Experiences and Possessions

It’s Carnival season here in Trinidad and Tobago. I love this time of the year as everyone is usually alot happier and care-free. There’s lots of talk about which Carnival fete (party) to attend and most importantly which Carnival Band to play mas with. Initially I was hoping for Carnival to pass quickly so the country could return to normal. Then I started listening to Soca Music, more specifically Machel Montano’s songs Endless WukLike Ah Boss and Remedy. By the next day, I knew I would be playing mas. I’ve only ever played mas with TRIBE’s Carnival Band because their service is unlike any other band and I’ve become somewhat spoilt by it. So I made a few phone calls and secured a costume within a few days. Now I haven’t really had time to do much since I started working in May 2014 so I welcomed the opportunity to do something for myself, especially an experience like this.

Studies have shown that the key to happiness is spending money on experiences instead of possessions and material objects. In one study, Cornell University researchers found that purchasing an experience improved well-being more than buying a possession, in part because people are more prone to comparisons and buyer’s remorse with material goods. Also, objects tend to deteriorate with time, but experiences can create lasting memories. If you share lessons or dinners and vacations with others, the social connections can make you happier, too, experts say. Even waiting for an experience apparently creates more happiness and excitement than waiting for a material item. By contrast, waiting for a possession is more likely filled with impatience than anticipation. Even bad experiences can one day become a story filled with humor or a great lesson learnt but not the same can be said about receiving a bad or defective product. Today is Carnival Monday in Trinidad and Tobago and tomorrow is considered Carnival Tuesday. If you’re in Trinidad and Tobago at the moment, I hope you have loads of fun and I look forward to seeing you on the road. If however, you’re not here in this beautiful country for these two days, enjoy the pics and videos online and I do hope you visit these beautiful islands for Carnival 2016.

Masquerader

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Startup Weekend Trinidad and Tobago

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Yesterday was awesome. I attended the last day of Startup Weekend in Trinidad as a guest with my friend Ian Alleyne, who was one of the sponsors for the event and it was such an inspiring experience. The ideas presented by the teams were so innovative. In third place, was a group called Talk Down and their idea centered around providing a social media hotline for persons thinking about committing suicide or who have made attempts to take their lives, to talk to trained professionals about their situation. In second place was Peoples Holdings, a group focused on providing financial services at a higher interest on savings than the banks by focusing on investing in real estate. In first place was Smart Hook, a concept geared towards the oil and gas industry where an automated hooking system is used for lifting equipment. The current system in place uses human power and this has resulted in severe injuries and loss of life in some instances. At the end of the session, I took the opportunity to let the participants know how fortunate they were to have found such an event, as I walked this road alone for over a year and a half but now that I’ve found Startup Weekend, I’ll definitely be coming back. I also shared three valuable resources with all the aspiring entrepreneurs. I told them about John Lee Dumas and his Entrepreneur on Fire podcasts as well as his Quotes on Fire podcasts, these will definitely keep that entrepreneurial fire burning on a daily basis. I also told them about Lewis Howes, The School of Greatness. This guy is awesome and while his podcast format is different from Entrepreneur on Fire, it rocks just the same. Before the end of the night so many of them had already subscribed to all the podcasts. I would definitely be attending more of these events in Trinidad. As John Lee Dumas constantly reminds his listeners, “We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with”, so it’s very important that I spend my time with individuals who share my passions and some of my goals in life.

Sharing your Struggles

Last night, I met up with a long time friend who is visiting Trinidad and Tobago for 2 weeks. We talked about some things he went through about two years ago as well as some of my challenges since completing my Masters in Software Engineering in 2012. For some reason he did not want to go too much into detail about the challenges he faced but he was quite interested in how I am able to be so comfortable discussing my struggles openly. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I listen to Entrepreneur on Fire podcasts as often as I can and the interviews are quite inspiring. John Lee Dumas interviews a new entrepreneur every day with discussions about their favourite quotes, personal lives, failures, “Ah Ha” moment, success, current business ventures, online resources, advice for listeners and contact information. For me the best part of the interview is when the guest entrepreneur talks about his or her failure. Life really has a way of testing us and failure has a unique way of preparing us for success. Sometimes I hear stories about entrepreneurs who were in worse off situations that I was and have now accomplished such great things. It gives me immense inspiration to continue with my goals in life. It reminds me that if someone who was worse off than me has done so much, I am capable of the same and so much more. Some interviews bring me to tears as I can relate to the challenges the entrepreneur would have encountered. I think this is one of the key aspects of this podcast that attracts listeners. Being able to have a story that others can relate to is key to success as an entrepreneur and building your brand but what is most important is the willingness and openness in sharing that story. People who are struggling to build themselves will not easily be able to relate to the entrepreneur who seems so perfect and has never seen any sort of struggle. This is why it’s important for me to share my story and any struggles I’ve encountered. Even if I have only inspired one person, it was well worth sharing my experiences.