Tag Archive | Story

The Art of Brevity

When I was asked to give a comment for just one minute in a seminar I attended last month, I remembered the art of brevity and decided to use adjectives for my comment: “Awesome, superb, and eye-opening,” I said.

The audience was stunned. They were wondering how I could be brief and still make sense at the same. The reality is, I’ve been learning the art of brevity for years now. I’ve been learning how to tell long story in a superb short ways. And I’m getting better.

But the key secret is that you must know and understand what you want to discuss or talk about. If you can’t say it in five minutes, you can never say it in fifty minutes. That simply shows that you don’t understand what you’re talking about. You’ll ramble, babble and mumble for most of the time and never get to a substantial conclusion.

The art of brevity is a skill. If you could learn it, it’ll make you stand out among others. Seth Godin​ is a master in this art. I gulp all his content (writings, videos, and so on) just to learn the art of brevity from him.

The only way to master the art of brevity is to understand your niche that if you explain to a five-year-old kid, he’ll understand. Go learn this art today. Stay simple. Go!

-MOAB © 2015


Leave the Wrong Story

“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” –Mo Willems

Many people find it hard to admit that they’re in the wrong story. By wrong story, I mean the people we associate with. Because, after all, we’re all stories in the first place. Our relatives, friends, colleagues, mates, and acquaintances are stories we can’t live without. But, whenever you find yourself in the wrong story, it’s time to call it quit. It’s time to leave and find a story that suits your aspiration.

Believe me, this is the problem that many people struggle with. And most times, they don’t even know that they’re in the wrong story because of the evanescent benefit and pleasure they gain in the story. It takes self-awareness, courage to recognize that one is in the wrong story.

Don’t neglect the signs of the wrong story if you ever see one. I repeat, leave the wrong story. No matter who the person is, if the story is not adding value to your life, leave. Simple as that. Go!
-MOAB © 2015

Assumption: It Kills Our Creativity

Have you ever been to China before? I doubt it. But you surely have your assumptions based on some testimonies (media, movies, books, and people who have been there). And most times, our assumptions are not always true. We can never know a nation from books alone, or from people’s testimonies until we live there.

One of our assumptions about the Chinese is that majority or most of them are good at ping pong or many of them are Kung Fu masters. Chinese movies have spread the idea to us but the truth is, not all Chinese are good at ping pong, not all Chinese are Kung Fu masters.

departmentWhat’s my proof? There are many Chinese in my class. Is my proof sufficient? Of course not. Here’s my own biased story: some weeks ago, it was an excursion week in my university. As monumental heritage students, our excursion was about exploring the 16th, 17th, and 18th century buildings (monuments) and how to preserve them for the future generations.

After so much work and sightseeing, we decided to have fun. There was a place to play ping pong. I love playing ping pong, but I’m not good at it. Because I know people who are far better at playing ping pong than I do. A Chinese friend got to the table first. He wanted to play with me. I was afraid to play with him, because, after all, he’s Chinese. He’s going to win, that’s my thought and other people’s thought. We were all wrong.

I won the first Chinese, then another one, then another one, until I played with all the Chinese around which I won all the games. Are you Chinese? “The Chinese students asked.” I smiled and said, “No.” They chanted you must be Chinese for you to be good at ping pong. They had their own assumptions, too. And in reality, they were wrong.

Most times, it’s not where you were born that makes you great or good at something; it’s the belief that you can do it that makes people great. It’s not your color, genes, language, or body, but will and passion. After many conversations with my Chinese friends, I found out that not all of them love Kong Fu, not all of them love ping pong or other famous activities ascribed to the Chinese alone. They have their different passions and that’s why they’re not good at playing ping pong. Your passion defines you and not your family background. Break the shackle that’s holding you back from greatness and, start doing and investing on your passion. Start now!

-MOAB © 2014

Want To Make Your Readers To Turn The Page? Write

Two months ago, I was at the airport on my way to Warsaw, Poland, waiting for my flight to arrive. While waiting, I saw an old woman reading a book. I love seeing people reading. I watched her carefully while she turned the page of the book smiling and nodding in agreement and I was like, “Wow, I want my readers to turn the page of my book, but I’ve never written one.”

You see, maybe you and I are the same. We have good ideas for writing a book, but we won’t start. Maybe I’m even stronger by starting, but that’s not enough if I don’t finish writing it. Nobody will nod in agreement with a book sitting in your head or with a book still living in a file on your PC.

Writing a book is a daunting task. Sure, it takes time and energy, but one must start somewhere. If you’re not determined enough, you won’t make it happen. You need to fight Resistance and do things that matter.

