Our Parents Raised Us as Storytellers

An ode to little me

I remember how growing up I had two favourite pastimes.  One of them was watching movies with my dad.  We had a ritual of going to the video store, browsing the movies, then after we'd each make our selection, he'd pick which movie to buy.  Then we'd go home and watch it.  It was awesome.  My father exposed us to James Bond, westerns, musicals, and all types of movies, until we were old enough to discern for ourselves and choose what we really liked.

My other favourite pastime was bedtime stories with my mom.  She would read to me about tin soldiers lost at sea, lazy lions, and all kinds of tales.  Because she did this, I loved reading long before it was something I had to do as a part of school.  Eventually my mother and I were reading books that were more advanced than the set books that I brought home from school.  She'd let me get away with not reading the school books that I found boring, because she knew that what I was reading was better for me.

My sister with a book

I never thought about it until recently, but now I know that these small things that my parents did turned my sister and me into storytellers.  Today I'm a writer, and my sister is a filmographer and actress.  Our career paths are the direct result of our parents exposing us to things we were interested in at a young age, and supporting us in our chosen career paths.

It also helped that we were exposed to so many generations.  My grandmother, then in her eighties, came to live with us from Croatia, and she was full of stories.  When I had to write historical essays about World War II or post-WWII Europe, I'd sit down with my dad at the table and make notes of what he told me.  He was like a living textbook.

Our mother, although less eager to share stories of her own, played a huge role in our literacy.  She refused to talk to us in English after others advised her that we would struggle in school if we didn't understand the language.  She disagreed and so my first exposure to English was on T.V. and in nursery school.  Before that, I knew Tswana, Croatian, and Zulu; all of which were spoken in our home.  I'm glad my mother made that choice.  Rather than limit our understanding, she chose to nurture our learning.  I still remember today how she'd flash neatly cut-out word cards in front of me to teach me my English vocabulary.

I also remember how once I sat with a group of kids (in Grade 1 or 2) and someone asked: "How do you spell people?"  I spelt out "pe-o-ple" and the whole group laughed about how I thought that "people" was spelt with an "o".  I was so angry and sure I was right so I asked the teacher when she came around to spell it for us.  She repeated what I'd just said.  The kids stopped laughing and then said nothing.  I expected an apology, but never got one.  That was the first time I ever thought to myself: "I'm surrounded by idiots."  I'm less judgemental nowadays, because I've realised that idiots can make wonderful characters in stories.

Me and a friend in a high school play

My sister as part of a high school play

Maja Dezulovic

What is Love?

I copied this post directly from Hubpages.  It may not have gotten the most views or the greatest response, but I consider it to have been one of my best hubs.  So, here it is again.

Ah! Love? Could I have selected a more clich├ęd, over-done, seemingly overrated topic?! Perhaps not, but here it is nevertheless. This is for those of you who simply love to over-think things. I am like that too. I am told love is illogical. It can make no sense. Some go even further to say that it doesn’t even exist. I beg to differ. Anything that can be seen, felt and recognised does exist. If we are unable to make sense of it scientifically, it only means that we currently lack the technological means.

Pardon the puns. I just love doing that.

Defining Love: What is Love?

For the geeks out there, Oxford dictionary gives me the following: a feeling of deep affection; enjoyment; somebody or something which you like very much; and a friendly name or way of addressing someone. Additionally, Microsoft Word gives me the following synonyms or alternatives: to adore, to find irresistible, to worship, to care for, or to be keen on.

I disagree with most of these, besides that the word can be used to refer to another thing or person, or it can be a pet name. Love is not a feeling! Yes, you can feel love and it can be sparked by a feeling (affection or liking), but love in itself is not merely a feeling. The description that I find to be the most correct is: Love is to find something or someone irresistible.

So, here is my definition:
Love is no matter what.

Types of Love in Relationships

Here are the types of love that you will hear about the most often.

Firstly, there is self-love. This is closely tied to your self-esteem, confidence and feelings of self-worth. This is the most popular love as we are constantly fed with information about how we can make ourselves better. That is, the clothes that will make us look better, the type of education that will give us a better job and future, and various other products to help us become “better”.

Next is boy-girl, husband-to-wife or the love between partners. In this type of relationship, the parties either want to or at some stage wanted to have sex, or they are either having sex or have had sex; with each other of course. This is the type of love most people speak about because sex sells. Okay. There is a deeper reason why this is the second most popular type of love. I’ll get to that below.

Parental and filial love: This is parent-to-child love and vice versa.

Sibling love: The love between brothers and sisters.

Friendship: The love you have for those odd people that bounce into your life with a few jokes and stick around for crying sessions. Those that call themselves “good friends” refuse to leave. The nerve!

Love for your community and environment: This includes the people and beings that are linked to you geographically.

Altruism: This can be described as a love for humanity or kindness in giving to others who you appear not to be closely connected to.

Levels of Love and Relationships

Degrees of love in relationships:

Self → Parental and Filial → Siblings → Friendship → Partners → Community and environment → Altruism

The degrees of love above are ordered from the easiest to the most difficult relationship to maintain, as well as from the strongest to the weakest bond.

Of the types of love mentioned above, self-love represents the innermost core. A lack in self-love makes it difficult to truly maintain any other type of love. We develop this love as we go along. The simplest way to put it is that we are stuck with ourselves no matter what. Therefore, a complete lack of self-love would result in suicide.

Secondly, we are generally stuck with our parents and them with us no matter what. A mother and her child are often described to share the strongest type of bond.

Thirdly, we are bound to brothers and sisters through our parents. These people stick with us through the best and worst of times and usually know us the best.

Friendship can be as strong as sibling love. The only difference is that it is easier to let go of a friend whom you have no official or blood ties to other than common interests and experiences. Hence, this bond is more difficult to maintain and easier to break.

Agape (boy-girl love) or partnerships have the potential to be the strongest tie between any two people because of being the most difficult to maintain. Note that I say, maintain and not attain. It is easy to find a partner or somebody to love but love is hard work. The harder we work on something, the stronger it becomes and the least likely we are to let go of it. Think about it. Two people getting together by some sort of chance or circumstance and sticking together no matter what? That is hard work and commitment, whereas family relationships go without saying.

Community and environmental love comes next because if you have money, you can buy freedom of movement. This can be demonstrated in the fact that most people will flee when things go wrong in their homeland rather than stick around to fix things. Also, how many of us actively contribute to our communities? This love is unconditional because we will always love our homes, however will we always be willing to maintain the relationship to our community?

