Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘William Choukeir

An explorer blog: Header illustration

Hanane Kai posted
Some project are challenging, others feels like second nature to me. This one was both, and a delight!

Rafah was a client, then a friend, who like me and many others is searching for herself and trying to make sense from the things happening around her.

An “explorer”.
I had the pleasure to co-design and to illustrate the header of her blog.
Blog co-designed and developed by William.

Header illustration and blog design for an explorer’s personal blog

Rafah is a young Saudi woman who, like me and many others, is searching for herself and trying to make sense from the things that happen around her. I was commissioned by her to design and create a visual of her blog.

Rafah is an explorer, not in the physical sense, rather in the spiritual sense. Her blog is about her discoveries and realizations, as she explores life.

The quote over the illustration says: “The first step to find yourself is to allow yourself to get lost”.

The blog is co-designed, and developed by William Choukeir.

Click here to read more about/from Rafah

Searching for the self illustration
Explorer blog design and illustration
Explorer illustration
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Launching Maku on Kickstarter:  Cool sandals?

Characteristics:

  1. Perfect fit: The 3 straps are individually adjustable thanks to the proprietary Maku RedLink™ fastening system
  2. Respect toe natural spacing: Custom-built straps compress between your toes without separating them
  3. Cotton feel: Gentle on the skin for all-day comfort
  4. Shock absorbent: Without introducing bulk or compromising on ground-feel
  5. Hug your heel: The deep heel-guard protects your heels and keeps them clean
  6. Four ways flexible: Respects the natural movement of the foot, decreasing foot fatigue for all-day comfort
  7. Puncture resistant sole
  8. Griping sole: Less trip-ups and more stability with a grip that’s perfectly balanced for city streets, wet surfaces, and light trails
Back in 2009, I thought that going barefoot would solve my knee pain. It didn’t, but something unexpected happened. Back then, I had made myself sandals to run in but ended up wearing them more than all my other shoes.
I wore them almost everyday until they broke.
That’s when I decided to buy something similar. This was very frustrating because what I found either felt like cardboard or was bulky or unrefined. So I made my 2nd pair, improving the design and durability. This same story repeats 37 times!
At some point I had made a pair of sandals for my partner Hanane, and we’d wear them almost everywhere. People were regularly coming up to us on the street asking us where we got them from. It was obvious that there was something special about these sandals.
We began accepting orders, and had people buying them across 4 continents. That started a long process of “get real-world feedback, improve, repeat.”
With every upgrade, we wanted the best materials so the sandals would be even more comfortable and durable.
5 years and 37 tries later, we finally had it right. So right in fact, that as soon as we sold 50 pairs, a hundred more lined up.
With each pair taking us 4 hours to make by hand, we knew we had to find a better way to bring Makus to the world.
And that’s why we’re here today, reaching out to you.
Launching a Kickstarter campaign will help us deliver the unmatched quality, comfort, and design of Maku sandals to you and to the world.
We love our Makus, and we hope that you want your own Makus as well. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us! William Choukeir

After years of pouring our hearts into designing and creating these cool sandals, we’re really excited to only be days away from launching Maku on Kickstarter.

We never intended to make a business out of them, but people have been loving them so much that we couldn’t resist (anymore). With your support, what was once limited to a very narrow circle can finally be something that people around the world can enjoy. We’ll be sure to let you know when we’re live on Kickstarter.

We’d love your help in spreading the word! Please Share this post and Like it!
The Maku team (William Choukeir, Hanane Kai, David el Achkar)
(David, Hanane, William)

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WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THESE SANDALS?
That’s a question we get asked often. It’s not just all the little things that make them what they are. It’s that those who try them often end up wearing them more than anything else. For us, this says a lot!– Hanane & Will
Maku's photo.
'PERFECT FIT The 3 straps are individually adjustable thanks to the proprietary Maku RedLink™ fastening system'
Maku's photo.
Nadim Sioufi. Interior Designer, Canada, was the first one to wear Maku

I have very sensitive feet and was concerned about irritation before getting my Makus. But when I started wearing them, I was extremely pleased and realized how comfortable they are.

I run, dance, sail, and exercise in them, on land, rocks, sand, and salty water. My Makus follow me everywhere.

