Author Archives: M.A.

About M.A.

With a passion for self-discovery, MA spends most of his time working within the GenY community to engage and understand the younger generation. From management consulting to keynote speaking, he finds the best way to inspire people is by engaging the very dreams that they aspire to accomplish. He strongly believes that we all deserve to be driven by the impact we want to have in this world.

How To Live An Oscar-Winning Life

It wasn’t too long ago. I was waiting in the rain for my train to arrive. I had just come from delivering a speech at a small conference for youth in a town on the outskirts. It felt like forever, so I decided to look for something to occupy my time: a newspaper, a bird frolicking about, or even an autumn leaf dancing salsa with the wind as its partner.

At that moment, a thought hit me. A thought that I’m sure has hit many of you countless times in your lives. I sat there and wondered, “Is this it?” We ask ourselves this because inside all of us is a yearning to be a hero, to impact the world in some sort of way, to leave a lasting contribution.

I want to share an exercise with all of you. I would love it if you would do it with me.

Imagine this.

It’s the night of the Oscars in Hollywood. There you are, on the red carpet, making your way to the hall where all the celebrities, the best of the best, have gathered.

Ladies, you look fantastic. You’re wearing that classy, sexy outfit you’ve had your eye on for a while, and you’re wearing it extremely well. Those gorgeous heels are a perfect add on, not to mention the hours you spent on that hair of yours. Everything is just perfect.

Gentlemen, same goes to you. Looking absolutely spiffy in that amazing suit (Armani, is it?), polished shoes and an overall great clean look.

Everyone is taking pictures of you, taking pictures with you, and attempting to get your autograph. For that night, all eyes are on you.

Now, you’re not at the Oscars tonight because you wanted to just hang out. No. You’re here because the movie you starred in, is being nominated (and rumour has it, might win the award) for Best Motion Picture.

You make your way in, and sit down among all the other celebrities in this giant hall, and guess what? They’re about to play your movie.

Thousands are watching in the theatre, and millions upon millions are watching through their TVs.

Then, your movie starts to play.

Here’s the catch. The movie is the story of your life, from the day you were born, until now.

You might have mixed reactions to this, most people do. But the questions to ask yourself, as I did, were…

“Am I proud with what everyone is about to see?”

“Do I think this is an Oscar-winning movie?”

“Did I live an Oscar-winning life?”

“Did I live Oscar-winning moments each and every single chance I had?”

You might have, you might have not. That’s for you to decide. And if your answer is no to any of these questions, it’s time to ask yourself.

“Could I have lived an Oscar-winning life if I had really wanted to?”

It’s Not Too Late

I would like to throw out a question here. If a relationship is based on trust, and let’s say a “best friend” is someone you trust the most, then who is your best friend?

If your answer is yourself, you’re right.

Because no matter how many people encourage you, friends or family, only you decide to keep yourself going on that path to success. Only you can decide whether you want to live an Oscar worthy moment or not. Only you can push yourself to grow every day. Only you can ensure that in this life, you live, love, and matter (from my entry 3 Life Goals We Ignore Until It’s Too Late)

Let’s try another question. Who is your worst enemy?

That’s right, yourself.

Because on that path to success, only you can stop yourself. Only you can inhibit your growth, and only you can limit your potential. Only you can decide to place doubts and let them dictate yourself. Only you can decide that something is impossible, when in fact it isn’t.

Decision, Discipline & Determination

If you weren’t proud of the movie, or rather, of your life, then perhaps you’ve been letting your worst enemy call the shots up until now. But here’s the great thing, it’s not too late at all. Decide to live an Oscar winning life at this very moment. Accept the fact that nothing will stop you, and act upon it.

When you’re confronted with adversity, ask yourself, “How many days do I have to waste before I can get on with my life?”

Be the Director of your life, not just simply an actor.

Live an Oscar-winning moment every day, and then watch every day become a day you love waking up to in the morning. Watch every day become a day where you go to sleep at night knowing that on that specific day, you lived, loved, and mattered.

Most importantly, be yourself. Everyone else is probably already taken.

I leave you with this.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A movie, well over a thousand pictures. But life, life is worth thousands upon thousands of movies. It’s up to you to make sure that each and every movie is an Oscar-winning one.