Altruism is the most difficult type of love relationship to maintain. People claim to care about others but this type of caring relationship can be easily neglected since there is no apparent tie between us and complete strangers. An example of someone exhibiting this type of deep love for others is Mother Theresa. Very few people can attain this level.

More on Love

Love is unconditional. It exists no matter what. Like gravity, it is a constant. Regardless of whether you believe it, recognise it or understand it; it will still be there.

Love is a natural and free-flowing energy. It cannot be created nor destroyed. That is why it is very evident when it is transferred.

Nothing we have created (materially) is love. It is merely created either for or out of love. Hence, love is not a feeling. It is a tangible action that results from a feeling. That is how you recognise it. Love is creativity. Mutual creativity in love and relationships creates happiness. Without creativity, love is stagnant and limited by other factors.

There is no true love versus only love. Unrequited love is also love. It does not depend on the condition of the love being supposedly returned. Likewise, although love may depend on other factors such as trust for its sustenance and maintenance, they are not conditions needed for love to exist. You may no longer trust someone, nor have them in your life any longer, but that does not mean that the love is depleted.

The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. And there can be no fear where there is love.

Complete love is having an energy that resonates with everything around you.

Love is all of us! It means that NO MATTER WHAT we are stuck on this blue planet together, come what may! That is the most outer circle of love and it gets deeper and deeper and deeper from there.

Love is in each of us and love is far greater than any one of us but it is all of us put together.

Verses on Love

Love is when you make a mistake and you work and work and you try again and again and again until you get it right.

Love is staying awake at night trying to find the solution to somebody else’s problem.

Love is wearing a bag of potatoes and looking at someone you’ve just helped dress and being happy for them in thinking that they look so beautiful right now.

Love is losing every memoir, souvenir, photo and reminder and still never failing to find that person within you.

Love is calling someone to find out if they’re okay, when you’re not okay, and failing to notice that they don’t care whether you’re okay or not.

Love is having someone curse you, steal from you, abuse you and continue to take advantage of and belittle you and yet, each time you forgive them.

Love is when you feel the most alone and you start thinking about giving up, then you get a funny sms from your friend that makes you laugh and keeps you going.

Love is wanting to run away so badly that you can barely contain being where you are any longer. You plan it out and you’re ready, then you look into the eyes of someone you love. The thought of how much they would hurt keeps you around.

Love is holding on to the hope that maybe, just maybe, one day things will get better and people will change.

Love is knowing that you’re good enough right now but also working so that you’ll be better tomorrow.

Love is having no contact with someone for years and catching up from where you left off.

Love is forgiveness without any apologies.

Love is giving without recognition.

Love is when you’ve had the most horrible day, you’re in deep physical and emotional pain and you stagger on in anger. Then you see a small child smile as she licks her ice-cream and you think... Life is beautiful.

Figure it Out for Yourself!

I’ve written much about what love is or what it may be, but you might as well disregard everything here. Unless something specific resonates with you, any information is useless. I say this because I think the statement below is the most true of love as we know it.

I don’t claim to be an expert on love. This article was written based on my knowledge, observations of society and personal opinions. If you disagree with anything here or would like to challenge it, please let me know. Love is learning together in order to find truth.

Maja Dezulovic

The Girl Who Cried Uncle, Dedicated to Mike Friedman

I don't know if Mike knows how influential he was in helping me gain the confidence to pursue writing professionally.  I met Mike on Hubpages and soon he was following my posts and commenting on my poetry.  He then suggested that I put my poems into a book.  Mike offered to help edit my two anthologies, The 360 Degree Heart and Expressions of Humanity.  He also wrote a foreword for both.  Nowadays I can still say that Mike is one of my biggest fans.  He reads my blog posts almost daily and often shares them on social media.  It's still somewhat surreal to me that somebody can enjoy my writing and promote my work to such an extent, without ever having physically met me (and I'm not exactly a celebrity).  In a sense, Mike is like the uncle I never had, one who supports me and always keeps a watchful eye, sharing wisdom wherever he can.

Mike also helps other writers find their voices and publish their work.  Please check out his website Mockingbird Books.

Thank you Mike.

The Girl Who Cried Uncle

Dear Uncle,

You proved to me
That my work could be great
And I could therefore also be great.

You showed me
That I have a message
And a story
That must be shared
So that we may all learn together.

You opened up my eyes
To this world
An Earth in which people can unite
Without having ever met
But their minds can interact,
Illuminate each other with ideas
And their souls can dance together.

You reminded me
That the only price of kindness
Is sincere good will.

And when I falter
I can recall these lessons
I can cry Uncle
So that I can be saved
From my own insecurities.

Thank you, Uncle Mike
For every girl needs an uncle
A beam of hope
A pat on the back
And an everlasting true friend.

(Mike Friedman and his nephew's daughter Eva, 2011)

Maja Dezulovic

The Bank of Hearts, Dedicated to Svetlana Ivanova

I wrote this poem for Svetlana Ivanova and published it on Hubpages in 2011.  It was then included in Expressions of Humanity.  Now I'm republishing it here as a reminder of our insightful conversations, online friendship and her kind words.

What is the Bank of Hearts?

The poem below is about a new type of bank. It’ll benefit everyone to open an account so I encourage you to do so.

“We envy people who have a lot of money. Why don't we envy people with big hearts?”
– Svetlana Ivanova (kallini2010 on Hubpages)

Thank you Svetlana.

The Bank of Hearts

I’m starting a business but it won’t make no money
And the crowds will mock me: “How funny!”
A bank of hearts I shall create
And in my books, the accountant will keep record
Of every stone heart liberated!

In the vault I will venture now and then
To remember the smiles and kindness
And recollect every burdened soul that we helped set free.

So it won’t matter if I can count all the pennies in my purse
And digits on my net worth
On one hand.
Money comes and goes
Is used up and disappears;
But one heart touched
Can never be untouched
So my bank balance always grows...

Words on Meaning - A Poem Within a Poem

I rarely explain myself or my poetry but I felt like doing it here.

This poem is about love.
This poem is about light.

It’s about giving
It’s about laughter
And joyous memories.

It’s NOT about entrapment –
locking your
Precious one true heart
In a very dark place.
Because if you do,
How on Earth will the rest of us find you
If you cling to that isolated space?

Only you have the code
To set yourself free.
And the point of it all is
To just be.
Be, be, be...

(Svetlana Ivanova, 2015)

Maja Dezulovic

Unsung Heroes - Leaving Rome

Goodbye Hubpages

Rome was fun.  I learnt a lot.  Now it’s time to move on.

