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TEDxNile - Amr Salama - 04/01/2010

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I once used to be called " Amr Book" Not because i read a lot But it's because i read this one book One day, specifically in 2004 Oh, i was studying in Faculty of Commerce not so many of you know that i'm a director but graduated from faculty of commerce i studied it for 6 years, which is 2 more years than normal however, in my second year which was 2004 as i remember it was a summer day when i got my results and didn't pass as i expected i was so lost then like one of those guys you ask what do they want in their lives and they answer you " I wanna get my degree, then take few courses and then do few interviews and work, etc" if you asked them about their plans for the next 10 years, they never find an answer for this i was exactly one of these guys in the same day, i decided to establish a magazine with few friends to just tell everyone that i have my own magazine business after i met up with my friends and studied the business plan we found out that it was a bad idea because we didn't have enough money to start our business and at this time of my life , i used to smoke furiously and a lot of my friends used to dislike me and call me" Amr cigarette" because i used to smoke a lot and was very skinny like a cigarette however, in this day with all what happened with me i was so depressed and didn't wanna see anyone, then went to a friend of mine and on his bed i found a book i asked him what the book was about specially that until that day i have never read a book in English except in school so he told me it was about how to change yourself for good so i sarcastically replied " Do you think that foreign writers can teach us how to be better? we know everything and we don't need anyone's advice" so he just advised me to read it and i might find it useful anyway, i opened it and looked at the first page, then few more pages then i found myself reading it all and i finished it in exactly 12 hours and it was the first English book i have ever read in my whole life, if i didn't count school books I respect the author of that book Anthony Robbins, the title of the book is " Awaken The Giant Within" simply, after reading the book it changed me into this type guys who make plans and set goals for their lives the book made me change many things in my life like for example i stopped smoking people never believe this and think i'm kidding when i say this everywhere i go, my friends ask me how did i stop smoking out of sudden like this i answer with " I read a book" and then they're like " huh? " once i was in elevator, and my neighbor asked me -" Amr, did you really stopped smoking because of a book?" -" yeah" -" hmm okay" and many have read the book and they threw it after reading few pages of it and many have read it but it haven't changed them maybe i was so ready at this moment when i read it however, there was a chapter in this book called " Metaphors" to give more than one word or phrase to an object or an incident it affects your life when you have a metaphor or a simile for your life or your marrige or your work some would describe their lives saying "Life is like digging in rocks" Egyptian proverb imagine if you go everyday to work and spend the whole day digging in rocks, how would that feel? do anyone really wanna dig in rocks for a living? of course not some would tell you about marriage that " It's your evil destiny" Egyptian proverb So why would i get married then? of course it's not there are few proverbs the you might think they're meaningless but they affect a lot of people specially in Anees Mansours publishes about marriage you might never get married if you read it back to the book he kept talking about metaphors and examples do you have a simile or a metaphor of your life? so i kept thinking before turning the page, what is the metaphor of my life so i remembered when i was a kid and my mother used to tell me in a dramatic way "life is like the school finals" i have always hated the finals, my tummy hurts and i go to the bathroom many times and they start thinking that i'm cheating and i keep sweating, and feel very bad, does anyone like school finals? and what if i didn't pass? i spent my whole life in a test and at the end i fail? specially that i got my results today and i didn't pass? no i don't want that, not now, not ever, my life is not some kinda exam i might not pass. others describe life with a road trip, a road trip ? but the problem with road trips is that many of us feels bored and tired waiting to reach their destination will i spend my whole life bored and tired waiting my destination? i do not agree with this however, i decided to use a metaphor for my life to describe my life but please don't leave the hall Life is like a video game you'd say "what on earth is he talking about? this guy got to be joking" "he's still young and knows nothing, life is much harder and real than this" " you mean if someone had an accident and died it's a game?" i know you would have a lot of thoughts in your minds now i will answer all of these questions in your heads if you have time to listen however, i thought what the benefits are if life is a video game do you wanna know what i thought about it? is that it doesn't matter if you won or lost the game because you're having fun anyway right? it's something great about video games while inside a game, you feel completely happy and satisfied the happiness and satisfaction that everyone is looking for why? because some say that happiness is when you're not thinking about neither past nor future you focus and think about the present moment the problem about past is that you think about two things you're either regretting it or feeling nostalgic and the future you're thinking about a lot you're either afraid of it or you can't imagine how it will be, so you get worried and upset anyway right? so, the real happiness is to live the moment all the religions and believes agreed on this this is the benefit of this thought, because you happily live the moments individually But i wondered and wanted to look for a clue that proves my thought i wanted to prove it to myself how life is like a video game then i remembered a phrase from Holy Quran that describes life with playing and joy i tried to understand what it means and other phrases describe good people with winners why haven't they been called finishers if it's a road, or graduates who passed if it's an exam then i'm pretty sure there is a sign here, then when i thought about it, could life be just a game? i found that it's really a beautiful metaphor it makes so happy about what you are in do you know what would be the best thing about it if life is a game? each time you get stuck in life you'll fee safe if you're sure that whoever put you in this maze or trick, left you a clue somewhere whenever you're playing a video game like Super Mario for example at the end of each level Super Mario faces a giant monster or evil boss that kills you and you start the level again but you know and believe that this game is published and there is a producer and developer for this video game then there certainly is a clue or a trick left for you to find to be able to win this level at the end another thing which is a big problem to many people, when they finish a video game they get depressed they feel that their life has ended and no more fun about it Elvis Presley is one of the most successful men in history but when he felt that he's one of the most successful and famous in history he got depressed, gained weight and did drugs till he died with a rumor that he might have committed suicide why? because there was no more levels in the game to win, right? so it's so important in your life if you decided to describe your life as a video game to know that there are more than one game and even if you passed a level, there's