They ‘ve been through two Wicker Park festivals, several Greek Islands, the Turkish and Italian coastline, the Montreal summer, and more! I like to experiment a lot with fashion, and have enjoyed wearing them with everything from jeans to Japanese Hakama.

Kristyan Sarkis. Award winning type designer, Amsterdam. Second person to wear Maku

Before my first pair of Makus, I had never worn sandals because I didn’t find them comfortable or good looking. And today, I use my Makus for everything: walking, biking, hiking, etc. What’s funny, is that when I used to wear ‘high tech’ shoes, my feet would get tired only after a few hours. With my Makus I can walk all day and my feet still feel fresh.

Romy Assouad. Entrepreneur & Dancer, Beirut. 22nd person to wear Maku

On a trip to Brazil, after a long day of walking, when all my friends were complaining about their feet hurting, my feet still felt fresh and free. I was surprised by how comfortable my Makus were, as opposed to the common feeling of tightness and hotness at the end of a long day.

Note: William is my nephew and living in the same building. And he didn’t make me a Maku to try out since 2009.

 

 

Boom of female-led TEDx events in Lebanon?

In 2008, Patricia Zougheib was at work in Beirut, Lebanon, when she came across a video of Jill Bolte Taylor describing her own stroke. She was awed, and Googled the three red letters she noticed in the background—T-E-D. “I started watching one talk after the other,” she says, “and I got hooked, big-time.”

Jessica Gross posted on May 19, 2014

For a while, Zougheib kept her TED habit her own special secret, watching talks alone at her advertising job. “But then I thought, after one year, ‘No, this is too good not to be shared.’”

She introduced her husband to TED, and the two decided to invite some friends over to their house to watch and discuss talks.

TEDxSKE, the first TEDx event in Lebanon, started as a gathering of 6 friends — but it has led to a boom of TEDx events in the country, most of them helmed by women.

No one can explain why women are drawn to TEDx organizing here—but regardless of the reason, they are spreading ideas to attendees of both genders.

Zougheib knew TEDxSKE had reached a turning point when strangers started asking to join in. “It became an open house,” she says. “Of course, a limited open house, because our house can only fit 20 to 25 persons max.”

Two years later, the weekly salon was still thriving.

“I started saying, this salon is kind of changing our lives. Everyone is being affected by this,” Zougheib says. “I thought, if this small salon was having this much effect, we should do the big event with our speakers.”

She gathered a team of regular TEDxSKE attendees to lead another, bigger salon and to launch the main event TEDxBeirut.

The scene at TEDxSKE, held in the home of Patricia TK. Photo: Courtesy of TEDxSKE

At the same time, Reine Azzi, a teacher at Lebanese American University (LAU), was having her own TED moment. Scrolling through her Facebook feed, she came across one of Sir Ken Robinson’s talks, which an American friend had posted. “Because I’m a teacher, the title intrigued me, so I clicked,” she says. “And I fell in love with what he had to say.”

She watched all of Robinson’s talks and, the next day, approached her boss to ask about screening one of them as a lecture on campus. The event was small, but shortly after, someone introduced Azzi and Zougheib, who was still scouting locations for the inaugural TEDxBeirut salon. Azzi offered up the LAU campus, and the event drew 150 people. (I attended this event)

Things snowballed. Azzi held the first TEDxLAU salon in 2012.

Six salons and two main events later, “TEDxLAU events are always sold out. Always. It’s amazing,” Azzi says; the last salon, on mental health, sold out within 24 hours. “It’s as if students on campus were thirsty for events like these—events that are intellectual but at the same time humane … You don’t have a speaker who is just standing behind a table reading from a manuscript. You have a speaker who is sharing heart and soul with you.

Balloons at a TEDxBeirutSalon. Photo: Nadim Kamel

TEDxBeirut, meanwhile, has held eight salons and two main events, which featured local speakers and drew 700, then 1,200, attendees.

In fact, the organization grew so quickly that Zougheib quit her job and took 16 months to work solely on TEDxBeirut.

