Lighten up

Dear ZedTears, Lighten up

Lighten up.jpg

“Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things.” _Kenneth Branagh

Is there a better way to live? I very much doubt so. : )

Design, Art direction, Post
By Philip Abang
Artwork: Rene Abang


Verse 12. Mindset



Much is said about adopting a positive mindset. Michael Jordan’s quote is an indication of turning a perceived negative into positive. Cultivating a positive mindset deters weakness. A positive attitude supersedes negative thinking.

Athletes are trained to have a positive attitude in facing challenges. Pay a close attention to when athletes speak, they use phrases like ‘I am excited…’ or ‘I feel excited…’ rather than ‘I am nervous…’ or ‘I feel nervous…’ when faced with a task. A switch in ‘terms’ creates a positive mindset turning a perceived weakness to strength as Michael Jordan has stated. Michael Jordan is one of basketball’s all time great, an extraordinary player and one with a trained mindset.

Best selling books or novels are sometimes written from a place of obstacle, sorrow or pain. This is a case of turning weakness to strength. You may get a thousand ‘Nos’ for one ‘Yes’ that changes everything for a lifetime. From disadvantage to advantage, a case of erasing dis to your advantage.

Plant a seed of positive mindset in order to harvest positivity, strength and unlimiting belief.

Furthermore, attitude equals latitude.

Design, Creative direction, post
By Philip Abang


Dear ZedTears. Fear


I was watching some video clips on YouTube when I came across Zach Williams’ Fear Is a Liar , I was completely hooked.

The lyrics were powerful, touching upon the life’s of three individuals in the video on how fear affected each differently.

In not too distant context, fear can be crippling and can hinder progress. The fear of failure, fear of trying or taking risk deprives us of certain opportunities and overcoming road blocks.

More so, creativity is born out of risk taking and mostly flipping the script. Some risk are worth taking to get to the next level. Life’s biggest risk is not taking one. For new chapters, pages must be flipped.

Overcoming fear is the beginning of excellence and accomplishments.

Cast that fear in the fire, for fear truly is a liar.

©Dear ZedTears

Design, Creative/Art direction, Post
By Philip Abang
Lyric Credit: Zach Williams performing Fear Is A Liar (Official Music Video).



Verse 10. Creativity






I was watching Ije Nwokorie at 2015 AIGA Design Conference: The Future of Creativity in the Age of Automation a while back and I came across Brené Brown’s quote above. Ije referenced her quote to qualify his thoughts on creativity and directions we can take when we allow our innate creative ability take center stage.

Ije’s work provides a platform for clients and everyone to use a creative process to solve problems. Very intriguing I must say.

I have also seen Brené Brown’s lecture on on The Power of vulnerability. It is worth noting how she uses her creative ability to woo the audience in a mesmerizing manner whilst demonstrating her art of storytelling.

We may not all be designers but we all have creative abilities. In an age where automation is profoundly evident in our everyday living, our creativity still trumps everything.

Our creativity is evident in how we speak, dance, write, see, think, draw, design, illustrate, solve problems etc. Creativity is born out of our intuitive mind. The rational mind should learn to shut up when our intuitive mind speaks.

As Albert Eintein puts it;

“the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant.”

We should be more aware of our creativity and let it be exhibited in whatever we do. Sir Ken Robinson makes a case for schools hindering creativity. In his talk on Do schools kill creativity?  (also worth watching), he clearly makes a robust case for schools killing creativity.

He describes creativity as thus;

creativity — which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value — more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.”

Graphic design showed me a way of seeing things and as a result, I can express my thoughts visually, in writing and in design. I allow my intuitive mind dictate some of my creative approach.

“Creativity is part of life” _ Ije Nwokorie

Ije’s response to Brené Brown’s quote was a resounding ‘AMEN’. I concur to his affirmation with another huge ‘AMEN’ to that!!

Design, Creative direction, Post
By Philip Abang



Verse 9. Failure


There is often a sense of resignation when failure knocks us off our stride in a process of effectuating an action, a goal or a target. There have been countless incidence of businesses, individuals, or designs that have failed. Be that as it may, countless have also succeeded.