Rome in my case is Hubpages.  I signed up to the site in 2009, when I’d just started writing.  I was looking for more ways to make money from my writing after I’d done a couple of paying gigs.  I read articles written by experienced hubbers about using Hubpages to make money.  One lady said that making good money from Hubpages requires full-time attention and publishing posts almost daily for at least two years.  I was shocked.  Two years!  There was no way I was going to wait that long.

So I followed my predetermined course of studying law and helping my father with his properties.  I even worked in telecommunications for a while. During all this, I continued to write as a hobby, primarily on Hubpages.

I published most of my hubs in 2011 and I started getting positive feedback from other hubbers and readers.  They encouraged me to keep writing and so I did.  For as long as I had feedback and comments, it made it a bit more worthwhile.  Mike, one of the hubbers who’d followed me the most, suggested that I take the writing more seriously.  He insisted that I had a talent that should not be shrugged off lightly.  I was flattered but still didn’t really believe I could make it as a writer.

Eventually I put together two anthologies of my poetry, with Mike’s help.  I got positive feedback and reviews, especially considering the market for poetry is not huge.  So I slowly began taking it seriously and pursuing writing as a career, but I was still hesitant until I got dumped in the deep end.  This happened when my partner at the time (now husband) lost his job and his business started struggling.  We had to move and find new ways of making money.  So I relied on what I thought was my only marketable skill and began searching for writing jobs daily on Craigslist, Gumtree and Elance; responding to every job listing that I felt I qualified for.

A few weeks later, a job came in.  Then another, and another.  Soon I had repeat business and I was earning a decent income.  I had done it!  I found a way to sustain myself, as well as support my husband and parents, using my writing alone.  The catch was that most of my business was ghostwriting.

Now, after a seven year writing career, most of which has been ghostwriting, I’ve decided to go into the deep end again.  This time it’s voluntary.  I’ve earned my stripes.  I’m ready now.  I’m ready to move on and explore the world of publishing under my own name.

All of this began on Hubpages.  I looked back at my profile a few weeks ago and smiled.  I could map out my progress with each hub I’d published.  I made friends there, who still encourage me and make me smile when I see what they’re up to on Facebook.  I never made any money on Hubpages, but it was there that I casually published articles about things that interested me, which resulted in interacting with like-minded people.  It was that foundation that allowed me to take a dive outside the Hubpages pool and ask people to pay me for my writing.  It worked, but with that I outgrew Hubpages and its model, which never really worked for me.

Unsung Heroes – Meanwhile in Rome…

One of the more fun hubs I published was an addition to a series that fellow hubber kallini2010 had written called Unsung Heroes (later renamed "42").  I was one of her characters.  She fell silent after I’d followed the stories for some time so I decided to pick up from where she’d left off.  I left this hub on Hubpages because it belongs there and nowhere else.  It, in a sense, sums up my Hubpages experience – fun and enlightening, as well as refers to the people who I clicked with the most there – Mike Friedman (mckbirdbks) and Svetlana Ivanova (kallini2010).

The story can be read here: Unsung Heroes – Meanwhile in Rome…

Leaving Rome

To pick up where the story ends, I’m still dancing, but more importantly, I’m still writing.  So, as the song goes…

Got to keep on writing…  Keep on writing… Got to keep on writing.  Keep on writing!

Maja Dezulovic

Five Movies about Making Money That Entrepreneurs Should Watch

I've spent most of the week outlining ways to make money and do business.  The notion of having my own business was reinforced by the movies I watched.  Although somewhat unrealistic, these movies can be inspirational and motivate you to want to achieve what the protagonists have.  Here is a list of  some of my personal favourites, which potential investors and business people will appreciate.

The Wolf of Wall Street

This film is based on the true story of ex-stock broker Jordan Belfort and is an adaptation of his autobiography of the same name. Jordan is played by Leonardo di Caprio who narrates the story of success, conmen, drugs, sex and all the things which come with having too much money to spend. The character goes through two marriages and is intensely followed by the FBI, until the law finally catches up to him. His “downfall” begins, sadly after he decides to live a clean life and he is imprisoned for stock fraud.

The black comedy is fun to watch and the film’s quality is proven by the five Oscar nominations it received. Although some of us may not want to make the same mistakes and live that type of lifestyle, it is no lie that most of us wish that we had enough money to do with it as we please.

The Pursuit of Happyness

This film is based on the story of Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith. After investing his life savings in bone density medical scanners, Gardner fails to sell them and make ends meet. His wife eventually leaves him and he is left to care for their son. The father and son pair struggle with homelessness for almost a year while Gardner completes an unpaid internship at the stock brokerage firm Dean Witter Reynolds, in hope of becoming a stock broker for them and realising his dream of financial success.

The movie is heart-breaking at times but truly inspirational. It teaches that you can do anything, regardless of your circumstances and what other people tell you.

Pirates of Silicon Valley

Two of the iconic technological brands of our time are Apple and Microsoft. Bill Gates has dominated the Forbes Rich List for much of the past two decades and Steve Jobs was one of the pioneers of the modern technology industry. The story of these two companies and their founders is one to take note of.

I initially wanted to place the 2013 film Jobs here but found it disappointing after watching it. Pirates of Silicon Valley tells a better story about not only Steve Jobs, but also about the rivalry between Microsoft and Apple. The plot follows the lives of Steve and Bill from their youth and as they grow their companies into large corporations.

Wall Street

This is another stock broker’s dream life and downfall movie as indicated in the title. It has become a classic since its release in 1987. The movie follows Bud Fox, a junior stockbroker, in his pursuit to follow in the footsteps of his hero Gordon Gekko. Fox is played by a young Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas made the role of Gekko famous. Fox commits securities fraud under Gekko’s influence. He later exposes Gekko’s role in the plot in exchange for lighter jail sentence after the authorities catch up with him. The movie shows that greed and corruption have their consequences. Money does not have to be made immorally and lying is not a necessity for success. If you want to find out what happens to Gekko in the future, you can also watch the recent sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

Slumdog Millionaire

This is undoubtedly the best Bollywood movie I’ve seen. The 2008 film tells the story of Jamal Malik, a tea server at a local call centre and former street child. Jamal becomes a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? He is one question away from the grand prize of 20 million rupees when he is interrogated by the police. The authorities suspect that Jamal is cheating as they find it unlikely that someone from a lower caste uneducated background would know the answers to the questions. Jamal’s life story is told in flashbacks in which he recounts incidents in which he learned the answer to each of the questions. Although entirely based on luck and chance happenings, the idea of a “slumdog” becoming a millionaire and the story of his quest is an inspirational one.

Other notable mentions include The Godfather, Boiler Room, Forrest Gump, Jerry Maguire, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Then when you are done watching movies, you can continue making money in real life.

