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Friday, June 6, 2014


I came across this thoughtful article by Mavis Mazhura, who is a Transformational Speaker, Facilitator and Coach.  Mavis graciously accepted my invitation for her to be a guest on my blog when I told her that my friends would find her insights helpful. I urge you to read this great, down-to-earth article and leave your comments below. Here is Mavis:
Isn't it always interesting when you look back in hindsight and you say to yourself I wish I had a foresight back then I would have done things differently! There are many things I would have done differently but I will talk about 4 things.

1. Embrace my Story
’Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”-C.G. Jung
The body remembers everything that has happened to it and our emotions help us to store up information in our unconscious mind. The unconscious mind weaves a story of our life in our memory. Most people are minors of their story because they minimize or belittle themselves by denying the story that shaped who they are. I realize now that it is difficult to be authentic and confident without accepting your story. Most of our childhood experiences are lying in the sub-conscious mind and they influence our adult behaviour from under the radar. I was stuck in mass consciousness as a young adult, wanting to fit in and trying to escape my story, but I know now that my breakthrough lay in embracing that story and become a hero of it.
2. Find the Sanctuary Within

’Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose directionand begin to bend’’. ~Walter Savage Landor

Discovering your purpose connects you with the sanctuary within and direction that cannot be easily swayed by external forces. When you have discovered your purpose, it is not easy to be sidetracked or distracted, if it does happen it is also easy to go back to it. When you are not fulfilled due to not living out your purpose, it is easy to feel frustrated and/or frustrate others in the process, because you are unwell inside your self, you are not being authentic. When frustrated by not being authentic to self or your God given purpose, some people then seek sedatives or anesthetics to temporarily soothe themselves from feeling unwell. They lose focus towards their usefulness and begin to bend, engaging in self-sabotaging behaviours like alcoholism, womanising, making others responsible for their happiness, complaining, seductress or simply being idol. These behaviours also perpetuate a feeling of false fulfillment and unhappiness hurting self and others. If you do not pursue something worthwhile, you will pursue something worthless. People pursue different things in search of happiness. Some pursue money, some pursue marriage and some pursue children. Only to discover that none of the things they pursed give them that sense of peace and this is because they have not pursued their true mission. I believe when you pursue your purpose the others desires will ultimately be added on and even if they are not it would not be an issue for you. When you limit what you are capable of or who you truly are, that drains energy out of your being. I sidetracked a little by not pursuing my purpose earlier. Most successful people are people who pursued their purpose early in life.
3. Modeling
“If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton
People are the biggest resource and, whether we are aware of it or not, we are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with, whether it is through music or books, movies or the food we eat. Your results are affected either positively or negatively by what you surround yourselves with. You will use some of the phrases they use, behave like them sometimes, your tastes also influenced by them. If you do not have a plan, you will just be going with the crowd, or if you have a plan and you surround yourself with people or things not flowing in the same direction as you, you may experience friction and internal conflict on whether to go or to stay where they are. It might also take you longer to get your results because no one holds you accountable, you may read a book or listen to an audio tape, but those things will not hold you accountable; other people will hold you accountable and push you to achieve your maximum potential.
I ask people in our EQ course, who is your role model? Some often respond ‘myself’ or, ‘I have no role model’ or,’ I do not want to be disappointed when those people behave in a way contrary to my expectations’. This shows how some people are unaware that someone is influencing them involuntarily. We learn through modeling aware or unaware. Intentional modeling gives you an opportunity to choose intentionally and purposefully someone with the results you want and identify their patterns of success and emulate them. This helps to generate positive emotions of curiosity, interest and optimism, learning both from their successes and failures and how they responded to challenging situations. Remember, role models do not have to be perfect; they are human like you and me, so choose what you want to focus on to your own benefit. Check the your relationships, who has the relationship with money that you would also want to create, who has a marriage that you would want to create, who has wisdom that you would to create, who has physical fitness that you would want to create? What are their patterns? Model the patterns and you do not have to start from scratch. I wish I had chosen my models at 22.
To be successful in any area, you have to learn about it as much as you can. Learn the rules and the science behind any area you want to fulfill. We live in a world bombarded with information and so many distractions that if no one holds you accountable, you will abandon your dream and your goal and get stuck in habits and patterns that are not serving you. A coach/mentor helps you to achieve results faster by holding you accountable and to condition your mind and emotions to new states that are can move you towards your goals. A coach/mentor will help you to expand your awareness, figuring out what is not working and create new ways. Your coach/mentor is an expert guide who will remind you what to do when you are stuck. They are your sounding board and accountability partner. Get a coach/mentor who can get you on track and kick your butt to keep moving, if you already have one that great and remember different areas of your life may require a different mentor. If you check out most successful people, they have a coach/mentor. Learning from the best teachers gets you on the path to success. Who are your teachers? I do not only read from my great teachers, I have purposely met some of them and when I do, one of my dreams or goals is accomplished, and I feel great. If I had a coach at 22 I guess I would be far in pursuit of mu dreams.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Some situations become stressful because noone has taken responsibility for them. Imagine yourself as a passenger in a car that is approaching a herd of elephants, and the driver is screaming in alarm and ignoring the brakes. Dangerously unnecessary stress will build up inside that car!

