Archive for the ‘time’ Category

Merry Christmas

December 23, 2013
Enjoy the beauty in the world

Enjoy the beauty in the world

This is a piece I wrote several years ago to explain my philosophy in life. I work hard to achieve it. It doesn’t always happen, sometimes I miss the mark. That’s a legacy of being human.

I don’t give up. Life would be boring without the odd challenge along the way! I live my best life and I’m grateful.

Enjoy the Christmas season and may 2014 be your most successful yet!

****

Find peace, contentment and fulfillment. Enjoy health and happiness.

Be connected to family and friends. Find love. Seek self-acceptance, wellness and gratitude.

Leave others better than you find them. Live your greatest life.

Discover your authentic self and be true to that which you value most. Seek growth.

Make a contribution and leave a legacy. No regrets.

And most importantly have fun and enjoy the journey.

The paradox of life

December 9, 2013
What's coming over your horizon?

What’s coming over your horizon?

We’ve created a society that offers so much comfort and security. And an endless variety of things to make us feel good, look good and save time. We should be happy.

But we’re not. Working hours and depression rates are increasing.

As we strive to know more, have more and do more, we become less. In defining our worth through possessions and achievements we neglect to consider who we really are.

Our mind space for soul searching is limited. We fill every moment with stimulus so we can’t hear what’s inside. We keep our minds busy flitting from one task to another, 24/7 electronic access, no down time, no time to think, stand still or take a breath.

There’s always the next thing to strive for.

Few people see the big picture; most only see the next week. The grand plan keeps us busy, heads down; we’re shaped by what’s around us and not by possibility. Fear makes us play safe and stick to the rules of the game; forget your dreams, settle for safety and security.

We’re told to live large, live our best life. To change, to get better, to find out who we really are. Yes, but how? What’s the currency of conversion? Is belief enough?

What are you after? Do you believe life has a greater purpose? What’s your purpose?

And do you want to change?

How to be excellent at anything

October 15, 2013
10,000 hours to mastery

10,000 hours to mastery

Years ago I heard an interview with Paul McCartney. He was telling a story of a woman who wanted to play the piano but at middle age believed she had left it too late. His advice was a simple; start today and you’ll be an expert in ten years. That’s a powerful thought.

In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.

Gladwell studied the lives of extremely successful people to find out how they achieved success. He concluded that it’s not inherited talent which determines how good we become at something, but how hard we’re willing to work to achieve it.

If we accept that, then we’re capable of things we didn’t believe possible.

This means it’s possible to build a skill in the same systematic way we do a muscle: push past our comfort zone, rest and repeat. After 10,000 hours practice you’ll achieve expertise in any complex domain.

I used to believe that talent was driven by our genetic makeup. The theory of practice suggests that’s not the case. Genetics can help: the 200 cm basketballer, the 50 kg jockey or the musician with musically talented parents.

Swap the basketballer with the jockey and they will struggle! However, there are many ‘ordinary’ people who have made it through hard work and persistence. Likewise, talented people who aren’t prepared to work hard aren’t guaranteed success.

What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? It’s easy to say ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. That’s true but it’s not always possible to make your passion your vocation, it might not pay the bills!

This is where we find passion and balance. If you’re passionate about something it can be a great outlet and balance to your busy life. Something to look forward to, that’s satisfying and rewarding, that you can plan and enjoy. Ten thousand hours may be a lifetime but if you love it, who cares?

What if pt 2

August 20, 2013
What if ...

What if …

What if I didn’t have to define by success by the corporate title I hold?

What if I decided to embrace happiness now and not defer it until some unspecified future date?

What if I decided to follow my heart, take a risk and do what I wanted to do?

What if I realised that enough is actually enough?

What if I liquidated my investments and lived off the interest?

What if I realised that I could actually do that now?

What if I decided to do some things for other people not just myself?

What if that made me a better husband and father?

What if I only had a year to live?

What if I achieved life balance rather than just talking about it?

What if …

August 12, 2013

Beautiful-Beach-Nature-Wallpaper

Last week I left the cold of the Australian winter to spend a week in the California sunshine; a business trip with an unaccustomed amount of free time.

With a meeting on Thursday and a conference on Monday we had the rare opportunity of three days off to explore and enjoy ourselves. It’s easy to be captivated by LA, an amazing city, and the diversity, contrast and excitement.