Date A Guy With Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease (and/or Colitis) is a chronic, incurable, immune-related disease that eats its way around your colon and small intestine. Your immune system (for some reason) starts attacking that area causing massive weight loss, painful cramps, internal bleeding, loss of energy/cognitive thinking ability, and frequent trips to the bathroom. To top it all off, Doctors don’t know what causes it or how to cure it.

But amidst all of that chaos, Crohn’s has a bright side.

I’m a big believer in making your situations work for you to the best they can. We too often let our attitudes be reflections of a situation, when really; we should be cultivating powerful attitudes to change the situations we’re in for the better. It takes a lot of guts (pun intended) for someone with Crohn’s to see the bright side of what they have, so let’s hope this can act as some sort of inspiration. Crohn’s might get angry, throw a tantrum and try to kill you, but that doesn’t mean you have to. As with any disease, the extent to which it affects our daily behaviours is minimal… unless we let it.

I’ve come across many men with Crohn’s. They’re insecure about it, no doubt. But they also turn out to be the most deep, thought-provoking, life-appreciating individuals I’ve ever met. They understand that life is too short to not love. They understand pain and suffering. They understand the importance of unity and affection. Yet, many of them find their disease a burden and don’t want to burden others with it.

I once met a young gentleman like this. We joked about dating and he said to me, “I don’t think I’ll ever get a girlfriend, I’m just a burden.” His words struck me. Is this thinking normal? How could one condition mask all the other amazing qualities of this young man? So I had to write this piece.

Ladies, date a guy with Crohn’s Disease because…

1.) He can relate to what PMS feels like.
– Let’s face it. With Crohn’s disease, he gets the painful cramps and stomach aches. He gets moody as well, but learns to control it because the problem reoccurs on a daily basis. Above all, he knows what it feels like to lose blood from an exit point in the lower half of your body. Problem is he doesn’t have a tampon or pad built specifically for him. But all in all, a guy with Crohn’s can relate to all your symptoms. He’s probably had a year’s worth of ‘periods’ in just a few days.

2.) He knows where all the best washrooms are.
– Oh believe me. With Crohn’s, he has a built in radar that is able to detect where several washrooms are within a given vicinity. For him this is useful because when the poo-mergency warning sign comes in, he has a few minutes before he drops the bomb. For you ladies, he’ll always be able to direct you to the nearest washroom given your own emergencies (whether related to the toilet or make-up).

3.) You’ll get to see more of his sensitive side.
– No guy likes talking about sensitive issues like the consistent flow of blood from their anus. But because Crohn’s requires daily management, you’ll know about it, you can talk about it and you can share in his pains. In turn, you’ll be able to connect better with him and he with you. I’ve seen countless couples get closer together when faced with adversity like Crohn’s, and the outcome was always a stronger bond. Crohn’s is a journey you take together.

4.) He’s very health conscious.
– Though Crohn’s has no known cure, some studies have shown that certain (yet major) dietary changes can lessen the diseases effect on the body. He’ll be eating healthy, and so will you! What a great influence huh? Your waistline will be thanking him.

5.) He’s a wonderful cook.
– SUCH A BONUS! Crohn’s guys (since they’re so health conscious) are also well versed cooks in the art of healthy eating. They’d know that avocado is a great replacement for butter in many cases, that clean filtered water trumps any drink, and that you really need to practice portion control with your desserts.

6.) He’s super concerned with your health.
– Just assume whenever anything bad happens to you, he’ll be there with a caring heart and a ton of love. He’s been through some bad shit (pun intended) and he’ll do everything in his power to make sure you don’t go through the same.

7.) He can advise on the best toilet paper.
– I’d think anyone with Crohn’s Disease would be an expert on the best toilet paper.

8.) He knows a great deal about the medical field (for someone that isn’t a doctor)
– He’s consistently doing research and keeping up to date with the latest in health. Heck, he might even have a few natural remedies up his belt with all the crazy things he’s spent his time in bed reading.

9.) He shares in your accidents.
– Ever had an unexpected period make its way into staining your favorite pair of pants? In some twisted way, he has as well. Now you have someone to laugh with.

