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What do you really want out of life? Now what's stopping you?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Throw the box away!

How many sons, let alone husbands, would fly down to South Africa from Zimbabwe, for a day, in order to buy their mother a significant birthday present? Then on arrival back present them to her at a dinner held in her honour. Yet, that is what a friend of mine just did. Using his own finances he did what very few people would dream of doing. The extravagance may shock you-it is after all a considerable sum of money for such a short trip. I would argue that, firstly, she is worth it, and, secondly, money is a tool to be used in a calculated manner. He fully understood the sacrifice he was making, and its consequences. The effect on his mother was amazing and beautiful; she truly appreciated the effort involved.

I have written before about celebrating people when they are alive. As he said at the meal, taking her out for her birthday would have been too cliché-they had just been out the week before. So he thought out the box, broke a boundary that most of us do not approach in our thinking and did something that is astronomical and will remain a testimony and memory forever. I am inspired to think beyond the normal limits when planning a surprise, or spoiling someone. I may not have to fly to J’burg, but I’ll certainly be looking to do more than just dinner.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Step by step

Today was just one of ‘those’ days where everything got interrupted, where it would be easier to throw in the towel and just go and enjoy the sun. Work takes diligence. Blogging takes diligence. Diligence. Nice looking word, not so nice to enact, difficult at the best of times. Perseverance is one of those elusive qualities. When times are hard, diligence is avoided because of conflicting interests (‘there is too much else to do’). When times are easier, complacency becomes the enemy (‘it won’t matter if I skip a day’). Either way, we never get on and do that which we should be doing.

Lack of diligence means a lack of commitment. It is easy to begin in the emotion of the moment, but when feelings pass, what are you left with. The more unpleasant the task, the harder it is to be diligent with it. Diligence will cost you something, but the rewards may not always be an obvious gain. Daily scrubbing your teeth may not add anything extra to your life, but miss a few days and the world starts to let you know. Gains may also be slow, ask any dancer who is trying to increase their flexibility in order to do the splits.
Ultimately, diligence will get you where the uncommitted cannot go. It will develop the sort of character that is sort after by others. A man who cannot be taken at his word is a liar and a cheat. People do not often remember how you begin, but they will remember how you end-if you end. Only diligence will see you to the end of something meaningful.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Write it Down

The written word is one of the most powerful tools available today. We can use it to remind us of things to do, of activities long past. It can be used to convey instruction and warning. It can stimulate thought and discussion. Newspapers command our attention with their headlines-a negative review in a top column can sink a restaurant. Blogging, despite its IT format, is essentially the written word. Writing helps us to avoid the mistakes of the past, to learn from others.
If writing is so important to us, are you writing? If not, why not? The human mind, in general, is forgetful. Writing (or typing) can be used to provide an accurate record of what you are going through. Apart from this blog, I maintain a journal in which I record events, feelings and thoughts on at least a weekly basis. Another friend of mine keeps a memory list, when he remembers an event-he writes it down. We were able to go through the list a couple of weeks ago and relive memories that were prompted by what was written. Writing enables us to think beyond ourselves, beyond this generation. My gran wrote her memoirs of early days pioneering in Africa. Without that record I would have no idea of what she went through. My encouragement to you is to record the events of this last week down-your thoughts, experiences, anything you wish. Start journaling your memories-you won’t regret it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Maximised Listening

When was the last time you really listened to someone, no, I mean really listened to them. If you are anything like me, you will want to interject the minute someone opens their mouth to mention a problem; eager to dispense the all important knowledge and wisdom that you have gained. Of course you have the solution to their issue, that’s why they have come to you right.

Or, when was the last time you looked beyond the normal greeting platitudes (I’m fine, o.k., good) to find out how someone really is. When did you last truly listen to the love of your life.
I have been reading the book ‘Maximised Manhood’ by Edwin Louis Cole, and this is one of the many issues that he deals with. The book is wide-ranging and aimed primarily at men. It is an excellent read and highly challenging, if you are a man, I strongly recommend that you read this book.

For more information on Ed Cole check out www.EdColeLibrary.org

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Growing along the way

One of my little sidelines is occasionally doing calligraphy for certificates. Normally this involves filling in names for long service awards and the like. Normally, I get provided with a list of names, but occasionally there is a bit more history with them-dates commenced, start grade, current position.

One batch that I did had one interesting case that gripped my attention. A man had started out 25 years ago as a gardener and progressed to IT manager of his division. Considering that, when he began, IT involved telephone lines and certainly not computers, he had put in some serious training over the years. It struck me that this man had pursued a vision and dream. Looking down the list revealed a man who had started gardening at the same time, and guess what, he was still gardening. The second man had spent 25 years doing the same job- equivalent to spending 25 years in grade one.
Do you have a vision for the future, or do you find yourself stuck in the same rut? Where is your mindset? What do you need to change to get further? Why aren’t you doing it? In my experience, areas that I have no desire to change are areas where I have become set in a negative way of thinking, where the pain required by change does not exceed the pain of remaining static. Only a concrete internal decision is going to make a difference.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm back!

Kariba! That’s my excuse for my absence from the site. I have spent the last week up in the peace and tranquillity of one of the largest man made lakes in the world. Was on a houseboat with a bunch of friends. It was a surprise trip, which is why I didn’t mention it before, in case the wrong person read about it.

The primary reason for the excursion was to edify and initiate a young friend of mine who turned 18 this year. Each of the men on the trip took a few minutes to share an aspect of manhood, or an attribute that he could apply to his life. Building up others enables them to avoid the mistakes we have made in the past. Time will tell if this trip bears fruit in the future, I believe that it will.

Apart from that, it was fishing, fun, crocodile catching and suntanning. It was also the last week that I got to spend with another great friend who left to go back to college this afternoon. There were many memories created including catching a foot long crocodile and watching a lion hunt. The down time was necessary. I badly needed to recharge my batteries after a hectic year. I have come back refreshed and ready to face the rest of the year. I have one more planned break at the end of the month, although I may slot in another before Christmas.

So, it’s back to work (and play), which means that you should be hearing from me a little more regularly again.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cleared my desk...

…well almost. Had a chunk of time this afternoon, so set about tackling some of the tasks that normally creep up on me over the month e.g. clearing out my inbox, balancing my accounts, patient notes and letters (they normally build up over the week). Definitely a case of delayed gratification; sacrificing the present for a better future (namely this weekend). I am now in a better position to be able to focus on this evening. I will probably end up doing a few tasks around the house before going to see a friend of mine.
I hope to take leave from the office in the near future-part of my ‘downtime’ program- and relax. Too late this year did I remember a promise to myself in August last year, that I would take some time off in July. I am paying the price with a slightly overworked body and a dose of allergies to boot. So, now that I have cleared my desk, I can look forward to shutting the office out of my mind for a few days and just ‘blob-out’ and recover.