The main point is this - zombies are takers. They take brains and they take limbs and every now and then they take eyeballs. This is why, in the end, they lose.
And this is why, if you're just a taker, in the end you lose too.
Being a giver is a win for so many reasons, not just so that you can feel good (although that's a bonus!). The thing is, when you give to other people, and you might give time, money, advice, friendship, a listening ear (zombies are very happy to take this one. If you want to give to a zombie, a listening ear is the best thing to give. Not many people know this, but that's the reason why Van Gogh and Chopper Read chopped off their ears. It wasn't to make a statement. It was to give something to the zombies so they could escape and live for a little bit longer. True story).
One of the greatest things about the children's book community I live in is that it is a community of givers. It's a community where everyone wants everyone else to do well, so there is incredible support and incredible wells of experience and advice. I personally have sat down with some of the very, very top authors in Australia, and without even me even asking they show an interest in me and my work, and give advice, lessons they have learned, things they have done, things I should do. This not only fires me up to do all these things, and to learn from these legends, but it also makes me want to do the same for other people.
I am naturally a giver anyway, and love donating money to charities, but some of the best feelings I have had have come from being able to pass on knowledge to other people, and from being able to listen to friends and give them my time and attention and love.
And, don't get me wrong, it isn't always give or always take. Doing these things makes me feel good, no doubt, Gwen Stefani. But the focus is pretty much always on helping other people, on giving, and so the feelings of niceness are the bonus side serve of dairy-free ice-cream.
And I heard a really nice quote the other day, just to finish off. Here it is.
NO! That wasn;t it! I mean, that's a lvoely quote if you're a zombie and you hear it and you realise there are brains fresh for the eatin', but the quote I heard was this ... If you want to make yourself happy, make someone else happy.
Live to give. Make other people smile and feel good and help make other people grow and improve, and you can't help but feel good. It's win-win.
If you make a zombie feel good, it's win-lose. Or win-munch munch munch mmmmmm, tasty brains.
Don't do that.
DO have an awesome week!
This is not ideal.
Also, if we hang out with non-zombie-type people, we still want to hang out with like-minded people. This is because if we hang out with people who are only looking out for themselves, when the zombies attack, those suckers be pushing you out front like an entree, main and dessert!
The problem then becomes, if you know that they are going to try and push you to the zombies so that they can survive, you start thinking the same way! If you want to survive, you gotta push someone else first, and now you're acting like them and that's bad!
You want to hang out with people that support and inspire and uplift you. You want to hang out with people who make you feel amazing, and make you happy. You want to hang yout with people that won't try and eat your face off or try to give you to someone who will eat your face off. Even in non-apocalyptic times this is important!
For me, as soon as I am in a room with authors or illustrators, I know that I have found my tribe. I know they are people I want to hang around with. I went to a conference the other week, with a few hundred authors and illustrators and publishers, and it was SOOOO amazing. Just creative people wanting to learn and get better and who were super excited about doing something they totally lvoe doing. It gets me buzzing and excited and I always feel like writing something when I leave a group like that.
I have other people too, other amazing people that I love dearly who aren't necessarily authors or illustrators, but who have this energy that lifts me up and makes me feel amazing, and who, after I spend time with them, I leave feeling lighter and happier than before I caught up with them.
These are the people you want to hang out with.
These are the people that are going to make you want to be a better person.
There's a theory that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So you have a choice to make. Do you want to hang out with people who are negative or who drag you down or who make you feel less than you could be or who want to eat you, or do you want to hang around with people who lift you up and make you feel Both amazing and inspired.
It seems like a pretty easy choice - it isn't always an easy thing to carry out, but it has to be done. For you to fully be the most amazing person you can be, your tribe is important, and you need to be abl;e to ease out the people who are dragging you down. Don't cut them off necessarily, just spend less time with them.
And spend more time with the awesome, amazing, legendary, champion people. They're the good ones.
See, zombies hate water. So it's weird that just keep swimming could apply to them. But it does. Because just keep swimming means just keep going, just keep searching, don't dwell on what's happened, don't be resentful, just keep swimming and you will find what you're looking for.
It may not be in the place you expect it to be, but you'll find it still.
