Blogs

Is our school system in Australia killing off resilience?

There has been a lot of talks and evidence presented lately concerning our young people’s ability to survive and recover from a personal crisis. With youth suicide reaching high levels in some countries during, and since, the Covid 19 crisis there has been an outcry as to why this young generation doesn’t seem to be coping.

My view is that the lazy production line mentality of governments towards education is depriving many young people of basic societal survival skills, leaving many to languish on the parameters of economic stability and a sound future.

Continue reading “Is our school system in Australia killing off resilience?”

How to drive forward… and leave the past behind us.

I read a book recently. Regular readers of my blog know I am an avid reader, I even write book reviews!

This one though, it really got to me.

It is called Forward by Dr David Jeremiah. In his book, Dr Jeremiah makes an excellent analogy of driving a car to direct our lives.

I’ll let you know upfront, Forward, is a faith-based book. What I really liked about it is that he makes some brilliant observations that we can all learn from, regardless of our spiritual beliefs.

Continue reading “How to drive forward… and leave the past behind us.”

The Value in Mistakes

I have often written about the need for us to be gracious and forgiving to our younger selves. We often, surprisingly, give less mercy to ourselves than we would to others.

As a person with, often extreme OCD, I will mull over things that I did many years ago that I consider foolish and stupid in reflection.

How about you? Are you one of the many of us, in a certain generation, that is thankful that we did not have cell phones with cameras back then recording our every moment? All of those slips and stumbles in judgement from our lack of maturity in those days.

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Who Are You Right Now?

Yes, it certainly has been a different kind of year! We have learned how much we need each other and those little unusual things about ourselves that we never knew we liked or thought we could do.

While this has been a year of testing tragedy for many, it has also been a year when many of us have dared to try things. Along the way, we have discovered that our boundaries were not really our boundaries at all, as we quickly rose above and beyond them.

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Nurture Your Mind Today

I think we all know that it is important in times like these to ‘guard our hearts and our minds’. Today I watched the news and let’s say it did me no good.

I questioned, do we need to stay ‘informed to the minute’ about that for which we have no real control?

Today I want to encourage you to stay focused on the good things. Many of the people we all regard as heroes did not rise in times of ease or great prosperity; in fact, we wouldn’t probably call them heroes if they had!

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Are We Seeing Real Leadership?

These are tricky times we are in and I would like to share a few of my thoughts on real leadership and our responsibility as citizens at this time. I think we can all agree, now is the time for real leadership. We need to see it, feel it and witness it in action daily.

It’s a tough time to be a leader because in these uncharted waters, mistakes will inevitably be made as no-one in this life can see around corners and know what will happen next.

It is also a time of intense scrutiny of our leaders from families, businesses, communities and our entire nation. The cracks in character and resolve will be seen and right now, we can be assured that they will be noticed.

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Find the Hero in You

With the present situation in the world, we must decide, more than usual, how we will strengthen our own foundations.

Who are you right now? Who do you want to be? What strengths can you share to help your family, community and country right now?

The time is right to pause now. Reflect and choose a path to do your best each day. Also, we can cut everyone some slack, including ourselves.

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Writing My Life Story with Tourettes

I have recently been encouraged to write out my own life story. The encouragement is coming from mentors, colleagues and friends who believe that the place where I was and where I have come to now along with my Tourettes diagnosis is notable.

They feel that my story would be of great encouragement to others who are stuck in the feeling that their disabilities are a barrier. That it could be read as a motivating success story for people who feel, or have been told, they lack the talent or ability to reach their goals.

And so, with those thoughts in mind, I begin to write my own life story. To share, to inspire and to provide support for those just beginning their journey with Tourettes.

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Why Struggle Matters

I attended an Elton John concert a few days ago in Sydney. It was amazing and, being a songwriter myself, I have always thought of him as one of the great songwriters of our time.

One specific observation shined out to me about this concert.

It was not only the genius of his music and piano ability that I was seeing. It wasn’t even how brilliant his band played. They were superb!

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Leaving the Oasis

Back in 1984, my cousin Richard and I backpacked to California and ended up somehow in the deserts of Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

One day we saw out of the van window in which we were travelling, a bright green dot on the horizon. It sat surprisingly alone amongst the dry barren brown desert and didn’t seem to fit the view.

