Saturday, 31 December 2016

We can learn from anyone and everyone

Here is something you can think about for the new year.

You don't meet people by accident. There's always a reason. A lesson or a blessing. 

Some people come into your life to TEST you, some to USE you, some to TEACH you, and some to BRING OUT THE BEST in you. 

People are who they are. You can't force someone to be who you want them to be. 

Just accept that some will come and quickly go ... but some will stay forever.

They will all leave footprints on your heart, AND YOU WILL NEVER EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.

This is a fantastic message to think about for the new year. Everyone who comes into your life comes into for a reason.

We have to realise that they all bring lessons and then we have to decide whether or not we learn from it. Let me tell you, it is a good idea to learn from every encounter.

Have a great new year and lets hope that the new year brings everything you want.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Osoji and reseting your life

There is a new year tradition in Japan called Osoji. Basically you would translate it as 'the big cleanup.'

Towards the end of the year, Japanese people of all ages get their cleaning utensils out and clean their living spaces from top to bottom. It is a way of clearing all the old stuff out and reseting for the new year ahead.

This got me thinking, what would you like to clear out of your life for the new year?

Well, here are some ideas:

1. Attempting to please everyone

If you try to please everyone, you will in the end please no one especially yourself. So remember that sometimes you are going to have to disappoint some people. That's life. You need to live with it.

2. Fearing change 

Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and make the changes. I know it can be scary but if you keep on doing the same things, then you are going to be getting the same results and that might not be the greatest results. Embrace change. Try to think of the good things that will come when you make those necessary changes.

3. Thinking about the past

Some of us like to think of some things we said in the past that you regret or things we might have done in the past that we also regret but dwelling on them will do what? Nothing. It will just drive you crazy. From time to time I will think of something I may have said or done many, many, many years ago. What good will it do me? None. It' just ridiculous. Concentrate and focus on the present and the future. You can control that.

4. Overthinking everything

Sometimes we just think and think and think some more and because of all of the thinking we end up doing nothing and sometimes doing nothing is the right thing but not usually. When you think too much and you don't do anything then you need a good clip around the ears because it is that fearing of change coming into it.

With the coming of the new year, it is always a good time to make changes. of course you can make changes at anytime so why not tomorrow or now?

Make a list of things you want to quit in the new year and then make plans to eliminate these things from your life. You life will become better and better.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Give it a chance. You might enjoy it.

You are probably wondering what this is a photo of. Quite frankly I was a little confused as well. This is a photo of the beginning of the Double Decker Derby. (Try saying that fast three times.)

This is a photo from the Central Energy Trust Arena and the Robertson Holden International Speedway in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Now, your next question is why am I talking about this?

Well, I went along to this meeting the other day. Palmerston North is my hometown and they have had speedway meetings since 1929. So it is an institution in the city. When the wind is blowing a certain way you can hear the cars across the city and I'm sure that it was no different the other night.

Anyway, my point today is that this was something I haven't been to for more than 25 years. The Speedway has an image that only a certain type of people go along. Let me introduce you to Australia and New Zealand slang. The word is bogan. This is a derogatory term for a type of person who may be considered unsophisticated in today's society. I suppose the American equivalent would be redneck.

The Speedway is said to attract these kind of people, bogans. Some people would wonder why I went.

 I think that is unfair on people who attend. I looked around at the crowd. There were people of all ages there. There were families there. There groups of friends. To me it seemed like a good night out. I couldn't really tell who these bogan people were. All I could see were people enjoying the action and entertainment that the speedway provides as.

Admittedly I wouldn't want to go every week but it would certainly be something that I would think about going to once a year or so.

My point today is even though a certain event has an image, you don't necessarily need to believe that stereotype. Go along with an open mind and you might just enjoy it.

Darts is another sport or event that you might have an image of but if you gave it a chance you might enjoy it. I know I do.

Just because something has an image, it doesn't mean you should dismiss it. Give it a chance. You might find out that you have been missing something special.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Don't chase. Improve.

One of the things I have learned this year is this. The idea that if someone really wants to see you, they will make an effort to make sure it happens.

The second thing I have learned this year is the following:

Never chase what you want,
Elevate your game until what you want chases you.

For me this year, this would be one of the most important things that I have discovered.

When you do things to the best of your ability. When you focus on what you want to do and you have a vision then everything else in your life will fall into place.

This year I have elevated my game.

Next year, you and I can elevate our games together to get what we both want.

Are you ready for that challenge?

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

What have you learned this year?

It's getting towards the end of the year and it's time that you think about what you have learned throughout the year and what you can do differently in the new year.

My biggest learning is summed up in this post on Instagram:

If someone really wants to see you,
they will find a reason,
they will find a way,
they will make the effort

It took me quite some time to realise this point this year and I forgot it on a couple of occasions but I realise that it is very true and if I ever forget it in the new year, I can come back to this post and remind myself.

What has been your biggest learning for this year?

Monday, 26 December 2016

How to survive an event

Have you ever dreaded the thought of going to a party?

Parties can be quite uncomfortable for some people.

 For other people it is their natural habitat and they thrive in this kind of environment. They walk around talking to anyone and everyone. They grow more energetic with every person they talk to and every drink they have.

But, what can you do if you don't thrive in these kinds of conditions?

What can you do if the idea of going up to people that you don't know fills you with dread?

It can be very scary in these kinds of situations and because you fear rejection it leads to inaction.

I know from experience when I have been in night clubs and I will see a woman that I want to talk to and I will make up excuses why I shouldn't.

"She looks busy."

"She is talking to her friend."

"I'm enjoying my drink."

