How do you eat an elephant?

•22/09/2010 • Leave a Comment

A call to simplicity…

A number of years ago, a friend of mine took his family out to a nearby dam to go boating for the day. When they arrived there however, they were bitterly disappointed that the water level was so low, that it would be almost impossible to launch the boat into the water. There was quite a long stretch of slippery mud & gunk between where edge of the dam and the water level, making it impossible to launch the boat. Continue reading ‘How do you eat an elephant?’

What do you really want?

•07/09/2010 • Leave a Comment

 Have you ever thought about this?

What do I really want?….mmmm…

“Sure I have! Its something I think about every single day! “

No. I’m not referring to pipedreams of what are you whishing for or what would be NICE to have…or the idealistic…”one day when my boat arrives…I would like to…”

You see, most people don’t ever get to this point. The point of defining what it is they personally really want. They are glaringly aware of what they do not want, but do not have a clue of what they personally truly want.

Failing this knowledge, they end-up going for what the crowd is content with…and end-up with average goals.

The problem is that human beings are far from average, we are each and everyone of us, amazingly unique and special. With our own very unique personalities, thoughts, quirks, gifts, talents, ambitions, likes and dislikes.

The one-size-fits-all approach will never “fit” a hundred percent, because it was never meant to fit.

You are meant to tailor make yourself a life that you have been created for.

Let’s make it simple.

What do you want from each of the following areas:

1. Life

Why are you here? What is your purpose?

Is this too personal?

You don’t have to answer me…just think about this for a minute… If you were to die tomorrow…what would happen to you? What would happen to your family, what would you have left behind? Would the world notice?

Is the world a better place because of your contribution while you were here?

I reckon most people spend more time asking questions about where they want to go on holiday, compared to what their life’s purpose is.

2. Faith

What do you believe in? Who do you put your trust in. Do you believe we are all just random accidents in a senseless nothingness…wasting time here waiting for ….nothing…?

What do you do in line with your Faith? Do your deeds back-up your words of faith? If you truly believe in certain things, what are you doing to act in line with those beliefs?

3. Family

Is family something that’s important to you? Interesting to think that one day when you might be sick or old, it is not your career or job or business that will take care of you…it is your family.

What place are they getting in terms of your time, your effort, your attention ?

4. Relationships

Life is actually all about relationships. When you look at the very core of it. That is it. How you relate with those around you , determines the quality of your life.

The next important question is, who are you choosing to spend your time with. Remember that you tend become like those that you surround yourself with most of the time. Choose carefully.

5. Finances

Do you have a plan for your financial future? Why not?

Remember…if you don’t have a plan for your finances, others will give you a plan for what to do with your money. The only problem with that, is that that plan will most probably be more in their interest than in your own.

Start with the end in mind, creating a cash flow of what you’ll need to live on and look at creating assets that generate cash flow to get you there. There are numerous risk-free strategies available to the average man on street, IF you are willing to work hard, be teachable and have an open mind about it.

6. Health

Health is obviously a blessing and you should never take it for granted. There are many ways that you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming sick, but it all boils down to living a healthy lifestyle.

So why not create a plan of healthy eating, exercising and sleeping patterns?

7. Giving

Ever heard of the concept of sowing and reaping? (2 Corinthians 9:6 “…he that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” ) Nowadays they’ve “rebranded” this into a so-called secret. (What you give will come back to you. )

The principle however, is to give out of the right mind frame. Giving without expecting to receive back. Giving because of being thankful for having something to give. Giving out of abundance. Giving to make the world better. Giving because you can. Giving without any reasons. Giving without even being asked to give. Giving where its necessary to give.

You know the whole of nature is based on the laws of abundant giving….Plant an apple seed and you reap a tree with hundreds of apples and thousands of seeds. There’s no selfishness, provided that the proper nurturing and committed work is invested in getting the tree to the stage where it can produce its fruit.

What plan for giving do you have in place?

To make the world better. To leave something behind?

Get a plan:

It has been said that “a fool with a plan, can outsmart a genius with no plan” – T. Boone Pickens. If this is true, it means that it is ALWAYS better to have a plan. I have certainly found it gives me a lot more confidence to work with a plan, compared to without one!

