The only Constant is Change

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If one understands that change is the only constant in life then one will more easily recognise what Heraclitus is saying in his ‘obscure’ writings when he claims such things as, “The way up and the way down are one and the same. Living and dead, waking and sleeping, young and old, are the same.”

I quote Heraclitus, the pre-Socractic Greek philosopher, who said that “Change is the only constant in life” to highlight the need for all of us to always plan for and be ready for change in every aspect of our lives.

I think about this as my husband and I recently relocated to the UK for work, and I reflect on the smooth transition this was as everything fell into place because we embraced the change and welcomed it, that it came to us as simple and as normal. People are so afraid and so resistant to inevitable changes in their lives and yet if we go with it and are adaptable and flexile enough we would see even more blessing good and ease come with it. The interesting thing is that I have heard an old man say once that whilst many people know how to live for today and a few plan for tomorrow, most people can never contemplate the fact that there will be a day after tomorrow.

Many people, therefore, live their lives guided by a series of short-term plans and goals but without wishing to contemplate the sustainability of their plans over long-term. Change is fused with time and time stops for no man but many people set themselves up to be long term failures by failing to start in the way that they intend to finish. Life is a journey and series of changes and adapting over time.

So the short term postures that people assume make change a scary prospect for many. Some people fear change because it may mean that they lose their livelihood. Some people fear change because they believe that it may come with a loss of status. Other people fear change because they think that it will come with disruption.

But no one sees the possibility and positives in change and that with change comes only learning and greatness, even in business today, the leaders who are able to thrive are the ones that are able to deal with the constant change and chaos of the ever-changing business landscape.

But our fears, whether rational or not, cannot stop the hands of time and as time marches forward it drags change along with it. So we have to face the fact that change is coming. We must also cease to fear change. Change is only traumatic if we try to resist it. Here are a few steps to navigate the inevitable change without fear?

Step 1 –  Do not tie your whole being to things that are bound to change

One must find a way of ensuring that whatever position you take on any issue does not come to define who you are. Do not hang your hat on one thing. Allow for growth, and evolution of oneself. Maintain a healthy multifaceted identity and do not become one-dimensional. Diamonds are cut to be multifaceted as this increases their ability to reflect light. Every experience adds to our being and is malleable as it impacts who we are and who we become. Allow the freedom and be open.

Step 2 – But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed

If you do not want it proclaimed from the rooftops, do not whisper it to a man who may be secretly recording your conversation and not taking good care of the tapes – in essence, don’t tell all of your dreams, desires and plans, because not everyone is always happy for you. Let the journey take its course and things will be revealed when the time is right. Remember, the Devil was once an Angel.

Step 3 – Avoid extremes

Always be moderate in your views and what you voice, life is ever changing and it is through what you put out in the ether and that of which you speak of that comes to life. When you change and drive change, and when it comes to fruition allow for the possibility that tomorrow you are left back at where you started. Do not change to a point where you are unable to deal with the former situation. Be able to move easily between situations and deal with what life throws your way.

Step 4 – Take the opportunity and position yourself

Don’t wait for tomorrow, make that change now and live it, “be the change that you want to see in the world”, as Mahatma Ghandi once said. Get up, get out and do something. It is only through doing that we will get things done and effect change. We all watch form the sides line as life happens, but in the game of life there are two participants, spectators and players, pick one.

One of my good friends, Aamina Asmal, shared this beautiful quote with me by C.S.Lewis, ‘There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind’ , which is so true, with change comes growth, new beginnings, new learnings, a new you and most importantly a new narrative to your life’s journey.

Create your future

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One of my favourite quotes is from Peter Drucker, that says ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’ and it is indeed the way I live my life and the outlook many people should have when living theirs. Life is not about sitting on your laurels waiting for things to happen but really to create things for yourself and to make things happen for your future.

You are the architect of your future, the king or queen of your future you are able to shape your destiny and it starts with being proactive to create the opportunities and to create your future today, for tomorrow. Remaining steadfast in one’s dreams is key, staying persistent, and never giving up, no matter what trials or tribulations you might be faced with.

When Peter Drucker quoted that the best way to predict the future was to create it, he wasn’t just talking about being persistent; he was talking about using the eternal power of thought, the very fundamental energy that all life and reality is born from, to help manifest your dreams.

