So, how was two thousand and mine? Will 2010 be all you expect it to be? Of course it will - but that depends on you and your attitude. My wish for you this year is a POSITIVE attitude coupled with much health and everything else you set your mind on.
On that note, let’s talk about health first. With the right attitude you can be healthy/
If you don’t want to be ill, there are a few things you need to do:
Of course there are many people that now feel another year has passed and time is creeping up. NEVER be afraid of getting older, it age that brings us wisdom. Older people who are unhappy with their age are those with regrets. These are people who never followed their dreams. If you are still young, learn from the above words. Make yourself a promise that you will never regret lost opportunities in life. Only then will getting older be fun.
On that note, if you are over 50 ... here are some things to be really positive about in 2010.
1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
3..No one expects you to run--anywhere.
4... People call at 9 pm and ask, did I wake you?
5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
7. Things you buy now won't wear out..
8. You can eat supper at 4 pm.
9. You can live without sex, but not your glasses.
10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.
11.You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.
13. You sing along with elevator music.
14. Your eyes won't get much worse.
15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.
17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.
18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.
BUT, there is only one thing you really need to be careful of ... Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
February is way to short, I'm missing a few days! Anyway, managed to get the March 'Useletter' out in time. How has your year been up until now? I definitely feel a more positive business attitude in the air and everywhere I go, everyone is trying anything and everything to come up with clever business plans. It's so refreshing to see.
Check out my You Tube quick tips this month of 'De-Stressing', shot in a safari park in South Africa. Click on your language of choice: English,Afrikaans, German
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 this month 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 and 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 expect. If you look at 90% of the problems around you, it's because of expectations. Stop expecting, give more and be thankful for everything you have. Suddenly you'll find that life becomes more meaningful.
SAVOUR EVERY MOMENT
One day a woman's husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't "anymore". No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more "just one minute." Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say good-bye, say "I love you."
So while we have it, it's best we love it, care for it, fix it when it's broken and heal it when it's sick. This is true for marriage......And old cars... And children with bad report cards, and dogs with bad hips, and ageing parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.
Some things we keep -- like a best friend who moved away, or a sister-in-law after divorce. There are just some things that make us happy, no matter what. Life is important, like people we know who are special. And so, we keep them close!
Suppose one morning you never wake up, do all your friends know you love them? I was thinking...I could die today, tomorrow or next week, and I wondered if I had any wounds needing to be healed, friendships that needed rekindling, or three words needing to be said. Let every one of your friends know you love them. Even if you think they don't love you back, you would be amazed at what those three little words and a smile can do.
And just in case I'm gone tomorrow.
.. Live today because tomorrow is not promised.
On another note, stop giving up so quickly and complaining about everything around you. Once you appreciate what you have, it kinda opens a new door in your mind and makes you realise that you must take responsibility for your own life and put 100% into every opportunity that comes your way. Even my two girls, just spending time tickling them, or being silly together, I am thankful for that time. But above all, even they are too, Before they go to sleep, they say how grateful they are for the good times we spend together during the day. And because of this, my oldest daughter, who turns 13 this month is now training for the olympic gymnastics. I am in awe of the dedication and discipline she has (My wife and I must be doing something right). She has really learnt the concept of being thankful and trying and trying again until you get it right. How many adults today understand this. Here is a wonderful story by an unknown author about being successful. Maybe you can share this lesson with your children.
LAW OF THE SEED
Take a look at an apple tree. There might be five hundred apples on the tree, but each apple has ten seeds. That's a lot of seeds! We might ask, "Why would you need so many seeds to grow just a few more apple trees?" Nature has something to teach us here. It's telling us: "Not all seeds grow”. In life, most seeds never grow. So if you really want to make something happen, you had better try more than once." This might mean: You'll attend twenty interviews to get one job. You'll interview forty people to find one good employee. You'll talk to fifty people to sell one house, one car, one vacuum cleaner, one insurance policy, or a business idea. And you might meet a hundred acquaintances just to find one special friend .
When we understand the "Law of the Seed", we don't get so disappointed. We stop feeling like victims. We learn how to deal with things that happen to us. Laws of nature are not things to take personally. We just need to understand them - and work with them.
IN A NUTSHELL: Successful people fail more often. But they plant more seeds. When Things Are Beyond your control, here's something that you must NOT DO so as to be happy: You must not decide how you think the world SHOULD be. You must not make rules for how everyone SHOULD behave.
Many times, such thoughts can bring you spiralling down into more unhappiness. On the other hand, let's say you expect that:
Friends SHOULD return favours
People SHOULD appreciate you.
Planes SHOULD arrive on time.
Everyone SHOULD be honest.
Your husband, partner or best friend SHOULD remember your birthday.
These expectations may sound reasonable. But often, these things won't happen! So you end up frustrated and disappointed. There's a better strategy. Demand less, and instead, have preferences! For things that are beyond your control, tell yourself: "I WOULD PREFER "A", BUT IF "B" HAPPENS, IT'S OK TOO!" You prefer that people are polite... but when they are rude, it doesn't ruin your day. You prefer sunshine.. but if it rains, it is ok too!
To become happier, we either need to:
a) Change the world, or
b) Change our thinking.
It is easier to change our Thinking!
IN A NUTSHELL:
It is not the problem that is the issue, but rather it is your attitude attending to the problem that is the problem. It's not what happens to you that determine your happiness, but rather how you think about what happens to you!
Have an awesome month
Last month I shot a new promotional video for the Orion Organisation in Atlantis in the Western Cape in South Africa. They work with disabled people and assist them in many ways, from children to adults. For the adults the have work projects where the empower these people to be part of society and build their self worth. It is indeed an wonderful place with many caring people. It is sad when I look at how little (surprise?) the government does to support such decent endeavors. However, the people who work there are truly changing the world, and the perception of these wonderful people. During the last month while collecting footage and editing everything, it reminded me once again, how grateful we should all be for what we have. Way to often we complain and moan about life, rather than looking at what is going on around us, and at how many less fortunate people their are in the world than you.
On my You Tube channel you can watch Free Quick tips. This month I have the following videos for you (simply click on the link to view):
English: Authenticity, Thankfulness, Tips when attending Conferences
Afrikaans: Egtheid, Dankbaarheid, Wenke by die bywoning van konferensies
German: Authentizität, Dankbarkeit, Tipps zum Besuch von Konferenzen
Hence this month I want to concentrate on 'Thankfulness' and being thankful for what we have. Before I do so, just have a look at these alarming statistics below:
If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, maintaining the proportions of all the people living on Earth, that village would consist of:
14 Americans (North, Central and South)
There would be:
52 women and 48 men
30 Caucasians and 70 non-Caucasians
30 Christians and 70 non-Christians
89 heterosexuals and 11 homosexuals
6 people would possess 59% of the wealth and they would all come from the USA
80 would live in poverty
70 would be illiterate
50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition
1 would be dying, 1 would be being born, 1 would own a computer
1 (yes, only one) would have a university degree
If we looked at the world in this way, the need for acceptance and understanding would
be obvious. But, consider again the following:
If you woke up this morning in good health, you have more luck than one million people, who won’t live through the week.
If you have never experienced the horror of war, the solitude of prison, the pain of torture, were not close to death from starvation, then you are better off than 500 million people.
If you can go to your place of worship without fear that someone will assault or kill you, then you are luckier than 3 billion (that’s right) people.
If you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.
If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few amongst the 100 people in the world.
If your parents are still alive and still married, you’re a rare individual.
So, if you woke up in a foul mood this morning, my questions to you now are, “Is your life really so bad? When last have you given thanks for everything you have?” Makes you think doesn't it?
Let me get back to those disabled people out there that cannot care for themselves. Imagine you, or your child was disabled, “How would you see the world and others around you?” I dare say that you would become so more more aware of just how few people are genuine, and really care about their fellow man. It's time to change that... and you can be part of that change. Here's a great story:
Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: “When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?” The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. “I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.” Then he told the following story:
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, “Do you think they'll let me play?” I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, “We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'” Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base, and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.
Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly, so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, “Shay, run to first! Run to first!' ”Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second!' ”Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball - the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.
Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, “Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay.” Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third! Shay, run to third!” As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, “Shay, run home! Run home!' ” Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.
”That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.” Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the 'natural order of things.' So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process? A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.
I trust that the above has put a different perspective into your life and will inspire you to be thankful for everything you have. I am going to end of on a lighter note, (As you know, I enjoy humor and incorporating it into my messages), yet still staying with the theme. But this time it's about being thankful for being young and healthy. Make the most of your youth and savor every moment – one day it could be different!
Scotch with two drops of water
A lady goes to the bar on a cruise ship and orders a Scotch with two drops of water. As the bartender gives her the drink she says, “I'm on this cruise to celebrate my 80th birthday and it's today...” The bartender says, “Well, since it's your birthday, I'll buy you a drink. In fact, this one is on me.”As the woman finishes her drink, the woman to her right says, “I would like to buy you a drink, too.' ” The old woman says, “Thank you. Bartender, I want a Scotch with two drops of water.'
“Coming up,” says the bartender. As she finishes that drink, the man to her left says, “I would like to buy you one, too.'” The old woman says, “Thank you. Bartender, I want another Scotch with two drops of water.' “Coming right up,” the bartender says. As he gives her the drink, he asks, “Ma'am, I'm dying of curiosity. Why the Scotch with only two drops of water?”
The old woman replies, “Sonny, when you're my age, you've learned how to hold your liquor. Holding your water, however, is a whole other issue!”
Okay one more...
A group of 40 year old buddies discuss and discuss where they should meet for dinner. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen restaurant because the waitress's there have low cut blouses.
10 years later, at 50 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because the food there is very good and the wine selection is good also.
10 years later at 60 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because they can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free.
10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because the restaurant is wheel chair accessible and they even have an elevator.
10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss and discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because that would be a great idea because they have never been there before.
Have a wonderful May and be thankful every day.
Lots of exciting news and happenings. Besides my inspirational messages this month, I just launched a new book, called 'Sales Secrets & Negotiation Skills', and together with 3 fellow speakers am launching in one week, 'One Goal, many Paths', a book about self realisation written by 4 different leading speakers. If that wasn't enough to keep me busy, this month did a lot of international traveling, my oldest daughter turned 13, and I met so many wonderful people with whom I managed to solve half the world's problems... if only we had someone who would listen to our solutions! Well, if nothing else - I am going to share some with you ............
Hence this month I want to tackle a few deeper issues. What a month, from speaking in England, Holland and South Africa, I am pretty tired of flying! Towards the end of this month it's back around the world again! And everyone thinks my lifestyle is so cool! I have lost count of how many people have asked me if they can carry my baggage, just to tag along!
Like anything in life, the first few times you fly, it is pretty cool. But after a while, especially getting caught in the BA strike at Heathrow... it becomes pretty annoying! Reality is, flying is definitely not what it used to be. So what's my point? No matter what you do in life, there will also be something that becomes routine, and even annoying at times. But, if I am already in a job I hate, plus have these added annoyances - it would be a very depressing life! That is why it is so important that you do what you enjoy. That you chose a job that makes you want to get up in the morning. Therefore, when you do come across things that may irritate you, you tend to take them in your stride and still be thankful for the fact that you actually love your work. Basically, it enables you to cope better with the things that you don't enjoy as much.
It's also a mind set. You have two choices when things don't quite go your way. Take it in your stride, or get annoyed. Either way, it takes the same effort. So why even bother going for the negative? Yes I dealt with strikes, delayed flights, and even pushy fellow passengers. But, I was either on my way to speak, or on my way home to my family - both were great reason to be happy. I made a choice to keep the right attitude and enjoy the moment. Imagine that you get annoyed with someone, or something to such a point that you that you really do get a heart attack. Is it really worth it? The reason I mention this is that for some or other reason I have noticed a lot of short tempers and aggression in public places during this month. It saddens me that so many people are so unhappy. It also makes me think of what I was taught by many people as a youngster. "Always count to ten before you react to anything." There is so much truth in that. It takes a few seconds to count to ten, and by then the adrenalin levels have had some time to drop, and the situation doesn't always lok so bad anymore.
