Happy New Year!
This is the time when we reflect back on the past year and catch up with the family. Most people I spoke to - clean the house out and do the things you didn't have time for during 2010. I must admit, I have spent the last 3 days doing that - cleaning the house, at the same time talking to my wife and daughters about their dreams and expectations for the year ahead. It has and during the next few days, still will be a good time for reflection and bonding as a family.
Many people are thinking of the obstacles and challenges ahead for the new year, and this morning I found a great saying which I posted on my Facebook page, "As you go into 2011, remember that fear is the opposite of everything you are, and so has an effect of opposition to your mental and physical health. Fear is worry magnified." If anything, you need to let go of all your fears and try see them rather as challenges. If you think about it, challenges are what makes us grow and give us the drive to reach our goals.
As I was doing my daily post this morning, my wife was tackling her side of the walk-in closet and came down to me with a letter written by my oldest daughter, Sabrina. My wife and I sometimes ask our daughters to write down their thoughts as interesting insights come to light on what is going on in their minds. Sabrina asked me a while back, what it meant that I billed myself as a 'Change Management Expert', so we chatted about it and I asked her to write down her thoughts on change. She wrote it in her own time, and gave it to my wife while I was out travelling. She put it away as a keepsake. Of course today she found it again in the closet and asked me to read it. Wow! The insight my daughter has and to see what goes on in her mind at age 13 was very interesting. So most of this morning we chatted and I learnt from my daughter again! Of course I immediately asked her if I could share it with you this month.
Here now is a 13 year old view on the world and in many senses what lies ahead of us in the upcoming year. I have added my comments in italics at the end as not to break the flow of her letter.
by Sabrina Riebe
Once upon a time was me. I was born as a perfect little child. I rely on my mom and dad for everything and am completely hopeless without them. Then I got a sister, Alexis. She also relyed on my parents for everything, she too was helpless without them. Life was perfect, our family was perfect, BUT still it has CHANGED!
CHANGE, it is the most scariest thing for me. It is scary how life isn't the same as it was even 50, 40, 20, even 10 or 5 years ago! Everything has changed! 50 years ago people didn't even dream of owning a big screen TV, the latest Mercedes Benz, computers, or even cell phones! SCARY isn't it? People have become so materialistic! They must have everything, do everything that other people do or have. They do not appreciate life anymore. Especially not the 'small' things like just opening your eyes in the morning, being able to speak to your family, having a family, waking up in a warm bed, their bodies, and many more things!
Even for me, just as young as I am, 13 years old, I can even see how everything has changed, how technology is taking over. I can still remember the first day Alexis and I had our first 'real' fight. What causes you to fight with your brother or sister for the first time? When you are born you don't know about fighting, or swearing, or anything worldly. So what causes you to have that first fight with your brother or sister? CHANGE! That's what causes it. You become older, you change! You grow up. Even Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy - people, children, just don't believe at a certain age anymore, because they have CHANGED. Yes, life does change us and make us wiser, but inside ourselves we must always keep that special magic alive, then it makes understanding life much easier.
Isn't that just amazing how she sees life? Do you realise the impact you have on your child's life? Does your child feel secure in your family? Often I ponder at how we need a licence to buy a TV and drive a car - today I feel adults should have a licence before they can have children! Often we don't realise the huge impact we play in a child's life. The silly things we say which can leave a negative impact. We need to be so aware of how we treat and speak to our children today. Our aim should be that they are totally secure in the family and completely comfortable with who they are. Make that one of your goals for 2011.
With the new year ahead - are you scared? It is the most natural feeling to be scared. Here that 'fear' comes in again. I sat with Sabrina and explained to her my comment above, that fear should be seen as a challenge. Challenges are exciting and lead to the possibility of growth. Those challenges that are ahead of us should be turned into realistic goals which are divided up into weekly and monthly smaller goals, ultimately culminating in the achievement of the challenge that lies ahead. Often people forget that achieving your dreams is only 5% of the goal/challenge. The other 95% is the trip you take towards achieving it. Hence the importance of breaking it down into numerous manageable goals which are fun - then the whole trip to the final goal becomes a pleasurable experience.
