Miss T Tonic

Defying The Odds


On 7 August 1974, French street performer Philippe Petit walked and danced on a wire he illegally rigged between the New York World Trade Center’s twin towers.

Captured in an incredible documentary, Man On Wire, Petit’s six years of planning and preparation to achieve what’s been described as the ‘artistic crime of the century’ is an awe inspiring tale. He conceived the idea based on an article he read about the towers construction whilst at the dentist in France, and dared to dream that one day he would walk between them.

Each day, we all conjure up ideas that we’d love to materialise but never follow through on them. What does it take to defy the odds?

When Petit was asked why he did the twin towers stunt, he would say, “When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk.”

Incredible feats are achieved because people dared to see the opportunity in any situation. Whilst some may see nothing but brick walls, others see the potential to do something that invigorates them. What they rely on is their instinct, determination and a dose of compulsion.

If you’re going to break with convention, you need to not be a sheep of society. You have to zig when others zag. You have to ignore the criticism, relentlessly get back up every time you fall down, canvas alternate paths, and continually find inspiration. Defeatists need not apply.

You also have to be under no illusion that it’s going to be a walk in the park. I recall reading an article a couple of years ago about Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan’s battle with injury – five hip surgeries and 10 years of shoulder, back, knee and neck injuries – and training till he vomits. If you want to achieve the seemingly impossible, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do the hard yards.

And finally, you have to be prepared for the potential isolation. When you go against mainstream thinking, you unintentionally force those around you to question their own beliefs. Not many people like to feel that they are wrong, or that their idea of what’s possible in life is somewhat questionable. So instead of supporting you – and your allegedly crazy ideas – they distance themselves and sometimes walk away. On the flip side, you may find others want to join you and give you infinite support.

Many of the great ideas came from people who defied mainstream thinking. The likes of Hendrix, Branson, Banksy, and Jobs were all revolutionary in their offerings to the world.

The question is, are you prepared to defy the odds to achieve your dream?


Miss T Tonic is a strategist, designer and LifeStylist who spends her days taking great ideas and turning them into reality at Howl Communications and Style to a T. A passionate storyteller, she shares her insights on business, life and doing more of what you love.

Photo Credit

Feel Good For Free


Have you noticed lately how happiness has become a commodity?
In one corner, happiness has become an item we seek from others through their approval, validation, acceptance and love. In the other corner, we have the hedonistic lifestyle approach where instant gratification is sold as the sensory quick fix to happiness.
Unfortunately, happiness has been marketed as a ‘thing’ external to ourselves. Whether sought from others or bought from a store, we’ve somehow confused momentary pleasure for our happily ever after.
According to 8th Century Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva, “All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others.”
So how do we get back to grassroots happiness? How can you feel good for free?
Have you ever been fully absorbed in an activity where you lost track of time or even your surroundings? According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, you were experiencing flow, a mental state of complete focus, full involvement and enjoyment in an activity.
You can achieve flow with any task, at work or at play; put simply, all it requires is challenge, control, concentration, and immediate feedback. For some, that might be playing sports, engaging in hobbies, or creating art. For others, it could be writing poetry, mowing the lawn, or cooking.
When we voluntarily choose to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile, we create optimal experiences. And it is these optimal experiences, where exhilaration and a deep sense of enjoyment coexist, that stick in our minds as markers for what life should be like.
Creating a go-to list of flow activities can help direct you to feel good when you need it. If you don’t know what causes flow for you, identify a range of challenging activities you think you may like, and give them a go without any self-judgement or distractions. Discover what you enjoy, discard the ones you don’t. You may even want to share your flow activity with others.
But what about those days when nothing you do makes you feel good? The Buddha once said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” Given the average person has around 70,000 thoughts a day, we have many opportunities to change the way we think at any particular moment.
What the happiest people in the world have in common with each other is that they have flexible attitudes. They are able to bend with circumstances when necessary; that is, they are willing to accept that some things are beyond their control and they are what they are. In other words, they don’t harbour irrational beliefs about how things should be.
Irrational beliefs are thoughts that make you unhappy, inhibit your ability to experience good health, and cause you to engage in self-defeating activities. They include thoughts such as the world should be a fair place or that you must be loved and approved of by everyone.
These views can make us feel glum when our life experiences fall short of our preconceived ideals.
To feel good, challenge your thoughts and become more flexible about your views. Turn your rigid beliefs into preferences and remain open to life’s changing circumstances. Once you do, you’ll discover that whilst life may not always live up to your expectations, you can positively change the way you react to the situation.
I’ve come to realise that happiness is the sum of every detail of your life, good and bad.
Achieving happiness doesn’t make you immune to experiencing days when you will be challenged. More often than not, you will have to step out of your comfort zone to make some tough decisions.
With your newfound flexible attitude and go-to list of flow activities, your patch of feel good sunshine is only a moment away. All it will cost you is two out of your 70,000 thoughts today.