We have also become so conditioned by the media as to what life is and is not about. I recently saw a new car advert where they actually associated the car with an inspired, balanced and happy life! Huh!? The sad thing is, people fall for this nonsense. The only person that can make you happy is yourself! You have to consciously make that decision and work at it.
I spoke at the Professional Speakers Association of Holland conference in Noordwijk last month, and what a tremendous time we had. A theme that came through strongly was, Being Authentic.
In today's world we all try to keep up appearances and portray a certain image. Is that who you really are? Can you imagine a world where everyone is open and honest, and content with who they are as a person? Where people don't constantly compare themselves to others and what they own or don't own? Wouldn't that be absolutely great? I cannot see why it can't be a reality. It all starts with just one person... and that person is you!
Easier said than done! How do I become authentic?
Actually, it's not that difficult. Firstly, show others that you are human and ask in everything that you do, "Is it making a difference to that person?"
I always come back to the '4 way test' of Rotary International for whom I have often spoken. From day one, their principles of service and fellowship struck a deep note in me.
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
No matter what religion, culture or background you come from. Don't you agree that if we all just asked those 4 questions before doing anything - the world would be a better place?
So as a start to finding the real you, ask yourself,
Am I being true to myself and everyone around me?
Am I being fair to myself and others I meet in my daily activities?
Am I looking for the good in everyone I meet and making the effort to foster friendships? Or do I sit back and expect others to make the first move?
Am I giving without expecting in return and trying to live in the moment. A gift is not necessarily always something materialistic, or a shoulder to cry on. It could be a simple genuine smile to a stranger opposite you in the train ... but it could just change that person's day.
More than often people ask me how I make time for my family. Often whenI describe my lifestyle, I can understand that people believe I am never at home. However, in reality, I have a rule that I will never be away from home for more than 4 nights in a month. Occasionally I may push it to a week, but that is very rare. Anything over that, my family comes with.
Balance is of utmost importance in maintaining a happy lifestyle. Family should always come first, especially if you have children. It saddens me how many parents miss their children growing up and then complain at how fast time flies. Work, hobbies, friends and sport all take priority over family. One day when they are older, they regret not having spent spent more time with them. Especially if tragedy strikes and a loved one is taken from you. Then everyone cries and constantly wishes they could just have had 5 minutes more. Reality check! Now is the time - not tomorrow!
The time is now! In everything I do, I involve my family. Everywhere we go, the girls come too. If friends invite me over and say that no children are allowed... guess what - I don't go! They are not worth having as friends. If I do a sporting activity, or have a hobby, I share it with my family. When last have you played monopoly or chess with your kids? Today it's all about psp's, surfing the net and every conceivable activity which alienates us. Make an effort to focus on family unity and get to know your spouse and kids again. It does make for a more authentic you. You need people close to you to bring you back to ground level. On that note, I cannot strongly enough recommend "Cash Flow for Kids" by Robert Kiyosaki (The Rich Dad Poor Dad Author). The schooling system won't teach your children about economics and money - this game does, and it's more fun than Monopoly, plus the kids love it. Bonus - they learn real live financial skills.
That's one thing I can say about my wife, with all my successes and TV celebrity status, if I ever got a big head, she brought me down to earth immediately. She loves and cares enough for me to show me the way when I falter. Does your spouse do that for you too? Even my daughters are like that. I will never forget on a Magic TV series a few years ago. I was stressing tremendously with all the politics and hierarchy issues from the national broadcaster. Eventually after surviving the unwanted stress, my youngest daughter walks into the studio and comments, "It so boring when you know how it works!" (She was referring to the tricks!) Well I never, I just sank down and hugged her. You see, I had been ignoring her due to the production stress - she couldn't understand it. I mean, the tricks in her eyes were so easy. What was my problem. She didn't see all the other surrounding nonsense. It made me realise that everything around me wasn't worth getting annoyed about. The most important issue there, was my daughter.
If I look at all the times I have had to be steered back in the right direction, it's always been my wife, or daughters. Would they have been able to do this if there wasn't a close-nit family unit? I don't think so! Appreciate and spend time with your family and people that care about you.
Lastly, be honest with yourself. There is a saying that goes something along the lines of, "If you constantly lie to others about yourself, don't believe that it only fools them!"
Yes, the world is cut throat, we have to earn money to make ends meet and pay bills. But, how much of what we buy, is really necessary? Is cable TV, or a new car really a defining issue in your happiness? I have met countless people who followed their dreams after they retired. Suddenly they were making more money than ever before, and wished they had done so sooner. Remember, if you honestly follow your passion, your energy levels will be higher than those that don't. The Law of Attraction will look after you ... but only if you are truly honest with yourself and take that responsibility.
Stop blaming family, friends, your boss, the previous government, etc. Take the responsibility on yourself to become authentic, and make that conscious decision to live the life you deserve to lead.
We can find 1000 reasons not to do something, but we only need 1 reason to start something!
If you have been following me on Facebook, you will know that this month was kinda crazy as far as travelling goes. I added 3 new countries to my list (now at 128) and basically spent the month in planes and at airports, and then sadly, my mom in law passed away while I was in Iran.
Often people email me and comment on my lifestyle, expressing a desire to be able to travel like I do. In many respects they see what I do as a fantasy life. This month I thought I would talk about this a little and put it into perspective. Everything in life requires choices, and with those choices come sacrifices. For each and every one of us we have to decide for ourselves what we are prepared to sacrifice in order to achieve the lifestyle we desire. Plus, it may not always be what we dreamt it would be.
