"Live life intentionally."
Who is Antoinette?
That's difficult to answer succinctly. My pursuits are all over the place. Somehwere down the line I became concerned with being good at everything. One thing is for sure, I am my own guinea pig and I treat life like an experiment. That may mean putting myself through an uncomfortable experience or taking 21 days to form a habit. I'm currently living in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, and what once seemed uncomfortable is quite normal now. Iʼm an open-minded woman that's passionate about life. Your thoughts shape your reality.
What do you do?
I am currently a volunteer for an NGO called Ser Alzira de Aleluia located in the Vidigal favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. I assist in the English classes, and hold a “circle” with the young boys here who play soccer to discuss what an NGO is and how itʼs here to serve them and their community. I also have a blog, called Don.t Throw Away the Crust, that provides a lens into the cultures of marginalized people, currently those of Rio de Janeiro. I refer to such people as the "crust" of society, the ones who get "thrown" away or forgotten about when in fact it's them who constitute the core of their country's culture- 'It's the Best Part.ʼ
What is the ideology/philosophy/purpose that drives what you do?
Live life intentionally.
How did you arrive at this ideology?
The past year has been quite transformational. I took a 12 week life-coaching course that allowed me to uncover quite a bit about myself. During the course, I read a book where the author mentioned how most people live life without a clue, just simply living. I didnʼt want to be one of those people so I decided to be more intentional about life. I started by writing out my core values and how I would use them as decision ﬁlters to help me to move towards my lifeʼs purpose, which Iʼve also written down. The idea is that everyday I gradually become the person I want to be by using my values and character strengths to drive decisions that shape my life and therefore my happiness.
What kind of advice can you give someone who is searching for their own ideology/purpose?
You have to look inside yourself. You can’t look to the person next to you or social media, for example. It is a very reflective and self-examining process that you can begin on your own by using resources like a character strengths survey and/or thinking about your goals in life and the skills necessary to achieve them. Ask yourself questions like, Do I possess these skills? Can I reasonably acquire the skills I do not already possess to accomplish what I want in life? Take time to reflect on what moves you. What do you get most excited about? These may seem like simple, if not arguably obvious questions but the truth is most of us don’t ask ourselves these questions and better yet, write them down. The power of writing things down is unbelieveable, I canʼt stress that enough.
Once you write something down you increase the chances that it will come into fruition, because you become more inclined to do them. Lastly, use your self-awareness to develop the habits needed to spark the personal and professional growth you desire and more importantly, deserve.
Character Strengths Assesment survey and other engagement questionaires can be found here: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx
Antoinette is an educator from Los Angeles that currently lives in Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro.