Tag Archives: believe

Think the Snow Is A Nuisance? How to Change Your Mind

It’s still here. The snow, I mean. 

I heard this today: ‘It was fun at first. Now it’s just a nuisance.’

OK, I understand it’s difficult getting to the shops, you have to go without milk for a while and the schools are still closed, but this snowy time teaches us a lot about how we can look at life if we feel confident.

Here’s my Positive Spin on a snowy day. 

Snow is like Confidence. It transforms your life.

  • Snow smooths everything out.

Harsh shapes are rounded, spiky bushes are like balls, you can’t see the join between the path and the road.

When you’re confident you feel that your path is smoother. You see the way to diffuse spiky arguments, the differences between people are blurred. You become more tolerant.

  • Snow covers up imperfections.

Street litter is lost under the blanket, muddy patches become clean, every surface is garnished with a sparkle.

When you start to feel confident you find you don’t notice the imperfections in people so much. You focus on their good qualities, you try to see their point of view. You’re more agreeable.

  • Snow turns problems into opportunities.

So… you can’t get the car out of the drive! You have the opportunity to stay in, gaze at the beauty outside and reminisce about winters long ago. You are ‘allowed’ to watch DVD’s by the fire, make soup from those left over veg in the fridge, send friendly emails, and even write Christmas cards.

Confidence brings opportunities too. Instead of fearing changes in your ‘landscape’, you can see  new ways forward, possible new occupations,  new directions for your life.

  • Snow covers up tracks but lets you see fresh ones.

Muddy tracks disappear. The road is smoothed out. But we can see where the birds and animals have been wandering in our garden, under bushes and around trees.

When you learn to be confident (yes, you learn it), you learn to believe that very day is a fresh start. Yesterday has gone. You can’t change what you did/didn’t/do, wish you’d said/not said, the chances you missed. Today is like a fresh fall of snow on your ‘landscape.’ The new tracks you make are up to you.

  • Snow lets you use other people’s tracks.

Trudging up the lane is much easier if others have already made some tracks. It’s firmer, less slippery and you feel bolder as you stride along.

Confidence grows with encouragement, praise and positive feedback as you take steps towards your goals and make changes. Seeking and taking advice and help from others, walking in their tracks,  helps you make decisions.

  • Snowy weather lets you have fun!

It certainly brought out the ‘Inner Child’ in me. The lane was filled with neighbours and their children, all dragging sledges and throwing snowballs. A carrot was fetched for the snowman’s nose and mugs of coffee were passed around.

Confidence does that too. You can let yourself be child-like, try new things, travel to new places, have as much fun as you like.

Like the snow, Confidence transforms the ordinary into the extra-ordinary.

What would you be able to do if you woke up  to find your world covered in the soft blanket of confidence?

Header by cursedthing, post pic byAlice Popkorn

    

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The Secret Way To Make Things Happen

  

from Kara Allyson on Flickr

 

 It’s all very well having a goal. 

But I’m simply not motivated!’ 

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that old chestnut, well, I’d have a few more pounds… 

Samuel, one of our Spinners, wrote this in the comments: 

Making the decision is just the first part. Making things happen, it’s different.’ 

He’s right, of course. 

Or perhaps he needs to look at ‘making things happen’ from a new angle: 

  

Making things happen is just like getting ‘turned on’!  

Yes, I know, it sounds like I’ve lost the plot again, but read on and see what you think. 

When you get turned on… 

1.   You get butterflies. 

You’ve just met. She’s drop dead gorgeous. (Remember, I’m writing  this for Samuel…!) You can’t take your eyes off her. 

Your intuition kicks in. 

It shouts at you! 

You want to date this girl! 

You choose her. 

You’re passionate about meeting her again…and again… 

It’s the same with making things happen. 

It’s a new project. 

You like the look of it, in fact it’s what you’ve been looking for all year. 

Your intuition kicks in. 

It shouts at you! 

You want to take on the world… 

and in particular, this project/goal/new job/commission/opportunity! 

You’re passionate about it. 

You can’t wait to start. 

  

2.   You make a plan. 

You find out where she works, 

you take steps to get her number, 

you imagine what she’ll say. 

You ask around to see where she hangs out and decide to be there. 