LOSING ONE'S TEMPER:
Often friends and business colleagues come up to me and comment about my bubbly personality and the fact that I always joke around and see the positive in life. It's a choice which works well for me and I see no difference in the effort involved in being bubbly, or down. So I choose the fun side and enjoy life to the fullest. However, saying that, I am also a normal person with normal emotions. Which means I can also get upset, depressed or angry - yes it's true! Spending too much time at airports and talking a lot on Customer Service in my seminars, I was particularly tuned into 'service' this month. When an airline gave me bad service twice in a row and bumped me off a flight - especially after being away from home for two weeks and desperate to get home to comfort my wife - I lost it. To say I carried on like a 'fish wife' in Doha is an understatement. I lost my temper with the airline and used words and expressions very unbecoming of a motivational speaker.
Right now I am sitting on a new airline, as a result of my 'tantrum' and thinking about my behaviour. Would I have gotten the same result had I remained calm? Was I justified to my outburst? In fact I feel quite guilty right now. The thing is, we are all human, and we all have emotions. When one has added stresses in one's life it is easier to flip than normal. However, I thankfully managed to calm down relatively quickly because of what I do, as I managed to 'remind' myself to practice what I preach. How did I do this? Simply by using that old principle of counting to 10 before opening my mouth again.
I know this may sound basic, but isn't it the simple stuff in life that works? I had this sudden burst of emotion where I lost it. My focus was on getting home to support my wife and family. So right then and there I was only focused on my needs. We cannot always be in 'control'. I think that is unrealistic, but we can be aware and try to maintain a certain level of control, or regain it if we lose it. It's all about a higher level of awareness and honesty with oneself where you can acknowledge that one has lost focus. Many people have a problem in acknowledging their own mistakes or faults and this holds them back to improve themselves. Luckily I don't have that problem, my wife reminds me of my faults regularly!
So, in a nutshell, if you do suddenly get angry and even if you do scream at someone, by being aware of your own emotions, and simply stopping, counting to 10 before you carry on, you find that you calm down tremendously and then the issue suddenly doesn't send your blood pressure to boiling point anymore. There are certain things in life that cannot be changed, no matter how much you rant and rave about them. By stepping back and taking a breath and counting to ten, one realises this much quicker.
MAKING UP YOUR OWN MIND - PRACTICING ACCEPTANCE
Yes, for the first time in my life I visited Tehran, in fact I did so many seminars and was so busy, I ran! (I always wanted to use that line somewhere!) Would you like to visit Iran? Especially with what you see in the news? Another truth was reconfirmed for me this month... don't believe everything you read in the media, especially when they are controlled by governments with their own propoganda agendas.
I thought long and hard before accepting the contract in Iran. Many fellow speakers had been there before and it is they who actually convinced me to consider it. I put Iran in the same boat as Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and expected war, terrorism and much religious suppression. Well let me tell you something, it has been a long time since I have felt so safe, had so much fun and been surrounded by so many beautiful (yes - good looking and inner beauty) people. I never knew Iranians where the original Persians. Did you? What a history. Did you know they have their own fuel called CNG (Clean New Gas) completely environmentally friendly and about US$6 to fill a tank? Mmm, I haven't seen that anywhere else - maybe that's why the big oil giants are pushing western governments to be against them? Just a thought!
Travelling is truly the university of life, and the biggest thrill for me is meeting people of different cultures, beliefs and religions. There is a huge difference between western and eastern cultures. And this month I discovered that there is another culture right between these two - and that's the Iranians. Like all countries, the youngsters think that there are greener pastures outside, and yes there is discontentment with their government... but in which country is this not the case? What struck me like a lightning bolt was the gentleness, humility and friendliness of the people. Did you know they have no beggars in Iran? It's because family look after each other and people care for their neighbours. Something that is lost in western culture. We were driving from Isfahan to Yazd (somewhere in the middle of the country through desert). Suddenly we go a flat wheel. No big deal, 3 men in a car, we could sort that out quickly. We hadn't even stopped the car and another car had already stopped next to us. The teenage sons in that car were already changing the tire by the time we had figured out where the car jack was. Total strangers immediately came to help. How long would it take in the western world for someone to stop and help you? Every time we got into a taxi, conversations were held with the taxi driver and there was laughter!
I was honoured to be invited to a private wedding ceremony at a magistrates court. I was married in a magistrates court and it was a typical short affair. For the Iranians they have a whole ceremony. It's romantic... even in the magistrates court! In fact part of the ceremony is that the bride and groom both dip their small finder in honey and sugar, and the other licks it off..... kinda erotic if you ask me! The point of it all... to bring sweetness into their marriage. Isn't that the cutest and most romantic touch? It is these little things that made me look at these people in a different light and again reminded me that we should NEVER judge people, or cultures by what the media wants us to believe. In fact how often to we pre-judge people by what friends, family and colleagues have told us? Go look for yourself, make up your own mind. Hold judgement back and go into any situation openly and objectively - you will be amazed at how beautiful the world and people suddenly become!
It reminds me of a story of a group of frogs that took part in a race to a mountain top. Much advertising was done for the race. All the other frogs around thought it was madness to attempt a race to the top of the mountain. They talked among each themselves and commented on how difficult the race would be. When it started, the contestants started falling out of the race, one after another. In the end it was only one frog that stayed in the race and finished. There was jubilation and all the frogs around were amazed and this one frog's achievement. On asking the winning frog on how he had achieved this impossible task, all the other frogs suddenly realised that he was deaf!
Yes, he was deaf! He never heard the negativity spoken around him before the race, hence he was never affected, nor did he had preconceived ideas. He simply took part to win and believed in himself!
How often is our behaviour around us affected by what we hear others say?
COPING WITH GRIEF:
Finally I want to share my thoughts on grief and death. It was trying for me to be away from my wife when her mom passed away last week. That again is the downside to my travelling. However I came home as soon as I could. We had spoken about it before and we had looked at every scenario. How many people actually do this? It's as if they are scared to face reality. Death is a fact of life for all of us. Have you spoken about it with your spouse and family? Have you decided what to do in case something happens. It's not being negative, but instead being responsible. There is nothing worse than an unexpected loss. Also, when someone does die, do you speak to your partner about it and let them share their feelings with you. Do you listen to how they are feeling and share in their loss?
