Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Mike Mpofu

Introducing The Threaded Man

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THREADED-MAN-

A LOT of us are very conscious about the way we present ourselves.

And we have good reason to be. They say – whoever ‘they’ are – that first impressions last.

While I don’t necessarily subscribe to the philosophy, it’s the reality of the world we live in.

And to help us with making a world class first impression, allow me to introduce you to The Threaded Man.

Threaded man 5

In a nutshell, The Threaded Man is an incredible platform that allows you to stay in touch with the latest fashion trends and shows you how to dress the part, whatever that means for you.

Think of The Threaded Man as your personal fashion consultant.

While The Threaded Man mostly aims to lead men in style and presentation, ladies don’t feel left out because I believe their principles and advice can be applied to the ladies, in some instances.

The Threaded Man was birthed in February 2013, led by their Creative Director, Siybonga Beyile.

THREADED-MAN-3
Since then, Siya and team have made an incredible mark in the fashion industry in Africa. He has also been named as one of the Forbes’ 2015, 30 under 30 top achievers.

It is inspiring to see Siya doing incredible things at such a young age.

I first met him when he was still at Wynberg Boys’ High School, and I was a loud youth leader (at one of the churches in Cape Town). But now The Threaded Man teaches me how to dress!

Having worked with some of the world’s top brands like, NIKE, BMW, GUESS, CANON, and TOPMAN, among others, The Threaded Man’s advice is worth noting.

I must admit, over the years I have stalked The Threaded Man’s progress and it has been remarkable.

But what really struck a chord with me, was the following:

Often when one sees a reputable fashion blog or online platform that showcases some of the most cutting edge trends and styles, it is intimidating. Your first thought, maybe: ‘Ag, that’s not for me, all their stuff is too pricey”.

This time, I may have been wrong.

What I really love is that The Threaded Man works with a range of brands, online stores and fashion houses that cater for various stages of one’s fashion taste or affordability, without compromising on style and relevance!

This means that if you’re studying at College, University or in the boardroom making multimillion rand (or dollar) decisions, The Threaded Man is for you.

THREADED-MAN-WHITE 4
The Threaded Man
works with various brands, stores and publications to bring insight on what’s ‘in’, this season and where you can find it.

The work that Siya and his team have put together is absolutely impressive.

So gentlemen, if you need to consult with your personal stylist without leaving your desk, just get hold of The Threaded Man: threadedman.co.za

You can also check them out on the following networks:

Instagram: @siyabeyile
Twitter: @SiyaBeyile
Facebook: The Threaded Man

Change Is Deliberate

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It is a decision. Nothing that you seek to do, will happen merely by chance.

Any goals, targets and dreams you have, won’t happen ‘one day’, if you don’t make a deliberate effort to make them a reality.

I am learning this, quickly.

This applies to the smallest of goals to the biggest of dreams.

Human beings are often caught in the ‘at some stage I would like to…’ trap.

We all have these moments.

We are often not happy about where or what we are, and desire change.

But whatever we want won’t fall into our lap.

So how do we get from where we are now, to where we want to be?

1.    MAKE A DECISION

MAKE A DECISION!!!!!

I cannot stress this enough. There are few things worse than someone who cannot decide.

I’m not talking about deciding what you want for dinner. I’m referring to the decisions that matter.

People who are indecisive don’t get things done. Simple.

So make a decision.

You can’t have your cake and eat it. At some stage in your life, you will have to pursue a certain path. This is a fact.

Make sure you don’t find yourself on a path which has been chosen for you!

Life is too short for that.

One of my favourite mantras was written by the American author Henry David Thoreau:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”

Mr Thoreau was saying: decide where or what you want, and move in that direction.

People often don’t achieve, because they don’t decide.

2.    MAKE LISTS

I write a lot. On computer keypads, cellphone screens, notebooks, random pieces of paper etc.
I do this because it helps me to visualise what I need to do. And when I’m done with it, I cross it off. That’s how I measure my progress.

Sometimes, the ‘at some stage I would like to…’ doesn’t materialise, because you don’t even know what it looks like.

Write it down, see it and aim towards it.

