Archive for the ‘Difference’ Category

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Not so long ago, on a glorious saturday afternoon, I started feeling nauseous and not very good at all. I was at a family gathering and really enjoying the Durban sunshine. Fortunately, I made it home before it all came back to me – lunch and anything had eaten before.
I have no clue what caused it, but am sure the 2 hour bike ride in the heat of the day did not help my electrolyte balance.

To get to the point and to leave out the gnarly details – I was very sick that night and was in bed most of the following day (sunday). I lost much fluid and weight in the process.

This left very weak on the monday morning going to work. I was not sick enough to skip work and go to the doctor and was running at about 60% The difference was remarkable. Instead of taking 2 stairs at a go – I could only manage one. This forced me to take it slowly.
Breakfast gave me an energy lift, so working at 75% was about the max I was going to get to. This was good!


I shall explain. Running at 100% is never effective and never efficient for anybody or anything. Take a car for example. It gets less efficient as the speed gets higher. So travelling at 110km/h is actually more efficient than 120km/h which is more efficient than 130km/h etc. You get the point. So why try and go at 130 km/h when 110 km/h is more efficient and more effective?

I figured this out while working at about 80% on the Monday. It was amazing how efficient and therefore focussed and ultimately more effective I was that day. Because I was working at 80% does not mean I was working slowly. It meant that I stopped spending energy on nothing and rather focussed it on the important items.

Try it out for yourself. Stop working at 100 (or 110) % capacity and see how it will increase your efficiency in daily life.

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Good morning said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on ground.

The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new.. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life.His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.. “Leave me alone,” he growled.

To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows.
“Are you hungry?” she asked.
“No,” he answered sarcastically.
“I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”

The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.
“What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily.
“I said to leave me alone. Just then a policeman came up.
“Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked.
“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”

The officer scratched his head. “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”

“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.””Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted.

“I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

“This is a good deal for you, Jack” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it.
“Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner.
It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived.
The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked. “What is all this, is this man in trouble?”
“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.

“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business..
“Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.
“The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled.

“Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”
“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”
“And do you make a godly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?”
“What business is that of yours?
“I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”


The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.” She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle.
“Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”
“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”
“Yes, maam. That would be very nice.
“The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.

“The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said.”That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.
“She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently..
“Jack, do you remember me?”Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. “I think so, I mean you do look familiar.”

“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”

“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.
“Jack lit up with a smile.

“Now I remember,” he said.. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble.

Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right.”
“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.

“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card.

“When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons…He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.”

She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet.
If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.
“There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he said. “Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus. He led me to you.

“Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways.

“Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.
“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget.

And..And thank you for the coffee.


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You sit and day dream about the perfect job or situation that would make your life perfect.
What are you waiting for?
Better weather?
The perfect partner – male or female?
More money?
Approval from your peers, loved ones or friends?

Why are you waiting for those things?

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do” Walter Bagehot

Chances are all the reasons for you not doing what you want to do are basically all excuses. They are not real reasons stopping you but rather made up excuses that you have placed upon yourself and you situation to limit yourself.

There are only very few actual reasons not to do something. For example: you are not old enough. Still not a great excuse. All of these reasons generally expire and become invalid.

Possibly the most popular “reason” is “I do not have enough money”. This is a major factor in most peoples dreams. This too is an excuse. The reason for this being an excuse is the fact that you can actually do something about. The excuse then becomes an action plan “I do not have enough money YET”. It also has a time line which builds excitement for you and everyone around you.

Making your move will scare you indeed. I experienced this recently when I decided to take that first step towards my dream. Yes, it was scary beyond belief! Having said that, it has opened up opportunity beyond belief too. I am certainly learning stacks every day about all sorts of things. I love it and will not stop now!

In fact, the dreams have grown and are not stopping anytime soon!

Go on! Make your move!

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Are you a builder or a destroyer?


Do you build people up or cut them down?


I was talking to Bob* the other day. Bob and his sister have been mountain bikers for years and have done several long stages races. Recently George started mountain biking and because of his personality and kind of person he is, he decided to do a very tough stage race locally. He gave himself enough time to train and get all prepared.


I personally think he will finish the race. Finishing the race is a very difficult task but not impossible. Its also very prestigious to say you have finished the race.


The story has a point. Bob and his sister are sitting and waiting for George to fail or give up. They are not really offering their time or expertise in the area to build George up and help him attain his goal. They are rather constantly warning him about how hard it is and ragging him about how he is not going to make it.


This to me is not very nice of them but that is who they are. They are not overly ripping him to shreds and tearing him down but rather causing a little bit of doubt every time they talk to him. He is pretty doubtful about it already as he has realised the enormity of the goal. Having said this, he is a relatively fit human being and active too. He has also done a huge amount to attain this target in terms of diet and training so far. These actions lead me to believe he will attain it unless something unplanned goes wrong.


Often people put other people down because they want to look better about themselves. Often they do it because they are jealous of others actions. Either way it is not a positive way of treating people.

Do you build people up and encourage them to achieve whatever they are going for?




Do you tear them down by sowing seeds of doubt about their goals?



* Names have been changed – this does not matter as the story is for illustration purposes only.

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Have you given up already on certain things in your life?

I have!

How many times have you said “it is too hard” or “I just cannot do it”. The list of “reasons” I mean excuses that follow can range from logical to down right stupid. The list can as long as your leg and my leg together. You see, its easy to give up and then justify the action.

