Thursday, February 20, 2020
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David Webster

It’s Your Choice: Life or Death

Have you ever got to the front of the line at a coffee shop and realised that you have no idea what you want to order?

I don’t know if it is just me, but I have often been so deeply engaged in conversations (or just my own daydreams) that by the time I reach the teller I can’t even remember why I was standing in line. Then indecision anxiety sets in and I make disastrously impulsive decisions.

In many ways, we do this in life as well. There is always a process that we find ourselves in – a proverbial queue. Whether it be the corporate ladder, the next step in your relationship, passing subjects or upgrading your phone contract – we find ourselves in a system where we are required to progress. Unfortunately when we reach these milestones, however, we can be taken by surprise. This can easily cause us to do one of two things:

  1. ‘Step out’ of the line – become overwhelmed with life

I have personally experienced the frustrating feeling of not knowing what to do. The day I graduated from university, we found out my mother had cancer. To this day, I can remember the feeling of being completely thrown by this ‘punch’ left of field. All of a sudden instead of facing the decision of what to do with my life now that I am finished studying, I was faced with the decision of what to believe about my mom’s situation. It caused me to step out of the line – to delay my decision process.

All of a sudden I had a choice to make that was way more important than what kind of job I would have. I had to choose how I was going to respond to the reality that my mom was sick. It was clear – either I could be depressed, afraid and retreat from life, or I could choose to believe that we were all going to weather the storm. The choice between ‘life or death’ had never been clearer for me. I decided to have faith and encourage, even though most of the time I just wanted to retreat. Probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

2. Make quick, uninformed decisions

Thankfully, a year later, my mother is in full remission. And after volunteering and surviving in the limbo of indecision for a year, I was able to step back into the line of deciding what to do with my life. There was quite a lot of urgency around my ability to earn. It was time for me to take responsibility about the direction of my life. The first opportunity was for me to start in an entry level position at a bank. It did not suit me at all. I hadn’t studied in this area. I had no passion for office work. But it was a quick and easy option. Thankfully, I decided that going with the first thing that came to me would be more like ‘choosing death’ than waiting it out a bit and taking full stock of what I could be doing.

I have now been able to find work that I am passionate about. I found employment that was ‘life’ to me.

There is a verse in the Bible that says “I set before life and death – choose life“. There is no middle ground. No option to simply not choose. Every decision we make – from what we eat, to how we feel – will either result in life or death.

I would not be where I am today without God, awesome pastors, friends and community. Being in an environment of encouragement and vision made the choice for life easy. If you are facing a tough season, if you feel like you’re drowning in indecision or desperate for direction – choose life and click on the link below.

 

The Vevo Revolution

In November 2008, a small company backed by some heavyweight music labels launched with the vision to do for music what Hulu did for videos. Vevo.com started small, but over the past seven years, they have proved to be the lifeline music has needed in this growing, technologically flooded industry.

The methods have evolved – an extremely successful partnership with Youtube has enabled the company to obtain global impact – but the main goal is as clear as ever: to give any music enthusiast online access to top quality acts and music oriented events.

It has been very apparent that the music industry has needed to change. Illegal downloads have almost obliterated the ‘old way’ of selling and marketing music. In the whole of 2015, only one artist reached platinum in record sales – Taylor Swift and that was after pulling her content off of the extremely popular Spotify platform. The trusted formula had to change and this is where Vevo has created the best solution yet.

The one commodity that will always be in demand is the actual live performance of original material by an artist. Shows have become the main source of revenue for successful artists these days – but how could this fact be harnessed through technology?

The first solution Vevo came up with, other than simply endorsing music videos, was to post high quality footage of live performances. All of a sudden, the average Youtube surfer has front-seat access to real music performed in the moment. This is where the average Tori Kelly fan is able to truly witness her vocal insanity; or how Imagine Dragons pull out all the bells and whistles for a live performance in the middle of the Las Vegas strip.

Secondly, Vevo launched a platform for emerging artists to be showcased. Still adopting the live-performance strategy, many fresh voices have been featured – boosting the careers of people like Freddie Dickson, Shawn Mendes, Halsey, Ella Eyre and Leah McFall. Normally paired with a short interview of the artist, Vevo has come up with possibly the most successful way of launching a new artist ever. An extended version – Vevo Lift – selects specific established acts and gives us backstage access into the lives of artists such as Ryn Weaver and Years & Years.

There has even been a branch into music-related reality series with Tiësto’s THIS IS YOUR SHOT competition paving the way.

