get into my own thoughts, to read, reflect and contemplate about the year that has gone. I do not subscribe to any tradition neither like the glittering meetings and parties.

I like to think, meditate about my decisions in the past year the results achieved looking into the year ahead for new opportunities and possibilities. A time to seek wisdom for self-improvement. That would be my preferred ‘Merry Christmas’ but in reality most of this time is take up by family and friends still expecting you to show up, or to play your part. The Management of expectations comes between them and a real self ‘Merry Christmas’.

“Ask yourself at every moment. Is this really necessary?

Marcus Aurelius

Merry for me is ‘simple’, quiet and reflective. I time to see the world, its needs and find ways to play my part to improve it. Being grateful for the life I have whlist questioning what can be improved? Above all it about escaping from overindulging marketing and consumerism appeals with the promises of happier moments once we have bought the new set-of-something we do not really need.

What does ‘Merry Christmas’ mean to you? Would you be able to have one this year?

Motivation gets you going, self-discipline takes you all the way


“All life forms drive to the maximum of its potential except human beings”

Jim Rohn

Your motivation is a good starting point but after while you will not be able to rely on it. It might fail you. You get distracted, you get sidetracked and betrayed by your own feeling.

What drives you must turn into an automatic self-discipline system. Only motivation cannot take you all the way to the finish line. There will be days that you do not feel like doing it. In those days, only habits and self-discipline can get you to pass your feeling.

Today is Sunday, I’m on holiday, or at least I’m supposed to be, but I made a commitment to myself. I have gotten up 5:30am, I did not feel like, my mind was saying ‘f#$k that s@#t I’m going back to bed’, my commitment and self-discipline drove me here not my motivation.

We are constantly bombarded by hundreds if not thousands of different stimulus. Most of us live with the pressures of our social lives, people around us, family and friends and loved ones. Powerful branded messages from products, entertainment, useless shopping gadgets, etc. All that sensory messages play a powerful role in our feelings and emotions, ultimately in our decision making. We can get easily demotivated and sidetracked. We get pushed away from our vision and goals. Our motivation betrays us.

“Let all communication devices serve you but let no one interfere with you”

Jim Rohn

We think we can postpone, do it later, after all, just a bit of distraction will not make any difference. A bit of this, a bit of that, and suddenly the week has gone, the months and the years. I can attest to that in many areas of my life.

In reality tomorrow doesn’t exist. it is invisibly shrouded and seeded in the actions we take today. Take a close look at this, do you remember how many tomorrows have since passed and have become nothing more than of a shadowed yesterday’s memory. Today when you ponder upon, you wished you had taken a different set of action and achieved a different outcome.

Self-discipline will make you work harder on your self than on your own job. Good habits will spring you into success and fortune. That’s why most people do not achieve anything, it is easy to get sidetracked and stopped.


As Jim puts it, you must develop “The ant philosophy”. They never quit, the think winter all summer and they seem to be in a hurry. All stoics philosophers told us to plan all the negative scenarios when all is positive. The ant thinks summer is winter. They are not motivated, they are discipline to achieve their goals.

Les Brown says “do what is easy and your life will be hard, do what is hard and your life will be easy”. Self-discipline is the key to take you all the way to the finish line.

Why me? Do you know the odds of you being alive?

Why not you? Yes, you!

The odds for you to be alive right now is practically zero according to do Dr Ali Binazir. Let’s start with the odds of your dad meeting your mum (1 in 20,000). Then multiply that by the chances of them staying together long enough to have you (1 in 2,000). If you keep going along those lines you will eventually get to the following probability of you existing 1 in 102,685,000.

The odds of you being alive

Based on this perspective, the reality of our lives and the narrative we can create become unlimited and powerful. We are a freaking miracle of nature!

If you only looked at the probability of the right sperm meeting the right eggs in isolation to any other variables that would be one inf 400 quadrillion.

Start living today with that perspective, make decision and choices based on the fact that you are a freaking odd miracle, you are here to change things, to leave a mark, as Jobs said, a dent in the universe. You life is not a mistake it is a celebration, a joy no matter the circumstances that brought you here.


“A miracle is an event so unlikely as to be almost impossible. By that definition, I’ve just shown that you are a miracle… Now go forth and feel and act like the miracle that you are.”


