Pottering around life's issues, a little digging here, some fertilizer there, pruning to stimulate new growth and generally cultivating people's potential to blossom. Your comments are always welcomed.  

However ADVERTISEMENT comments WILL be promptly REMOVED

“Loving your teenage son or daughter is not enough. He or she needs to feel that you appreciate them as a blossoming human being, whose talents and uniqueness require constant nurturing, support and encouragement and whose dreams are sufficiently intriguing to be worth exploring.” 

 

This quotes the 53rd message from my new book "Enjoy Being Proud of Who You Are - 52 Inspirational Life-Skills Messages for Teenagers".  It brings out the fact that no matter how much we might want to influence our teenage children in their life direction, they are going to make their own decisions.


And rightly so!  Whatever our age, we are all unique individuals from birth to death.  No matter how much you try to put yourself in someone else's shoes, you simply cannot do so.  And just like you would with any adult, the way to help people is by focusing on increasing their sense of self-esteem, self-belief, self-confidence and sense of self-worth.

My book brings out many statements that people have learned from their parents and have successfully passed on to their children.  But that is only a start. I want to run workshops and discussion groups with young people and give them the chance to discuss with each other what each statement means in their lives, what has importance to them and - let's be frank - what, to any of them,  is now just so much garbage from us oldies!

 Kids are smart. They want your help but they will make up their own minds. We just need to give them the best possible information on which they can base their own decisions.  

Click on the pic below for information on how you can get a copy of the book to give to your teenager/s as a way of:

  •  
  • telling them how much you care for and respect them as individual human beings and
  • recognizing them as emerging adults who want to blossom in their own way.

 Enjoy Being Proud Of Who You Are

Passionate leisure experiences provide a natural, free and unlimited resource to meet perhaps the greatest global energy crisis – the human energy needed to survive, thrive and drive the world’s economy.

  

Change is affecting everything – including the role and potential of leisure in today's high pressure society. Leisure is back in business, providing solutions to urgent global problems.

 

Leisure’s had a bad press for too long. It was killed off by the emergence of the 19th century traditional work ethic which preached that work was ‘the way to heaven and leisure was the work of the devil’.  It wasn’t so much that the work ethic dignified the role of work but that it demeaned the role of leisure. While the religious fervour died out, it has taken until now to reassert its rightful role in the development of personal growth and productivity.   

 

Stress is killing health by stealth.  There is a global human energy crisis – we are burning human energy faster than we create it, with the inevitable result that burnout symptoms are everywhere – at work and in community life.  The fact that stress has, per se, an important role to play in personal and business development masks the damage that prolonged excessive stress is having on mental health.  The damage caused through workaholism - like alcoholism - doesn’t become apparent until too late.  Depression, stress-related illnesses, broken homes and even suicide are signs of the damage that unrelenting stress is causing in today’s world.

 

I’ll have what she’s having!!  Don’t you envy those people who not only cope well with stress but positively appear to thrive?  It’s not so much that they have something the rest of us don’t have. Rather they have found a way of generating renewed mental strength, resilience and a sense of being calm in crises. They have a steady resource of natural energy that sustains their resilience, a resource they regularly tap at will.  

Enjoy being Proud It was someone no less than the Dalai Lhama who said that education today focuses too much on material and economic success and not enough on education of the mind, the emotions and personal growth. 

I was in a gift shop some months ago, looking for gifts for primary school age children. I came across some books with inspirational life messages and thought I would love to give the children something like that when they get a little older.  In fact, I asserted, I could write such a book myself!

From my subsequent investigations I concluded there was indeed a gap in the availability of this sort of book – amazing, given the huge issues of teenage depression and suicide.  Some say there are more suicides than there are road deaths.

So I put my mind to work, culminating in the world-wide release of

Enjoy Being Proud of Who You Are: 52 Inspirational Life-Skill Messages for Teenagers.

It is available in print, e-book and e-reader formats through Amazon/Kindle.  

I am not an expert in today’s teenage issues (I vaguely remember being one myself many years ago). It’s simply my attempt to provide a series of thoughts that I have gleaned from my mentor work, my life experiences and from the lives of various other people who gave me some great thoughts they had absorbed sitting at the feet of their own parents and passed down to their children.

Will teenagers read it let alone like it? Who knows? When did you last read a book of inspirational messages from cover to cover? If one teenager who is struggling with adolescence is helped by one message, the task will have been worth the effort.  