It’s the same with this new project. 

You make a plan. 

You set yourself some tasks and some dates to complete them. 

You research as much as you can. 

You even type the plan into your phone. 

You’re ready to be the best you can be, to work as hard as you can. 

  

3.   You’re thrown off course. 

You’ve prepared the ground, 

hung out at her places, 

asked her friend for her number and even made that call. 

But she doesn’t call back. Or text. 

 Sh**… 

 Might as well give up now. 

  

You’re finding this new goal tough. 

Not meeting your deadlines. 

You realise you may have taken on too much this time.  

Sh**… 

Might as well give up now… 

  

4.   It’s a new day. 

The sun’s shining on you. 

You talk to her friends. 

 They tell you she’s been unwell, not answering her calls. 

They tell you you’re in with a chance. 

You order some flowers and have them delivered. 

You’re smiling… 

  

You’ve had a good night’s sleep. 

The sun’s shining on you. 

You try a fresh approach. 

You take each new task  more slowly. 

Ask for advice. 

Follow it. 

You know you can do this… 

one step at a time… 

Now write the rest of the story! 

So, Spinners, here’s the Positive Spin. 

It’s all about YOU! 

  • Motivation comes from inside you.
  • You have to be passionate
  • You have to be enthusiastic.
  • You have to believe it’s the right path for you.
  • You have to walk the brambly path one step at a time.
  • You have to listen to you.
  • You may follow some deviations along the way.
  • You might want to give up.

Your eventual success will depend on you and how much passion, belief and confidence you acquire along the way. 

Ready to ‘get turned on’ to making things happen? 

‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’   (Anon, I think.) 

Header image by Abyreed on Flickr 

  

 

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Are you Struggling To Reach That Goal? Let An Ant Solve Your Problem

Eyelashes to die for! 

The longest ever! 

I was overawed when I met him.

Utterly won over.

I’d never met an elephant before.

He wasn’t a bit how I imagined he’d be. I knew his hide would be rough but it was far thicker than I’d expected.  He was a gentle giant but I knew he could do a lot of damage to the trees in his habitat.

So I was amazed to read in the Daily Telegraph  that elephants are known to be terrified of ants!  

I know.

Sounds highly unlikely.

Apparently they can’t stand it when ants swarm up their sensitive trunks.

So they avoid any plants where ants will be found.

Scientists have seen this fear as a chance to help save the endangered trees and plants that elephants might damage. Colonies of ants are being introduced to protect vulnerable acacia trees in Africa, and it’s working.

The elephants are keeping well clear.

When I read the article it struck me how powerful ‘small things’ can be. 

This huge creature is terrified of an ant.

I wouldn’t have imagined an elephant even noticing ants, let alone fearing them.

Apparently they can smell them!

ants

So here it is …

 The Invaluable Life Lesson I Learnt … From An Ant. 

 One ant on its own would not terrify the elephant. But in a colony?  No problem.

 Think about this for a moment … 

You’ve set yourself a goal.  

But …

You’re putting it off.

You can’t even think about it.

Why?

It’s too much for you to even consider, unless …

You look for others to join your ‘colony’.

Here’re some examples where being part of a colony could help.

1.   You want to lose a few pounds? 

No need to do it on your own, join a ‘colony’!

Join ‘Weight Watchers’ or Slimming World. Ask a friend to come with you, or join an ‘online’ weight loss support forum.

2.   You want to write a novel?

Don’t know where to begin?

Join a colony!

Find out about a local writing group. Join an on-line course. Start a ‘colony’ of beginner writers.

3.   You want to make new friends? 

Join a colony!

Approach new mums/dads at the school gates. Invite them for coffee. Volunteer to help in school.

Look in shop windows for events advertised where you can meet like-minded people. A choir? Drama group? Church? Evening class?

4.   You want to learn ball room dancing? 

Join a colony!

Ask a friend to go with you and then find out where the classes are held.

5.   You want to travel to India? 

Join a colony!

Research travel companies who specialise in single travellers. Talk to others who’ve been there. Collect as much information as you can. You can’t make a decision without information.

Whatever you want to achieve, remember you don’t have to take huge steps to be effective and you don’t have to face it alone.