The memories we have one day when someone passes remain with us for the rest of our lives. What do you do to create memories? Do you keep photos and videos? Do you part with love in you heart when you say goodbye, or do you have unresolved issues? It is so important to live a life of forgiveness and love. You never know when your time may come. I see so many people who have regret when someone passes over, and this is so sad. When last have you said, "I love you" to the people that are important in your life, including your children. To often we take love for granted. It's important to share your feelings and be open with your feelings. In this way you create good memories. Remember, that one day when you are older, the materialistic things won't be remembered, instead the emotional bonds like that first kiss, and the first steps of your child... that's what gives you peace and contentment when you are older, and in turn makes you accept life for what it is. So, in conclusion this month, go out and create great memories so that you can lead a life with no regrets.
I trust you had a great May. Don't forget to check out my new Video Quick Tips for June - simply click on the language of your choice: English, German & Afrikaans.
I have had a number of people ask me to write on being happy with what you have. How many people really appreciate how much they have and are content with life? We always try and compare ourselves to others and fall into the trap of materialism & and being judgmental.
Normally I would give my views and insights on the topic outright. This month I want to try something different and use 3 stories from the mails I receive in reply to this 'Useletter'. I will add my comments at the end and really feel that these stories may bring home some good food for thought.
Here is a very nice story about a beggar who found a wallet in the street with $500 in it. As he picked it up he saw a notice on a street lamp which offered a $50 reward for a lost wallet. The beggar, who was an honest man immediately went to the address to return the wallet to it's owner. The owner, a banker, immediately counted the money and said to the beggar, "I see you have already taken your $50 reward money." The beggar protested that he hadn't and that there was exactly $500 in the wallet when he had picked it up. An argument ensued and at the same time a policeman walked past the house. Noticing the commotion between the two gentlemen, he went up to them asking if he could assist in the matter. Each presented their case to the policeman, who in turn looked at the banker and told him that he believed him. The beggar was devastated. The policeman then took the wallet from the banker and gave it to the beggar, saying, "Here's the wallet, it is yours to keep."
"Who do you think you are? What are you doing?" shouted the banker at the policeman. "Oh I believe that you had a total of $550 in your wallet sir. However, I also believe that the beggar is an honest man too. He had all the opportunity to run away with the wallet, but he didn't! So for what possible reason would he then have brought the wallet back to you? I can only assume then that this is not the wallet you lost and that it belongs to someone else. Therefore, until the right owner is found, the wallet must stay with the beggar."
"Hey, but what about my money?" asked the banker. "Well," replied the policeman, "You will have to wait until someone finds your wallet."
Isn't that a great story? You see, sometimes we become too greedy and end up outsmarting ourselves. Think about it, how often have you pre-judged someone just by the way they look? We need to learn to give everyone the same respect when we meet them for the first time, no matter what their status, culture or belief system. We have been conditioned to judge people by what we see in the media and learn from the press. Wake up, not every beggar is a thief, not every white man is a racist, not every religious person is biased, etc. I firmly believe that the whole world would change overnight if everyone just dropped their biased judgmental ways. I consider myself very fortunate to have travelled and met so many different people from so many different races, cultures and belief systems. Often as a young man in the entertainment industry on cruise liners we were thrown together with fellow artists for months, and forced to get on with each other. I clearly remember the first time this happened to me. I felt uneasy and not happy. A few days later I realised, hey this guy has the same issues, feelings and problems I have. Suddenly we started becoming mates. Our differing backgrounds disappeared and all we saw was two similar human beings. (It also helped that their were no politicians on board!)
Luckily this happened more and more, and during my life I very soon learnt that besides the politicians and media, it was the insecure individuals out there that always found fault - due to their own issues! You need to let go of the past, and open your heart to each and every person you meet ,openly. If you have never tried this, then it's also wrong to have an opinion right now. Do me a favour - just go out there and give everyone you meet the same chance. I bet you, you will be surprised to see how many people out there are actually likeable and not always what society has labelled them to be. In my view no one is a fool, I give each person I meet a clean slate - I leave it up to them to show me who they really are. And even if they do show me a negative side, or something I disagree with, I still have to learn to accept them for who they are. And it definitely doesn't mean I have to hate them for that! In order to find fulfillment in life, you need to learn to practice acceptance - and this is where it starts. Hand in hand with this we also need to listen to others and not always bombard them with our opinions.
I shudder at the thought of how much time people spend during their day moaning and criticizing others whom they don't like/agree with. The most precious thing in life that you own is time. Why would you want to waste your life time on this? It doesn't make sense to me. No wonder people aren't fulfilled. Rather go out there and do good and leave a legacy at the same time.
The second story also deals with appreciation, but on a deeper level.
WHAT MEMORIES WILL YOU HAVE?
One day a woman's husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't "anymore". No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more "just one minute." Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say “good-bye”, say "I love you." So while we have it, it's best we love it, take care of it, heal it when it's sick & fix it when its broke.
This is true for marriage... and children with bad report cards, and dogs with bad hips, ageing parents and grandparents.. and old cars. Some things we keep - like a best friend who moved away or a sister-in-law after divorce. There are just some things that make us happy, no matter what. Life is important, like people we know who are special.. And so, we keep them close!
Mmm, lot's of truth in that story! Here's a thought, one day when you are older and retired and on your own, what will you be thinking about? will you recall every gadget you bought and every new car you owned? Or will you be thinking of your loved ones that have passed on and have regrets for not spending enough time with them? Here's a reality check... nearly every elderly person I have spoken to (95% plus) has regrets. Regrets about time lost and wasted! What is it with humanity - why can't we learn from this?