So use the following as a draft plan and then adapt it and START with your plan:

1. Define only ONE clear goal 10 years from today, for each of the following areas of your life: a. Life b. Faith c. Family d. Relationships e. Finances f. Health g. Giving Picture yourself at your funeral. What would you want people to say about you and your life? Write this down! If you don’t have it in writing, you will forget it! A plan that is not in writing, is not a plan! So there you have 7 goals for the next 10 years. Simple enough. What next?

2. Write down three simple actions (steps) that you can do to achieve each of these goals. As you start asking yourself these questions, you might be surprised to find that you end-up with more and more ideas. Write them down. The important thing is to focus on what you want.

3. Write down WHY it is important for you to achieve this. You need to create leverage in your mind as to why you’ll need to do some actions to start changing your life.

4. Schedule one of these actions for each of the 7 areas mentioned above into your Calendar. Yes…enter it in as an appointment. With a date and place! If it is important to you, you need to create the time to work at it.

5. DO IT!!!!  Take Action! This is the master secret of all successful people. They take action … regularly, consistently…until the job is done.

6. Read your goals DAILY and check your progress against them.

Great start!!!

Now ask…again…

Is THIS what I really want?

Life taught me this…(Please add to this list)

•03/06/2010 • 4 Comments

What has life taught you?     Will you be willing to share this with others?

I’m doing a bit of a research project and I need your help.

What are the things that would have helped you, if you had learnt about them earlier (in school for instance?)

I had to learn a lot of life’s lessons the hard way… and I believe that we should share our lessons learnt with each other more frequently.

It might just be that there are too few mentors out there sharing their experiences, but then again their might also be too few students, willing to learn…willing to bump their own head…

Here are some of the things (I could think of) that I would have loved to learn at a much earlier stage in my life:

  • How to work with money effectively
  • How to manage my emotions and thoughts
  • The value of healthy habits and routines
  • How to handle conflict
  • How to deal with difficult people
  • The importance of believing in yourself and your abilities
  • Getting over myself…realising that the world does not revolve around me :-)

  What have you personally learnt with regard to these lessons?

 What other subjects would you include in a list like this? And what have you learnt on that subject?

The Vital Few

•20/05/2010 • 5 Comments

Wouldn’t life be great if everyone had a great attitude, were friendly, cared for those around them, didn’t litter and added value in everything they did?  Wouldn’t life be great if everyone used the roads in a conscientious way, participated in community upliftment projects and cared about the environment…?

Most of us grow up with the idea that if EVERYONE could just participate, join, act, think, care….things would be better…life would work… and when we see that everyone is not as excited or passionate about a certain topic as we are, we get discouraged and sometimes even give-up on our cause.

The real fact is however that you do NOT need EVERYONE’s participation, input or support  in order to achieve significant changes in society, in your work environment or even in your personal life.

The law of the vital few states that roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. It is also known as the Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule.

Essentially you can apply this principle to almost any set of numbers in life, where you’ll see that it usually takes only a few to yield a major result.

–          20% of customers create 80% of the revenue

–          20% of the input generates 80% of the results

–          80% of sales come from 20% of the sales people

–          80% of results come from 20% of the effort

–          80% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by 20% of drivers

–          80% of a business’s profit will come from 20% of its products or services

You have probably heard of this principle many times, but have you thought of it in the context to changing your world around you?

This applies for both positive and negative influences.

–  A handful of criminals can strike fear into the hearts of a community, consisting of many times their numbers…

–  A few politicians can sow discord and pessimism across a whole nation, due to their ill-intentioned and emotional public outbursts….

–  A single reckless or inconsiderate driver can upset and endanger many people on his trip to work, by driving like an animal…

BUT

–  One lady on a bus, refusing to give-up her seat, can inspire millions and change history…

–  One bold, visionary statement can inspire multitudes and lead to putting a man on the moon…

–  A handful of ‘ordinary’ people starting a feeding scheme ends up saving the lives of thousands of people over the course of a few years.

