Monthly Archives: December 2012

How to set your New Year’s resolutions: Start a WISDOM LIST!

I’ve been enjoying and appreciating the holidays way too much, which comes as a surprise because this is the time of year I’m usually at my unhappiest. Something about this season tends to put me down, but the thought of a new year brightens me up again. The natural leeway of this introduction would be to start rambling on about my 2012, but I decided to take a different approach to the customary yearly review.

I think it would be more beneficial if we all asked ourselves what we learned from 2012 that we can carry forward as personal lessons. Not only will such an activity help give meaning to our reviews, but it will also create a list of resolutions that we may have never realised we needed to work upon. Seeking to implement these resolutions may even help to tick off the same resolutions we set year after year but never achieve. To help get you started, here are my lessons learned below.

I have learned that:-

1. I have to STOP using ‘I’m too young’ or ‘I’m too old’ as excuses to postpone decisions.

I just have to take chances when the moment feels right. If it doesn’t work out then:

  •  I have to improve my intuition skills
  • I have to identify the fears behind my excuses and conquer them once and for all
  • I have to separate what I want from what others want for/from me. Although people do offer me advice with best intentions, I let them make choices for me when deep down I know what is really best for me.

2. I have to stop drowning myself in self-pity when things don’t turn out how I planned even after hard work and dedication.

Retrospectively, I have always found a fault in myself for why something went astray and to be honest, this is a better approach than blaming others for my mistakes. However, I must take responsibility for my judgement at the time, and just move on. I also have to accept the fact that not everything is going to go my way.

3. I have to constantly remind myself I am 23 years old and that is what is: no more, no less.

There are people my age who have already achieved so much and there are others who really do not make an effort to fulfill their true potential. I have to stop comparing myself to my age group and start aiming to outdo myself. Constant comparison will be the death of me!

4. I have to stop coming up with great ideas if I’m not going to implement them.

Every year I come up with great ideas for the Maltese market, plan them out and even go through great lengths to make them happen (like recruiting like minded individuals or conducting market research). Then I get distracted with a new project or something and the motivation fizzles out. Three years later somebody in Malta comes up with the same idea and achieves massive success. I guess many people have experienced this and know how much it sucks. The lesson learned here is to stop DAYDREAMING and to start DOING!

5. I have a secret list of obstacles that I believe set me back romantically, spiritually, financially etc.

I shall not post the list here as this current list is personal enough! However, I shall try my best to overcome these obstacles in 2013. At the same time, I will remind myself that the only obstacles are inside my head and what I think is holding me back is just an excuse setting me up for failure.

Phew! That feels great.

I have now articulated my own personal goals for self-development and overall success in life AND SO CAN YOU! Give yourself 15 minutes to write down what you feel you’ve learned this year that will help you achieve better results in everything you aspire to do in life. Try not to pass the 15-minute mark so as to write as much as possible what immediately comes to mind (subconsciously you would have been contemplating these lessons for a few months and they will reveal themselves when a time constraint is presented). The list is also something that will will evolve anyway if you keep it up the following years. Each year you can check your progress from the first list and tick off/add lessons as you please, depending on the stage you are in life. You will notice that the lessons learned now may well be very different from those learned 5 years ago.

In fact, I’m going to go ahead and officially call this a WISDOM LIST.

We only get wiser with experience, whether good or bad, so take every occasion as an opportunity to learn. If you can’t think of anything in those 15 minutes, at least take that as a lesson learned for the coming years.

Happy New Year!

Tamara 🙂


What Inspires You?