Maja Dezulovic

How to Become a Property Investor

When most people think of investing, one of the first ideas that come to mind is property. Investing in real estate has become known as lucrative due to the empires which have grown within the industry. Unfortunately, most people who recognise the potential of real estate investment do not know much about investing and therefore fail. This is why it is important to educate yourself first. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

Your first property

The first big “investment” made in most people’s lives is the first home which they buy. The purchase is usually accompanied by a lump sum deposit and a twenty to thirty year mortgage on the property. People mistakenly refer to their home as an asset. It is in fact a liability.

In order to understand this, we need to understand the difference between an asset and a liability. Paraphrasing the words of business guru Robert Kiyosaki, an asset is something which puts money into your pocket whereas a liability is something which takes money out of your pocket.

Purchasing a home under ordinary circumstances, buyers are likely to pay up to three times the value of the property back to the bank after interest has been factored in and will be liable for rates, taxes, levies, utilities, insurance and maintenance on the property. In this case, the home constantly takes money out of the homeowner’s pocket, rather than putting money in. Therefore, a home is a liability.

If you want to think like an investor, you’ll want to minimise spending and increase the potential income from your belongings. Let’s look at a few ways we can do this.

Expandability and multipurpose properties

Look for properties with income earning potential. The growing trend in suburbia is homes with garden cottages and flats. Look to buy a property with additional space you can rent out for income. This income may not go directly into your pocket but it will reduce your expenses by covering your bond repayment or other expenses.

Another consideration is the expandability of the property. If you are buying a house, you need to look at whether or not you can expand the property in future. With time, circumstances may change and you may need more space. Rather than buy another bigger property, you can simply expand the current one by adding a few rooms or making modifications and thus also increasing the property value. This will require enough back yard space and a solid building foundation. Concerning flats and cottages, if the property has an existing garage or space that can be converted into a rentable living area, you can make those alterations in order to start earning and increasing the value of the estate.

If you run a small business, consider moving your offices to the property. An existing flat or cottage can be used as office space or you can build offices as required. This will save you time and money that would have otherwise been spent on commuting and rentals.

Repossessed and distressed properties

Foreclosure rates are high due to privatisation within the property industry. Although, heartbreaking to anyone affected, it is a way for investors to make money. Repossessed homes are auctioned off to cover the outstanding loan amount and fees owed to the bank. In many cases this amount is lower than the actual value of the property and a buyer can sell the property for a profit. You can find a list of repossessed properties from banks and auctioneering companies in newspapers and at court houses.

Another way of making money but helping people at the same time is to seek out distressed properties. Such properties need to be sold as soon as possible for the owners to secure themselves financially or because of circumstances such as sellers having to leave the country. These sellers are desperate because they can no longer afford to pay the bond or expenses and need to make a sale quickly. They are often willing to sell at a lower price just to get out faster. Finding these sellers may be more difficult but it is a way to help people so they don’t get into trouble rather than benefiting from their loss. You can find out about these properties by seeking information from real estate agencies, bank home loan departments and your local sheriff’s office.

Do your homework

Make an informed decision. A house may look good but what are the trends in the neighbourhood? Are rental and purchase prices rising or falling? Are there any new developments? What is the crime rate in the area? All these factors need to be taken into consideration. A good way to find out about an area you are not familiar with is to rent nearby. You can even sign a rent to purchase offer on the property you are interested in. If you are satisfied with the property and area after having lived there for several months, you can go ahead with the purchase.

Beware of maintenance nightmares

Sometimes there are hidden gems with loads of potential to tap into. These can include vacant main road properties or beautiful but neglected houses in good neighbourhoods. These properties can often make a good profit after they have been fixed up and revamped. However, beware of lost causes. Sometimes you can envision what a property could look like but there are simply too many obstacles. Before you jump in and act on your vision, you need to find out if the numbers add up.


Realise that property is generally a long-term investment. You will not get rich quick. Planning and thinking ahead from the very first property you buy will make you a steady success.

You also need to familiarise yourself with the art of the architectural plan. You don’t need to become a design expert but you need a basic understanding of what is going on.

Investing is a numbers game

Your numbers are crucial. You need to know how much a property will cost you. Going in blindfolded is a one-way path to failure and losing a lot of money. Figures never lie. It is essential to understand your costs, the potential cashflow from rentals as well as the potential capital gain or loss on the property value.

Partner Up

If you have neither the cash flow nor good credit to begin investing, there is a way around this. Find a partner. If you do not have a willing friend who can partner with you and supply the funds necessary so that you can split the profit, there are other places you can venture. There are real estate companies, developers and cash investors looking for new opportunities. You can find them by doing an online search, reading the local newspaper classifieds or joining groups of entrepreneurs or investors.

You will also need partners in fields you are not familiar with such as construction, architecture and design. Building the right team will ensure that all the required skills are brought into your future investment portfolio and every party involved can benefit and profit from working together and leveraging off each other’s talents.

In order to convince partners to join you, the numbers and paperwork must be detailed and up to date. People will be willing to put their money into an investment if they can see that you know what you are doing and they trust you. Cash investors are usually people who know what a good investment looks like but lack the time to look for new investments. You invest the time and effort, they contribute the money. Then, as you gain financial success, you can play the other role and invest financially without having to do the dirty work.

Keep learning

Realise that you will fail and that failure is a part of learning. It is what you pay to gain skills and experience. In order to reduce your personal learning curve, learn from others. Seek the right resources. Go to seminars, attend events, watch informational DVDs and read the books. Two recommended reads include Nothing Down by Robert Allen and The One Minute Millionaire by Robert Allen and Mark V. Hansen. Although most of the advice out there is based on the U.S. Market, much of it is also applicable to other countries. Educating yourself is the first step to learn how to invest your time, efforts and money into properties and steadily grow your property portfolio.

Stay positive

Real estate is a popular form of investment but it requires hard work and perseverance. Stay positive and keep working on your goals. Like any form investment, you need to wisely build your portfolio in order to get to the point where your efforts, money and acquired assets work for you.

Related articles:
The Best Investment You Can Make
The Difference between an Entrepreneur and an Investor
Maja Dezulovic

The Difference between an Entrepreneur and an Investor

Entrepreneurship and investing are closely linked and often confused with each other. Simply put, an entrepreneur is someone who starts his or her own business. An investor is defined as someone who commits money or any other form of capital to a project or business with the intention of earning a profit or income from it. The two overlap in the sense that an entrepreneur invests in his or her own business. The difference lies in the fact that most entrepreneurs work hard for their money. They own a job which creates an income for them, whereas an investor earns an income whether or not he or she is directly involved in the running of the business. An investor makes their money work for them. An investor has the time and financial freedom to play golf, travel, socialise and pursue hobbies whilst earning an income. If your ordinary entrepreneur stops working, he or she also stops earning.

