Sunday, 31 July 2016

Automating our lives

I saw this cartoon on Instagram the other day. It resonated with me because I too like to order food, especially junk food online and have it delivered. Pizza, McDonalds, curry, you can basically get anything.

You log onto the site. Order what you want. Usually I order way too much and then wait for it to be delivered. It's great. The only problem is you have to deal with the delivery person. I usually just pay by cash so I have no choice.

Although in saying all of that I wonder if I don't want to deal with the delivery person face to face or I feel embarrassed by the fact that I have ordered 3 Big Macs, 2 quarter pounders, half a ton of french fries, 6 apple pies, two chocolate shakes and a partridge in a pear tree.

Ordinary everyday things are becoming more and more automated. When you go to a supermarket in New Zealand you don't have to deal with the checkout person asking how your day is going and you can just check your groceries out yourself. I haven't seen that in Japan yet. You would think that there would be a few supermarkets that you have the option of swiping your groceries yourself.

 For the last 25 years we have had these things called ATM machines in which you don't have to deal with the bank teller and just get your money yourself, 24 hours a day.

Last night I was with a friend at an izakaya (Japanese style pub) and we could order ourselves by just using the touch screen menu iPad-like thingamabob. It was great. You don't have a server hanging over you pressurising you to make a decision quick smart. You can relax and work out the menu yourself. Isn't that great?

We are more and more entering an automated world. I heard that there is a hotel in Nagasaki that has robots on reception. I don't know about you but that sounds creepy to me.

My question is, why do they say we live in an extroverted world but more and more things are removing the human contact from the transaction? That sounds strange to me. In one instance, our lives are becoming more and more easy but the human contact is going. Some people will like that but I think even the most introverted soul needs some contact occasionally.

I wonder what is going to be next. What is going to be the next thing that is automated? Any ideas?

Saturday, 30 July 2016

How to be interviewed

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am one of those people who go to a Crossfit gym. For those of you who don't know what Crossfit is, it is basically an exercise programme that incorporates weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio related activities.

Crossfit has it's world championships or Crossfit Games every July in America. It was held last weekend and Matt Fraser came out on top in a run away victory.

Today at my gym I worked out with a guy who was visiting Tokyo and he told me that he goes to the same gym as Fraser and that he gets to see him train on a daily basis. It would be interesting to see what an elite does differently from someone like me. Everything I suspect.

The Crossfit Games are streamed live on Youtube and the Crossfit website and it is quite interesting following the events and seeing the athletes go through different workouts that we do at the gym every week. Of course they are at a higher level than us but we can kind of relate to it.

What I was most interested in though were Matt Fraser's interviews. Sometimes when we look at some athletes we expect them to talk like this:

However we know for most them that is not the truth and the professional athletes get training on how to deal with the media and what to say and what not to say. Most of them come across as being quite articulate and they can be interesting to listen to when they are not spouting out those cliches.

Matt Fraser's interviews were interesting in that he came across as being very intelligent. I think that he just graduated from university in the last six months with a masters degree or something like that so he must have a few brains. However when he was interviewed his answers were good but very short. It was like he answered the question and then that was it he didn't want to elaborate on it too much.

I guess Crossfit is a new sport and I can imagine the elite athletes may not have the same media training that the other professional codes do. Also I wondered if Matt Fraser was naturally shy or introverted so he didn't like to let too much go. Anyway, I'll let you decide for yourself:

What do you think? I suppose that he has just done a workout and he is quite tired so doing an interview might be the last thing he wanted to do. At the end of the day (another sports interview cliche) however, television are paying a lot of money to broadcast these events so they want their pound of flesh so to speak.

It will be interesting to see next year at the Crossfit Games if Matt Fraser has more to say. If they have trained him a bit more on how to talk to the media.

Anyway, not knowing the guy personally I can only speculate that he might be a little introverted  and that can sometimes come across as being rude when in fact they don't have a lot to say. It is in this situation like the interview above that you can turn into a situational extrovert to appease the bosses and the people watching at home.

Friday, 29 July 2016

"Are you mad at me?"

Have you seen this movie? This is a 2003 movie called Shattered Glass starring Hayden Christensen.

This movie is a true story about Stephen Glass who was a reporter at The New Republic magazine. The New Republic is a liberal American magazine of commentary on politics and arts. (Thank you Wikipedia)

Shattered Glass dramatised the time when Stephen Glass basically fabricated a whole bunch of stories and The New Republic printed them as fact. In all, Stephen Glass wrote 27 fabricated stories for the magazine.

I have watched the movie a few times and the one thing that I noticed that the main character said a number of times was, "Are you mad at me?"

How many times have you ever said that? "Are you mad at me?"

I know that I have said it sometimes. A few days ago I heard my name in a office that I was in. My initial reaction was "oh shit, I've done something wrong." So I jokingly asked "Am I in trouble?" However, for a few seconds, I genuinely believed that I was in trouble and I didn't like it. Isn't that stupid?

Let me give you another example. Earlier this year I was working out at my Crossfit gym. My partner asked me to spot him while he was doing some back squats. I stood behind him and touched him as he came up from the squat. At the end of the set he asked me to just stand there and not touch him. Stupid old me thought that he was mad and I didn't like it. I realised later that day that he wasn't mad. Far from it. He was just saying to not touch him when he was going up from the squat but to just be there as psychological support.

Why did I think he was mad? Why did I think I was in trouble?

It certainly is a sign of low self-confidence. In the first example, I was worried that I had done something wrong in my work as my confidence is a little bit low at the moment.

In the second example, I'm still unsure about the whole Crossfit environment even though I have been doing it for a couple of years so I felt not very confident that I was doing the right thing. Of course I as doing the right thing according to my thinking but my partner wanted something else according to his way of doing things. But I felt bad that I thought that he was angry, which he wasn't.

In life, people are going to get angry. That's their emotions coming out. If you are confident in yourself and you know that you have done the right thing then it shouldn't affect you. You should just get on with life.