My girls are now 12 & 14. Everyone laughs at me and warns me of the teenage tough times ahead. Funny, I haven't noticed any changes so far. I give them hugs every day. When they go to sleep we hug each other and give a goodnight kiss. As their dad, I still get goodbye kisses when I drop them off at school. Other kids want their parents to drop them around the corner. Huh? My wife and I spend time with them, we talk to them, we help them with their school projects, we involve them in everything we do. They are secure. No matter what happens I know that I have and am still creating great memories for myself and for them. Yes I know you have a job and life's commitments get in the way, or at least that's what society has taught you to believe! Hello, I fly around the world and am often away from home as a speaker. How come I have great relationship with my wife and daughters? Am I special or just lucky? No! I make the time, I give 100% attention and I respect them. When we are together, we enjoy each other's company and we talk to each other. We don't all sit in separate parts of the home watching different soap operas. Get the point? I don't know about you, but I believe I have a choice in my life whether I want to create great or sad memories for my old age. I kinda go for the great ones - it's a choice you have to make.
And now the final story...
THE HORSE & THE PIG:
There was a farmer who collected horses; he only needed one more breed to complete his collection. One day, he found out that his neighbour had the particular horse breed he needed. So, he constantly bothered him until he let him buy the horse. A month later, the horse became ill and he called the veterinarian, who said,"Well, your horse has a virus. He must take this medicine for three days. I’ll come back on the 3rd day and if he’s not better, we’re going to have to put him down."
Nearby, the pig listened closely to their conversation. The next day, they gave him the medicine and left. The pig approached the horse and said:, "Be strong, my friend. Get up or else they’re going to put you to sleep!"
On the second day, they gave him the medicine and left. The pig came back and said:, "Come on buddy, get up or else you're going to die! Come on, I'll help you get up. Let’s go! One, two, three..."
On the third day, they came to give him the medicine and the vet said, "Unfortunately, we’re going to have to put him down tomorrow. Otherwise, the virus might spread and infect the other horses." After they left, the pig approached the horse and said:,"Listen pal, it's now or never! Get up, come on! Have courage! Come on! Get up! Get up! That’s it, slowly! Great! Come on, one, two, three... Good, good. Now faster, come on.... Fantastic! Run, run more! Yes! Yay! Yes! You did it, you’re a champion!!!"
All of a sudden, the owner came back, saw the horse running in the field and began shouting, "It’s a miracle! My horse is cured. This deserves a party. Let's kill the pig and have a feast!
Kinda a sad ending huh? Isn't life like this too sometimes? Often in a workplace the boss doesn't really know which employee actually deserves the merit of success, or who is actually the backbone of the organization and contributing the most support to get things done? I have news for you - that's life! Learning to live without recognition is what humility is all about. Learning to be comfortable in the knowledge that you have made a difference, even though no one else knows it, is being fulfilled and comfortable with who you are. Don't always look to become a person of success (as society defines it), but rather become a person of value. Because then, and only then will you be able to be part of the process of changing the world for the better.
In Summary, leading a fulfilled life is to not lead a greedy life, accept others for who they are and be comfortable in knowing that the good you do is changing the world for the better, even if no-one sees you do it. Remember, leading a life where you give unconditionally without expectation, will make the laws of the universe look after you in return.
Have a wonderful June , and I look forward to sharing some more inspirational ideas with you again next month.
May is here and the new season is well on it's way. April was really great for me, speaking at the Global Speakers Summit in Holland and the Professional Speakers Association convention in Cape Town. I mention this because it's so great meeting new and old friends in the industry who have a positive outlook on life and share their experiences openly with each other. Often people ask me as a speaker how I stay motivated? Well, this is one way, sharing ideas and getting together with peers who may have a different take on life and see things in a new light. So I am very thankful for this experience. It's kinda like a vitamin injection boost full of positivity! I had the opportunity to really connect with life long friends and it's been a really busy time.
I also met some great new people and will be part of a world-wide whole day internet motivational day on 23rd September where we will try and get more than 10 000 people logging in - more details about this to follow. Definitely a day you should diarise.
Many people have asked me to write more on last month's topic on fulfilment and talk more about it. This has become more of an issue of late for many, especially with the global events of the last six weeks and the escalating natural disasters, wars and violence. So... this month, let's talk about inner satisfaction and being content with life, and where you live.
I am finding more and more that people I meet, keep on asking me where the best place on earth is to live? Especially when they know I have travelled the entire world and been to nearly every major city on this earth. They tend to feel that the grass is greener on the other side and that they will find happiness somewhere else. I understand why people ask this question, especially now with the financial crises in the States and Europe, plus the disaster in Japan - people are looking for safer places to live. Politicians are no longer trusted to look after the interests of the people, the media is controlled and only prints sensationalist news to sell their papers, wars are looming and hatred is increasing everywhere. Everyone is trying their best to plan for their old age, and not sure whether their savings will still be there in years to come - especially with the current economic climate - hence there is much desperation and questioning as to the point of it all.
Firstly, it doesn't matter where on earth you live! Yes I have a home in Cape Town and in Frankfurt, but these two cities differ vastly and my reason for being in each are completely different. Singapore is another favorite city of mine. Istanbul is fascinating with it's incredible history. Geiranger at the end of the Geiranger fjord in Norway is breathtaking. Inverness in Scotland is magical. I can say great things about every city I have been in. But, will the scenic beauty, architecture, people, or history bring me the inner fulfilment I am looking for? The simply answer... NO!
Take a quick example, many people recently immigrated to Australia and New Zealand in search of sunshine and a better life - just look at the disasters this year in these countries. No one knew that this was going to happen. I am sure some of these people are regretting their choices of moving, and may even have lost everything in these recent events, plus are maybe even considering moving back to their original countries.
The bottom line is that we need to stop judging our happiness in terms of external factors. Here a reality check for you. In my opinion, politicians are corrupt everywhere. They are all sycophants with only their own interests at heart. You may not be happy with the current state of your country, but is another country really going to have more honest politicians and a safer economy? Just look at the big USA who last month nearly 'closed down' due to no money. Who would ever have thought that? Europe is facing a major Euro crises with the Greece and Portugal financial chaos. Beurocracy is messing up so many countries. The UK - well, no comment! It seems that today the future countries are China and India, hence the new term, 'Chindia'.