Dr Binazir

You should never never ask the question again. Why you? Because you are unique, an effing miracle, there is only one YOU. For Dr Binazir the odds of you being alive are zero. Still, you are here. Stop b$#@ing about and get on with your life, do epic s#&t.

Dr Binazir explained the odds with the following example:

“Imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there is exactly one turtle in all of these oceans, swimming underwater somewhere. The probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water — in the middle of that life preserver. On one try.”

Changing your worldview

Don’t get stuck in your old ways. Change happens in an instant; it’s a conversion, a turning of direction. The philosophy, worldview and the lenses by which you see everything must be in congruence with your goals and visions for your future; otherwise nothing will work.
Change your philosophy is the starting line and the best way to achieve anything is by optimising your life for the starting line, not the finishing line. .

Don’t get stuck in your old ways. Change happens in an instant; it’s a conversion, a turning of direction. The philosophy, worldview and the lenses by which you see everything must be in congruence with your goals and visions for your future; otherwise nothing will work.
Change your philosophy is the starting line and the best way to achieve anything is by optimising your life for the starting line, not the finishing line…

Some claim they want to change the world, some others want to win the world, a large number of people just want to get by. No matter what you have chosen your life by your own philosophy. It ultimately informs your beliefs and values, shapes your choices, habits and decisions.

Whatever you want for you, it will be achieved or not by your own views of the world and the reality around you. That is what Jim Rohn is telling us here. The biggest giant lies within, without defeating him/her first you will never feel free to be what you have got to be. Your own self-limiting beliefs and philosophy is preventing you from growing and from success.

This blog aims to address the needs of those two initial types of people in the paragraph above. The ones who want to change and affect the world as well as the ones who want to win. And many times they are but the same people. You can’t conquer the world unless you truly affect lives.

You must affect your world first, to be able to influence others’. You must adopt a new mindset first then you will realise what steps you need to take to fulfil your dreams. You have to adopt the right attitude, the correct set of behaviours and values.

What is the minimum change you can promote today, right now to start the process? What should you think differently about? What kind of thinking is not supporting your vision for your future?

Jim Rohn Reloaded

Too much Social not much living

There’s angst that rises from within, a silent cry. We reach out to our own identities in a busy, loud world that forces us to have, to own, to go, to do, force a smile, fake happiness. It wants our constant unswerving attention; it wants to master us, keeping us distracted, discouraging us from stopping, thinking, reflecting and discovering out who we are. That can only be found reaching within.

We exchange peace and solitude for constant limelight, the social media spotlight. That is killing us; our species is living a severe existential crisis. For most, that angst is kept silence within while striving to ‘get by with a smile.’

When we forget the simple we neglect the essential; we become blind to what is truly beautiful in this world.

Too much social yet not much living. Too much attention-grabbing effort very little delivering value affecting the lives of people in a meaningful way. The numbers battle, we all want a piece of the action, a dive in the money stack, a ride in the Lamborghini, a nightstand with the blonde of the hunk with six-pack with a bright smile.

Social Media Threat
Henry David Thoreau

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have written an amazing book on slowing down and reducing your living so you can live a more fulfilled life – Minimalism: Essential Essays. The essence is to look inside of you and ask the question how much do I really need to be happy?


“Happiness, as far as we are concerned, is achieved through living a meaningful life, a life that is filled with passion and freedom, a life in which we can grow as individuals and contribute to other people in meaningful ways. Growth and contribution: those are the bedrocks of happiness. Not stuff. This may not sound sexy or marketable or sellable, but it’s the cold truth. Humans are happy if we are growing as individuals and if we are contributing beyond ourselves. Without growth, and without a deliberate effort to help others, we are just slaves to cultural expectations, ensnared by the trappings of money and power and status and perceived success.” 
― Joshua Fields Millburn, Minimalism: Essential Essays

In Walden, transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau encourages us to pursuit nobility in living a simple life surrounded by nature. He is on a journey towards natures and his own nature. In 2015, I decided to start this journey, the one I’m still on and have not to regretted an inch. When you stop living under the pressure of others, society, family and friends you can finally stop and breathe.

Fact is we have never had so much ‘social’ online time and never felt so much isolated and lonely. We have traded living for existing. What should we do then?

