Month: May 2014

Never Give Up Your Field of Dreams

The_helm

We all remember the movie with Kevin Costner, but I will not be talking about baseball. What I want to write about, however, are our dreams and what happens when things don’t come your way.

When we are young, we all have dreams. Some of us are blessed to live a child’s life that involves fantasy and dreams. I am sure as a child you were probably asked by an adult in your life, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Then you grow up, and sometimes life happens to you. Other times, you have some control and you make life happen. But, as the years pass and especially if you are tossed around a little, or a lot, in rough seas, your dreams either evolve, and become more realistic, or they start to disappear. Maybe, one day you find yourself quietly sitting somewhere thinking to yourself – how did I get here and where did all of those plans and dreams go?

I am usually very focused in my life, those in my life and where I can make a difference. However, I think most of us will agree that something very different has happened, especially since the economic melt-down. We see report after report, hear commentators or listen to people complain, sometimes bitterly, about the loss of what they once had.

All around us we have the ashes of lives and parts of our collective society in ruins. We all have someone outside of ourselves to blame for this, such as the recession, the job market, advanced technology, globalization, etc. Whatever it is, I think all of us know that nothing – absolutely nothing – can be taken for granted. Not your job. Not the house or apartment you live in. Not your health. Not your wife. Not your children. Nothing. I have read that what we knew of our lives before this enormous societal shift that kicked off the first decade plus of the 21st Century was all part of a big lie or illusion that we bought into. Perhaps.

Nevertheless, we are all left standing, or maybe on our knees at the moment, knowing that nothing will ever be the same. Period.

So, what do you do? Do you stay on your knees? Do you hang it all up and stay under the covers? What do you do?

Maybe it’s because of who I am, maybe it’s because of how I was raised or my ethnic heritage but all I know is you get yourself up each and every day. You never quit. You never let anyone get the best of you.

There is a great piece of history from Greece, and it comes to us in the life and efforts of Leonidas and his warriors. Essentially, Leonidas was the King of Sparta who defended Greece against an invasion by the Persians. In August of 480 BC, he took 300 Spartans and with other Greeks who joined him, he led a force of approximately 7,000, which was substantially smaller in comparison to the 200,000 men modern scholars say were on the Persian side.

You can read the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, but the most important thing to know is that Leonidas faced his battle head-on. With a smaller force of men than what he started out with in battle, he courageously fought to the death to try to prevent the Persians entry into Greece through the only access road. His tale is a story of absolute courage despite overwhelming and devastating odds.

That’s what we all need to do. We all need to fight our battle head-on and with force. And, in my experience, the only way to fight that battle, whatever it is – is to have a plan. A dream. You have to be shooting for something. Leonidas’ goal was to prevent passage to the Persians. He had a plan. He stuck to the plan.

We each need to do the same. We can’t allow life to beat us into submission. You can’t let cancer, disease, a job loss, a marriage that ends, the death of a loved one – anything – defeat you. Leonidas still lives today in memory because of that courage to stand and fight, no matter the odds.

So, the message here, is to dream. Even if you don’t dare, just dream one thing. Make one plan to kick the disease, get a new job, start your own business, get a new home, marry that woman, travel the world, whatever it is…And then, whatever life throws at you, do not quit. Do not give up until the game is really and truly over, if you do not succeed. And, know this, even if the moment comes you do not get it all; the game is indeed over and there are no seconds left, you fought. You did not give up. And, that makes all the difference in the world.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 19, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

The Faces that Tell the Story

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Looking at these pictures by Vaggelis Fragiadakis, one cannot help but wonder how these people lived and go about their lives. For those who are not aware of Crete and its people, it is a unique island in the south of the Aegean Sea. Its people are a force to be reckoned with: fearless, hard working, proud and family centered. Through the ages they have been farmers, laborers and are also employed in the tourism sector which has increased significantly during the past 40 years. Lastly throughout history, Cretans have turned into warriors to defend the island when situations arose against invaders.

One important thing they are known for is their love for life. Any chance they have, they celebrate life by dancing the famous Cretan dances, singing their songs, sharing their hospitality with relatives, friends and people coming in contact. They are also known for their pure locally made olive oil, baked breads, cheese, wine, tsikoudia (an alcohol drink produced mainly for local consumption), grapes, local grown fruits and vegetables.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWrinkled Faces

 

The geography of the island is very diverse, offering everything from beautiful beaches, to high snowcapped mountains, to deep long gorges. Ancient sites are disbursed throughout the island.

In the faces of the people photographed here, one wonders what kind of stories can be told by just looking at these sunburned, wind-chiseled, laughter wrinkled and expressive faces. How many celebrations have they participated in; how many sorrows have they felt; how much hard work have they had to do in order to provide for their families against all odds? I suppose, that is for you to find out after you meet them and they extend you their smile and hospitality.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 18, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How to do Social Good and Feel Great About It

 

How would you feel if you are able to bring some good to society, give a helping hand to people struggling around you and at the same time feel good about doing so? It does not matter whether you are a Millennial, Gen-Xer, Boomer or part of the Greatest Generation, donating, giving to charity or volunteering, you can still give of your time or money and see an immediate impact.

Volunteering is more grassroots and organic, and allows you to experience the work of a charity. Find a mission that represents you. It does not need to be elaborate and difficult to grasp. Case and point: A soup kitchen. Volunteer some of your time one day to serve some meals for the elderly. I did this with my family for Thanksgiving one year and I received more than I ever thought possible. I realized I benefited so much in spirit and the fulfillment from the act was something unforgettable. You can contribute toward meals for children of the Appalachia region. Many of them go to bed hungry.

In Kentucky, for example, between 2010 and 2012 about 15.6% of the population was ” food insecure”, which meant that at times throughout the year their families were not able to afford food. There are many ways each one of us can help by supporting local food banks or other local projects where the goals are to feed, clothe, house and even provide disaster relief for families and the elderly. You can always start at home where there are so many organizations supporting various groups in need or you can help in faraway places for equally valuable causes.

Dollars can get you very far when you are contributing to a specific cause in Africa, for example. Take micro-funding – $100 loans start businesses for the people in Africa. Even less buys desks for children in Malawi, many of whom sit on the dirt floor to study as opposed to a desk in school. You can help support a young African who makes lamps by hand to donate to children so they are able to study at night. These children work all day to help their families survive and they are so poor that they study by candle light at night, which is not conducive to their eyes or study.

Doing even small things can help you see results immediately. The smile from an elderly man who needed a meal in a soup kitchen, providing food to a family in the United States who can not buy food, $100 for a business in Africa, a desk, a lamp – all simple things that we sometimes take for granted, but they can make an incredible difference in the life of one person.

Doing good and making change immediately is something almost anyone can do and all it takes is just a little bit of time or money and a desire to make a difference.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: May 9, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.