Zombies "just keep swimming" when they never give up if they're trying to suck on someone's brain and that someone is trying to chop the zombie's head off with a butter knife. BUt zombies also "just keep swimming" when they finish one brain snack, or miss out on one brain snack, and they search again. They want more, always looking to be more, improve, develop.
This is something we can totally learn from. When we go after something that is really attractive to us, something that we believe will make us better people, bring us incredible joy, we gotta just keep swimming, just keep working at ways to get that thing. And if one way doesn't work, well, maybe you gotta swim in another direction. Maybe you gotta swim against the current sometimes, really pushing hard, working hard, maybe you have to go around even when what you want is right in front of you, so close you can almost touch it, taste it, but that current keeps pushing back at you.
Find a way.
And if it turns out that you just keep swimming, and just keep swimming, but you don't reach your goal, or if you reach it and it doesn't give you what you expect ... don't be resentful. You're allowed to be upset, of course, that's natural, but then you have to look at the wonderful things you had or the wonderful things you learned or the wonderful memories, and use those, take them with you, and just keep swimming.
Because there are more wonderful things up ahead, or off to the side, and you'll find them if you just keep swimming ... or, if you're a zombie, just keep shuffling ... or, if you're a non-brain-dead human, just keep trying and searching and learning and growing and loving.
It's the only way.
The reason I am excited is because it's a public holiday ... no, that's not it either. I'm a writer. Every day is a public holiday! This is awesome because I am able to hang out with awesome people and have coffees and lunches and play golf after I have done my writing for the day.
No, I am actually excited because my new book, How to Catch the Easter Bunny is out and doing really well! I am excited about that, but that's not really it. The main reason I am excited is because I have just scored myself a new tattoo ... it is a saying ... Be water, my friend. This is a saying by Bruce Lee, who, after zombies, is my ultimate hero and inspiration.
So this saying is really important to me. Last week the very cool Miss M wrote about going with the flow, and she even mentioned this quote. Being like water is very important in a zombie apcalypse. You have to be able to adapt to your surroundings. You have to be able to change plans and use what is happening to your advantage. You have to dive into a river because zombies don't like water so you will be safe for a while ... as long as you can swim ... and there are no sharks ... or whirpools ... or jellyfish ... or scuba divers that are mean.
Being like water means knowing when to attack and when to hold back, when to flow, and when to crash, but it also means you have to keep moving. If water doesn't move it becomes stinky and gross. If you don't move in a zombie apocalypse, you also become stinky and gross ... because the zombies will eventually find you and bite you and then you will be a zombie and they are stinky and gross! If you don't move in life, if you don't grow and change and learn and improve, if you just stay the same, the world passes you by. You lose time. You become stale and stagnant and left behind.
So always look at ways you can keep moving, learning, growing, adapting, being like water.
And drink at least a litre of water a day too. That's important. Just make sure it isn't the stinky gross water. That tastes pretty bad and probably has frogs in it.
Okay, that's it for this week!
Be water, stay awesome, have an amazing Easter, and stay safe!
You see, zombies go with the flow and don’t let rubbish stand in their way. They don’t let minor setbacks hold them back from what they want. Even if the minor setback is something like broken limbs.
As a teacher I see lots of events that exemplify going with the flow. There are timetable changes, wild weather conditions, new tasks with fast-approaching dead lines, and then there are the amazing children that navigate through it all. They may think, “Why didn’t Miss M tell us about the timetable change this morning?” but instead of throwing chairs or making a fuss, they smile and go with the flow. They have trust and faith that everything will be ok!
Adults need to be more like this too. They get so caught up with stressors and worries and rarely go with the flow. That is why I am never growing up. Going with the flow is MUCH more fun. I’m sure if AdamWallace wasn’t MIAZ (Missing In A Zombie), he would agree.
Going with the flow is about trusting that things are, overall, going to be fine. Zombies can do it, kids can do it, and adults can do it too. Be water, my friend.
So that’s all I have for you. I’ve been your guest writer and it’s been really fun. Maybe AdamWallace will go MIAZ again next holidays!
It's like that in life too, I reckon. It's like, when I decided I wanted to write, things that were around before suddenly actually make me sit up and take notice. Like all those Google ads and posts and groups on Facebook, and ads, and ... oh, that's just the internet's ultra-know-it-all-marketing-and-possibly-invading-your-private-life stuff.