Little steps, each day, add up to make large strides. 

Dr Palmer, who researched this unexpected elephant fear, said this:

‘It’s yet another example of how the ‘little things’ rule the world.’

Think about this too-

‘Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprise.’

Demosthenes   384 BC

 

So … let’s learn from the ants. 

What ‘small step for man’ will you take today? 

And if there’s no ‘colony’ for you to join, (you know what I’m going to say, don’t you …) you can start your own!

Over to you …

Do tell us about a goal you’ve set yourself, and how the rest of the colony helped you reach it.

  

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What I Learnt About Self Belief From The Man With The Sheet of Glass

‘What on earth?’
‘Surely  not…’
‘He must be crazy!’

Once again, on my way to the station to meet my OH, something caught my eye –      

a man carrying an enormous sheet of glass       

 along a busy main road, on a crowded pavement, at 6pm.      

The image stayed with me as I drove on and I began thinking,      

  • What if…  the inevitable happened?
  • What would he do?
  • Would anyone stop to help?
  • Would the glass shatter into the road?
  • Would passing moronic drunks try to make him drop it, ‘just for a laugh’?

I realised that he wasn’t thinking about any of those possibilities, he simply needed to carry the sheet of glass to  its destination.      

 The sheet of glass was taller that he was. It had a red frame around it so you could see where the glass ended, but that was it, a plain sheet of glass.      

Why was he doing this?      

  • Was he replacing a broken window?
  • Did he want to see clearly again?
  • Was it for a brand new window, to let more light into his home?

       

Here’s what I learnt from the man with the sheet of glass.      

  • I need to be sure about where I’m going , at least for today.
  • I need to be determined to get there, despite obstacles.
  • I need to believe I’ll succeed.
  • I need to let the light in, so I can see where to go next. 

       

Do you know this song by Johnny Nash?      

‘I can see clearly now, the rain has gone.      

I can see all obstacles in my way.      

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.      

It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-shiny day!’      

       

Think about this .      

  • Do you know where you’re going today/tomorrow?
  • Are you determined to get there?
  • Do you believe you will?
  • Will you let the light in once you arrive so you can see where to go next? 

I can see clearly now...

 

Have you seen the yellow star ‘Like’  button?    

It’s right at the end, before the Comments bit.   

Don’t be shy – every ‘Like’ will make my day!

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No Second Chances For That First Impression

It’s that time of year.

Schools out, exam results are imminent, graduations have happened and now all our students  have to worry about are  the dreaded words,

‘Have you found a job yet?’

And it’s worse than ever right now with the whole world in a financial  pickle and too many applicants for too few posts.

Interviews are rare it seems, with many applications for jobs rejected at the first hurdle.  But if you’re fortunate enough to hit the jackpot and achieve an interview, the next problem is,

‘What shall I wear?’

When I was a teacher I did a survey amongst my class of Year Sixes (eleven year olds).

I asked them to tell me –

‘What makes a good teacher?’

One question was about ‘First Impressions.’

I asked them if it would matter what a new teacher wore on his/her first day with the class.

The result surprised me.

They all agreed, without exception, that they would judge a teacher by his/her appearance..

The first impression is important, they said.

One boy said,

‘Before he even opens his mouth I can tell what sort of teacher he’s going to be.’

 

 

So if he turned up at school looking like this, he might not be taken seriously…

All joking aside, the bottom line is –

it is important to think about the first impression we make on people. It certainly will play a large part in helping /not helping someone to succeed in a job  interview (unless, in the above case, it’s for a job in a circus…)

We may not want to believe it, but I feel it’s true.

Perhaps we dress eccentrically, have developed our particular style, have lots of piercings, obvious tattoos, but sadly, this first impression will influence the person interviewing you, even if they’re not totally aware of it.

I would be sure to do a double take if I went to see my GP and he was wearing stained clothes, had neglected hair and smelled unpleasant.

Would I put my faith in this man?

I know I should, but would I?

 

Here are some things to think about…

  • Do you agree that ‘first impressions’ matter?
  • Is your opinion of someone influenced  by what they wear?
  • If you were interviewing someone for a post, would appearance count? Why? Why not?
  • Do you think it’s time to ditch outdated thinking about ‘first impressions’?
  • Have you ever wished you’d taken more care when you bumped into someone unexpectedly and you look a mess?
  • What factors would matter to you when meeting a prospective employee, apart from qualifications?