If you are a parent, grandparent, guardian, aunt or uncle of a teenager, I urge you to give him/her an opportunity to make their own decisions about reading and, with luck, identifying at least one message in the book that may help them make sense of this mad life.  

I also ask that you heed what is in fact the 53rd message in the book, directed at you:

Loving your teenage son or daughter is not enough. He or she needs to feel that you appreciate them as a blossoming human being, whose talents and uniqueness require constant nurturing, support and encouragement and whose dreams are sufficiently intriguing to be worth exploring”.

I would love to hear any anecdotes of outcomes from a reading of my book – by you or by your teenager – or even have you put a review on the sales site from where you purchased your copy.

And I hope His Holiness the Dalai Lhama would approve of my efforts to try bringing some balance into the world of education.

Ariound 140 stress-related claims per year are being made by teachers in the South Australian education system at a cost of some $10 million per annum.  Another news heading last night on ABC television made reference to a disturbing growth in mental stress issues in the workplace.

When is the business world and the health sector going to stop bemoaning the prevalence of increasing mental illness and start taking notice of ideas for keeping people mentally healthy, building resilience and sustaining mental energy?? When will we start focusing less on the problems of finding cures and focus more on preventing mental illness?

Nature does have a remedy that has existed since Adam was a pup.  You can read about it in detail elsewhere on my website. Click here.

It's a long statement- resist the temptation to read just the first and last para if you want to really start tackling mental health positively and productively. 

It's enough to get you started doing your own program without my help but call me if you want to know more.

We humans are emotional, often irrational and at times unpredictable and that's how nature intended us to be. Some may see this as a negative. I see it very much as a positive. The magnificent uncertainty of life fuels the energy of living - our creativity, enthusiasm, innovation, hunger to explore, and our determination to advance. It's how we grow - as individuals and as a society.

Positive and negative behaviour play a big part in your progress. Positive behaviour generates energy, negative behaviour drains it. Both behaviours are infectious each in their own way, rippling through everything else in your life and in the lives of people around you.

The emotional energy that drives positive behaviour is found in the passionate interests that fertilize your talents. Usually they are passions far removed from the negative influeces on your life. This can - and often does - relate to dormant passions that you used to pursue and which have long been waiting to revitalize your life.

Don't be afraid to be positively emotional, unpredictable and irrational. It's the spice of a colourful life, offering fantastic opportunities for you to grow and flourish so that your unique potential can blossom.

I recently attended a seminar on ageism. Most of the speakers and audience were working people, generally in their 40's and 50's.  So much of the discussion centred on whether old dogs can still learn new tricks, can cope with change, especially changes in technology, and keep up with the young pups. 

Finally it became all too much for me and, as fortune would have it, I got the final word for the seminar.

My 'speech' was along these lines:

  • I am 73 years of age, still running my own business, managing a comprehensive website, using social media for my business, loving being on the edge of change and enjoying being creative
  • most in the audience would have no idea what life is like in one's 60's, let alone 70's because they aren't there yet
  • all of them would have been told by their children that they are 'old'
  • all of them would agree they have a fuller perspective on life now than they did 20 years ago, have learned more, are more experienced and generally better able to cope with life, and have greater mental capacity and dexterity
  • it's all a matter of perspective.

My message drew strong applause, some verbal backslapping and requests for my business card.

I could best summarize their reaction as being one of relief - a sense of 'I want to be having what he's having when I reach his age'. I had verbalised their hopes that longevity isn't just living longer but about enjoying a sense of purpose and identity for many more years to come.

Passionate leisure experiences provide a natural, free and unlimited resource to meet perhaps the greatest global energy crisis – the human energy needed to survive, thrive and drive the world’s economy.

  

Change is affecting everything – including the role and potential of leisure in today's high pressure society. Leisure is back in business, providing solutions to urgent global problems.

 

Leisure’s had a bad press for too long. It was killed off by the emergence of the 19th century traditional work ethic which preached that work was ‘the way to heaven and leisure was the work of the devil’.  It wasn’t so much that the work ethic dignified the role of work but that it demeaned the role of leisure. While the religious fervour died out, it has taken until now to reassert its rightful role in the development of personal growth and productivity.   

 

Stress is killing health by stealth.  There is a global human energy crisis – we are burning human energy faster than we create it, with the inevitable result that burnout symptoms are everywhere – at work and in community life.  The fact that stress has, per se, an important role to play in personal and business development masks the damage that prolonged excessive stress is having on mental health.  The damage caused through workaholism - like alcoholism - doesn’t become apparent until too late.  Depression, stress-related illnesses, broken homes and even suicide are signs of the damage that unrelenting stress is causing in today’s world.