As we approached, the scene opened up to what I can only describe as a large depression in the landscape of about three to four hundred yards.

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Thank you and see you in 2020!

In a mood of review, I am writing to thank you for reading my posts this year. I hope that you are finishing up 2019 well and can look back with happy affection to the year that has almost passed.

In reflection, I am reminded of the good things, especially those things that I take for granted as if they will always be there. It easy to fall into a sense of comfort that these joys will always be there. Don’t we all do that a little? Yet at this time, I am reminded of how much I do not truly show gratitude for them.

I want to thank my family for being there and particularly my beautiful wife Rhonda. She quietly works behind the scenes without fuss and is a model of consistency and hard work. She is truly what I call a ‘saint of the mundane’ whose work and cleverness makes the household function and whose kind, honest and unassuming nature makes its members shine brightly in the world.

At this time, I am reminded of how much we need to cherish ones such as her, our children and the many friends we have who, in many small ways, make life as sweet as it is.

Continue reading “Thank you and see you in 2020!”

Reflecting on Life

How often have you found yourself metaphorically lighting the lamp in the dark and hoping it’s a candle and not a stick of dynamite?

As a year nine drop out with Tourette’s syndrome, I was forced into a position of choosing life as a victim or a victor. I thank God every day because those circumstances have formed me and made me take risks that have enabled me to push beyond the potential I thought I had.

I have tried some really, really dumb things. But I have also succeeded beyond what people thought I could.

I have neurological disorders handed down from both sides of the family line; however, I have learned to avoid the destructive actions and indulgence in those things that would lead to the continuance of those symptoms in my own life.

As a person with Tourette’s syndrome, I can be ‘grasshopper minded’ as my Father used to describe me, flittering from one obsessive idea to the next.

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Digging Deeper

In careers counselling, we often have to dig deeper than just helping someone find a job.

In fact, the more people insist that they will do ‘anything’, the more inclined they are to fail when they gain the position they have applied for.

The realities are that our deepest career desires are actually the children of far deeper emotions than the surface concerns like remuneration and position.

Neurologically and psychologically we need to fulfil a destiny and ‘inner calling’ to be people of consequence and to live a life of meaning.

We ultimately want to do something that matters.

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Where is your Focus?

Focus is an important skill. Focus and persistence can get you through the darkest days until you can find the light again.

Through the persistence of my parents who never gave up, a few lifelong friends who saw past my Tourette’s and a large church youth group who fed my soul with a great social life, I came to life.

I was able to respond to challenges in my thinking that allowed me to reach towards my potential.

I love the story that Dan Miller writes in his blog about himself and a 10-year-old friend, Bob. They were out in the neighbouring farms and his friend got bitten by a snake.

As his friend was incapacitated Dan’s first instinct was to go after the snake and give it the retribution it deserved for biting his friend. Bob, however, did not pursue the snake but settled down to dealing with the wound by lancing the bite and sucking and spitting out the poison.

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Responding or Reacting?

How often do we read about the two percent of people who do things differently?

They go the opposite route from the tide of emotion or feelings of the general population and practise a counter-culture mindset.

Some of those people are long term thinkers when it comes to stocks. They buy when others are selling and experience greater profits when the share recovers.

At first, we might go for anything to get us some momentum. However, once we have some wisdom, made some mistakes and been down some alleys that we do not wish to try for a second time, we start to be able to learn.

Mark Twain once said, “whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it’s time to pause and reflect.”

Because of my anxiety disorders and fears over the years, I have often behaved very erratically under pressure and have been talked into deals that have wrecked my prospects and opinions that I might not agree with if I had the time and prudence to look into with more detail.

After automatically reacting along with the crowd and bearing the consequences, I have found myself reflecting and seeing where my choice took me in the wrong direction.

Standing back and rummaging through the memories, I think that over the decades, I have been ‘reactionary’ rather than a ‘responsive’.

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Transition and Meaning

I am at a point of transition.

It is me, who has lost my taste for what I am doing for a living and is now considering a move into something I am passionate about.

Does that resonate with you? Do you feel it?

