Harping on a Keyboard called Life

Date posted: January 9, 2008


I spend most of my day in the company of my laptop; it sits on my desk all morning, it is on the back seat of my car when I am driving, it is in a backpack on my back when I am walking, and it is at my bedside at night. I am addicted to the keyboard and I love how, with a few clicks, I can write stories that keep me connected with the world and my inner self. I appreciate my ability to delete a word, a sentence, or a paragraph. I can trash whole documents and sheets or save conversations and thoughts. The screen reflects all my thoughts and immediately interprets my actions giving me the chance to undo or to redo absolutely anything. My whole life is typed in files and saved in folders on my laptop. I wish real life was as simple.

Although you can choose the layout of your life, format the pages to your liking, insert people, tools, and pictures, view the outcome from several angles, and even seek help when needed, in real life, there is neither a delete nor a backspace button and what is done cannot be undone. You have to live with the consequences of your actions and choices, and there is no pause option whereby you can just curl in bed and put life on hold until you are ready to resume. Time does not stop! It will pass with or without you. You might wake up one morning, open your eyes, stare at the ceiling, pull the cover on your face, close your eyes again, and decide to hide from the bad ugly world out there, but something inside of you pushes you out of bed and throws you back into the race – something tells you that you have to keep running.

This "thing" differs from one person to the other. We are all born with a drive to live, succeed, achieve, and overcome pain and grief but, unlike laptops, the buttons are not standardized on every keyboard. I have selected people from the different walks of life and asked them to give me the reason that gets them out of bed every morning regardless of how defeated they might feel. The human psyche will never cease to amaze me.

Mohamed Safi – Nile FM 104.2 – Presenter

I believe optimism is one of the essential reasons for our very existence … optimism definitely keeps me going, it is the truest essence of all religions, and should be everyone's driving force in my opinion. Optimism breeds confidence … "without confidence you are twice defeated in the race of life, with confidence you have won even before you have started" – Marcus Garvey.

The thought of being out in the open desert keeps me going as well; the mental and physical challenge of being out there living the elements of nature fascinates me.

Despair is just weak, but that's the "macho" in me speaking out! Ironically, one of the deepest things I have ever heard – and is a daily reference to me – came from the most unexpected source – a wrestler! I clearly remember "Razor Ramone" in the early 90's walking up to the camera, taking the toothpick out of his mouth and throwing it at the camera as he said "Chico! It's not how many times you fall … it's how many times you get up!"

Miriam Mohamed – Nile FM 104.2 – Presenter

I get my strength from the desire of being the best I want to be in life; success does not come knocking on your door you must go out and get it. The desire to make my family proud and their love keeps me from getting depressed and my desire to be successful motivates me to go on with my life, plus I have great friends who keep me from feeling down and depressed.

Scott Phillips – Nile FM 104.2 – Presenter

When I'm feeling down and depressed I always think about how my situation could be much worse. Life is too short for sitting around feeling down. You must always pick yourself up move on – it's what life is all about. Usually my radio show helps to lift my spirits because I have many people listening, they maybe feeling the same way and it's my job to put my own issues aside and to help to cheer up the Cairo public.

Injy El Mokaddem – OTV – Presenter

As a matter of fact that doesn't happen to me a lot. I am naturally a very optimistic person and I always look at the bright side of things. All the time, I succeed to find something good out of a bad experience.

I try to think positively all the time and I don't allow myself to get defeated by any negative feeling or thought. I am a strong believer of "The Secret", or the law of attraction, since I was a little girl.

Therefore, I immediately reject all my negative feelings and thoughts and replace them with positive ones to be able to attract all the good in life. This also gives me inner peace and allows me to live in my own bubble of tranquility and content. I block any negative vibe, thought or feeling on the spot. I hate to dwell over things and I hate to feel sorry for myself.

I am what I am and I am responsible for my own actions. I allow things to happen to me and I also have the power to stop them. I make myself what I am by the way I perceive myself. I put myself in whatever mood I want to be by the way I perceive myself and the world around me … its a matter of perception and it's a state of mind!!!

