Archive for the ‘mind set’ Category

Who you hang around – that you will become.

“You cannot fly like an eagle when you are stuck with turkeys”.
If I told you that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with – would you believe me?

Do this now:
1. Get a pen and paper and write down the people that you spend the most time with. It may be 20 names.
2. Scratch out family members.
3. Chose out of those names – the names that you spend the most time with.

THOSE are the people that will determine who you are, what you become and where you will go in life.

You have to exclude family members because we cannot choose your family. We can choose how we deal with them though.

I have seen effect on people in the work place environment. A person arrived on her first day – bubbly, talkative and energetic. She was hired for this reason. After her desk was moved into an office downstairs, her whole demeanour changed. The office was very negative with a lot of rumours and back biting going on. Not long after the move she was one of the office. She had changed completely purely because of who she was with most of the day.


Get out your mobile phone.
Go through the personal contacts.
DELETE anyone who brings you down when you talk to them.
How do you judge this? When you see their call come you either: do not want to answer and or go “ah no” not now.
For obvious reason you cannot delete business contacts and family.

This simple exercise will make a significant difference to you and your attitude.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most successful in the room?

When you walk into the room of friends, have a look around and determine whether you are the most successful or knowledgeable. If you are, LEAVE. The only reason not leave is if you are teaching the people.
The reason for leaving the room is you cannot improve your knowledge in any way.
If you are not the most successful person – GREAT! You can learn from people and improve yourself.

Do the small things first

Small improvements can make a massive difference in life. Do not try and make a huge change or many changes at once. Change one thing at a time, master that and then change another and so on. Small changes are not difficult and soon make a huge difference.

“If there is someone you can live without, then do so” Bare Naked Ladies

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All businesses want to make profit. There is no other reason to do it. In business there are 2 ways of increasing profit. 1. Increase sales and 2. Decrease expenses. Depending on who you talk to, will determine which way this happens. More sales orientated people will go for increasing sales whilst the accountants amongst us will try to decrease expenses as far as possible.
Your life can be compared to business in terms of being more productive. You have 2 options: 1. Do more in the same amount of time or 2. Decrease the activities that are a waste of your time or you do not like doing.

Very few people can or want to do the first option and very few people think of the second option. The second is actually very easy to do. Possibly the biggest waste of time is your smart phone of hand held device and your computer or a combination of both. You do not need to have 3 devices that people can get hold of you on. Think about it, when you sit down you have a land line telephone, a mobile phone and a computer / laptop. You can get phoned on 2 lines and email on at least 2 devices. Do you realistically need all that communication? I thought not.
So turn them off. When you have dead lines or need to concentrate, turn all of them off for a certain period at a time – say an hour. This give you that hour of uninterrupted time to concentrate and focus. I do suggest leaving a line of communication for emergencies though. When I say that, I mean real emergencies – like family being injured and the like. This might entail not answering you mobile phone unless its family.
So you want to do less of what you do not like? What does that look like? A great example is your tax return*. You do not like doing this every year and it makes you nervous. This also takes you quite some time every year. You also do not know 100% that you are doing it correctly. You also want to do it correctly. Basically it consists of 3 parts. 1. Gathering of all the information, 2. Sorting through the information and 3. lodging the tax return with the authorities.
Part 1 is your responsibility. Deal with this because you cannot do anything about this. Parts 2 and 3, however, can be done by someone else. So get an expert to do it. Yes, this will cost money. However, think of it this way – how much is your time worth per hour? How long does it take you to complete the tax form? Exactly – you can probably pay someone less to do it for you – WITHOUT the hassle and stress!
A tip here though – always approve the final product before letting it get submitted – you are liable not the expert – after all its YOUR tax.

These are just 2 examples of how to get more efficient in your life which makes time to do the things you enjoy, like doing and are good at!
Try it! Decrease your “expenses” and automatically increase your “sales”.

* this is an example and you will need to ensure that the information is correct for your country. This is correct in the country of South Africa.

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Your attitude determines a lot about you as a person and affects everyone around you. The collective attitude of the group of people around you has a bigger (although different) effect. The attitude of entire country has an effect of being to determine where that country is going.
I live in Durban, South Africa and over the last couple of years I have become aware of 3 areas where attitudes make a massive difference.
1. Cyclists.

