The Declutter Series Part 2 – eBay Selling Tips

1000 things store header screenshot

Almost 5 months ago, I published my first “Declutter” series post and updated that for a few months afterwards. Then I decided to quit my job in August and ended up travelling overseas for 3 months. One of the things I realised while living for a quarter of a year with just a small suitcase and backpack (with a total of just 18kg), is that I don’t really need too much stuff. Even then, I only wore half the things I brought with me and just did laundry two or three times a week.

Coming home to a multitude of unpacked boxes and bags in my bedroom and the storage sheds, I was overwhelmed. Travelling gives you such a great different perspective on life – especially as Tokyo, Japan was my last stop. I learned a lot about minimalism and the use of small spaces: being compact. I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” by Marie Kondo (or rather, listened to the audio book) and “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” by Greg McKeown. I watched even more Hoarders shows on YouTube and read a lot of “minimalist” blogs like Zen Habits.

I have a lot of stuff. At least 200 pairs of shoes, and more clothes than I can wear in a lifetime. It was over 2 years ago (12 Aug 2013 to be exact) that I registered the domain 1000things.com.au and decided that was what I was going to use to sell at least 1000 of my things. I told one friend and he thought it was great. Then life got in the way and my idea was pushed to the side.

Finally, after some back and forth, creating my own website then disregarding it after 4 weeks in favour of an eBay basic store and I’m up and running. I have no idea how to sell on eBay and just start to experiment. I tweak my listings constantly and thanks to my marketing background, I realise that I already have an idea of how to sell. From what I’ve read, there have been a lot of changes to eBay to make it easier and more affordable (i.e. less fees) for the average person to purge their things. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

1. Prep the clothes

I’m surprised at what things sell over those that don’t; an old Supre knit dress, work tops and skirts I wore weekly and don’t think I’ll need anymore. You just never know what other people will pay for, so if it’s not ripped, stained and in reasonable condition, it’ll most likely sell eventually, if you prep the clothes.

  • Wash the clothes if they’re musty and/or have stains
  • Use a fabric freshener if they don’t need a full wash
  • Iron out any super wrinkled stuff

2. Take great pictures

Lighting, angles and close ups

eBay used to charge you for photos after the first one was free, but now you have 12 free photo spots, but I find that 3 is enough, my average is 4 for clothes to get angles, close ups, hanging versions and mannequin shots. So get a lot of good natural lighting and frame it well. I just use my phone camera and transfer via the eBay mobile app.

20151206_142500 20151206_142507 20151206_142521 20151206_142535 20151206_142629

 

Mannequins (good if you can get ’em)

3 in my family are fashion heads and somehow got a bunch of mannequins that live in our house. So I’m lucky enough to use these to model my clothes since they are a size 6 and most of my clothes are size 6-8. It was very interesting dressing and undressing this mannequin; I felt like a pervert at first then got over it. What is wrong with my mind? Here’s how I would typically undress it:

20151206_190730

Look at the difference in photos below; someone bid on the item a few hours after I uploaded the new mannequin version:

1000 Things Australia eBay Shot - Before

BEFORE

1000 Things Australia eBay Shot - After

AFTER

3. Give detailed descriptions

I tell a little story for most pieces whether or not I’ve worn them; “I bought this in Hawaii but realised I have 6 other white summer dresses so it has to go…” to “An impulse purchase in Japan while hungover and excited by the uniqueness of their fashion lines…” or even “this would look great with a white blazer and black pencil skirt for work…” means that it takes longer for each listing, but it’s sort of my little ‘thank you and goodbye’ to each item, which is a concept that Kondo’s book introduced to me.

You don’t have to do this but at least answer questions upfront like:

  • Are there any defects i.e. rips or stains?
  • Why are you selling it? (Some people get sus and think something’s wrong with it)

I tell my story in every item description, about how I quit my job to travel the world, then fell in love in Hawaii (another whole series of posts to come) and came back determined to spring-clean my life.