Dream Big

An absolute must to creating your future, is to first dream it up, and dream big. Don’t allow others’ perceptions of what’s possible influence how big you actually dream. The greatest innovators and the most successful people in the world have always dreamed big. However, in order to truly dream big, and to really allow your subconscious mind to process and believe in those dreams, you need to write them down. When you etch your dreams in your mind, that’s where they tend to stay. You need to bring them out of your mind and onto a sheet of paper.

Find Strong-Enough Reasons

What drives and compels you to leap forward in life? Who or what do you believe in wholeheartedly with every single fibre of your being? You can’t predict the future by creating it if you don’t believe in it first. That belief starts with your reasons. You need to have strong-enough reasons that you must achieve these goals. What are your reasons? Think about it carefully and really put your effort into writing this out. Envision it so deeply and ensure there is a monumental reason behind it, that you are able to see it through.

Create a Plan

It’s not enough to just dream big and have deep-rooted reasons for wanting to achieve your goals. You also need to create a plan, an action plan. A goal without a plan is just a wish. You need to take the time to create a roadmap. How will you get from the present point to where you want to go in life? What are all the steps you need to take to hit your milestones on the way to your goals? You need milestones so that you can stay on track towards those bigger, longer-term goals.

Analyse Your Results

To get from one point to the next, you need some metric for tracking and measuring your results. No matter what goal you’re after, or whatever future you’re trying to create for yourself, you need to be able to analyse the results. Without this analysis, it’s easy to get lost in the obscurity of your results, and in turn, lose your focus. Analysing your results also helps to give you some momentum. It’s in those small wins that we’re able to keep pushing towards creating the future of our dreams.

Stay Focused and Committed

When goals are new, they’re exciting. They’re lustrous and shiny. But as time passes, those goals lose their allure. They’re not so exciting after months and even years. In fact, for the most part, we tend to forget about them after a while. You have to stay focused and committed, it boils down to just how committed you are to your goals. Clearly, if you want to predict your future by creating it, you have to instil a certain level of belief and faith in your abilities to achieve your goals.

Assess and Realign

Constantly assess your plan and aim to keep yourself honest on where you are in achieving the goals you set out and if are still on the right path. Its important to keep checking in on your plan and if required, realign your compass and get back on track to where you need to be to create your future. Most importantly enjoy the journey and enjoy every moment while doing so.

Seize the Day – Carpe Diem Life is not about how hard you are hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

 

 

 

 

 

Letting go of Social Norms

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Growing spiritually and being Happy by letting go of social norms and beliefs, is an important lesson I have learned as I progress and mature in life.

The spiritual dimension influences up to 80% of our lives. On average, our deeds in the past, decide about 65% of events in our life in the form of destiny. This destiny is played out by various elements, both in the physical plane and in the spiritual realm.

The Spiritual Path of Action is inherently about practicing Spirituality by the principle that ’As one sows, so shall one reap’. If we were to look at why we experience happiness or unhappiness in life, from the viewpoint of the Path of Action, then all happiness and unhappiness and all of our life’s events are experienced as either due to destined or wilful actions.

The destiny that we are born with is just a sliver of our accumulated give-and-take account over all past actions. Through our destiny, we pay or gain the merit of past actions and thoughts. There are beliefs about happiness that actually make us unhappy, here are a few:

Belief 1: I need other people’s approval to be happy.

Do you often do things only to please other people? Human beings are driven by “social proof.” Approval is extremely important to us. We wait to buy the latest gadgets to look cool. We attend family gatherings to appease all members. We don’t pursue our dreams because our families don’t approve. But just ask yourself: Are these actions (or inactions) bringing you any real happiness? The pursuit of approval is very different from the pursuit of happiness. Let’s not fail to distinguish between the two.

Belief 2: I will be happy when I have…

…a bigger house, a promotion, a baby, awards, degrees, respect, those designer bags and shoes! It’s the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination (or attain a specific goal), you will be happy. The reason why this belief is so strong is because it’s partly true. Yes, you will feel happy when you get promoted or buy a house. The question is: Is this happiness lasting? While you will escape your neighbours noisy parties, you will have to pay interest on your bond and spend good money maintaining your new house. Each level of accomplishment will bring its own set of problems. Does this mean you stop working toward your goals? No! Goals are important, and one needs to be ambitious. However, think about this: You can be happy now and also when you get the promotion. Do you really need to postpone your happiness?