I am a cyclist and do a fair deal of road cycling. The general attitude towards cyclists from motorists is that they should not be in the road. It goes the other way too with cyclists believing that motorists are out to get them and they are reckless. I am saying that both are 100% to blame for the stupidity that this causes. Being able to comment on both side of the coin, my opinion is this: cyclists often cause their own trouble by riding 2 or 3 abreast. Having said that, motorists often are very impatient and do sudden turns without indicating or stopping suddenly etc. Dangerous to all road users!
What I suggest? If you are cycling, be aware of cars and other road users and ride single file if necessary and let the person pass. Safer for all. If you are a motorist and you come across cyclists – do not hoot! This is very startling for cyclists and causes accidents. If there is a group in the lane, slow down exercise a little patience, make sure there is room to pass and take over as you would a normal car. It may slow your trip down by about 2 minutes but that’s something you have to deal with.

2. Pedestrians.

Not all roads have pavements. Not all pavements are clear from bushes etc. Things happen! Discard those items from the argument. I am talking here about walking in the MIDDLE of the road regardless of any pavements or walkways etc. This is not unique to cities in South Africa – it happens everywhere. Not only does this occur but the following often happens to me. You are turning into a road and have to stop mid turn to allow a pedestrian to cross the road – often holding up traffic behind you. These people do not look left, right and left again before crossing – they just walk. This is ingrained into the psyche of the people who do it. These people often complain with hand gestures when they are asked to move aside for a car! They BELIEVE they are entitled to walk across the road without looking.

3. Litter.
This has become more of an irritation to me over the last couple of years. People with buy something from the shop, use it (eat / look at etc) and discard it on the floor where they are walking. No one likes carrying rubbish around with them. That’s a given. At least have the decency to walk a few steps with it and put it in the rubbish bin! In and around Durban, there are numerous bins all over the place, on street corners, lamp poles and especially inside shopping centres. I would guess that you (on average) could not walk more than 200 metres in any direction without walking past (or into) a bin (or 2) of some sort. You may have cross the road but you can get over that excuse. The result of this attitude is a dirty, grubby looking city which no one likes to see.
I have heard a disgusting attitude say “it provides employment for people” – that’s technically correct but is a horrible attitude to have. That person is educated too which it even worse.
I admit – I have been known throw apple cores out the window. I also made certain that they go onto the grass. They are biodegradable.

Attitudes are great to have but they can also tear into the belly of a great nation. Sort your attitude out first though!

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Be Willing

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to work as a manager at a popular restaurant in Durban. Part of the job, was to interview and hire new waiters, both male and female. I was approached by a young male one day who seemed very dirty and rough, for a position. On further questioning, he actually was homeless.

Most of you are thinking that I should have turned the man away with no chance of being employed by the restaurant. On the contrary! I hired the guy and he turned out to be an amazing man to work with. The amazing part was the fact that he was willing to do the job. He was also willing to learn new abilities if he did not know how to do them. He was able to teach us a few things too!

As opposed to this, I have worked with well dressed, well educated people who do not care about anything else but themselves and are not willing to help other out if it does not benefit them personally. Working as a team is out of the question. I get the strangest looks when I suggest doing something for others. Doing a task to benefit the company or relieve others is a foreign concept greeted with anger and confusion.
Personally, whatever benefits the team comes first over personal gain. This, as said above, is a foreign concept to many. Personal gain comes with team victories. This is my belief, at least. A person who is willing to work and help others will always be first on my list.

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As much as you do not want to admit it – the world is driven by numbers. Everywhere you look and in every aspect of life – numbers numbers numbers! Computer geeks will tell you it is all 0’s and 1’s. Economists are all about GNP, GDP and percentages. Stock markets are about averages, points up and percentage change. Sportsmen and women are all about Km/h, watts, speed, time and so many other statistics.