Amr Saleh – OTV – Host

One day the wind asked earth, "How have you been, earth?" Earth seemed so down and replied after a deep breath, "Hmmm … bored". The wind was astonished and asked Earth again, "Why would you be bored? You have a lot to keep you busy … you have human beings on you." Earth yelled back at the wind saying that human beings became very boring; they eat, drink, sleep, reproduce, and kill one another and that she has had enough of that.

Based on that story, I would say that what motivates me is distinction; I want to be different. I should not be like all other human beings since we are born with different faces then we should have different missions and goals. Whenever I feel that I am behind, I look at myself in the mirror and say "You are here to make a difference."

Ramy Radwan – OTV – Reporter

On a bad hair day, I get out of bed having faith and believing that bad luck never lasts. Usually, I start my day looking forward to having my share of good luck! Also having great friends and a wonderful family helps me carry on with life!

Ahmed El Esseily – Writer in E7na & host of 7abba 3esseily on OTV

It's actually quite simple with me, I just remember phrases like "life is short", "what if this is as good as it gets?", "this day is the beginning of the rest of your life" and such statements do it for me … the idea of life moving on no matter what, and you'd better get up and catch with it because whatever is keeping you down, is never a good excuse and life will never wait for you. I have to also mention that, even if it sounds corny, that it's very comforting for me to always feel that there is a God up there and that probably there is a reason for everything whether good or bad and that you have to move along the path of your life and try to discover some of those reasons. You can't do that on the couch, you have to keep moving, and you have to live.

Iten El Mougi – Writer in E7na & host of with Iten program with Al Sa3a

No matter what brick wall I hit, motherhood and the calling of my kids Yasseen and Zeina are the prime factors that make me want to find the opening in the wall. My ambition and my constant need for self fulfillment also help me out on a bad day.

Ahmed Naje – Journalist & the youngest novelist in Egypt – author of Rogers

There are ups and downs in life; when you are down, do not resist it. It is a great time for contemplation and for reevaluating your life and actions. The best way to deal with the ups and downs is to breathe, smile, and accept whatever comes your way. Being content and accepting fate is the best thing to get you out of bed when the whole world seems to have conspired against you.

Muhammed Alaa El Din – Script writer & novelist

I have a mysterious feeling before I go to bed that when I wake up everything will be ok. I also remind myself that I have been through worse and survived, then this little straw would not kill me … it will only make me stronger.

Amr Khaled – Musician & author of Velo, the first English book in Egypt

I have come to understand that I create my own reality so I no longer suffer from the depressed sofa syndrome. However, if I were to talk about how it was before, when I was still prone to such diseases, my reaction would have been one of two options; I would have used my mind to try and figure out what was wrong, and if I did find out, I started looking for ways to deal with it. The problem was that when I felt down, I did not know what was bothering me.

At which point I reverted to option two, which was to go right through the pain. I would allow myself to feel it with every fiber of my being with unparalleled intensity. I would stop thinking about the pain, and trying to justify and label it – I would just feel it. I would acknowledge that at that very moment I felt bad, sad, angry, jealous, desperate, weak, guilty, shameful, or any other emotion. The fastest way out of pain is to go through it and only then I would come out of the cave with my head held high, stronger than ever, bigger than ever, all loved up and ready for more – more of life, whatever she brings.

Ashraf Ashley – Buzz TV & currently publishing a collection of poems "Simply Unthinkable"

Ash decided to share with us a part of his poem Blessed – that explains his philosophy about life:

But I do believe that life rewards
The brave and the courageous…
Those who lie down
Only long enough to recover
And those who tirelessly
Go in search of their destiny…
So in humble conclusion…
For the good fortune
That I have encountered in this life
Whatever its reasons may be….
I am truly thankful
And consider myself…
Wholly blessed.

Ghada Shahbandar – Nursery owner & human rights activist

I am never down, defeated, sad, depressed and curled up on my sofa because I only go to bed when I'm ready to sleep – Golden Rule 1 to fight the Blues.