"It's too noisy. I won't be able to hear her."

"What do I say? I don't have the perfect opener."

See, all excuses which is basically telling yourself that you fear being rejected by that woman so you don't do anything and in the end you both miss out. You miss out on meeting someone special (possibly) and at the very least practice been rejected. Also she misses out on meeting you which quite possibly could be the highlight of her night.

Do you understand my point?

It's interesting. I remember having a conversation with a friend more than 20 years ago. We were talking about and I quote "feeling socially superior" around other people. When I think back about that conversation, we weren't feeling socially superior we just felt comfortable around some people and not comfortable around other people. We knew that around a certain group of people we could be charismatic and fun because we knew that we were going to be accepted by the group. But when you arrive at a party where you don't know anyone your fear of rejection can inhibit you.

I know on a few occasions I have arrived at a function where I don't know anyone and I have that "I don't give a f***" attitude and I will go up to the first group I see and tell a couple of jokes or funny stories and get absolutely no reaction at all. This can be quite demoralising for some people and it has been to me on occasions but the secret is to remember that this kind of social rejection is not a reflection on you. You were just being yourself and they may have been in a bad mood. I know that is hard to accept sometimes but you can't please everyone.

The best way to ease yourself into parties is to look for people who are standing around by themselves. They are probably a little bit like you in that they are feeling a little anxious and would welcome someone coming over to them and saying hi. This is at the very least a great warm up for the remainder of the event.

When you go to the gym, you are developing your body. You are becoming stronger and stronger. You can also do this with your social muscle as well.

You can:

  • Attend parties and events
  • Talk to strangers on public transportation. (This is difficult believe me)
  • Talk to people on the street
  • Go to bars and clubs by yourself. (This is extremely difficult)
  • Join some kind of public speaking club. Toastmasters is my suggestion.
I think the moral to all of this is that most people are anxious about how they are perceived in public and it would do you well to remember this the next time you try talking to someone. You can make them comfortable as well as yourself. 

Parties and events don't need to be uncomfortable when you know what to do and you remember that most people are in the same situation. 

With this knowledge, parties and events can be very, very, very enjoyable. 

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas!!!

If you are celebrating Christmas, I hope it is going well for you and you are eating heaps and have lots of cool presents and you are enjoying time with your family and loved ones.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the day off.

I know I will.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

WHAT? Santa's an introvert?

Do you celebrate Christmas?

Were you one of those people who would go to bed early on Christmas Eve because "Father Christmas doesn't come to houses where the children are still awake?" (FYI: Father Christmas is what people from the United Kingdom and it's former colonies call Santa Claus.)

Did you use to leave a bottle of beer and a Christmas mince meat pie out for Father Christmas?

Did you have a stocking at the end of your bed for the presents? (I had a pillow case.)

Did you worry that because your house didn't have a chimney that Father Christmas wouldn't be able to get inside to drink your beer, eat your Christmas mince meat pies and more importantly leave you the presents that you wrote to him for?

Oh yes! All the memories. You've got to love Christmas.

Today I want to talk about Father Christmas (Santa Claus). If Susan Cain is the face of introversion in 2016, then Father Christmas (Santa Claus) has to be the patron saint of introversion.

"WHAT!?!?!? I hear you cry. Santa isn't an introvert." Well I beg to differ. Lets look at the evidence.

1. He lives at the North Pole

If the first reason doesn't convince you, I don't know what will. The North Pole! The last time I checked, there are not many people living in that part of the world, so Santa can go and relax and get away from it all for most of the year. He can recharge with Mrs. Claus and prepare for the end of the year.

2. He arrives in the night when everyone is asleep

No human contact for old Santa. He needs to do his job in the quiet of night so as not to be disturbed. That's how he likes it.

3. He hides behind a beard

Yes, he doesn't want you to know his real face. He likes the anonymity that the beard allows him. Apparently he only grows it during towards the end of the year while the rest of the year one of the most famous faces in the world can walk around anywhere without being disturbed.

4. His best friends are animals

 They say that man's best friend is a dog. In Santa's case, his best friends are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and of course everyone's favourite one Rudolph.

5. He prefers snail mail

Yep no chatting and inane small talk for our Santa. He likes everything old fashioned. He has special post boxes set up around cities, towns and villages around the world so you can put in your request for presents. What a great system.

There you go. If you are not convinced that Santa Claus is an introvert I hope you are now.

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a great time with your friends and loved ones and I hope the new year is everything you want it to be.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Success does come with a cost

Do you know what the cost of success is?

There are 7 things:


You are going to find that people are going to go home a lot earlier than you. It might be tempting to go with them but just think that another hour of intensive work might allow you to get that breakthrough, to get that idea that is going to allow to get to that next level. Don't finish at 5 or don't finish at 6, put in that extra time and you will notice the difference sooner rather than later.


For me recently, getting up early and going to the gym has been the best way to use my morning. Sometimes I do feel half asleep and I don't really wake up until mid way through the workout but I believe that it is better to do that than sit at the desk and try not to fall asleep. For other ideas, have a look at this.


I have few friends anyway but they are all very loyal and all have my best interests at heart as I with them. When you start turning down invitations because you have to work or you have some project on the go, this can be very detrimental to your social life and some friends just might not understand your lifestyle and do you know what, that is OK. They aren't true friends anyway. If they were true friends they would support both who you are as a person and what you are trying to achieve.


Yes, this is a big one. People are not going to understand what you are trying to do. They will see you waking up early and going to bed late. They will see you working 7 days a week. They will see you spending time on your project on Friday and Saturday nights. People will wonder why because to them Friday and Saturday nights are a chance to go and drink as much as possible. Stick to your guns. Be confident in what you want to achieve and don't lose your focus.