The sounds of the sea. Crashing waves. Sitting at a cafe’ and people-watching. Bus-rides. Make-up  and nail-art tutorials. Fashion shoots. Stories about people who with great courage overcame their deepest fears and difficulties. Compassion. Empathy. A brilliant idea. Music. Lyrics. Poetry. A thought provoking film. A good book. My best friends. My peers. My family. Bloggers. Those little details and observations in life that we miss if we’re moving too fast. Old abandoned buildings ripe with possibilities. An engaging speaker. An attentive and gracious host. A good sense of humour and a beautiful smile. Simple yet effective design and marketing. Captivating illustrations. Watching a dancer or someone who is involved in sports express what the human body is capable of. The mysterious ways of the moon. Travel. Other cultures. Exercise. Learning. Doing something for the first time. Helping others. Life.

The list can go on and on.

There is no fixed formula for inspiration, although most would agree that when it hits you, you have to contain it there and then before it fades away. It’s almost like that dream that seems so vivid when you wake up but you can’t seem to recollect when you want to share it with someone else.

This week I embarked on a ‘little’ project which I have been long thinking about but never got around to starting. I was motivated to finally give this project the light of day, because (1) I run an inspiration blog after all, and (2) I am entering this blog post in a competition for the chance to win a scholarship at the Blogcademy in London next month. Blogging, writing, media and journalism mean a lot to me and inspire me to inspire others. I want to turn my dreams into reality by investing time, money and energy into my passions. I believe in working hard and making sacrifices but sometimes I get side-tracked and focus on making a living instead of making a life. I have spent money on a web design course which I attended all summer up to mid-autumn. I’m also practicing with my camera and video editing, and I just got a photo shoot done. I’m currently shopping for a new laptop too. These are exciting times and I think attending the Blogacademy would be the cherry on the cake. The speakers at the Blogacademy are three of my internet heroes and the chance to meet new people who are also looking for inspiration is also tantalizing. Community and collaboration are great sources of inspiration. To get the chance to sit in a room with passionate individuals from different countries and backgrounds and discuss the same topic but with different views would be a dream come true!

In order to make this happen I asked my friends to answer the question “What inspires you?” either in words or any other medium of communication. I left it open on purpose to make it easier for them to answer. However, I was discouraged to find out that many could not actually answer this question. Most of my friends said it took them a good few minutes to think about it. Others were embarrassed to talk about what truly makes them tick. So I put people into a role-play situation. I told them to imagine that they were being interviewed for their dream job; a job where they can express their ideas/talents and achieve their dreams. Then I asked them to imagine that at the end of the interview, the HR Manager asks this simple yet surprising question which they were not expecting: “What inspires you?”.

These are some of the answers I got:


I guess the reason why we find it hard to identify what inspires us, is because it is not a question we ask ourselves often. No matter how hard I prepare myself I often get stuck when HR Managers ask me that kind of question in an interview. In HR lingo, these are called behavioral questions. They’re called behavioral because they often address your actions in a particular situation (“Could you describe the greatest challenge you ever experienced in the workplace and how you handled it?”) and some are just to gauge how creative and sharp you are (“If you were an animal what would you be?”). I know HR managers ask these questions because job interviews are the crappiest part of their job and so they want to torture us, but we shouldn’t totally disregard them. If you’re reading this post, I urge you to get a pen and paper and write down all the things that inspire you and hang it up somewhere you can see it and be reminded of what sparks your life. Don’t worry if you’re not really aware of what inspires you. Just leave the paper blank and every time something ‘sparks’ you, write down the who, what, when and where of your Eureka moment. You should especially do this if you’re feeling ‘stuck’ in life and want to start a new project or continue one you’ve left on the back burner.

I hope to help others in finding their spark through this blog and this ‘inspiration’ project. Whatever happens with the scholarship, I’m glad I got people interested in the topic. I’ve also had a few enlightening conversations with friends who felt ‘stuck’ answering the question. Some local creative community people also expressed interest in answering the question in an interview setting. I’m pretty excited about that as I can turn this into a neat monthly feature where readers can get inspired too. Thank you all so much for your input, especially to those who have took the time to thank me personally for the content I’ve posted in the past and to encourage me to keep on blogging. Hope you all have a lovely festive season!

Sending lots of sparks & sparklers your way,

Tammy 🙂