I feel proud that my daughter has realised how materialistic the world has become. Sadly the economic downturn in the last two years has been the only major reason that some people have become aware of the materialist conditioned society we live in. When the economy turns, I wonder if they will fall back into the same rut again? Taking a break now over Christmas I have caught up with many friends on Facebook and have numerous comments about how exciting my life was in 2010 with all my travelling, pics and posts on Facebook. In fact during November at many conferences many people made the same comments. I am always a bit stunned by the fact that people see me as being lucky of having these opportunities. LISTEN! It has nothing to do with luck. It has to do with 'Thankfullness, Humility and Honesty.' And guess what, we all have tough times, problems and set backs in life. You aren't the only one! But when you live your life being honest, humble and grateful, it makes those hurdles easier to jump over. I firmly believe that life gives back to you what you throw at it.
As Sabrina realises at her young age, how many people are thankful for the simple things in life? The fact that you are healthy, have a family and people that love you? A week ago we all spent a day at the beach. On the way home my youngest, Alexis seemed to be down. I asked what was wrong and she said that she was sad the day had come to an end. It was the best day of her life! At 11 even she realises that the latest computer game is not what brings happiness, but time spend with your family enjoying simple pleasures such as walking on the beach and playing in rock puddles. We even bumped into friends at a caravan park - the kinda holiday I wouldn't have thought about. Did I learn a thing or two. Everyone's children were playing with each other, families ate meals together around fires and the whole vibe is fantastic. Do you really need that 5 star hotel? I don't think so! By being thankful for the small things around you they suddenly become big things. I was speaking to a very wealthy lady the other day (own their own private jet). Her daughter has terminal cancer and she flies her around the world looking for a cure. Guess what she said to me? she would give up all her wealth if only her daughter good be healthy! Mmm - so what are you thankful for?
Humility is a big issue for me in life. Why do you want to keep up with the Jone's? To be like them or better than them? Why? It's not going to change who you are! And when you have everything and more - will you really be better? Nothing saddens me more that self centred people (celebrities, senior corporate people, politicians, etc) who think they are better than everyone else. How many real friends do they have? If they lose everything, will all the leeches still be around them? If you treat everyone around you equally and have an attitude of 'servitude' rather than one of 'taking' - life gives back to you in so many ways. Make it a goal in 2011 to give more and take less. Expect less and savour the moment more. Get over all your political, racial, religious and cultural issues - respect everyone equally - it's really not that hard to do! Remember that with humility comes contentment and acceptance - surely our world can do with a lot more of that! It all starts with you!
Honesty is the core of my existence. Firstly, and most importantly, be honest with yourself. Only by honestly seeking the answer to happiness in your own heart can you do something about it. Stop letting others tell you how you must feel and behave. Then 2011 won't be much of a change. In the same vein tell others (family, friends and co-workers) how you really feel. If those around you understand you they may be able to help guide you along your path. But if they only see a 'front' - how will they ever know you.
That brings me to the core of Sabrina's story of Change. Yes the world is changing and it isn't the same world as even 5 years ago. People are worried what 2011 holds for us all. However, understand that change is what drives progress and builds you as a person. Fear for change comes with insecurity in the self. It all starts with your children. Give them a secure childhood and make them understand that it's all part of growing up. Then they will only see challenges, rather than fear. And if you find life difficult today, remember it's all about attitude. To wake up negative involves exactly the same amount of effort as waking up positive - so why not try choosing the latter. It takes 3 weeks to get into a new habit. Make an effort to wake up positive, spend time with family and friends, smile more, look for opportunities in even the bad things around you.Guess what, by the end of this month you be in the habit of seeing life in a more positive light and 2011 can only be great.
The Lighter side of Flying
As an international keynote speaker who lives at airports and in hotels, flying has become a way of life, with all it’s ups and downs. I thought it may be a good idea to jot down some of the airline stories I have heard, experienced and gathered over the years.. You can well imagine, 25 years of global travel and 125 countries later – one does have a certain understanding of the airline industry. More than often one has to look at the lighter side to cope with the stresses of being a frequent flyer.
Many years ago I was on a plane taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain began his standard welcome announcement over the intercom, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to our nonstop flight from New York to London. The weather ahead is good and therefore we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax – “OH MY WORD!”……………….. Silence!
Everyone on board went quiet and held their breath. A few seconds later the captain came back on the intercom and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier, but while I was talking, the flight-attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled the hot coffee in my lap. You should see what the front of my trousers looks like!” A passenger sitting three rows behind me suddenly shouted back, “That’s nothing! You should see the back of mine!”
