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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mix and Match

Been using Technorati a bit more lately. One of the things that amazes me is the vast difference between top tags and top searches. It almost looks as though people are not writng about what others are looking for (although with 50 million blogs someone somewhere probably has your information). For example, look at the list below from this morning

Top Searches
Tom Green
Paginas Da Vida
Lindsay Lohan
Mark Foley
Jada Fire

Top Tags
thursday thirteen

Not a lot of matches there. Surely, if you want to promote your blog it would make sense to write about something that matches what people are looking for-even if it's just once in a while. A marketer once told me-'find what people want and make it. It sure beats trying to sell them what you have.'

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Nation in Crisis

The situation in Zimbabwe is worsening as a shortage of chocolate hits the market! One of the major suppliers to the coffee shop is unable to supply the usual quantity of chocolate due to a shortage of raw materials. So far, the general public is still consuming old stock in the shops, but replacement will be another story. It is simply a matter of time before the racks of enticing goods placed by the till to tempt innocent shoppers are empty. For chocoholics, like myself, this is a disaster of monstrous proportions. Unless dire steps are taken, there will be a widespread manifestation of withdrawal symptoms in those who cannot obtain their daily fix; the loss of productivity will take a heavy toll on an already stretched economy. The solution: in the short-term release forex to import the necessary goods. In the long term, plant cocoa trees in appropriate areas in the country to ensure self-reliance for cocoa production. Have you ever wondered why cocoa from North Africa and sugar from Mauritius is taken to Europe for processing and exported back to Africa? Have a beautiful day. I’m off to enjoy a bar of chocolate-while stocks last.

Zimbabwe chocolate humour

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Defining Moments

Yesterday I finally made a decision I have been wrestling with for some time. I gave up ballroom dancing. There are multiple factors at play; the primary one being that I just do not feel that it is producing any lasting results in my life and the lives of others, and that I could make better use of the time. Sometimes pruning is necessary for growth. It has been a hard choice. I have just closed the door on three years of competition. It will mean changes in relationships and friendships I have developed as a result. It is entirely possible that this will be a seasonal break, we shall see. It is an interesting time.

The reactions of people have been varied. So many people have come to define me by my dancing that it is hard for them to see me in any other light. I can’t let the definitions of others define my life and values-that has to come from me, and God. In a recent post, Dr John Stanko mentioned coming up with defining values for your life. It got me thinking about my own. I suppose I had never really paid much attention to them. The premise is that if you understand what your values are, you will plan your life around what is important to you. When you are doing what is important to you, you will be fulfilled.
So here is the beginning of my list:

I am a learner
I am a worshipper
I am faithful and loyal
I am a team player
I am a teacher
I am a man of prayer
I am an encourager
I am a good steward of what is given me

It is by no means complete and I will add and expand on it in the next week. I encourage you to start your own.

personal development

Thursday, September 21, 2006

To learn perchance to teach

What did you learn today? I learnt that my friend Luke prefers to sing pop to opera, how to add tags to a post, that my mother is doing well in South Africa, and that one of my students, Silas, has a tendency to sleep in class. None of it is earth-shaking stuff, but it’s all come to me today. Some of it may change tomorrow (Silas may wake up, Luke may discover rock and my mother could decide to come home), that shouldn’t stop me learning. Rather, it should encourage me to seek out unchanging principles from the stuff that come my way (e.g. you reap what you sow). Learning should be a way of life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tongue Tied

“If you need an offering for your envelope please raise your hand…”

I almost died of embarrassment on stage this weekend. The above quote (which should have been read with offering and envelope transposed) was the source of much humour after the church service that I MC’d at-most of it directed at me and my overzealous mouth. Statements like that in front of 3000 people don’t normally go unnoticed. Needless to say, I survived, although I probably won’t be allowed to forget it for about a month. I also managed to work out what to say if I make an error like that again. I hate making mistakes, but at least it is an opportunity to learn.

To be honest, last week was one of those weeks I’d rather forget. I nearly ran out of fuel, had to pay out a vast quantity of cash for my car to be serviced, woke up to a broken geyser on Sunday morning, and didn’t get a day off at all. Poor me-ok pity party over. This week is looking up. I had a rather productive morning today, and although busy, the rest of the week should bring an upturn. Despite the horrendous happenings of last week, I was able to enjoy much of it. I finished a query letter for my novel, managed to make enough cash at work to pay for the car, I finished reading a great novel (called Magician by Raymond E. Feist-link), resisted the urge to kill my grandmother, and got to spend at couple of hours with some good friends. Attitude is everything.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pink? (updated)

I thought I would add a bit to the previous post. Firstly, here is a photo of the offending shirt and tie.

