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.

Continue reading “Who Are You Right Now?”

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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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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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’!

Continue reading “Rest and Awareness”

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.

Continue reading “Slow Growth v Immediate Results”

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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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”

Variables v Fundamentals

There is a saying that ‘laws are guidelines for wise people and statutes for fools’.

In other words, if you are of good character and love people in general then the rules are below your standards of operation anyway. You will choose to do ‘the right thing’ by default. For example, if you are an honest person then the laws about stealing do not really apply because you are applying a higher law of integrity.

Most of us do not break the law because we believe in a mutually civil society. We behave in a way that assists our society’s functioning by following the golden rule of treating others as you would want them to treat you.

So in every society, there are fundamentals that should not change and not stealing is seen as a fundamental.

What about the variables though? Continue reading “Variables v Fundamentals”

Small Acts of Generosity

Speaking in my presentation about the power of small deeds every day in our lives, I heard this powerful story from an audience member on a quiet afternoon.

It is an example of how a small courageous deed from a suffering person can have an immense effect on the lives of people they will probably never meet.

At a date long ago in 1943, the air war over Europe was being fought in which a quarter of a million young people would die. Allied bombers were strategically hitting German targets to weaken their industries, before the coming invasion the following year. Continue reading “Small Acts of Generosity”

Collaborating for Success

Often people who are in service industries or speaking positions are advised to keep their best materials and secrets for their special clients and avoid sharing with others in their industry.

I am very fortunate that I am in an organisation here in Australia called the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA). Their intent is to be “a vibrant and diverse national community who share a collective interest in career development; and a desire to promote its ability to effect positive change and growth in the lives of all Australians”. They are very generous with their expertise and have the viewpoint that not only is there enough of the pie to go around but that in sharing the pie actually gets bigger which benefits everyone.  Continue reading “Collaborating for Success”

Labelling our Youth

The youth of this generation often get some really bad raps from the baby boomer generation.

They are labelled as ‘entitled’ or ‘lazy’ and their use of technology gets them labelled as ‘distracted and un-present for their tasks’.

I teach young people every day and I want to also put other labels on them.

This generation is ‘caring’ for the environment and for those who struggle with their ‘differences’ this generation is profound. Perhaps this awareness is due to the massive amount of media we receive every day. Continue reading “Labelling our Youth”

Survive, Belong and Become

In the many diagrams of human needs, it appears that the different points are all condensed down to three basic important things.

These include our basic physical needs for food, shelter and sleep.

We all need these to survive.

Then, we have the need to belong. This involves our desire for recognition, acknowledgement and support within a group or community. We get our self-image from how we grow as people when we interact with those of our group. Continue reading “Survive, Belong and Become”

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