“I loved it—it was the best 16 months of my life,” she says. Not sustainable, though (“neither for me nor my husband”), so she’s back at work and has passed TEDxBeirut off to a team of four co-leaders. But she is still actively spreading TEDx.

“Everyone started asking us, ‘Please come do your event at our university!’” Zougheib says. Instead of taking the event on the road, she encouraged people to get their own licenses. TEDx salons mushroomed across Lebanon; there are now about 10.

Natalia Geha, for one, attended TEDxBeirut a few years ago, and just held her first TEDxNDULouaize salon at Notre Dame University-Louaize in January, with musical performances in addition to talk screenings and discussions. “I think it’s interesting that TED is becoming so popular in Lebanon, because we really lack cultural events,” she says.

A TEDxSKE salon, held in a beautiful venue. Photo: Nadim Kamel

It’s a sentiment echoed by Zougheib almost verbatim. “The movement is spreading like no other movement I’ve seen, ever,” she says. “We didn’t have many cultural events happening here. There was a lack.”

Zougheib also points out that media—internationally, but within Lebanon, too—tend to focus on turmoil, to the exclusion of achievement.

She wanted TEDxBeirut to be a platform for showing the inventiveness and creativity of her compatriots. “We all need non-political platforms where we can express our ideas, talk about our inventions, say that young people are as lively as they are elsewhere,” she says. “We do have ideas, believe it or not. Even if we come from Lebanon.”

Note: I attended many of TEDx events in Lebanon and joined the open-house several times: I took every opportunity when I could get a ride, particularly with my nephew William Choukeir who was co-sponsor of Tedx in its beginning and later headed the set-up of TEDxBeirut.

Riad Houeiss, Patsy hubby, took the trouble a couple of times to fetch me from home.

And got used to removing my shoes outside in order not to ruin the floor.

I posted countless reviews and reports on the events.

The cake at TEDxSKE's 5th anniversary party. Photo: Patrick Abi Salloum

 

test your perfectionism in 3 minutes

william choukeir posted this June 26, 2014

this test is part of a highly-regarded scientific test called the DAS, developed by the renown psychologist Dr. Arlene Weissman.

read each of the following statements and notice how you feel about each ‘most of the time‘. check with yourself how much you agree or disagree with each statement. then write down for each whether you:

  • agree
  • neutral
  • disagree

do this for the 5 statements before reading the rest of this post, otherwise you’ll ruin the test for yourself.

because we are all different, there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to any of these statements. here are the 5 statements:

  • if I cannot do something well, there’s little point in doing it at all
  • it is shameful for a person to display his weakness
  • a person should try to be the best at everything he undertakes
  • i should be upset if i make a mistake
  • if i don’t set the highest standards for myself, i am likely to end up a second-rate person

 


calculate your results and see what they mean:

  • ‘agree’ counts as  -1
  • ‘neutral’ counts as  0
  • ‘disagree’ counts as  +1
  • add up your score. the range is from -5 to +5

here’s how to interpret your score according to Dr. Arlene Weissman:

  • a negative score suggests that you demand perfectionism and believe that failures are bad. you expect to look, feel, and think superbly at all times. you rarely experience the satisfaction of achieving a goal, because as soon as you achieve a goal it’s usually less than perfect, and another one instantly replaces it. you live in unrealistic personal standards that undermine all your accomplishments. if you bring your expectations in line with reality, you will be regularly pleased and rewarded instead of frustrated.
  • a positive score suggests you have the capacity to set meaningful, flexible, and realistic standards. you get more satisfaction from experiencing the journey than from reaching the destination. you see mistakes as golden opportunities to learn. you are likely much more productive than your perfectionist associates.

resource: Burns, David D. (1999). Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Avon Books (Whole Care). pp. 261-287


this post is from ‘edition 11′ of our ‘inspirations newsletter’. subscribe below to receive these regular editions by email. every edition also includes acad 3d models of chairs, stools, tables, and sofas, exclusive to our subscribers. subscribe below:

 

Perfectionism is the enemy of the creative

william choukeir posted this June 26, 2014
 

“do you mind, even a little, that you are still addicted to people-pleasing, and are still putting everyone else’s needs and […] career ahead of your creative […] life? giving all your life force away, to ‘help’ and impress.” —anne lamott

what does people-pleasing have to do with perfectionism? let’s get into that right after we establish a common understanding of perfectionism.

think of it this way, in geometry, you can imagine a perfect picture-frame with right angles, and with edges that are perfectly parallel.

in real life, there are no perfectly parallel lines. trying to re-create this perfect frame in the real world would be perfectionism. It’s like chasing the horizon.

