RANT/ What I Really Think of Non-Dancers Challenging Me to A Battle

I've battled in heels, straight from work

I’ve battled in heels, straight from work

This happens quite often when someone finds out you’re a dancer – they talk about how they “used to breakdance” or how they’re “a natural at krumping” and so on. Then because of a mixture of ego and curiousity, they’ll challenge you to an impromptu dance battle, even if there’s no music playing.

It happened just this past weekend. I’m in a bar and somehow the conversation with some guy I just met, flowed into how I dance. You get the standard questions like “What sort of dancing?” and “What moves can you do?”. Then they start talking about themselves and a brief love affair with some sort of dancing.

“Oh can you breakdance?” he asked.
“Not really, but I like to do toprocks every now and then.”
“I can do windmill and airflares.”

HA! I call bullshit and this  enrages them further, inspiring a spontaneous dance battle in the middle of the bar, for whatever egotistical reason they have. Then my friend comes along to grab something out of her bag, and I mention to her, “Hey this dude is tryna challenge me to a dance battle.” She just looked at him, laughed really loudly, slammed the table and walked off. Those who know me, know. [EDIT] I forgot to mention how he asked for my Facebook as I was leaving. HA!

I tell all these dudes the same thing. I don’t fuck with amateurs.

I have paid my dues. I’ve won all sorts of impromptu dance battles in the club to crew competitions on stage. I have nothing to prove.

I get really annoyed when this happens, so much that I needed to rant about it. This usually comes up when some guy is trying to impress me and then wants to see me dance. There are MUCH better ways to achieve this, so any douchebags who are arrogant enough to approach it in this way get ignored.

Here’s what’s going through my head about people who fit the above scenario:

  1. WOW. Just WOW
  2. Douchebag alert
  3. You’re obviously not a (great) dancer
  4. You’re pretty wack, and I can tell this without even seeing you dance
  5. You have some mad insecurities
  6. Your arrogance is a massive turn-off
  7. There’s no way I’m giving you any more of my time
  8. This is just insulting. I got nothing to prove to a no-name like you
  9. Get the fuck outta here with your ego

Let me tell you 2 things about how you compare to actual dancers:

1. Great dancers are humble

All the dancers I’ve met who are world-class levels are the most humble people I know. They have gone through more rejections and put in more hours of training than anybody else; that’s why they’re the best of the best. Real dancers respect other dancers and have more of a fascination than challenge response. Dancers understand the effort that goes into training and performing and will never undermine this with that sort of arrogance.

If someone is well-skilled, other dancers will know. They don’t have anything to prove to others, especially non-dancers. They dance for themselves, for freedom, to express themselves. To make a living and provide for their family. Because it’s cathartic. Not to undermine someone they just met.

2. Great dancers want to dance WITH you, not AGAINST you

 

MZTRINA.COM Rod and Trina dancing

Now that’s more like it, dancing with Rod at Rock Lily, The Star, Sydney

In a social setting where a dancer is trying to impress someone, they’ll show their moves and sometimes you might get caught up in a friendly battle. But in my case, I see more guys trying to dance with girls to get that closeness, rather than treat them like an enemy they need to crush with their dance moves. That is obviously the successful approach.

I don’t understand why anyone would think that I’d be interested in them after they aggressively try to make me lose at something. Really? Go get some tips on dating. Google is your friend.

Finally…

I feel for all the dancers who have to put up with this shit. Usually I’d ignore it and walk away, but this had to be said. For someone to completely discount all the hard work you’ve put in to become a dancer is a massive turn-off. It’s similar to people just wanting you to do a move for them: “Hey you’re from *so and so crew*. Show us a move!”

We’re not monkeys and we’re not going to dance just because you want us to.
If you’re asking us to dance, we’d say “Fuck you, pay me.”

/RANT

Overcoming Self-Doubt: Ways to Conquer Negative Thoughts

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will
Katrina in deep thought. Mztrina.com

I’m in deep thought

I’m sure we all doubt ourselves all the time, and I am faced with it constantly in all aspects of my life. In fact, it took me about 3 weeks after writing this post, to decide whether or not I should publish it. That pretty much explains why I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to.