 

I’ll have what she’s having!!  Don’t you envy those people who not only cope well with stress but positively appear to thrive?  It’s not so much that they have something the rest of us don’t have. Rather they have found a way of generating renewed mental strength, resilience and a sense of being calm in crises. They have a steady resource of natural energy that sustains their resilience, a resource they regularly tap at will.  

When you lose yourself in an interest that you love, you find yourself. Your talents come to the fore, your imagination creates a riot of colour, your self esteem soars and your heart, soul and mind sing in harmony. Believe in your true self and forever be proud of who you are.

We spend our lives trying to avoid our most certain future event - our eventual death. At some stage in our lives we each experience a "mortality jolt" - a sudden recognition that we aren't going to get out of this world alive.  When you get that jolt, you can choose to drop your bundle, or decide you still have much to do to achieve your natural reasons for living.  These include:

  • you are a part of (not above) nature, created to grow, mature and blossom 
  • you were born with natural talents and passions - assets that enable you to achieve something uniquely magnificent
  • no other person in human history has had, or will have, your mix of talents, passions and potential. It implies a`responsibility to use those abilities to do something new and different towards the world's progress
  • you form part of a natural ecosystem of like-minded people in which you play an integral and essential role if that ecosystem is going to flourish. 

Life is an absorbing journey of magnificent uncertainty, exploration, highs, lows and self-discovery. A mortality jolt simply reminds you who you are, where you are on the journey and where you want to be, while you can.

Taking the optimistic view on an issue is often regarded as naive or not being in possession of all the facts. Such a belief suggests the opposite of optimism is realism.

The fact is that it's impossible to base true progress on negative, pessimistic thinking. Genuine sustained progress can only thrive on an outlook of optimism, positive thinking, resilience and determination.

The fact that we are riding on a massive wave of negative, pessimistic thinking is therefore gradually strangling real social and economic progress - worldwide. It's essential to start developing a belief that optimism in fact means realism, that it is something far deeper than the shallow, keep smiling, "she'll be right mate" (Aussie slang - everything will be ok) casual form of optimism.

 

Optimism Australia, under the guidance of Adelaide Business Interventionist Ken Woodis building a program of positive action. It doesn't have a fanciful aim of changing the world. More realistically. it focuses on specific areas of business and community development that exemplify where the community can start to 'turn the ship of negative thinking around'.

If you are in or near Adelaide on 2 October, you are encouraged to attend the next

Optimism Australia seminar, "Building a Resilient Community", Wednesday 2nd October, 5.30 - 7.30 pm,  in the Star Room, Adelaide Entertainment Centre.  

I am delighted that Ken has invited me to be one of three speakers at the seminar.

Here's the link for full details of the seminar, including bookings.

Swedish research indicates choir singing is good for the heart, slows the pulse and eases mental stress.  I knew that all along but its good to have it formally recognized. An interesting aspect is that it seems to synchronize the heart beats of the singers  so everyone gets the same benefits. Some interesting key phrases in their report, including

  • shared emotions,  intuitive co-operation,  joint action,  collective consciousness,  sensitive ability to co-operate,  help people connect and open up to each other.


What more do you want out of an interest than all of that?! And think what it does to improve the rest of your day - at work, home and play.

It's the play bit that I want to focus on. I suggest all of the above applies in full or part not only to choir singing but to almost any other form of group passionate interest you care to name - playing a team sport (for fun), playing music, art classes, indeed any activity that the members of a group freely undertake for the sheer joy of it.  

Work provides that for you? I hope it does but there is a key element that work rarely offers - total control over one's participation, absolute free choice about taking part, for no other reason than sheer enjoyment, to whatever skill level that satisfies you and numerous other "state of flow" emotional benefits.

Did you guess I sing in a choir? Two actually. And as much as I love my work, I abslolutely prize my involvement in both choirs.  Whatever your group leisure/recreation passion, its nice to have it confirmed its doing your heart good.

Ten years from now…and later

  • what will give you your continuing joy of living life to the full?
  • what passionate interests will be getting you out of bed each day?
  • what energy-draining parts of your life will you have stopped or eased back?
  • what will be the core features of 'living life on your terms'?

Fascinating questions. Is ten years too far ahead? Not if you are over 50. These questions become very important, perhaps even ones you fear because they could affect your work. But they must be addressed and the sooner you do so, the more satisfying and healthy your life will be ten years from now...and later.