Miss T Tonic is a strategist, designer and LifeStylist who spends her days taking great ideas and turning them into reality at Howl Communications and Style to a T . A passionate storyteller, she shares her insights on business, life and doing more of what you love.

Photo Credit

Who’s Pulling The Strings


‘Never _______ enough’ is a sentence that has featured prominently in my thoughts over the years. It is amazing how quickly and easily one can fill in the blank, perhaps even infinitely.
Insert words like beautiful, wealthy, skinny, clever or successful, and you begin to realise how slippery that slide is into the self-pity pool.
Typically an affliction of women (and loved by advertisers), these murmurs of doubt, dollops of fear and sprinkles of self-deprecation are deeply rooted in societal norms and can be said to be the drivers for many of our decisions in life.
Like it or not, we live in a culture of scarcity, where feelings of deficiency are often driven by (unconscious) comparisons of how much you and/or everyone else has, doesn’t have, wants or needs. With deficiency comes fear, and with fear comes action. And that action is consumerism, a belief that we can buy our way out of hurt, despair and loss with an immediate fix.
I was educated that having a good career was paramount if I was to make it in the world. That is, having a well-paid secure job that afforded me all the needs, wants and luxuries I could ever desire. And so, I trotted up that corporate career ladder and enjoyed the lifestyle that went with it. I could buy any solution for any ailments I encountered.
But over the years, I began to question whether the choices I made were my own. The jobs I chose, the clothes I bought, the venues I frequented, even the car I drove, were all executed with the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mindset. My job title had become my identity and my rule of thumb decision maker. I had fallen into the materialism trap.
Dissatisfied with my place in the world and the person I had become, I decided to turn things on their head. Perhaps now was a good time to let go of the idea of who I thought I should be and become who I really was. And that started with redefining what a career meant to me.
My new definition of career is where you call the shots on who you want to be and how you want to interact with the world; it is yours to design, chop and change, and keep. It’s an allencompassing occupation that culminates in your life’s work. Your traditional notion of paid work career is but a single component of what I call your life career.
A life career determines your social interaction, community involvement and family commitments. It is grounded in values and beliefs that you want to exhibit in all aspects of your life. It involves articulating how you might benefit others, how you can act with purpose, and how you want to be remembered.
In everyday terms, my life career includes engaging with people and activities that give me energy. I am relishing deeper, more meaningful conversations and am continually looking at ways to build a greater sense of community amongst friends, family and strangers. I’ve identified qualities and characteristics that I want to cultivate and have sought out activities that foster the development of these. My paid work is continually changing as I strengthen the foundations of my life career, but I’m not worried; I’m enjoying the experiments.
My newly defined career ensures I smile and laugh each day, even if it’s at myself. It reminds me that life can be amazing and fulfilling if you can let go of that feeling of being not enough. I’ve come to realise that I don’t need to buy anything to feel better about myself; all I need is time and patience. And those are still free.

Miss T Tonic is a strategist, designer and LifeStylist who spends her days taking great ideas and turning them into reality at Howl Communications and Style to a T . A passionate storyteller, she shares her insights on business, life and doing more of what you love.

Photo Credit: Brock Davis, Behance

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