My favourite aspect of Vevo has to be that it has levelled the playing field for international performers. Whether British, Swedish, Nigerian or American – the artists all have the same platform and opportunity to build a fan-base. And we, the fans, have access to downright excellent new music.

Have you ever felt like the way you have lived no longer applies to your reality today? If you are looking for meaningful change, click the link below.

What You See Is What You’ll Get

There are so many ways to view life. In my (reasonably short) time on earth, one thing is becoming clearer every day. What I get in life is all about how I choose to see the world around me. Perspective is the steering wheel for any persons’ story. Whatever we turn our life towards, whatever we choose to focus on, is where we are going to end up.

Without being too philosophical, I believe it’s important to realise that we all have our own way of seeing and understanding the elements that construct what we call life. Here are a few perspectives I have encountered:

1. Life is a Chessboard

In this world everything is either right or wrong; black or white. Everything has its place and there is always an opposition or threat to what you have. Certain people are useful for certain tasks – but only those tasks. Just like a rook cannot move in a straight line, people cannot change.

Pros: Life is calculated. There is always a clear goal. If you are good at the ‘game of life’, you are winning.

Cons: If things aren’t going your way, you feel like you’re failing. ‘Checkmates’ are a danger when you lose focus. Once you win in one area, you just reset the board and start again.

2. Life is a Wedding

As a musician, I have played countless weddings. To be honest, most of the time I could jump into my car, drive home and still tell you exactly what will happen next at the reception – when they will cut the cake, do the toast and the first dance. At this kind of wedding, tradition takes priority – always over what is meaningful, and normally over what is affordable as well. In this world, life is celebrated according to the standards of others. If things aren’t done in a certain way, you risk being disgraced. There are normally schedules and processes in place and everyone is expected to involve themselves for the vision to be executed.

Pros: Life is inclusive. There is a festive air to every day. There is a simple, elegant structure that life fits into. Done right, life is photogenic. You are the centre of attention.

Cons: The hard seasons in life are ignored or suppressed, as they would detract from the ‘party’. Huge energy and expense is endured to match the standards of those you want to consider friends.

3. Life is a Pie at a Picnic

It can be a sweet apple, or a meaty pepper steak pie – but this perspective is all about consumption. Your hunger for life is only outweighed by how much of that life you think you have. As you do life with others, there is a struggle to keep your ‘piece of the pie’ safe. You claim what you want and then fight off anyone who might want to ‘take a bite’.

Pros: You want to be part of something bigger. You are ambitious – always up to claim more for yourself.

Cons: Anyone who achieves what you want is stealing from you. If you miss your opportunity, it’s gone. Greed outweighs your own need for nourishment – you will end up sitting hungry and alone with a moulding portion of ‘pie’ that has long passed its best before date.

All of these perspectives are justified and – most of the time – inherited from those around you. I have put great effort into staying objective in observing these different ‘perspectives’. I cannot claim to have achieved it fully, but I hope that it has provoked you to think about how you see life.

All of us have experienced the consequences of these perspectives to some degree. Maybe you feel like you’re failing in life. Maybe you are fighting every day to fit the mould of those around you. Or maybe you are clinging onto things that have lost their meaning or usefulness. Then it’s time to address your perspective – change what you see and you change what you will get. The easiest, most effective way that I have been able to do this is by asking God for His view of things. Follow the link below if you are interested in finding out what He thinks your life could look like.

Credit to Chris Brown

Being a celebrity is a full-time job. Ask the Kardashians… public image takes a whole lot of work. You’re in a constant war with peoples’ opinions – what you want them to think and what you don’t want them to think.

Endorsements, editorials and interviews can rule your life. Schedules become pathways to ‘happiness’ and you go from ‘living the dream’ to living everyone else’s dream.

Now add making music to that. The responsibility to come up with the ‘next big thing’. Then there is living with the pressure to be inspiring and inspired at the same time. Filming and editing music videos before performing in front of thousands in a city you will forget in a few hours time as you hit the road again.

Say what you want about Chris Brown, but that alone demands some level of respect.

Granted, his past has been rocky to say the least. From assault charges to public boycotts, breaking up with the mother of his little girl – Queen Royalty, his house being robbed and being held in the Philippines by authorities due to fraud charges – Chris Brown has had what he calls “the realest” three years of his life.

If you follow him in any regard, you would have probably seen his Instagram posts a few weeks ago where he spoke about how tired he was of the “devil ruining [his] life”. He also spoke about how he “heard God speak for the first time”.  One week later he also mentioned how he went to church for the first time in 15 years.

