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

Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 to 2008

It’s New Year’s Eve! Again. Strange that, we always seem to be shocked that the season has come upon us so quickly, as if it wasn’t going to come round again.

Where to begin? I have a brilliant Christmas in Kariba with a whole bunch of friends-old and new. Truly amazing time, no pictures yet, but there will be some soon.

Tonight I will celebrate New Years Eve with some other friends among a crowd of 3000 people. I’ve had a variety of New Years in the past, from the simple family ones to the sleep through, in crowds and with one or two people. Either way, tonight will be fun and exciting.

Despite the party, I tend to take this time of year to reflect on things past and to look to things ahead. I no longer make New Years resolutions. They tend not to work as they are generally set in the negative ( ‘I have to stop…, I must give up, I need to cut back on…). Rather I make affirmations, set in the first person, positive, present tense. This triggers positive pictures and emotions to help you achieve your end result. People may want to stop smoking, but can’t imagine what it looks like to stop, and until they do then there is little hope.

So crack out the champagne, have some great food and imagine all the positive the next year will bring. For me this year promises to be a year of travel, impact and expansion as I take my practice and other business interests to new levels. Enjoy the ride!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cathedrals, Kariba and Vision

Came across a great quote on vision in the last week-'If people don't think they are building a cathedral, they will think they are cutting stone, and no one likes to think they are cutting stone.'

I'm in the process of building the vision for my life, the picture keeps growing and it is amazing to see the dreams inside me. It's even more amazing to see them begin to come to pass. I am off to Kariba for the week-5 days of doing nothing but fun, fish and spending time with friends. I will have plenty of time to relax in a tranquil environment and do some great thinking. Then its back to Harare for the new year. I encourage you, amidst the festivities of the next few days to spend some thime thinking about whats ahead, about the positive you want to achieve this year.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Decisions in Zimbabwe

Decisions! You make a hundred a day, what to wear, what you eat, who you call, when you change lanes in the traffic, and most of the time you don't even think about them. You just make them. Then once in a while along comes one that forces you to sit back and think. There is that sinking feeling in your gut that cannot be mistaken for bad chicken. That 'if I make the wrong one on this one I'm better off as a stuffed turkey on thanksgiving' feeling that warns you that its crunch time. Well its crunch time at the practice. I've done the budget for next year, I've costed the business in a dozen ways and then I've looked at what we need to achieve as an organisation. I've compared regional prices and the bottom line is that my prices need to go up-drastically, without loosing any patients. Decisions. Before you all run off and book with someone else,which i suspect a lot of people may do, I have also looked at the impact this will have on our service delivery and what we can do to increase 'value for money'. The decision is do we go through with this and risk client loss, or do we keep going at an 'affordable' rate and sacrifice aspects of the business. This is Zimbabwe and there is no garuntee what could happen-some people have little income to spare on health care at the best of times.

I wish there was an easy way to do this, an easier way to know the best way to go. There are a few tips I've picked up. One is to look for all the green lights, when things start to line up one after the other you are probably on the right track. Weighing pros and cons is another, draw up a list with one side positive and the other negative. Ask others-this is a good option to help see different ways, but can be a way of procrastinating. Enough about me, I need to make this choice by the new year. For more useful ideas on weighing options try Mind Tools

Monday, December 10, 2007

Where does the Golden Compass point for you

I see the reviews for ‘The Golden Compass’ are out and about. Varied reports and box office success by the look of things. Surprisingly, considering the anti-theistic issues in the books, I have not received one single e-mail originating from the Christian right decrying the movie. Compare this to the weight of spam that flooded my inbox concerning a certain boy-wizard when HP hit the screens. Perhaps this is because Philip Pulman has been fairly open about his religious views, whereas the accusations levelled against Ms Rowling were largely unsubstantiated. Or possibly the fear of apostasy is less in this case when introduced to the concept of the parallel universe. Back to the idea of movie reviews. They are really someone’s opinion of a movie, hopefully backed up by a wealth of experience in the field. Opinion, however, does not always equate to truth. Have you ever disagreed with a review of a movie or a book-chances are probably.

Movie reviews are one thing, but what about the personal reviews of your life? Who is telling you ‘the truth’? What comments being made about you are not necessarily true and are holding you back? Some comments are probably relevant and should be taken seriously, but there are a number which should be thrown out with the garbage and burnt in some thought erasing incinerator. You alone are responsible for your life and the consequences of your actions. Who says you can’t have the career you want? Why can’t you try a new hobby because someone close to you says that ‘it’s just not you’?

At the end of the day though, is there somewhere you can find the ‘ultimate truth’ or do you just make your own? Is there a guideline to stop me killing someone because I think it is ‘ok’ and fits in with my ‘truth’? I would suggest that you could start by finding a basis in an ancient philosophical or religious text (I personally am a little fanatical about the Judeo-Christian Bible, but look into the Koran, Buddhist texts, writings of Plato etc.). That way you have some boundaries, otherwise the rest of the dream is up to you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Memories

Less than a month till Christmas. Surprisingly I have not heard one Christmas jingle in the shops in Ziimbabwe yet, a flash of decoration here and there, but no music. Maybe someone lost all the recordings or possibly it is just a symptom of the state of our nation. What is your favourite Christmas memory? The Christmas ritual for my family often included listening to the 'Nine Lessons and Carols' from Kings College on Christmas Eve, so even now the sound of a soprano singing the opening verse of 'Once in Royal David's City' stirs emotion deep inside. Other memories include decorating the Christmas tree on my parents' wedding anniversary, eating the first mince pie in silence and watching my mother conduct a childrens' choir.

Why the sudden interst in memories? Well positive ones can help you feel better. If you are feeling down, pull out a few positive memories of events, achievements and successes. We can't dwell in the past, but we can at least enjoy the present.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Break of the Movie Curse

Finally, with suave, sophistication and thought-provoking brilliance, the curse of hopeless movies was broken this weekend. ‘V for Vendetta’ and ‘The History Boys’ elevated the status of ones weekend from drab to dazzling with a combination of clever English, action and controversial themes. ‘V’ raises the moral question concerning the justification of the violent overthrow of the state when you face an oppressive system that leaves you no other option for expression, while the ‘French Lesson’ in ‘History’ will be long remembered for it’s humour.

Looking back over the last week I seem to have engaged in a variety of new or unusual activities. First there was the hiring of the German prostitute-just joking, my virtue is still intact. I made jam (a first), constructed a model plane (last done when I was 10), managed a 10kn walk(walk, what’s walking), was involved in a video shoot, and had coffee with people I don’t usually speak to. All of the above without panic, fear or the thought that I was out of my depth. Why the changes? Well, why not? If only it were that simple. As humans we are locked firmly in the grasp of the routine and familiar, and any deviation from the normal pattern is often an anxious process (go on, step into the restroom of the opposite sex). ‘Different becomes dangerous’ as ‘V’ aptly put it. We resent being pushed out of our comfort zones and eagerly desire to return to the safety of the familiar. There is nothing wrong with the familiar, it keeps us stress free and sane, until it limits our potential and causes us to make excuses not to venture forward. Then we need to make a new familiar, elevating our comfort zones through imagination and intelligent rationalisation and flow into it. The jam did not boil over, I did not stick my fingers together, my feet didn’t hurt, the make-up was bearable and the conversation stimulating. All in all, upon reflection, a brilliant week.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Memories of Jam

Jam. A simple word, only three letters, yet it conveys a sense of endless bottles of curds, spreads, jellies and confits glistening in the light and imparting a multitude of textures and flavours when spread over warm, buttered toast. Growing up on the farm, we made our own jam. When my grandparents first settled in a remote part of Zimbabwe they had the wisdom to plant a variety of fruit trees. Such actions were necessitated by being 70km from the nearest trading post and a further 100km from the closest town. My grandmother was an adept at jam manufacture, a skill she passed onto my parents. Memories of a pot of chunky marmalade simmering on the stove, filling the atmosphere with sticky citrus, while she prepared the bottles that would hold the precious substance, still invoke tears. We would spend endless, innocent hours foraging through the berry patch, after which, with the evidence of stolen morsels still smeared over our lips, our treasure would be turned into the king of all preserves-strawberry jam.

Somewhere along the way we lost the innocence and traded flavour for the convenience of bulk-manufactured, shop-brought jam, although in Zimbabwe this is currently a rare commodity. It was therefore, with great trepidation mingled with equal quantities of excitement that last night I embarked on the mission to create my own. Memories of boyhood flooded back as I gently stirred the mix of fruit (gooseberries are in season and relatively cheap), marvelling at how such a simple recipe can produce such amazing results.

Buying a bottle from the store is easier and saves much time that can be well spent elsewhere, and I am very pro the idea of ‘buying time’ (e.g. I have a maid to do my housework). Once in while though, its worth doing things the old way, even if for a mouthful of flavour-filled memories.