Where are you currently putting your energies - energy in and energy out? What would you like to stop, ease, or develop? Such changes won't happen overnight. Recognition and decision is a good starting point.


 

“Work is killing off the great Australian weekend and starving kids of family time”, (Adelaide Advertiser August 3).The article quotes research done by The Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW:

  • Weekend work has nearly trebled over the past 20 years
  • Half of all business owners, 42% of contractors and 30 per cent of employees now spend their weekend in the workplace, to the detriment of family life.
  • One in four workers are on call or on standby, “as technology contaminates leisure with messages and emails from the boss.”

Interesting how people still have a negative image of leisure, as a period of time in which people "slack off and waste good working time".  This image was created in the Industrial Revolution when they painted leisure as evil (“idle hands are the work of the devil").  The IR took us from home productivity to factory productivity.  The factory became the centre of life’s value and importance.

Leisure today isn’t a period of time. It’s an experience of the mind, the opportunity to creatively express your talents, passions and potential, for the enjoyment of doing so. 

It's amazing the difficulty I have in getting people to give time to themselves and their own needs - especially their own emotional needs. Our society has become so hung up on the belief that life is about meeting the expectations of others. We have been carefully taught for generations by the work ethic that it is wrong to give time to self, that giving of self to others is the honourable way to go.

Are you too busy to take care of your health? Most of us are guilty of that as we hurry from one urgent responsibility to the next. For many it's a badge of honour to tell people you are so busy. But I haven't heard anyone express praise that so-and-so died because of their love of being busy.

Busy-ness is in fact at the crux of virtually all lifestyle issues today - stress, work life harmony, health, unexpected major  life changes and especially when it comes to life after fulltime work - even if you opt to keep working.  

I love watching The Voice on (Australian) TV.  We all get a thrill when a contestant is chosen for one of the teams.

However, it’s the unsung qualities of The Voice that I especially love.  It engenders recognition and encouragement of the talents, passions and unlimited potential  of every contestant - chosen or not. As one of the judges said, “we are changing peoples’ lives”.

I am reminded of King George VI’s life-changing realization, in the film The King’s Speech. In a climactic scene he is finally baited into exploding those powerful words, “I have a voice!!”, acknowledged so knowingly by his speech coach, “Yes you do”.

We all live for opportunities to voice our unique natural talents through passionate interests, be it at work, home or play.  For only some will it be singing or speaking.  Whatever yours may be, you and the world will benefit when you can voice it publicly.  

The ultimate however is to be, like The Voice, encouraging and enabling others to give voice to their talents. You can encourage your staff, spouse, children, friends, or people in your community.   The microphone in The Voice logo symbolizes broadcasting that talent widely.

Talent, passion, potential.  Expressed often enough and widely enough they provide all the nutrients that enable human nature to flourish and blossom. 

Yes, you too have a voice.

If you enjoyed this message, you will love my manifesto: My Dream for the World 

High self esteem, strong self belief, talent development, creativity, energy, enthusiasm and engagement. All key words in business jargon to get the best out of people. All vital in the battle to attract and keep the best people, sustain high productivity, keep staff costs down and manage stress. 

These are also key words in describing the benefits of passionate leisure experiences. Even more importantly, the benefits ripple through everything in life - at work and in personal life.

So why do we still regard work and leisure as separate, unrelated, even competing elements of life (see "The Kick in the Guts We Needed" Blog) ?  Why not join forces?

Tell your people (nicely!) to "get a life"  outside of work. Encourage them to enjoy at least one passionate leisure interest, because you want the benefits to ripple through to the job.

The very message itself will impress your staff.   

They will be even more impressed if you offer them the opportunity to re-discover which interests give them those benefits, by experiencing my Lifestyle Review process. Go here for more details, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or phone 0417 817 027.

 Some further reading:

   "Get a Life. You work better and live longer"

   "Promoting Positive Human Behaviour"

Two centuries ago the work ethic relegated fun and leisure to a status of meaningless, idle frivolity. Fun got into bad company, spending its time hanging around slackers, time-wasters, malingerers and other undesirables.  Managers felt fun wasn’t just unemployable,  they saw it as a direct competitor to work.

Sound familiar? You may well know some managers and workaholics who still see fun and leisure that way. Until recent times, when discussing projects with a potential client, I tended not to mention the ‘l’ word until well into the discussion. 

The massive changes, pressures and stresses of 21st century living have put paid to all that. Leisure is now back in business. It’s providing natural solutions to some of the biggest problems facing business today – stress management, sustaining high staff productivity, self-esteem and resilience, and stimulating creativity and innovation, to name just a few.