There is nothing more annoying than that thing on the to-do list that hasn’t been crossed off. It must be dealt with. But as long as it remains a figment of your imagination, it will go nowhere.

Use every means possible to keep your goals in focus.

I recently visited the doctor who prescribed some medication. I need to take the medication at certain times of the day. But I know myself very well. I hate medication and if I had it my way, I wouldn’t take it. But I know it is for my own good.

So how do we fix this?

I write it down.

I have alarms that go off at certain times of the day to remind me to take medication.

In the same way, I have calendar alarms that remind me when I have to attend meetings, appointments, coffee dates etc.

You have to be intentional about everything.

3.    START SMALL

You’ve heard that a million times before.

That’s because it’s true.

If you can’t hit the small targets, the bigger stuff will be too daunting.

Start with those things that you can literally do TODAY, where you can see instant results.

This may mean, changing your morning routine, or whatever it may be, but it is a start.

So if you don’t like something, live deliberately and change WILL come.

All the best.

Being Rich In Monopoly…

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“BEING famous on Twitter is like being rich in monopoly”.

I cannot find who first said this, but the irony of this piece – as you will see shortly – is that I first saw that on Twitter.

Last week I took a decision to delete three social networks from my phone.

I love my iPhone. I believe that Jesus made it because he loves me. BUT it shouldn’t be permanently glued to my hand.

Let me explain.

I have to use my phone a lot, given my line of work. It is a tool of the trade above all else, and then the social aspect comes second.

Emails, reminders, meeting requests, phone calls and texts, make sure I have to charge it by midday.

But I started noticing a trend: I would be mid-conversation with someone and I’d start scrolling through my Twitter timeline. It was getting bad!

I then took a decision to remind myself (and my phone) who was in charge: ME and not social media.

I know 99% of you reading this can relate.

The earth will stop spinning if you don’t check your Instagram or update your Facebook status. Your twitter followers will not be able to survive without your gems of wisdom.

All the above is obviously not true.

So much has been said about the power of social media and how to use it wisely, among other things.

But what I realised last week was that: it should not determine the rhythms of my lifestyle.

So having taken the decision to delete them and only having to use my phone when I needed to, did it make a difference?

The simple answer: YES

And here’s why:

1.      I actually talk to people now

I give people my undivided attention. Whether it is a social or formal setting, I actually speak to them and have no desire or need to look at my phone every 5 minutes. It makes a world of difference. It gives people the respect they deserve, but it also allows me to respond because I am actually enjoying the conversation, and not hide the fact that I wasn’t listening.

2.      I sleep so much better

Here’s an exercise I want you to do in the next few days: write down the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before falling asleep.

In the 21st century and the age of social media, I can almost guarantee that a majority of you will write: “check my phone” during your exercise.

I understand the need to be well informed, but that can be done without having a phone glued to my hand all the time.

So I sleep much better, because I only use social media from my computer now. And that is usually when I am behind a desk during the day.

This means I have more time to actually ‘relax’ when I am home, and not go on a social media binge until I fall asleep.

Believe me, being rested has changed my productivity in a positive way.

3.      I have learnt to prioritise

What does this mean? Simply, that the world won’t fall apart if I’m not on Facebook for the next two days, or if I haven’t tweeted over the weekend.

Life goes on!

But what I need to do is allocate my time to what matters.

This is not to say social media doesn’t matter, it does, but it is not the be all and end all of life.

While we are all looking down at our phones, everything else happens around us.

Does this piece mean that I will never reload social media apps on my phone? NO, I’m sure I will at some stage. But I am under no pressure to do so.

But it also means I’ve learnt the lesson, it won’t control me, I love my sleep and human interaction far too much.

It also means I will be more aware and hopefully responsible in my use of social media.

Because famous on twitter is like being rich in monopoly – we still have to face the real world.

FIRE and RAIN at the 2015 AMAs

THE WEEKND brought the Fire, while Justin Bieber brought the Rain – literally!

Both artists were performing at the annual American Music Awards (AMAs) when The Weeknd – who won the best Soul R&B Album award – performed his song ‘The Hills. He gave a very soulful performance with fire blazing in the background. Judging by the screams, it was well received.