The four types of people

In order to understand entrepreneurship and investing, we first need to familiarise ourselves with the group we belong to in terms of our financial mindset. The Cashflow Quadrant theory is outlined by Robert Kiyosaki in his best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad. Kiyosaki divides people into four quadrants according to their financial education and income earning capacity. The four quadrants or groups are employees (E), small business owners or self-employed professionals (S), big business owners (B) and investors (I).

People in different quadrants have different values. For example, employees value the security of having a job. Anybody who works for a boss is part of the E quadrant.

Self-employed individuals value independence and having the opportunity to do their own thing. People in the S group include commissioned sales people, small business owners and people who sell their time and skills such as doctors, lawyers and accountants.

People who build big businesses and form part of the B quadrant usually have powerful life missions. For example, Steve Jobs of Apple and Oprah Winfrey, the owner of a cable television network and magazine. While people in the S quadrant may be the best at what they do, those in the B quadrant seek to find people with the best skills to become a part of their team and thus add to the overall efficiency and success of the business. An investor in the I quadrant values financial freedom. Investors are the driving force behind other businesses.

The theory is that people generally move from quadrant to quadrant in the order stated above as their financial education increases. Employees usually become small business owners. People from either of those two groups can learn and acquire big businesses and big business owners become investors. The ultimate goal is to become an investor if you want to become financially free.

Most people are slaves to their jobs

The majority of society falls into the E quadrant. These people usually work a typical nine to five shift. People become entrepreneurs because they feel they want to grow their own assets rather than contribute to the growth of another business. People also leave their jobs because it is unlikely to achieve financial freedom as an employee. In today’s economic climate, jobs do not hold the same security as they did at the dawn of the industrial age. Rather than working for one employer your entire career, as was the norm a century ago, you are more likely to be retrenched and change careers several times. Most people are expendable to companies unless they are truly exceptional in their work. Having a job limits your freedom in that you are bound to adhere to the employer’s rules.

In the E quadrant, the taxes are the highest and there is the least amount of freedom. Entrepreneurs sometimes joke that JOB stands for “Just Over Broke” because most people with jobs live on a month to month basis. When their salaries are earned and all the bills, taxes and expenses are deducted, they are left with very little and often run out of money in the last week before their next paycheque. An employee’s life is usually lived from paycheque to paycheque. For this reason, employees are also slaves to debt.

Most entrepreneurs are slaves to their businesses

Most entrepreneurs work hard for their money. They have a job to fulfill. Although they have provided that job for themselves, if they do not work they do not earn. Small businesses drive the local economy and employ the most people. Entrepreneurs in the SME (small and medium enterprise) sector often feel that if they want the job done right they need to do it themselves. They do not trust that somebody else or their employees can carry on the business without them. They play a full-time role in the business, often as managers. What this type of entrepreneur fails to realise is that by hiring the right people who they can trust and implementing the right systems, they can free up their own time and earn more money. That is the difference between them and B quadrant entrepreneurs.

Big businesses employ systems

Big businesses include brands such as Virgin, McDonald’s and Bosch. Although not all big businesses are famous and well known, they are grown on the same principles. Big businesses employ systems to run them. Employees work as part of the system. Entrepreneurs start the business and rather than run it themselves, they get the right team together to run it for them. The goal of the big business owner is to grow the business to a level in which their participation is no longer necessary but they will continue to earn from their accumulated efforts.

An example of a typical big business model is a franchise. Rather than restrict the growth of the business by running one office or outlet, for example: a restaurant, a restaurant owner will employ a manager and show them how to run the restaurant. The owner will then open other restaurants under the same brand name and teach the new managers how to run these restaurants as well. Once the chain of restaurants is proven successful, the owner chooses to sell the restaurant name under a franchise. Each franchise owner may be a small business owner but the owner of the franchise owns a big business. Once the owner no longer wants to participate in the managing of the business, he or she hires other people to fulfill the role but retains shares in the franchise business. This then turns the business owner into an investor whose money works for him or her. A big business owner may also choose to sell the business and invest their money elsewhere.

Entrepreneurs in this quadrant also know how to use debt and other people’s money to grow their own businesses.

Investors start out as entrepreneurs

You have to become an entrepreneur before you become an investor. The reason for this is that you cannot recognise an opportunity and its possible flaws or obstacles if you have no business experience. The School of Entrepreneurship gains you a diploma in investing so that you can invest your money and resources wisely. Moreover, you have to be the right type of entrepreneur. An entrepreneur from the SME sector will only be able to be an investor in the SME sector because that is where his or her knowledge and expertise lie. However, there is much more money to be made from big business models.

Investors are owners and not managers

Investors are shareholders in a business. They have already put in the capital or work and earn as a result of this. They do not need to manage the business in order to earn. They can do whatever they want. They have financial freedom, which buys them the time freedom to enjoy their lives.

The life of an investor

The goal of any independent thinker or entrepreneur is financial freedom. The path to the I quadrant is not easy. There are many lessons to be learnt and hardships to be faced. In the beginning you may feel somewhat lonely because you are choosing your own path. Investing comes with risks. The reason people remain employees their whole lives is because they are afraid to take risks. However, without the risks you do not stand a chance to reap the benefits.

Smart entrepreneurs and investors are ordinary people with extraordinary dreams. In order to realise their ambitions, they know it will take time. It is not about looking rich. Those who are truly rich do not need to flaunt it. They have peace of mind and can spend their time enjoying their life rather than fighting to survive. The path to financial success involves investing and reinvesting your money. Once you are financially free, you can afford the luxuries. Learn, save and invest to earn. We need more people in the B and I quadrants to fuel economic growth. Educate yourself, take the plunge and become one of them.

Related article:
The Best Investment You Can Make

Maja Dezulovic

Hardcopies versus eBooks - An Ongoing Debate about the Future

“I need a real book in my hands, rather than just text on a screen and it just doesn’t feel real,” people say. Others argue that they’d rather carry thousands of eBooks in an electronic device than have the clutter of paper taking up space in their homes. It’s all a matter of preference. I’ll go through some of the highlights here.

Those of us who grew up in an era when our main tools in school were a pen, paper and a textbook, rather than a simple laptop may feel nostalgic and want to keep hardcopies around for as long as possible. If you love books, you may also love to display your personal library as a symbol of pride and achievement. “Yes, I’ve read that one. In fact, I’ve got it right here”, is what we may say to an onlooker. eBooks stored on your laptop or eBook reader are harder to show off. So, you’ve got 1,000 books on your iPad or Kindle? So does everybody else.