Over the past years, since I’ve embarked on this intentional journey of self-development, I have discovered many ways to deal with self-doubt and manage it so that it works for my benefit and not against me. I want to share these thoughts in the hope that someone will benefit from my experiences, which brings me to the first point:

1. What do you think you lack?

I went on a hiatus from blogging over several years, mostly because I started having all sorts of limiting beliefs, but once I identified them and addressed them, then it wasn’t so bad. I’d worry that I’d be wasting my time because no one would want to read what I write, that I’m not good enough / don’t have the experience or skills to write, etc.

When I think about it now, it’s pretty ridiculous because writing is free and like everything, gets better with practice. So I acknowledge that my standards aren’t where I want them to be in order to write in a public forum, but the only way I can improve is to keep doing it; make it a habit.

Don’t be ridiculous!

It was also ridiculous because I was blogging for 3 years on separate hip hop and dancing blogs which were pretty popular back then (2006-2008) and I really elevated my status and authority in those scenes as a result of my writing. I actually had evidence that I could do it, but I chose to ignore and it dismiss it. That’s a real insult and disservice to myself. The blogs also helped me score my last two jobs so actually, that’s quite an amazing thing for someone who ditched their undergrad studies and still scored two dream jobs in a row.

So it came down to lacking experience that I believed I should have and the only way to address that is to blog, everyday, as much as possible, enjoying the process and appreciating the learnings along the way.

Remember your previous wins

Look at any of your past successes in whatever you think you lack experience in. Celebrate them, acknowledge them. Then seek ways to consistently achieve small wins; if your success rate is 10% then you need to do it 10 times. Not just once, not just a few times. Make it a habit. Integrate it into your lifestyle.

Start small

If you want to become physically fitter and leaner, start with one push up in the morning. Just commit to one every morning. Take a 5 minute walk outside. You don’t need to change clothes, just have comfortable walking shoes.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

With small steps, you start to build confidence and you start changing your mindset to focus on what you can achieve (no matter how little the effort might seem to you) rather than on whether or not you can do 100 push ups a day to achieve your ideal fitness level.

Solution: It’s a simple gap analysis where you align your expectations/goals with reality then take consistent action to close the gap.

2. Is your self-doubt preventing you from doing something to help others?

Despite the positive feedback I get from people, both familiar and strangers, I still don’t realise that what I create can actually help people. So it doesn’t become about me anymore, it’s about them and how I can help them get what they want in life. It would be selfish of me to hoard all this wisdom and knowledge form my own experiences to myself, when someone else can benefit from my mistakes and hopefully improve their journey.

Don’t be selfish

I don’t want to be selfish; I want to give and keep giving, not really expecting anything in return because knowing that I’ve indirectly or directly helped someone is what life is all about. I really have nothing to lose from sharing my experiences.

It might be hard for you to imagine helping a faceless person; so think about people who you really care about and wonder if they would benefit from you releasing yourself from your self-doubt to share your talent with them. I always think about my family and friends, knowing a lot of them go through these limiting thoughts all the time. I know what amazing things they can do with their lives if they just believed in themselves. So they are why I do what I do.

Make someone laugh

My favourite way of helping someone is to make them laugh. So I’m silly, I poke fun at myself and I respect people who pursue careers in this. You never know whose day you’ve brightened up from a simple joke, from something that you’ve created.

“I want to meet the man who saw a turtle and said, ‘People will LOVE the ninja version of that.’” – Jonah Hill

Solution: Remind yourself that it’s not about you, it’s about the people you care about who may benefit from what you create/provide.

3. What’s the worst case scenario?

I get really creative when I think about this. I think my mind is really messed up, to the point where I don’t want to share most worst case scenarios that I’ve imagined. Let’s just say a lot of them end in death or selling my body for a living. My friends help to bring me back to reality though and reassure me that they’ll never let it get to that. 

So really, if I have good intentions and just want to help people, I shouldn’t have to worry too much about violent ends and seedy lifestyles.

We started out with nothing, so we have nothing to lose.