So, running away isn't going to change things. Yes the grass may be greener on the other side - but, this could be due to more manure in the grass! This also means that you will have to mow it more often!
To come back to the question of where to live to find happiness and fulfilment... Wherever you are healthy, can make ends meet and have those that you love around you, i.e. family and friends - that's the place to live. And that can be anywhere on this globe, whether in the desert, on an island or in a city.
Natural disasters are part of the course - this can never be your reason for choosing one place over the other. Just look at the floods in Australia - no one would ever have thought this possible. Here we come back to that philosophy of living in the moment and every day to the fullest, as if it is your last.
Here's a great quote by Paulo Coelho: "Too often we decide to follow a path that is not really our own, one that others have set for us. We forget that whichever way we go, the price is the same: in both cases, we will pass through both difficult and happy moments. But when we are living our dream, the difficulties we encounter make sense."
Now let us look at more spiritual side of fulfilment. In the dictionary fulfiment is defined as "developing your full potentiality." However, for each of us this means different things, as we all experience different emotions, growth, connections and feelings. We all have different value systems which have been conditioned by the society and culture we have been brought up in. When in reality, we should ALL have the same universal values. Once you know and understand these, then life starts having meaning.
We all need to learn to live in the now!
I cannot stress this enough. Most people are living in the past and brooding on all the bad things that happened. Wake up - there is nothing you can do to change this! Let go of the past. You don't have to forget the past, but you DO have to let it go, otherwise you will never find fulfilment. Imagine if everyone in the world could just let go of all the hatred and issues from the past - the world would change overnight. In the same vein stop living for the future and with the philosophy of 'one day when...' That day may never come! Anything can happen to change this. So what's the answer? Live in the moment. Of course it is important to plan for the future, but make the journey towards that end goal fun as well. 99% of the work in reaching a goal is the journey towards it. It's usually only the final 1% that makes the goal reality. Take the example of wanting a new car. Buying the car and signing the papers takes 10 minutes. It's the months of planning and saving up for the car that's 99% of the work. So why make this journey unpleasant - it should be fun too.
And this brings me to the second point that you have to be honest with yourself and live in tune with who YOU really are. Stop living the life that the media, politicians, family and friends (the Jones's) tell you to live. It's your life, you have to live with yourself. If your life is all about 'keeping up appearances' and 'fitting in with everyone else', I have some bad news for you - you will NEVER find fulfilment. I make this comment with a strong internal belief that it is true because of personal experience. I do not see myself as any different from anybody else. When I left school I had to study and get a decent job. To the shock of my family and friends I decided to become an entertainer and see the world. Today all those people from the past look at me with shock. Most have the secure job, have done well in life, but are still searching for that inner truth. I in turn, have had fun, followed my heart, given back to the world and enjoyed every single moment. When it comes to a fulfilling life - I have practiced what I preach. Make no mistake about it, oh yes I have also had my ups and downs, positives and negatives. I have also had my good times and financially tough times. Yes, I know you may be thinking I have been lucky, or born with a gift and hence things have gone my way. Definitely not! I have had to sacrifice many things in my life and gone through many tough times, and may still do so in the future. But, and this is the huge but - I have been honest with myself and followed my heart. This means that when times are touch, at least I am still being true to myself in these times. This makes them a lot more bearable than if I was living a lie. It's all about the journey. Life will throw you curveballs, that's a given, but during this journey of ups and downs - it's the being 'true to yourself' that will make you overcome tough times much easier.
This brings me to my third point on finding fulfilment. Know the difference between pleasure and joy. Things that bring you pleasure in life are temporary. Even your spouse and children are 'pleasure principles'. That is why you need to be there for your children and savor their youth. Never have regrets that you didn't spend enough time with them. Same applies to your spouse. One day your children will leave home and your spouse will die - so yes, they are only in your life temporarily. The 'joy' can only be created by making memories that will last a lifetime. That is why most people are unhappy, because most things in life, especially those advertised in the media and which have 'monetary value' are temporary.
Joy is an inner feeling, it is a way of life and a contentment. It is finding inner peace with who you are and it has to do with your values and purpose in life. During April while attending all these speaker conferences, I met a Scottish speaker, Neil Dorwood who was a funeral director for 30 years. Today he speaks on what legacy you leave. He poses the question, "If all your friends are at your funeral and speaking about you - what will they say about your life?" Exactly that- to find joy you need to find your purpose and ask yourself, If I look back on my life, what difference did I make in this world?' If you can find the answer to this, then you start finding joy. And please, don't equate this to anything materialistic!
You may be a housewife who sees no point in running the household and bringing up the kids, playing moms taxi and doing homework with them. Never forget that it's your value system you are sharing with those children, you are moulding them for the future. One day they could be the first 'honest' president of your country. Maybe that's your purpose.
Among speakers world-wide there is the famous 'Starfish' story. A chap walks along the beach and sees thousands of starfish washed ashore. He begins throwing them back one at a time. Another person walks past and asks him why he is doing this. There are thousands of starfish on the beach, what difference is throwing one starfish back going to make. And the man answers, "It's going to make a difference to this one!"
Just smiling at someone, or saying something supportive to someone you don't know - could change the future of the world. Never see your purpose as too big or too small - just have one! Remember, it's not always the big things in life that give it meaning, it's also the many small things!
In summary, you too can find fulfilment by being honest with yourself and finding your purpose in life. Follow through with it to create joy in everything you do. This will then teach you to live in the moment and practice unconditional love towards all around you. Suddenly life will start having meaning again.
Have a fantastic May and learn to live in the moment.
Welcome to April 2011! What a month behind us. I have had so many people email me seeking advice on how to digest recent world events. The tragedy of Japan with the global catastrophe of the nuclear fallout, and the war in Iran - what is happening in the world? It's during times like this that many people start questioning the meaning of life and the purpose behind our existence.