PS The basic jam recipe is mix equal quantities of fruit and sugar in a pot. Simmer over a low heat, stirring occasionally and removing any scum from the top. When tacky remove from heat and place in sterilised jars. Some fruit may require a little added pectin to help thicken ( a tablespoon of lemon juice will suffice).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Reading up

A well written article is the literary equivalent of a five-star gastronomic delight, where each flavourful phrase is rolled around the mouth and savoured to the full. There is a pleasant satisfaction at the end, unlike the hollowness left by the rushed devouring of a big-mac type article hastily swallowed from the pages of some cheap tabloid. Your brain, wit, and command of English have been fully engaged in thoughtful deliberation and you have been enriched by ideas and vocabulary that roll off the tongue like dark, velveteen, chocolate. Ah, the sheer pleasure.

There are good books, and then there are masterpieces with favourite paragraphs that simply demand to be re-read from well-thumbed pages handled with the reverence due to a sacred icon.

Which begs the question, what are you reading at the moment? I am going back over John Maxwell’s ‘Today Matters’, as well as enjoying the thought provoking articles in a ‘Best Life’ magazine. It’s not just about what you read, but why you read. If for pleasure then enjoy any book, if to learn then I don’t recommend sticking with fiction. One of the articles dealt with the effect of muscle bulk and the aging process and has encouraged me to do a bit more research through the scientific literature on the topic, not just for my own benefit, but for that of my patients.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The throes of justice

The normally well-oiled cogs of the justice system are slowly grinding to a halt here in Zimbabwe, well maybe not a halt, rather a grating on the ears and mental tolerance of all concerned. I had to attend court today. Actually I didn't need to be there, it was a remand hearing which does not require my physical presence as complainant. The police required a lift to court today, along with the gentleman who tried to build a wall in my head. He behaved himself all the way to court and didn't seem to mind my driving. I gave him plenty of opportunity to try escape in the hope that I could reverse over him, but no such luck.

The court building in Harare was designed to be a landmark, something that stands out from other architecture. Unfortunaly, years of neglect have left it a pale shade of its former glory. There is an ongoing strike by one of the groups working in the building that left only one court running today, but noone tels you that till you ask. So I was let a merry trail from office to office to court room looking for my case. It was finally heard and my assailant remanded till later this month. Justice may not be blind here in Zimbabwe, but could do with a pair of spectacles and maybe a Zimmer frame.

Friday, November 02, 2007


What can I say? It’s been an interesting week. Tuesday morning I was cycling along to work, nearing my destination when I get a blow to my head and fall off my bike. My first thought was that the world’s worst driver had run me down. Alas not so, some mad man(as in literal lunatic with little hold on reality, not just a figure of speech) had for some reason taken a dislike to me and thrown a well aimed brick. Not content with one hard rectangular object, he proceeded to throw a few more at me-at least 3 hit me, but I can’t be too sure as I was a little disoriented by then. Thankfully Joe Public responded in the form of multiple rescuers who happened to minister the fist of god (and boot) to my assailant. I was taken to my original destination, with the miscreant, from where I departed in an ambulance and he in a security van (after the security team, who know me well, inflicted a little justice).

I was by that stage a bloody mess-literally, and have a new red shirt in my wardrobe. The doc dutifully stitched up my head and I was admitted for a night. My ear still feels like it is plugged with blood and I have a perforated eardrum. I will be wearing a beanie for a while as what little hair I had has since departed under the scalpel.

What can I say? Nothing much really, it could have been a lot worse. I have no broken bones and only a few other bruises to mark me as worse for wear. I am alive and unlikely to incur long term damage. The idiot didn’t try steal anything either so I have all my belongings. If anything the hospital bills did more damage to my net worth than he did. I know often when you try step into a new direction in life you can face opposition, but this was a little ridiculous. I was on my way to set up some meetings to get a few plans in motion, but they’ll have to wait till next week. Maybe next time I’ll drive.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Directions

Decided to start a separate blog today, planning stages and experimentation at the moment. The basic concept is to publish at least one photo a week that represents the world around me. Will see where it goes. Stepped out of my comfort zone a bit with the layout and picked a colour I usually wouldn't use but think it goes with the whole feel. It's called Through My Eyes, have a look.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Half way there

It’s about to rain, which is actually bad news for me seeing as I cycled into my office today. I have patients in hospital this weekend and it’s my turn to take care of them while the rest of the world enjoys a break. Working on the weekend can be frustrating at times, but for me it’s only once in a while so I can generally pay the price in the short term. I knew about being on call before I even started my degree in Physiotherapy and was well aware that at times I would have to sacrifice a few days. There were a number in my class who had no idea, some had no idea about physio at all but lets ignore that. I am very pro the idea of trying something out before you commit totally, e.g. as a student visit the sort of area you want to work in, see what its like. If you want to run a hotel, spend some time with a hotel manager/owner. If you want to retire to the Costa del Sol, visit it to see if you can and still want to live there. That's why you get to test drive a vehicle and to try on clothes in the store. Keep an open mind, it’s probably not wise to base your negative assumption on one experience, get a couple of views on the topic. There we go that’s it for today. Me, I’m off to find a hot cup off coffee-if I can avoid getting drenched. Oh and the photos from earlier today, the view from the hospital's top floor

Friday, October 26, 2007

All In One Place

There is a multitude of different factors that contribute towards your satisfaction, efficacy and general ability to perform a task in a specific environment. Likewise there are multiple tests to measure, discover and unfold them. I thought that, for the sake of clarity as well as my own peace of mind, it would be worth placing them all in one place.

1. Values-these are things that are important to you, the things that determine where you spend your time and energy. E.g do you value family over work. They also include moral values e.g. will you work in an environment where you may have to lie-a lot. Basically they help you with motives and priorities.
2. Triggers-what causes you to work better? What do you respond to? I work well with classical music and write well to soundtracks from epic heroic movies. I take compliments well. Here also you can include things like task vs people oriented, are you structured or unstructured
3. Strengths-What you do well? This includes talent(natural gifting) and skill(talent you’ve worked on)
4. Passion-what drives you? These are things you enjoy doing and often feel emotional about. I’m passionate about seeing young people grow and develop to their greater potential. It’s also worth looking at your dislikes-what you hate (for me routine) or what’s a deal breaker. Sorry but I don’t like working among the elderly for long periods, they drain me.
5. Your Dreams-your goals, visions things you want to do. This includes strengths you may want to develop
6. Learning Style-how you retain and synthesis information. I am blessed with multiple, strong styles but tend to focus on auditory and visual.
7. Love Language-how do you express emotion to someone else, how do you reward people? Do you give gifts or do you prefer quality time or a verbal affirmation.
8. Finally there is you purpose and call. I put this last, namely because all the above can give a clue to what yours is. Purpose, this is your core reason for existence, the thing that permeates all you do, brings the most satisfaction and results for you. Call, now that’s probably a little different-the best shot I can give is a divine/supernatural directed path. I would even hazard, stepping onto shaky theological ground, that not all people have a call. We all have a purpose, but having a sense of God asking you to do something, lets say that I don’t know many people with that sort of mandate.

What does it all mean, what’s the point of this all really? Well it’s a pretty task and unless you use the information to help direct your life then you are basically no better off not knowing. Nor are the lists totally complete-ever. I started dancing at 24 and found that I had an above average talent. I’ve never played an instrument, but that could easily be a skill or strength if I work at it. How can it help, well try this task which I engaged in last night. List your strengths-all of them-don’t be shy either. If you not sure ask a few people what they see in you. Now take key areas or tasks in your life and rank them based on the number of total strengths they match. I got a list of 30(with some overlap). If that sounds pretentious to you, well it’s my list I’m not in it for the competition, yours may have more or less, that’s your list. Anyway, physiotherapy in my current role scored an 18/30-that’s 60% pretty good. Dance got 15/30, again a 50% not bad. Teaching, well teaching shocked me with the result, I wasn’t expecting the 25/30 80% that I got. Teaching engages more of my strengths than anything else I do-no wonder I enjoy it so much. Now there are probably other activities that I could do that match or beat that-I’m working on the concept. There is also interplay with other things like passion-I will not be teaching a geriatric class on political science any time soon, and values-no terrorist lessons please.

Anyway, it’s made me think about my future and what I can do to improve my teaching/facilitating role (one of which is do a Masters degree). Direct impact, bringing change through application, useful exercise for me. Try it, apply it and see.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Words words words

When I was growing up I always thought that the term black market refered to an area in some dark, secluded and sinister place where all the buildings were painted black and where people of a darker shade did their shopping (I grew up at a time where Zimbabwe had only just come out of a system that polarised on the basis of colour). Along with other erroneous childhood beliefs it went out the window when someone explained the truth to me. The real problem lay in the words. Then there are words that can be easily confused with others e.g. mastication-the act of chewing and ...well you get the idea right?