Sometimes it will feel like it is never-ending but as the great Winston Churchill said,

"If you are going through hell, keep going."

I think this is good advice because the good news might just be on the other side of the hill of hell and it could be a couple more steps until you start going downhill.


Yes, we all do this from time to time. Sometimes I will be thinking about why I just quit and get a rap job, but that would be contradicting what I just wrote about going hell. So just keep on going. Have that vision in your mind and don't stray off it. Keep working your plan.


You have a vision, you have a focus. Sometimes it is going to be difficult to express that vision to people at the beginning. The more you work on it and the more you immerse yourself in the project the better vision will appear and the easier that it will be to explain to people. I've found recently that I've had problems explaining to people because I don't have exactly in my mind what I want to do but it is becoming clearer and clearer everyday.

There is always a price to anything and the above seven points are the price of success. Remember to achieve your goals and to do what you set out to do, you will need to accept these things and to forget about the difficult things and to just get on with it.

I assure you, the price will be worth it.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Things are different in different parts of the world

Did you know that what you might think is a perfectly innocent ‘breaking the ice’ question could be construed as rude in other parts of the world?

I’ll give you an example, “what do you do?’

In America this is a normal every day question like “how’s it going?” However, in Europe it might be thought of as rude or you are a nosey person.

Why is there a difference in these two areas of the world?

Firstly, Americans don't expect an elongated answer. Most of them don’t even care. You don't have to give a big description of what you do you just have to talk about what you job title is and even then you could stretch the truth a bit.

Europeans on the other hand seem to want to give that elongated answer, giving full details of their responsibilities and job description and the colleagues who annoy him or her on Monday mornings.

For some people the question “what do you do?” can be thought of as the asker trying to ascertain the other person’s social standing. The other person might think that they are being judged by their job title.

“I’m a CEO of a large multi-national conglomerate based in Zurich.”

“I clean the toilets at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.”

Are you going to judge the two people above by their occupation? I bet you do. I would and I’m sure you would too.

Some people don't want to be defined by their job title and so they will avoid the question or give a really confusing answer that probably asks more questions than it answers.

One of the first things I learnt when I moved to Japan was that even though the people I am talking to look like me and have similar names to me, culturally they are so much different. You just have to watch an American daytime talk show to see that.

Even though they speak the same language as you, they are not going to respond in the way that is familiar with you.

Don't be angry about it. Don't get frustrated about it. Just accept it for what it is. Another person reacting to something in a way their culture has taught them to be appropriate.

Also remember, that “what do you do?” is harmless and not everyone is trying to find out how much money is in your bank account, unlike this person below.

I’m sure that whoever met this person, the first question would have been “how are you?” and the second question would have been “what do you do?” There is absolutely no doubt about it.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

How you write your name says a lot about you

I noticed something the other day when I attended a meeting. There were about ten people at the meeting and I knew most of them but there were some who didn't know each other so we were asked to write our names on a name plate (a piece of paper) and display it.

The first thing I noticed that the people who I would classify as extroverts were at the front. They were closest to where the chair of the meeting was going to be sitting.

The second thing I noticed was that the people at the front of the room had written their names like this:


While the people at the back of the room, i.e. the introverts had written their names like this:


Do you see the difference? The extroverts had written their names, loud and proud in capital letters while the introverts had written their names in smaller letters.

I'm not an expert in handwriting but there must be some kind of reason for this and I'm sure that it is more than just introvert/extrovert. So I asked my friend Mr. Google and as you would expect there is a reason. I don't really understand the reason but there is a reason.

Apparently people who write in all capitals want to remain mysterious. They are uncomfortable talking about their private lives. Also, according to Mr. Google, these people who write in capitals are egotistical. They have very strong opinions and it can be incredibly tough for them to see your side of the story.

I also asked Mr. Google about small handwriting like I wrote at the meeting and he said that small handwriting is a sign of introversion. People who write small are not flamboyant and they are not really attention seekers.

Hmmm, I'm starting to see a pattern here.

The next thing Mr. Google told me is that sometimes people who write small maybe a little shy and they maybe a little insecure. They also avoid the company of others.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

What is the moral to all of this?

There are all sorts of hints and clues about people's personalities out there and if you don't want to be "found out" be careful about how you do things like writing your name.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Just because you are good at it, doesn't make you an expert

For those of you who now me well, I read everyday and then send my friend a summary of what I have read and he then comments and sends the mail back and on certain points we might have a little conversation about it.

I must admit that some days I haven't done it but it is a good exercise as you learn a lot and it gets your brain going and makes you think.

The other day, my friend said that being a former executive in a large corporation might get you a coaching job in other corporations but that won't make you a better coach.

That was really interesting because if you think of the world of sport the best players are not necessarily the best coaches. For example in the world of cricket at the moment, the current New Zealand coach has never played first class cricket while a lot of the other coaches were just average players at best with a couple of exceptions, Darren Lehman and Anil Kumble coming to mind.

My friend also gave the example of a coach who is trying to get people to come out of their shells. He said that an introvert would be much more qualified to do that kind of job because they are able to empathise better with people in that situation but in the end probably the job would go to someone who is more extroverted because they are a bit more 'out there' and would present themselves better in that situation.

My response to that would be that extrovert probably wouldn't do that kind of job anyway because they think that everyone is like them anyway and why would anyone need coaching on how to come out of their shells and be more sociable because in their mind we are all sociable and if you are not you must be weird or strange or a real loner or even a loser.