Belief 3: I can’t be happy unless everything goes right.

Have you ever lost your luggage on a vacation? It upsets everything, doesn’t it? Instead of enjoying the charms of a wonderful new city, you’re running around buying clothes and other stuff, wondering if the airline will ever return your luggage. That’s what happened to me on my trip to Amsterdam about 9 years ago, one of my first trips to Europe – excited and no clothes to wear accept the clothes I had on. Strangely, now when I think about that trip, the trouble I faced because of the lost luggage doesn’t bother me, in fact I recall still having a great time, and managed to buy clothes the next day and on arrival with no clean clothes for the following day, I still painted the down red. The only thing that mattered to me was that I had an opportunity to travel to Amsterdam and experience the wonderful city.

Belief 4: I can’t be happy because of what’s happened in the past.

The past controls us in mysterious ways. You might have lost a loved one to misunderstanding or death. You might have failed to achieve your dreams. As a result, you may have developed one of these beliefs: “I am not meant to find happiness” or “It’s not my destiny to be happy.” I believe that I have the right to be happy, despite my past misfortunes. Your past doesn’t control your future unless you let it. Millions have turned their lives around. If they can be happy, why can’t you?

Belief 5: Happiness is not a habit that can be learned.

Can you actually learn to be happy? Like learning baseball or the guitar? Yes. Happiness is a skill—one that you build through a number of daily choices. Numerous studies have indicated that people who are happier have certain habits: they exercise, meditate, pay attention to their relationships, pursue their goals diligently, lead balanced lives, are grateful. Research shows that by thwarting negative emotions, such as pessimism, resentment, and anger, and fostering positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and gratitude, the brain can be trained to become happier.

Happiness does not depend on fate; it depends on our habits—habits that anyone can learn.

Our beliefs can bring us happiness or sorrow. Is anything in life ever perfect? We have ups and downs every day. Life is imperfect—perhaps that’s what makes it more interesting!

Question your beliefs about yourself, your life, and happiness from time to time. See if they still serve a positive purpose. If not, change them.

What beliefs do you think you need to change to be happier?

Remember, most importantly you don’t have to follow social norms.

 

Success is an Iceberg

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Iceberg Illusion

What people See and What people don’t see.

Do not fool yourself into believing that success for most people comes easily or they are born with it.

Determination, drive and desire are the common themes. Most successful individuals are just very skilled at making it look easy, however it is always a struggle and there is so much people don’t see.

Often people don’t know the hard work you have put in or take the time out to get to know your story.

Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” So it goes with saying that highly successful people are better at accomplishing their goals.

If you want to find success in your life it’s important to understand what successful people do … and the things they don’t do, to better understand the things ‘you don’t see’ that has helped them achieve their success.

They don’t define success with money.

Successful people aren’t necessarily wealthy … but they’re usually happy. Happiness defines their success more than money.

They don’t make important decisions on a whim.

Successful people think before they act, especially when it comes to important decisions.

They don’t underestimate the importance of planning.

People who are successful keep at least one journal to plan their schedule and track their progress. Many people even keep two journals: one for personal planning and one for scheduling/work.

They don’t go to sleep until their to-do list is done.

Highly successful people always finish what’s on their to-do list. And it makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside.

They don’t make their to-do list overwhelmingly large.

Keeping a to-do list is essential, but so is keeping your list of tasks manageable. Successful people don’t bite off more than they can chew. They keep their to-do list small and scalable.

They don’t set unrealistic goals.

People who accomplish great things in life set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-driven) goals.

They don’t work for hours on end.

Successful people work in small increments and take frequent breaks. This helps them get more done in less time.

They don’t sleep the day away.

Early risers get more done, plain and simple. The hours you have in each day are limited. Successful people go to bed at the same time every night and get up early, refreshed, to conquer their day. (Unless you have the occasional deadline that might require that from time to time).

They don’t put others before their family.

Successful people put family first. Work is important, but never as important as experiencing life with the people you love most.

They don’t work harder, they work smarter.

Successful people don’t necessarily work harder. They do work smarter though. They work with the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle. They focus 80 percent of their efforts on the 20 percent of work that will give them the greatest return.