If you want to expand your vocab take a look at Dictionary.com where you can sigh up for a word a day email to help avoid all those embarassing situations.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Powered up?

Shhh now, stop what you are doing and listen carefully. Do you hear it yet, it’s at the bottom end of human hearing. That’s it, you’ve got it-the gentle hum of the generators in Zimbabwe. With electricity charges below cost and little forex for maintenance and importing a balance of power from a region already facing critical shortages, many Zimbabweans have gone the generator route. My offices are on a critical hospital grid and last week for the first time in ages we had a major fault that also hit most of residential Harare. This was not your normal load shedding that routinely happens at home. Give our authorities their due, they managed to get one hospital on line within 24 hours and we were back within 2 days, rest of those affected are generally still out.

We had to get a large generator to power the theatre where I was performing in a dance show. As it was, we lost one performance due to someone’s inefficiency in obtaining a power source in time. The show itself was a blast, I love performing for a live audience, especially a responsive one. We had fun as a cast and are now enjoying a well deserved rest from dance. Would not like to do this full time and hold down a day job at the same time. Next show? Who knows, but probably not for a while, but I enjoy dancing and will end up on stage again I’m sure.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Disappointment comes to us all at some time or another. Someone pointed out to me once that you can look at it as if you had an appointment with destiny and were dis (failed to happen)-appointed. Bearing that in mind, I was disappointed with the dvd, Eragon, I watched this weekend. It’s a far cry from what I had expected. I have read, fortunately before watching the movie, the Christopher Paolini novel on which it is based and thoroughly enjoyed it and I look forward to the third instalment of the trilogy. I can appreciate the poetic license involved in cutting a large novel into a 2 hour screen play, but I mean honestly the elf didn’t even have pointed ears-a feature repeatedly mentioned in the book. About the only positive point was watching Jeremy Irons in action, I love his acting style. So yes, not happy. The way around disappointment (or failure) is to use it to drive you to greater heights, not to give up. There will be other movies.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Postal Wars

Finished reading Terry Pratchett’s ‘Going Postal’ and am half way through ‘Sun Tzu and the Art of Business’ by Mark McNeilly. Surprisingly for a fantasy fictional novel and a business book based on ‘The Art of War’ there is much in common. From the idea of maintenance versus repair, to finding your competitors’ weakness and building your strength there, there are multiple ideas shared in both books. The other concept occurring in both books is the idea of forcing your opponent to make rash decisions by forcing them into a heightened state of emotion. Angry people can be manipulated and are more likely to make poor decisions resulting in their defeat. Combine this with the idea of knowing yourself before you know your enemy and it raises the inevitable question of triggers. In this case the negative ones. It’s pleasant to look at what makes you happy, excel and strive for more, but what about ‘the dark side.’ What gets under your skin and why? What is time wasting was a huge issue-your time is valuable so don’t waste it. Positive attribute on the surface but could also be exploited as a weakness…just get me late to a meeting or better still make me wait. Being aware of this helps you avoid being trapped in this manner. While most people you deal with probably wouldn’t think on this level, there are some that will-sorry it takes all sorts in the world and some of the liquorice ones are nasty. So have another look at yourself-I know I have.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Have you ever thought about why you really enjoy the things you do? Why certain things give you satisfaction or enjoyment? For example, I get a kick out of straegy and RPG computer games. Not racing, not FPS (first person shooter for those who don't play), strategy. One of the reasons is that i enjoy problem solving-I get a kick out of creating a solution, especially non-conventional ones.

Knowing that I can look for other things that involve problem solving-take physiotherapy. I enjoy helping people get better. They come in with a problem and I help find a solution, they get fixed, I get money and satisfation. Good deal that. How about you?

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Its been over a week without a scrawl from me. It's Jacaranda season here in Zimbabwe, a beautiful time if you live in the capital. So here some photos to brighten your day. Will write something a little more substantial in the near future.

Monday, September 24, 2007

a little news

A bit of personal news. I completed a course earlier this year called 'Majoring in Men', we had our graduation/commissioning last night. At the end of the course you get presented with a sword (very real and sharp). So here's a little photo. I hope to get some of the actual ceremony at a later date.

Otherwise recoveri

ng from a second dose of flu this year, can't say I was delighted but am back at work.

What's in a name

If I say the name, for example, ‘Brent’ to you what do you think of? Or how about the names ‘Corrigan and Maitland’? In the first instance unless you know someone by that name probably not much, and in the second, unless you are associated with the medical world you are unlikely to put much pay to the names of two pioneers and authors in Orthopaedics and Physical Therapy. Lets try another one-how about a blonde multimillion dollar heiress to a hotel chain with a recent spell behind bars, who is named after the French capital. Now unless you have been hiding under a rock (or possibly just don’t get her in your headlines) you thought of something. In fact I’d hazard a guess that it also stimulated an emotion, somewhere between causing extreme nausea or total adoration. The fact is most people have an opinion about Miss H., and depending on whether you view her as a blonde bimbo, or the next blonde icon will determine how you feel.

The next step, how would you react if you met her in the street, or even better she actually said hello to you? Be honest, based on you previous emotion. I guess there are some who would deliberately avoid her and others who would engage in the fawning adoration that would probably have her retching over you in disgust. I don’t really care how you plan on behaving. The point that I want to make is that our opinions, stored emotions and thoughts trigger responses in us when we are confronted with a situation. It is possible that they could get in the way of our personal progress and development. Worth thinking about.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Had a tooth out today, one of my lower wisdom ones. Do not recommend this anytime soon. The irritating part is that it hurts more now than before the procedure, for some reason my tooth was painfree despite all that was happening to it. I could have had a filling, but refuse to have the mercury amalgam ones, despite all the assurances from the FDA and dental associations (if I gave you half a teaspoon of mercury, silver and nickel would you swallow it…exactly…so why put it in your mouth). But I digress. The other filling types don’t take well in wisdom teeth which left really one option.

The amazing part was the amount of tooth below the gum line-probably a good 70% of the total tooth size. How often do we just look at the end product or at the obvious issues when dealing with a situation. I have a new found respect for looking below the surface. Take another example, the chicken pie you eat in the restaurant takes up to 3 hours to prepare. First you cook the chicken, debone it, mix it with other stuff, make the pastry, let the pastry prove, shape and bake the pie and someone comes and eats it in 5 minutes. Everyone looks at Bill Gates and Oprah in the now, at their current wealth. They often forget how far they have come or the hardships endured in the early years. Don’t forget your history, it will give you a new appreciation of the future.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Two nights ago, as I was riding home at night, a vehicle pulled up alongside me and a voice hollered out of the darkness, “Evening Doctor!” The lights changed green and the mystery greeter sped off into the night before I could get a good look at them. Despite the mild inaccuracy of the greeting, I’m a physiotherapist not a doctor, the fact that they recognised me was startling. It could have been an old patient or someone from the fringes of the other circles that I move in who knows me by reputation. You never really know who you are influencing or who is noticing you. A while back I got stopped in a shopping mall by a cleaner whose son I had treated, four years after the event she wanted to let me know how he was doing. I had completely forgotten, but she remembered. It is great to be appreciated. So as you go through your day bear in mind that you never know who is watching.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Creating Creativity

Ho hum, what to write about today? Lets pick a topic out of the hat… creativity, that’s a good one, especially when I’m trying to be. Creativity-the capacity to create. What does the word bring to mind-waves of negative emotion and images of a failed art class (oh me creative? no never), or the thrill and excitement of seeing a finished solution to a problem? I have news for you, you are creative whether you like it or not. Have you ever made anything, doesn’t matter how small or big? How about cooking a meal, that’s an act of creation, making something out of something else? Ever made an excuse-well that’s creative avoidance.

Theologically, should you happen to believe in God, if we are made in the image of God, and as He is a creator then we bear that attribute inside us.

How do you release this creativity then? Part of the solution is realising that you are a creative engine, you are a vessel purposed to create; be it ideas, images, things, chicken soup. The second step would probably involve setting a problem in front of you. Not the negative, self-defeating type, but a problem involving something you want, value and eagerly anticipate. Hold the picture of what you desire in your mind and watch your brain kick into overdrive to create solutions. Another idea would be to regularly engage in activity that requires creation; painting, writing, dance, pottery- it can be anything. Start small and use that success to propel you forward.

Friday, August 31, 2007

A quick picture.

Just a quick note as been rushed off my feet this week-literally if you include all the dancing I'm doing. Can across this picture from my trip to Cape Town last year, thought I would share it with you all. I love the sea. This just helps to remind me why.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

P.A.R.T. Y? Because I got to

Yes, time marches on, and as so many people were quick to point out this week I am a whole year older. I decided (perhaps rather lately) to hold a party for myself at the restaurant that I work at. Nothing too fancy; cake, icecream, friends that I knew would be there,that sort of thing-if I left you out sorry but little planning time went into the spur of the moment decision. Having never held my own party before,this was a bit of a novelty. Still it went well, was fairly well attended and left me feeling good.

