Shake the Dust

 

Shake the Dust – a poem by one of my favorite spoken word poets, Anis Mojgani. I hope you find brilliance and courage in his words, as I did. 


Do not let one moment go by that doesn’t remind you
That your heart, it beats 900 times every single day
Do not settle for letting these waves that settle
And for the dust to collect in your veins

Shake the dust, and take me with you when you do
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Inspirational Person: Toju Adelaja, Equal rights advocate

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Toju Adelaja is only 14, but is already a strong voice for gender equality. She believes this topic is of utmost importance, not only to women, but to the world at large. She currently lives in England, but grew up in Nigeria.

Toju, at such a young age, you seem to have really explored the issues facing the world today, and have been courageous enough to tackle some of them, such as gender equality. Where was your passion for gender equality born?

 

My passion for gender equality was born at home. Although I love my family, I was told that I should move and compromise my life – all for one ultimate purpose, to get married. That was the spark. I simply couldn’t (and still can’t) understand why that standard wasn’t held for my brother.  I will devote as much as I can to help with women’s rights, because it is the right thing to do.

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Promise or Pay: Creating social change through individual action

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Promise or Pay is an innovative social platform whose vision is to transform personal promises into wide scale social change. It uses a combination of publicly declared promises and pledges to charities (if promises are not kept) to ensure a win-win outcome with guaranteed impact.

I was absolutely inspired by this concept created by founder Jay Boolkin, an Australian social entrepreneur who used behavioral and motivation research to create this concept. He explains:

Research shows that making a formal declaration of your intentions increases your chance of actually achieving your goal by 33%, and by 72% if money is put on the line.

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My Happiness Project: Stage 2

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This year, I made a resolution to explore initiatives to create an atmosphere of positivity and balance in my own life – an initiative I am calling my Happiness Project. My plan is to introduce 3 new tactics every quarter of 2015, and I invite you to join me!

I’m excited to announce the three new happiness tactics (for April to June) are as follows: Continue reading

Empowering Sustainable International Development

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In an ideal collaboration the International Sustainability Club (ISC) at the leading school for sustainable business, Presidio Graduate School,  partnered with Zawadisha to analyze and provide insights for  Kenyan women’s entrepreneurship in environmentally conscious products.

Zawadisha is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower, entrust and expand opportunities for women through micro-lending, preventative healthcare, and education. Continue reading

My New Years Resolution (2015): To Be Happy

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I was watching a home video of an interview with my Nanny. She was being asked a host of questions, including what she most wanted for her children – and without hesitation, she said confidently and with a great deal of love…

To be happy.

The pursuit of happiness at times gets a bad rap for being fake, selfish, or an ultimately futile goal. However, what could be more important than creating an atmosphere of positivity and balance in your own life, regardless of circumstances? How can you truly support others, or have the ability to make change in the world if you are not at peace yourself?

This past year my Telfer MBA team did a data analysis project on the Happy Planet Index (incredibly, US ranks in the lowest category of HPI, Canada is middle of the pack, while Mexico is  one of the highest). We compared HPI to a large number of factors – including life expectancy rates, war deaths, alcohol consumption, etc – with little correlation.  We came to the surprising conclusion that happiness is not heavily dependent on what is happening to and around you.

So what do happy people do differently than the rest of us? I plan to go on a mission to figure this out – and will be periodically updating you on my findings. I will pursue it, like I do any other goal, with tangible actions. I plan to try 3 different happiness tactics every quarter of 2015, and I invite you to join me! The tactics for January to March are as follows:

  • Find 5 things you are grateful for everyday – This could be a morning reflection you whisper to yourself while rolling out of bed, or a journal entry  on the good things that you remember from the day. The way you choose to recognize the 5 things is completely up to you, but the key thing is that it happens daily.
  • Remove one negative thing from your life – Create some breathing space by letting go of something that is currently toxic. This could be an activity you no longer enjoy, an energy sucking relationship, or a self-destructive habit.
  • Start meditating – I meditate every once in a while, but I want to make this an unshakable part of my daily routine. This can take as little as 5 minutes a day, so it is manageable for even the most packed schedule.

Make happiness a priority this next year with me, and improve not only your own life, but those close to you as well. Keep me updated on your experiences below!


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