19 August 2009

The Power Of Books To Transform Lives

'Life transforming ideas have always come to me through  books.'
Bell Hooks

People underestimate the power of books. A book does not necessarily have to be a best seller to have a powerful impact. Often the message may be simple, the author unknown but what is written is so powerful that it has the capability to transform a life, awaken an individual, the foresight to make a glorious difference. Books will impact individuals during various stages of their lives and no doubt in different ways.

People often reach out for messages of hope, inspiration, advice all of which are found in an infinite number of books. The right book has the ability to heal, awaken the senses, inspire and move people into action. Some of the best known books include, The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D Wattles, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The Bible, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne just to name a few. The list is endless of books that have had wide reaching audiences both professionally and leisurely and will continue for generations to come.

The book that made a significant impact on my life was “The Power of Positive Thinking’ by Norman Vincent Peale. I am eternally grateful to my uncle who had the foresight to give me the book to read in my late teens. After reading the book my way of thinking was altered indefinitely. Everything I approached in life was with a positive attitude, failure was not a consideration. Simply having this mindset made a huge difference, I became proactive and consciously made decisions to ensure my goals were achieved. That is not to say that I did not experience failure along the way, absolutely I did, however my attitude to failure was different. Numerous other books taught me to view failure as a learning experience, a personal growth to be developed. Failure was not something to be disappointed about, on the contrary, some of our greatest achievements have indeed resulted from failures as Michael Jordan said,

“I’ve failed over and over and over again and that is why I succeed.”

Books are insightful pieces of art that have a splendid uniqueness to create magic to readers who are open to the messages within. Immerse yourself in a great book and you will remember the communication, with a smile in your heart and recommend the book to others who are destined to travel the same path. The power of words will either create your destiny or simply leave you smiling.

23 July 2009

To Give Your 10 Cents Or Not

‘I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.’
G K Chesterton

Recently I watched a program interviewing 3 working mothers. It was the response of one of them that intrigued me. She stated her two older children had sought professional jobs and she was thrilled. However, her youngest son’s decision to open a joint strip club and car wash was unexpected. It was her reply to his career choice, which moved me. She was not overwhelmed with his career choice, however she accepted that this was his choice. She trusted him implicitly to do the right thing and hoped for her sake he would open a classy strip club.

Her decision to support her son in his career choice irrespective of her own judgements and views impressed me. She had absolute faith and confidence in her parenting skills and trusted her son to manage the club wisely.

As parents letting go is critical to their success as adults. Suffocating them with our judgements and limitations does nothing to encourage their independence and development. They will find their own limitations, burdening them with ours simply increases the restrictions.

Allow our children to make the right choices for themselves. Granted the choices may not be our preferred options but we have to respect that it is now their life. Confidence in our parenting skills and instilling values we hold precious should steer them to make the correct career choices. Should they select an alternative path, as parents, support is what they seek. They will receive a barrage of criticisms and negativity from others who when advising are subjective in their opinion.

No two people are destined to lead the same life and no individual should be compelled to live the life of another.

15 July 2009

Adopt Change, Opportunity For Growth

‘We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.’ Harrison Ford

Are you a stand for your life and embrace change when necessary or are you glued to living routine indefinitely? Resistance to change diminishes opportunities for growth, creativity, new careers, new relationships the options are endless but closed eyes observe nothing but our present circumstances.

Resisting change is a simple state of mind. Change our mind, we change our attitude, we change our behaviours and the outcomes we achieve are altered. Granted the changes we seek may not be our anticipated outcome, nevertheless without change, nothing new is created, nothing ventured gained. Surely the courage to engage change far outweighs the necessity to remain static and life being uneventful.

So why are we so reluctant to embrace change? Where in our life journey did we come to resent it?

In my early 20’s I was adventurous probably because the thinking process was not consulted. The option of failing, too risky, too scared was off the radar. It was after having a family the security of the comfort zone phased in. In a quest to determine my professional ambitions, venturing out of my comfort zone became a necessity.

Realisation that attachment to specific results, our careers, our relationships irrespective of whether it is working or not, defies the compulsion for change. Clearly our circumstances are signalling disaster, our health deteriorating yet we insist on indulging in the same routine? The obvious answer is that it is unlikely to yield a different result so why do we continue? Change is different it may not necessarily be good but refusal to consider alternatives may be worse. Sadly sometimes peer pressure supports our view to remain the same so we do. Unless we think outside the box, our circumstances and outcomes are exactly the same.