A month has passed after a few media outlets heralding this as the redemption of Chris Brown. And nothing much on his Insta feed or in the media has alluded to any drastic changes in his public life. But I wouldn’t be disappointed just yet. Like any business, things are planned months ahead. And even if nothing outrightly changes in his public profile, his personal life is what truly matters.

As he says, “Understand that religion and the color of skin doesn’t make you any different from the rest of us. Your walk of life is yours and yours alone. Help one another and build life.”

Are you going through a tough time at the moment? Are you struggling to make sense of what is happening in your life? If you need some encouragement,  check out the link below.

Traffic Congestion Changed My Life

Traffic.

If you live within a 50 km radius of any city in Africa, it is probably part of your daily life. According to eNatis.com, 59 198 cars made their maiden voyage onto the clogged highways of South Africa. That’s over 266 km more road inhabited in one month!

This stop-start pilgrimage towards work or home has become normal – an accepted evil.  But have you ever wondered what you could be doing instead of sitting on a strip of tar watching the car in front of you inch forwards?

In 2011 I had the privilege of travelling to London, where I witnessed a completely different take on transport. The Underground tube system is not only dependable – with trains showing up every two minutes – but convenient. All of a sudden reaching a destination was not a stress or a variable calculation. I could focus solely on my goals and make every moment of my trip count. This raised a question that I haven’t been able to shake. One that has changed how I live: What value do I place on the time I have?

The busier you get, the more valuable time becomes. Time is no respecter of person. No matter how ambitious, powerful or committed you are, a day is still 24 hours long. That means the CEO and the Celebrity have been dealt the same card as I have. The only difference is that their time is of higher value compared to mine.

Ever since my London epiphany, time has become my currency. It is the underlying limitation that can either build or erode our lives. A higher value on time means people accomplish more at work, time with family is more meaningful and a day off is truly used for rest.

I am very aware that there is no quick fix for our diseased roads – and in many ways I am thankful for this problem, because it has shown me a greater deficiency – the value placed on our time.  The less time we have to spend, the more we need to make sure we are making a difference with what we have.

Many have said it is “Africa’s time”. But for Africa to truly have its moment, we as Africans need to truly look at how we value our time. I look forward to the day when ‘African time’ is no longer an excuse. I believe there is no limit to what Africa can achieve if we are willing to honestly assess what we are doing with the days we have left.

Are you struggling to make the most of the time you have at work or with family? Have you truly been able to find peace in the growing craziness of life? Find out how you can add value to every part of your life by clicking the link below.

The Growing Demand for Distance

There is a growing demand for distance in this world. And it is not only because of overpopulation. In my opinion, setting mental and emotional boundaries in this ‘oversharing’ generation has never been more important.

I am an introvert obsessed with communication.

At first, you would think this a laughable reality – and believe me, I have many funny moments – but if you look a little deeper you will realise that the lack of a natural inclination towards social interaction enables me to analyse how people interact.

Sound a bit too much like an Anthropology textbook? Basically: because I don’t naturally relax around people, I have to be more intentional when I communicate.

I was having coffee with a friend who was about to move overseas. We were speculating how sometimes friendships become closer when there is distance. Some of my most meaningful friendships are with people sitting on different continents. And for good reason.

Put distance between two individuals and three questions are raised:

1. Is the relationship genuine?

Did we really get on, or was it just because we were in the same environment and around the same people? With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, texting, FaceTime and the entire Google universe, we are overloaded with ways to communicate. Take all that away, however, and you could probably shrink your valuable relationships down to around 20 people.

2. What is worth sharing? 

It is easy to post statuses, photos or videos to ‘anyone out there’. The highlight reel of your Instagram feed could impress or amuse your ‘followers’ on social media, but what in your life really matters?  Distance really helps you zone in on what is truly important to you.

3. Is familiarity killing my friendships?

Technology has drawn us all ‘closer’ than ever before, but we are also one of the loneliest and socially corrupted generations to ever exist. I can know everything about a person these days without ever speaking one word to them. I am convinced we will arrive at a point in time where we will have to intentionally decide not to engage with people on social media if we genuinely want to get to know them.

In many ways, I believe that distancing ourselves from our immediate situation is the only true way we are be able to evaluate what is truly important. Isolating yourself from the constant noise of everyday life will ensure that whatever we are saying is worth the effort.

Being by yourself will also help you recognise who is closest to you. I can identify with the fear of being alone. But Deuteronomy 31:6 says God will never leave us. With God, I am never truly alone or abandoned. With this in mind, any other relationship I have is a bonus.

Do you feel alone or taken for granted by those in your life? Are you tired of all the shallow noise around you? Click on the link below if you are interested in finding the true meaning of relationship.

 

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