It is said,

‘You don’t get a second chance to make a ‘first impression.’

Your comments, please!

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Go With The Flow? No! Start Your Own River…

Awesome.

That’s how it felt, seeing wild animals in their natural habitat.

Watching those majestic, gentle zebras as they wandered across the grassy plains in South Africa  is a sight I’ll never forget.

Every day we saw them, one behind the other, following their leader.

Ducklings do it too, don’t they, walking  behind their mum, trusting that she knows where she’s going.

And then there are the ants, in a raggedy line, hurrying across the woodland path, heading for, well, I hope they know where.

Followers are in vogue on the web too. We can be followers on Twitter, Facebook and even on Plinky, a new site that helps inspire bloggers to write.

It’s easy to follow.

No decisions to make,

no choices,

no responsibility.

Just follow the one in front and all will be well.

But will it? Be well?

What if the leader takes you somewhere you don’t want to go?

What if he chooses the wrong path?

What if the mother duck gets run over? What will the ducklings do then? They’ll be lost, aimless, and in danger. 

One day, they’ll be the leaders, having to look after their ducklings. Taking responsibility.

 

Which are you at the moment?

Are you a follower?

  • Are you going along with something,  just because it’s easier?
  • Are you saying ‘yes’ when you know you want to say’no’, because it’s easier?
  • Are you staying stuck in a job/college course/relationship/stale friendship/’draining ‘relationship, because it’s easier?

We are leaders or followers at different stages of our lives.

But when we follow, we should not do it simply because it’s easier.

We should follow because

  • we choose to follow,
  • because we believe that the leader knows the way,
  • because we trust that the path is the right one for us.

If you’re a leader,  you’ll like this quote_

‘Don’t go with the flow – start your own river instead.’

Dr Phil McGraw, ‘Life Strategies’, page 181.

 

What about you?

Have you  started your own river?

Would you like to go against the flow for a change?

Do tell!

 

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A Life Lesson From This Razor Wire

     

On Sunday, on his 92nd birthday, I remembered Nelson Mandela.     

I knew he’d been in prison, heard of Robben Island even, but until I  went to see for myself I couldn’t visualise what it meant.     

I joined a small boat load of tourists for the thirty minute crossing from Cape Town to Robben Island, excited and curious about what awaited us.       

As soon as we landed  an awestruck silence shrouded us like a summer mist.  A feeling of respect, almost that we shouldn’t intrude, came over me as we toured the small island in a coach, listening to an ex-inmate describe the harshest of regimes.     

The apartheid system was strictly enforced. Only black political prisoners were sent  to the island, white ones were kept elsewhere. Black prisoners received the worst level of rations and only white guards were employed, for fear of favouritism.     

Can you begin to imagine spending 18 years in prison? I found it impossible to even contemplate. We peered through the bars at  his tiny cell and were shown the quarry where he carried out hard labour.      

But most moving for me was that wherever you are on the island you can look across to ‘freedom’, to Table Mountain and Cape Town, which appears but a stone’s throw away.     

 As I scanned through my photos on the return boat trip I was struck by the picture at the top of this post.  Something about it made me pause.     

Look at it again…     

Can you see the heart shapes in the twisted razor wire?     

I cried when I saw them.     

Despite all that went on in that prison, love prevails. However much evil is in the world,  love for our fellow man can overcome.     

After his release Mandela went on to become the first black president of South Africa, and won the Nobel Peace prize jointly with Frederik de Klerk in 1993, for achieving a peaceful ending to apartheid.     

Whatever it is that’s keeping you ‘in prison’ in your life, remember Nelson Mandela and how his love for his people prevailed.      

He has shown us the way.     

Don’t ever give up on yourself. There’s always another choice, even when it’s almost impossible to believe it.     

Just keep believing … and remember the lesson of the razor wire…     

      

‘It always seems impossible until it is done.’      

Nelson Mandela     

Looking towards 'freedom' from Robben Island

 

Header image by cursedthing on Flickr, post images by the author.

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