I cry, I write, I talk to myself … I think of all the people who give meaning to my life and all the things I want to do with my life – I'm 45 years old so I still have a few years to go

I think of my children although they're not children anymore .. the youngest is 18 and actually has a driving license!
I think of my mum – she is in her 60s and been widowed for a while but still feisty and fun to be around
I think of my friends – I'm very lucky … I have at least 8 people that I can call friends
I think of the tweenies, toddlers and pre- schoolers at Little Einstein – my nursery
I think of the Human Rights activists I work with.
I think of all the people I can still meet and all the countries I can still visit and all the work I'd like to do and all the stories I'd like to tell and all the books I'd like to read and films I'd like to see and music I'd want to listen to. I count my blessings and thank Allah for them … I ask Him for strength to carry on … I ask Him for Health and His Mercy and Compassion – Oh my God- I have so much to do and … "Tomorrow is another day"

Monir El Shazly – Strategy consultant, trainer & photographer

I have always felt blessed, and I have always known that even when the going gets tough, it always turns out for my best. So I always don't give in to sadness or despair. Psychologically, depression can't happen if you are active. In other words; you can't get depressed, while you are doing something, so all I need to do is to start doing something … anything – preferably something new. This is when I get on my feet and move on.

There's so much to do, and so many things to still enjoy in life, that's what keeps me going …the feeling that I have a purpose, and the knowledge that my existence is of benefit to me and to the others.

Lars Mourey – Yellow Pages Egypt – Director of sales & marketing

I am actually never down or despaired so I might not be the right person to ask. I always try and keep a positive outlook on life and I am actually a very happy person.

Mohamed Gabr – MG Studios & Waveburg Pro – Managing director, photographer, & designer

When you are going ahead in life at full speed, only then that depressing incidents get bumped out of the way – you just do not have the time or energy to waste dealing with them. My default is happy, aggressive, and straight forward. But at the times of sadness, I tend to direct it towards my creative powers – so I am winning anyway.

Life is a driving force in its own, so don't put too much thought into it – just live it and enjoy the ride.

Tamer El Badri – Logic Management Consulting – Partner

I get my strength from "do3aa" and prayers, reading Qur'an, and having faith and a clear objective / incentive.

Lamia Kamel – Part time professor at MIU & Manager director of Corporate Communications Plus.

I try as much as possible to surround myself with positive people … not necessarily the ones with perfect lives but the ones who have a perspective on life and a positive outlook on matters.

What motivates me to get up from the sad sofa, is my knowledge that nothing will change the past and that sitting on the sofa will only help me gain weight, lose hair and add more to my young-at heart-years!!

When I get up, I am not necessarily happy, but at least I am positive. What makes me happy is the knowledge that I am far better than others who don't have my luck in some matters; health, for example, is one thing underrated by many people, family is another, friends who care, and many more things. This belief sheds some sunshine onto my life and slowly I become happy again.

Akram E. Farag – Telecom & Media Expert.

Being a very practical person, I never curl on my sofa or bed when I am down & defeated! I get the strength from two sources; first realizing that what's done can not be undone as William Shakespeare put it, and second, is remembering that nothing is the end of the world. No matter how depressed or defeated I might be, I am still there in one piece and hence I have to move on and either correct the situation if it is correctable or forget about it and get on with my life. Basically, I think "Since I hit rock bottom, there's only one way to go…UP!"

Valerie Attia – Model and ERA Real Estate – Personal Assistant to the CEO

Nothing is worth giving up on life! Life is full of great moments and I learned to enjoy each and every one of them!
When anything bad happens, it is but a new experience, we should learn from it and become stronger, instead of giving in and letting it eat our brains up!

Omar Fahmi – Marketing Consultant

An inner strength – whether it comes from having a purpose, having a family, having friends, having love, or having a busy life, having an inner strength is what will make you utilize all the other things you have to get on with life and to brush away despair.

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