STOP – TURN AROUND – TAKE A BREATH – SMILE INSIDE – BE THANKFUL – JUST BE

In Thoreau’s case, The Minimalists guys and even myself we discovered that going back to nature as well as going back to one’s nature was the key to leave a life of social conformity and embrace a life of true self-reliance and self-actualisation.

What is it for you?

5 Steps to Becoming a Change Agent Marketer

*adapted from Seth Godin’s This is Marketing


“Marketing is the generous act of helping others to become who they seek to become. It involves creating honest stories—stories that resonate and spread.”


Seth Godin, This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

Your mission, your obsession

Mission by Rush

I absolutely love this song by my favourite band Rush. I have no idea how many times I’ve listen to it and every time I do it sparks something powerful within me. I can’t figure out exactly what it is, might guess is that it somehow ignites my spirit and obsession to achieving greatness. Do you have any song that does that for you? I would love to hear from you if you do.

Music has the electrifying power to transport us to different dimensions. It can makes remember, it moves us and touch all our senses. It can makes us fly, travel to other worlds, dream a thousand dreams and live a thousand lives. Music is living pulsing organism. This particular one from Rush is a anthem for dreamers, ambitious high flyers.

Do you have a mission? A sweet obsession? A drive? A dream?

Mission – Rush

Hold your fire 
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame
‘Til the dream ignites
A spirit with a vision
Is a dream with a mission

I hear their passionate music
Read the words
That touch my heart
I gaze at their feverish pictures
The secrets that set them apart

When I feel the powerful visions
Their fire has made alive
I wish I had that instinct 
I wish I had that drive

Spirits fly on dangerous missions
Imaginations on fire
Focused high on soaring ambitions
Consumed in a single desire

In the grip of
A nameless possession 
A slave to the drive of obsession 
A spirit with a vision
Is a dream with a mission

I watch their images flicker
Bringing light to a lifeless screen
I walk through
Their beautiful buildings
And I wish I had their dreams

But dreams don’t need
To have motion
To keep their spark alive
Obsession has to have action 
Pride turns on the drive

It’s cold comfort
To the ones without it
To know how they struggled 
How they suffered about it

If their lives were
Exotic and strange
They would likely have
Gladly exchanged them
For something a little more plain
Maybe something a little more sane

We each pay a fabulous price
For our visions of paradise
But a spirit with a vision
Is a dream with a mission

Songwriters: Geddy Lee / Alex Lifeson / Neil Elwood PeartMission lyrics © Ole Media Management

Living in the British Islands

Ey up!

20 years ago today I was landing in Manchester to study then moved up to Yorkshire to build and develop partnerships between Brazil and the UK. I had plans to stay for a couple of years max then move over to the continent.

Time flies… As I prepare to finally transition this year I would have never thought or imagined Britain would be coming out of the EU. Who would have thought of that 20 years ago (apart from Mr. Farage and his circus friends 🤡)?

I still remember what the immigration official asked me when interviewing me for the visa: _’Are you sure you want to come to this country? Have you seen the weather outside?’ Yes, it was one of those horrible Mancunian days. I still don’t know if I have ever been sure, to be honest… joking!

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

― J.R.R. Tolkien,  The Lord of the Rings

The weather does play an important role in shaping our mood and emotions when you live in the British Islands, however, it is just one variable in the equation. There’s has been many more factors at play that have shaped who I have become in the past 20 years. I’m so grateful for the number of amazing people the Universe brought into my life. Life is never a straight line and God only knows how hard the journey had been many times (some of my closest friends can testify to that). Nevertheless, I’m blessed with the gift of stubbornness, so I’m still here, pushing forward, enriched by the love and warm welcome I had in the British Islands and purposeful as ever.

I’m indebted to all the friends I got along the way from many different nations from around the world for the loving support, partnership and for believing in me. I love you all and have cherished all these last 20 years. I think I can say without hesitation I’m a proud BBB – Brazilian Born British. I was born in Rio but surely I have got a Yorkshire heart. “I’m chuffed t’bits wi’ that.”

I’m humbled today and have my 💓 filled with gratitude, great ride, amazing folks, deep learning, opportunities for growth, some bad moves and few falls, new starts, few great hits, isn’t what life is all about after all? For the future, while I’m still around, as Mr Young once sang, gonna “Keep on Rockin’ in the free world! 🎤🎸🎶

The key when embracing a new culture is the identification without the loss of your own cultural identity, embrace the new and retain the old, adapt, change but keep true to yourself. Seek to help others along the way and exchange value, as you enrich other you are enriched back.