I do it ALL the time! I plan to get up early in the morning to go cycling. The alarm goes and I wake up and hit SNOOZE. Once. Twice. Three times. Then I reset the alarm for normal get up time. When that time comes I am now irritated that I should got up. I then list the excuses to my wife or anyone that will listen and beat myself up ALL day for not getting up.
I hate doing it and hate myself for doing it. Yet, I do it almost every single day.

I heard someone say today “she is so honest by saying she cannot do it because of …..”. I do not believe that’s honesty. That’s giving up and not having the courage to hit the tough stuff and get through it.

When you start giving up – the item simply becomes less important than something else. In my case, sleeping in becomes more important than whatever I was supposed to do.

How do you stop giving up?


Just get up and do whatever you were going to do. Stop making excuses and do it.
A support structure is vital. Telling someone makes you accountable and they can help you through the tough times.
Accept that there will be tough times. No one said it will going to be easy!

The rest is up to you. Go and do it! Carpe diem!

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Have you ever got really tense and frustrated just before a big event? Perhaps a conference you are planning, your annual holiday or even the run up to Christmas?

A couple of years ago, I was going to a Christian retreat for 3 and half days. The lead up to this particular retreat was actually horrible. I was tense which rubbed off onto others and it was just not a nice time. The retreat was an amazing time and always worth the effort!

Just the other day, I was at band practise at a local church and before I got a little wound up because plans were changed slightly and it got under my skin when it REALLY should not have. I was thinking about bailing and going home but stuck it out because of various reasons. It landed up being a really good practise and the worship session on Sunday went very well too. Well worth the tense start to the process.

I look back at these and other instances and think to myself “what went wrong?” – there was no reason for that to happen!

There are 2 options to deal with this:
1) We can anticipate it will happen and counter it by watching for signs of it or,
2) Make up for the tense time by having a better time at the event or occasion that we are planning for.

Personally, I try and do the first option because I am quite a stable person and do not like going up and down like a yo-yo emotionally. I am also very aware of hurting people around me for no reason.

Either way we should be aware of this occurrence and plan for it.

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We never really grow up do we? The difficulties of a child and adults are very similar. They do not get any more difficult and in fact they probably get easier!
What am I talking about?
Currently my daughter is learning to crawl. At first she had no clue how to do it or where to start. As the days went past, she experimented and started to get the basics right. She did face plant a few times but that’s par for the course! I then got a message from my mom to say she is crawling to get things. She now is able to crawl around very basically but the progression is there. The more she praised by the people around her the faster she learns and the more she tries. Those people are also there to catch her as she falls or to pick her up and wipe the tears away (or take her to the hospital).

We are exactly the same just different! Take anything you have started for example. You start out clueless but with a few “face plants” and some time, progress is made and soon we are crawling then walking and finally running.

Make sure you have a good support structure to cheer you on and also to catch you before you face plant!

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What is the greatest event that has ever happened to you? Can you list a top 5 or 10?
It is not often that you see a negative event in any persons top 5 or 10 list. Mine however, contains one.
I will explain.
The year of 2011 had started quite badly but on the rebound. I had found a good job where I was happy. My wife and I were also expecting our first child. Our beautiful baby girl was born a bit early with quite a lot of drama on the 14th November. Only 2 days later, I received a letter of intended retrenchment. Despite being the most senior in rank and qualification, the last-in-first-out method was applied and that meant me first!
For the third time that year I was looking for a job!
I told my wife who was still in hospital recovering from child birth and we agreed that we would tackle it as a team.
A fairly long story short … I went to many interviews, some nice some horrible. On the whole, I was on a slippery slope down. One starts to believe after a few interviews that you are not any good and it gets nasty. This carried or for quite some time. Due to immense money saving tactics we were tight but okay. Reserves were running which meant claiming UIF became an option. I used to think that it was ‘below me’ to claim but I swallowed my pride and went to claim. It was pretty painless and quite efficient. Ironically, it was the very day I was supposed to collect my first UIF cheque that I started a new job.
It took a long time at the new job to get used being at work all day. It came back pretty quickly and I soon settled down. Along the way, I started to regain the self confidence lost over the last months. I soon began feeling like me again. This came with a lot of support from family and friends.
I got asked “how did get through that time?” My answer never changes. Those four and a half months were a huge blessing and one of the biggest ever. I could have wollowed in self pity further speeding up the downward spiral or focus on the positive!
I looked back and saw that I had watched my daughter grow up for the first months of her life. Most fathers do not get to see any of their children grow up and I was given four and a half months!
I will always look back in awe of the blessing that was being retrenched and the memories it has given me!

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On the cover of every magazine – you find it. It is the topic of literally 1000’s of blogs. It is the topic of self improvement. Start exercising or stop smoking. Even find your true self.

This is great … IF you WANT to change yourself or improve your life.

Improving your own life is exactly that – your own. I think it is a very good effort to improve your life. However, it is a very personal journey. You can bring people together to support you and I think you should do that. Not every one you meet and share your journey with is going to be your supporter. you cannot expect it either. It is your journey and not theirs.

I repeat what I said earlier – I am in 100% support of the improvement, just keep it to you and your true supporters. You WILL encounter people who actually just do not want to change and that is perfectly okay. If they do not want to change – you must not try and force them to. Do not try and convert them to your way and try to get them to improve with you. They may be on their on journey.

Keep going on your journey!

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