Got an idea for writing a book? Start with a sentence. Get yourself books that are related to your niche. Want to finish writing your book? Go back to the drawing board and ask yourself why you started writing it in the first place. Don’t get stuck. Finish what you started. Who knows, your ideas might be what the world needs most.
-MOAB © 2014

Don’t Ask For A Map

Last month, I was in the street of Warsaw, Poland, trying to find my way back to the dorm I rented (Mind you, hotels are expensive in Warsaw). It’s summer, but it wasn’t in Warsaw as the weather was chill just like in spring. I only had summer outfits on because I thought summer all over the Europe would be hot. This is not my first time in Poland; the last time I was there it was cold as it was in winter. This time, I planned to enjoy my summer and do some sightseeing in the beautiful city of Warsaw.

I visited a friend there and on my way back I couldn’t find my way to the bus stop. My friend had told me the number of the bus to board and described the bus stop, but I couldn’t get it. The problem is not how to get to my destination but how to get the direction to where I could get a bus to my destination.

Photo Credit: Archer10 (Dennis) via Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Archer10 (Dennis) via Creative Commons

The bus stop was not far from the Warsaw Centralna (Rail way station). If you’ve ever been to any rail way station in Europe, you’ll understand how beautiful, big, and complicated they are, especially the subways and underground which have different entrances and exits. I know that one of the exits lead to the bus stop to my destination and I kept searching.

At one point, I called my friend and asked him to describe the way to the bus stop again, but yet, I didn’t get it. I kept searching until I figured it out myself. I even asked some Polish and they didn’t know where I was going. I was lost, but found myself later. I figured it out myself and knew more roads to my destination.

Don’t ask for a map, just figure things out yourself. If you get lost, you’ll find more ways to your destination. Sure, it’ll take more of your time but if you’ve the time and want to know more, then go get lost, wander, and you’ll discover things yourself.

Sometimes it’s good to ask when you’re lost so that people who know can lead you to your destination. People (maps, books, manuals) might fail you and you’ve to learn how to figure things out yourself. Go wander, get lost and I bet you’ll find yourself. Don’t ask for a map. Learn how to figure things out yourself.
-MOAB © 2014


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” –Maya Angelou

There are many reasons why people write. It varies. Some people write for money, fame, glory, and legacy. While some other people write to break their silence, they write because no one cares to listen, they write because they want to start a revolution, they write because they want to inspire lives, and they also write to let people know they’re not alone in their journey in life. The reasons why people write could go on and on.
Now, the question is for you reading this, “why do you want to write?”

To write is to break one’s silence. I believe writing is a struggle against silence and you’ve got stories to share with the world.The story that only you understand, the story that belongs to you, the story that you’ve kept with you for years, the story that could change and inspire lives and if you don’t write it then you will be living a miserable life. Yes, that’s the reality of the people who find it difficult to break their silence. Breaking your silence is all about change and not only about your ideas and thoughts.

If you have something that it’s not going right, if you know things that need change, but no one is bold enough to talk about them, then break your silence with a pen and write. Do you want to change people’s perspective of where you came from, of who you’re, of your worldview? Then write and inspire lives beyond your reach.

If you want to read more of this, sign up for my newsletter Thoughts By Pen and be inspired.

Why I Don’t Need Your Advice on Writing If You’re Not A Writer/Blogger

Does this title hurt you if you’re not a writer/blogger? Maybe. If you’ve tried to advise a writer/blogger on writing before then this title will upset you more. You can say this is arrogance or that I’m uppity. Whatever. The point is, if a writer is telling you that he wants to write about something, he’s not seeking for your opinion or advice on it unless he states otherwise. He only wants to have a conversation with someone not an advice. Because he believes in your story and he learns from them.

You should know that most times when you try to advise a writer even when you know that you’re not one and you’ve never written something that takes 2 hours to compose or even days sometimes then your advice is not needed because you’ve no idea what writing is all about.

You have no idea of how writers do their rituals. You have no idea of how many cup of tea and coffee writers take when the juice is not flowing. You have no idea of how difficult it is facing a blank page every day which needs to be filled with words. Not ordinary words but words that make sense. Words that get people thinking. Words that bring change and inspire people. You have no idea and that’s why your advice is useless. I don’t need your advice if you’re not a writer. This is so because only writers understand what other writers are going through.

It’s only writers that can advise writers on writing because they know it better, they eat and live writing, and they battle with the blank page every day.
-MOAB © 2014