As Harrison Ford suggests, change is an opportunity for a second chance. Embrace it, live it!

19 June 2009

Persistent Negative Labelling Can Destroy Lives

‘If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.’
Bruce Barton

Why do we insist on giving people labels? You are so stupid, too fat, you will never achieve anything and so the list goes on. Are these comments adding value or simply festering in the minds of the recipient to embrace and live out the label? Tragically most will embrace the label and lead that life. For a determined minority, the words will harness the power within to prove their labellers wrong and lead incredibly successful lives.

I know of one case where a father continually labelled his son as useless and would not amount to anything. As this was drilled into the son from a young age, his son accepted the words of his father as the absolute truth. The son unlike his siblings was not an academic genius but had the ability to work magic with his hands. This obviously went unnoticed by his father.

Subsequently, Andre (not his real name) for 10 years happily sponged off his family and friends, refused to seek employment and blissfully received welfare payments. However, realization hit Andre in his 20’s that he had been labelled by his father and would prove him wrong. Andre went onto to work for a successful communications giant working in the field, using what he was always great at – his hands. He was a genius at what he did and highly regarded by his management and peers.

Viewing the situation from the outside it was heartbreaking to see Andre waste 10 incredible years of his life due to a label. Andre’s view of himself was that he was a waste of time and incapable of achieving. Hindsight is always a great thing but simply because an individual has a specific opinion about you does not necessarily make it true or a fact. For many we may accept what is said about us as the truth particularly if it was persistently said to us as a child. Realization to challenge those labels may come to some in their later life, regrettably for others it may never happen.

Therefore, it is worth noting the persistent comments you make to people – will it enhance or jeopardize the life they will eventually lead.

15 June 2009

Are You Investing In Integrity To Achieve Results?

‘Our character is an omen of our destiny and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be.’ George Santayana
People with integrity have immense power in their life because they are committed to honouring their word. Highly respected by family and friends they are trusted individuals who consistently deliver on their promises.

Consider how often you may have put off doing a task, simply because you lacked integrity. Failure to perform the task festers as you know you should have actioned the activity at hand. As inaction continues you become irritable. Eventually, the incomplete task takes over, as it becomes a matter of urgency. Ultimately, the task is performed and the huge burden weighing on your shoulders is lifted. Was the additional stress and worry necessary? Very unlikely and all totally avoidable had you had integrity.

Having integrity gives you absolute power because it gets you into action. In trays are constantly being cleared out, routine tasks are performed daily. Integrity is delivering on your word and those who have it are more likely to succeed in life than those who lack integrity. People with integrity do not make or need excuses they basically go ahead and do what is necessary to get the job done.

Simply having integrity can make a huge difference to what you achieve in life, give it a go for just a day and witness the miracles that occur.

05 June 2009

To Give Your 10cents Or Not...

The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right.” Hannah Whitall Smith

A friend of mine recently informed me of her decision to change career paths. I knew it was inevitable, as she had always been inclined to follow this path. However, I subsequently learned that she had decided to forgo her decision as it had met with her mother’s disapproval. I was bitterly disappointed since I knew my friend was passionate about her new venture.

My friend’s mother insisted I advise my friend against pursuing her chosen career path because she thought it was unacceptable for her daughter. I replied that I was unable to do this as her daughter was an adult and fully capable of making her own choices. I also stated that the decisions she (her mother) thought were correct might not necessarily be appropriate for her daughter.

I was completely dumbfounded by the situation. My friend was willing to forgo her happiness and chosen career path to satisfy her mother. Although I had explained my point of view to my friend’s mother, I chose not to elaborate my view to my friend. My friend seemed adamant with her decision and therefore I thought not to give my 10 cents worth. However, it bothers me that her mother still controls her daughter’s life and worst still her daughter allows it. As much as it angered me I felt that it was not my place to get involved seeing as both parties had adjusted to the outcome.

People’s choices for happiness are completely personal and therefore I struggle when others interfere stating it is wrong or unsuitable because what they are actually saying is that choice is improper for them! As a parent, I hope to instil good values and encourage independence in my children and acknowledge that eventually they will be responsible for their own choices. To constantly interfere in the decisions my children make as adults, would cease to allow them to grow and expand and to jeopardise their happiness is something I wish not to be accountable for.