On the other hand, the very controversial Justin Bieber brought his ‘A game’ when he did a mashup of his latest hits. Bieber – who also bagged an award – performed an acoustic version of ‘What do you mean’, from his latest album, Purpose. He then stepped onto the main stage for a song and dance performance of ‘Where are you now?’, where he took the opportunity to show off his rhythm. But the highlight of my evening was his performance of Sorry, which was accompanied by rain, yes RAIN!

Justin Bieber brought rain to the AMAs, the crown absolutely loved his performance of what has become one of his signature songs, which he recently mentioned, was inspired by his ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez.

(I still can’t believe the guy brought rain to the AMAs).

Anyway, while you and I are were working hard at our day jobs, One Direction was winning awards – while taking a break (or breaking up, however you want to read into their sabbatical). They stay winning!

All in all, it was what we expect music awards to be: celebrities, world class performances and a bit of RAIN for good measure!

See below for a full list of the categories, nominees and the winners:

Artist of the year

Luke Bryan
Ariana Grande
Maroon 5
Nicki Minaj
One Direction – WINNER!
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor
The Weekndone-direction

Favourite male artist – soul/R&B

Chris Brown
Trey Songz
The Weeknd – WINNER!

Favourite artist – alternative/rock

Fall Out Boy – WINNER!
Hozier
Walk the Moon

Collaboration of the year

Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth – See You Again
Rihanna and Kanye West feat. Paul McCartney – FourFiveSeconds
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk!
Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now – WINNER!
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar – Bad Blood

The-Weekend-GQ-2015-01Favourite female artist – country

Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Carrie Underwood – WINNER

Favourite female artist – pop/rock

Ariana Grande – WINNER!
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainormgid-uma-image-mtv.com-11104316

New artist of the year

Fetty Wap
Sam Hunt – WINNER!
Tove Lo
Walk the Moon
The Weekn

Favourite album – rap-hip-hop

J Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Nicki Minaj – The Pinkprint – WINNER!ariana_grande-wide

Top soundtrack

Fifty Shades of Grey
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Pitch Perfect 2 – WINNER

Favourite male artist – country

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan – WINNER!
Sam Hun

Favourite duo or group – pop/rock

Maroon 5
One Direction – WINNER!
Walk The Moon

Favourte album – soul /R&B

Chris Brown – X
D’Angelo and the Vanguard – Black Messiah
The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness – WINNER!

Song of the year

Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth – See You Again
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk!
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Taylor Swift – Blank Space – WINNER!
The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Facesamhunt

Favourite male artist – pop/rock

Nick Jonas
Ed Sheeran – WINNER!
Sam Smith

Favourite album – pop/rock

Ed Sheeran – X
Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
Taylor Swift – 1989 – WINNER!

Favourite duo or group – country

Zac Brown Band
Florida Georgia Line – WINNER!
Little Big Town

Favourite album – country

Jason Aldean – Old Boots, New Dirt
Florida Georgia Line – Anything Goes – WINNER!
Sam Hunt – Montevall

Favourite artist – rap/hip-hop

Drake
Fetty Wap
Nicki Minaj – WINNER!

Favourite female artist – soul/R&B

Beyoncé
Mary J Blige
Rihanna – WINNER!

Favourite artist – adult contemporary9f5d1da4-2422-4b1d-8eb0-12b6def16f66

Ed Sheeran
Taylor Swift – WINNER!
Meghan Trainor

Favourite artist – Latin

Enrique Iglesias – WINNER!
Ricky Martin
Romeo Santos

Favourite artist – contemporary inspirational

Casting Crowns – WINNER!
Hillsong United
MercyMe

Favourite artist – EDM

Calvin Harris – WINNER!
David Guetta
Zedd

The Standing Man

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LAST week I went to the cinema.

Popcorn and everything, the whole nine yards!

I hadn’t been in a very long time. But I am so glad I went.

I didn’t really have an idea what I was going to watch, but decided to make up my mind on arrival.

The moment I saw Tom Hanks’ face on one of the advertising boards, I knew I had to see it: Bridge of Spies.

(Stay with me, it will make sense).

In the film – directed by Steven Spielberg – Hanks plays an insurance lawyer, James Donovan, who lands up with the complicated task of defending a Soviet Spy, Rudolf Abel, played by the brilliant Mark Rylance.