Both sociable people and shall we say the less than sociable people need to know how to interact with each other. They need to understand that we are different in our outlook to life and just because one person doesn't want to go drinking one night in doesn't make them a loner, far from it.

If you consider yourself an extrovert and you are a sociable being, before criticising someone for being "antisocial" think. Maybe they are like that for a reason and they don't see the world like you do. That's OK by the way. It is ok to be different to you.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Stepping out of your comfort zone won't kill you

Today I tried this restaurant, pictured below.

This restaurant has been open for about a week. If you can see the sign clearly you would understand my reluctance.

Initially when I read the Japanese, 病み付き注意, I misunderstood it. I saw the character 病 and I thought that it meant sickness when in fact the first four characters mean addiction. So in other words it says, "Beware, you could become addicted."

Anyway, I decided to give it a try and have lunch and it was delicious. It really was. It is a fried chicken restaurant. I don't think they have their full menu out because they have just opened but it was very good.

The whole point of this post is to say that sometimes you have to try new places. Many people out there are reluctant to try to new places, they don't want to jump out of their comfort zone because they might not like it or they are just not that adventurous.

Lets face it. You people especially from English speaking countries, if you weren't adventurous, you wouldn't know what Thai food was, or what kebabs were or even what a won ton was. You would still be eating your pork chops with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots. Yummy!!!

Get out of your comfort zone from time to time. Try new foods, try new places even if the sign does say poisoning. You will meet new people. You will have new culinary experiences and you can only grow as a person. You can become a bit more worldly.

Below is what I had. It was quite simple but it was quite tasty and I will certainly go back there again in the near future.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Why do we wait for the new year to make changes?

I was thinking about my health and I thought that it I should do something about my stomach muscles. I thought that it is something to work on in the new year. Then I thought why do I have to wait until the new year?

Why is this January 1st a great time to make changes? Why can't we just make changes now?

You hear it all the time, "I'm far too busy in December to start anything new."

Excuse me, busy doing what?

Why do you need for the calendar to change for you to make changes? Make the changes now and live with the benefits in the new year.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

What we can learn from Real Estate brokers. Well one in particular.

Have you seen the American reality series, Million Dollar Listings? This is a series about real estate brokers in New York City.

Without a doubt the star of the show is Fredrik Eklund, the Swedish broker who has taken the New York market by storm over the last ten years. He is known for his high kick and also his book, The Sell. as well as being the number one agent in New York.

I started reading his book recently and I'm only a few pages into it and already I have found something that really resonates with me.

I'll write it out:

It is much better to be dumped by your client - or your coach or lover - for being out there and memorable than for being too withdrawn and easily forgotten.


People will always forgive you - probably adore you - for being eccentric, but they will never forgive you (if they even notice you) for being boring.

Isn't that interesting?

Lets look at each of those:

It's better to be dumped by your client .... Wait a moment. It's better to be dumped? I thought that it wasn't good to be dumped at anytime.

My friend used to make fun of me. He would say, "Blair, making an impact again." What he meant was that I was not making an impact. I was not being outgoing. I wasn't really talking to anyone and I was very, very forgettable.

I believe that I have changed that over the years. I'm a bit more outgoing with people I don't know and I also believe that the beard has made a little bit of a difference.

What do you think?

The second part about being eccentric because people will probably adore you is something that is very difficult for us to accept. The whole idea about putting yourself out there can be very difficult to do because you don't want to be judged and that is something shy people and to a certain extent introverted people may not be able to handle. Shyness is the fear of social judgement so putting yourself out there can be very, very difficult in deed.

The generic advice about being yourself is not the greatest advice because we know that in this extroverted society, as an introvert you might not get far.

At the end of the day it is all about getting yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time. It is like building a muscle you train it daily and before long it will be at a stage that you want.

So, what is the advice? Try to get yourself out of your comfort zone at least once a day. Whatever it is, you need to do it once a day and when it becomes second nature, then you move onto something else.

Get out there and try to make that impact. There is only one you so you might as well make it a good one.

It certainly looks like Fredrik has made the most of his abilities and personality and so can you.

Friday, 16 December 2016

お疲れ様でしたお父さん!Thank you for your hard work Dad.

Keeping it in the family today.

Yesterday my father retired. He has been teaching at the same school for 36 years and it was his last day yesterday. The school streamed their last assembly for the year on Youtube and my father spoke for about 20 minutes about boys that he had taught and mentored over the years.

Basically he talked about students he had taught and had coached at sport and he shared some of the things that he had learned from them over the years.

You can see his speech here. His speech starts at the 41 minute mark.

What did my father learn from his students and what can we learn from his speech?

1. Every second is vital

This is something that we can all learn. I am like a lot of people out there who have the undoubted ability to waste a lot of time. Time is precious and we only have a certain amount of time so treat it with repeat and you will get the results. When you waste it, bad things can happen and I know that as well as anyone.

2. Have a good work ethic

What is a good work ethic? Well, I can think of a few things:

  • Professionalism - This can be how you drew but it is everything.
  • Respect - You respect the people you are dealing with. They might have a different opinion to you but you respect it. The other day I was talking with a guy from the gym I go to. We were discussing the new New Zealand prime minister, Bill English. I mentioned that Bill English had changed his mind about gay marriage. He was originally against and now was for it. My gym colleague was obviously against it. To his credit. he didn't shove his opinion down my throat. He was respectful of me and explained why he thought so. I don't agree with him but I respect his right to his opinion.
  • Dependability - Do you turn up on time? Do you submit your reports on time? If you do this, colleagues and customers will begin to trust you and you can go from strength to strength. 
  • Dedication - This is going the extra mile and to aim to 'kick ass' in everything you do.
  • Determination - You want to breakthrough that wall to get to the other side. You have a purpose that gets you out of bed every morning.
  • Accountability - You take accountability for your mistakes. You admit your mistakes and you don't makes excuses and pass it off on other people. You are going to lose friends very quickly that way.
  • Humility - You thank and give credit to people around you. Don't hog the limelight. 