One of my friends gave the Narnia soundtrack as a gift-I have wanted this soundtrack since I first watched the movie, but never got round to getting it. A dream fulfilled. I love the music; it inspires and triggers my imagination. I placed it on my Ipod(another great gift) immediatly. I find it easier to write with such stimulation playing.
It's important to know what triggers you, what stimulates best performance. It may be a time of day, a piece of music, a particular environment, a particular person. Identify your triggers and use them to promote you to better action. You may save the work that needs your best attention for a particular timeframe, or like me you may have inspirational music playing the whole time. It all helps

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Been ill for the last few days-I hate being sick. Rather make that loathe, dislike, intense feelings of negative emotion etc. Made my point.

The only positives were a few extra days at home(mostly sleeping but managed a few games) and a general time to reflect on life. Just happens to coincide with a significant birthday in a few days. No I'm not having an extra early mid-life crisis, I just had some time to think and look at things and to decide on what I would really like in life. Where I would like to stay, what sort f house I'd like, what sort of lifestyle..and then to start to ask what might I need to do to get there in the not to distant future. It's one thing to want to own your own house, but do you know how the properties market works? So plenty of reflection...and more of it needed. I want to go on holiday before the end of the year so will make plenty more time for deep thought

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Peter Pan

All boys grow up, except one. I watched the film Peter Pan starring Jeremy Sumpter this weekend. The book by J.M. Barrie was one of my favourites as a child and was worth revisiting. It contains many ideas and concepts that are part of lifestyle enhancing courses today. The power of positive thinking-you need to think lovely thoughts before you can fly with the aid of fairy dust. The idea of positive and negative confession, every time you say you don’t believe in fairies then one dies, and its converse in getting everyone to shout that they believe in order to save a dying Tinkerbell. You may not believe in fairies now, but how about some of your dreams. A positive expectancy of the future even when it looks bleak-‘To die would be an awfully big adventure’ says Peter when he stands alone on the rock as the tide comes in. So many skills that we can instil in young people that will aid them in achieving their dreams as they get older. I get the suspicion that this book/film and play will be around for many years to come

Saturday, August 11, 2007


A long weekend here in Zimbabwe and I'm working!!!! The extra punctuation marks may appear a little excessive but that's how I feel about it. It's a holiday-I shouldn't have patients in hospital. I only have three this weekend, but I still value my breaks.

Plans for the weekend-gaming, movies and reading. Probably a suntan in there as well.

On wednesday some friends of mine decided to mug me in my yard-complete with balaklavas, BB guns and general menacing. I thought I was about to die. When a shadow steps out of the dark and points what appears to be a weapon at you, you realise rather quickly what you value. For me it was my life. I would like to say that I valianetly beat them to a pulp, rushed them heroically whilst performing a series of nija style moves, but alas none of the above. I tried to make as much noise to wake the neighbours and yelled my head off while bracing for a bullet.

I suppose I can be grateful that i have an opportunity to think on my reaction and plan for any future senario. I have reviewed my house security and an in the process of changing a few things around. Still could have done without the shock.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Opening my eyes

I have been cycling a lot more than usual the last few weeks. Part of that is due to the current fuel shortage in Zimbabwe, but a desire to increase fitness is also a strong motivator. Most of my rides are early morning, which can be a bit chilly as winter bows out. My route often takes me up the back of the Royal Harare Golf Club and I was pleasantly surprised to find see a number of duiker (a small antelope) wandering over the course in the sunrise. I had never really noticed them before. And certainly not while driving. The slower pace of cycling allowed me more freedom to pay attention to things around me, to things I would not normally notice. If I missed the duiker so easily, what else am I missing in other areas of my life? Sometimes it pays to take advantage of your full visual field. It wasn’t a lack of intelligence that prevented me from seeing before; in this case it was that my focus was elsewhere. Now when I go pass I try to see how many I can find (as well as looking out for anything else)-so far my count is at 5.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Looking Back

Spent some time this week going over my previous diatribe. It was an interesting experience, to see what I was writing about a year ago and to compare it to today. My past dialogue through my fingers and onto the screen may not have a lot of significance to others, but it does to me. I never realised the importance of journaling until about 3 years ago when I began in to apply thoughts to paper. It has helped me to identify thoughts and patterns in my life and to give a focus to things. While many entries into my journal have found their way onto this site, many haven’t, sorry but there are some things that are not public domain.

What have I gained from this reflection over past posts? For one, I have realised that I love writing. I never dreamed that I would be able to scribble down so much and for so long. I felt a sense of satisfaction looking over my achievement-something that as humans we often do not indulge in. We tend to gloss over success and hurry onto the next thing in our lives, or worse still, we pass the credit onto someone else (Christians are bad at this-‘it was just God hey, not me, never me, I have no skill…you know the usual junk.) There is nothing wrong in accepting credit where credit is due-if you run a hundred metre race and win, it was your legs not God’s! Ok let’s move on before I get bogged down in that pet peeve. I was challenged to think of the future, that maybe I could improve a couple of things in my writing and layout, and that maybe one day these posts could become the focus for a book. That covers the past, present and upcoming periods of time, I think.

Oh, one more thing, my favourite posts- The Rain Dance and the one on Oppression prior to this, both strike an emotional chord in me long after writing.

Have a brilliant weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Systems of Oppression

This post may be a bit deep compared to my usual ones, but it is an issue that I have been wrestling with lately, both on an individual and national level.

‘Make a plan’ is the Zimbabwean catch phrase. It refers to the ability of people to get an end result despite the circumstances and is a testimony to the ingenuity of a people. It has one draw back; it fails to address the root cause of issues. We pull a proverbial rug over the hole in the carpet rather than repairing the defect. Zimbabweans in general seem to be more concerned with making plans than dealing with the core issues of governance and policy. Governance in this respect does not just refer to a political system, but incorporates the ideas of self-governance and corporate governance.

History is filled with examples of nations that have thrown off the yolk of an oppressive system only to accept another. African dictators abounded following the independence from colonialism. One of the issues that resulted in the American civil war was the perpetuance of oppression in the form of slavery. Even today the legacy of that oppression continues in the lives of many African-Americans. There were multiple French Revolutions, the Russian revolution overthrew the Tsar but replaced it with an even more oppressive system of communism. Why this trend? I believe one of the reasons is a lack of self governance by the individual. When all your life the responsibility of governance has rested with the state and that is the source of your self control, you are ill equipped to handle the liberty that occurs when that control is removed. Eventually, unless self-control is achieved the state (which often begins by promoting self governance) will begin to take over control again. Tyranny occurs when the individual abdicates the responsibility of self-governance to the state or any other system or persons.

This is not an affectation of the modern and post-modern eras either. Biblical Israel rarely went for more than a generation under righteous rule before resorting to evil and despotic rule. The Ten Commandments are there to promote self governance and a respect for God, other men and property. Part of the recent price escalation in Zimbabwe and the subsequent intervention by the government has been due to unfettered profiteering-again, it is not the only cause, but it has played a role non-the-less.

Oppression is not limited to national governance only. People can be oppressed when they are bound to companies that assume responsibility for the provision and welfare of their employees. When your house, car and education are provided by your company and you expect it as a ‘right’ as an employee, you are bound to that company. When you expect ‘free’ healthcare from your state, are you not bound and oppressed by the taxes you pay and the level of care you recieve-you have given away responsibility for your health to a system. Robert Kiyosaki has expounded frequently on the mindset behind the employee and the difference of that of the businessman or investor. Often the former operating in an environment of oppression will never experience true financial freedom.

Why does this happen? Part is ignorance, people know no better. When you have been governed by one system all your life, you only know one way to treat others, and only one legacy to pass on to your children. Part is that self control requires effort, an effort that many are not willing to expend. It is easier to be ‘thunk’ upon than to think, and in the short term hurts less. Continued oppression removes self value and worth. When you have no value then you will not stand up against anything that infringes on that value.

The solution? Well honestly I don’t have a complete one, but a significant part has to do with a change of attitude. Another common Zimbabwean phrase is “I am not the one”, this needs to be “I am the one.” In a similar manner to ‘ask not what America can do for you, but what you can do for America’, we need to assume responsibility for our actions and what we can change and control. With responsibility comes accountability, we should be accountable for what we have, and hold others to account for their actions and decisions. Rather than being passive lumps of humanity complaining at our raw deal in life, we need to become vibrant agents of change in the world around us, lifting others out the pit and building a better nation.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Injury Prevention

The concept of “Maximum potential” on which this site is founded includes physical health.