Not only is this one of the most tense times in history, (the Cold War), but the plot thickens when Donovan is tasked with also rescuing a captured American U-2 pilot from the Soviet Union. And just for good measure, the plot thickens even more, when Donovan discovers there is an American student who similarly needs to be rescued.

The film is inspired by true events, which makes it even better.

I know it’s slightly exhausting to follow, but I am sure you get the picture: it was tense. And more importantly, a matter of life and death for everyone involved.

The US pilot, the Soviet Spy, the American student and Donovan, if he made one wrong move.

As I watched there was one scene that stuck with me, and continues to play over and over again in my mind.

(I’ll try my best not to give away too much)

In this particular scene, Donovan is speaking to the Soviet Spy, Abel, in what appears to be a visitor’s room in a US Federal prison.

As they discuss the way forward, Donovan stands up – trying to work out a solution to their problem – while Abel sits and smokes his cigarette.

In that moment, Abel looks up to Donovan and utters a Russian phrase.

Donovan asks what it means, and Abel elaborates:

“Standing there like that, you remind me of a man when I was young…our house was overrun by border guards…And this man, my father’s friend, he was beaten…every time they hit him, he stood back up again…they hit him harder…still he got back to his feet… I think because of this, they let him live…Standing man…Standing man”

The Russian phrase meant: The Standing Man.

What a powerful moment.

Abel was obviously not only referring to Donovan’s ‘standing’ in the literal sense, but to the stance he had taken against the authorities.

It was unheard of, a US insurance lawyer, defending a Soviet Spy, in the Cold War! Outrageous!

But here they were, working together and while Donovan faced all the opposition in the world: he remained ‘The Standing Man’.

At first glance, the notion of a ‘Standing man’ would seem a very passive thing. Like, a weak man or woman, waiting for something to happen.

But it is the exact opposite.

It is the aggressive act of defying the odds no matter what.

It speaks of a man or woman, who will not accept no for an answer.

Someone who will keep getting up, even when hit harder by adversity.

It speaks of a silent strength that doesn’t need to announce its courage – the very fact that I am still standing, is the message!

It says better is the man or woman who chooses to try and fail than he or she who sits back and wonders ‘what if’.

I am not sure what you are going through, or trying to accomplish in life, but I urge you, become The Standing Man.

As long as you are in the will of God for your life, then refuse the answer that says: No.

Refuse the closed door.

Take heat and get back up.

God is with you Standing Man!

These Your Children, Will Set You FREE

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TYC EP Artwork 1

YESTERDAY (9 November 2015) should go down in history as a “special” day for music.

I use the term “special” – despite the fact that we have abused and misused the word so many times – to describe something that we haven’t seen or heard in a long time: a musical duo that speaks to the heart, whoever you may be.

I have a policy – whether wise or unwise, you can be the judge – that I do not listen to music that doesn’t speak to me or that doesn’t lead to freedom.

I often use the word: Freedom.

Freedom is a state of being.

Where I feel: this is where I am, the world understands me, and I it.

It is when you get that: “Finally, they get me”, moment.

Ladies and gentlemen, These Your Children will set you Free.

TYC 4

 

These Your Children (TYC) are young musical duo from Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

And yesterday they dropped their first EP, Fires.

I know we love to place music in certain genres. We do this for good reason; we love to know what we’re listening to.

But in this case, I would plead with you: decide where you want to place this after you have listened to it.

The duo – Rebeka Prance and Joe Baxter – have done something special: made musical duos relevant, contemporary and powerful storytelling instruments we have missed in the last few years.

But Fires, from These Your Children I believe, is the reintroduction of powerful duos that have a relevant story to tell.

The great thing is that the EP is FREE of charge. You Can Download it NOW.

These Your Children EP (click to download)

TYC EP Artwork 2

The 4 track project is, I’m sure, one of many to come.

As I said earlier, I don’t listen to music unless it speaks to me and tack 3, David, should speak to you. It is my favourite track, and almost every time I listen to it, I want to become a better person.

While the songs Fires and Set a Fire carry a certain rhythm or momentum to them, Stronger seems to be the ‘standout’ track. It seems to be ‘bolder’ and more ‘aggressive’ than the rest of the EP. I assume this has been done intentionally, especially because of the message it carries.