–  A single man stands-up against crime in his community, starts a street watch, that grows into a neighbourhood watch that ends-up reducing crime in his entire town…

You see, I believe that we make way too little of the small things. We mistakenly believe that we are powerless, too small, too insignificant and this sometimes stops us from pushing on.

Just imagine if just a few of us (NOT EVERYONE) just did something small, positive, uplifting….everyday….IMAGINE the ripple effect of this…in our workplaces….in our communities….in our countries…

Buckminster Fuller  said that  he always wanted to be a “trim-tab”, the trim-tab is the small rudder that turns the big rudder that turns the entire ship.

You see, it only takes a few….who are WILLING to ACT…to put in motion a snowball…to push it down a slope….to create significant changes around us, that will forever leave footprints in the lives of those around us…

Come on!  Forget about being part of the majority or whether they listen or support you!

Be part of the few….the VITAL few!!!

Become a trim-tab.

Who do you think you are?!

•04/05/2010 • Leave a Comment

When we are young…4, 5, 6 years old…we think we can be anything. We can fly, we can run faster than the wind, we can kill bears with our hands…we will grow-up one day and become fighter pilots, space rangers, circus acrobats… Our dreams are huge and our creativity knows no limits.

Then, as we start going to school…”IT” starts…

What is “IT”, you ask? “IT” is the limitations that is placed on us. People start telling you that “its not possible” ; “it can’t be done” ; “you are not tall enough, smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, rich enough, etc” ; “it will never work” ; “we don’t do things like that around here” etc , etc, etc…

…and gradually…. we stop dreaming….we stop believing in our childhood dreams…and we start making peace with the worlds PICTURE of who THEY say we are…

Ooohhh woe of woes!!! WHY!?!?!?! We allow other peoples’ opinions of us to become our reality and in the process we create self-images that are often not only inaccurate, but also against all who we could be!

I say – NO!!!

STOP “IT”!!!

Who do you think you are? Who do you think you should be? Why are you not who you think you should be? Why not start NOW?!!!

Remember it’s all invented!

How liberating to think that I can start NOW, immediately to change my view of myself. I can repaint myself. I can decide how to react to peoples’ opinions of me. I CAN CHOOSE.

So I can choose to remain who I have thought I am up to now…and maybe this is a good choice – maybe I have made good choices about my self-image up to this stage of my life…if this is the case, then I’ll choose to remain the same!

BUT

Maybe I’ve chosen to create a self-image over years that is not a positive, constructive, possibility-filled one…. Maybe it has been limiting me for too long…Maybe I have too easily made other peoples’ opinions of me, my own reality….Maybe I should start changing it right now…

Maybe it’s all up to ME…

What you focus on, GROWS…

•19/04/2010 • 4 Comments

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” ~ Tony Robbins 

When I was a young boy, my brother  I used to play with a magnifying glass – we spent hours directing, focussing the suns rays through the magnifying glass, burning leaves, twigs, stones…whatever we could find. I was fascinated by what we could achieve with this little game. Little did I know what a life-lesson was hidden in this innocent child’s game. 

At a point during my high school years, I found it incredibly difficult to focus on my text books, when studying for an exam. My mom took me to a psychologist friend of hers, who helped me concentrate all my attention for short periods at a time on the work at hand. He taught me a few techniques that helped me become aware of when my attention drifted and helped me to refocus. 

Through my life I have come to realise that the ability to completely concentrate and focus all of my attention on a specific task at hand, is probably one of the main reasons I’ve achieved successes in those tasks. There is almost nothing more destructive towards achieving a goal, than having a diverted attention. 

Now, I know that in these times, more and more emphasis is being placed on achieving more with less. (The so-called multitasking trend.) People admire others with the ability to “multitask” – Now for me, this is only possible when we’re talking about simple tasks like listening to the radio, while drinking a cup of coffee, while watching your 3-year old play with his toys on the carpet.  Sure, no problem. But I have found that multi tasking is not really possible with more complex tasks, if you really want the outcome to be of high quality. I have learnt this the hard way…when trying to type on the computer while my wife is attempting to talk to me over the phone. It is simply impossible to truly give your full, undivided attention to more than one important, complex task at a time. 