Any high level sportsperson can tell you about the frustration caused by an injury. Whether it be a minor muscle strain or a career threatening ligament rupture, the loss of time and ability as a result of an injury is a major blow. Much time and research has been spent on how to recover from an injury, but increasingly more and more effort has been spent on injury prevention. Most of the work in prevention takes place in the months and weeks preceding the event. Cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, strength, balance, and sport-specific skills training are all essential components of any training program. A balanced program will cater for the individual sportsperson, and include all the components listed above.

Much can be done on the day. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluid before, during and after a game. Dehydration results in decreased performance as well as placing muscles in a less than optimal functioning state. Keep warm, especially during half time. While the half-time break is often a well-appreciated rest, it can result in muscles ‘cooling down’ putting you at risk in the second half. Donning a tracksuit can help this. Learn to conserve physical and mental energy where not playing, especially if you have a number of matches on a single day. Rules are often designed for protection (e.g. lowering a player in a line-out in rugby, lifting the ball in hockey), stick to them. Talk to your team on the field; the stupid injuries are those caused by two players crashing as they chase after the same ball.

If, despite everything, you still find yourself injured seek appropriate first aid and further treatment. Many recurring injuries take place because of failure to treat the primary injury. A common example is lack of balance retraining following an ankle sprain.

Above all, do not let the fear in injury hamper you from doing well. Focus on playing well and injury free. Listen to inspirational music before your matches to raise your emotion and consequently your game. Have a blast and enjoy doing that which you are great at.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Loss if Innocence

It would appear that some of the wonder has left the world. The whole saga on Harry Potter spoiler sites trying to release information before the big day has brought it home to me. Leave a little surprise for the rest of us will you...help us to keep a little more mystery and suspense in the world for a little longer. Of course now you can hardly escape the storyline on the web, but with the warnings and a little thought it is possible to avoid the scraps of info until you have a real copy in your hands.

Pirated DVD's abound, even in Zimbabwe. You usually have to wait a bit(read months) to get a flick here in Zim, but DVD's are available in the flea markets within 2 weeks of the film being released overseas (some of the covers are pretty legit looking as well). Sad, and not good for the guys trying to make a living out of the film industry.

While I still believe that the availabilty of information on the web is a great thing (the pros far outway the cons) there has been a loss of some of the surprise factor in life. You can find the 'how to' on a magic trick with a little help from Google in no time. Watching a magician once you know the secret is a little like watching a candle burn after seeing a bonfire.

Let's strive to keep a little bit of wonder in the world.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Lost Art of Butter Rolling

Butter rolling??!!! For those not in the restaurant industry, this refers to the ability to roll butter into the cute little balls that you are served with when frequenting certain establishments. Now I'm sure someone has a machine to do it automatically, but we get to do it manually with two paddles of wood. The trick is a light touch and to think round. You visualise the perfect ball you want and your brain takes care of the rest-perfect every time. Such is the power of visualisation. Humans are goal oriented-we move toward that which we think about. Research has proven that correct mental rehearsal improves results of tasks-remember that next time you face something a little difficult.

Sound freaky and wierd-yip it is, but it works. Try driving through town thinking about red lights-you'll hit ever stupid one. But think green...

Ever woken up and thought that you'll have a bad day-guess what-yup, better curl up again. Ever had your day go exactly how ou planned it-bet you it happens more often than not. So spend a little time planning your day in the morning, imagine what it will be like, then go out and flow into it.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Will stay away from diatribe about Zimbabwe today-or I’ll just get all angry and irritated.

Got a rejection letter from a literary agent this week. Was a little surprised by my response which was basically an ‘oh well, move on to the next one on the list’. It could have sidelined me, made me give up and bin my manuscript. Instead I went home and worked on my second. Why did I not take it badly? I guess it’s because my vision in this area is so strong. I have a firm picture in my mind and it’s stronger than the image of failure. I know I will publish successfully (that includes selling the book-I don’t plan on self publishing and never selling a copy, that would be stupid). That image helps me ride through the temporary setbacks. J.K. Rowling had multiple rejections before publishing her first book, and now the entire (ok almost) world is waiting with baited breath for the final instalment of the ‘Harry Potter’ series. While I make no claims to be as good a writer, or to follow the same path of success, it gives hope.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Ok so I succumbed, I joined Facebook. Just one too many positive feedbacks and requests. So go ahead, look me up.


Action=reaction, simple equation really, Newton’s second law (I think). Doesn’t just apply to physical objects either. Take the latest development in the Zimbabwean saga, for example, the government issued a directive last week that all prices of all goods and services should be slashed by 50%. Nice concept, one small problem, shop owners just can’t seem to get their heads round the idea of cutting prices when most input costs are still the same (no-one cut salaries or rent). The consequence is that a number of shelves are now empty as the suppliers are failing to deliver. Action=reaction. Whether there is a further reaction by ‘Joe Public’ and in what form or direction it will take remains to be seen. For now people are content to raid the shelves, occasionally in riotous fashion, of supermarkets complying with the order. Interesting times.

The principle though is sound, for every action there is a consequence, some obviously greater than others. For anyone familiar with the butterfly effect though, even the accumulation of multiple small wing beats can add up to a thunderstorm of devastating magnitude. Of course, the same storm can be deadly to the butterfly that started it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Single Thought

Prolific author Anthony Horowitz has a book series called The Power of Five (good reading for teenagers by the way. According to the blurb it began as a single thought…would it be possible to write a novel like Lord of the Rings, but set it here and now in the modern world. In a similar fashion, Starbucks began as the result of a single thought (according to The Starbucks Experience-see previous post)-what would happen if good quality coffee was combined with the European coffee house tradition and placed on the American market.

The power of a single thought.

The power of vision.

The problem is that often the single thought becomes mingles with a second thought that contradicts it (e.g. it’s not possible). Then you have di-vision; two separate visions.

If there where no limitations, what would be your personal ‘I wonder’.

‘I wonder if it is possible to have a best selling principle based book that impacts the lives of teens around the world?’
“I wonder if it is possible to make a world class physiotherapy experience affordable for everyone?”
“I wonder if it is possible to change the way business is done in the restaurant industry in Zimbabwe?”
“I wonder if I could learn to play the piano?”
“I wonder…”

Let your mind run wild.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Starbucks Experience

Just finished reading “The Starbucks Experience” by Joseph Michelli. An informative read about the factors behind the Starbucks success story, punctuated by the experiences of clients and partners (they are not employees at Starbucks). Probably the part I appreciated most is the section at the end that helps you to apply the ideas of the book to your own business, rather than just being a book of knowledge it makes the process simple and practical.

There is a quote by George Bernard Shaw that he uses and I thought it extremely thought provoking, and not just because it is so descriptive.

“This the true joy of life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making us happy.”

Starbucks has become more than a business, but a force of global change that makes a difference in the lives of employees, providers, clients and their family, as well as the environment. They have moved beyond success to significance. Got me thinking about my own goals for significance, those things that are more than success.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Some insensitive prat dropped a cigarette butt down the loo at the practice today. Smoking in a public, health facility does little to endear anyone to me, but leaving your evidence bobbing along merrily in the bowl just triggers that part of me that desires to grab the miscreant by the scruff of the neck and force him to remove the offending item with his teeth. I’ll get over it-eventually.

Enough of that. Question of the week time! What is the best compliment that you have ever been paid? Have to think about it, or does the answer immediately spring to mind? Maybe you just haven’t had a compliment paid to you in a while. Did the compliment relate to talent or to character? What is your response to compliments in general-did you brush it off or accept it graciously? Why is this crazy guy asking all these questions?

Self examination brings insight. The answers to each of the above questions tell you a bit about yourself. My best compliment was from a waiter who told me that ‘I drive people differently’. He was referring to my unique management/leadership style. I appreciated it because I was questioning the effectiveness of my style at the time and looking for ways to improve it. I didn’t brush it off either. Humility has little to do with not accepting credit where credit is due. If you deserve praise or thanks then be grateful when it comes, you’ve earned it. Enjoy the moment and move on, not lauding it over people either.

Finally if you haven’t had a compliment for a while, try sowing some. Tell someone what you appreciate about them, better still, tell someone else about them in their presence. Build someone else up and then wait your turn.

Live Out Loud

Check out these guys and their music. If you love fresh concepts and great music you'll love this! Live Out Loud

Monday, June 04, 2007


There was an article published inTime magazine recently focusing on the success of the "Shreck" franchise related to the more traditional stereotypical 'hero prince and princess' type of older fairy tales. While it could be argued that the sucess lies in the extention of the 'rank-outsider' theme found in other literature (e.g. village girl or poor orphan gets a break and becomes the hero), it is also possible that the blurring of previous boundaries has something to do with it. The hero no longer has to be hansom, or the girl incapable of self defense. I have no problem with people breaking out of the stereotypes placed on them ,and in many cases actively encourage people to step out of their comfort zones.