I tend to dwell on these moments, when in fact I should brush it off and go about my purpose in life. I'm sure that the more I get into this purpose the less that these "angry" moments will affect me.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Daily RBL Month Number Four

If you know where you are going and have some kind of vision then you are going to come across as confident and your interactions with other people are going to become better. 

This is the main theme of July. Do you have a mission? Do you have a purpose in life? Are you going after these things? Are you fighting for your vision?

When you have a vision and have a purpose of life your confidence goes up and then you become more interesting as a person because you start talking about things with passion and enthusiasm. This passion and enthusiasm makes you come across as being more charismatic and people will flock to you.

Another way that your confidence will grow is if you turn up prepared. Preparation is vital in all areas of your life. If you are prepared then you are going to get the results that you deserve. Do you think the people going to the Olympics are going with no preparation? Absolutely not. They are going with years and years of preparation and because of this they are going to be very confident in their chase of the gold medal.

Every decision in your life is going to help or hinder you. Every decision is going to help your confidence or it is going to diminish your confidence. Try to make decisions that help your confidence. Obviously it isn't going to be perfect but the more you think about it the better you will become.

Sometimes to build your confidence you are going to have to jump out of your comfort zone from time to time. That might mean calling someone you don't want to. It might mean doing something that you don't want to do. (What do they say? Successful people are ones who do what they have to do whether they want to or not.) It might mean smiling at a stranger as you walk down the street.  It might mean paying a stranger a compliment with no hidden agenda.

All of these things are going to help you in today's world and help you become the person that you have always wanted to become. And if you are successful with these things then you are going to make an impact on this world and that is when things start to happen for you. You will become someone in this world.

There you have it. Thank you for the first four months of this blog. I look forward to the next four months as we continue to grow together to become that person who can thrive today.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Daily RBL Month Number Three

One of the main themes of June was the situational extrovert. To recap, the situational extrovert is someone who is usually an introvert but for the purpose of the event or situation they are in they become extremely extroverted. They jump around the room. They talk to everyone. They literally become the life and soul of the party.  This is what this blog wants to develop because lets face it, we do live in an extroverted world.

There are the five rules of the situational extrovert:

1. You have to treat everyone with respect. This is a no-brainer.

2. Forget about the small talk. Seriously, you and I are useless at it so why put ourselves through it.

3. Focus on the other person. Yes, this is the big idea. Stay in the moment and LISTEN to what the other person is saying.

4. Don't brag.

5. Share your opinions but don't ram it down other people's throats. Yep, share that opinion, that's great. Don't go all evangelical though.

Other things that you could give a try to that were published in this month were:

1. When you make a decision, give it 100%. In other words, don't make the decision and then regret it 5 minutes after.

2. Remember to fight for your vision. Some people will try to bring you down saying that you can't do it or no one will buy. They are being negative because they can't do it themselves. Stay focused.

3. Don't ever, ever, ever use your introversion as an excuse.

4. Say hello to people and stop hiding behind that introversion veil.

Finally another important one and I'm willing to bet that many introverts use these words too and I think that they probably use these words too much because I know that I do, don't say "I'm sorry" unless that you really have to. Use these words wisely and of course sparingly.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Daily RBL Month Number Two

I'm continuing my series of what I have learned so far from writing this daily blog.

I think the first set of things is one that we all know but very few actually follow through consistently and do and I'm one of the main culprits.

1. Wake up early - I've always known this but it can be quite difficult, especially in the middle of the winter.

2. Drink a lot of water - I tend to anyway so this isn't a bigger for me but I find that in the winter that you do spend a lot of time using the local "facilities." That can be quite distracting and affect your productivity.

3. Exercise - Do I need to say anymore

4. Eat breakfast - I'm not a big breakfast eater but when I do I make it count.

5. Meditate - You do feel better

6. Read - My friend and I have been doing Golden Hour for about six years. This is where you read for an hour or so. He and I have modified it by sending summaries to each other. You can learn quite a bit from the other person's reading.

7. Journal - This is just a new one for me. It can be quite therapeutic wiring your thoughts down.

One of the best paragraphs I have read is the following:

If you know what you want and want it enough then don't give up. Go after it because you can't lose and the people who doubt you and criticise you will suddenly be on your side.

At the start of this whole process I didn't really know what I wanted but due to consistent effort I have an idea and this idea keeps me going with the daily blog. I'm sure that there were some people when I first told them that I was blogging everyday who were skeptical but the more you do and the more persistent you are, you start to be asked if you have written anything today and what's the topic.

We were also introduced to the ambivert which I am trying to develop as the theme of this blog. Most of you will know that an ambivert is in the middle of the introvert and extrovert. They are happy being in solitude or they are just as happy being at a party or two.

We were also introduced to the situation extrovert who is most of the time introverted but for the situation will suddenly become the centre of attention.

I challenged myself to start a conversation with a stranger. I challenged myself to do that once a day but unfortunately the challenge died a natural death. You really have to schedule these kinds of things to make sure they get done but when you are on the move all day, life gets in the way and you forget about these things. It can also be quite nerve-wracking which means that you and I tend to go back into our respective holes. So if the challenge defeated you like it did me, don't forget about it. Put it in the memory bank and give it a go another time.

Monday, 25 July 2016

The Daily RBL Month Number One

I have almost completed four months of this blog. I think this is the 113th or 114th post and it is slowly taking shape.

For the next four days I thought I would take the opportunity to review what has been said and then see where we are going with this whole thing.

The first thing I learnt was from that icon of the silver screen, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You have to have a vision. You have got to know where you are going and even more importantly why you want to get there. At the beginning of this blog I certainly did not know either of these things. I now know where I'm going with this blog but I don't think I have a concrete why. That might be a task to do in the next few days to sit down and think of my whys.

I rediscovered the pleasures of meditation and I would seriously suggest to all of you out there to try and do some at least once a day. It definitely clears your mind and you feel a lot better.

I also discovered the Miracle Morning. For those of you who don't know what this is, let me give you a quick recap. Basically it is process of waking up early and doing a list of things that get your day off to a good start and gets you heading in the right direction.