I think this is definitely one of those EPs that you will fall in love with at ‘first listen’.

And if you’re in the UK anytime soon, you can catch These Your Children live at the Bodega in Nottingham, details here: https://t.co/Od3mbZZK4c

Or if you’re in London, you can catch them here: https://t.co/4CBlnMmKrN

I think we are yet to see the best of this duo.

In the meantime, allow this music to set you free.

Download it and let us know what you think.

These Your Children will set you free.

P.S: Follow These Your Children on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheseYourChildrenMusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TYCOfficial

Instagram: https://instagram.com/theseyourchildren/

Purpose: Justin Bieber is Searching

13 NOVEMBER could not come fast enough, if you’re a Justin Bieber fan.

His new album, Purpose, will finally be available for download/purchase on Apple Music, and other platforms.

In the lead up to the album release, Justin has already dropped three singles: What do you mean?, Sorry and I’ll show you which seem to be doing well so far.

I’m looking forward to it, especially because there are other incredible artists featured on it.

I also find the album title particularly interesting; in fact, I think the title was chosen on ‘Purpose’ (see what I did there?).

Justin has tried to maintain a low profile for a while now, after a few mishaps, which I’m sure he is not proud of. He recently, intentionally, made a ‘comeback’ to public life, after dropping What do you mean? and his performance at the MTV VMAs.

He has made a considerable effort to stay out of what you and I would deem ‘trouble’.

But has Justin truly turned over a new leaf? And why does it matter to any of us if he hasn’t?

Last week Bieber had two incidents that would have reminded us of his recent controversial past.

The first involved an interview with a Spanish Radio Station, where he intended to promote Purpose, which didn’t end so well.

Bieber eventually walked out of the interview after his hosts asked a series of questions he did not appreciate, or were allegedly lost in translation (Spanish to English). This apparently made the questions seem even more bizarre to Bieber.

The second incident took place the very next day at a concert in Oslo, Norway where he stormed off after performing just one song. Bieber maintains that he was simply trying to wipe up spilled water on stage. In an effort to do so, fans in the front row keep trying to reach up to him. Bieber called on them to “stop” in order to allow him an opportunity to clean up the water. After the fans failed to listen, Bieber stormed off with the words:  “Yo! Listen to me. I am done. I am not doing the show.”

Justin later apologised on his Instagram page:

‘Sadly it’s been a rough week for me. Long days no sleep, while having to be “on” as they would say for cameras fans etc. In no way did I mean to come across mean, but chose to end the show as people in the front row would not listen. Hopefully people will understand where I am coming from. I don’t always handle things the right way but I’m human and I’m working on getting better at responding not reacting. Unfortunately people were affected by this as am I. For the people in the back I am so sorry and for anyone I may have disappointed I’m sorry. Sorry for wasting the TV people’s time. I’ll be sure to make it up to you next time on tour…with love Justin’

So what does all this have to do with his album Purpose? And why should you care if Justin has cleaned up his act?

I cannot stress enough, as I am sure you’ve heard before, that the only difference between us and those on higher platforms than us is that: we get to watch them make the mistakes they do. We also (unfairly) expect a higher standard of them than we do ourselves, for whatever reason. (Mainly because we are human).

More importantly I think Justin Bieber is truly searching for Purpose. Whatever it may be and whatever form or shape it may take, he is truly searching.

And in his search, he will experience frustration – as his post reveals – disappointment and many other challenges.

But the crucial thing, I believe, is to never give up!

The album, I trust, will speak to his personal journey and I assume his quest to find and tap into that Purpose.

And just like Justin, I want to encourage you to keep searching for yours.

You will make mistakes, you will face difficulty, and you will disappoint yourself and possibly many others. But the important thing is, don’t give up!

Search, ask and knock, God knows what he is doing. So what do you do with your mishaps? Learn from them, but don’t allow them to define you!

November 13 cannot come soon enough!