“it’s actually kind of tragic”, admits david foster, because doing anything means that you “sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is.”

so what does people-pleasing have to do with perfectionism?

it’s common for fear to be lurking behind people-pleasing, and that more often than not leads to perfectionism. i expect a couple of you to disagree with the following statement. if you do disagree, then you’re either not aware of the fear, or the following doesn’t apply to you.

you may not be aware that fear [usually] lurks behind perfectionism. fear is the fuel that drives your compulsion to polish things to the ultimate.” says renown psychiatrist david burns, M.D.(1) people-pleasers are usually afraid. According to burns, perfectionism protects you. “it may protect you from risking criticism, failure, or disapproval.”

one perfectionist confesses that if he didn’t submit a perfect paper, he’ll let down the professor, get a D, ruin his own academic record, and people would be angry with him, he’ll be a failure, rejected by everyone, alone and miserable.(2)

people-pleasing often leads us to follow someone else’s dreams and ideas, thinking them our own.

“a lot of the time our ideas about what it would mean to live successfully are not our own. they’re sucked in from other people. […] what i want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but that we should make sure that they are our own. […] because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.” —alain de botton

imagine being a perfectionist while attempting to work on a task you’d like to like. that’s a recipe for procrastination. imagine pursuing a journey you ‘thought’ you wanted, only to find out that it’s what someone else wanted.

perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. it will keep you cramped and insane your whole life. […] it will keep you very scared and restless your entire life if you do not awaken, and fight back, and if you’re an artist, it will destroy you.” —anne lamott

perfectionism freezes you. like ice stuck in time and space. water, on the other hand, flows. it glides around obstacles, adjusts its path, and moves forward. accept that ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist. ideas are only perfect within the safety of our minds.

“remember that sooner or later, before your work ever reaches perfection,  you will have to let it go and move on and start […] the next thing.” —neil gaiman

flow around obstacles, critics, and those who want you to follow their idea of success. accept to sacrifice your perfect idea. put it into a shitty first draft. refine a few times. then move on to the next best thing. some will like it. some will hate it. be very clear with yourself about who it’s for. it’s only those who matter. listen. improve. then move on. anything you give to the world is better than keeping it in your head. the world deserves your gift.

if you can do that, then maybe you’ll realize that passion can replace perfectionism. risk having your ideas clash with the world enough times, and you’ll learn. you’ll grow. and so will your gifts. in your eyes it may still not be perfect. but in the eyes of your audience, it may very well be remarkable. flow, despite the fears, the self doubts, and the risk of rejection.

“perfection is like chasing the horizon. keep moving.” —neil gaiman


this post is from ‘edition 11′ of our ‘inspirations newsletter’. subscribe below to receive these regular editions by email. every edition also includes acad 3d models of chairs, stools, tables, and sofas, exclusive to our subscribers. subscribe below:

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resources 1 and 2: Burns, David D. (1999). Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Avon Books (Whole Care). pp. 359-363.

Nothing on your blog works? Do you have this one habit

william choukeir posted this May 14, 2014

why nothing on this blog works; unless you have this one habit

…and not just on this blog. i’m also referring to all advice, self-help blogs, books, and anything remotely related to personal and professional development.

let me explain through a story.

jake is the co-founder of vimeo. After selling vimeo, he found himself unproductive and unhappy.  Throughout the next year or so, he came up with a simple system that has helped him re-find his productivity and happiness. he posted this system online and called it ‘standards‘.

like most systems out there, if you try using ‘standards’, it’ll likely not work for you; unless you have this one habit. here’s why.

‘standards’ is a simple list of things you want to do (or avoid) daily. each day, you mark with a check the items you succeeded with, and with a cross those you failed at.

jake tried it the first week and failed. he tried it the second week and failed a little less. after a few months, he was accomplishing everything on his list on most days. his life started turning around.

jake had, whether knowingly or not, acquired a valuable habit that allowed him to make his system work for him.