The other day I was at the airport and as I reached the check in line I noticed a gentleman with a long overcoat in front of me. It was cold that day so I took no notice. As he was about to hand in his ticket to the lady behind the counter, he suddenly flashed her. For the first time in my life I had experienced a true life flasher. To my surprise, the check-in lady didn’t bat an eyelid, instead she casually remarked, “Sir, I asked for your ticket, not your stub!”
While on the topic of checking in, last year during the Christmas period I noticed some mistletoe hanging over the baggage counter of another airline with a particularly attractive lady in attendance. Being a typical male who appreciates a beautiful woman, I naturally headed for this particular check in counter, even though it wasn’t my airline) and asked the lady on the other side, “Is the mistletoe for the passengers or for the staff?” Waiting in anticipation for her answer, she casually replied, “No, it’s for your baggage, so that you can kiss it goodbye!”
You think I am making this up! On a trip from London To Los Angeles last year, we hit a turbulence pocket which shook the plane, causing the stewardess to spill hot coffee on my lap. “I’m so sorry, sir” ,the flustered flight attendant said. “Are you all right?” “Yes, I think so”, I replied. “But tell me, was that regular or decaf coffee?” “Regular”, she replied. ”Just my luck”, I moaned. “Now, I’m going to be up all night!” Often one needs to take an accident like this and see the lighter side, especially for the sake of the embarrassed flight attendant. PS … you gotta think about that one!
Flying so often, I find that even on land I am affected by my airline thoughts. Recently I performed at an exclusive formal function and I met a young lady wearing a lovely gownless evening strap. (Yes, that’s literally what it was) Around her neck she wore a small golden airplane pendant on a long chain. Let me just backtrack a moment. When I say the gown was low-cut, even the most disciplined and well mannered gentleman would have had a problem not sneaking a glance. Well, she caught me doing so, and I could not hide the fact. Cleverly she held up the airplane and said “Oh, you like my airplane, huh?” There are times I am glad I am an entertainer and that I have a barrage of jokes and comments to fall back on. Also, humour is known to diffuse many an embarrassing situation. Hence I merely replied, “No ma’am, I was just admiring the landing field.”
Talking about beautiful women one bumps into at airports, a few years ago on a flight to Johannesburg I had an elegant lady sitting next to me, wearing the largest, most stunning diamond ring I had ever seen. I naturally asked her about it. “This is the Klopman diamond”, she said. “However, besides the fact that it is so big and so beautiful, there is a terrible curse that goes with it.” “What’s the curse?” I queried, with concern. She replied, “Mr. Klopman!”
How often have you flown, only to be sitting next to a screaming baby or rude child? No matter how annoying this may be, they also need to go on vacation and parents are in their full right to take them along. I fly often with my daughters, yet pride myself in them being well behaved. However, at a certain age, the children do tend to ask numerous questions. Especially when it is the first time they are flying. This is all a new experience for them and they want answers. Recently, flying over Europe I had a woman with her 4 year old son next to me. He was a pleasant youngster, but I think his mom couldn’t take the barrage of questions anymore. Nevertheless, about an hour after we took off the son, who had been looking out the window, turned to his mother and said, “If big dogs have baby dogs, and big cats have baby cats, why don’t big planes have baby planes?” The mother, who no doubt couldn’t think of an answer, told her son to ask the stewardess. So the boy asked the stewardess, “If big dogs have baby dogs, and big cats have baby cats, why don’t big planes have baby planes?” The stewardess then asked him, “Did your mother tell you to ask me that?” He said that she had. So the stewardess said, “Go tell your mother that I said, … Not on this airline, as we always pull out on time!”
With all these new low cost airlines around the service is somewhat questionable at times. Another true story, the stewardess came up to me in business class. By the way, if you haven’t flown business class, I strongly recommend it. They have silver cutlery! I don’t even have that at home …. Er … well, now I have. Nevertheless, the stewardess asked me if I would like some breakfast, and I asked her what my choices were? She merely replied, “Yes” or “No”!