That said, can one place any acceptable limits on behaviour and role. If behaviour is to be harmful is an example-I don't care how much of a mould you are attempting to break, but jumping off a cliff without a paracute or some other aviation device is plain dumb. What do we do about other boundaries though? How long will it be before we have mainstream homosexual cartoons being released-is that an exceptable boundary to break? For some it may be, for others not. What about increasing levels of television violence and it's potential efect on kids?How do you handle this as a parent? There was enough outrage at the Harry Potter series over the concept of wizardry and witchcraft to know that such an idea will produce some reaction.

Part of the solution has to do with parenting style. Raising children with their own set of values, where, ultimatly, they understand their own reasons for what they choose to watch and read, and are aware of any potential negative consequences. Rather than just saying "you can't watch that!!!" explain to them why, get them to talk about it. If you can't justify your stand on an issue, maybe you need to examine your own values?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Like an ever rolling stream

One of my patients pointed out a new way of looking at the time that we have. Assuming a lifespan of say 80 years, that means that you get 80 summers, 80 winters, 80 springs and 80 autumns (although I feel cheated about the autumns as we don’t really get those here in Zim). Now I’ve already had 30 summers-which means that I have 50 left! (We’ll ignore the fact that I want to live to 120 in this calculation). That makes time seem a whole bunch more valuable to me. I want to be able to look back at the end of each season and say that it was well spent. I’m setting goals for this winter and for the rest of the coming year-planning trips away and other activities that I know will bring a wealth of memories. Each day should be an adventure. That’s why my advice to young people trying to decide what to do at school is find something you enjoy doing and do it-that way you get paid to have fun for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The streets of Harare

Did you miss me? Had a busy week at the annual ACTION conference at Celebration Church last week-lots of fun and work.

I walked around the CBD in Harare recently, I had dropped a job off that would take a little while and had half an hour to spare, so I thought I would take a wonder around. As a child visits into the centre of town were a rarity and treated with awe and intrepidation, there was always much to see, buy and then there was high tea in one of the tearooms. What did I find this time?

The primary thing that struck me was the difference in maintenance levels between buildings. You can find two buildings next to each other, one well kept and the other in a state of disrepair (and usually filled with poor quality clients). Much I think has to do with the mindset towards maintenance and value of service. Offering a cheaper service does not always mean scrimping on things like maintenance. Africa is plagued by beautiful buildings(often built with donor money) that are left to fall into dilapidation due to a lack of foresight and preventative maintenance. Easy to obtain-hard to maintain.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Figures and Fun

Here’s a little thought to cheer you, my salary today is 1 000 000 times what it was when I started work 7 years ago, and I’m not sure that it currently buys a great deal more. Isn’t Zimbabwe inflation fun?

The fact remains is that money should work for us, not us for our money, investment is one way to expand your wealth base without working your fingers (in my case literally) to the bone. Regardless of the economic climate you are in there is always a way of increasing wealth beyond your working income.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A little vocabulary.

A ghostly miasma hung over the roads, bound by the early morning chill and concealing the bustling lifeblood of traffic that flowed sinuously through the city beneath. The artificial beauty created by the rising sun filtering through the mist concealed the death that lay in its toxic grasp.

‘Miasma’, it’s a lovely word. If you've never met it before then let it roll around your mouth and off your tongue in a delicious explosion of new found speech.

Pick up a dictionary, pick a word, any word you don’t know and learn it. Expand your vocabulary, not to baffle people with new found knowledge, but to understand more when you read and to be able to communicate better with those around you.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The joys of dial up

So there arn't any ok! At least though I have a connection to the net and can blog from the comfort of my office once again. We have a new PC and a new ISP-Zimbabwe On-line. Had very efficient and effective service from them. Managed to walk into their offices and out again with an acount within 15 minutes. Definitly a standard of excellence.

Broadband is still cost prohibitive at the moment as most of the infrastructure is still not in place. The change over is planned though-mainly because I have become increasingly frustrated with the slow dial up speeds this end of the world. Also, if I am to ever do some serious studying I will need access to the speed in order to download video feeds etc.

But for now the ponderance across the vast scape of the net continues at an infuriatingly tedious pace.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Pain in the A

I was a good boy and went to the doc for a check up-BP a little low, nothing untoward and been meaning to go for a while. Blood tests came back with a low vitamin B12. The cure-a series of jabs, the injection itself is not bad, but the pain a few minutes later...

I have come to a new level of understanding as to why the phrase 'a pin in the butt' is used to desribe a situation that makes itching powder look tame.

Ok, enough about me and my overshare.

I have a new PC (nice little athelon 3.2 processor) and spent an overly large portion of the week testing it out (on games what else). Sounds aweful to say it, but this is the first decent computer that the practice has had in its five years of existance. Sad in a world that runs on the things. There is still that unmistakable thrill though when you realise that it belongs to 'you', not somethng that has been hired or as part of another project. Next on the list a new car...?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Values again

If your value is based on the level of your pay, and you are paid peanuts, will you not behave like a monkey? What's the best way to get values-do we make them up as we go along? How about spending hours thinking up your own? Then there is the wisdom literature route-take values from a piece of religious writing and internalise them (the 'thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit adultery)-the catch is that you usually have to believe in the deity concerned.

Why bother with all this? The reason is that if you don't then you will value all things and actions as equal and respond to all situations with the same level of emotion. A current example-there iss a young man in the resaurant who has not caught the company value the 'the client is first'. As a result he will ignore any potential guest until his current job is done-be it washing the floor, drying glasses-he treats those with the same value as the person who pays the bill.

So what if you value family(all family even the ones you hate), work, cleanliness,maintenance, chores, the postman all the same, how will you prioritise...you get the picture!

Monday, April 23, 2007


Picked up a tail on the way home last night. Was followed through a red light and some unusual side roads by a white vehicle with rather bright lights that refused to overtake. Lost it by driving up to a police station. Not the most pleasant experience but one that I had run through in my mind a long time ago. The decision to drive to the cops was one I had planned many moons ago when car jacking became a more regular feature in Harare. Consequently I was able to remain relatively calm during the episode and just slipped into the plan, still got the adrenaline pumping though.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mallets, balls and influence

Forget any thoughts of a placid game played by refined gentlemen and ladies on a leisurely afternoon, croquet is a violent, vindictive sport that brings out the worst in people. Alright, so I lost; twice. Seeing the ball that you have toiled hard to work around the course smashed into oblivion by another player is about as disheartening as opening a carton of sour icecream. Enough on croquet...

Been thinking, yes it’s a dangerous pastime (but safer than running around a field of crazy mallet wielders). Been thinking about influence. Why do we place hit counters and comment pages on our web sites-for feedback, to know we are influencing others. It seems to me hard to measure the influence one may have in a lifetime, in that to measure who and by how much is really hard. Some can use book sales, students taught, patients treated, lives saved, but for the most part there is so much you can’t tell. I had a client this week-he’s 72 and more computer literate than most 14 year olds, and he isn’t in the IT business. He inspired me to keep up with technology and not fall ‘behind the times’. He influenced me and will probably never know it unless I tell him.

Your feedback and gratitude may be the only measure of influence someone else receives, so find someone this week who has influenced you and tell them. It may be a parent or a mentor, or something as simple as thanking the cashier who smiled at you and brightened your day

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I wonder why?

Abstinence sex education doesn’t work? Ooops now there’s a problem. A recent report studying 2000 teens receiving sex education has found no significant difference in the behaviour of a group receiving ‘abstinence-only’ sex education. Considering the current Bush administration’s focus on such programs this could be a problem for their budget, although according to a report in ‘The Washington Post’ they are denying the relevance of the study. Being pro-abstinence myself, I can only ask the obvious question (the one program designers are probably asking themselves) “why didn’t it work?”.

I can hazard a few guesses though. One is that giving people the pro’s and con’s of sex in the hope that they will ‘do it’ later is not enough. They need to internalise it and make the decision their own-not a government sponsored campaign’s. People often live by differing levels of preference. If your decision not to have sex is based on the preference ‘ I won’t because it’s not safe’, guess what, when you a situation that you perceive as safe comes along (e.g. use a condom) you’ll probably have sex. If you are ‘saving yourself for the true one I love’ is your reason, then when you meet a person you see as your ‘only love’, guess what, you probably will give yourself to them. I’m not arguing levels of morality here-if you choose to sleep with someone that’s your call. I’m merely pointing out, that as with nearly all our decisions in life, our decisions on sex as based on our internal beliefs concerning them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who you listening too?

At the risk of turning into a Daniel Radcliffe fan site(although if you are a fan check out the two previous posts) I thought it would be prudent to chat about something else tonight. As I sit looking out the fading sunset that colours a vast expanse of African sky, my thoughts are drawn to whom we really listen too. Often it is not what others say about, but what we think others are really saying about us that matters. If someone pays you a compliment and you think they are trying to ‘suck up’ to you then you are not going to receive the compliment, however true it may really be. If you believe the lie that someone has said about a colleague, it will change the way you relate to that colleague the next time you see them.