Case study revealing how businesses, designs,  ‘great minds’, or entrepreneurs succeeding despite draining the wells of failure are too numerous to mention. Ironically, many whom have been through this path will suggest there is no such thing as failure. Every act of failing is only an indicator, a lesson, an insight, a benchmark to new ideas, a different and better approach to reaching an intended goal, target, resolution, and solution to problems.

My attempt to demonstrate the grits and determination of names we may or may not know that have scaled the fences of failure will be bitty, and no where near the never-ending tales of failure to success.

Nonetheless, Thomas Edison is a common case study of how he failed 10,000 in his attempt to develop a practical incandescent lamp. His quotes below sums up his thoughts on failure;

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”

“There’s a way to do it better – find it”

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”.


Oprah Winfrey’s thought corroborates Thomas Edison’s, William Whewell’s, and many others. Some names worth mentioning includes Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and James Dyson.

Failure and success seem to be at two opposites ends of the scale, but relatively speaking, both are closer than we can imagine. I see both as a reflection in a mirror. Looking in the mirror is a figure of oneself staring back, beyond the figure, is a depth of potential, greatness, talent, possibility, knowledge, and more. Tapping into this depth determines how far we climb or how low we descend. Learning from every failure is the start to tapping into the potential of success.

This amazing quote from Samuel Beckett is a start;

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Design, Creative direction, Post 
By Philip Abang



Verse 7. TRY-ing



Leo Pennant left this incredible quote in the comment section of my post Living. I thought it was indicative of the power of quotes highlighting the words of Alexander the Great; “There is nothing impossible to him who will try”.

In my previous post Living, I eluded to the fact that my plans in the previous years wasn’t to be writing a post or designing quotes using expressive typography for emphasis. As a matter of fact, I had a phobia for using computers over the years.

_A phobia can be described as an intense fear or a disinclination to something.

We sometimes have dreams to attain things in our lives, but contrary to our aims, it takes certain effort to project us to our desired destination. In many a case, taking the first step is the biggest challenge. It is fair to point out the ‘fear’ factor which can be debilitating. Other factors including procrastination, uncertainty, mishaps, et al. could also be a barrier to what we can achieve.

The old adage; ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ sound cliché but it remains relevant. It is significant to lay the first brick, and in order to create a forest, you have to keep planting trees. The effort we put in by TRYING is pivotal. Effort begets reward.

Look beyond the obstacle along the way, patiently try, just try, keep trying… “little drops of water makes an ocean”, I hear them say!

Design, Creative direction, Post
By Philip Abang
Quote Credit: Leo Pennant


Verse 6. Greatness




Richard Pryor is considered one of the greatest stand-up comedian of all time. His was outrageously funny, and wasn’t afraid to ridicule both himself or anyone. He would say things many wouldn’t dare say on stage and his character impressions was unparalleled. He was also a great actor having starred in numerous movies.

In a documentary called ‘Passions: Richard Pryor by Romesh Ranganathan’, Romesh Ranganathan travels to Los Angeles to explore the genius of Richard Pryor. He describes Richard Pryor as his ‘idol’ and has Richard Pryor’s face tattooed to his arm. Romesh Ranganathan is a British stand-up comic and actor.

Richard Pryor was indeed a genius in his craft and what he contributed to his community as shown in the documentary. But like with every genius, they also have their weakness. Richard Pryor had battled issues with drink and drugs leading to wife abuse which was depressing. He recognized these demons and talked about it on stage.

“Everyone carries around their own monsters” _Richard Pryor.

Looking pass his shortcomings, he has inspired multitude of comedians and actors including the likes of Eddie Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, the late Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Howie Mandel to mention a few.

Richard Pryor indeed left a mark, a legacy he created in his stand-ups, acting and benevolence to his community. His uproariously funny jokes is what many aspire to pull-off, living the audience gasping for air in what seemed like their rip was going to explode in laughter. We all have marks that we all aspire to bear or leave behind, our geniuses may be flawed, but for every magnanimity, smile, or rib we seek to crack with laughter, every step we take in that direction is applaudable.