Growing up poor in the early stages of life, and hearing about my parents’ struggle, I remind myself that I started out with nothing; in fact, we all did. We all came into this world naked and screaming, so if one day I lose everything and end up naked and screaming at my situation, it’s not so bad. I can start over.

There are people out there who make-do with less than what you have.

A lot of the most successful self-made people have gone through this, even a few times over. From Donald Trump to Michael Jackson going bankrupt, Steve Jobs getting fired from a company he created, Paralympians who are fitter and more driven than most people who have less excuses than them, solo parents who raise a family when others can barely take care of themselves…

“You will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss

Are you really scared of losing your ‘stuff’? Do you really need all these material things? Since they’re material, you can acquire them again eventually, if you really wanted to.

But what about the intangible things in life? The experiences that you’ll miss out on if you don’t get over your fears and take a chance in doing something that feels right for you, that you would gladly lose sleep over? That’s the worst case scenario.

Solution: Figure out realistic worst case scenarios and have contingency plans for them.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

Gain Freedom by Letting Go of External Validation (and Dancing)

One of my favourite dance partners, Rod. We have a lot of fun.

For the past 2 years I’ve focused quite heavily on self-development and quite specifically, evolving into a more enlightened mind, because in my life-long mission to constantly improve myself, this was an aspect that was lacking. One of the things I’ve wanted to write about for a while is how much freedom I gained from letting go of external validation.

A lot of people tell themselves that they don’t care what other people think; this is mostly temporary and quite often just a shallow belief that they try to convince themselves of on a regular basis. I’m still on that journey though, and the more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know. What I mean when I say that we should let go of external validation, is this: don’t let others define what you do. Don’t let them dictate whether or not you do something, or keep doing something, if you absolutely love doing it. (Unless you’re a psycho that hurts others in some way. Then get some help. I’m not judging, I’m just saying it’s a mental thing that needs to be addressed.)

If no one is noticing what you’re doing, that’s ok. Just keep doing it for you. Or for your mother, your father, your partner, your pets – anyone you want to help that WANTS TO BE HELPED. Soon people will notice. Be consistent. Do quality work. Feed your soul.

If people are noticing and hating, then learn to let go of that noise, especially:

When it comes to your dreams

It’s your dreams and nobody else’s. You own them and they can be as big and crazy as you want them to be! Don’t ever let anyone dismiss your dreams and don’t ever feel stupid about anything you have shared about them. Dreams are sacred and they should be protected. Whatever techniques you need to use to ignore the haters, just do it. Most of those who say you can’t do something aren’t doing anything themselves. It amazes me how most people will project their own fears and insecurities on you and your ideas. Thank them for their input, then be on your merry way.

When it comes to what you create

This is the next step from your dreams – when you manifest them and start the process of bringing them to life. Most of the time, it will take you several, maybe even thousands of tries before you can realise that dream, and that’s ok. It’s all part of the fun. You experiment, you create and re-create and then you improve your methods, your style becomes more distinct, you start to build confidence in your skills and trust in your ideas. Hype yourself and surround yourself with people who will gladly cheer you on. Thank the haters for showing you that you’re on the right path while they stuck in their lives, and keep doing what you doing.

It’s been about 14 months since I’ve started this journey, and it’s been a lot more freeing. I realised that I have this same approach when it comes to dancing, because when I dance, it’s for me, but anyone can watch and observe because I’m happy to share it.

Set yourself free with dancing

I dance to express how music makes me feel, how I physically interpret music; so people’s opinions of the result of that don’t bother me at all. It’s who I am, and I am not ashamed of who I am. I just wanna dance and have fun.I took my first salsa dance class a month ago and ended up straight into the intermediate 2 class. I’ve seen it done, tried it a few times and knew the basic step, but throwing myself in the deep end was fun. Other people told me they would’ve been scared. IT’S A DANCE CLASS FOR GOODNESS SAKE! Have fun with it!