With the explosion of information on the web in recent years there is a lot of mis-truth about, truth that is filtered through personal perception and partly reported as fact. While that does not mean there is no truth in what is said on the web, I would encourage a healthy degree of scepticism from time to time, and also try track down as much first hand information as possible.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Daniel continued

Following my post yesterday, about Daniel Radcliffe's appearring nude in Equus, the hit meter on my site has recorded a significant rise in activity (I wonder if others experienced the same trend). I also wonder what a difference the show may have recieved in attendance had they chossen a less visible or well followed actor as the lead role. It will be interesting when the show's run is over to see if both the producers and Daniel are happy with the overall outcome, after all he has shed more that just his physical clothes. While it will help to break the 'child-actor' mould off him, it will have also showed other directors what he is capable of, there is always the risk they may not like it.It will have highlighted his acting abilty, but would have also shown any flaws that he needs to work on-especially those that the audience would have been aware of. But without risk we would never get anywhere. It takes a certain amount of guts to take off your clothes in front of a crowd, I hope it was worth the effort.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Stripping it down.

So Daniel Radcliffe has stepped out of his clothes and into a new role in the play Equus. Judging from the media hype surrounding it, the star of the Harry Potter series caused quite a stir with his decision- even if most of it was centred around the moral issues of having a 17 year old naked on stage. Morality aside, it is a bold step and will probably break the ‘Potter’ character mould that has been created for him (it is difficult to write about him without mentioning the character he is currently best known for). While he will forever be known as the person who played Harry, in the same way Elijah Wood immortalised himself as Frodo in Lord of the Rings, it would be sad if that was all he is ever known for and lost his identity to a fictional character. For the world to continue to try shape and keep him as Harry will only result in disappointment on both sides. One hopes the play has a successful run and that he does it justice with his ability as an actor, and that in the process it grows and develops him both in terms of talent and character. In the very least it can help bring about the instance that if he is stopped in the street by well meaning fans that they call him ‘Daniel’ and not ‘Harry’.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Writing maps

It's Good Friday-in case you hadn't noticed. In the western world this probably means that at the time of writing this you actually havn't got out of bed. I slept at 2 am last night after spending an evening designing maps for the Lord of The Rings: Battle for Middle Earth 2 game. Had a successful evening and managed to create 2 maps. I enjoy the process of planning these-there is much to consider, small details can affect the game play dramatically...just one building 'out of place' can make a huge difference to the result. The idea is to make a map that is beatable, but not too easy, or else noone will play them. I mean really who wants to play a game when you are garaunteed to loose.

Today some friends of mine get back from USA after a five month break, so am expecting another late night!

Just for the record, this blog has been going for a year this week. Honestly didn't think I had it in me to go this long, but mananged to deal with it in bite size chunks. It has only been in the last year that I have realised how much I really enjoy writing.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Pent up Pain

If you are ever stuck for a gift for me, you can buy me the latest Terry Pratchett novel (it’s only 9 months till Christmas, and soliciting never hurt anyone). In his book ‘Masquerade’ one of the prime characters, a cantankerous old witch called Granny Weatherwax, grasps a sword by the blade and doesn’t get cut. Her reason is that there was ‘no time’. Later once she has more time, and a handy needle and cotton, she allows the wound to appear. Got me thinking about how much can we bottle up emotional hurt because we have ‘no time’ rather than allowing us to feel and live through the emotion and deal with any issues that arise. With the ongoing process of grief after my mum’s death this has been only too apparent. It would be easy for me to loose myself in the ‘bus-y-iness’ of work when there is no real need to, just to avoid the pain. Except the hurt and pain is still there, undealt with and waiting for a chance to manifest at the first opportunity. How often do we gloss over the emotional scarring rather than using a good ‘needle and thread’ to bind the wound so that it heals without as much damage?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Teaching Out

This week I got to speak in front of a group of 250 ladies for the first-time, the only other man in the room was the sound engineer. This was not a matter of giving a few announcements (something I have done on numerous occasions before crowds of 3000) rather this was giving a researched presentation that many would regard as ‘the ultimate truth’ on the topic at hand. To make matters worse, I was unable to print out the notes that I had spent hours refining and had to make do with a handwritten list of points that I had scribbled out at the last minute. The topic was one that has the potential to be the most boring one to listen to-the use of flags and banners in praise and worship-or the most liberating.

It went incredibly well. Due to my intensive periods of preparation over the last few weeks, I knew my stuff almost by heart. This allowed me, even without notes, to free flow in my talk. We had tried to give practical examples through film excerpts (for the pedantic there are no copyright issues as no financial gain) to break the monotony. I left the stage knowing I had done my job well. There were no bored faces or fidgeting-which means that they were either listening to every word, or asleep with their eyes open. The true test will be over time-if people remember and apply what they learnt in the future and begin to reproduce it in the lives of others.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Long Day

Late after a long day at both offices so can't write much. Will try and post something a bit more substantial later in the weekend. So far most of my Saturday looks free-probably to be taken up by sleep.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Time marches on

It’s official! I am no longer President of the Zimbabwe Physiotherapy Association. My successor was elected today and steps into office immediately. Three years of service just came to an end. I would like to say that there was a rousing send off party, but alas there were no balloons or fireworks, just a smooth transition. Will I miss it? I doubt it. When I stepped into office three years ago, I was still the new kid on the block, and to be honest not too good at leading an Association where most members were either leaving, tired or retired. Attitude is everything, and my initial one was bad-I saw myself as a ‘caretaker President’ and that’s what I became. Hardly reaching my potential at all. Would I do it again? Maybe, but not for a couple of years, and if I do, it will be with a whole different attitude and strategy.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Whose comfort?

New experiment…been asking people what they think if I get an earring. The results have been wide ranging from-‘can do it for you now’ to a stereotypical ‘well just move to Cape Town’(with homosexual overtones). In general the responses have been fairly negative. On further probing, most people have no rational reason for their reasons, apart for the fact that it offends their idea of what a men should look like. Moreover, most responses have not been for my benefit (e.g. have you considered the pain, or I don’t think you suit it) but rather theirs, because they are uncomfortable with the idea. Made me reflect on my own words and ask myself if I have ever limited someone’s dreams because what they wanted to do did not fit with my idea of what they should be like.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Zim what?

The cynic in me wonders if the state police in Zimbabwe ever bother to scan the web for seditious and anti-establishment sites. If they do, this should get their scanners going…Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe…

Despite the current reality of high inflation and a booming and rampant parallel market, there are still positives out of the ‘Zim situation’. I would probably never have obtained my own practice so early in life (the previous owners having since both left for the UK and Australia). I have accompanied two national teams on tour. I have a life style that allows me the freedom to do extra things in the evenings (I can afford a full-time maid). I realise that these apply to me and not necessarily the entire population, but it is something positive none the less. Adversity can be the seedbed to greatness

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Team Dance

Choreographed a dance this morning, took the better part of an hour to do about a minute of music. It made me appreciate the value of teamwork; there were twelve of us, and we hit our groove. The ideas flowed and there was a great buzz of creativity. I was shocked when we checked the clock, because I had hardly noticed the time. There was very little arguing as we all headed toward our common goal. The dance itself was a very Charleston/jive piece and a whole bunch of fun.

There are a few things that make me loose track of time: teaching, writing, dance and reading (I will forego sleep to devour a great book). These are things I am passionate about and strike a chord within me; I find that I can flow in a manner that is productive and pleasurable, savouring the moment. I have no idea what triggers you, but you can always see when someone is in his or her groove. My one friend, Jon, can spend hours on the guitar, practicing and experimenting. I have other friends who get absorbed into games, the kitchen or even driving. What makes you loose track of time? Let me know.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Child's Stage

I went to watch a “Sir Cliff Richard” tribute this last week. Despite a half-filled auditorium and fairly lethargic crowd, it came across pretty well. The vocals had been worked on and there was a variety of numbers that could connect with most people. More could have been done with the set, although my experience on stage enables me to see past the greasepaint.

I remember as a child going to the theatre with magical expectation to watch characters and situations that were larger than life. I have fond memories of pantomimes and musicals that exploded off the stage and firmly into my mind. Having been on stage as a dancer and an actor, some of the glamour and gloss has been lost from my perception. I now see the cardboard and not the trees. Sometimes growing up has its disadvantages. We loose a bit of the childlike innocence that once inhabited our judgement. That’s not all we loose though. How many things have we stopped doing because it’s not an adult thing-when did you last kick a soccer ball for fun, or lie on the floor and create something out of lego? Why don’t we climb trees as adults or dance with the carefree abandon of youth? Who said that it has to be “this way” for adults? I have been challenging the mental blocks that society has placed on me as “not proper” to stop me doing positive things I would otherwise enjoy. I’m happy to dance around the house and to climb trees, and if I pass a couple of kids playing basketball, I’ll ask for a shot-I may not make the basket, but I’m a step closer than I would be if I never tried.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I’m gearing up for my Pacific Institute facilitator’s course next week. I have spent the last week sitting in as an observer watching another Master facilitator in action. One of the problems has been that I have always struggled to describe what TPI does. This week I managed to come up with something that helps…

“…pushing out the boat a bit more each day, going further away from the land till we are comfortable on open seas and can feel the wind and spray on our face, feel the warmth of the sun, and be at peace.”