a higher level after it you'll find more tricks and mazes specially that after each level you pass, you face a giant monster to tell you that you passed the level to a higher one we all know each monster we passed in our life for example, there was a monster called " High School" was very huge do you remember this monster? we all do don't we? the famous words our parents used to say " You either study or sleep" i thought then that there are no monsters after " High School" monster but then you go to college and you find a new monster called " what to do in my life after i graduate? " a terrible monster to just decide what to do in your life is a terrible monster you have to defeat if you didn't defeat it you'll find yourself not happy and stuck in one level for the rest of your life you don't even know what monster you're gonna fight after ok that's a good metaphor you might face a monster called " First achievement in your life" then "Second achievement" but the problem is that if you played a level that is easier than the one before what will you feel? you won't be happy you have became bigger and stronger, you need bigger and stronger monsters and harder tricks another interesting thing there are a lot of people who asks me " why didn't you travel abroad for a better education to Canada for example?" a lot of people asked me that specifically in my university years a lot of thoughts like traveling to Canada, USA or maybe Australia to work everyone felt that it won't be a problem and it would be so easy to just leave and that success will be easier think about it, which will amuse you more, if you played a mobile game that took you couple of minutes to finish or to play a hard long Video Game that might take days to finish? of course it's the harder game that will amuse you more the game that took big efforts from you and a lot of concentration because it made you feel the challenge and adventure and made your proud of yourself to pass all these trick on your own but here comes a mind trick, sometimes i get really upset and feel that life is so hard, and it's not fair at all, with all it's wars and disasters you find yourself so angry and upset about what is happening around you in the world, or your career and wonder how it would be like to be in another career and how easier it might have been sometimes' you just wish if there was anything easier than what you're in now are you gonna happy when you finish the easier things? then have nothing to do? but this way you will never take things around you seriously will you spend your whole life playing? i remember when my dad used to tell me " Son, stop playing and wasting your time and focus in your life" " Stop playing in the balcony" i used to have all my movies, camera, computer and editing tools in my big balcony sometimes i record short clips in my balcony so he used to tell me to stop messing around and wasting time, do something serious i wanna ask you a question, are you more upset because of a soccer match we lost or about the things happening in Palestine? you see few people in their offices relaxing and not doing their job and tell you to come the other day recently people focus more in football games, because they focus and dedicate their time to it even if they're just watching not playing there is a movie about a guy who is a fan of a game, he kidnaps a player and kills his son and tells him that he has to win the next match we see a lot of people we know who are living to be football fans their life is all about football, to go to the stadium and attend all the matches of his favorite team paints his face and travels with the team to support them you know? we look at these fans and mock them saying that they're taking it seriously all of us is like this, we're taking it so seriously, more than we're supposed to do when you tell me that life is not a game, life is real life is like any other metaphor what is the use of it if your metaphor is right? at the end there is no right and wrong, we all describe it and give metaphors as we please but if you described it from your point of view to feel that you're the right one and the one who make sense will you be happy about it at the end? no, you won't! it's not important how you see life, what is important is to see it in a way that makes you happy i personally felt happy describing life with video games there's a story i read when i was a kid about a little girl who went out home with two bags, a bag full of food and the other bag is full of waste. so she saw an old woman, and asked her " What do you think about the seasons of the year?" Winter, Autumn, Summer, Fall so the old woman said " Winter means cold, you can't go out of your house, rainy nights and a lot of dirt in the streets" " Summer means sweating all the time, you can't get rid of the temperature and hard sunny days" " Fall means a lot of rubbish and leaves in the streets, and you feel depressed and disappointing" " Autumn is full of eyes' diseases and breathing problems" so the little girl gave her the bag of waste then she went to another old lady and asked her about her opinion about the seasons of the year the old woman replied " Summer means beach and sunny colorful days" " Winter means beautiful rain, fresh breeze and hot chocolate" " Fall means that the world is turning into something more beautiful than before" " Autumn has nothing more beautiful than it" so the little girl have her the bag of food How you see it is what really matters how you describe it the year before i shoot my first movie " On a day like today", i used to call this year the dark and mute year i spent 3 years just trying to make my movie and all the problems and difficulties popped showed up i even faced the man who was suppose to write me permission to give me the license to direct and he told me " You shall never direct any movie while I'm still alive " just like that. actors who don't wanna work with a fresh director who never studied film making in any academy, or at least worked as a co-director " why would we work with you?" they told me hard editing, it was even hard to find a director of photography or anyone who can actually work with me, it was so hard so after convincing a famous actress to work with us, she apologized later and couldn't make it i sent an email to my boss telling him that life to me is like a video game, you can't lose, but you only stop trying i will run the game, and press restart from all over again, and I'll continue the game, whether you wanna continue with me or not however, thank god the movie was successfully completed, and it was a good success as a start after few months from the movie, and discussed the movie, my boss sent me the same email and this might be one of the most important highlights in my life and it made me somehow think that, what i think about is more likely correct so, when one day, you find that life is so hard, remember that whoever created this game and level for you, has certainly left a clue or a hint for you somewhere and that when one day, you find that the problem is way too hard to bare and fight through make sure that your happiness will be much more when you pass it remember that at the end, you don't have to describe life as a video game but you have to know that whatever you call life, it has to be the thing that makes you the happiest and i hope that you like life from my point of view thank you

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 21 seconds
Country: Egypt
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Cannes Winner Communications
Views: 155
Posted by: tedxnile on Apr 12, 2010

" How to play life" not only the title of this talk, but also the way of living life from Amr Salama's point of view, Amr is a young movie director and a writer, he believes that life is a game and we should all play it right and never be afraid of failing and trying again.

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