I think most of us do not mind working hard. It is part of our commitment to earning a living and keeping ourselves and our families financially abundant.

It is whether we feel that our work is of consequence and significance that makes the work seem hard or easy sometimes.

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Rest and Awareness

We know how important persistence is in our successful career lives.

The only common denominator in the many success stories I have read about is summed up in that one word: Persistence. Alter your dreams and know when something is not the right path and let it go.

We must take time, however, to put the brakes on and examine our awareness regularly.

In his book ‘High Trust Selling’, Todd Duncan talks about the inner world of a person being exceptionally important when it comes to establishing trust in a client’s mind.

He talks about his ‘Law of the Iceberg’ where he says that like an iceberg that conceals 90% of its mass below the water line, we need to practice integrity, trustworthiness and good healthy relationships in our secret lives.

He infers that all too often the lack of maintenance of the hidden non-public life ends up boiling over into our public lives and destroying credibility and authenticity that we need to display as a person selling a product or service.

Have you ever been approached by someone who uses all the right words but something in your gut just screams ‘yuck’!

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Slow Growth v Immediate Results

One of the best bits of advice I ever received was about farming a career. This valuable quote was:                                

Be a farmer not a hunter!

Anonymous

It was explained to me that a hunter kills their prey and once consumed, the animal never reproduces again. However, a farmer will not eat all of his produce but use some of his crops to sew for future crops.

In summary, the hunter is always looking for new targets and a quick return. The farmer, however, sees the long game and will in time have harvest after harvest coming in continually as long as the climate is favourable.

Often we hear of opportunists who come into an industry, looking for a quick profit, abuse the business, people and community for every drop of cash that can be squeezed without integrity or regard for others, and then callously move on.

They leave those people, their businesses and the community with a bad name and can ruin the good reputation of an industry as a whole. What many fail to realise is that it is the little things in life that make a life. Little things matter. Little things make lives and destroy lives.

However, a farmer waits patiently.

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Winning by Volume

Have you heard of the phrase ‘winning by volume’ in your worldly travels? It works like this. Study consistently and continuously to gain your knowledge so that when you need an answer, it is not the first time you have heard of this subject or concept.

The only common denominator in the many success stories I have read about is summed up in one word: Persistence. Alter your dreams and know when something is not the right path and let it go.

However, it is still important that you make sure you do find another path to the top of the mountain!

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Chasing Wisdom

Michener was someone who found what he was made to do and did it. For him, work was not toiling but completion of himself in many ways. He was in what Max Lucado calls ‘his sweet spot’ where he was in his natural flow and things came naturally.

This state does not exclude a lot of hard work and the tediousness of the backstory of our labour but is driven on by the sense of being in the purpose that fits for each one of us.

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Sparking Words of Joy

For many years I have feared to say what I really wanted to say.

I had always softened my message with humour, kindness and respect but often, I may have weakened it so as to not cause offence.

During the 2018 Christmas break, I listened to Brene Brown on YouTube; first in her talk to creative people in a conference called ’99u’ and then her TED Talk that went viral.

You can see the 99u here and her TEDx here. (Thanks again to Angela at Whipbird Creative for another excellent tip-off.)

It was all very healing for me and awakened in me a drive for what I feel needs to be said and renewed my passion to set a few things right in the world.

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Wrong Conclusions

 

Is it possible that we sometimes add 2 + 2 and get a not quite right 5?

How many times have I jumped to conclusions about someone or something and made a fool of myself? Too many times to count!

It happens to all of us. It appears to be an innately human fault that crosses all geographical, socio-economic, age and gender boundaries.

I would like to share a story with you about a group of scientists who were conducting experiments on flies and other insects.
Continue reading “Wrong Conclusions”

Limitless Skies

There is an ancient biblical story concerning the patriarch, Abraham, who was described as a friend of God.

Having no children and therefore no descendants, God is said to have promised Abraham that he would be the Father of many nations.

In the story, God tells Abraham that his wife Sarah will conceive a child, despite being the ripe old age of 99 years old. This was met with some obvious doubt and questions. He then tells Abraham to step outside his tent and observe the night sky. Continue reading “Limitless Skies”

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