When a bill you can't clear arrives on your doorstep, concentrate your energies on reducing the danger of such unpleasant consequences as your water or power being turned off. Refuse to devote any of that energy to an emotion called panic by taking positive action, such as visiting the municipal utility office and negotiating an arrangement to pay off the excess amount in manageable instalments. If you feel that the amount of the bill does not reflect your actual usage, query the bill first; quite possibly, the meter reader did not come to your home this month, and an inflated estimate was used. Whatever the case may be, creditors are generally more interested in securing payment than in "fixing" you.

Let's take another situation. School begins next week, and you do not have enough money to cover the fees. Going down with stress won't help your child, and your child needs you to take full charge of the situation. Think creatively within the law. You could visit the principal today and offer an instalment plan. If you have a bank account and the bank manager has no reason to hate you, you could go talk to her. Banks are in the business of selling money. If other doors are closed, isn't there something in the house that you can sell this week and perhaps replace later on? This list of possibilities is not a comprehensive one; each one of us has emergency exits they can use in the face of danger. The secret is to remain calm and avoid debilitating panic.

When you deliberately choose to act as a problem solver, you become bigger than the problem. True, some situations are more difficult than others, but it is a better strategy to work harder at tackling them than to fall hard into depression and stress, which bring further, and often more serious, problems. Stay on top of things so things don't crush you.

In the next instalment we shall deal with relationship problems, which are arguably the dominant cause of stress in our world.

Sunday, October 6, 2013



This post is about stress, so I shall break it up into segments and keep it short so you don't get stressed out reading it. I hope this first segment will help someone.
Things that we may not have planned, both good and bad, happen to us, and around us. These may be events that affect our health, our relationships, our life pursuits or our careers. The shock and impact of some of them can leave us tense, paralysed or confused. We are confronted with a demand to deal with situations we did not expect, situations about which we may not be able to do anything at all. Your husband or wife strays. A child is arrested. The utility bill is too big for your paycheck this month. The baby you never planned is on its way. What to do?
Sometimes the key is to do nothing. Most stress is caused by our failure to recognise the difference between the fact that something has happened and the question whether it is our duty to take any action in response to it. This failure often puts pressure on us to "do something", even in situations where it is not in our power to act. When we feel responsible but can't act, we react emotionally, and this erodes our ability to cope. In such situations, slow down and concentrate on coping. Such moments may well be moments for faith in God, and for leaning on the shoulders of others. The reason we are counseled to "bear one another's burdens" is clear: when it's your own burden, it may be too close for you to bear without falling apart. Find a dependable confidante and pour it out.
(In the next post, which should be up in a day or so, we shall deal with stressful situations caused by things we can do something about, e.g. the utility bill).

Sunday, March 31, 2013


While driving through a portion of rural India this morning, I was struck by the spectacle of a two-storied mansion that dwarfed the humble shacks and huts that surrounded it. "How ridiculous!" was the first thought that crossed my mind.

Upon reflection, though, I came to the realisation that  my reaction was far from being an original one; be it in the case of Chaminuka, Gandhi, Einstein or the Wright Brothers, those who observed what these epoch-makers were doing or saying thought or said my words, almost exactly. Revolutions, in any sphere of life, are pioneered by upstarts and (seeming) lunatics. My repentant retake was vindicated a kilometre or two later, when I noticed that another villager had erected a tiny version of the mansion I had seen and criticized earlier.