I thought I was a numbers person. I do some cycling and have been obsessed with the numbers. I have the complete spreadsheets telling all the ups and downs. I cycle both on a single bike as well as on a tandem. I have computers on both bikes. Recently my dad (tandem partner too) got a garmin computer and wanted to have it on the back of the bike so he could see what the statistics were.
It suddenly changed my mind about numbers. I started to cycle by feel and purely for the love of it. It was so much better. I did not have to worry about average speed and how fast (or slow) we were going. I just checked if my dad was doing okay and that was all I was worried about.
I found I enjoyed the whole experience more. The only numbers I really am interested in now are the total distance and the average speed.

I have subsequently met a female semi-professional mountain bike rider and I asked what kind of computer she used, expected a very sophisticated model. The answer was the opposite – she does not use one at all! She said “she just rides”.

The love for anything diminishes when you get caught up in the numbers. I am not saying do not keep them or look at them but rather do not caught up obsessing about them because it takes you away from what you love and do best. Numbers are important but the love for it is more important.

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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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Sit up and DO IT!

Procrastination is the art of putting things off. I have been brilliant at very few things in life but this is one area that I have excelled beyond belief. For many years I have delayed important aspects of life. For what gain? None what so ever!

A perfect example is this. I have always been active and doing sports. About 5 years ago, my company entered a relay fun run in Durban and I was part of the team. I was running the 7 km leg of the challenge. Pretty long for me as I am not a runner at all. I trained a bit and was confident about doing a good time. I was on the way until about 5 km into the run when severe pain shot down my right every time I put my foot down. It reduced me to a slow jog / walk.

From that day I have battled to do long stretches of exercise of any form. The trouble is actually my lower back and in particular my core / stomach muscles. Having done a bit of research and tried some stuff, I knew that some simple exercises sorts the problem out.

Do you think I do those exercises? NO!
I still go running and cycling and land up in pain! I even wake up sore in the morning!

This week I decided to sit up and do something! The something was a plan to do sit ups every day! 4 days into the plan and my back is much better. The running is going much better and is only hindered by the fitness or lack thereof.

What are you putting of doing?


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It was a long 5 and a half years of work, sometimes doing things that – did not enjoy. Throughout the 5 years of my articles, despite the difficult times and sometimes just horrible people, I vowed that I will never forget these times but rather learn from them.
I always knew I would not be there forever (although at times it did feel like it) and this is where my vow kicks in. It does not matter what size entity you work or are involved in, there will probably be someone above you and someone below you in the “food chain”. This obviously excludes if you are the owner.
Being an article clerk, this was especially true. I quickly learned how I liked to be treated and how I did not want to be treated. The effect of this was how I treat people now. That’s what never forgetting where you came is all about. I was once at the bottom and have subsequently moved up. I will, however, NEVER forget where I came from. I have had some really great people to work for and often use what they taught me. I have also had some really horrible people to work for and often use what they taught me.

The difference you ask? It may seem like the same thing!

The difference is that I will use both but in opposite ways. The positive I will reuse over and over again. The negative (latter) I will use when reminding myself how not to deal with people.
Your past my have determine where you are today but it can be the biggest influence of where you will go!
Treat others as you would have them treat you and you will never go wrong.

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Good morning, how are you?

I am good, how are you?

That’s good. I am good thanks.


How many times a day is that said across the globe? Millions, possibly billions, I would suspect. Yet, how many times is this actually said?

Good morning, how are you?

I am sick as a dog. How are you?

That’s good. I am good thank you.


Very few people actually start their conversations this way with an intention of listening to the answer. It is used more as a conversation starter and seldom anything more.

We are in fact ALL GUILTY of this at one stage or another. Some people are more guilty, if there is such a thing.

There are times when we intentionally do listen to the answer, of course. Examples are; when you talk to or visit an old friend or meet people face to face.

This behaviour can make or break a relationship. I get really upset if someone does not listen to me. If this were to happen during an important business call or meeting – it may well break the deal or be the difference between yes or no. On the other side of the coin, if people do listen to me, I am immediately warmed to them and it builds a stronger bond without them really trying!

Think about it for you personally – you want to be heard and for people to listen to you, right? Do you listen to others? Really? Try listening to others more carefully next time.

Do unto others as you would have them do to you!

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In life, we all have our ups and our downs, but it's how we react and respond that sets us apart. Often when replaying an incident in my head I'm surprised at how negative I was. It's a mind-set and you can and need to change it!

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