No man can become rich without himself enriching others

Andrew Carnegie

Creed also had a 1999 hit that speaks to me as this is the dream of all of us who wants a better Earth for all to live, those who want to leave a dent in the universe as Jobs once put it.

“Although I would like our world to change
It helps me to appreciate
Those nights and those dreams
But, my friend, I’d sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate
So let’s go there
Let’s make our escape
Come on, let’s go there
Let’s ask can we stay?” Creed, Higher

20 years in the United Kingdom
20 years in the United Kingdom

Identity, time and life outcomes…

John C. Maxwell states that “Nothing sells like confidence”. The ability to connect successfully with others, build rapport, engage in meaningful work with great results and outcomes are directly liked to our sense of self-worth and identity, and this gives us clear purpose and direction.

When we were still young, most of us dreamt of greatness . We dreamt of fame, fortune and stardom. I thought I would be a famous rock star with millions begging to watch me play guitar with my band. what is left from those childhood dreams? What have we grown up to be?

What about you? What was your dream? How did you wanted to change the world or touch people’s lives? Suddenly, reality comes crashing down on us, we then realise that time has passed us by and most of those foolish dreams of youth never came to pass. But were they really foolish? Or an expression of our true self?

Everything moves so fast, in the blink of an eye the world turns, all change, we have grown up, waking up next to a stranger. Another blink of an eye, we have kids, go to work, repeat and repeat, then we retire, we sit on a rocking chair looking at the whole surroundings and ask ourselves, was that it?

From my long curly ‘Slash’ hairdo nothing is left now. What about you? Are you are late for work? Do you hate that job? Feel stuck? what the f#$k has just happened? Well, time just happened!

But that’s not all, we are still here and while we are still breathing we can still change and make a change, we can still dream new dreams and realise new things.

Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Walt Whitman_ ‘Oh Me, Oh Life’

Perhaps asking oneself key pertaining existential questions such as who am I? Where am I going? or how can I change my life? could be the starting point of a reflective crossroads that will eventually liberate you. Just breathe for a moment. It reminds me of Tom Hanks final scene in his highly acclaimed movie ‘Cast Away’.

Shouldn’t we stop immediately then, reset, reprogram ourselves and restart? Unfortunately, for most, that is not the case. Life pressures and demands push us to accelerate, never stop, go, go, go… we can’t afford to think, the kids are out there waiting to be fed, the boss is on the phone asking for an update on the latest client project, walk the dog, help the neighbours, meet friends, play with club members, they all want a piece of you, of your time, life happens.

With life kickbacks come disappointments, frustrations, sadness, a sense of low self-esteem that leads to emotional inertia, decision paralysis, and a complete loss of identity. This whole sequence of events derail all our sweet childhood dreams. But many still find that path or redefine what it means to live and rediscover happiness and enjoyment. There are still time to turn around and move towards our true nature.

“Those who wish to be must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination the real relation
The underlying theme…” Limelight, Rush

In losing one true-self and identity, a person tends to turns to distraction, doping themselves with entertainment, food, or anything else that can occupy the empty space within. A quick fix, a distraction and short-lived ‘innocent’ fun become two of the best companion drugs to alleviate the pain and the emptiness. Reality TV for a self-deceptive life. “That is not the life outcome I envisioned” one might think.

Still, it is never too late, one can always turn around and move in a different direction. Although not without personal sacrifices, a strong unswerving will and a deep commitment to cut oneself from anything and anyone that is not going in the new direction of life. That is exactly what the word decision means, to cut oneself from…

The amazing thing is that you can start today, right now. Ryan Holiday in this book ‘The Perennial Seller’ put it simply that the best time for one to have started something would have probably been 5, 10 or 20 years ago, but the second best time is NOW! so now is the only time we have to change, to find oneself.


“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

What is it going to be? Think of your early years and tell yourself I am more than all this. There are still time! One of my favourite Maiden Songs goes like this:


“…So understand
Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years 
Face up, make your stand 
And realise you’re living in the golden years…”

Iron Maiden_ ‘Wasted Years’