All this is nothing new in the course of history. Leisure has always had a core role to play in the natural order of personal growth, talent development and the realization of personal potential.  The mad way we live today has provided the kick in the guts we needed to remind us that fun and leisure offer much more than simply having a good time.

Letting people know about good recipes seems to be all the go on TV, at least in Australia. As Australia's People Gardener, I have created an excellent recipe for ensuring strong personal growth and development.

For strong personal growth, take all or any of your natural born talents and fertilize them with your passionate interests. Then mix often with positive like-minded people.  

 

The more often you follow this recipe, the better your future life is going to be.  Try it and see how good it tastes.  Share the recipe with your family, friends and work colleagues.

Probably the key reason you subscribe to my ezine or follow me on Twitter (@enjoybeingyou) is because you value above all else your pride in doing things your way. You enjoy being you! It has become the key to everything that makes life worthwhile for you.

I have just watched a You Tube presentation of one of one of the  most inspiring pieces of music I have heard in praise of that trait.  A wonderful presentation by Andre Rieu of "My Way".

Stop wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Use headphones, ear pieces, or a good set of speakers.  Click on the link below and absorb this most empowering rendition.  Be sure you listen right through to its conclusion.

I kid you not - I believe it is worth sending out this special message to you and anyone you know who loves dealing with life in their own unique way.

 

 http://www.youtube.com/embed/e-y581HdWfY?rel=0

Keep on doing it your way in 2013.

Wherever your passions in life are found - at work, home and at play - there you will fiind the real you, your true self, your reason for living. No matter what else you must do in your life, allow yourself the joy of living your passion and loving the invisible you, the person you really are.

Happy New Year!

The pressures of daily life have in many ways imprisoned us into leading a life based on meeting the demands and expectations of others. We yearn to escape, at least temporarily.

I've just returned from a holiday aboard the Dawn Princess, traveling around New Zealand. Yes its a tough life but somebody has to do it. The cruise slogan  - "Escape Completely" - was very apt. It was a great way to escape from the daily pressures and responsibilities of life.

It got me thinking. People in need of escaping don't want so much to escape from but escape to.  Escape to an experience in which they can breathe naturally and do what comes naturally, enabling their natural potential to blossom.

 

Click here to read more on this..

In every area of life in my business I am finding a huge constant. People are crying out to be treated as human beings. Especially, but not only, in the workplace. And you know what? I see it as much in the lives of leaders and employers as I do in followers and employees.

Systems rather than people seem to be running the world. Emotions are foreign to systems. Emotions only exist, if you are fortunate, in the hearts and minds of people using - and too often abusing - those systems.

It's time to put the human back into humanity.

We are born to be who we are, expressing our unique talents, passions, potential, emotions and desires. Human-ness includes basic respect, mutual understanding and enough reasonable opportunities to see and express what people can do and give and be.

Perhaps I am a small voice fighting an unfeeling system? I see enough to know that is not the case. But it's a battle we have to have.

The Marmot studies into stress and health levels within the UK Civil Service came up with some unexpected findings. They thought senior executives would be the most stressed because of their high pressure work and major decision responsibilities. In fact lower level staff were found to be the more stressed, largely because they have much less control and discretion in their job. 

There seems little doubt there's a strong link between the increasing levels of stress and the many changes over which we have so little control. It also strengthens the link between mental health and enjoying your favourite leisure/recreation interest - a life-enriching experience over which you have total control.

People want to listen when you speak about solutions to problems that can keep you awake at night. They sure listened to my keynote presentation to over 300 delegates to the Parks and Leisure Australia National Conference in Newcastle NSW, from which I have recently returned. I had so many people come up to me throughout the rest of the conference - and even at the airport as I was leaving - congratulating and thanking me. Some shared with me passionate personal stories about themselves and their lifestyles. 

The topic was the changing perception of leisure in these frenetic times. My core message was that 'leisure is back in the business of solving global problems so serious that they keep people awake at night'. The audience reactions confirmed that leisure truly is back in the business of solving what is in fact a global energy crisis - people are burning more emotional energy than they are creating. The symptoms of burnout are everywhere.

But I won't reproduce the presentation here. You can click here to see my notes and slides.

I found the whole experience to be humbling, yet empowering. I would love to be able to recreate the experience at your next conference, seminar, staff development event or other business or community event. It doesn't have to be 300+ people. Any size group is fine with me.

Share This