They don’t always get what they want.

Let’s face it: life doesn’t always give you what you want. The difference between people who find success and those who don’t, is successful people are willing to make sacrifices for the greater good.

They don’t go a day without giving thanks.

Successful people make it a point to write things down that they are thankful for every day, keep a journal a bucket list to track completed vs still to do and be grateful for your achievements.

They don’t walk past the homeless in the street without giving some of their money or time.

“Success” is also defined by how much you give back. That’s why truly successful people will always stop to help someone in need and give their time or money freely.

They don’t let themselves go.

You’ll also find that successful people are usually healthier. They take care of their bodies and minds and make the time to eat healthy and exercise frequently.

They don’t let bad habits control them.

Highly successful people find ways to turn bad habits into good ones. They tend to maintain clarity and control of the direction they are going in.

They don’t know everything … and that’s okay with them.

Another measure of a successful person is this: they’re thirsty for knowledge. They know what they know, and more importantly, they know what they don’t know. Personal development is always a key driver.

They don’t care what other people think about them.

Highly successful people ignore the naysayers and the pessimists. They surround themselves with people who are going to make them better and couldn’t be bothered with the insecurities of others.

They don’t back down from adversity.

Another trait of successful people is that they choose to see challenges and moments of adversity as opportunities to grow. They fail fast and grow quickly.

They don’t stop.

Highly successful people are relentless in their pursuit of a happier, healthier life. They go to great lengths to achieve success … but don’t stop there. Successful people constantly find ways to continue to improve themselves. They believe success is a choice, and they choose to focus their time and energy on the things that will lead them to that success.

Everyone has dreams but not everyone possesses the power, knowledge and ability to make their dreams a reality. Carpe diem – seize the day!

 

 

What values do you live by in your life?

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IMG_7013Creating a basis where you know your purpose, making the right decisions in life and leadership becomes easy when you know what values you live by.

Making the right decisions is only the beginning. Leading with values is important for leaders because it creates and maintains company culture, informs employee selection, guides the direction of company growth, and adds meaning to the work required to maintain the organisation. That meaning starts with the leader, and passes down to all levels of the team. In your personal life, it is the basis for your home, your family and the way in which you live your life.

However, understanding your values and doing the “right thing” isn’t simple. In fact, for all of us, it’s a lifetime challenge that requires thought and practice. So let’s talk about the definition of a value.

What is a value?

Many people think that values are ethics or morals; they’re not. Values are what is important to us, what we ‘value’, and what gives us purpose. Just as organisations have values, individuals do too. Most people have approximately 5-7 core values that identify who they are at their core. Each person’s values are unique to that person.

It’s important to note that values aren’t just for work. Values reflect who we are on a daily basis, in everything we do at home and at work. This holistic approach helps us be a leader in all aspects of our life, not just in our careers but also in our homes.

Why do I need to know my values?

Values give us our sense of purpose. On a leadership level, when we align with our values on a daily basis, we have more energy and feel more fulfilled because we are leading from what’s important to us. When we don’t align with our values, we feel less authentic and become demotivated about our daily lives, which reflects in our leadership.

Think of it as a building/structure: values are our foundation that keep us grounded in what’s important to us. The strength of the values determines the strength of the structure, and all the other elements that fills the structure. A strong structure supports the ecosystem around it; a leader with strong values supports the organisational culture.

My mom always taught me the importance of being grounded and understanding that there is a higher being, and being a good person and doing the “right” thing is key. Being mindful of “intention” is key to one’s on-going success. I always remember the saying by the Dalai Lama: ‘Open your arms to change but do not let go of your values’.

5-7 values that identifies me at the core of who I am is as follows:

Appreciation. Taking a brief moment to say, “thank you,” or acknowledging the blessings, achievements and success you have achieved to date is paramount, as it fills your soul with more passion to grow.

Exploration. The action of traveling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it. Exploring and discovering forms a key part of growth, and through wanting to find out more and learn, we grow and we develop ourselves.

Devotion. Some days are just naturally better than others. It’s the same way in our interpersonal relationships and in our faith. Things can get unstable at times, but staying devoted to a higher being, or to a person through the uncertain times is our rock to grasp when things get shaky.