It’s all about stretching out where we are as individuals, companies and nations in a smooth manner that inflicts positive change around us. I have really enjoyed going over the material from the first course and was surprised by how much more I got out of it the second time, and by how much I have changed over the last two months. A positive step.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Image is everything

Advertising gears a world to product and image. We spend hours in the gym and a fortune on clothing and grooming products. For many the car we drive and the neighbourhood we live in determine our worth and value in the eyes of others. Often this all takes place at the expense of character and moral development. We judge and are judged by the external image we portray without bothering to see what’s on the inside.
I’m not against looking good, I buy new clothes and gym regularly. But who wants to open a well-wrapped box that says “Belgium Chocolate, 70% cocoa solids” only to find a scattering of stale nuts dipped in substandard goo that barely passes as flavoured sugar, let alone chocolate.

I have had people tell me that I should no let the personal issues in peoples lives determine whether or not I should hire them; after all, what they do in their free time is their business. So, is a man who treats his wife like a kitchen rag going to treat the women in the workplace any better, or is a woman who can’t stick to budget at home going to have the same problems in handling the office petty cash? How can you trust someone in business who repeatedly asks you to lie to his wife about his whereabouts?

I love the concept of ‘wyswig’-what you see is what you get-to know that the well-groomed gentleman who walked in carries with him a presence of a character and integrity that I can trust. At the same time, I would much rather deal with a “shady looking” young man in a “skater” rig that will get the job done than some young fob who can’t tie his own shoelaces. What do you think?

Friday, February 09, 2007


Ok so I had a draining week. It had peaks, but generally I was tired and bit emotionally drained. A combination of late nights and preparing for the next two weeks out the office have compunded things. Despite all that I sat down with a group of friends this evening and we ended up laughing for an hour or two-over various things, memories and good jokes. It was a time to let our hair down and unwind. I feel better now, aided by a slab of 70% cocoa solid chocolate. Routine breaks and laughter are good for one. It has been a welcome relief as I face a three week period of intense work with little time off-I'm already planning the break at the end of it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Sidney Sheldon was a prolific writer up until his death last week. With multiple best sellers and a whole host of successful novels he has left an impact on the publishing world and in the lives of his readers. At the risk of raising the ire of thousands of Sheldonites, I did not enjoy his books. Then again, I wasn’t really the market he was writing towards. His content and style has never really gripped me and I failed to get much satisfaction from many of them(except The Doomsday Conspiracy). What I could appreciate was the fact that he had a model that worked. Many of his books follow the same basic pattern with the twist at the end and speak of the trials and success of women. It is a pattern that made him successful and appealed to the market he captured. It is a secure way to do business-find what works and keep doing it, with modifications along the way as times change. I’m not saying it’s the best way, but it sure made Sidney Sheldon a lot of money.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Set in Concrete

Was politely informed by a 5 year old today that he would die before his 4-year-old friend because he was born before him. Cute, and a great example of concrete thinking. How much do we limit our thinking of the future to our current situation and past experience? Probably quite a lot. How often do we fail to dream because our experience teaches us otherwise? A lot of people probably never reach their dreams because they don’t bother to dream at all. How many children grow up only to live out their parents’ dreams because they allowed their parents to dream for them? I had a patient this week that would love to play pro soccer-only one problem; his parents are unwilling to let him pursue it because they don’t see a future in it. There may be more than one way for him to achieve his dream, but his parents would rather pick his career for him than listen to him and sit down and make a way for him to succeed (he could do a part time or distance degree later and still train, or maybe get a sports scholarship to university to give him another option if it doesn’t work out). That last statement in parentheses raises another question-if you give someone the option to do something else “if it doesn’t work out for you”, will that not increase the opportunity for failure by creating an escape route when things get tough? Anyone got any ideas or stats on this?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Influence of Dance

Spent last night watching a rerun of ‘So You Think You can Dance’. One of the comments made by the judges was that a certain style of dance should be felt by the people at the back row, not just those at the front, in order to have an effect. Having experienced this first hand I can fully understand his comment-your projection from stage has to carry presence and be larger than life. If the person in the back row can sense what you are portraying then you’ve got it right.

Meditating on this, I think that this is a principle that applies to the rest of life. Where is your sphere of influence being felt? How large is it and is it growing? Your sphere not only rests on how many people you impact, but has to do with the quality of that impact. I have been challenged to look at the various aspects of my life, to see where I am being effective and to see what else I can do to improve

Reading lately?

“Mushrooms kill Family” was the headline in today’s paper. What type of malcontent fungi would commit such an atrocity and how did they perform the dastardly deed? I mean, was this a gang of small mushrooms that crushed their victims to death while bouncing on them in large numbers, or were they the larger chainsaw wielding variety of toadstool that needed to be quelled by the army? And do we not as a nation have anything better to report (preferably with a more accurate headline)?

Been catching up on my reading. I have currently been going through three books simultaneously, not my usual style, but effective. I am in the middle of Ed Cole’s ‘Real Man’ and Bill Bryson’s ‘ Here and There’ (very funny and satirical). The first book I have finished this year, however, was Pastor Bonnie Deuschle’s ‘The Great Connection’. It is essentially a parable outlining foundational truths on Christian Praise and Worship and is based on the Hebrew and Greek root words that are far more expressive than the English word ‘Praise’. I found it easy to read and understand, well laid out and planned. She has a Masters in Music Education that you can see has been put to good use, I am well versed with her teaching ability and am glad to say that it translates as well on paper as she does in her seminars. It is a great, practical read, not just for Christians everywhere but for anyone who desires a greater understanding of why people do what they do in some churches. Also if you want to see how to express ideas clearly and concisely, read this book.

Friday, January 12, 2007


There are plenty of reasons to celebrate right now. Firstly, this is my 100th post! A major milestone considering that when I started I wasn’t sure if I’d make it past a month. Also, I finally sent out my query letters for my book-so some lucky agent will get the first chance to say yes in the not to distant future. We won’t go into why it took me so long to get it out, but it is done and now we wait for replies. I have done all I can think of to do in getting the letters out, I’ve done my part (there are a couple of other options, like self publishing, but the tried and tested with the big market share for now). Today is also my gran’s 80th birthday, so will be celebrating with her tomorrow. I also celebrate 5 years in private practice this month-time has flown by and I still can’t believe it has been that long. To top it all I just had a call from my sister in the U.K.. It’s a beautiful day.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A different kind of time.

Time announced their person of the year last week-its you! Rather than focus on a specific individual, they devoted an issue to web 2.0, the concept of the grassroots revolution that has created the dynamic organism that this blog is part of. Sure they focused on a few individuals, but this was to illustrate various aspects of the web. So from Youtube to Wikipedia, they celebrated the uniqueness of the individual and the collaborative whole. If you are not part of this global movement, then where have you been?

All this begs the question, what’s next? Is this just a short term burst of creativity that will flounder out in a short period as all but a few dedicated individuals neglect their blogs? Will government bureaucracy and legislation stifle the web? Or will it evolve into something different where even more people have access and can communicate through even more imaginative and inventive means? Imagine real time though processed onto the web for all to see via neuronal interconnectors with your brain, interacting through virtual screens projected in front of us. Sound sci-fi, but so did computers. The concept of the computer existed long before it came into being. The scenario I described with the complete openness of private thought is scary though, because beep down the individual in us longs for some privacy, can hide behind a fake avatar and the ability to turn off the PC at the end of a session.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Time like an ever rolling stream...

So the New Year is 72 hours old…already! Time is the one commodity we never get back, once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Sounds fatalistic but it is true. I am appalled by the amount of time that I have already wasted this year-moments spent in indecision, moments spent waiting for an appointment, and moments spent-well I don’t know what happened to them. This continual seepage of time from my productive totality requires steps! (Wasn’t that a cool sounding sentence ‘productive totality’ I must remember that one.) I have a list of small things to do between larger items should the need arise, I am carrying a CD player with me (CD’s, remember those outdated things before IPods) to listen to continued input from the TPI course that I did, and I am planning my day in advance to try minimise wastage. It’s that I don’t want to have any ‘free time’ when I can relax, but better use of available time will add up to more ‘free time’ later when I can do things that people may regard as less productive (roller-blading for instance).

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Still going strong in the coffee shop, but hope to close up in the next hour or so. May 2007 be a prosperous and exciting time of growth and development with a whole bunch of fun thrown in.