My list of things is meditation, followed by affirmations and then visualisation. Then the final three things are journalling, reading and then finally exercise. I've just started doing it again and lets hope that I can keep it going this time.

I've learnt that it's all about the process. Success is not just an event. It is a process where you put in the hours, the effort and the toil to get that success. It is about working hard and consistently improving yourself.

That's a good word, consistency. I think what this blog has taught me more than anything else is that you have to be consistent and if you are consistent then good things will come.

Another thing that I have learned with this blog and I heard this from my blogging partner, he said that you have to take ownership. You have to grab the task by the throat and claim it and say you are mine. You are going to hit it out of the park as they say in America.

Finally, I think that the most important things that I learned in the first month of this blog was about successful people. I learned that successful people:

1. Focus on the positive - Yes, I think that I have been way more positive in the last couple of months than maybe in the last couple of years.

2. They spend time in solitude.

3. They have a long-term vision. After writing this blog for some time it finally was taking shape and I have a vision about where I want this to go.

4. Successful people have a mindset development routine. This is where the Miracle Morning comes in for me. It helps me start the day the right way.

5. Only associate with those who build them up - Yes that seems right. Negative people are out and positive people are in. You should try it yourself.

6. Eat clean and healthy. This is still very much a work in progress. I think like most things this is about organisation and preparation.

7. Workout regularly. I must admit that I took a couple of weeks off and when I got back into my exercise I started feeling my age. The scales are inching down again. So that's good for me.

8. Successful people have an attitude of gratitude. I think this could be part of my morning routine where I give thanks. That sounds very religious doesn't it? But doesn't have to be.

There you have it, the first months review. I look forward to the second month.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Should you follow the herd or follow your gut?

Do you know what The Big OE is? No, it isn't the title of a movie. The Big OE is a New Zealand cultural term meaning 'Overseas Experience.'

Usually young New Zealanders will graduate from secondary school or university, they will work for a few years and then go on their OE. The OE is usually located around London as many New Zealanders can trace their roots back to Great Britain and up until the 1970's New Zealanders could live in work in the UK as British citizens.

I went on an OE but I didn't go to London. Why is that do you think? I came to Japan and a few years later I am still here. I must love the place. Let me ask you the previous question again. Why didn't I follow the crowds to London?

Well, there is the answer in the question, the crowds. I didn't want to go to London because many people do it. Remember I am introverted so the whole idea of getting on a plane and joining the crowds was subconsciously foreign to me.

What it seemed to me is that a bunch of Kiwis get on a plane and go to London and revel in their Kiwiness. They live with other Kiwis and they hang out with other Kiwis at The Church (I know that it closed down) and they never really meet any of the locals and travel through Europe a lot.

"What was London like?"
"France is awesome. So many things to do."
"So, what was London like?"
"I found that Spain was warm even in the winter."
"What was London like?"
"Did you know that Morocco is only a three hour flight? I went there twice."

You see my point? That was my image anyway.

Have a look at this article and the photo from it and you will see that this kind of lifestyle is probably not the best for an introvert.


Can you imagine someone who energises by being alone or with a couple of close friends enjoying this kind of atmosphere? Hard to imagine, right?

As regular readers of my blog would know I don't have a huge number of friends but the ones that I do have I'm very close with. When I was at university it was the same, a few close friends. But I can imagine that while people are at university they are talking about their OE and a large group will end up in London at roughly the same time basically transplanting their Dunedin flat to London. I didn't have that group so I made decisions by myself and that is why I ended up in Asia instead of Europe.

Although it is interesting because I believe that both the UK and Japan are very similar. They both have long histories. They are both geographically and linguistically distinct from the continent that they are a part of.

In life you have to make decisions that you feel comfortable with and although people around you are meaning well in their advice you have to trust your gut and as Robert Frost said "Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference."

No need to follow the crowds. Be your own person and who knows, much to your chagrin maybe many other people will follow you too. That's when you become a leader and that is a totally different story all together.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Embrace the fear and the critic

There are two main fears in our lives and these are an obstacle in getting what we want. The two fears are:

1. Fear of failure
2. Fear of criticism

At the end of the day, failure is part of the journey on the way to success and criticism is a sign that you are doing something that some people are not comfortable.  That's life. These people may be your friends or family or they could be complete strangers. They are just not comfortable with it. That's their problem, not yours.

My friend has been developing his consultancy business over the last few years and we have always joked that when we find his name plus the word scam after it then he has kind of made it, which is so true.

If you find that you are not getting any criticism then you are probably not reaching enough people and that is not good. You should treat criticism as feedback. You don't necessarily have to do anything about it because the critics might not know what they are talking about but you should embrace it as a good thing.

I know as an introvert, failure and criticism can be almost as bad as death as we tend to take things personally but remember that you are doing something positive with your life. You are creating something that could be influential in other people's lives. These trolls have nothing better to do than bring you down because either they don't have a creative bone in their body or they are so bored that just looking for something to amuse themselves. It's probably both.

Remember, failure and criticism are two parts of life that you can't escape from. Embrace them, embrace them for what they are keep going on your purpose and your vision and think the more you are getting criticised the better things are going.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Finding the right language

Can you speak more than one language? There is that joke that did the rounds a few years ago, What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks three or more languages? Multilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? An American. Now I don't think that is very fair on the many bilingual families in the US but I must say that there are a lot of people in English speaking countries who can barely speak their own language let alone a foreign language.

Can you speak a foreign language? I can to an extent. I believe that I have everyday conversation ability but have never really reached that next level.

I have thought about this a lot over the last few months and I wonder if extroversion and being an extrovert means that you have an advantage when you are learning a foreign language.

The cynic in me thinks that yes there is an advantage as extroverts are natural talkers and they like to gasbag with anyone that will listen to them.

I have a friend who speaks five or six languages. I joke that there isn't enough words in the English language (his mother tongue) for him so he needs another five languages to help him say what he wants to say.

The reason that my language ability is not where I want to to be is quite frankly I haven't worked hard enough on it. I'm sure my friend above has worked ten times as hard as me and he has got the results and it has nothing to do with him being an extrovert or not.