4. Price it based on demand

This will take longer if you want to get the best price since you’ll be researching average selling prices on eBay, easily done with the ‘sold’ listings you can browse through. I usually don’t bother with this because I have an idea of what I’m willing to sell the items for.

Pre-owned (used and good condition)

Usually the cheaper items I put through auction with eBay postage costs for $7.15 and minimum prices from $0.99 to $2.99. These are the clothes I would’ve donated but for some reason, people will still buy them for a good bargain, and it’s good to try and raise your positive feedback score. For items I’ve used once or twice, I will price them higher, around $10.

New without tags

These I’ll price from $10-$30 for clothing, $5-$25 for DVDs (based on single or season packs), and just wing it for other items.

Brand new

I will price these at the same retail price or just above the lowest price on eBay. It amazes me how people can buy something on the retailer website for the same price but still buy my item.

5. Simplify postage

This was the most confusing thing for me at first, then I realised how much they’ve streamlined postage in the past few years. If you have several items, you’re best off ordering the eBay flat rate satchels in 500g and/or 3kg from the Australia Post website and keeping shipping to Australia only. Also give the option of pick up if you’re in a relatively accessible area and don’t mind meeting with people. I have given this option but I realised I can’t be bothered coordinating meet ups with people so I’d rather stick to postage.

6. Have fun, gamify it

For me it’s a win-win-win situation. I’ve been obsessed with trying to declutter for the past few years and now I can focus on it. I want to practice more direct selling which I didn’t get to do in my job, and understand the process while gaining experience with eCommerce. Then there’s the money part, which can grow based on how smart you get with the whole eBay selling concept.

I make a game out of it, to see how much stuff I can get rid off. It’s a big relief when you can clear out space in your house and get rid of that storage unit you’ve been spending money on or taking space in your dad’s garden shed/man cave like I have been.

So if you want to shop for a few cool things, check out my store 1000 Things Australia on eBay.

-K.

07.12.15

07.12.15 Ryen and Katrina

To my forever, Ryen:
My dreamlover, future baby father,
Mate of the soul, give me feelings
I can’t control
Or describe
With words
It hurts
But in a different way
Da kine you’d hear
Those romantic novels say
I feel so grateful every day
That we found each other
The missing peace
Of my jigsaw
It’s so raw
And unending
I gotta stop pretending
And hiding
Behind pride
To show what I feel
Inside
My mind
My soul
My heart
You hold
All the keys, the only key
To unlock this mystery
Of a utopia
Beyond my wildest fantasies
I can’t believe
YOU EXIST
My KING, my BLESSING
My EVERYTHING
I love your ding-a-ling
But I’ll keep this classy
Sorry I get sassy
I’m still learning
And growing and evolving
With you, through you
My world, my universe.
I love you.

Happy 2 months
Of pure joy
Of perfection
Of unconditional love
Of synchronicity
Of boundless energy
…and a whole new world
Full of surprises
And non-surprises
To look forward to
With my once-in-a-lifetime.
I love you.

– Katrina

——————————————-

Notes: This was 5 min of uninterrupted flow just before 1am; only two tweaks but mostly working on a fluid creation process. I’m constantly being inspired and this piece is dedicated to my life partner.

-K

Write or Die – My ‘Ikigai’

Tricep tattoo

I quit my corporate job after 8 years of being in the same company. I’d like to think that I was loyal and resilient enough to withstand all the bullshit that came with it, dedicating the youthful energy of my 20s – which I thought would be the best years of my life. Now, I’m excited to see what my 30s hold. I may write about my quitting in more detail and open up a little more one day, but today is not that day.

I am writing because I finally figured out what I REALLY want to do in life – write.

Leaving my job just before my epic Dirty 30 birthday trip was the best decision I’ve ever made. It started with the desire to re-do a similar trip that my life friend Anna and I did back in 2009 when she lived in New York. I visited her and we went to LA together. This time, I added Vegas for a wild birthday celebration, Honolulu to see my family and she added Chicago to the trip just because. People started hearing about our plans and we’d meet with various friends at different parts of our journey.