3. Visualisation

This is your mental preparation. In this post I talk about visualisation as part of your morning routine. Visualisation is very important as you need to prepare yourself for things coming up in your life. This is a very important part of your success and personally it is something that I don't do enough of.

4. Take every opportunity that is presented to you

In 2016, we have lots of opportunities to do things that our ancestors could only dream of. You need to take every opportunity as you don't want to regret in a few years time, I should have done this or I should have done that. This can be really disheartening and it could affect your confidence for years to come.

When you have this opportunity presented to you, don't 'half-ass' it. Do it to the best of your ability. Give it everything. No complaining. 

5. Eyes open
    Ears open
    Mouth closed

I think this is quite self explanatory. Epictetus said "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." So, shut up and listen.

    Chicago Cubs
    Ireland national rugby team
    Western Bulldogs
    Cronulla Sharks

In 2016, these sporting teams overcome years of adversity and also-ran-ness (that last word is made up by me) to win their respective sporting competitions after years of failure. It just goes to show that if you put in the work and you have the belief then you can accomplish things that you might seem out of reach to some people. 

7. Have a purpose

I never realised this until this year. I'm sure that I have heard this before but I never really believed it. I have a purpose now and this is what is guiding my life. Every decision I make, I think of my purpose and see if this decision fits in to this purpose. If it doesn't, should I be doing this thing? I ask myself. What is your purpose?

Thank you Dad. Wonderful speech and it certainly gave me something to think about as well as the 1700 'young men' you delivered it to. I'm sure a few of them got something out of it.

Enjoy your retirement. I look forward to our annual golf match in the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure if it will go very well and if I can still hit the ball straight but I will guided my your words in your speech.

This video is the performance of the haka for my father. I hope you enjoy it.

One more thing, I think we are going to see many more of these in the coming years.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Insights over 257 (258) days

Today is the 257th time I have posted on this blog. If I do say so myself, that is amazing. When I set the goal of 500, I just pulled a number out of the air. There was no reason for that number, it just seemed like a good number. At that time I did not think that I would even remotely get that far.

Anyway, 8 months later and I am more than halfway to my goal and I have noticed a number of things.

1. Some days it is easy to write a post and other days it can be pure torture. Today is one example of that. I have spent about two hours trying to come up with ideas and this idea is the closest that I have got. It has certainly been very, very tiring.

2. Having this habit has certainly let me go to bed every night with the idea that at least I have accomplished one thing that particular day even if for the other 23 hours and 45 minutes I was in bed.

3. The theme of this blog is the relationship between introverts and extroverts and the fact that we live in an extroverted world and that we and by that I mean introverts, we need to get out of our shells from time to time. However, I haven't just written about that topic, I have also written about other things as well which does make it a little bit easier to come up with daily topics.

4. You can have too much of a good thing and I have procrastinated a lot on the second stage of this project. I'm not sure why exactly. It is scary. I have written blogs before so this wasn't such a big thing but the second and third stage are stressing me out a bit and nothing has happened. This is a goal for the rest of 2016 and early 2017.

5. People are certainly reading it. When I meet people who I know on the street or elsewhere they mention this blog which is nice to hear. I'm hoping to produce something more readable in the near future. If you have anything that you would like to me to post about, by all means get in contact and I will see what I can do.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

"I hate people."

Here is an interesting article about controversial New Zealand broadcaster, Paul Henry. Henry is well known in New Zealand for his very popular shows both on television and radio. Paul Henry tends to speak his mind and this has made him both popular and controversial.

Here is a list of things that he has said that some people have taken offence to. I'm sure that you can find these on Youtube somewhere.

What I found interesting in this article was the fact that he said he hates people. I thought this to be particular interesting as I have a close friend who says the exact same thing. "I hate people."

In the Paul Henry article he gives an example of people at airports and how stupid they are. I tend to agree with him.

Yes, you do need to take everything out of your pockets when you go through the security sensor. Yes, you do need to take your laptop out of the bag. Actually I've never understood this one. Lets see what Google says. OK. I understand now. Because it is a dense piece of machinery, it can be used to hide other stuff. I see. Fair enough.

It's funny, when I go to the immigration office here in Tokyo, you have to take a bus from one of the major stations and like anything you prepare you money or transit card before hand so you can get on the bus with the least amount of hassle. This tends to work well for most people until you have that one or two people ahead of you who "forget" to get their money out of their wallet or stand their fishing into their pockets. I mean, what have you guys been doing for the last 10 minutes? Yes, people are stupid.

When my friend and Paul Henry say they hate people, I believe that they are saying that they hate what people do and that they don't want to become hermits who live in a cabin at the top of a mountain by themselves or maybe they do, but I doubt it.

I know on certain days I walk around Tokyo thinking how stupid people are because people do stupid things but it doesn't mean I want to do what this guy has done and completely cut myself off from society.

Before I finish, I would just like to say something about common sense. I have learnt that common sense is not all that common. What I think is common sense may not necessarily be common sense for you. It could be a cultural thing, it could be a family thing, it could be an individual thing.