I believe that when you study another language, a whole different world opens up to you. I live in Tokyo and the fact that I can speak Japanese means that I can do things that people who might not be able to speak Japanese may not be able to do without assistance.

I think when you learn a language you have to not worry about making mistakes. I believe that extroverts don't  worry about looking stupid and they say what is on their mind whereas I held back but that was just me as opposed to being an introvert or not.

Sometimes it can be easy to blame your introversion on things but you might have to take a look at yourself very carefully and find that isn't the case. You may just have not worked hard enough.

I would advise anyone to think about learning a foreign language. It could be the most rewarding thing that you do.

Ich spreche Deutsch.
நான் தமிழ் பேச முடியும்.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

She bangs, she bangs!!!

Do you know this face? Do you remember this face? This guy got his 15 minutes or more like his 15 weeks of fame in 2004. Actually he was still performing in 2011. He's made a bit of money out of it and I suppose he is the one that is laughing all the way to the bank. We were laughing back at the beginning of 2004 but he made an impact. 

I don't want to critique his ability. That is what Simon Cowell is there for. I would like to focus on him and suggest that he is or was an introvert who for this particular performance played the role, very successfully mind you of the situational extrovert. 

Those of you who are not regular followers of my work, a situational extrovert is someone who is usually happy being by themselves or with a close friend or two literally becoming the life and soul of the party. It is like they have had Red Bull injected into their veins and that they are going to jump around like there is no tomorrow. 

In the two minutes we are introduced to William Hung we find out that he is an engineering student at the University of California, Berkeley and that he doesn't have any formal music training. He goes on stage and gives an unforgettable audition. Unfortunately, unforgettable in the negative sense. He was terrible but he was honest and he came out an obvious winner.

The reason I say that William Hung was a situational extrovert is when you listen to him when he is talking. At the time, Hung was about 20 years old. I found out later that he was born in Hong Kong and had gone to live in the US when he was about 9 or 10. When I heard this I was really surprised because he still spoke with a very distinctive Chinese accent. In my experience, people who go to a different country when they are that young usually start speaking the language of that country quite quickly and usually by the time they are 20 they sound like a native speaker.  

I remember I used to work with a guy who grew up in Taiwan and had gone to the US when he was 13 and you couldn't tell that he was not a native speaker of English. He sounded as American as apple pie. 

So why did this 20 year old Hung still sound like he had just jumped off the boat the day before? I believe that he was a shy child. He probably didn't have many friends and the friends he did have he would have probably spoken Cantonese around them. 

As you are growing up you are influenced by your friends, by what the do and what they say and you start sounding like them so I'm guessing that is why Hung still sounded like he had just stepped off the boat.

My point is not to bag him or his family, my point is to show that with a little bit of effort and trying to jump out of your comfort zone you can achieve things that you may never have dreamed of. 

Do you think Hung dreamed of becoming an international music sensation when he was growing up? I doubt it. But he saw his opportunity and he gave it a go. He stepped out of that introverted shadow and becoming an extrovert for a short time.

This is what you and I have to concentrate on, stepping out of that shadow for a short time to make an impact on the world. If you need inspiration, think about William Hung. Apparently he made over $1 million from his singing career. Not bad for someone willing to take a risk and jump out of his introverted state.

William Hung tried out for American Idol. What are you going to do?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


Have you read this article? This article really came to prominence at the beginning of 2015. For those of you who didn't click on the link, this is about Mark Manson's article called, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

Apparently he has got a book coming out soon. I must reserve my copy:

You can find it here.

At the start of his article, Manson says that we give a fuck over things that if you really think about it we shouldn't give a fuck about.

Regular readers will know that I give a fuck when people are walking slowly in front of me reading their smartphones. Should I really give a fuck?

Manson shows us three things to stop giving a fuck at things that we shouldn't really give a fuck at. Lets go through them and I will give you my take on them.

1. Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

I have heard a few times that the opposite of love is not hate, it is in fact indifference. To me being indifferent can come across as being a real cold fish. Quite frankly, you do not want that.

Not giving a fuck means doing things that you enjoy to do no matter what other people might say. The other day I was sitting in the dark while doing my work. Someone asked me the question why I was sitting in the dark. That is one of my things. I like to sit in the dark and concentrate. To the person who asked that, my behaviour seemed strange but I didn't give a fuck.

2. To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.

You need to pick your fucks strategically. (Now I know how that is going to sound and no, I did not mean that.) Does what we are giving a fuck about really matter? Does it really matter in the long run? I say 99 times out of hundred it doesn't so use your fucks wisely.

3. We all have a limited number of fucks to give; pay attention to where and who you give them to.

Basically this is what I talked about in the last one. Be selective. Don't waste your energy on things that don't matter, you will just tire yourself out and that is never a good thing at all.

After reading Manson's article and what I have to say about it are you going to be more selective? Are you going to not worry about things that in the long run don't matter? What are you going to give a fuck about? I know for certain I am going to give a fuck about this blog. Why don't you find something that you give fuck about? I'm sure that your life will be so much better because of it.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Quotes of Winston Churchill

He doesn't look like a barrel of laughs by looking at this picture but this guy is one of the greatest figures of the 20th century. He was known to have meetings while he was in bed or even while he was in the bath. Imagine hosting your Monday morning meeting while you are in the bath. Actually I can't even imagine that. What was I thinking?

Winston Churchill was known for his quotes. Below are some of his famous ones:

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

If you're going through hell, keep going.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. 

There are some pretty good quotes there, aren't there? I'm sure that some of them relate to you and your current situation.

Today I would like to talk about the following Churchill quote:

Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about. 

There have been many times in the last 108 days that I have thought about giving up this daily blogging. Today been one of them. Most days I will go about my daily routine trying to come up with ideas of what I want to write about on my blog. Some days, ideas flow and I have to make a list and other days there is just nothing. The well dries up all of a sudden.

What keeps me going? 

Well two things.

1. I can see this blog being so much bigger than a blog that a handful of people read on occasions. 108 blog posts is just the tip of the iceberg. It is just the beginning and the fact that I am doing it everyday it makes it very difficult to give up on it which I must admit that I have thought about on several occasions. It is like I am going through hell on occasions but as Uncle Winston says, if you are going through hell, keep going. 