Commitment. Commitment shows loyalty and it can show bravery and tenacity as well. A commitment is a promise made and an expectation we have created. Honouring our commitments can make the difference between achieving what’s most important to us or feeling disappointed and defeated.

Integrity. What defines our character and our integrity is not measured by what happens to us; but rather by how we react and respond to what happens to us.

Optimism. I am a ‘glass half-full’ person. The value of optimism is clear, when your mind is positive, all areas of your life reaps the rewards – take what you have been given and make the best of it.

Vision. Vision is created by our dreams and daydreams. Vision provides the avenue to take our lives to wherever we want them to go. Our vision reminds us that we are always capable of learning and growing into who we want to be.

’Carpe Diem’, seize the day and be the best YOU can be, through knowing your values and living by them.

 

The biggest risk will be the one you don’t take

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Sandboarding

One of the most important lessons passed on to me was living life through experiences and exploration.

Life is about exploration – one of my dad’s favourite quotes is: “Dance like no one is watching, Love like you have never been hurt, Sing like no one is listening, Live like heaven on earth”. I remember it clearly, a printed image on my dad’s fridge in his apartment in Chicago overlooking the Chicago Times building, the first time I visited him since he had moved from Joburg to the US. This was my first trip abroad at the age of 16 traveling on my own. This was also my first experience and eye opener to how important travel is in teaching you life’s lessons.

Ever since  then, I have made it my life’s goal to make a list of all the countries I would travel to on my bucket list and all the other experiences I would explore in my life.

If you don’t live your days by personal goals and plans, chances are you will spend most of your time caught up in your day to day activities while life passes you by. In fact I had a teacher who always said “if you have not written it down on paper, it doesn’t exist in the mind to fulfil”. Hence, the importance of writing, making lists, and more importantly a “bucket list”. I started my bucket list in high school, achieving one of my first goals, which was to learn another language, and this was German, but also listing down 100 things to achieve while I am still on this earth.

I have now managed to travel to almost all my bucket list countries and more with one country still to visit which is Peru, and do Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. It does feel good to know that I have worked hard at achieving these goals and have achieved 96 items of my list with only 4 to go. These 4 are a lot simpler than the 96 I have focused on for the past 16 years. These last few I am still hoping to achieve over the coming years are: 1. Whale Watching 2. Machu Picchu – Inca Trail 3. Learn to play an Instrument and 4. Watch a live tennis match, Djokovic in action.

Ever feel your days are passing you by without any tangible output to speak of? What did you accomplish in the past 3 months? I often take stock of my achievements and how much of my list I have managed to tick off and achieve, it doesn’t only inspire you it also makes you see how grateful you should be for being able to achieve these things and how fortunate we all are to be able to do so. Reflection and taking stock of one’s life is important, and often we don’t set aside time to do so. What are your upcoming goals for the coming months? Do they mean anything to you if you are to die today? Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important so you can act on them.

Even if you frequently live by goals or to-do lists, they are probably framed within a certain social context e.g. performance, career, health. A bucket list opens up the context. It’s a forum to set anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do, whether it’s big, small or random.

I have listed down experiences such as: starting my own small business, smoking an original Cuban cigar in Havana, swimming with Dolphins, sitting for a couples portrait, building a large snowman, go fly fishing, go skiing, attend an opera at the Sydney Opera House, snorkelling on a remote island, attending a Formula 1 Grand Prix race, eat at one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, it really can be anything your heart desires.

Live in the moment, Take a chance, Live Now – Be in Love with your Life, every minute of it and never lose your sense of wonder. “Our physical lifespan is but a short speck of our existence in the universe”. What are you waiting for? Life is short. Live it. Take risks, as the biggest risk will be the one you don’t take. To new experiences and adventures.

Invite inspiration into your life

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Winnie The Pooh

Do something unusual

I know that when you feeling uninspired and you’re just not feeling it right now, there’s nothing like doing something spontaneous. Try something you have never tried before, like a belly dancing class, a photography adventure, a pottery class or go to a lecture on a topic you know little about yet.

Find your inner child

Often we don’t realise this but being a child again and doing things you enjoyed as a kid will allow you to feel inspired and free. Live in the moment and lose yourself. When you were a kid, the whole day was basically play time and you had the luxury of being fully present in whatever you were doing – Just deeply immersed in the now.

