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The art of living deliberately
What Kariza Santos has taught me about intentional living
This year, I realized that my life's trajectory wasn't determined by my intentional actions to shape events and directions. Instead, it was determined by my responses to external situations.
It’s as though I've been a passenger on a train, gazing out the window as the world rushes past me like a blur of colors and experiences. With no influence over the landscapes I journey through.
Acknowledging the stark reality of my auto-pilot mode of living, I committed myself to finding creative and proactive people to look up to. I yearned to observe people who approached life with intention, those who possessed the drive to shape their circumstances and chart their own tracks rather than merely riding the train on the predefined route they happened to find themselves on.
As I embarked on this quest, fate intervened through the YouTube algorithm, leading me to discover filmmaker Kariza Santos. She wholeheartedly funnels that go-getter personality in her channel, Life of Riza, serving as a de-stagnation tool and an embodiment of intentionality.
After tumbling into the vortex of Kariza’s YouTube channel, it became clear that she possesses three qualities I admire and strive to cultivate so that I can get off the damn train:
She’s proactive. She’s resilient. And she’s tenacious.
The proactive approach to life
Every time I try to escape the passive role of mere spectator in my own life, a wave of intimidation and despair overcomes me. It feels tempting to hand over accountability for my life’s outcomes to someone else. Fear of failure is paralyzing, but it pales compared to the terror of stagnation, similar to being trapped in a never-ending abyss.
Kariza’s videos serve as a call to action. She challenges the notion of passive waiting with a candid honesty that cuts through the conventional narratives of life, acknowledging that, at times, people yearn for a scripted existence, much like what unfolds on the silver screen, where every decision leads to a predetermined outcome.
While the prospect of shouldering complete responsibility for one's destiny can seem intimidating, it also signifies our ownership of the opportunity for self-awareness. This self-awareness acts as a guiding compass, helping us align our path with our true selves.
“We watch movies and hope that life is as fluid and calculated as it is on screen, either this or that, with a clear outcome of each decision we make.”
Kariza's commitment to this proactive approach to life is evident not only in her words but also in her actions. Her journey documenting her twenties and learning cinematography epitomizes the idea of seizing opportunities, having the courage to embrace challenges, and continuously evolving.
Creative pursuits and overcoming challenges
I’ve been writing essays on and off since June 2021. Maintaining this creative pursuit hasn’t been easy. It’s a bit like taming a wild beast - unpredictable, difficult, yet ultimately rewarding when you establish control over it.
Kariza has long mastered that beast. She learned to film herself, not just for the sake of sharing her work consistently but also to avoid stifling her creative sparks.
I’m still in search of my equivalent method for improving my craft. And no matter the recipe, it will involve persevering through obstacles, adapting to circumstances, and continuing to find meaning and satisfaction on the creative journey.
“Being a filmmaker is also being a problem solver.”
The same holds true for being a writer. There’s always a more innovative way to bring life into our vision; we just need to take the pen cap off.
Embracing change and perseverance
Writing serves as a tool that pulls me away from autopilot mode. Writing helps me live more intentionally. Writing forces me to slow down and analyze things from different perspectives.
It’s my tool for living more deliberately.
I believe filmmaking helps Riza in the same pursuit, and she transmits that need for conscious living exceptionally through her videos, driving people to resonate with it.
Heightened awareness of our circumstances makes growth far more reachable, serving as a compass enabling us to decipher our current position and desired destination.
Kariza speaks about taking risks by embracing the philosophy of “saying yes now, figuring it out later” and persevering through ups and downs. As a result, her videos resonate with people. Two things happened, as she explained: (1) She stopped doing things she didn’t want to do, and (2) when the algorithm “chose her,” she already had a substantial body of videos on her channel, crafted with dedication, for people to explore.
On May 10th, 2023, Kariza achieved the milestone of 10,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel. Three weeks later, on May 28th, she soared to 100,000 subscribers. I admire her ability to remain steadfast in the face of doubt and challenges. That’s a testament to her tenacity.
“There really is no such thing as an overnight success, but there is preparation meets opportunity.”
She looked at what she naturally liked, made notes on what was missing, bridged the gaps, and made it.
Having something you feel passionate about, be it filmmaking, writing, or music composition, helps us in the challenge of living more intentionally. Any direction is the right direction as long as you are living proactively and with purpose.
In no better way has anyone taught me that than Kariza.
P.S. I've curated a YouTube playlist that includes the videos I've discussed in this essay, along with some other gems that have inspired me on my journey. If you want to dive deeper into Kariza’s work, you can access the playlist right here. I called it the “Life of Riza Starter Pack.” I hope these videos resonate with you as much as they did with me. Happy watching.
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