2. The second that keeps me going is that I want to create something that I can be proud of and that gives me confidence the more that I create. I know that this creation will in part bring me what I want and because of this reason also, I don't want to give up. Sometimes it consumes me because I know that even though I might not have a lot of time on that particular day, I still have to create something.

When you get to a stage when you don't want to write something or create something then maybe it is the time to give up. I'm willing to bet that sports players when they say that they don't have that spark anymore, what they mean is they have gone through a few days in their off season without thinking about their sport so it is probably time to give up.

If you continue to think about it on a daily basis don't walk away, walk towards it. No, run towards it. You will start to see results, even small results but the more that you do it those results will snowball and before too long you will be further past where you thought you would be.

Care to join me on this journey?

Monday, 18 July 2016

What can Rugby teach you about life?

I grew up in New Zealand. For those of you who know New Zealand and like your sport, you will know that the most popular sport in New Zealand is rugby.

It may surprise you that I didn't play rugby growing up. I think that most of my friends at the time played soccer or hockey and to be honest I didn't really have anything in common with the rugby players so I gravitated to those sports.

Despite that, I did watch a lot of rugby both on television and at the ground live. I can think back to when I first started watching rugby and my hometown team were the best in the country. I can probably remember the names of players from that team more than I can remember the player's names from 2016.

After watching 35 years of rugby what lessons can we learn from the sport? What can we get from rugby and apply it in our own lives?

1. You will get knocked about and even knocked out but the secret is to get back up and get going again. Life will knock you around but you can't let it get the better of you. You have to be strong. Stand back, look at life in the eye and say you will not beat me.

2. You have to keep going forward. You will get pushed back but the secret is to keep going. Try to go forward. Try to go over that advantage line to get momentum to head to the end goal.

3. Conflict is a part of life and I know that I spend a lot of my time running away from conflict but in rugby you have to do it, there is no two ways about it. You have go up against a bigger player, a more skilled player. In life you are going to meet people who are more experienced than you and generally better in your profession. When you meet them you have to meet them head on and not move back an inch.

4. Rugby teaches you self-discipline. In fact any sport teaches you self-discipline. You need to know when to train. When not to train. Sometimes listening to your body telling you not to train is just as important as training. If you want to succeed in sport you need to know what to eat. You need to know what to eat even though you don't want to eat it. You want to eat something else maybe sweet and delicious.

5. Confidence is important. When we watch rugby we can see the special skills that they have. These are not innate, the players have trained for years and years to get themselves to where they want to be in the game. Just like you, you need to train yourself consistently over and over again. I know that the more I write this blog, the more confident I will get and I will feel a lot better about myself and the blog. If I slack off however, then I will have to go back to square one which is never good.

6. No matter how introverted and shy you are, you are going to have to be part of a team at some stage in your life, whether it be in sport, in business or in education you are going yo have to show that you are part of a team at some stage. Sport and rugby in particular shows that you might not get on personally with everyone in the team but at least you are all going for the same goal and as long as you give 100% then you will be respected as part of the team whether you fit in socially or not.

7. If you want to be successful in rugby you have to know your priorities. You have to know when to have a good time and when to stay in and concentrate on the game the following day. This is the same when you are trying to create something. It might be tempting to go out with your mates but what if you have a blog post to write or a webpage to update. What should your decision be? You need to know your priorities.

There you have it, 7 ways in which rugby can teach you about life. Now go out make that forward progress that will get you to where you want to be. If you are scared give it a try, you wont know until you give it a go. 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Good advice?

I think for introverts and ambiverts the generic advice we hear from time to time, "be true to yourself" is actually very good advice.

The other piece of advice I'm sure that you have heard to is "don't try to be someone that you are not."

Lets have a look at the first one. Be true to yourself. Take some time to figure yourself out. There are many people out there who just go through the motions on a daily basis and they are in misery and I would hazard a guess that it is because they are doing something that doesn't work in with their natural talents.

So, figure out your strengths and what you bring to the table and try to improve on them and if possible delegate your weaknesses. You will be, as my friend says "kicking ass" in no time at all.

The second piece of advice is connected to the first piece of advice in that you shouldn't try to be someone that you are not. However, I am going to contradict everything that I have said in that sometimes you are going to have to fake it. You are going to have to come out of your shell so to speak and be the big, loud extrovert just to get your point across. I know that that is not being true to yourself but in 2016 I think that sometimes you have to do it. You have to get yourself out there because you may be in danger of being left behind.

Be true to yourself but remember sometimes you are going to have to play a character. It might be exhausting but remember that it is just temporary unless you want to make it more permanent and that is a different story altogether.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Lack of organisation is the thief of time

Organisation. Are you very well organised? I must say that I'm not the best. My day started at 4.30am this morning and I'm writing this at 11pm. I like to think of this as a priority but you wouldn't think so by my lack of urgency today.

That word urgency makes me think of the Stephen Covey book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In this book Covey talks about things that are urgent and things that are important.

Most people tend to focus on the urgent things because, well, they have to be done now and you are probably going to piss someone off if you don't get it done so you better do it now.

The important things therefore, e.g. this blog, are pushed back and back until you can't push them back any further and it is 11pm and you think to yourself that you have got to do them. That is exactly what has happened to me today.

I'm sure if I was really focused and sat down at sometime during the day I would have a time where I could have at the very least made a start on this post rather than waiting for the last minute or the last hour in this case. But because of my lack of organisation I am rushing to get this done.

Try this, why don't you set down at the start of everyday or even better the night before and plan out your day? You don't have to take too long over it. You could visualise yourself going through your tasks and then thinking about the reward that you give yourself at the end of the day when you have managed to complete all of your tasks like having a nice bath, or drinking a cold beer or watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones or trying to find Pokemon.

You can experience all of these if you are organised. Right, I better go and think about tomorrow.

Friday, 15 July 2016

The Art of the Compliment

Compliments. Do you like receiving compliments? It is a nice feeling right?