I'll give you an example, when I go to the gym, I walk up a road which is one way. For those of you who know Tokyo well, you will know that not every road in this city as a footpath (sidewalk, pavement). This particular road is no exception. I walk up the hill going the way of the traffic so cars, vans, trucks etc are driving behind me. If someone is walking down the hill, my common sense suggests that they walk on the outside because they can see the traffic. If I did then I would be walking blind out into the traffic.

People walking down that slope don't seem to understand that part. I have had some awkward encounters as they try to go around me the "wrong way." They are just practicing their common sense.

So, before we brand people as stupid maybe we should think that maybe they are doing what they think is the right thing to do. Think about before you go off at someone, although in saying that when you don't have your fare for the bus ready after waiting for ten minutes, you are a big idiot.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

The Lion didn't get much sleep tonight

Have you seen this article? I was shocked by this article.

For those of you who don't know me very well. I am a cricket player. I have played and watched all my life. Cricket is played predominately in Commonwealth countries, Australia, Bangladesh England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. The most passionate fans are in India where the cricket players are up there with some of the highest paid sporting athletes on the planet.

The other countries also have their fans as well, with the Beige Brigade from New Zealand. The Aussie Fanatics and my favourite supporters group, The Barmy Army from England.

The Barmy Army follow their side all over the world, dominating test match crowds and singing and drinking their way through a test match day's play. I think they bring a great atmosphere to the game and they love it whether England are doing well or not.

So, after all that, reading that article made me shocked and angry and it is that old story of a few idiots ruining it for the rest of them. It reminds me of this post about drunken out of control students as the face of most students.

It will be interesting to see what the hierarchy of the Barmy Army say about these idiots. I always thought that they were classier than that.

When I think of the Barmy Army, I think of this:

Or I think of this:

Unfortunately they let themselves down with what happened in Mumbai. I hope that it is just an isolated incident.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Key to English

On December 12th, 2016 Bill English became the 39th Prime Minister of New Zealand. He took over from the popular John Key after Key's shock resignation announcement a week earlier.

I have to say that I haven't lived in New Zealand for a long time so I can only go by what I see on the internet.

John Key comes across as being a popular guy who likes to get involved in the community and even a bit of humour from time to time. Have a look at this video from the Letterman show a few years ago. Some of the jokes were for the American audience so they didn't really resonate with a Kiwi audience but you can see that he doesn't really take himself too seriously and a Kiwi audience would find that quite endearing.

Bill English. Umm, hmmm, aaaah yes, well. I'm not sure. I watched an interview with John Key recently and the first question was, does Bill English have a pulse. An interesting first question to ask the resigning prime minister but maybe the broadcaster was asking questions that the entire nation wanted answered.

OK, lets compare. First exhibit A, John Key on an Auckland radio station:

A bit of self-deprecating humour there. Joking about one of his not so good episodes of 2015 and then singing a song. I can't imagine many other leaders of states doing that. It's this kind of attitude that makes him quite popular among some of the New Zealand population.

Next is exhibit B, new prime minister Bill English in a debate in Parliament.

You can't argue with his debating skills here. He certainly put then leader of the Green Party, Russel Norman in his place.

I looked through Youtube and there aren't any videos of Bill English doing "fun" things like John Key. There doesn't seem to be any videos of English hitting a cricket ball or kicking a rugby ball. There doesn't seem to be any videos of Bill English appearing on a radio show singing a Christmas song or taking selfies with people on the street.

So, what does all of this mean? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, or as a high school geography teacher of mine used to say, "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, not a sausage, bugger all."

We have two completely different men. Both are very experienced. Both are highly qualified for the job and I am sure Bill English will do a good job. He might not have the charisma of John Key but that's OK. New Zealanders will have realise that these are two different men and Bill English may not do things that John Key does and that is OK too.

One man was out there doing things that endeared him to the public while the other guy was behind the scenes probably doing a lot of work. You are not going to be deputy prime minister for eight years if you are lounging around.

I would say to Kiwis that Bill English might not be as charismatic or dare I say it, extroverted as John Key but lets look at his results in a years time. If the unemployment rate is down and the economy is rocketing along then people are not going to care what kind of hijinks their prime minister gets up.

Have a good retirement John and good luck Bill.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Some more pearls of wisdom from Instagram

Here are some more pearls of wisdom from Instagram. I find this app a lot more educational than say Facebook or other social platforms. Of course you have to sift through the chaff to find these pearls but in my opinion it is worth it.

Sometimes in life it is worth to step back and decide what is important. Earlier this year I made that decision to concentrate on myself. I wanted to do all of those things that are on this Instagram post.

  • Building an empire
  • Finding myself
  • Healing myself
  • Loving myself
  • Being passionate
  • Getting fit
  • Growing friendships
  • Meeting new people and making memories
I found what I was looking for and in that discovery I can start to build that empire and with that decision I was able to heal and love myself and find something to be passionate about. It is amazing how all of those were found in one decision.

5 Things every successful person has in common

  1. They have a dream
  2. They have a plan
  3. They have specific knowledge
  4. They're willing to work hard
  5. They don't take no for an answer
This list reminds me of the classic Napoleon Hill book Think and Grow Rich. You have a dream. You have a plan to realise that dream and then you work like a dog to accomplish that idea. Doesn't it sound absolutely awesome?

"I failed three times in college. I applied 30 times to get a job but I have always been rejected. When KFC came to China for the first time, we were 24 to apply and I was the only one to be dismissed. I wanted to go into the police and postulants, I was the only one not to be accepted. I applied 10 times to Harvard and I was rejected." Jack Ma, Alibaba. Net worth $26.6 billion

From what I have read, this guy is the hero for anyone who might be just treading water at this stage. I have heard the line, "If I can do it, anyone can do it." It has almost become a cliche and I don't really believe anyone who says it but the more I read about Jack Ma and what he has accomplished it gives average guys hope. 

