Seriously. When a zombie looks in a mirror, it isn't like a vampire. You can see everything. All the gross bits that are hanging off are in very vivid detail.
And when a zombie reflects on his or her year, that is pretty gross too.
"Braaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnnnnnssssss!" they think or say. The length of the word reflects how many brains they have eaten that year, and so lends itself to a conclusion of how succesful their year has been.
"Brains." Bad year.
"BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!" Fat zombie.
At the end of a year, I like to both reflect on the year that has gone and also set goals for the year ahead ... in fact, I set financial year goals, I set quarter year goals, I set seven sets of calendar year goals, and I set five year goals too!
But that is goals, I want to talk about reflection. It's hard, sometimes, when you look back at your year, to decide if it has been successful or not. See, what one person thinkis is successful, another may see as a failure!
Not sure what I mean? Okay, so say there are two professional swimmers. One, Swimmer A, has a best time in the 100m of 50 seconds. Another, Swimmer B, has a best time in the 100m of 59 seconds. Say, over the year, each of them did a best swim of 53 seconds. For Swimmer A, that is a bad year, as they didn't get to their previous best. For Swimmer B, however, it was an awesome year, as they beat their previous best by 6 seconds!
So a very important measure of success is working out what success is for you. It could be beating a previous best at something, it could be staying at the same level.
And sometimes, when other stuff happens in your life, your focus has to go there, and so your performance may suffer in other areas, but it may still be a successful year.
For me, in writing, I like to look at how many stories I wrote, how many books I published, how many copies I sold, and how well I connected with people I spoke to at markets and in schools.
But again, what I aim for will be different to what other people aim for. For some super-busy people, writing one story would be amazing! I aim for more because I have the time to write.
Basically, what I am trying to say is this ... don't compare your year to anyone else's! Who cares what anyone else did. Unless it inspires you to be better, don't worry about it. You work out what you want to achieve, and you go for that. If you reached your goal, awesome! If not, work harder next year.
That's what zombies do. THey don't care if Fred ate more brains than they did. They just enjoy the brains they ate, and there's a little something in that for all of us, and possibly a little something of us in all of that.
So, to finish off my posts for 2017, have a very safe and happy New Year. 2018 is gong to be amazing. I can feel it in my bones. So bring it on, and make it a year you are proud to reflect on in 12 months' time.
See, the thing is, you have to celebrate your achievements. I've talked a lot on here about setting goals, and not giving up, and trying hard, and eating brains, and that's all well and good and awesome and gross, but what about once you reach your goals?
I mean, I then set new goals and start going after them, but life can't just be all set goal go for goal get goal rinse and repeat!
There has to be a little fun in there too!
Zombies know this! When they set a goal of chasing someone down so they can eat their brains and suck their nose-hairs out to use as a toothpick (admittedly a very bad toothpick, but I never said zombies were inspirationally smart), they celebrate! They celebrate by roaring and grunting and groaning and eating that brain like it's the last brain they will ever eat.
You have to celebrate the little things.
Along the way to your goal, celebrate the little milestones.
Trying to run 10km? Celebrate the first time you get out of bed rather than rolling over because it's too cold. If you can only run 500m at the start, celebrate running a kilometre! Celebrate the first time you run 5km. Celebrate the first time you go for a run and don't end up lying on the ground crying because your legs are sore!
So I have just released a brand new book, Ninja Inspiration, and I am usually pretty bad at celebrating these things, so today that is all going to change. Because ninjas are good at celebrating too! Yep, after they have assassinated someone using only the broken wick of a strawberry-scented candle, ninjas celbrate by very quietly sipping a cup of tea and washing their hair.
You have to celebrate the little things.
And the big things,
Basically, if you set your mind to something and you achieve it, or you improve greatly on the way to it, or you simply have been trying really, really hard towards a goal ... celebrate. Take some time out to let yourself know you are doing a great job, and that you are awesome, and that you are in the top 1% of the world for awesomeness!
You deserve it.
Okay, I'm outta here. Have to go and quietly sip a cup of tea and wash my hair ...
See, here's the thing. Friendship is one of the coolest things in the world. Friends can and should become like family, and are even more important than family sometimes because you get to choose them, and you want to choose awesome people who make you feel good!
So choose wisely.
It's like Rock, Paper, Scissors but almost more important.
But surely there are some good points about zombies and friendship? I don't know. Here, let's list the good and bad points about zombie friendship.
They will try and bite your face off and eat your brains.
They will try and eat your other friends' brains.
They have no consideration about other zombies, and will actually fight other zombies to get what they want.
They always have to be first.
They only think about themselves.
They surround themselves with other people who want to bite your face off and eat your brains.
They make you feel nervous and worried about what they will do.
They will never give you a lift somewhere if your car has broken down.
They will lift you up and carry you to their favourite lunch spot (this sounds nice ... it isn't).
They work together with other friends towards a common goal (which is to eat YOU! Not good!).
They are often the ones to make the first move, so you don't have to chase them down to catch up with them. They will pretty much always chase you first (So they can eat YOU! Not good!).
They are reliable. Not many surprises with old mate Tombie, I mean zombie (Yep, you see them, they try and eat YOU! Not good!).
Okay, so even the good things are all things that mean they want to bite your face off and eat your brains.
Here's the thing. Friendship is a two-way street, and is about give and take, and is about wanting your friends to be happy. If all you worry about in a friendship is whether your friend is going to hurt you, or eat you, or stab you in the back (literally), that isn't a friendship for you.
Choose your friends wisely.
Choose people you want to be around and that you feel safe to be around. Not only will that make you feel better, but if there IS a zombie apocalypse, they're the type of people you want to be with.
Also, if there IS a zombie apocalypse, trust me, keep your DVDs and keep your real books. That way, when everyone else is running around all, 'Ohh, noooo, I can't watch my favourite show because the internet is dead, and I can't read because there's no electricity, and I can't sleep because someone is trying to eat me,' you'll be all, 'Well, hey, we can watch a DVD because there's still electricity, and we can read these wonderful books that don't need batteries or streaming, and we can sleep because I built a house that is zombie-proof and awesome!'
So there you go!
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.
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!
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!
So what does this mean? It means they are either going to push someone into the approaching zombies, or ... no, that's pretty much it! It also means that even if you are not like that at all, you may find yourself becoming like that. If you know they are going to try and push you under the bus, or into the mouth as the case may be, you may start pushing too, because if you push someone else first, it means you aren't the one getting pushed.
You know the old saying. Get in first, don't get your eyeball eaten.
There's a theory that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You want these people to be awesome, caring, joyful, supportive people. If you're in a group that picks on other people, chances are you'll do that too, because you want to fit in, you want to be in that group, and it just naturally happens that you get drawn into doing the same things.
This isn't just true in real life either, it's true online. Places like Facebook have groups, and if you're in groups that are supportive, you will not only feel supported you will feel supportive too!
So here's my challenge to you. Think about who or what you want to become, and then think about the five people you hang out with the most. Are they helping you be who you want to be, or are they dragging you down to their level. Do they do things that make you feel uncomfortable or upset? Are you positive and they're always negative? Are you trying to build people up while they try and cut people down? Do you want to grow and achieve and make something of your life whle they just want to sit on the couch and watch telly and never get out of their comfort zone?
You don't have to cut someone important to you out of your life completely if they are holding you back, but maybe you can see them a little less often.
Spend more time hanging out with people you want to be like, that will make you the best you you can be. Surround yourself with them.
That's the only way I see it.
Oh, and don't hang out with zombies. You will totally become like them if you do. That's just how it works.
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