Why don't you try to give a compliment today?

I was sitting at a table in a coffee shop today and a woman sat down opposite me. The first thing I noticed was she had a very nice perfume on and I complimented her on it. She was a little confused. She asked if it was bothering me and I said no it just smells good.

I know that sometimes in this day in age women might think when I pay a compliment like that, that I'm trying to pick them up and they might put their guard up by I generally liked the smell and I wanted to tell her about it.

I think that she was relieved when that is all I said and continued with my work.

The point is I wasn't doing anything dodgy. I paid her a compliment and I felt good about it and she (after a little hesitation) felt good about it too.

So when you practice the art of the compliment what should you do?

1. Make sure that your compliment is genuine. Make sure that it isn't something generic. (My friend likes to call it "generic shit.")

2. Why don't you pay a compliment to someone which isn't obvious that not a lot of people might notice.

3. Focus on achievements not the physical things. For example a guy telling a beautiful woman "your eyes are gorgeous" may not come across as sincere because she has probably heard it a million times before. However, saying that you enjoyed her blog post will really make her happy. I know I like it when someone pays me a compliment about my blog posts.

4. Don't overdo the compliment. It will be very obvious. Do it casually. Like most things it is not what you say it is how you say it and if you over do it then you are going to come across as very fake.

5. Above all make it sincere and make the compliment sound like you do it all the time. You pay compliments everyday and that it is no big deal. If the receiver has a problem with that, it is his or her problem. It has nothing to do with you because you have paid the compliment sincerely and that is all you can do.

Go out and pay someone a compliment today. The more you do it the easier it will become.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Know yourself, know your team.

Last year I met with a client. He was complaining to me about his boss.

It turns out that his boss was a woman. I thought that he was complaining about her by being a chauvinistic pig but the more he talked to me about her the more I realised that gender had nothing to do with it. It all came down to personality and that he did not understand her and where she was coming from.

The more he talked and the more he answered my questions I could tell that he was very extroverted. He told me that he went out with his clients often and he wasn't complaining about it like a lot of workers do. He seemed to love it, going out and socialising with his clients.

He didn't like the fact that his boss didn't go out with the clients. He said that she would always find an excuse and not go drinking with him or the clients.

It struck me at that time that this woman is a genius and I told him that. I believe that when this gentleman finishes his work career and hangs up the laptop so to speak, he will look back on her as one of the best bosses he ever had.

Why do I think so?

Well she is obviously smart enough to see that he, as an extrovert was able to meet with the clients, create a good relationship with them as well as wine and dine, basically schmooze them.

She was smart enough to know that that kind of activity didn't come naturally to her so she sent her best people out to do that. I'm willing to bet that her section is doing very well.

What can we learn from this story?

1. Don't expect everyone to be the same and that everyone likes to socialise.

2. If you know yourself and then you work to your strengths you are going to get a long way towards your goal of success.

3. Don't expect the worst of people, there is usually another reason. (i.e. This is guy is not chauvinistic.)

As a leader, if you know your worker's personalities you can create a very successful team.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Smile, smile, smile

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about trying to say hello to people out on the streets.

How is it going for you? I must admit that it is very difficult for me although I have had a master of it staying with me this week. My father does it naturally. He will walk down the street and just say hello. Some people say hello back. Some people ignore him and some people grunt and say hello. It doesn't seem to faze him whatever the reaction.

Here is the challenge for people who like me may find it a little difficult to say hello to people around you. Why don't you try to smile at people who walk by?

I know that when I walk by people I will look at them but my challenge and your challenge is not to say hello but to just smile. Do you think you can do that?

As I saw on Instagram the other day, 'If you see someone with out a smile, give them one of yours.'

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

More Instagram wisdom

This is an interesting link on Instagram. Sometimes I flick through Instagram and there are always interesting posts.

This one says '5 things to quit immediately.'

1. Trying to please everyone. 

Here is the link to the post I did on this concept. If you do try to please everyone then you are going to drive yourself crazy. 

2. Fearing change.

I know that I am one who doesn't adapt to change very well. But change is all around us and for you to get anywhere you need to be able to adapt to change because if you don't you will be in the same place and you will slowly wear yourself down.

3. Living in the past.

Yes this is a big problem for me. Of course I should really know that something that happened 27 and a half years ago isn't going to change now but I still worry about what I might of said or what I might have done. What a waste of energy right? Stop thinking of the past, you can't change it.

4. Putting yourself down.

Why are you trying to put yourself down when a lot of other people out there are trying to pull you down to their level? Let them do that. They are not going to pull you down because you know that no one can do that. Think positively.

5. Overthinking.

I tend to overthink things. It's terrible. Why can't I make the decision and trust myself that I have made the right decision? Yes, don't overthink things because you usually make the right decision and if it is wrong, your gut will tell you that you have stuffed up.

Stop doing these five things and your life will be a lot brighter.

Thank you Instagram again. You are a great resource. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Patience is a virtue

Are you a patient person?

I found out today that I can be impatient as anyone. I've never really realised it. I was on a bus with a great number of tourists and I said to my friend sitting next to me that he should get out of the bus as soon as possible because the tourists will spend a lot of time trying to find the right change and generally annoying the hell out of me. My friend, I can imagine would have let them through ahead of him something that he has done all of his life and good on him but sometimes you have to push in line because that's what they do in some countries and it can be survival of the fittest.

Is it good to be impatient or is it better to be someone who just sits back and waits it out?

I say a bit of both

You should impatient with yourself that you are not doing anything to get you to where you want to go.

However, you should be patient with yourself that once you start doing the things that you should do, as long as you are consistent the the results will come. They might not come in the time that you expect but they will come.

Good luck to you and good luck to me.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Smart use of the phone

For those of you who know me, you will know that I have a love/hate relationship with the smartphone.

It's interesting to observe how different people use their smartphones. Let me tell you the story of two people.

First person, lets call him Jason. Jason loves his iPhone 5. He is glued to it 24 hours a day. He is constantly updating Facebook. He is constantly replying to comments, usually one or two words at the most. He is posting photos of himself doing all sorts of things. His workmates say that he will organise parties or other events at the spur of the moment.