On the day I handed in my resignation, I immediately extended the last leg, Hawaii, for another 4 weeks. Fuck yeah! Yolo! And not many people know this as of yet, but I just booked a random trip to Japan for 3 weeks after, with a potential week in between in either Seoul, Taipei or Hong Kong. I haven’t decided yet.

I am yet to write about the crazy shit we got up to, but it’s hard when the weather is so damn good and you’re surrounded by so much outdoor fun. Even now the weather is amazing and I’m dying to go outside. Here’s what it looks like from my place:

20151006_115256

I only have a few more days left here (where the heck did those 5 weeks in Hawaii go?) then I’ll stopover in Sydney for a few days before continuing my Dirty 30 trip in Japan!

It’s funny how that was my next destination on this trip for several reasons; I made a trip out there in 2009, which was the same year I did the LA/NY trip. It’s like my life is sort of repeating itself 6 years later but it’s even more epic, and a way that I can analyse my personal growth since then.

I’ve shifted my purpose and really found my calling; my ‘Ikigai’ as the Japanese (apparently more specifically, the Okinawans) call it.

ikigai definition

For the month leading up to my resignation, I would wake up and lie in bed for over an hour, thinking about how much I hated my situation at work and a few people who had too much control over me. Then becoming jobless, I can wake up and do whatever the fuck I want. But now, after 2 solid months of hardcore partying and playing, with thoughts of nothing but how much fun I can have in one day, I can finally say that I wake up to experience as much as life has to offer, and share my stories.

I don’t know what to call myself, or if I’m worthy of it: storyteller, writer, blogger, adventurer, etc. But it doesn’t matter what label I apply to myself, as long as I feel it.

I love this quote, it’s my new motto. I’ve been doing the latter for a little while now that it’s time to do the writing part of it. I strive to do both on a daily basis, but the next hurdle to overcome is sharing what I produce.

I posted this just yesterday and it’s been the most liked and shared on my Instagram and Linked In (24 likes and 24 shares, plus over 150+ likes on one of those shares) profiles. I didn’t realise how much people would relate to it, or how people would be anticipating my next blog post. The support is very encouraging. I’m glad I could inspire a whole bunch of strangers with a simple action.

After hiking up mountains, wading in the ocean, nighttime cruising to catch some shooting stars and general lazing about in the sun and watching the clouds, I’ve been able to clear my thoughts and realise what I want to do each day.

I’ve found my ‘Ikigai’.

Ikigai diagram

I’ve seen similar diagrams to the above, but none as clear as this one. I don’t have a plan. I’m not sure what my next move is, except to write, and to keep writing. Maybe that’s enough.

ernest hemingway typerwriter bleed

And so my new journey begins.

I hope you find this. Happy Birthday

The Declutter Series – My Journey to Minimalism

A few months ago, I watched a show called ‘Selling Houses (Australia)’ at a friend’s place. The owners of the property were serial hoarders and it was fun and almost cathartic for me to watch them get rid of all their junk, overcoming the mental and emotional attachments to the material things. I’ve become obsessed with reading up on hoarders and watching all the relevant HOARDERS TV shows in the past few weeks that it’s inspired me to keep getting rid of stuff while also minimising how much I actually buy.

i must not let clutter beat me

I’ve been decluttering my life for the past few years in every aspect – people, material possessions, files on my cloud and hard drives, thoughts in my head, habits that don’t serve me, and so on. It has been so liberating that I really want to help others declutter their lives in some ways. I’m still only about 10% into my personal project to declutter mine and my family’s belongings, which is actually pretty fun once you get into the hang of it.

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.”
– Eleanor Brownn

In this post, I’ll focus on the material decluttering since it’s the easiest and most visual.

My Story – Excessive Consumerism

I lived with my parents until the age of 24 while working full-time and making a lot of money for my age. I had so much money to burn so I’d spend it frivolously on ridiculous things like multiple pairs of the same shoes (sometimes 3 pairs, mostly in different colours but not always) because I loved them so much. When I think back to it, it sickens me. How we’re trapped into believing in insecurities about ourselves that we need to buy material things to fill the void in our souls. I’m glad I snapped out of it by my late 20s.