It's afternoon now as I write, and I feel wiser about life. When I go back to my own country, I think I shall find something unusual and good to do that others might find worth imitating. My neighbours may well start competing with me, and could come up with better projects that will enhance the value of my surroundings. That will not hurt me.

What do you think? Could our workplaces, our homes, our world, become better environments for us if we did some positive, game-changing things? Do please share your thoughts in the comments box on this page.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The odds of hitting a hole-in-one in golf, according to an authoritative source, are one in  150 000. This feat is so rare, in fact, that insurance companies offer hole-in-one cover to professional golfers in the confidence that the majority of takers are unlikely to ever draw against the insurance policy. Golfers who hope for this miracle need insurance cover because tradition demands that the player who achieves the feat throws a party for all the members of his club. Guess what-yesterday I beat the odds and achieved a hole-in-one on a longish par 3 at Delhi Golf Club, a championship course in the Indian capital. Yes, I do have a headache now because I am not insured against this sort of calamity, and all my golfing friends are clamouring for a party. I did, however, walk away with something good, other than the trophy and the citation (yes, that's me in the picture with the trophy and the grin)- a valuable lesson about how inexpensive optimism is.
Picture this: as we walked towards the green, none of us in the four-ball was aware of what had just happened there. When we got to the green and my ball was not in sight, I searched everywhere, including in the bramble thicket that flanked the green. In the best traditions of amateur golf, my playing partners joined me in the search, which went on for several minutes. All hope lost, I was preparing to chip a penalty ball from the edge of the thicket when a caddie exclaimed "hole-in-one!" as he peered excitedly into the cup at the centre of the green. We all converged on the green and confirmed that I had just joined one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, and yet we had spent so many anxious minutes looking for bad news!

I have to learn-as perhaps you too do-to expect good things to happen as I pursue my dreams in life. At the very least we must drop the habit of assuming worst-case scenarios, as such negativity makes us miss the good news that seeming bad news so often carries with it. Perhaps, as it were, the ball we hit is sitting in the cup, waiting to make us famous, while we are courting scratches and insect stings in the bramble bush all the while.
Do you, too, have a story that illustrates how assuming the worst can delay our recognition of good news? Please tell us your story. If you have no story, at least congratulate me on my hole-in-one!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


A few days ago I had a conversation with a truly remarkable man. I had just finished the task of sticking a vehicle license disc on my windshield when I became aware that someone was standing a few feet away from me and my open car door. "Pardon me", he said. "I didn't mean to startle you. My name is Daniel. I couldn't help admiring your car, enthusiast that I am. The power of the 3.2 liter engine under that hood is phenomenal." My interest was engaged immediately, and I introduced myself in turn. A highly animated discussion about cars ensued, and several minutes flew by.

When at the end of our conversation I parted with a ten-dollar note, the gesture was made to help out a friend who was temporarily down on his luck, and not as a matter of alms extended to a beggar. Strictly speaking, the latter label would not have been misplaced; I understood from our talk that Daniel used to be a reasonably well-off racing car owner who had been reduced to penury by the vagaries of the currency market. Now meals were coming his way courtesy of the kindness of strangers he met on the street. From my encounter with him, though, the identity that lingers in the mind is that of Daniel the knowledgeable car enthusiast, thanks to the effect of his references to torque, thrust and the like. Curiously, I feel an occasional pang of guilt that I couldn't give him more than the ten dollars I was able to spare, because psychologically he left the sense that he "deserved" more, not because he demanded it, but because the status he projected seemed to qualify him for something more than charity!

The lesson that Daniel taught me is worth sharing. Whether it be in meetings with bank managers to seek loan assistance for our business, in boardrooms where we are pitching our services to corporate executives, or in a first encounter with congregants who are considering offering us a pastorate, the attributes we choose to project our identity can make or break our prospects. Are you a hapless fellow who got nasty surprises when he tried his hand at business and now needs to be bailed out, or are you the visionary who will raise the bank's profile when it is known that the bank has associated itself with your success? Are you a chancer who is trying her luck with a fly-by-night advertising idea or are you the ad wizard the marketing managers have been waiting for all their lives? You will definitely be treated like the persona you choose to project in any context in which you hope to succeed in life.