His wife gives him grief. She says that if he spent half as much time giving her attention as he does that small screen she and as an extension, he would be very happy. What's that saying? Happy wife, happy life.

Lets go onto the second person, we shall call him Robert. Robert also likes his iPhone 6s. He likes it because he can send and receive emails. He likes it because he can do his banking when he doesn't have time to get to the bank itself. He likes it because he can watch videos when he has some free time and he can't be bothered doing any work or reading or the like.

So, we have two people who both like their smartphones. "So what?" I hear you say. "We all like our smartphones. That isn't earth shattering news."

Well, that's true but isn't it interesting how Jason and Robert are using their phones? Jason is the archetypal extrovert. He has to be in contact with a thousand people at once. He wants to be the centre of attention and if he can't be in the spotlight offline 24/7 then he will try his best to be in the spotlight online for as many hours as he can. He loves getting likes on Facebook and interacting with people.

Robert on the other hand is a bit more, shall we say introverted. He uses his phone for his own entertainment. He likes to sit there and find out what is going on in the world by reading articles, watching videos etc. He likes to get the odd message but he doesn't want to spend all day and all night chatting with someone. He would much rather watch something on Youtube.

There you have it. Two people, two phones, two completely different agendas. Which person are you? Are you Jason? Are you Robert? Or are you in between?

Saturday, 9 July 2016

You can't please everyone

This might scare the bejesus out of some of you but you are going to have to listen and you are going to have to listen carefully. Because I am only going to say this once. Are you ready?

You can't please everyone. I know that shocks some of you. Actually I know that it shocks a lot of you. You can't please everyone.

If you try to please everyone you are going to run out of gas. You will wander around in a dazed stupor and you will not get anything done.

The people that you encounter in your everyday life bring with them all sorts of problems and insecurities and assumptions to their dealings with you. You are not responsible for what they think or react to what you do or even don't do.

If you are going to please anyone, focus on pleasing the people around you. Your family, your close friends, your lovers, partners etc. All the other people are not worth your time.

Friday, 8 July 2016

I'm angry!!!

I read this article and watched the video that went with it today. They were wondering why the weather guy seemed to be in a bad mood. It is a video of the weather guy from New Zealand breakfast television.

I left New Zealand in 1997 and around that time breakfast television was in it's infancy. In fact when I was growing up either television broadcasts didn't start until about mid-morning or we were told off for wanting to watch television in the morning. However I have been back to New Zealand a few times and the people in my family seem to watch or listen to breakfast television every morning. Oh how things have changed.

Anyway, the people on the video were wondering why the weather guy was in a bad mood. They were saying that he is always smiling, always joking, always there with some banter. They seemed worried that he wasn't himself on that particular day.

Well let me answer their question. He was in a bad mood. People are allowed to be in bad moods from time to time. When you are always in a good mood and always seem to be having a good time it can be uncomfortable for the people around you that you are not in a good mood and "you are not your normal self."

I say stuff them. You are human. You have emotions. You can't be the life and soul of the party 24/7 and if the people around you are uncomfortable about it then that is their problem not yours.

You need to show your emotions from time to time. This shows that you are not a terminator sent back in time to kill John Connor. It shows that you are human and that you need an outlet from time to time and who knows, that outpouring of emotion maybe that kick in the backside, that fire under your butt that you need to get yourself moving and to achieve things in your life.

Remember, show emotion and use that energy.  You never know what you might get.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Preparation breeds confidence

Someone came to me today looking for help with an interview with the American embassy. He is going to work in Miami for the next three years or so. So I looked up some websites that give advice on what to do when you go for these visa interviews.

One of the points that came out when I looked it up was to be confident. This is the kind of advice we see everywhere which means absolutely nothing. So often we see these words "just be confident." How are you supposed to be just confident?

Well, it comes down to preparation. If you are prepared then the confidence is going to come.

Think back to the times at school when you were taking tests/exams etc. When were you confident? Of course the times when you were prepared. You had done the study, you had done the preparation you felt confident as you walked into that room.

For introverts/ambiverts, this can work for you too when you go to a function or a party. I know for a lot of you that kind of event can be quite tiresome and you can find yourself standing at the side. The proverbial wallflower.

So before you go to these events prepare yourself. Find out what is going on in the world. Try to go over in your mind what kind of conversations you might have. Even visualise in your mind you leading the conversation. This will make you feel more confident and you will have a better time all around.

Remember to prepare for things that you are not sure about. This can help you in all areas of your life and one good preparation session will help you in one area but that will overlap into other areas of your life.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

In the boardroom

Donald Trump. You will know him as the US presidential candidate and if you are reading this after November 2016 he may even be the president.

I first got to know a lot about Donald Trump when I (binge) watched his reality show 'The Apprentice' on Youtube. For those of you who don't know about the show, Donald Trump invites young entrepreneurs to New York to basically audition for a job with him. The contestants are split into teams and they participate in various business tasks. Each week there is a winning team and a losing team and one member from the losing team is fired.

I watched this show religiously and the reason I probably enjoyed it was that most of the contestants were very extroverted. They say that they were type A personalities. Now I don't really know what that means so I might have to do some  but I'm guessing that it means they are extroverted.

Another thing I got out of the show was the fact that if you were quiet or didn't say much then you weren't going to get anywhere in the Trump organisation. People who were quiet in the board room were told to speak up on many occasions.

Introverted people don't say things if they don't have to but on this show they were kind of obligated to say things even if it wasn't necessary.

Here is another reason even though it is reality television that being quiet in today's world may not necessarily be the way to go.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Not so smart

Why do we walk around like zombies? Why do a lot of us walk round with our faces in our smartphones not looking where we are going?

I will admit that I like my smartphone as much as anyone. I like to lie in bed reading the newspaper or checking email. I like that fact that you can do your banking on it or check your social media accounts.

However what really annoys me are people who are even more addicted to their smartphones than me. They walk around the streets looking constantly at their smartphones holding up people walking behind them because they are walking slow. They walk into people because they are not looking. It is very annoying.