Through my two years of research and experimentation with habits, i’ve come to the realization that this one habit is the father of all habits. it’s the habit that breeds habits. and habits, in my experience, are the most efficient tool to create the life you want for yourself.

this habit isn’t perseverance. it isn’t grit either.

if you keep on doing what you’ve been doing,
you’ll keep on getting what you’ve been getting.

you need to change something, not just persevere. let’s call this habit: ‘the habit of planning for banana peels.’

you’re walking happily. suddenly you feel lifted off the ground and are falling back in slow motion. before your ass hits the ground you realize you’ve slipped on a banana peel.

an expectation of yours is unmet—banana peel.
you try some advice and fail—banana peel.
you loose a project—banana peel.
your client refuses a design—banana peel.

‘the habit of planning for banana peels’ looks like this.
Every time you slip, you ask—and answer—two questions:
1• how will i respond the next time i slip?
2• what can i do differently to avoid slipping next time?

With this core habit, even if you try some advice and it doesn’t work the first time, you’ll automatically choose what’ll you do differently next time.

if you don’t already have this core habit, then even this article won’t help you acquire it; without you getting some pre-requisites.

These pre-requisites can be in the form of skills, habits, or knowledge (i.e. awareness of your thoughts and emotions.)

if you eventually do succeed at building ‘the habit of planning for banana peels’, maybe then, you’ll be able to make some of the valuable advice that’s out there (or here) work for you.

now you’re aware. the rest is up to you.


this post is from ‘edition 10′ of our ‘inspirations newsletter’. subscribe below to receive these regular editions by email. every edition also includes acad 3d models of chairs, stools, tables, and sofas, exclusive to our subscribers. subscribe below:

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Why you should fall in love with your clients?

William Choukeir posted this April 8, 2014

jay tells a story and a priceless lesson…

one evening, not able to sleep, he goes into the lobby of a hotel lounge. across the room from him, he spots one man having a drink by himself. being a lover of people, jay approaches the man, and introduces himself.

he only provides two pieces of information. ‘my name is jay abraham.’ ‘i’m here on business.’ he then proceeds to ask the man about his name, and why he’s here.

turns out the man is here for a conference. he sells population control plans to governments. jay proceeds to ask him what population control is, what the process is, how does he approach governments, what the plan looks like.

jay then switches conversation about where the man is from, how it’s like to live there, his wife and children, the school system.

And jay resume the conversation about this new acquaintance hobbies and past time.

an hour and a half later, tired, jay excuses himself and walks towards the elevator having only told the man his name and that he’s here on business.

before jay reaches the elevator the man shouts out to him: ‘hold on!’ he paces towards jay. ‘i just have to say that you are the most interesting person i’ve met during the past 5 years.’

standing by himself on the elevator door, jay realizes something big.

to be the most interesting person, you have to be the most interested in persons.
to have your clients fall in love with you, you have to fall in love with them.

there’s one mindset that you can change, that by itself will transform the way you do business. jay calls this the strategy of preeminence.

all you have to do is genuinely believe that it’s your obligation to fight for the best interest of your clients, and then act on that obligation forever. yes forever.

because this only works if you’re in it for the long run, just like your clients are in it for the long run.

once you’ve fallen in love with your clients, then your clients will see you as their most trusted adviser.

they will only want to do business with you.

if you do this from day one, way before any money exchanges hands, then it’s inevitable that one day money will change hands.

love can drive business.

Comment: Possibly, Jay Abraham failed to expound on his story.

Most probably, Jay didn’t machine-gun his acquaintance with all these questions, and he took his time to listen carefully to each “piece of intelligence” and asked for more details.

Most probably, Jay considered the acquaintance to be smart enough and will expect reciprocation in information of the same kinds.

Most probably, Jay didn’t provide just two pieces of information, otherwise he wouldn’t be such an “interesting person

If you are not willing to be forthcoming, at least have a scenario ready to respond to the new acquaintance’s curiosity.

In any case, asking questions to know the “pedigree” of a person is not necessarily a basis to “falling in love” with the person.


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