Directions: We Are All Experts, Until We’re Lost

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MOST of us would know the famous analogy of the couple driving somewhere. They haven’t been to this place before, but the driver – usually the husband/boyfriend – argues that they are in control and don’t need help. While the passenger – usually the wife/girlfriend – is pleading for them to find someone to ask, because they have gone past the same store FOUR TIMES!

Thank goodness for GPS, and in my case, Google Maps.

But I’m also not one to shy away from asking for directions, if I really need to. It’s less work for me in the long run, and I get there quicker.

The reality is that, without direction(s) our lives would be chaotic to say the least. And this last week I was reminded of the importance of directions. I was also reminded that it mattered where the directions were coming from.

I was driving through a relatively small town when I suddenly needed the bathroom.

Driven by desperation I stopped at the nearest store. To my surprise and fortune, they had a bathroom for public use! Running through the door, I asked the nearest shop assistant where it was.

She simply pointed – “there”, and continued about her business.

I could not make out where she was pointing to, but because I was desperate, I didn’t call her back. I just followed in what I believed was the direction she had pointed out; I looked for “there”.

The problem is, I couldn’t find it. After asking THREE more shop assistants (who were all equally unhelpful and simply pointed “there”), I finally found it.

Getting back in the car I laughed at myself.

But there was a lesson to be learnt here.

1. Direction(s) are so important – they determine how long you take to get to the desired destination.  

2. It matters who gives the Direction(s) – vague messages only delay, and confuse us further.

This is true for our day-to-day lives, but even more relevant in our walk with God.

I have often met people who ask: I’m not sure where God wants me to be? I don’t know what ‘season’ I’m in right now.

This is a good question to ask, because at least you want to know.

My usual response to that is: have you asked Him?

While I was desperate to find a bathroom in that small town, the first thing I did was Ask for direction.

We often don’t ask.

In fact, asking God is usually our last resort.

It could be that we want to feel like we are in control of the situation, and can perhaps carve our own way forward.

But God is clear that if we ask, He will listen and respond.

 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, [Jeremiah 29:12-14 (ESV)]

Simply: God promises that when you genuinely look for Him and seek His direction, you will succeed – He will be there to respond to you.

Which brings me back to my incident with the shop assistant.

Despite her poor directions, I just decided to go at it alone, (until I had to rope 3 more people into the fray). As a result it took me even longer to find the room.

I could have avoided that, if only I had stopped to ask for clarity.

And the same is true for us when we seek God.

Usually when seeking the ‘next season’, the next step or direction for your life, we feel anxious. This is understandable.

But in our anxiety, we need to learn that when God gives direction, it won’t be vague, it won’t confuse and it won’t be delayed.

I may have been desperate, but I wasn’t dying.

In the same way, trust God to speak to you at the right time.

In a world where everyone has an opinion we have to make decisions about who to listen to. And some advice is great, but God’s direction is best.

I believe this for you: when you seek for an answer, God will pick up the phone and get back to you.

Lamar Odom: Superstars and Their Humanness

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LAST Tuesday former NBA superstar Lamar Odom was found comatose in a brothel after spending four days (and nights) there.

It is believed that Odom had been binging on various drugs during his time there.

Most of you would know him from the reality TV show Khloé & Lamar – where he appeared several times with his estranged wife Khloé Kardashian.

Since they found him unconscious in Nevada, Odom has been the centre of attention, with updates on his health constantly in the news cycle.

But why are people making such a big deal about him? Surely many other people have been in the predicament that Odom found himself in last week.

Before reality TV, Odom was famous for his illustrious NBA career.

At the peak of his game, Lamar would have been considered one of the basketball ‘gods’. He embodied the ‘American Dream’ – the kid from the streets of Queens New York, who did not have much, overcomes great difficulty and goes on to be a world superstar.

At the height of his career Odom was worth millions of dollars. (For example when he signed with Miami Heat in 2003, the contract was valued at US $65 million – in 2003!).

He played for Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Clippers. He also represented the USA and had a short stint in the Spanish league.

He racked in the millions, won two NBA titles (2009 and 2010), and was also named the ‘NBA 6th man of the year’ in 2011.

Odum entered the reality television scene after marrying Khloé Kardashian in 2009.

Once could say he was on top of his game. And I suppose he was.

But when a friend sent me a link with the news that Lamar was found unconscious and would possibly not make it, I was shocked!