This is an awesome meme with Harrison Ford, in my opinion the most awesome of all the actors in Hollywood. Apparently he was painfully shy. Yep, I can relate to that. I was painfully shy too and sometimes it still comes out in my behaviour. I thank all of the people who I have met over the years who have helped me overcome that shyness. He is now the highest grossing actor in American film history. There is hope for all of us after reading this. You might find it difficult to talk to people but by working on that you can accomplish things that only seem like dreams.

4 Simple Rules

  1. Wake up early
  2. Work harder than you think you did yesterday
  3. Never go more than 3 days without exercise
  4. Make time to read every single day
Today is Sunday and I was up at 6.30 to get things done today. I have always thought that Sunday was a time to sleep in but when you realise that getting up early will help you to get things done then you life will change. 

I like the rule of never going 3 days without exercise. I'm finding now that I have a lot more energy (along with a lot more muscle soreness everyday) and I'm able to concentrate for a lot longer than before. It is fantastic. Follow this rule, you will feel and most importantly, SEE the difference.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

One Hour Photo

One Hour Photo. Do you remember the time when you took the film out of the back of the camera and took it down to the local mall to have it developed in one hour? Oh! The good old days.

One Hour Photo is a 2002 psychological thriller starring the late Robin Williams. (In this role, Robin Williams is about as far as he could get from Mork from Ork.)

Robin Williams's character works with pride at an one hour photo developing shop but outside of his work, he has nothing and nobody. He has no social life to speak of and I don't like to us this word but he seems very sad.

He has developed an obsession with one of his customers, the Yorkin family. He loves their life. He loves the place that they live in and he creates a relationship with the wife and young son. He imagines himself as the young son's uncle and also that he lives with the family.

There are other issues implied in this movie but I would just like to say that this kind of behaviour that Robin Williams's character shows in this movie is not healthy for anyone. What it teaches me is that you need some kind of hobby or interest outside of your work. You need to keep yourself fit through some kind of exercise and even if you are an introvert you do need social interaction. You need to find some kind of group or team. I believe if you just sit at home and stare at the wall, you will drive yourself crazy.

Sure, know when you need to rest. Understand your body and get the alone time that you crave but realise that you can't use that as an excuse. You will need to get out and meet people and socialise because you will turn out to be too much inside your head and when you are thinking too much, that could cause all sorts of problems.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Pearls of wisdom from Instagram

In the last year or so I have gotten involved in Instagram. Amongst all of the photos of models and new cars, there are some really interesting quotes and memes. The following are some of my favourites I have seen over the last six months or so:

"Don't feel so sad over someone who gave up on you, feel sorry for them because they gave up on someone who would have never given up on them."

Yep! If someone walks out you, you have to have that mindset that they are they ones missing out. I know that that can be difficult to do especially if they are someone who you cared a lot for and it might take some time but whatever, you have to try to think like that. Either that or become the type of person that will re-attract the person who ran away.

"Don't underestimate me. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and I notice more than you realise."

This is a warning to the more extroverted people out there. Even though the person is not saying much, it doesn't mean that they have no brains, in fact far from it. They are really just judging you, so be very, very careful.

"Closed mouths don't get fed."

Hmmm, this is an interesting one. When I first saw this one I thought that it wasn't really fair on introverts but I don't think it says that at all. Basically what it is saying is that you need to get your point across. If you have some product or service then you need to know how to sell it and it is this skill which will get you nutrition not whether you are introverted or extroverted.

"If it's "OK" for an extrovert to point out how quiet someone is, why is it so wrong for an introvert to point out how loud someone is? I need to talk more? You need to shut up more ..."

This reminds me of being told to shut up around conservatives. Personally I believe in gay marriage and a woman's right to choose but I was told that I shouldn't argue with conservatives. My answer to that was "Why the hell not?" Usually they are the ones who are wrong in my book so why is it ok for a conservative to point out how a liberal's opinion is wrong, and why is it wrong for a liberal to point out that a conservative is wrong? I just don't get it.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Queue = social activity?

Queueing! Just writing that word makes me nauseous. Seriously, who likes queueing? Well, it appears that some people do like to line up for hours on end and it seems it is a social thing as opposed to get something for free.

According to this article it isn't about the free stuff, it is about the social aspect of it all.

Call me crazy, to the introvert in me, the idea of lining up in the cold for some free chicken just sounds like a waste of time but people seem to like it so why should I judge? Everything has their own entertainment and if they feel like that should line up then so be it. Good on them.

However and this is the interesting one, when they are lining up for some free stuff and that is the only reason then they are being idiots.

People might line up for three hours for a $10 (¥1100) bucket of chicken. OK, fair enough, they might like chicken but they obviously don't value their time at all. In New Zealand, the minimum wage is about $15 an hour so they line up for three hours for $10. That's ridiculous.

Queue for free stuff if that is your entertainment. Great, each to their own, however if you are doing it just because it is free then you should take a long look in the mirror and organise your time better. Work those three hours and you could buy a lot more buckets of chicken or something even better like a steak.

That looks good to me. Scrumptious, even.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The words of a Scottish rugby coach

There are some great motivational speeches out there in the world but this one would have to be one of the better ones.

WARNING: Some of the language in the video is 'colourful.'

This is the 1997 British and Irish Lions rugby team on their tour of South Africa. The speaker is the assistant coach Jim Telfer, one of the hardest rugby players ever to walk onto the field.