I have over 100 pairs of shoes, wardrobes full of clothes (some with tags still on them) and a host of other things that would take too long to list. When I moved out of my parents’ home randomly in 2009, I started learning how to live with just one set of plates, one set of cutlery, one set of bedsheets and only brought about 10% of my clothes and things that I owned. The rest were still at my parents’ place.

So apart from my stuff, there were my parents’ stuff that they’d accumulated over the past two decades we’ve been in the country, plus my brother’s stuff, his girlfriend’s stuff (as she has also lived with them for several years) and my sister’s stuff. That’s a 2-storey bedroom with 3 sheds and half the double garage full of stuff. Stuff is everywhere.

I started getting rid of the things I own and would start taking boxes of things from my parents’ house to my apartment to continue the process. Right now I’ve counted about 35 pairs of pants, for someone who always complains that I don’t like wearing pants and declare most days as NO PANTS DAY. It’s ironic.

TODAY IS THE DAY YOU LET GO OF THINGS THAT NO LONGER SERVE YOU

Ok, here goes the HOW-TO bit.

1. Get Your Mind Right

Before you start this journey, you have to get your mindset on the right page. You gotta know WHY you want to do this, commit to starting NOW and then the HOW is given in the advice below based on my experience. If you don’t get this right, it’ll be much harder for you to let go of things and you’ll give up easily after a half-assed attempt.

Like anything, it takes time to get your thoughts in order, so just start small and be consistent with your efforts.

“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” – Barbara Hemphill

2. Learn the 2-Step Decluttering Process

  1. Organise
  2. Purge

The two steps can be done simultaneously and on an ongoing basis. Sometimes I purge clothes before organising them in my wardrobe and other times I’ll organise my clothes (like my new pants drawer) then be able to see just how much stuff I have and what I can then get rid of. Once you realise just how much of one type of item you have, it’s psychologically much easier to trim that down.

Most of the time, people get overwhelmed and have no idea to start. I experience this all the time. So I just choose one small section, like one drawer of a table, and get that in shape. Or I’ll choose a type of clothing (like pants) and focus on collecting all those types to start the decluttering process.

3. Give Stuff Away First

Ok really, you throw stuff away first. That’s a given. Then you give stuff away before thinking about selling it. Selling things take a lot longer and if you approach it by trying to get as much money as possible for your stuff, you’ll delay the decluttering process.

You start with the less valuable items, because as an example – holding onto a few books in the hopes that you’ll get $5-$10 for each might not be worth it when you can easily gift those to people you know might benefit from reading them.

  • Kids/Family/Friends – find some kids you know and give them a whole bunch of your stuff. I brought my nieces and nephews a present each recently, a bunch of hats, jewellery I hadn’t worn or opened, a selfie stick with the tag still on it, an unopened purse and so on. When kids are happy, it’s infectious; they tend to show it a lot more openly than adults do. You benefit just as much as they do from your giving. You can probably find stuff to give to friends and family too
  • Charity – I started with just 2 bags of stuff to give to a clothing drive. Start small and you gain momentum. Do it all in one go: from finding 2 bags, to filling them up with stuff you definitely don’t want, to putting them in the charity bin. Otherwise, they could stay in your home until you ‘get around to it’

4. Sell Stuff In Person, In Bulk

Hold a garage sale, go to second-hand markets, whatever it is, this is the best way to get rid of stuff. Neither of these options appeal to me though, because then you’d have to talk to people and I don’t really wanna talk to people.

5. Sell Stuff Online

Ah, this is more my thing. eBay and Gumtree are really the only sites I’ll post on, though I’m also considering creating my own site with a catalogue of my stuff. That’s more for me to gain hands on experience with eCommerce because I’m a massive digital geek and love that stuff. Plus I have a shit-ton to sell.

6. Digitise Everything

I’m a digital citizen by nature so I’ve done these a long time ago.