Because I do my best to follow basketball (and its superstars), I love the game and wish I was taller (true story).

But why my shock?

In my eyes – as many would agree – Odom was the embodiment of an NBA superstar, the man literally was worth millions; another basketball legend of our time.

Recent images of the manner in which he was found have been in the press. And after looking at them, it hit me:

Lamar Odom was a superstar, but his recent misfortune exposed his humanness.

Simply: Odum was (and is) human – just like you and me.

Every day we are constantly put under pressure to obtain, achieve higher and became better.

In the journey to getting there, most of us are inspired by the ‘just above human’ beings on our screens and all over social media.

There is nothing wrong with having famous role models (I have many), but lest we forget that while they are ‘living the dream’ – they too, have to face the realities of life. The anxieties of parenthood, the strife of relationships, the pain of loss and fear of the future.

I’m glad to see Odom is on the road to recovery, because I believe this for him: his best is yet to be!

I believe this for me and everyone reading this.

The fantastic thing about God is He guarantees that if we are plugged into Him and His plan for us , we will always succeed and flourish. He doesn’t say we won’t fail, but he guarantees our future!

So maybe you’ve had a moment of failure, difficulty or hardship, remember this: you’re human! Look to God, get back up, because as it has been said many times before: Your best is yet to be!

Catching the Trevor Fever

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IT is not a real disease, but it might as well be.

Something phenomenal happened in the last two weeks and if you missed it, where have you been?

[South] Africa’s very own Trevor Noah made his debut on the world renowned Daily Show.

The show – previously hosted by Jon Stewart for 16 years – has a massive following around the world.

Being a fan of other ‘Late Night Shows’ and their hosts such as David Lettermen, Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon, among others, I followed Noah’s transition quite closely.

When the announcement was made that Trevor would be taking Stewart’s seat, the internet did what it does best: everyone had something to say. There were a lot of voices that came to the fore. And I was interested in what these voices had to say!

Make no mistake, the debut went extremely well and made some history. Let me take you through the numbers:

On debut, the show averaged 3.475 million viewers across 12 Viacom channels monitored by Nielsen (US channel monitoring system), while on Comedy Central alone, the debut pulled 1.086 million viewers. This is incredible!

But what also caught my attention were the voices in support of Trevor.

Twitter erupted in applause of him. Millions of hashtags and tweets went out to express their support. Celebrities joined the party and publicly backed the show and its new host.

World famous South African DJ, Black Coffee and American Comedian, Kevin Hart – who featured on the debut – also came out and showed Trevor some love.

#DailyShowWithTrevorNoah further trended for the greater part of 48 hours. An incredible wave of Trevor Fever!

The massive support for Trevor is not to say they weren’t dissenting voices, they were. But the truth is words of encouragement and support drowned them out.

So what does this mean?

Sometimes the right word of encouragement from the right people can carry you far beyond your ability.

Trevor has been open about the pressure of filling Jon’s shoes. He has been vulnerable about how uncomfortable he can be when tackling some topics on the show, especially as an outsider.

So one thing is clear, Trevor is stepping into the unknown, it’s scary and exciting at the same time, but from what I have seen in the last two weeks: he is delivering!

I have recently reflected on the times when I too was out of depth, nervous and on a bigger stage. But what I have found is that in those moments, the most important thing was what was said to me? Who was cheering me on? What were they saying? And more often than not, their voices of encouragement carried me through.

And maybe you are in a similar place: out of depth, under pressure and feeling incapable.

The truth is you are not out place. You have been selected for a reason and what you may need is some encouragement.

The Bible reminds us that ‘We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses…’ [Hebrews 12:1]. That ‘cloud of witnesses’ is not there to criticise, but to encourage us. Because the next sentence in that scripture says … “let us strip off every weight that slows us down”.

In simple language: be encouraged, we are cheering you on, all you need to do is focus on the goal, and heaven’s got you!

I’m sure Trevor takes great encouragement when learning of the support from all over the world. You and I need to take encouragement that we too have support.

In our own ‘Daily Show’, as we try to pursue our dreams and aspirations, heaven’s paparazzi are cheering us on!

Cheer up, God’s got you!

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