I was pondering over my natural disinclination towards pink and realised that it probably stemmed from the early childhood concept of 'boys in blue, girls in pink'. I was allowing someone else to define my boundaries. To be honest, pink is probably not the best colour for me, unless it borders on dark purple. It doesn't lift me up like my other favourite colours (dark blues and purples in case you really need to know). So, despite the compliments, I won't be out shopping for more pink combo's. It's not that I didn't appreciate people's comments, I only hope that I can put what I like ahead of what others say about me. Raises an interesting question-when should the compilments that people pay you be seriously taken as an indicator of the direction that the rest of your life should take? After all, if people compliment you on a job you enjoy doing, maybe that's one of the keys to unlocking your purpose. Will give it some more thought, but let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Had a busy weekend. As I mentioned, I was MC'ing on Sunday. My co-host amd I decided to wear pink shirts and ties with navy blue jackets. Pink is apparently the latest fashion colour for guys. I have never worn pink before-just a deep seated prejudice about guys in pink-so I had some reservations and was not entirely comfortable with the idea. Still, I have never recieved so many compliments about a piece of clothing-it seemed everyone I spoke to liked the tie and shirt combination. How often do irrational mindsets set us back from doing something that would otherwise benefit us?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Updating me.

For a change, just thought that I'd take the time to give a bit of an update on me, rather than addressing a specific issue.

Hmmm. I suppose the main thing is the 'Majoring in Men' course that I have started. It entails studying 9 books over 9 months with a whole bunch of practical stuff as well. The idea is to train you up as an individual to deal with the issues in your life, as well as minister to other men. The course work is not hard, but the practical is real hard hitting, core changing stuff.

Have the National Ballroom Champs in 2 weeks. Missing a out-of-town competition this weekend, mainly as not had enough practice and a bit far to go. The Nationals are the last scheduled competition this year, so not a great attendance record at comps this year.

The parents are down in South Africa this moment while mum has radiotherapy. She is doing well and should be back in early October.

Not sure on all the weekend plans this weekend. Probably a breather on Saturday as I am MC'ing in church on Sunday(only found out today-thought I was on in 2 weeks) and got coffee shop tonight and Sunday night.

So nothing earthshaking or mindblowing, but that's where I am at the moment.

Monday, September 04, 2006

On Top of it All

Are you on top of your work, or is your work on top of your? That’s the dilemma I currently face. I have been doing a bit of stocktaking in my life and realized that sometimes I tend to let tasks build up to the point where they become monsters. What started out as a small, simple task turns into a towering obstacle to be overcome (e.g. my accounts at work-I am so glad I never became an accountant).

The principle I face is how can I ever do more if I cannot cope with what I currently have? If I cannot be faithful with small tasks now, what hope is there for me when I face new and larger responsibilities?

I have made a conscious decision to take control of the situation. By prioritizing, making to-do lists, and being a little more disciplined, I am getting to grips with the situation. One of my main excuses is that I never have enough time to do a task. This is simply not true. You will be amazed at how much time you actually have once to start to analyze it. Don’t believe me, keep a record. Record all those 15 minute moments where you do nothing; record the larger areas of time where you watch television (or if you’re like me, play computer games). Then, break your large task into smaller manageable chunks and start to DO IT! It’s rather foolish to plan something and then not do it. Also, consider what you can do to prevent a task building up, what can you do daily to deal with it, or is there someone you can delegate it to?

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I hate receiving criticism. The implications of failure and the manner in which it is delivered make it a bitter pill to swallow. The biblical book of Proverbs states ‘Poverty and shame will come to him who distains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honoured’ Prov 13:18. In dealing with people I have had many criticisms lately, especially with starting a new job (how come you always have the same stuff on the menu, your shop is too crowded, your shop is too empty, your prices are too high, your prices are too low).

Criticism, warranted or not, will come, it’s unavoidable. How we receive it makes all the difference. You can choose to react to it, or to respond to it. Reacting is simply that, a reaction, an instantaneous offensive to counter the perceived negative. Reacting can easily build up offence. Responding, on the other hand, means stepping back, swallowing the emotion and examining the offending information. There is always the possibility (however perfect we are) that the other person may be right. If so, what needs to change? If they are wrong, does the accusation bear a response? In my experience, often not. Sometimes there is need for extra information, just to clear the air.

It is a natural tendency to correct. My fear of criticism lead me, for a while, not to give honest answers when asked for advice, for fear of creating the same emotions that I felt in the other person. I soon learnt that this to is foolish. There is a way to package constructive criticism. Try offering a practical solution to the problem-‘have you considered…’ Or try the sandwich effect, a positive comment, the ‘unpleasant’ bit, and another positive comment. I really like what you’ve done with your hair, but are you sure that top goes with that skirt, how about the blue one instead, blue really brings out the colour of your eyes. And at the end of the day, don’t be offended if they ignore your advice-and what ever happens do not say smugly “I told you so”-they know that already.