If you are one of these  people who walk around the streets with their heads down looking at their phone, may I ask you one favour? STOP IT!!!

Get your head up and look ahead. Smile at the people walking the other way and god forbid say hello. You might open up a whole new world that you don't even know exists.

With your eyes constantly on your smartphone maybe you are missing your soul mate walking past you. Maybe you are not going to see something bad coming towards you, all because you have to check your Facebook account for the fifteenth time that day.

Smartphones are very useful but use them wisely and make sure you connect with people offline as well as online. It will make your life a whole lot more fun to live.

Monday, 4 July 2016

The hand of God?

A few weeks ago the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali passed away. I wrote about it and you can see it here.

For those of you who didn't read what I wrote, basically I said that Ali made an impact. He was in your face both in the ring and on the television.

Another great sportsman is Diego Maradona. Diego Maradona is arguably the greatest football (soccer) player ever. I say arguably because Brazilians are going to say that Pele was the best. Well, that is for those South Americans to fight about and maybe even some Portuguese might say that Cristiano Ronaldo is the best.

Maradona hasn't played football for 20 years but he is still considered a god in his native Argentina. We also remember both his on-field and off-field antics. English fans will remember, not very well mind you, his 'hand of god' goal against England at the 1986 World Cup. We also remember his drinking, his drug addiction and his obesity. We sometimes see him going crazy watching his beloved Boca Juniors team in Buenos Aires.

He is far from been someone who has retired gracefully. He has managed teams. He has dabbled in politics. He is still putting himself out there. He is still making an impact.

Now, I'm not saying that you should get addicted to drugs or put on 100 kilograms, what I am saying is that you need to make an impact somehow.

So, what is it going to be? How are you going to make an impact? How are you going to make a difference in the world?

These are all things that you need to think about as you make that transition.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

What is your purpose?

Do you have a purpose in life? Do you have a mission? Do you have something that you are pursuing in your life?

Having a purpose or mission in life is very important. If you know where you are going and have some kind of vision then you are going to come across as confident and your interactions with other people are going to become better and you will know what to say when that dreaded question comes across, "what do you do?"

By having this mission, purpose, vision you can then work hard on it to create that great lifestyle that you want for yourself and the people around you,

How good does that sound? Having the perfect lifestyle for yourself. I know what mine is. Do you know what your perfect lifestyle is?

Finally, and I believe that this is the most important thing, you need to get in shape. I believe that if you get yourself in shape then everything else follows because you have the energy and the confidence to pursue these other things. I must admit that I have had a month or so of not very good nutrition and exercise and it shows and I feel it.

Get yourself a mission.

Build yourself a great lifestyle.

Get yourself in shape.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Music and sports

Do you like sports? Do you enjoy music? Do you look forward to seeing the latest movie release at the movie theatre?

I have grown up in a family that enjoyed their sports and on occasions we would go along to the stadium to watch rugby or cricket or whatever was on.

Today was interesting. Today I went along to watch a professional rugby match. I have watched dozens of rugby matches in my life at a stadium and sometimes I enjoy it and sometimes I don't. That's an ambivert for you.

Today I must say that I didn't feel comfortable and I don't know why. Maybe it was the fact that it was about 35 degrees celsius and I knew I was going to get sunburnt.

If you are like me and you enjoy sports or your enjoy music or even the odd movie then go along only if you really feel like it. I know with concerts and sporting events that most of the time you need to buy tickets and at the time you may feel that it is going to be the best time of your life but then the day arrives and you are not so keen then don't go. I know that it is a waste of money but you shouldn't force the issue.

I know that we want to get to a stage where we are comfortable in large crowds but sometimes you have to listen to your inner voice and rest. You will feel better for it.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Take me to your leader. Oh! It's you!

If you want to make a change in your life then you have to think about becoming a leader. I'm willing to bet that if you are reading this post and you have been a regular reader then you are looking to make a change in your life and becoming a leader is one such change.

If you are wanting to take charge and make decisions that benefit other people then keep on reading. If you want to keep your ordinary, hum-drum life then I suggest you click here.

First of all it is suggested to read about great leaders. This will allow you to understand the type of choices that great leaders had to make to become how they are today. If you are anything like me you have probably made a whole bunch of wrong choices that have got you to where you are today. A simple example would be that you chose to have that chocolate bar instead of that apple that you should have had. I know that I have made that choice the last million times.

Another good thing about reading about great leaders and reading in general is that you become interesting. You get to know about things. You might know about the Kardashian's and that's fine but imagine if your interest box was a lot wider and you had a wealth of knowledge. You are going to have some pretty sensational party conversations. I remember telling someone at a party about the continents and how they moved around over the years starting from Pangea and then onto Gondwanaland etc. Probably sounds boring to some readers but the people I were talking to seemed very interested in it. It was probably how I was saying it as opposed to what I was saying and that is a different beast all together. You could be saying some of the most boring stuff known to man. I mean you could be talking about fish poo but if you were saying it with passion and enthusiasm and all of those good things then people are going to listen. You will be like a magnet drawing them to you. You will have charisma and all you have done is devote a little bit of a day to reading. That's it.

Great leaders make good decisions. You need to get into the habit of making good decisions. As I said before, do you have the chocolate bar or do you have the apple? I know which I would choose and that might not be the correct choice.

Peter Voogd in his best selling book 6 months to 6 figures talks about a confidence account. Basically, the premise is that when you have a choice you can either make a deposit into your confidence account, in other words build your account or make a withdrawal, in other words reduce your account. Using the chocolate and apple example, the apple would be a deposit while choosing the chocolate while good and yummy would be making a withdrawal. Another example would be going to the gym or sitting at home and eating potato chips while watching a DVD. I think you know which is the deposit and which is the withdrawal.

If you want to change you life and be the outgoing person then you are going to have to learn to lead. I know that it sounds scary. It scares the 's**t' out of me too but it has to be done. If you lead with confidence and and you are 100% certain that it is the best decision then most people will follow you and to me that's a good result.