But it does happen. You meet people who can give you opportunities. You hear things, and read things, and it's like the world is giving you the opportunity to get to where you want to be.
But here's the kicker, and it ain't a horse. Or a karate expert. It's you (NOTE: If you're a horse or a karate expert, it's still you!).
These opportunities come up ALL the time for EVERYONE! Don't listen to people who complain that they never get a chance to do anything, or complain that other people get so many opportunities. It's not true. The thing is, so many people don't SEE the opportunities, or if they see them, they don't see them for what they are. Or they DO see them for what they are but they don't do anything about it!
And so what was an opportunity becomes just another thing that happened that day.
Kicker number two is that if you do see an opportunity, and you do take advantage of it, you have to be ready. You have to have been putting in the work so that you are at a level that you feel confident getting out there and putting your best foot forward. If you do that, that first opportunity will lead to another ... and another ... and suddenly it is a massive snowball racing down the hill getting bigger and bigger and OH MY GOD THAT SNOWBALL WILL CRUSH US ALL!
(NOTE: It's not a real snowball. You'll be okay).
So keep alert and realise that opportunities and ideas are there, waiting for you to see it.
Sometimes you just have to open your eyes and really look.
What is it? Well, I'll tell you, but first, a story. Nah, I'm just kidding, I'll tell you what it is. Seriously, I will. It's ... oh, do you remember that time we broke that window with the pineapple? Oh man, that was so funny!
Okay! I'll tell you! Back off, man! Settle down! Show some ... PATIENCE! Yes, that's the topic for today, because zombies have great patience. And I don't mean they have great patients because they bite people's faces off, although this is true. I mean they have great patience, and because of that they have great resilience and persistence and pusistence .
See, if a zombie is chasing after someone to nibble, munch and chew on their brain, and they're an old-school zombie, they don't have great speed. Generally, the person is going to be faster. But zombies have patience. They know it's the long haul that's important. They keep chasing. They stay patient. If things go their way and they get a brain straight away, awesome! If not, they just keep going, shuffling on, knowing their time will come, that there will be more and maybe better opportunities, that the brain holder will get tired or stumble or be so scared they'll do something stupid and then it's brain munchin' time!
They're patient. And if they are patient, they create a patient ... and lunch.
How does this relate to you? Well, I'll tell you, but first, hey, do you remember that time we laughed so hard that you fell off your chair and broke your arm? That was so funny.
Be patient. Keep working and improving and making whatever you do so good they can't ignore you. Everything is such a rush these days, we all want everything now, everything has to be at our fingertips. Yeah, well some zombies don't even have fingertips! Did you ever think about that?
Okay, on that note, I'm outta here. There are some strange sounds outside and the sky was orange this morning, which was kind of weird and apocalyptic.
Learning some good techniques, watching other people do it, practicing at home and in front of friends, and, most of all, getting out there and doing it yourself are the best ways (I think) to get better at it and also to not be as scared of it.
However ... say you're scared of zombies. If you face a zombie head on and tackle it, there is a very good chance that you are going to get your earlobes bitten off and used as the outsides of a sandwich with your liver as the filling.
If you're scared of ninjas, and you face up to a ninja and tackle it, there's a very good chance that you will get a ninja star up your nostril and a poison dart in your butt.
There are some things it's good to avoid. It's also good to avoid people who drag you down or make you feel bad, or scared. It's good to avoid eating too much junk food. It's good to avoid picking your nose while you are on stage giving a speech to a thousand people.
I guess, for me, the thing is this. Pick your battles (not your nose). If it's something you really want to do or achieve, go for it.
Don't avoid it.
Get in there and do your best, no matter how much it scares you. It will get easier, more natural, less scary.
If, however, it's just something you think you should do or that other people tell you you should do, well, if it doesn't light you up inside, avoid it, otherwise you may literally get lit up inside ... by a ninja smoke bomb. Or a zombie's mouth ... I don't know how that works but you know what I mean. It will eat your guts!
Now get out there and run away!
This isn't anything new, really. We've always wanted to be seen, but Social Media has accelerated things to a point where it's like a billy kart racer going out of control down a hill and smashing and bursting into flames and giving the kid a broken arm ... which may also have happened in The Simpsons.