Physically loosen up

Anything that will move and stretch your body will help you thinking become more flexible. Being uninspired and feeling detached often has a physical component, as we very often end up stationary or doing physically slow things. A good way to guide you to a better mental state is to do something physical, like dance, running, or hiking – or yoga.

Stir up your creativity

Even though you might not feel particularly creative, doing something that requires you to stop thinking and start doing is usually a great way of getting inspired. If you need ideas – try fingerprinting, writing or crafting something with your hands.

Talk about your dreams

Tell a friend about something you would like to do one day. Try to describe it in as much detail as possible. If you don’t have a friend you can talk to about this, try writing it all out. See if you can reconnect with a dream by thinking differently, or connect with a new dream entirely.

Smile and laugh more

Smiling and laughing – even faking it – will make you feel happier. I’m not encouraging false laughs here, but if you are feeling low and uninspired, try watching a comedy or just smiling to strangers. This totally works! You might feel a bit silly, but if that can make you laugh it off – even better!

Get out into nature

Take a walk in nature. Sometimes all we need to get back on track is to allow ourselves to be off track for a bit. Walk barefoot on the beach, lie down in the grass and feel the earth support you or smell the air after a good rain. Relax, then move on.

Be limitless

So much of our stuck-ness originate from these short words; can’t, won’t and shouldn’t. So when you are searching for your spark – don’t limit yourself. Do it anyways!

Look to accept

It is what it is. And right now you are not in the zone. And that is alright! Just accepting that can make all the difference in the world. It’s like deciding to stop looking for something and then suddenly there it is!

Focus on your priorities!

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If you’re finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you’re not alone.

Many people are putting in extra hours, or using their smartphones to be on call when they’re not physically at work and that’s been me over the past four months. Work life Integration that’s it….

“If you feeling that you don’t have much control over the hours you have to work – you do”. You are responsible for your own actions and if there is one thing I have learnt over the past four months is that putting in the effort goes long way but you do require the balance. Lately, I started feeling one dimensional, that work is the only thing that I have been spending my time on and yes I can see the results and the growth in my career, but I have also seen how everything else tends to take a back seat. I have the most amazing husband who is supportive of my career and fortunate that I have put in the effort over the past few months but realise now that a balance is needed. One does not realise how fast time flies by and you can ask yourself: In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life?” “Focus your time and attention on things you can control.”

I have managed to relook my scenario and have worked the following into my schedule for better balance and control.

Here are five ways to bring a little more balance to your daily routine:

1. Build downtime into your schedule.

When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge.

If a date night with your spouse is booked that is out of the ordinary activities such as movies or dinner but more a “big” night out, or a night out with the girls or with friends is on your calendar, you’ll have something to look forward to and an extra incentive to manage your time well so you don’t have to cancel. My hubby and I go out a lot, as he is my priority and main source of solace, key thing to note though is do more “special” things, create memories that last. It helps to be proactive about scheduling.

2. Drop activities that sap your time or energy.

“Many people waste their time on activities or people that add no value” – for example, spending too much time at work with a colleague who is constantly venting and gossiping or just NEGATIVE and that goes for family too, you don’t want to spend time with family members that complain all the time and who does not enrich your life in anyway ” Advice: Take stock of activities that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them.

3. Rethink your errands.

Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming household chores or errands.

Could you order your groceries online and have them delivered? Have your dry cleaning picked up and dropped off at your home or office? Even if you’re on a tight budget, you may discover that the time you’ll save will make it worth it. Trading services with friends could work too, offer to do tasks that you enjoy or that you were planning to do anyway.

4. Get moving.

It’s hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.

“Research shows exercise can help you to be more alert” – I went back to gym last week after three months and already I feel a bit more energised, it does wonders – it took me over one week to recover though, but keep going at it!

5. Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way.

Don’t assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Set realistic goals, like leaving the office earlier one night per week.

“Slowly build more activities into your schedule that are important to you – Maybe you can start by spending an hour a week on your hobby of painting, or planning a weekend getaway with your spouse or friends etc.” I have finally managed to spend some more time on my photography and managed to finish off my photobooks for our last two trips we did this year to Japan and Spain.

Even during a hectic day, you can take 10 or 15 minutes to do something that will recharge your batteries. “Take a bath, read a light novel, go for a walk, or listen to music”. “You have to make a little time for the things that ignite your joy.”