Personally, I like the convenience of eBook readers. They are light and compact and can be taken anywhere with you. They are especially handy when travelling. I’d rather have an eBook reader in my backpack for airport and in-flight reading than filling a heavy suitcase with hardcopies. I’ve tried both and now I am part of a new generation that is using less and less printed media in favour of the expanding digital world. Perhaps it’s a trend towards minimalism and freedom of movement.

eBooks have also sparked a lot of controversy. Any Jane Doe claiming to be an author can self-publish, market, and sell her musings in a digital file rather than approach publishers, who in turn lose out if Jane Doe turns out to be the internet’s next J.K. Rowling. Another issue is piracy. People are losing money. The U.S. Congress relies on piracy to justify passing bills that limit the free flow of information on the internet. In contrast, some believe that we are inevitably headed into a society where all information will be freely available.

As a reader, I've been following this debate for years. Currently I make an effort to buy newly published books in print (my way of supporting up-and-coming authors), ordering secondhand copies of older books (in favour of lower prices and conservation), and downloading the books that I want to read immediately or that are past copyright.

As for writing and publishing, sites like Smashwords and Amazon make it quick and easy to publish your book.  However, there is still a bit of a stigma that goes with self-publishing.  The reason for this is because the market has been flooded with poor quality eBooks, i.e. those that are badly written or badly edited.  That's why it's important to stand out if you self-publish.  If a book has good content presented in a professional manner, then it has the potential to do well both off and online.  The other advantage of self-publishing is that the writer has more freedom and control.  Some use this freedom to release half-hearted attempts at literature; others use it as an opportunity to have the final say in a meticulous editing process.  In a sense I'm torn between the two because I believe that certain books work better if self-published online, whilst others will do much better if backed by a traditional publisher.

It is a personal choice. However, for various reasons like convenience, conservation of the environment and an expanding global digital footprint, electronic media will grow to become the norm. Will it render traditional books obsolete? One day, most likely.

Maja Dezulovic

A Short Introduction to Telecommuting: Advantages and Disadvantages

I did a lot of research into tellecommuting and online work before I could rely on it to earn a full-time income.  Here's a short introduction for those who are thinking about it, but don't quite know enough about it to get started yet.

Although it's not a new concept, telecommuting still remains largely untapped and unexplored. The evidence lies in a simple Google search for the terms and resources available. I believe that telecommuting is an inevitable consequence and result of our changing society and globalisation. Outsourcing has become the name of the game for major companies and SoHo (Small office Home office) entrepreneurs are starting their own ventures by the day.

What is telecommuting?

Telecommuting or telework refers to the use of technology and modern telecommunications products (i.e. telephones, VOIP, and internet) to enable one to work from home, or any other place rather than the traditional workplace or office.



  • You can work more flexible hours
  • Work and childcare can be combined at home
  • Costs and time saved from not commuting
  • Employee satisfaction, freedom and fewer interruptions lead to higher productivity
  • Stay with a company, even when they relocate
  • Control your work/life balance leading to greater happiness and fulfillment


  • Decrease in employee absenteeism
  • Save on providing office and parking space to employees
  • A greater possibility of expansion and easy outsoucing, which decreases running costs and increases growth and profits

Society and the environment:

  • Decreased pressure for traffic system infrastructure
  • Closer family and work environment
  • Lower gas emissions and pollution from traffic


  • Employees and businesses are heavily reliant on the functioning of telecommunications devices and services
  • Decreased access to “real” face-to-face communication and personal interaction, which may leave employees feeling lost, lonely or alienated
  • A high level of trust is required between the business and its employees
  • Employees may become easily distracted and find it difficult to draw a clear line between work and other responsibilities
  • Decreased localisation of products and services in favour of globalisation and outsourcing (this has a series of its own long term pros and cons)

Related Articles:
12 Characteristics of the Modern Entrepreneur
Life as a Freelance Writer

Maja Dezulovic

Flying: The Stupidest Decision Ever Made (i.e. Follow Your Dreams)

An Announcement

Okay. Hi mom, dad, world. I’ve made a decision. I know what I want to do with my life. I’ve decided that I want to fly. I want to make something of myself. I want to change the world and be remembered for it. I can’t live like everybody else. I can’t be normal. I can’t be like most people. Every aspect of me is unique and I’m going to begin using it.

I don’t want to have my name on a piece of paper define my worth. I don’t want to play Farmville. I don’t want my eyes to die. I don’t want to sacrifice passion for money.

So what do you say?

It’s alright?

“Great” even?

You believe in me?

Wow! Thanks.

What is Flying?

My dictionary says it is “an instance of travelling by air”. That doesn’t sound quite right. I know a better definition. If you watched the first Toy Story movie, you'll know it too.

Flying is falling with style!

Falling with style...?

Boom! Flat on your ass! Bounce back up using your ass as a cushion (it’s a fat ass)! You’re up! That’s style!

Crash! Broken leg. Pick up a stick and limp a bit. You’re up! That’s style!

Slip on your tears. Slip! Slide. Fall again. It’s a slippery dance. Now that’s style!

Flying is really just falling with style. In order to “fly” you must learn to fall with style. One day you realise that your falling with style has turned into real flying. It’s part of the process.

But, falling hurts... I’m not so sure that I want to get hurt.

The Intervention

“Listen lady! Weren’t you supposed to be flying already? We thought you’d made a decision. Why aren’t you acting on it? What are you waiting for?”

I... I’m afraid... I probably won’t make it anyway. I don’t think I know what to do!

“Maja. Stop talking crap!”

Fine! That isn’t true. I know what to do. I’m still in the planning phase. I’m putting out the intent now and then I’ll act on it later. I will fly... One day!

“How is that working for you?! ... Fear can paralize you into inactivity. Life is what you are doing now while you are making plans...” - Dallas W Thompson (commenting on What does Intent Have to do with it?)

Well... I’m not getting anywhere really. It's not "working". I see your point.

“Deciding to fly is stupid if you don’t actually fly! Then you may as well go back to being average.”

I was never average! I’ll never be average! It’s stupid I know but I’ll try it.

I’ve made my decision. I’ve found my love! Now act on it! Forget the fear. I’ll fall, but fall with style. Get up. Keep going. Keep growing. The sky is endless so once I take flight there’s no coming back. They’ll mock me, but it’s only because they’ve lost their wings.

Birds don’t ask where to start, they just take off and start flying.