We just need more and more and more, and it's never enough, more, more, MORE!
At the start, 20 likes is enough. It's awesome. We're happy. It satisfies us. But, once we've had 20 likes on things for a while, or once we see someone else getting 30 likes, or once something we do only gets 10 likes, we want more. What was once enough, or even sometimes what was overwhelmingly too much, is suddenly routine, boring, insufficient.
So we crave more.
We up the ante.
We ask for more, either by flat out saying it, or by our mood, or by trying harder to be liked, noticed, acknowledged. And sometimes it works, and we get to 30 likes, and we're satisfied ... for a while.
Now, don't get me wrong, I totally believe we have to aim high, higher than ever before. I think that if you aren't trying to grow and improve then you may as well just be sitting around watching The Simpsons. It's just that when you base your entire self-worth on how many likes you get, on what other people think of you, it's a very shallow base and a very slippery slope.
See, the thing is, what other people think of you is irrelevant. You could do something, say put a post up on Instagram, and 50 people love it, 50 people hate it, 50 people couldn't care less about it, and 50 people don't see it because they're watching The Simpsons. So which of those people are right? Of course, we believe the ones who love it are right, and the others are fools who don't know what they're talking about, or they're just being mean, or they mustn't like you if they didn't even react to your post.
But what if you put something else up, and this time the people who loved the first thing hate this one? And the ones who hated the first thing love this one? And suddenly, the ones who loved the first thing wonder if they were right, going by this second one, and so now they don't even like the first thing as much any more. Suddenly the mean fools from before are the smart ones, and we crave more of their attention.
A ninja works hard to improve and grow for the sake of improving and growing. Their pride and satisfaction comes from their skills rising to an almost inhuman level, and from the knowledge they have given everything they can to doing a job as well as they can. They don't base their self-worth on what others think, because opinions can change in the blink of an eye. They simply do everything to the best of their ability and if people like it, well, that's awesome, and if they don't, well, that's life, right?
People love a song and after a while it becomes annoying. The song hasn't changed, the person has. So get out there, do the very best you can, be true to yourself and who you want to be, and let the rest take care of itself.
That's what ninjas do, and ninjas are what? Yeah they are, they're awesome!
It could be an ancient insult, something like, "Your breath smells like a goat's rear end." Yeah, I know, they were pretty polite with their insults back in the day. Still, if that's what that symbol actually says, it's not true. Your breath actually smells like vanilla flowers infused with coconut and berries.
So then. To today's topic; Being awesome! As usual, I wil base this on ninjas, but also on Steve Martin, who is an awesome comedian and movie star. I actually was just watching him in The Pink Panther. So funny.
He said, "Be so good they can't ignore you."
I think this is really important. As a writer, pretty much all I hear these days is build a following, get on social media, do this marketing, do that marketing, join this group, you must have Instagram ... all this is really important. If no one knows about your book, what's the point?
But is it the most important point?
I'm not so sure. When I was starting out as an author, I sent a letter to Andy Griffiths, who was and is my writing hero. I asked him things like how did he get to where he is today, things like that. He gave an amazing response, a really detailed email discussing a number of things, which I still have and which I re-read every now and again, but in the end what it boiled down to was this.
Work on your craft and make your writing as good as it can possibly be.
Which means, be so good they can't ignore you.
This isn't just for writing either. It's for whatever you love doing. This is totally what ninjas do. They work on their craft and they hone their skills until they seem other-worldly. And trust me, a ninja at the top of their game is pretty hard to ignore ... it's not easy to ignore a ninja star thrown from 32 metres away that goes straight up its intended target ... your left nostril!
So don't forget this. All the platforms and marketing and talking about your stuff doesn't matter if your stuff isn't good enough. And, in the end, that stuff - whether it's writing or dancing or footy or art or whatever - that's your passion, that's what you want to be doing, so why not do it as well as you possibly can? That way, even if you don't become superstar world-famous, you still get the satisfaction of creating something amazing, something you can truly be proud of.
And if you do, chances are someone will notice.
Okay, that's it for today. I'm off to go practice my ninja star throwing ... I mean, practice my, ummmm, spelunking!
Have an awesome week! BYE!
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