Sunday, December 19, 2010

Positive is as Positive does The Christmas Spirit

Sometimes keeping positive can be a really hard exercise, as world and personal events try to overwhelm you. The GFC, worst Retail Sales ever at Christmas time, jobless queues growing longer, and stories that tell us that 100,000 children are out in the cold this year, homeless, and possibly hopeless.
Then the personal issues cram into your head, sick children, not enough money to pay the bills, and a bleak New Year to look forward to with no job, and no apparent future.
Who to talk to? Where to look for an answer? And if you have a loving family, the pain of failure is all the more bitter, because you probably blame yourself for creating the situation in the first place, and your guilt in letting them down is all consuming.
But there are two truths that you can lock onto, and believe with all your heart.
If you stay positive, always looking for the opportunity to make that beak from the doom and gloom cycle, and if you understand that money only has power over you if you allow it to have, they you will survive.
Start by focussing on the love for and of your family. Personally, I soak this up every second of every day, and my family is my shining light in the darkest of times.
And look for ways to climb out of the emotional hole you find yourself in.
Smile, take the time to consider options you might normally ignore. Look for something different. Short term even, just enough to get you started again, and over the initial hump of having hit the bottom of your confidence.
In today's world, short term work is more valuable than a career. Demonstrating to a potential Employer that you are willing to roll your sleeves up and work at something that might not be your first - or even second - choice, will go a long way towards reigniting your self-confidence and your energy for Life.
One of the first things to happen when you reach the bottom of the confidence pit is that your self-esteem takes a huge whack in the guts, and you start to doubt your ability to think and reason things out.
You haven't changed, your attitude has.
A friend of mine, highly qualified, just applied for over 400 jobs in three months, and only got one phone interview. Every day he goes on-line, and sends in more applications. His philosophy is simple - he believes in the "rule of numbers" - where for every 100 people you contact, 10 will end up in meaningful conversations, and 1 will end up in an interview. He rightly figures he is due a bunch of interviews anytime soon!
Another friend of mine has been trying to get high-value work for three years. He is always working at something, and he is determined to succeed, and in the mean time he is providing for his family, and keeping himself busy until the right opportunity comes along.
If I could say just one thing to anyone who finds themselves in this position, it would be, "Never give up. Never stop trying. You only fail if you stop trying to make something happen."
And trying can be hard, particularly as external forces work against you. It's the holiday season, no one wants to interview just before Christmas, then the week between Christmas and New Year is dead, and you can always find reasons why things can't happen. But this year don't be put off by "the holidays".
I sense a need for positive energy every where I go, it's as if the world has suddenly run out of steam - so get out there and smile, talk to people about things, make someone happy because you paid attention to them.
Share. Care. Be positive. Take your last $5 and buy a small present and put it under the Tree in the Mall, for disadvantaged children. Know that by doing this one small act of kindness, you will have given someone you will never meet hope and a smile.
And never give up. If you need something to read over the Christmas period, send me your email address, and I will send you back one of our Motivational Books titled "Breaking Heads". It has everything we have learned about people and performance in the last 40 years.
Or you could just scroll all the way back to the start of this blog and copy across the chapters as they appear here. The book will come up in sections, the last first.
Either way, let the Christmas Spirit fill your soul, smile, and take heart. You will succeed, because you deserve to - and you have a wonderful loving family standing right behind you to make sure you do!
Happy Christmas, and a rich and prosperous New Year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fact or Fiction

In the past few months, I've been engaged in some serious debate about interesting things like black holes, particle physics, Thermodynamic Laws, and QM. In all these discussions, there are generally two types of contribution - the serious, factual, detailed opinion of someone who really knows their math or physics, and those seeking to learn from participating in the exchange.
What fascinates me is that most often the best learning conversations come from the questions and discussions contributed by those with the least formal math and physics experience.
And the reason is stimulating.
The "pros" talk in disciplined code, acronyms, and serious language, while the "not-so-pros" talk in more general terms, sometimes stories, but always in simpler language. More engaging, more curiosity, more open.
For many years we have understood the power of stories, and while our culture has very moved away from story telling as an art and a science, with language shortened and truncated into "btw" and "lol", most people still respond to a good yarn.
It seems to be embedded in our Race memory, and if you think about it, it stands to reason because for the first few thousand years of our evolution, oral history is all we had.
But my observation would be that in a story there is more than just a series of facts or statements, unless it is pure fiction.
There's a context, fabric, sometimes some seemingly irrelevant words that somehow enlarge our comprehension and engage our thinking processes making it easier for us to grasp the point or issue the story is telling us.
The other great attribute of a well told story is that it is less threatening that a "hard" statement of fact(s).
If I nod my head, smile, or shake my head, I am not understanding the story. If I shake my head at a bucket of facts, I am not understanding the facts, which might make me out to be a little less "smarter" than everyone else.
Also, stories can "wander" a little in the telling, allowing us to catch up if we don't understand something at the first bite.
In the modern world, blogs are rapidly becoming the story-telling media of the masses.
It will be very interesting to see where this all goes, because unlike traditional stories, a blog can change course based on the feedback the blogger gets, and the very essence of participation actually shapes the collaborative outcome.
So, fact or fiction? You choose, I know what I'll respond to!!