Design, Art direction, Post
By Philip Abang


Verse 5. Living



I was invited to give a lecture a few months ago, and I remember being asked in a Q&A session what my 5 year goals were, I sincerely replied “I haven’t thought that far”. I have listened to so many motivational speakers; Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Les Brown and Dandapani are my top favourites in the list. Each of which empower you in life’s goals, focus, discipline, planning and mental positioning.

I remember listening to Wayne Dyer in an interview with Tony Robbins, it was inspirational. It is good practice to learn from the masters as their wealth of knowledge is priceless. Tony Robbins once said “a plan is nothing but planning is everything”. It is wise to plan for the future, but on the same token, it is also wise to appreciate each day as it comes, not overlooking the little things that matter in the present.

Frankly, my plan 5 years ago wasn’t to be designing content or quotes and sharing it on the internet. It wasn’t about writing a blog either. Life takes us in multiple directions as that plan we had 5 years ago is either overtaken by events or tossed to a corner as implied by Tony Robbins’ “a plan is nothing”. Living in the moment is paramount, appreciating people around us like our families, friends, people in need, or even the fresh air that caresses our being each day is essential.

Taking stock of each day begins to frame our minds towards our goals and purpose for the future. However, live today showing love and care for the everyday things that matters to us the most as tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Design, Art direction, Post
By Philip Abang


Verse 4. I Am



Often we struggle in finding adjectives that describes who we are, what we do, what we represent or what we stand for. Self identification can sometimes come across as egotistical, self glorying, self absorbing, etc. Although, failure in defining what we stand for, what our beliefs are or what we choose to become often leads to self doubt, worthlessness, rejection and inferiority complex.

I belief in the power of words, period! The combination of ‘I’ and ‘Am’ makes the phrase the most powerful word combination arguably. We can equally be as powerful depending on what words that we decide to attribute to the phrase or defining who we are as individuals. Also, we can choose to be happy, sad, kind or cruel with the ‘I am’ phrase.

It is vital to find the right word(s) that follow the powerful phrase. A simple example is to begin to find words that when combined can put a smile on our faces or someone else’s. This practice can begin to help chisel out issues with self identification, self rejection, inferiority complex and so on.

I will like to be identified as so many things but like many struggling with what they represent, I too have to start with the phrase ‘I am’. In Andrew Bennett’s ‘The Magic of Words’, what we speak is what we create.

Let the illustration and design kick start a reflection into ourselves by attaching words that can help describe who we are, what we represent, what we want to become, what we choose to become, what we want to create, Abracadabra!

Design, Art direction, Post
By Philip Abang


Verse 3. Confidence



Confidence is a term we are all familiar with. It plays a huge role in almost everything we do regardless of our positions. The quote design above may not be everyone’s taste, nonetheless, it requires a certain amount of confidence to juxtaposition the texts in order to communicate an idea. The design is a visual metaphor in communicating the process of building and losing confidence. It takes an enormous amount to build confidence or belief in whatever we do as it is psychological, except you are naturally blessed with self belief.

Confidence is key particularly to sports people as they require a full dose to perform to their maximum levels or attain great heights. Take football for instance, players perform brilliantly when boost with confidence but you see a shadow of these players bereft of it.

Arsene Wenger is arguably the most successful manager in the history of Arsenal Football Club. It is also fact that he changed the English game when he took charge of AFC. He has won many trophies in his 21 years as the Arsenal boss, however, he is under vast pressure as his very talented players have lost form because they are lacking in confidence. Constantly barraged with questions over their weekly performances, Wenger in his recent interview was probed about this issue (confidence) which he responded simply; “its like going up the stairs and coming down the lift” meaning that gaining confidence is a huge task although losing it was much easier.

Arsene Wenger remains under pressure from fans and the media. He is still holding out for his team to regain form. Hopefully, the reverse would be the case where they gain confidence by way of going up the lift rather than stairs.

Design, Art direction, Post
By Philip Abang