"Take a flight...  There is nothing to be afraid of... Leave the people with dead eyes behind you..." - Svetlana Ivanova

Taking Off

Have you heard the news?
I’ve given up the Half-hearted blues!
I’ve traded in my clogs for a pair of tap dancing shoes!
- Maja Dezulovic, Half-hearted Blues and Have You Heard The News?

No jokes! I really bought myself a pair of tap shoes.

The First Flight

I remember my first flight. It was a helicopter ride.  There was a raffle held at our primary school. I was about eight years old. It sounded exciting. Many of the kids bought lots of tickets. I decided that I would fly in that helicopter. Although I had enough pocket money for more, I only purchased one raffle ticket. One was all I needed. I already knew. I was one of those kids who flew in the helicopter.

The stars look different because they’re getting closer. They’re looking bigger and brighter.

The people you leave behind look smaller and smaller. They start looking like toys and then they fade into ants.

A friend of mine once said to me: “Reach for the stars, and you might not make it but if you’re lucky, you may reach the ceiling.”

I disagree! There is no ceiling! We built the houses, remember? People placed the construction and the ceilings there. It’s man-made. It’s all made-up. It’s an illusion. The truth is that there is no ceiling. There is no limitation.

My Flight

It’s going to take a lot of hard work but I think I’m up for it. I’m going to do it. Here is my dream...

But why should I tell you? Who are you? Who are you, the reader, to know my dreams? Well, I’m telling you so that you can hold me accountable to my purpose. This is my IOU to you.

This is what I am. This is who I am. This is what you made me. This is what I owe you:

To establish a brand
“Us and we”
And buy-out
“Me for me”.
and turn carbon
into compound
- Maja Dezulovic, Where Am I Going?

I am working on the biggest renovation and reconstruction project in the world. It is only the beginning.

To write more poetry like this
but much better
perhaps also articles
short stories
and novels.

To turn a love for music
into making music.
To indulge in plays
sponsor acts
and direct a cabaret called
- Maja Dezulovic, Where Am I Going?

I will continue to write. I will be read and I will be heard, because I think that I’ll have a message that people need.

But this is my dream. Find your dream. We can all live our dreams and let our aspirations go hand in hand. Realise and recognise your dream and we can fly together.

How Long is the Flight?

I’ve listened to a lot of Jim Rohn’s speeches. He mentions a powerful word. The word is “until”. You do something UNTIL you reach your goal and until you succeed.

How long would you give a baby to learn how to walk? How about a year and then we can call it quits?

No? I didn’t think so. That baby will keep trying until he or she walks.

After they learn how to walk, they can begin to run, jump, skip, hop... Fly!

And so on and so forth. The process is never ending.

To remember to keep going
even when I've no way of really
that I truly am getting
to where I'm going.
- Maja Dezulovic, Where Am I Going?

People may call us crazy. They'll say we're hitting our heads against a brick wall. That's okay. Hitting our heads against the wall in an effort to move it is better than just staring at it.

To risk being labelled
Perhaps it's even true
But, who cares?
God made me
to live as me
not them.
Therefore, I think
it's okay.
- Maja Dezulovic, Where Am I Going?

How Far Are We?

Flying is measured in priorities.

Life is measured by your priorities. At the moment, I spend eight consecutive hours a day sleeping. That’s the most hours I spend doing anything. So, what’s my top priority? It’s sleeping. In sleeping, I dream. Hence, my top priority is dreaming. And as my dreams become reality, I’ll sleep less and live more.

I’ll see you in the sky!

And to all those people who have inspired me and this post:

So, I hope to find you in some of the
ever-so plenty places I'll be.
New friend,
and soul
who has already
through your questions
and heart
enlightened me.
- Maja Dezulovic, Where Am I Going?

The Flyer's Playlist:

Maja Dezulovic

Just Two Words - Thank You

A Child Named "Thank You"

The date is October 1st, 1988. A woman just gave birth to a baby girl at Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. I don't know what time it is. She told me but I forgot. I'll ask her and come back here to edit it. She asks the father what to name the child but he stalls. He takes too long so she makes a choice. She looks at the child and she feels grateful. "Thank you God. I'm thankful."

"Kelebogile" - it means "thank you" or "I am grateful/thankful" in Tswana. My mother was the lady who gave birth that day and I was the child. Twenty-two years, eleven months and twenty-one days later (in 2011), Kelebogile wakes up and realises the meaning of those two words - "Thank you", or the one word that's her name - "Kelebogile" (pronounced "kile-boo-hile"). It is my name. Kelebogile Mercia Seane and Maja Dezulovic are one and the same, but how one became the other is another topic for perhaps another post. It does not matter that I no longer use the name. It was given to me and imprinted on my spirit when I was born so it remains a part of me.

Anyway, here it goes... What is thank you?

A Dream

I woke up from a dream this morning. In my dream I won a raffle or some sort of competition. There were three of us, finalists, and there was a jury. The jury looked to me like children from high school. I did not recognise any of them but we were all more or less the same age. It was time for each of us to tell the jury members why we deserved the prize money. Out of us three, I had been given the most privileged upbringing. I even had a short discourse with someone about travelling to London and everybody's stares made me almost certain that they felt that I did not deserve the money. However, of the three I was the only one who knew for sure what I'd do with the money. I had a budget and every cent was already allocated to something. This is true in reality as well. I have a budget allocated to all the things I'm going to do when something I'm working on comes through.

We said our speeches and it was time for the vote. The results came back on a sheet of paper, in the hands of a school teacher. I already knew that the prize was mine. She showed me the name written on the paper. It wasn't my name, it was my friend's name (he wasn't even in the dream). Nevertheless, it meant that I had won. The prize was written under the name on the small rectangular piece of paper. I had won "13 million". Thirteen million what? Rands, euros, dollars? It doesn't matter. Along with it, I'd also receive my dream car. It's a Peugeot 308. It's not really my dream car but it's the car I've decided that I'm buying next for myself. I got what I wanted. I started crying and laughing ecstatically due to the joy.

I then glanced at all the people that had voted. Whether they had voted for me or for someone else, they contributed to my dream. I made my way towards some of them. I asked them what's the first wish that they had if the money was theirs. I stood in the middle of the circle of people and told them to each individually tell me what they wanted. What was their wish? We made a list. Part of my budget was their wish list as well.

Dreams are strange.