Mine, is just relaxing, lying on my husband’s chest, curled up in front of the television, while we watch a comedy and laugh the stress off for 3 hours every week – it helps!!!

 

A Great Start – Meaningful Relationships

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The Sushi King

Happy New Year and wishing you a splendid 2015! Over the holiday break, I was fortunate to travel to Japan and how interesting it was to really observe and learn about such a different culture and people.

In Japan, there is a word, omote, which refers to the public, formal, and conventional aspects of behavior. This can refer to ingrained patterns of behavior, such as how close to one another people stand, or who shakes whose hand first at a meeting. It also can allude to behavior in business affairs and events in a business setting. Ura, which is more valued, refers to the private, informal, and unconventional aspects of culture. Japanese people see this mode of behavior as more valuable and meaningful, however, one only acts this way with close friends or family members. I found this terribly interesting, as the way in which you conduct yourself is extremely important and specifically who with.

The Japanese value outside appearances very much. This is not to say that they do not value what is private and hidden, but much importance is placed on one’s presentation and appearance. To demonstrate this point, the Japanese businessman is compared to a Samurai warrior or kamikaze pilot in “The Idea of Japan,” “The Japanese know that you never come to a negotiation showing your true nature. To deal effectively with you, they must find this out…It’s a game of masks at which the Japanese are adept.”

Thus in saying so, what I found most interesting is this sense of non-public display of behaviour, how you interact with general public and how you act with close family and friends, was the “meaning” behind it. The importance of presentation and what it says about you and masking of one’s true nature to have it strategically unfold as one gets to better understand you, for me is all about meaningful connections and the value thereof, how these connections are earned, what image you portray and how one conducts oneself.

I think that a lot could be learnt from the Japanese culture on how we conduct ourselves and the relationships we build. In this year of 2015, I would like to focus on building meaningful relationships and believe that everything in life starts and ends with these relationships.

Imagine trying to build wealth without others. Imagine trying to be happy without others. Imagine trying to learn without others.

Our very existence starting from the womb has relied on our relationships to others.

But there are no rule books for relationship building. We grow up learning to read and write hoping our connection skills learned on the playground are good enough to get by.

If your wealth, education, love, and even happiness is contingent on others, imagine what would happen if you upgraded the way we’ve built and engaged your relationships? Your life would change right in front of your eyes.

I believe there are 7 principles for building meaningful relationships.

I’ve noticed these principles show up no matter what. I believe they are universal rules. They apply no matter what culture you’re in, where in the world you may be, or what time in history it is. They’re fundamental for life, love, and business.

  1. Our external relationships are a reflection of our internal relationships
  2. Focus your mindset on giving unconditionally
  3. Serve others how they want to be served
  4. A relationship must be give and receive (sometimes you can say no)
  5. Get on peoples maps…empathise
  6. Always make others feel safe
  7. Honour every behaviour because it has an intended positive outcome, no exceptions

Let’s strive to build better relationships in 2015, be it business, family or friends!!!

Behind the Camera Lens

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Flight

I majored in photography and fell in love with it in my first year of university where I worked with pinhole photography. I enjoyed the idea of being able to capture a still moment in time and how light defines the image that is framed. “Photography is a complex medium. It holds a mechanical process of capturing data in different forms which are linked to notions of truths and reality, as well as that of fiction and can form rendered truths and realities into that which is not always true.”

I focus on photography as my passion and look at the world through a lens with my devotion for travel and how being well travelled and exposed to the world, various cultures, races, religions and dynamic people, changes your way of thinking and allows one to be open minded and more tolerant of diversity and difference.

I  also believe that brand marketing lends itself well to photography as they are both focused on conveying and communicating a message and I find myself in communications working within the corporate marketing and communcations industry. I am a thinker, creator and explorer and love what I do as I am able to be free and creative, while having fun and I am also able to help others as I have created a platform for young photographers to be able to market their work and build their brand.

I believe that it is important to see beyond the camera as a mechanism of truth, when capturing a scene of “reality” and  that every photograph has a meaning, a hidden message and a story to tell. A photograph is a portrayal, its a representation, its an interpretation and is a perception of the scene it aims to capture from the artists eye.

Carpe Diem!!

Image Titled: Flight, 2012