I couldn’t believe how serious everyone was, both during and after class, in the social dancing aspect. I was amazed by how uptight they were, counting steps out loud instead of listening to the beat and feeling the rhythm of the music. I kept messing up the whole time, laughing and giggling at my own mistakes, not being used to following the guy as a lead (hey, as a freestyle hip hop dancer, we usually do our own thing) and trying to find the humour in the older men flirting with me. Most of them laughed with me and smiled patiently, a few ignored me and would curse the fact that we didn’t get the routine right the first time. Whatever.

It’s obvious that a lot of people were there to socialise and meet a potential romantic interest, but how can they do that when they’re so serious and fixated on getting the moves right? I’d love to teach a prep class that teaches people how to loosen up a bit and enjoy themselves, then feel the music, then do the moves. A good attitude, a smile and self-deprecating humour wins me over every time, above technical skills.

The most entertaining people to watch on the dance floor are the ones who look like they’re enjoying themselves the most, even though they probably aren’t the best dancers. You get mesmerised when you see someone just enjoying the music and getting lost in the moment. Which is probably why drugs are so popular. But music is my drug. Dance to express, not to impress.

But don’t be a damn reckless fool

I don’t really think that we can or should even completely free ourselves of what other people think; there are times we need guidance, reassurance and feedback on what we’re doing, how we are as people and so on. The trick is to figure out firstly WHO you should believe for certain topics (don’t listen to a broke man about how to manage your finances or an employee/co-worker about becoming an entrepreneur) and then WHAT to do with the information they give you. I can write a whole other piece on applying feedback to improve yourself, because so many people are blind to what’s being said and shown to them.

Be free, lovers!

– K.

My Latest Obsession: Shark Tank (USA)

I don’t really watch TV and there are only a few shows that I’ve had playing in the background while I’m relaxing at home. I can’t remember how I got onto this video of a pitch on Shark Tank, but it was the most fascinating video I have seen in a very long time. I don’t know many people who watch this, but my obsession with business, entrepreneurs and their journeys to success was immensely satisfied with watching this show.

I was really inspired by two particular entrepreneurs who found success after decades of considerable focus and hard work, resilience and passion. I’m surrounded by too many people wondering how they can make more money, when the question should be, how can they make a really significant and positive impact on the world? These two are my favourite pitches so far, since they address some pretty big issues and their passion goes so deep, you can really feel it from just observing them for a few minutes.

I have become a huge fan of Mark Cuban’s after watching this show; his absolute confidence and no-nonsense approach is inspiring. I have learnt so much from observing these interactions between the ‘sharks’ and the entrepreneur.

Looking for Inspiration: The School of Greatness Podcast

I am really guilty of having way too many tabs open in my browsers, to the point where I’ve had to completely shut them all down and start with a clean state – I had both Chrome and Firefox open with about 40 tabs each. Excessive.

I just have this habit of finding really good content that I want to share on my blog, but instead of bookmarking them or posting them in a timely manner, I wait until I feel like writing a whole batch of posts in a day.

So today is that day, and while I’m spending the weekend at home still recovering from my crazy 2.5 week trip to the Philippines, I felt that urge to write again.

I find myself struggling with self-doubt on a daily basis, and wonder how it got to this point. I realised, after lots of reflecting on it, that 2014 was full of so much failure and rejection and shitty things, that it really took a toll on my self-confidence. Now I’m back on a journey to an exponentially better version of me, and that consists of doing 2 things: 1. Decluttering and healing (in every aspect) and 2. Rebuilding, re-educating myself with a more sophisticated and positive mindset.

A lot of the material I come across is crap, but I’ve started to find some gold nuggets of information here and there. I want to share them with whoever is in a similar situation and hope that it helps them on their journey to a better life.

This podcast episode in a series by Lewis Howes called ‘The School of Greatness’ is a really good place to start. I’m a big fan of James Altucher and listening to him retell his story and his learnings made me feel relieved to hear from someone who had pretty bad shit happen in their life and how they have bounced back from it.

 

Random Adventure ft. Zhen, Chris, Ilya, Jenny and Sharen (15 Jan 2015)

I wanted to write up a few posts last night based on the overwhelming support I received from my first post for the year about my one and only resolution for 2015 and beyond, but I got pretty wasted instead. I’m a pretty random person so just before I finished work, I asked my good friend Zhen what he was doing, and from there it became a group of 6 new-ish friends drinking sake and talking a lot of shit at Zhen’s regular spot, Sharak. They have this small lift in the back of the narrow restaurant which trips me out, but they get so busy that the three floors are usually bustling when we’re there.

