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!

Continue reading “Nurture Your Mind Today”

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!

Continue reading “Why Struggle Matters”

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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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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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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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”

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”

Small Steps

Many years ago in a business studies class, the teacher told all of the students to begin everything with the end in mind.

The teacher even gave us the seemingly morbid assignment of writing our own eulogy and vividly imagining what people would be saying at our funerals. He said that we should really visualise and imagine the detailed conversation about us and all the good things we would like people to say.

The next step was to work backwards to the present day to make it happen. He asked, “Now how are you going to make those things come true?” Continue reading “Small Steps”

Equality of Opportunity

The Brebner’s were never known for our desire to just sit and talk about the weather and each of us has a voice capable of talking to a crowd to action – without a microphone.

Yes, our family is a lively bunch and many times over the Christmas lunch table, Mum would make failed attempts to settle down the high levels of debate. The voices rose louder between in-laws and out-laws furiously talking over each other with a passion more expected at a football match than a family gathering.

One of the many battles that ensued over the years has been the question of equality for people and what that means in a practical outworking. Continue reading “Equality of Opportunity”

Security v Risk

One of the big needs of humanity is security. We see and hear people selling us security in so many ways.

They do this all while we sit on a thin veneer of 30-mile thick soil on the surface of a rock which is actually a giant super-heated nuclear reactor. We literally are flying through space at a ridiculous speed, trying to avoid every other rock going faster and in different directions. Where is our security here?

My point is that security is never a sure thing and playing for safe is in the end, just an illusion. Continue reading “Security v Risk”

My Story

A person with Tourette’s Syndrome and its related behaviours was not going to fit the mould of standard high school education without difficulty. That difficulty has turned out to be a gift as I achieved far more by not fitting into the standard plan.

I am Dave Brebner. I am a successful teacher, career coach, husband, father of six, son, brother and friend. This is my story and I want to share it with you.

Continue reading “My Story”

People of Influence

A short time ago, I ran into an old friend who was very angry. He ranted about other cultures and was even happy to cut me off from his circle of relationships because I would not join him in his worldview of certain situations.

It is not the first time I have encountered this lately and am concerned at what I know is the mis-information out there and the fact that people are riled up over things they have no control over with often no first hand evidence of any of it. Continue reading “People of Influence”

Your Ideal Employee

People with Tourette’s syndrome often have a challenge in finding work, particularly in the public eye.

While many of us have very subtle symptoms, commonly known as ‘tics’, there is a perception among the general public that all sufferers use foul language, scream or yell spontaneously, have profound body movements, and that the condition is completely outside of our control. Continue reading “Your Ideal Employee”

Your Biggest Asset

I recently read a letter Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Empire, wrote to his 16-year-old self.

It really touched me as he, like many of us, struggled in school. He had Dyslexia, which made him fall behind in class and find school rather irrelevant.

As a teen with Tourette’s, I had my fair share of unwanted attention from schoolmates and was occasionally an embarrassment to others who did not understand. Continue reading “Your Biggest Asset”

Supportive Culture

“The future is coming!” I heard someone claim in a talk to an amused audience several years ago. At a glance, it appeared to be a very strange thing to say, and a rather obvious statement.

However, since then it astounds me how many people I run into, both socially and professionally, who would claim that it is a stupid comment, yet behave as if the statement is not true at all. Continue reading “Supportive Culture”

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