I Can't Give You Anything

As I write this, I have nothing. There is nothing of real material value that I can hold to my name nor offer to anybody else. Well, actually there is but I cannot access it for the moment so it's the same as if it were not there at all. I have never had more nothing than I do right now. Months ago I was in charge of hundreds of thousands of Rands (tens of thousands of dollars/euros/pounds) but now there is nothing. Do I have any regrets? No. I can point to all the things I did with the money by looking at the people I love. I have never had less nor more than I have now. I have never felt more released, grateful and excited about life. More than that, I have never felt more loved.

I was loved. I was always loved, but now I actually feel it and recognise it. Here I am, penniless. It's just me - Maja. Nothing more and nothing less. Yet, I have more than those that have what they believe is "more" than me. I'm staying in a fifty-five square metre apartment in the centre of Zagreb, Croatia. I'm well-fed and I'm well-clothed and taken care of. This summer I slept in a five-star hotel. I have internet. I go to see films and to the theatre. I have new books to read. I have someone walking in the rain for me to bring me an umbrella! It's all because somebody cared and loved me.

Whenever I try utter the words "thank you" or express my gratitude in words, I'm met with the words "Maja, shut up!" I never understood it because I never allowed myself to be weak. Now that I am weak, I realise how strong I really am. I'm strong because of the people around me. I don't need to say thank you. I've already said thank you and I'll keep echoing it in my actions.

"Thank You" is a Deed

"You're only as good as the last thing you did." I read that somewhere.

That is what gratitude is. That is why I don't need compliments. People show me everyday that they love me and that they are grateful that I am in their lives. I'm also beginning to show them. Words are nothing. They are not enough.

Words are not enough. You can say them sincerely and with kindness but they have no support until you show them. When you are grateful, it resonates in everything you do for and towards the other person. It gives them recognition for the significance of the role they play in your life.

Some Buddhists believe that the best thing you can do for yourself is have gratitude. The best thing you can do for others is show them recognition. So, when you have nothing but words, that is okay. However, take it further than the words. I intend to do so.

I went through pain this morning. I have been in pain for some time. It is good pain. It shows progress. I just don't know where to start in thanking all the people in my life. It is, nevertheless, a start. I've recognised them in my heart and now it's time to show them my gratitude and recognition. Let me begin! I need to develop myself so that I can show them. I must thank them for existing, just like my mother was grateful for my existence when she named me.

Two Words

I never really understood what it meant to say thank you. Those two words, like most words, were unclear to me. Thank you was always something you'd say after somebody did a favour for you or after a compliment. I don't see the point in the latter any longer. I've received many compliments. I'm told I'm intelligent, genuine, beautiful, etc, etc... I've come to believe these things now. I'm grateful that they were repeated often enough for me to also realise them. I don't need to hear them so much anymore.

I thank you for reading this post. You can comment, but please don't tell me that I write well. Don't tell me that I am genuine and sincere and smart. I don't need that. I know it. We are past the chivalries. Tell me what my words meant to you. Show me that recognition. Teach me something new that will help me progress. You can even correct my grammar if you want. Tell me it is rubbish. That is okay too because I know that it is not rubbish so I will just accept that as your opinion. It may be rough, unedited and make little sense but nothing that comes from the heart can be trash. Your potential junk is my treasure. I'll fix it to become something beautiful.

Maja Dezulovic

Just Three Words - I Need You, I Miss You, I Am Sorry, and I Love You

I need you.

I only began to understand the meaning of these words the year 2011. I was always a bit of a lone ranger. I’d head straight into battle with or without the support of others. Sometimes people would follow and sometimes they wouldn’t. It didn’t matter.

The concept of interdependence rather than independence was taught to me a few years back in Psychology class. It was just a theory and a way of understanding social culture. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all interdependent. Independence is an illusion created by fear and arrogance.

So, I learnt to accept that I’m not on my own. This meant putting the pride aside and admitting that I’m not okay on my own. I need help. “That’s all right,” they said. Those that love you will stick around and show you just that. They all did. Nobody disappeared. Asking for help or companionship does not make you weak. The asking in itself may make you stronger.

I miss you.

This is another lesson of the year 2011, and beyond. I never missed anyone. How could I? I had two homes, two lives and two lifestyles. When departing from one, there would be a few minutes of weeping, then I would simply forget. It is as if it never happened. It’s time to move on. The feelings fade into a distant memory.

This attitude is an advantage. You can experience different worlds and indulge in the best of both, never longing for anyone or anything. It’s a happy approach – flexible and unemotional. You can adapt and move quickly.

However... However, somebody or something may just pop into your life to mix things up a bit. Add a little extra emotional baggage to your luggage and you are good to go. Then wherever you go, you’ll find yourself relating inanimate objects to someone because it simply reminds you of them in some way. Surely enough, that beautiful city you once knew is no longer just “a beautiful city”, but it turns into that “beautiful city that you’d like to share with someone”. Show it to someone! Be there with someone! Be wherever “someone” is. Now that is a bummer! That’s the biggest bummer of all here!

I am sorry.

We’re all flawed humans – perfect in our imperfection. Part of that “limitation” involves knowing that somewhere down the line you’ll become the cause of someone else’s pain. That is painful to admit to oneself, and especially to someone else.

When you’re close enough to another person, I don’t think there is a need to say it. They know you well enough to know when you are saying it in your heart. Your deeds, your expression and behaviour will say it to them. It will be okay because you both recognise that anguish inside each other.

On the other hand, there are relationships that are still developing. They need nurture and reassurance. Silent recognition and acceptance is not enough yet. You must say it and you must be sincere. It’s not always easy because you want the other person to see it. Why must you say it when they can just see it and feel it in you? It’s because they need you to say it!

I learnt this one in 2009. Up until recently I had the compulsion to say “I’m sorry” for almost everything. It became annoying to those around me. I decided to stop saying “I’m sorry” when it’s not my fault or it doesn't matter. Only the apologies that matter, matter.

I love you.

People say this a lot. They say that some don’t say it often enough.

My theory: You shouldn’t have to say it! Your smile will do it for you. Your warm touch will imprint it on someone else’s spirit. Your heartfelt efforts and gestures will echo it. Your eyes will paint its picture in someone else’s vision.

Why say it? Well, just like “I am sorry”, people need reassurance. They need you to say it in order to believe it. Although I wonder, if it needs to be said, is it really even there? The relationship is still growing and has not yet reached mutual understanding so some things must be voiced to be believed. These are the same things that need to be reassured, and therefore still lack support.

Of course there is a difference between the “need” to say it and just saying it for the heck of it – a cherry on top. The latter is fine, even fun.

I guess that none of us really want to have to “say” it and “hear” it – not simply through the mouth and ears, that is. We want to get to a point where it’s evident. It is clear. It is all-encompassing, real and true. It is love.

Maja Dezulovic