We marvelled in the hurricane colour of Venice beach, Hollywood’s glamour and the excitement of Huntington Pier and the final heats of a world pro surfing tour event. As a child I’d seen footage of surfers navigating the pylons of this pier, surfing through and around in a seemingly death defying display of skill and control.

And now I was right here.

It’s times like these that I wonder why I waste so much of my life locked in an office in an endless busyness that often feels of little value. I want to retire and live the bohemian lifestyle of one who is truly free. A life of fulfilment, financially free, living for the moment and experiencing the joy of life without the constraints of time.

In LA, I walked along the ocean-front apartments daydreaming … picturing myself tanned and lean, relaxed and happy as I returned from a morning surf to breakfast on fresh tropical fruit and roasted coffee before spending a few hours writing … in the early afternoons I’d a stroll down to a cafe for lunch and some banter with the local vendors while enjoying the warm day and the tropical breeze. Time is only defined by light and dark, a beautiful sunset heralding the end of the day …

But then it’s back to reality and the worry that it’s a nice dream but that’s all it ever will be. Then I ask myself: what if … ?

Perception is reality

August 6, 2013
Life is a highway ...

Life is a highway …

We often hear that perception is reality. And perception is based on interpretation. And many times the things we do or say can be interpreted in different ways.

A recent experience made me realise that we interpret words to match what’s already in our heads. Then we respond accordingly. And often what happens backs up our interpretation.

If we’re stressed, we hear everything as an accusation. We think that what’s going on in our heads is actually what’s happening in the world. We don’t realise that there’s a difference.

A few weeks ago week in Europe, some colleagues and I were on the autobahn and the traffic came to an unexpected stop. We were on a road without speed limits, doing zero. We waited for ten minutes and still the traffic didn’t move.

We got out of the bus. I was interested to see what was wrong. Had someone broken down? Had there been an accident? I walked up to the truck ahead of us and asked the driver what the problem was. I thought as a regular commuter he may have some local knowledge.

He started waving his arms angrily and said ‘Where the hell am I’m going to go, you tell me what the hell can I do?’ He pointed ahead and said ‘Can you drive a fu*king truck?’

All he heard was people blowing their horns. He was clearly frustrated and stressed; perhaps he had a deadline to meet. He didn’t hear my question, he heard an accusation: ‘Get on with it, get moving, we’re behind you’, because that reinforced his reality.

We do this every day. We create a reality. Then misinterpret and reinforce it. Perception may not be reality and this can get us into trouble.

Time and tide

July 8, 2013
Finding the time ...

Finding the time …

I’ve just returned from a business trip to Europe and being away made me appreciate what I have at home. I missed my wife and children and looked forward to our daily call.

Unfortunately, it’s not that way at home; we often take our circumstances for granted. It’s easy to be short with those we love, or so preoccupied with the busyness of the day that our attention wanders.

Being away made me think how much I should appreciate what I have at home. And it works both ways. My family were happy to hear from me and we exchanged experiences from our day. There was even the odd ‘I love you’.

Funny, I needed to be on the other side of the world for that to happen. Perhaps we need to focus more on it when we’re on the other side of the room.

I was away for only ten days but it felt like weeks. Time is related to experience. And I was experiencing many things for the first time. Late in the trip I thought back to when I arrived at the airport; it felt so much more than a week ago.

That made me think how we live our lives on remote control. We do the same things in the same way day after day without conscious effort. The days pass into weeks, months and years and we ask ‘Where did the time go?’

It takes something different to get off remote control. That’s what I experienced on my trip. It made me see the value of life and how easily we allow it to slip away.

This takes me back to family. Both points are related. We can’t always be in an exciting foreign city; the requirements of ‘ordinary’ daily life remain. However, we can always be present and appreciative.

Perhaps we can build some ‘new’ into our family lives. A weekend activity, a change of pace, a new experience shared. Maybe time will slow down and at the end of the year we’ll remember shared experiences rather than only passing time.

Is reality real?

May 24, 2013

123

The action of observing an event will change its outcome.

I’ve heard this many times over the years and watched a program recently which described this effect as it relates to quantum mechanics.

It made me think that if outcomes are changed due to being observed, how does that relate to human behaviour? We all act differently at different times, at different events and with different people.

I realised how much our interpretation of reality changes our experience of that reality. This is a psychological, or perhaps behavioural, interpretation of the scientific principal known as the ‘Heisenberg Effect’.