Daniel helped me sell a few of my books. Fresh from my conversation with him, I went to drop off some clothes at a laundromat, where I chatted up the proprietor. I found myself sharing things I know about business, drawing from my experiences and the tips I present in the book I wrote. In the end, I couldn't resist mentioning my book, and what a pleasant surprise it was when the proprietor asked for a copy! During a chance meeting with a close relative, I offered advice on her transportation and real estate businesses, if truth be told not as a sales pitch for the book, but when we were saying goodbye she insisted on buying a copy. I have a couple more such stories to tell, but let these two suffice to illustrate the point that benefits accrue when we put our best and most relevant foot forward.

Do you have thoughts on this, or similar experiences you wish to share? Do please feel free to share them by clicking on "comments."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Let's face it: most of us live from hand to mouth, and by the mid-point of our remuneration cycle, that hand is stretched out to friends and passers-by, sometimes elegantly, sometimes not. (Isn't it merciful that borrowing from strangers is so elegantly disguised by the formalities of the banking system)? We know we need to break this cycle. The bewildering question is how, and it is in this direction that I want to offer some pointers that are as practical as they are silly-simple.

The three keys I prescribe, because any and all of us can use them, are: Prioritize, Procrastinate and Paralyze. Let's take the three tricks one by one.

A day or two before you get your paycheck, sit down (literally) and draw up a list of items on which your life depends, and don't be frivolous about this. Be harsh, and exclude all luxuries. Each one of us lives in a specific context, so the point here is not to give a standard list, but I want to suggest three guidelines for your priority list. The first guideline is that the first allocation on your priority list must be to the overarching item that gives meaning to your life. When your list begins with funding the core value of your life, you are teaching your mind to be rationally consistent with your life goals. After all, the reason why that dollar fails to stretch is that nothing is disciplining it. Next, list survival items in the order of each item's lethality. To be a little melodramatic the better to illustrate the principle, it would be foolish to delay the ambulance that must rush you for the reversal of your cardiac arrest because you want first to pay the landlord his rent. Much as you might detest him, please don't force him to evict a corpse! Fund each item in strict order of real priority, and give each item no more than it requires. Do not "round off" anything, as this promotes a cavalier attitude to accounting, and many of us are in trouble because we are not accounting for every penny. Your survival list must include "savings account", even if only ten dollars goes there at first. It must also include "contingency", which will cover unpleasant surprises. Only after the must-have list is funded can you move to the "Perhaps" and "It Would Be Nice" lists, which you must deprive of-say-twenty dollars before you make allocations to them. Put the twenty dollars in your pocket.

Most of the spending items we feel an urgency to fund are not items on which our life depends. We can function without them, at least until tomorrow, and that timing goes for tomorrow too. Sit down again if you stood up in the first place, and make a list of the items you will defer. Put them in a queue, with the hungriest of them bringing up the rear. That new, frog green mascara can wait, and wait....On a shopping Saturday, find an activity, perhaps helping a charity or fishing, that puts a distance between you and the shops. Sometimes it is even more constructive to spend the day sleeping. Dreaming about non-essentials is less expensive than acquiring them! Service, fun and rest cost less. A mildly tolerable result of procrastinating on the purchase of these items will be that you will only fund them at a stage in your remuneration cycle where you are sure such purchases will not lead to starvation. The most desirable outcome will be that the longer you ignore them, the less sense it makes to fund these items, and you can put a little more in the savings account.

Remember the twenty that I asked you to put in your pocket? It's not so good if you do, because I want you to forget it. It's not too late, though. A silly truth that I have discovered in my own experience is that I can't pay for that ice cream cone on a whim if the cash is in the wrong jacket in the closet at home. I did this once or twice by mistake before I realised that doing it on purpose can be so helpful. Even if the ATM card is on you, if you decide to walk all the way to the machine, you most likely will find time to ask your spending conscience why it's letting you make such a fuss over an item that will cause you physical and financial pain in the dentist's rooms. Talking about cards, I am assuming you returned those credit cards to the issuing bank and rescheduled the repayment of any debts you incurred so you could stop spending money you have not earned, and might not earn!

Follow this silly-simple prescription and see if you do not still have a bit of money in your pocket-preferably in the wrong jacket-the day before pay day.

Do you have other tips to add to this, or even to replace these? Please share them by clicking the comment link, because in this area we all can use all the help we can find. Feel free to also just comment on my suggestions, even if you don't wish to add any new ones.