So, if this theory holds true, it means that you have to place more of an emphasis on prioritising tasks and allocating dedicated, focussed time for those specific tasks – one at a time. Do not allow ANY disruptions during that specified time period (unless the house is burning down :-) ) 

This is all on the practical side, in terms of the philosophical side, my question would be the following: Are you focussing on the right things? For instance, are you constantly  focussing on certain negative things in your life, environment, country… Do you not think that constantly focussing on things over which you have limited or no control, leads to creating fear in your life? Would you not rather focus on things, that invigorate you? Focus on things that will let grow inside of you emotions and thoughts of inspiration, hope, passion, love, productivity, achievement and success? 

I have learnt that what I focus on, tends to become bigger in my life.

Therefore I decide what would be good for me and what I want more of and then simply focus as much of my attention as possible on those things. Similarly I try to avoid focussing as much as possible on those things that have a negative impact on my mood, emotions and actions. 

Look at what Peter McWilliams says:   “Our thoughts create our reality — where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go.” 

Understanding this principle has really helped me a lot in my life – know…when I start feeling really down about life, I start taking note of where a lot of my focus has been in the last while and time and time again, I find that I have subtly started moving my focus onto negative things that do not serve my purpose of possibility and abundance.

Then I immediately grab my “magnifying glass” and rush to my goals list, looking for the next “leave to burn” 

“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy. “~ Denis Waitley 

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. “ ~ Alexander Graham Bell

“When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.” ~ Michael Leboeuf

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.” ~ Denis Waitley

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

Let’s turn the world blue!!!

•07/04/2010 • 2 Comments

Are your actions limited by what others think about you? In what way do you allow other peoples opinions to influence your thoughts and actions?

“Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.” ~ Gene Fowler

This is such a revolutionary thought! This also implies that people (contrary than what you might think) don’t have you on the top of their minds all the time…. at all!

So relax a little! Stop worrying so much about what others think about you!

Get the right perspective about their view on your life, behaviour, actions… In other words, if people don’t think about you and rather about themselves and their own lives most of the time, who is in the better position to make decisions that significantly impact your own life…you or others ? Maybe this is the wrong question… Who has the biggest interest in a successful decision or outcome that affects your life?

You are the number one person of concern in your own life. Just as any other person’s “number one person of concern”, is themselves.

This is of course where all the trouble comes in…

Because we are self-centred beings, we tend to focus too much on ourselves and often to the detriment of those around us.

Ever heard of the phrase: “…love your neighbour as you love yourself…”? Wow!!! Wouldn’t this change the world! If we could constantly seek to help meet other peoples’ needs in the same way that we desire our own needs to be met.

Have you ever thought that if everyone did this, that there would probably be no poverty, hunger, orphans and no broken relationships? No war, divorce, rivalry, dictatorships, power struggles… If we considered others before we acted, spoke or made decisions that negatively affect those around us.

Imagine…

If every one of us just did the simple things… reported the pothole in the road, helped the old lady across the road, fed the hungry, smiled to the cashier at the shop, gave a sincere compliment to the security guard and looked for the good in others around us.

Just Imagine…

If we constantly strived to better ourselves and everything around us. If we picked up the litter lying next to the sidewalk as we walked past, fought for protecting the innocent and helpless, if we listened intently to each other instead of allowing our minds to wander, if we sought for the message and heart behind the words of others in our conversations…

I think it is time we take ownership and accountability of our little pieces of the world… What role are you playing in your slice of time in history…?

How are you making a difference in the world? What will your legacy be once you’re gone?

“No!” You might say…”you’re a dreamer. One person can never change the world!” Well, you might be right, one person can not, but each of us, collectively… CAN. Besides, no negative attitude has ever achieved anything of significant greatness.

I once read somewhere that if you dropped a single drop of blue ink into a bucket of water, the water will not colour blue. But eventually…if you persist…. one drop at a time…the whole bucket of water will eventually be turned completely blue!

What drops of “ink” are you dripping into your society… into the lives of those around you… in your lifetime?

Come-on! Let’s turn the world blue :-)

 “It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute… that gives meaning to our lives” ~ Anthony Robbins