German physicist Werner Heisenberg, founder of quantum mechanics and winner of the 1932 Nobel Prize, maintained that it’s impossible for a scientist to observe any living organism without necessarily changing it; observation alone changes the behaviour of the observed.

Can the Heisenberg Effect also be applied to the way we operate in the world? I think it can.

So ‘reality’ changes depending on whether you are with someone or alone, the importance that person has to you and whether that person is passive or active.All of these factors will change your response and therefore your actions.

This, in turn, affects how we perceive our reality and affects how others see it too. This means that reality is consciously created to meet the expectations of others and how we see our place in the world. Reality as a conscious construct: that poses more questions than answers!

It then follows, in my opinion, that our reality can be influenced by what we focus our attention on. In a day, week, year or life there will be a balance of good and bad, positive and negative. What we choose to focus on will define our outlook and attitude to life. Are you a positive or negative person? Do you engage or repel others?

William James, the American philosopher and psychologist, recognised in 1890 that social relationships inherently promote perpetual impact, stating that a person ‘has as many different social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares; he generally shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups’.

We see people act quite differently depending on circumstance: when with their boss or with their co-workers; when they’re with their spouse or with their friends. Same person, different persona.

So who are we really? What reality have we created? We often talk about being ‘authentic’ and ‘being true to ourselves’ but society requires us to be many different people. At what point does this game become our reality? When do we lose sight of the difference? If we lose our ‘self’ in life’s charade will we ever be able to find the way back?

As Stephen Covey said: ‘You don’t see the world as it is, you see it according to who you are.’

Who are you really?

Minding your mindset

March 18, 2013

A positive approach to life

A positive approach to life


Do you remember a time when everything was wonderful and you were in love with the world? Perhaps you convinced the object of your desire to agree to a date, you won your dream job, finally got that new car, had a baby or achieved one of your major goals. How good did that feel, and how great was everything in your world?

Nothing could bring you down; you were happy, excited and walking on air. Your good mood changed how you processed the world, and in turn changed how you reacted to it. Life was seen through a lens of gratitude, optimism, excitement and meaning.

Everything that happened that day was relative to your positive feelings. Things that would normally make you annoyed were shrugged off without a second thought. At that point, your reality was your relative understanding of the world based on where and how you were experiencing it.

Of course, it can flow the other way as well; a day, week, month or lifetime of negativity with every experience building on that negative mindset. People who get caught in this downward spiral look for the worst and usually find it. They’re life’s victims – seemingly always a day late and a dollar short.

It may not be practical to wake up every morning in a state of bliss, although some people do achieve that; our reality is far more variable than we may think and far more dependent on the way in which we view it.

With the right mindset, our power to influence and dictate our reality, and in turn the results of our actions, increases significantly. The key is that a positive mindset just doesn’t change how we feel about an experience, it can change the actual results of that experience.

A positive mindset can give you a competitive advantage, have you operating at a higher level and contribute in a meaningful way to your success and happiness. Anyone for an attitude adjustment?

Fear of failure or fear of success

January 21, 2013

Tracking towards success

Tracking towards success


A common practice for the New Year is to dream about what success looks like for us. Many people set goals, resolve to work harder, focus on the’ right’ things and maintain a positive attitude. A great start, but we can find our everyday lives have overtaken our plans and we’re back to dreaming rather than doing.

Is it because we’re busy or are we afraid of the outcome?

The familiar cliché is fear of failure, but that’s a misnomer. Most people are very familiar with failure, and as a consequence have little to fear from it. Often failure meets our ‘deep down’ expectations, reaffirms our opinion of our abilities, and removes the discomfort of having to try.

Our version of failure may be nothing of the sort.

We may have achieved much in our lives but view ourselves as a failure because we’re unable to meet the lofty goals we have set for ourselves. Others are afraid to try or to put in the effort required to change their current circumstances. And we love it when we don’t have to try; isn’t it great to be ‘let off the hook?’

This may sound crazy but because we know failure so intimately, its familiarity gives us comfort – ‘Oh well, at least I had a go and now know I can’t do it, just as I thought’. And we get rewarded by the sympathy and care of others so it feels alright.

The real issue is fear of success, and since we’re not familiar with it, we’re drawn away from it and back to what we know best: failure. It may seem odd since we covet success so much that we would subconsciously move away from it when it’s within our grasp. But that is exactly what happens time after time.

Be aware that this may happen. Set yourself a reasonable goal and allocate time to chase it. Small steps lead to big results.