  • Receipts, documents – I started by using Shoeboxed where they send me envelopes and I stuff these with my receipts and any documents I want to keep a record of, then post it back for them to scan and upload into my online account. Then when Xero introduced the file storage feature, I switched to them so I can link the receipts to the transactions
  • Books – I love my Kindle. It was a present from one of my exes who was thoughtful enough to allow me to read my supernatural erotica discreetly when I used to catch public transport to work. I also have over 1,000 books on it (obviously most were free). I also lost this Kindle during a holiday in Honolulu and was reunited with it about a month later. That’s a story for another time
  • Books Part 2 – Another great option are audio books. I’ve just gotten into them a few months ago and enjoy walking around listening to a good non-fiction piece. I subscribe to Audible.com which is part of Amazon.com (and you can try Audible and get two free audiobooks)
  • File Storage – now with cloud storage services like Dropbox, Box, Evernote and so on, I barely need my computer’s hard drive let alone external ones (of which I have 3 totalling 6TB)
  • Music – Spotify and YouTube are all I need now. I am on the extreme sides though, since I love vinyl and have a healthy collection that I can’t part with just yet
  • Movies – Netflix has most of what I want to watch and you can stream anything else. I don’t own a DVD player; Apple TV or Chromecast does the trick unless you’ve upgraded to a Smart TV that has WiFi built-in

7. Get Support

Don’t be afraid of asking for help. It might be fun with someone else you trust. Then you’re more likely to be able to hold a garage sale or market sale with those that support you. You can also reach out to me, even just to mention you’re starting on the journey and I’ll be glad to cheer you on.

My Progress

I will update this post regularly to document my physical decluttering journey. How fun!

I won’t take before and after photos of my parents’ house to leave them with privacy, so I’ll share the progress in my own home. I don’t have too many ‘before’ pictures and there’s a lot more stuff stored in hidden areas.

BEFORE (My Bedroom) as of 29 April 2015

Two tables and a side table with stuff on it, in it and under it

Two tables and a side table with stuff on it, in it and under it

Shoe cabinet by the door, boxes from my parent's house with stuff to sort through, stuff on the boxes

Shoe cabinet by the door, boxes from my parent’s house with stuff to sort through, stuff on the boxes

Right wardrobe (half of it)

Right wardrobe (half of it)

Right wardrobe part 2

Right wardrobe part 2

Left wardrobe (only half of it)

Left wardrobe (only half of it)

AFTER

8 May 2015

Mz Trina - Declutter Series - After 1

AFTER – My underwear drawers have been consolidated from 2 drawers to 1 and laid out in a more efficient way

24 May 2015

AFTER - My organised pants drawer filled to the max, but there's another 8 pairs needing to be stored elsewhere

AFTER – My organised pants drawer filled to the max, but there’s another 8 pairs needing to be stored elsewhere

6 June 2015

I visited my parents’ home to clean out my stuff. We chucked out 3 large bags of rubbish + 2 bags of donations + 3 bags of eWaste and 1 bag of recycling.

My dogs supervising the clean up

A photo posted by Mz Trina (@mztrina8) on


A box of CDs from my childhood… 90s gangsta rap. Gone to a good home.

12 July 2015

I visited my parents’ home again to clean out part of the wardrobe in my old room. Chucked out 2 bags of rubbish + 1 bag of donations + 1 bag of recycling + 1 bag of eWaste. I found stuff from highschool which was over a decade ago. More CDs and lots of paper crap. Oh and my birth certificate, which is handy.

Some more CDs (that I'm keeping), a booklet from D2MG O-Week 2006 which was my first year as President and my birth certificate

Some more CDs (that I’m keeping), a booklet from D2MG O-Week 2006 which was my first year as President and my birth certificate

14 July 2015

I’ve decided to move back home in 3 weeks time, which means I want to get rid of as much stuff as I can before then. I’ll list them on the relevant sites and maybe on here too.

11 Dec 2015

I’ve had to move out of my apartment, back to my parents’ house while I travelled the world for 3 months. So I’ve created an updated post, more on the eBay selling side of things based on my experience so far, “The Declutter Series Part 2 – eBay Selling Tips”.

-K.

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.