What saddens me the most is that the current nuclear fallout was apparently the result of greed and profits, as officials wanted to save the costs of keeping normal safety regulations in place. Then we go to Libya and look at the blatant suppression of the people, yet those waging the war are apparently more interested in the oil. On top of it the media is focusing on Libya, rather the the long term effects of Japans nuclear fallout which is poisoning all the oceans world wide. C131 and radioactive iodine (most probably with plutonium) will be carried by currents and tides to all oceans of the world. This means that all living things in the sea will be affected. On top of this, the recent earthquake moved Japan's coast by 8 feet and moved the planet on it's axis by nearly 4 inches.
It is completely understandable that many people are becoming despondent and even predicting the end of the world. However, we do need to look at the bigger picture and realise that the world has gone through many natural disasters in it's history. However, it's the more recent and frequent man- made damage that is becoming alarming.
This brings me to this months topic. What does success and fulfilment really mean?
It definitely doesn't mean risking the safety of our planet for profits!
On a smaller scale, we can relate this global event to our lives. How often do we risk our health and happiness of our families for greed? Most people I know spend their lives trying to keep up with the Jones's, buy what the media sells them, and never have time for family and friends. Look at certain luxury car brands who are now advertising there vehicles under the banner of: this car will bring you happiness, inspire you and make your life complete! What a load of hogwash! Yet so many people believe this and fall into the rat race of believing that success and happiness is connected to materialism.
You see, part of the reason so many people are questioning the meaning of life right now is that they have seen the huge tragic losses suffered by the Japanese. Sadly they don't focus on the 'life' losses, but the materialistic losses. I have heard so many people this month talk about how devastated they would be if they lost their house, car and all possessions in a natural disaster. In fact, many have phoned their insurance companies to tried and add 'natural disaster' cover. How screwed up is that?
Not one person I have spoken to has stopped what they were doing and gone to their spouse and children and spent some quality time with them. Neither did they ever talk about what would happen if they lost a loved one. That's the thinking in the world today! How sad is that? Then they complain that they are questing the meaning of life and the point of it all. Maybe, just maybe, these same people should question their own attitude and re-analyse their priorities in life.
Yes, we do live in a global village and money has sadly become the driving force. But, and it's a huge but... money and materialism should never become your main focus. If anything, the lessons we should all learn from these global tragedies is that we need to spend more time with each other. Love and respect each other more, and create special moments.
Realistically, just think about it is honestly,if you were suddenly in a natural disaster, or a war stricken country, what would your priorities be? Packing your new laptop, or making sure that your child was safe? I think it's naive to just look at world events and think that it will never happen to you. Three months ago, who would ever have thought that the such a terrible disaster could happen in Japan?
I am definitely not being a doomsayer here, I am trying to make you think! If an earthquake did take out your home and you did mange to survive, what would your definition of success and happiness be then? Dare a suggest, your survival and the survival of your family. Having food to live and water to drink, plus shelter to stay warm.
That's about it really. But in today's world that is no longer good enough. We strive for every conceivable new materialistic gadget we can, and cannot, afford. Then we believe this will bring us happiness and success.
I need you to re-focus your priorities. Yes, it's 'nice to have' pretty things and the products of the modern world we live in. But they do not and never will define who you are as a person. Neither will they complete you as an individual and help you find inner meaning.
Here's something my wife and I did with our daughters after we saw the disaster in Japan. We all sat down together and firstly spoke about a 'disaster plan.' If an earthquake struck - how would we get out of the house? Where would we run to? How would we make sure that we would all meet up again if we were in different places in the city? As we spoke about this as a family, we all started realising that the worst thing that could happen is if we were separated and didn't know if the other person was alive. Do you have an action plan? This is not being negative, it's plain practical reality and being prepared.
Suddenly, we also all re-affirmed to each other how much we love each other and that nothing in the world is more important that being together. Then came the part in the discussion as to what would we take with us! We all decided we would each pack a small bag which contains a basic pocket knife, some water, some dried food, a medical kit and warm clothes, plus an old mobile phone (in case one could still get reception). I added one extra item to my bag... a folder with important documents, i.e. passport, birth certificates, health insurance, etc. Documents which say who we are. If you lose these and have no back-ups - you have lost your identity.
Interestingly enough none of us added our iPod, laptop, jewelry and other materialistic items. The focus was on basic survival and the importance of being together. A few days later we sat down again (remember my daughters are 12 & 14) and we spoke about what was important in life to each of us. The result... more time with each other and doing fun activities as a family. Going on walks, playing games, talking to each other and creating memories.
So, back to the definition of success and leading a fulfilling life. Yes, there are many 'nice to have' items in life, but could you be happy without them? If not, I suggest you do some serious internal soul searching and think about the importance of those you love in your life. I often tell my delegates that the society we live in today is a game. You need to play this game in an objective manner. Whether you win or lose, you play the game to the best of your abilities, but at the end of the day it is still a game. The more you play it, the better you get and the better the odds that you make enough money to be comfortable and enjoy the pleasure that the modern world brings. However, if you lose, can you pull yourself away from the game and still be happy? Happiness at home and within yourself is the only true definition of success. Because if you are happy there, then your attitude is right. When your attitude is right you extrude a different kind of energy around you. A positive energy. It is this positive energy that then attracts positivity towards you and enables you to play the 'game of life' successfully.
And finally, start becoming aware of our environment and look after nature. Don't leave a carbon footprint - leave a future world for our children.
We need to love more and we will find fulfilment. See what some youngsters between the age of 4 and 8 have to say about love.
'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.' Emily - age 8
'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.' Nikka - age 6 (We need a few million more Nikka's on this planet.)
'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.' Tommy - age 6
'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my Daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.' Cindy - age 8
'My Mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.' Clare - age 6
'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.' Mary Ann - age 4
'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' Lauren - age 4
'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it,you should say it a lot. People forget.' Jessica - age 8
The cherry on top was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."
Make it your goal this April - learn to love more and savour the simple pleasures of life.