10.) His experiences have hardened him into a better person.
– Negative experiences always do, especially those that try to bring you down on a daily basis.

11.) He tries to understand you.
– His condition is very misunderstood by many, so he knows the feeling. It teaches him that understanding other people and their circumstances in important. I mean really, aren’t we all longing to be understood?

12.) He’s patient.
– Learning to deal with a chronic disease, especially Crohn’s, can take a lifetime to master. He understands first hand that great things take time, and so he’ll have no problem being patient when a situation calls for it.

13.) He gives.
– He starts noticing those around him in need, and is pushed to give more and become involved in charities and initiatives related to health (not necessarily just Crohn’s).

14.) He can be a great role model for your kids.
– Positive attitude and striving for excellence WITH a chronic disease? How is that NOT inspirational?

15.) He appreciates the little things in life.
– Walks in the park, sharing a slice of cake, small tidbits of affection – these are what make him feel alive because…

16.) He appreciates life a lot more.
– When you live with something like Crohn’s (or any chronic disease for that matter), you feel the weight of the world every single day. The more serious stages of Crohn’s CAN kill you, and the disease can evolve as it pleases. Date a guy with Crohn’s, or at the very least, a guy that genuinely appreciate being alive. You won’t regret a moment of it. To a guy with Crohn’s disease, love is a verb, and he will make an effort to show you every day that he loves you. Because like others with a chronic disease, he just doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be in good health to experience and explore each and every bit of you.

Let’s face it. No one wants to be sick, let alone chronically ill. But life deals you a hand, and you make the most of it. I wrote this article because I know quite a few people with this debilitating condition. I knew of a friend that went through several surgeries and hasn’t been the same since. I knew of a mother of a friend that passed after just a few years after she was diagnosed with it. I knew of an older gentleman that now lives at the hospital hooked up to a machine.

When you have a chronic/terminal condition, you inspire others in the same situation. You give them hope that life isn’t over just because of a bad circumstance, instead, it’s just starting and blossoming into something great. All you need to do is see and show others the silver lining.



3 Life Goals We Ignore Until It’s Too Late

As I lay in turmoil on my death bed, surrounded by the silence of partitioning friends and family, three important thoughts came to mind. These very thoughts never dictated my life. Of course you could say I was naive, but having something dictate your life is a lot like giving in to mass religion. Sure. It gives you an identity. But the best identity is the one you design yourself.

These three thoughts are the very criteria that proved to me that I had developed an identity throughout my life. They were questions that I asked myself on my death bed.

Did I Live?
– Live an Oscar-worthy moment every day of the limited time you have on this planet of limitless opportunities. Try. It isn’t too difficult. These opportunities are so profound when you are young, yet degrade as you decay to your death. Travel much, laugh often. Share yourself with the world, and be fearless. Fear is resistance, and is something made by us to limit us.

Did I Love?
– Love family. Love your friends. Love your significant other, love your life partner. But above all, love yourself. If you do not, how can you expect others to? Nearing death, I learned immediately, if there is such thing as a best friend in this world, it would be you. YOU, would be your own best friend, because only you can keep yourself moving forward on that path to success. Inversely, you are also your own worst enemy, because only you can hate and spite yourself. Only you can limit your potential and inhibit your growth. Love yourself. It is unconditional and free. It is limitless and boundless. If there is anything in this world that is infinite, it is the capacity to love.

Did I Matter?
– Having a legacy, not as a person, but as an icon is forever. It is the only thing that makes you immortal. I asked myself, “would the world have been a better or worse place without my presence?” Ask yourself this every day. Never attach yourself to objects or people, rather attach yourself to ambitions and values. Attach yourself to the intangibles and you will live forever. Your impact will be remembered forever. You will have left a legacy. You will have mattered.

Remember, life isn’t tied with a bow, but it is still a gift. No matter how much life gets you down, get up, dress up, and show up. Don’t save the good stuff for a special day. Today is special.

As you make your New Years resolutions, perhaps rather than something simplistic such as “lose weight” or “get good grades”. Try setting three goals that only you can measure.

Say that this year,
I Will Live.
I Will Love.
I Will Matter.

And take it from there.