Occasionally, airline attendants make an effort to make the ”in-flight safety lecture” and their other announcements a bit more entertaining. Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:
1. “There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only four ways out of this airplane…”
2. Pilot — “Folks, we have reached our cruising altitude now, so I am going to switch the seat belt sign off. Feel free to move about as you wish, but please stay inside the plane till we land… it’s a bit cold outside, and if you walk on the wings it affects the flight pattern.”
3. After landing: “Thank you for flying XYZ Airlines. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”
4. As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Washington National, a lone voice comes over the loudspeaker: “Whoa, big fella. WHOA!”
5. After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms, a flight attendant announced : “Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted.”
6. Welcome aboard XYZ Airlines Flight XXX to YYY. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt and if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more.
7. Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you or your money, more than XYZ Airlines.
8. “Your seat cushions can be used for flotation and in the event of an emergency water landing, please take them with our compliments.”
9. “As you exit the plane, please make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.”
10. “Last one off the plane must clean it.”
11. From the pilot during his welcome message: “We are pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry… Unfortunately none of them are on this flight…!
14. An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a ”Thanks for flying XYZ airline.” He said that in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally, everyone had gotten off except for this little old lady walking with a cane. She said, “Sonny, mind if I ask you a question?” “Why no, Ma’am,” said the pilot, “what is it ?” The little old lady said, “Did we land or were we shot down ?”
15. After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the Flight Attendant came on with, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt up against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we’ll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.”
16. Part of a Flight Attendant’s arrival announcement: “We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurised metal tube, we hope you’ll think of us here at XYZ Airlines.”
Being Thankful & Practicing Unconditional Love
How do you wake up in the morning? Depressed or happy? There are many reasons people don’t look forward to their day and many simple solutions to that problem. One, is to be thankful as you open your eyes, especially for the things we take for granted. It kinda puts things and life into perspective and makes you realise that we have many reasons to be happy. Here’s an sms I received from a friend on a conference recently which I thought really brings this point across well.
“The only time you appreciate what you have is when you loose it. Be grateful today for all the universe has given you; parents, health, wealth, peace, dignity, home servants, world comforts, beautiful healthy children and friends. You have been blessed with more, than most people in this world. Remember, what we have today, you can loose tomorrow. Never take for granted all the things in your life, and most of all, enjoy what you have every day.”
I thought this very interesting. Who is grateful for peace and dignity? These are things we all take for granted … but we shouldn’t. There are countries on this globe where those things don’t exist! What I found was powerful was the sentence, “What we have today, we can loose tomorrow.” I keep on talking in my Keynotes about the most precious asset we have in life – TIME! Don’t take your time on this earth for granted. Realise that NOW is the time to enjoy. Give thanks to those little things that brighten up your day, a smile shared with a stranger, a hug from your child, or even a joke shared amongst friends. Guess what? This keeps you humble and appreciative. Way to often we take everything for granted and live a life of expectations. If you look at 90% of the problems around you (including depression), it’s because of expectations.
Think about it. Why is anyone negative or depressed in life? It’s because things don’t turn out the way they expected. We live in a world where the majority of people are on the take. People are only nice to each other because they expect something in return. Whether it’s a possible business deal, a potential relationship, or a good residual commission. When things don’t happen as planned, then disappointment sets in and people become negative.
However, imagine that if you did what you did out of pure love. Here the term, ‘Unconditional Love’ suddenly has meaning. Do what you do in life, because it is your passion, and you love doing it. Only then will you do things without expectations. And only then does the Law of Attraction start working for you. Statistically, somewhere along the line some things are going to come back to you, and because you had no expectations, it’s a great surprise. Suddenly you smile, your day is made and you become a positive, happy individual.
When people ask me about my career, I always say that I have never worked a day in my life. Why? Because I love what I do. All I do is play! Hence I do it with passion and no expectation. That makes me spiritually wealthier than the majority of people that sit day in and day out in jobs they hate. The pessimists always say they have to work in order to pay their bills. I couldn’t agree more, but at least do something you enjoy! Only then will you do it with pride and passion. Think about it. The people you know that smile and have fun in their jobs, they make you feel good. In fact you like doing business with them. It’s highly likely that everyone else they deal with feels the same as you do. This snowballs and their client base increases because of the positive energy they give out. And the money starts coming on it’s own.
