Monthly Archives: July 2015

Do you carry your troubles home, or not?

This story expands on a similar theme making us think if it’s really one of the toughest things to do…but if we can do it, it would make everyone’s life easier…starting with our own.

pic 3A carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farm house has just finished a rough day on the job. A flat tyre made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit and now his ancient truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family.

As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

When opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me so I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

‘Oh, that’s my trouble tree,’ he replied. ‘I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong at home with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.’

‘Funny thing is,’ he smiled, ‘when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.’

How do you “change” difficult circumstances?

Negativity is the biggest burden. Just by virtue of the fact that we are on this planet, we will go through our share of trials and tribulations. The question to ask is not, “How can I change my circumstances” but how can I change my attitude towards those circumstances. If your attitude is positive, circumstances WILL change accordingly.

pic 2Our uncle was a geologist and loved to go on long walks to find stones to his collection at the university. More often than not we followed him. He had a housekeeper who could cook like an angel and always gave uncle a big basket full of good food for those trips. We didn´t mind sharing the goodies so we eagerly waited for those excursions.

One day we left early and this time uncle had bought us backpacks.”You can help me carry the samples,” he explained. Sure, why not. The whole day we then walked around the countryside and every now and again uncle put stones in our bags. We were a bit surprised he also took some stones out from our bags at times, but figured he had just found better samples than the ones we already had.

Still, when we reached the house in late afternoon, we were beat. The backpacks were so heavy we gave a big sigh of relief when we thumped them on the porch. Yet uncle´s backpack was half empty.”Why did you give us so many stones?” we asked. “I didn´t. You did,” he said cryptically.

He waited for a while before continuing:”You did not know it, but I made you go through a little attitude test today.” “What do you mean with attitude test? We wanted to know. “It is something someone once did to me – and I shall always remember it. You see I listened to every word you said. And whenever you were complaining about anyone or anything, I added a stone to your bags. And whenever you talked about something in an attitude of gratitude and positive thinking, I took off a stone. And now look at your backpacks.”

We did. They were almost bursting at their seams.”I hope you remember this little attitude test. You see your negative thoughts are like stones. You carry them on in your mind just like those stones in a backpack. The more negative thoughts, the heavier your mind is. A positive thought, however, cancels a negative one. So look at those bags and start paying attention to what you say and how you say it.”

This little lesson was one of the most important I ever had and I remember uncle with great love for teaching us one of the most important lessons in life – the power of attitude.

What are you surrounded by?

What are you surrounded by? Take a look around you and observe the kind of people you are surrounded by. It is a reflection of your personality. If you don’t like what you see…you know where to look first to start making a change. A wise person once told me… “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you what kind of a person you are”.

pic 1There is a story about a father and his young son who were walking through the mountains. Suddenly, the son fell, hurting his leg on a rock. He screamed, ‘AAhhhh!’

To his surprise, he heard a voice repeating, ‘AAhhhh!’

This made him even more curious. So, he yelled, ‘Who are you?’ Back came the same answer, ‘Who are you?’

Feeling a bit perturbed by this response, he yelled out, ‘Coward!’ Back came the same reply, ‘Coward!’

He looked at his father and asked: ‘What’s going on?’

His father smiled and said: ‘Son, pay attention.’

Looking across the valley, his father yelled to the mountain, ‘I admire you!’ The voice answered: ‘I admire you!’

Again the man cried out: ‘You are a champion!’ The voice replied, ‘You are a champion!’

The boy was amazed, but he was very confused. So, his father explained…

‘You are only hearing an echo, the sound of our voices bouncing back from the mountains. However, this really is how life works. It returns to you what you think, say, and do!

Our lives are a reflection of our thoughts and actions. If you want more love in your world, create more love in your heart. If you want to be treated with kindness, treat others with kindness. If you want more competence on your team, become more competent.

This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life. Life will give to you, everything you give to it, only it will give you even more in return. Your life is not ever a coincidence. Each moment is a reflection of you!’

The son listened and grew in understanding, and through the following years, he witnessed the truth of these words in his life!

Can you “condition” for success?

It’s not just animals that can be conditioned to behave in accordance with what human’s desire. Conditioning starts from infancy. Parents at home and mentors at the workplace (especially for team members that are new to the work place), your role is critical. You can condition and mould in whichever direction you choose.

10.07.15As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime can break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them.

As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Do you know who hinders your success?

Take some time off…time to reflect periodically. Who and what is responsible for the drag on your potential? The sad part is that most of us are too busy working towards succeeding to really take the time out to analyze who is responsible for stopping us from reaching success.

22.07.15One day all the employees of a very unusual company reached their office and all saw a big sign on the main door which said this . . .

‘Yesterday, the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym.’

In the beginning, they all got sad for the death of one of their colleagues, but after a while they started getting curious to know who was that person who hindered the growth of their colleagues and the company itself?

The excitement in the gym was such that security agents were ordered to control the crowd within the room. The more people reached the coffin, the more the excitement heated up.

Everyone thought – ‘Who is this person who was hindering my progress?’

One by one the intrigued employees got closer to the coffin, and when they looked inside it, they suddenly became speechless.

They all got to stand near the coffin, and all ended up shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul. There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it could see themselves! There was also a sign next to the mirror that said. . .

