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1. Sure, life can be tough and unfair, but don’t take it all so seriously. Think of life as a big prankster. And learn to laugh at your own expense.

2. Be your own BFF. Treat yourself the way you imagine your best friend would treat you. Especially in things you say to yourself.

3. Learn to recognize fear (it can be a tricky devil) and nip it in the bud. Monsters, like weeds, are much easier to eradicate when they’re small.

4. Believe in choice. It’s always there. And if you feel like you’ve made a bad one, make another one and another one until you get it right.

5. Spend the time to really listen to yourself and realize what your passion is. It may be a traditional profession you can pursue, but it may also be as simple as being a parent, or reading books, or traveling. Whatever it is, if it lights you up inside, find a way to make it your priority. And then stick with it, no matter what. It’s not silly or childish. It’s your calling and you were born to do it.

6. Celebrate all your wins, and losses too. Rejection is hard, but remember – you dared to try. You were brave and jumped in. There’s no failure in that.

7. If something bothers you or excites you, speak up. People cannot read your mind, much less your emotions.

8. When you’re stuck in traffic or crammed on a crowded subway or miss your train when you’re already late, remember that the other cars, other passengers and the train conductor are not out to get you. It is not about you. They probably don’t even realize you exist. They’re standing there, focusing on themselves and how this particular situation is unfair to them. It will be ok. You’ll get where you need to be in the end. Breathe.

9. Some things don’t change much from when we’re babies. If you’re cranky, you’re probably either tired, or hungry, or need to poop. So take a nap, grab a bite, or have a seat.

10. Your reality is what you believe it to be. If you think “I can’t, I won’t”, you can’t and you won’t. And if you think “I can, I will”, you can and you will.

11. People die, lovers break your heart, and jobs and money disappear. Take the time to be sad, angry, disappointed and scared, but also remember to let it go when it’s run its course. There is no nobility in angst. Only pain. And it only hurts you in the end.

12. Your ego is like a toddler: sometimes it cries out because something is wrong and sometimes it’s just throwing a tantrum. Learn to recognize the difference to keep it healthy and unspoiled.

13. Laugh! As much and as often as possible.

14. Be kind. To yourself and others. Try not to judge too harshly, for we are all seeking the same thing – love and happiness. What we say, look like, or do as we travel on this journey is much less important than the journey itself. We’re all in it together. Seek commonalities rather than differences. You might be surprised to discover there are many more of those around!

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Born in Bosnia, Sabina Vajraca was only 14 when the war broke out and she found herself on her own, living as a refugee in neighboring Croatia. A born storyteller, she found solace in theatre, joining a local troupe and launching a theatre magazine that became a national success (much to her own surprise). A year later her mother and younger brother finally escaped Bosnia and promptly applied for the USA's political refugee relocation program. Her father joined them two years later.

After a decade in America, she and her family returned to Bosnia to reclaim the property they were forced to leave behind. This resulted in her first film, the critically-acclaimed feature documentary BACK TO BOSNIA, which premiered at the 2005 AFI Fest in Los Angeles and screened at over 30 festivals around the world, winning Director's Choice at the Crossroads Film Festival, amongst others.

Sabina's subsequent works include multiple short and feature screenplays; the music video for Nouvelle Vague's BELA LUGOSI'S DEAD; commercials for ESPN and IFP Media Lab; and a dozen short films, including VARIABLES, for which she was awarded the 2017 Alfred P. Sloan grant and which became a 2019 Student Oscars Semifinalist. The film is currently in the film festival circuits, having premiered at the 2019 Sarajevo Film Festival.

She also assisted writer/director Max Mayer on his feature film ADAM, starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne, which premiered at 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

After years in NYC, Sabina moved to the West Coast and currently resides in Los Angeles, having recently completed her M.F.A. in Film and TV Production at USC School of Cinematic Arts.  She is a member of Film Fatales, Women in Film, WiPMS, and Lincoln Center Director's Lab, and was recently accepted into the Ryan Murphy Half Directing Mentorship program.

For more information, please visit

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. 14 sensible and easily doable tips and techniques. Thanks Sabina for these easy to remember and implement steps. Congratulations on all your successes and here’s to many more.

  2. I like this line: if you say you can’t and you won’t then that becomes true. And vice versa.
    I didn’t want to sit down with the ex I broke up with because since I broke up with him, he’s been consistently mean and not acting like a friend at all. For someone that said every day that they loved me this was really hard to take. I wanted to still be his friend, but my ego said: I can’t sit down with him until he apologizes or acknowledges when I tell him how much this hurt me and I won’t feel safe until he does.
    Then I tried on the statement: I can sit down with him if he doesn’t understand me, and hasn’t been treatung me nicely. He did that for me when I was being reactive with him while we were together. And I can feel safe, knowing that they are his emotions and words. If I get triggered I can walk away.
    Thanks for helping me shift.

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