The choice lies with you. You have the choice to be positive or negative. Of course you also need to take responsibility for your own life and your decisions. Blaming society, parents, teachers, or the government, is the cowards way out. At the end of the day, the the choice lies with you. You need to stand up to yourself and take the responsibility for your own life. Remember, if you are not happy and want to change – then you need to change your behaviour. If you keep on doing what you have always done – nothing will change. It all starts with being thankful, having no expectations, and practicing unconditional love in everything you do.
Imagine if everyone in the world suddenly changed their attitude and practiced giving unconditionally. Doing things without expecting anything in return. Just in your social circle you would have hundreds of people giving to you. Don’t you think that would change your life and the lives of everyone around you?
With everything that is happening in today’s world, many of us need to take a step back and look at life from a different perspective. In essence we need to ‘change’ our way of thinking. Hence I would like to share 10 insights to bring about a magical change in your life.
1.You are in control of your destiny. Only you can make your dreams come true. If you have not achieved your dreams up until today, and are still following the same routine you have been doing for the last few years, guess what – nothing will change. You have to change, do things differently, re-invent yourself, take responsibility and do things in a new way. Become acutely aware of everything around you and take responsibility for your own actions.
2.It is imperative that you set time aside every day to meditate on your dreams, desires and goals. By meditate, I mean quiet time where you reflect on your own life. It does not have to be an hour per day. It can even be ten minutes only. But you do need to give yourself time to ‘re-energise’ and find your focus again.
3.Practice the Law of Giving. And by ‘giving’ I don’t necessarily mean materialistic things. Meeting someone and quietly sending this person a blessing of love and health – but doing it consciously. Smiling at someone you never speak to at work. Offering comfort to somebody that seems down. And most of all – doing this from an ‘unconditional love’ point of view. In other words, do it without expecting anything in return.
4.Do not be disappointed by setbacks. Remember, the most successful people on earth have failed more than anybody else. The only difference is that they never saw the failure as bad or negative. They saw it as a learned lesson and stepping stone. It is through determination and never giving up, that we achieve our dreams.
5.Don’t listen to people that put you down. If you believe in yourself, follow your heart and follow through. Do not hang out with negative people who try and break you down. Stick with the positive one who support you.
6.Respect is earned – remember that. Often you have to earn it by being hard. Never take the easy way out just to win a popularity contest. I much rather be respected than popular. No matter what you do in life, not everyone is going to like you. But, by doing what is right, rather than what is easy, even if someone doesn’t like you – they WILL respect you.
7.Get out of the rat race and stop being conditioned by what society and the media expect from you. Even if you manage to win the rat race, remember, you are still a rat! You will only find inner happiness and peace if you are honest within yourself and life the life you are meant to live. The only way you will find that answer is through blocking out all the ‘outside’ influences and spending quite time alone looking within yourself. Think about it, the media will always try control your thinking and make you want to buy the latest craze. Why, because they are controlled by the governments who want you to buy everything and have debt. Because, if you have debt you have to work and pay taxes. The government needs your taxes to function. If you had no debt, and were content with the simple things in life and not run after money all day long – you would be free.
8.Find your passion again. Do you wake up excited and happy about the new day? Or do you wake up moaning? Think about it, what makes us loose our zest for life ? Easy … expectation! We do something because we expect something in return. When things don’t go our way, we are completely disappointed and depressed. Practice unconditional love and do whatever you do because you really want to do it. It must be fun and make you feel good, without you wanting anything in return. Guest what, the laws of the universe are such that it will come back to you. However, because you had no expectations, it will just be so much greater when it does come back. Life is like a mirror – what you put in front of that mirror, is what reflects back on you. It’s as easy as that.
9.The most precious asset you have is your own body – so look after it. Eat right, exercise and stay fit. Once your health is gone, that’s it. Take care of your body.
10.Life is like a roll of toilet paper – the closer you get to the end, the quicker it goes! So enjoy every moment of it. learn to live in the now. If you are depressed and negative, it is because you are living in the past. If you are stressed and anxious, it’s because you are living in the future. Think about this: NOTHING has ever happened in the past or the future. Anything that will happen in your life will happen NOW. You cannot do anything about, or change the past -it has happened, it is over. Yes your actions today can have an impact on your future. But right now you are living in the now. You do not know how long this ‘now’ will last. So why not make the most of it. By constantly living in the now, to the fullest, every yesterday WILL become a good memory and the future WILL be something you look forward to.