At the end of the speech you can see that the players have listened carefully and they are now so motivated to get out there and do it for each other. The look of quiet determination in each of the player's eyes is unmistakeable. They want to get out onto the field and win for themselves, their team mates and for their respective countries. It is truly inspirational.

This speech isn't all about rugby however. We as normal people can take some things from what Mr. Telfer is saying.

The first thing we hear is "that the easy bit has past." That is correct. You have made the decision to do something. To make a change. To make a difference in your life and the lives of people around you. That is the easy part.

Making the decision is the easy part, but to go out their and execute, that is the difficult part. To take action is very, very, very difficult. Personally, I am finding that now. I have been writing this blog, but now is the time to take it to the next level but I am finding that difficult to do.

Telfer also says that defeat doesn't worry him because he knows that if you put in the performance you will get what you deserve. No luck involved at all. In other words, if you put in the work. If you put in the action with discipline then you will get the rewards.

Telfer also says that the South African press do not respect his team. This is like people who don't really understand you, they don't really "get" you. They will try to bring you down to their level so that they can feel better about themselves.

Telfer says, "the only way to be rated is to stick one on them." What does this mean?

Basically it is to try to forget about what they are saying and work hard and produce something that they are going to say wow. When I started writing this blog some people didn't really understand it. They were wondering why I was doing it. Now, 250 posts later people are standing up and taking notice which is exactly what Telfer wants his team to do. Work hard and then they will stand up and take notice.

He also talks about these men being the privileged ones. That applies to all of us. In this time of history, we have many opportunities in life. Airline travel has become easy. We can go anywhere we want. Technology has become such that we can do anything that want and find anything that we want. We definitely are the privileged ones so it would be foolish to waste our chance although some of us including yours truly are trying their best to waste it.

We all have a chance in our lives to create or do something great. It is our responsibility to find that particular thing and give it 100%. Remember that finding that particular thing may take time and it might not present itself when you leave school or university but if you work hard and you do the right things it will come when you least expect it.

Go find it.

WARNING: Some of the language in the video is 'colourful.'

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


I saw this video today. It is pretty cool. It is a promotional video for the Taranaki region of New Zealand.

I wouldn't call Taranaki the most fashionable area in New Zealand (although in saying that, I'm from Palmerston North. Probably not so fashionable either.) but they have certainly turned it on in this video. They show a lot of pride in their area and it must have taken them a long time to do this. Lots of organisation I bet to get this just right. So well done to the 'Naki.'

The song in the video is a classic 1980's hit from the Patea Maori Club called Poi E. People of my generation and up will instantly recognise this classic Kiwi song.

What I like about this video is the pride that is shown in the region. The people who participated obviously love that they are from Taranaki and they gave up their time to help make the video.

So, what has this got to do with anything?

Basically be proud of who you are or what you are.

If you are an introvert be proud of it. Don't think of it as a millstone around your neck. You are a quiet person, you reenergise by being alone, be proud of that. Maybe you might not have participated in this video but that is ok, there is nothing wrong with that, you know who you are and you are proud of that just like the Taranakians in this video.

Introversion is not a curse, in fact it could be an advantage as long as you know how to harness it. Be proud of who you are and one day you might even make a video like this.

For movie buffs who think that the region in the video looks familiar, this is where the film, The Last Samurai was filmed in 2003. Mount Taranaki deputised for Mount Fuji.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Are you making the correct decisions?

Everything in life and I mean everything in life comes down to the decisions you make or in some cases, don't make.

In this book, 6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter Voogd, the author talks about a confidence account. He suggests that you can make decisions that can either build your confidence, in other words make a deposit in your confidence account or you can make decisions that bring your confidence down, in other words make a withdrawal from you confidence account.

I'll give you an example. It's Thursday night. You have had a long day. Your last meeting of the day ran double the time that you thought it would. You are walking home. You walk past the Golden Arches. You know that there is a head of lettuce, some chicken and other things in your fridge. What do you decide to do? Do you go home and make a chicken salad? (Putting a deposit in the account) Or do you go inside for a Big Mac and large fries? (Making a withdrawal from your account.)

Life comes down to the decisions that we make.

Isn't it amazing that one decision here or there can ultimately change the course of your life? You could have had that last beer but you decided to go home. What may have happened if you had that last beer? Something good? Something bad?

Maybe as a guy you decided to go up and talk to the good looking woman at Starbucks. How has that decision changed your life? You could have ignored her but you decided to say hi. Are you married because of it?

Life is full of decisions and you are never going to get them all correct but you really need to ask yourself, is this decision going to help me in the long run or should I avoid it? It is really that simple.

When I look back on 2016, I think of some decisions that I made that I wonder how changed my life would be if I had made the opposite decision.

1. I made the decision to move apartments in July of this year. At the time I was really stressing about it but once I made the decision I have worked really hard to try to make sure that it was the correct decision. I must admit that the jury is still out on whether it was correct or not. Lets just say that I am happy here so maybe the answer was yes.

2. Last month a friend approached me to set up a company. I was very positive about it so I decided to give it a go. We are still very much in the early stages but we have already had one client which is quite cool. I will work hard to try and justify this decision and to make sure that it was the correct decision.

3. On my birthday this year I threw social convention to one side and decided to go on a long walk to celebrate my birthday. That one small decision will make sure that I will remember that birthday for the rest of my life.

Of course there are other decisions that I regret and if I had my time over again I would have made a different decision. One decision that I made that at the time was a very negative one has turned out to be the catalyst for this blog, so "every cloud does have a silver lining." 

Remember, you have a choices in life and you have to make decisions. Obviously it is best to make the correct decision but that isn't always obvious early on so make the decision and work hard to make sure that it is in fact the correct decision.