‘There is only one person who is capable of setting limits to your growth and IT IS YOU!’

Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your husband or wife changes, when your company changes, when your church changes, when your location changes, when your money changes, when your status changes . . .

No, your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs.

Examine yourself, watch yourself. Don’t be afraid of difficulties, impossibilities and losses. Be a winner, build yourself and your reality. It’s the way you face life itself that makes the difference.

Do you regard your work as your own or are you just an instrument doing someone else’s work?

Do we really regard our work as our own? Or is it for the company or the manager or sometimes even our family. If the work is really yours…you can’t help but do your best….A story about working with the right attitude.

20.07.15An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer/contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.”

Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Is your glass half empty or half full?

It’s a good idea to surround yourself with people and ideas that look at the brighter side. If you look around you, it’s easy to identify the people that “lift you up” and those that are “doomsdayers”…

17.07.15I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have responsibilities to fulfill today and I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school or eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can appreciate that I have a place to call home.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.

What today will be like is up to me. I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

Do you make a difference?

For all of us out there that blame the environment for all our ills. Do we really have the attitude that will make a difference to those around us ? If not, do we really have the right to complain? An anecdote with a beautiful attitude.

starfishOnce upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out ‘Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?’

The young man paused, looked up, and replied ‘Throwing starfish into the ocean.’

‘I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?’ asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, ‘The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.’

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, ‘But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!’

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, ‘It made a difference for that one.’

So, can I encourage you to take the time to do something that will make difference to someone else’s life … and it doesn’t have to be much and they don’t need to know. Just take a moment, do something special … the universe will know and that’s enough.

Do you interview just on skills or attitude as well?

Even though we talk endlessly about the importance of “attitude”, we hire based on skills and not attitude. The effects of this range from difficult circumstances for team members to disastrous consequences for the company. Looking at the contours of the CV as well as using tools to “discover” what’s beneath the surface is an investment, well worth the effort. A story that underlines this point.

13.07.15The company had invited a consultant to review its workers because the work atmosphere had deteriorated to a degree where the customers were already beginning to notice it. After all – if the sales personnel did not want to stay in the company and the customer got a new salesperson visiting every time, the word started to spread all was not all right with the company.

After observing how people worked and having talked to many salespersons the consultant invited them all into the conference room. He looked at the people in front of him and said:

You remind me of a bedtime story my own mother used to tell me.

It was a story of a father and his sons who kept quarrelling with each other no matter what the father did. So he decided that because they were not listening to his words, he would show them in a practical way how they were hurting themselves with their negative attitude.

He asked the sons to bring him a bundle of sticks. This they did and waited to hear what their father had to say. The father put the big bundle in their hands and asked them to break it. Each had their own turn.

No matter how hard they tried, the bundle did not break.

Then the father opened the bundle and gave each of his sons a separate stick and asked them to try again. This time the sticks broke easily.

The father then said; “Think that you are like these sticks. If you stick together and assist one another, you are like a thick bundle of sticks that others cannot break. But if you are divided and separated from each other, you can be broken as easily as these sticks.”

The consultant looked at his audience.

– You may think negative attitude isn’t hurting you, but it causes your co-workers to leave their jobs. And this is not a case of out of sight, out of mind. Those people go work elsewhere and they spread the word of how they were treated. Your own names may pop up in those conversations and that may be enough to ruin a future deal or stop you from getting a job in the future.

It is in your best interest to start working together. Or if you cannot stop stealing the fruits of someone else´s labor or stop talking bad things about people behind their backs, just be certain you shall meet your own deeds in the future. You see: if you talk bad things about someone behind their back, everyone will realize you will probably do the same about them. No surprise then that they do not wish to work with you in the future. And so your own negative attitude is stealing the good things from your life.

In this day and age you would be wise to try to search for positive things about your co-workers and together decide you shall work honestly from now on. To remind you of the importance of this, I have brought you something. My daughter made them for you yesterday.

The consultant gave each of them a small bundle of sticks that was tied with pretty ribbons.

Do you have the right attitude for feedback or an appraisal?

Most of us at the workplace have gone through an appraisal and have also wondered why it didn’t go so well….the story given below is truly inspiring. It explains the “ideal attitude” for feedback or an appraisal.

08.07.15A little boy went into a drug store, reached for a soda carton and pulled it over to the telephone. He climbed onto the carton so that he could reach the buttons on the phone and proceeded to punch in seven digits (phone numbers). The store-owner observed and listened to the conversation.

Boy: ‘Lady, Can you give me the job of cutting your lawn?

Woman: (at the other end of the phone line): ‘I already have someone to cut my lawn.’

Boy: ‘Lady, I will cut your lawn for half the price of the person who cuts your lawn now.’

Woman: I’m very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting my lawn.

Boy: (with more perseverance) : ‘Lady, I’ll even sweep your curb and your sidewalk, so on Sunday you will have the prettiest lawn in all of Palm beach , Florida.’

Woman: No, thank you.

With a smile on his face, the little boy replaced the receiver. The store-owner, who was listening to all this, walked over to the boy.

Store Owner: ‘Son… I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job.’

Boy: ‘No thanks.’

Store Owner: But you were really pleading for one.

Boy: No Sir, I was just checking my performance at the Job I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady I was talking to!’