There were a lot of good calls by Zhen, which are hard to explain via writing; thus our new inside jokes. For my own memories’ sake, there were gold ones that only those who were there would know, like:

  • “You know what rhymes with Anna Kim…?”
  • “Oh Kat I didn’t know you were from New Zealand”

It was brilliant. If the others can remind me, then I’ll add to this list. Anyways. These are the only photos I got…

Chris is like… sup. Ilya’s like… fuck off

Chris is like... sup. Ilya's like... fuck off

Chris and Jenny are like… hmmmm what to do

Chris, Jenny and Ilya are like... hmmmm what to do

Duh… drink. Then “cheers…” until…

Cheers... until...

Ilya: “Fuck off Jenny, that’s mine”

Ilya

Ilya: “Yeah that’s right. Fkn peace.”

Fkn peace

Then we tried to convince the waiter to secretly drink with us, then leave work early to get wasted at Sanctuary Hotel. No go. He’s too honest. And Chris is such a poser.

Trying to convince the waiter to drink with us.

That’s about all the photos I took.

Anyways, next day was basically dealing with the hangover. On the bus to work, I bumped into Will, another good friend and moreso of Zhen’s who said he didn’t come out drinking last night because he was out the night before with Zhen and had to spend last night recovering. Ha! Then I recounted the night for him.

Then throughout the day, this is how I dealt:

Ugh… Steak and mushroom pie and a dirty soy chai#hangovercures

Brother & sister hangover catch up over #laksa. We’re the best and the worst. @mikhailzenon#hangovercures

The Hangover Part 3…chips and gravy with Ponsford#hangovercures #fatty #outtacontrol #cheatday

The Hangover Part 4: creme brulee #dessert

So part 5 would’ve been K-EFFING-C… but I stayed home packing for Boracay instead of getting wasted with Zhen again.

The Only Resolution That Counts For My 2015 and Beyond

trina hip hop legend

So after a lot of reflection in private, I decided on a few things:

1. I would quietly start sharing my reflections again, because some people might actually learn something from it, and that makes me happy

2. The only resolve I have for my ongoing self-imposed struggles and limiting beliefs is that to make some serious change, I have to become obsessed with being consistent.

That’s it really. After 1 year of introspection and limited social activities, 2014 was a fucked up time where foundations were shaken for a lot of people’s lives; those who I’ve spoken to have sighed over the shitty year that was, and the hope that 2015 will bring better times.

But the danger in looking ahead too often is that it breeds anxiety of the future and doubt from past experiences. The only thing we need to focus on is what’s happening now. Because that’s the only thing we can control. There’s no point in surmising over what we cannot do anything about anymore, or yet.

Now the first point above with the sharing of reflections through this blog stems from point 2. The ‘Consistency Principle of Persuasion‘ by Professor Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University, “states that people live up to what they have publicly said they will do and what they have written down. So Cialdini encourages us to have others write down their commitments as a route to having others live up to their promises.”

If we are consistent with our vision, our core values and beliefs, our goals, then take action on a regular basis i.e. form a habit, then we can basically get up each day and know what we’re doing with our lives.

So what habits am I going to form or keep?

1. Exercise & Stretch

My goal is to get 10 x muscle ups, 10 x handstand push ups and 10x pistol squats

2. Meditation

My goal is to remove anxiety and reduce unnecessary stress from my life. Some stress is good.

3. Writing

I write for me daily, but I’ll write for others more than I have been. I love story telling and inspiring others through my writing.

4. Singing & Dancing

Another form of therapy. Just need to find the best way to share this therapy with others on a bigger scale.

 

It’s really simple when you think about it. Do it, or don’t.

And like in Will Smith’s inspiring story, just lay one brick at a time, as perfectly as you can.

Someone once told me the definition of Hell…

Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became… will meet the person you could have become.

Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became… will meet the person you could have become.