Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Attitude - it can be your saving grace

​Hi there, 
This is a post I wrote up way back in July 2014 for both my workplace and for here, but its now become timely to bring it back for a second viewing. 
Bit of a disclaimer to start with. 
Topics I cover here in these posts are simply personal observations and are not intended to be professional counselling, condescending or upsetting, they are simply things I sometimes cover in one on one sessions with staff/peers or mentoring I do outside of work, that people down through the years have found helpful. To be clear - this is not some narcissistic attempt to gain fame or be "all that" and push my profile either. I simply have a helpful nature. 
These posts come about from increasing periods of seeing rough times friends, acquaintances and even strangers are going through, coming across the occasional sad articles and/or seeing close friends, family and other people struggling with things they haven't been able to get their heads around. Being able to provide a kind word, a bit of advice when asked for, or just a friendly ear, I've learnt from history, can make a difference. So thats what these posts are. 
You and I both know - tough times are tough times. No one is a stranger to them. I figured having a couple of places where someone is giving you some support/back-up to get you back on track might be good - hence this blogspot site. It's name is very similar to an old Japanese saying (which I reference to MANY times and will likely be my next tattoo) which speaks to underdog / fighter in all of us;
That all said and disclaimer all done, feel free to read on....
"Attitude is always your saving grace" 
Like everyone who is reading this knows, yep, life can deliver a few hard knocks, get a bit frustrating or just get you tired of being tired. Maybe you haven't had a holiday for a while due to circumstances beyond your control. End of the year can sometimes have this affect too - you've put in 12 months and worked hard, exhausted. 
Similarly starts of the year can weigh in like pro-fighters with fists the size of your face as well. Add to that deaths, divorces, dramas, break-ups, teenager issues, smaller children acting like teenagers, work problems etc and all of sudden, it can feel like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders whilst riding on a 4 x G-force roller coaster. 
Needless to say, sometimes these pressures can build up (see what I did there?) and both big and small annoyances can feel like mountains in no time flat.
But there is some good news - in just about all cases.
Like the post about "okay-wise-guy, how-do-i-stop-getting-annoyed?", if you were able to stop and look around, take a few calming breaths, plus deliberately alter how you are viewing things by challenging yourself, mountains CAN get smaller. Even if only by a millimetre or two. But a millimetre is a millimetre, right? Its an improvement.
Often people who care about you, will act as catalysts by kicking you in the ass when needed, offering you support you didn't know you had,or maybe you'll just read something that will pick you up just enough to help. All o​f these things can allow you to see differences in your day that you couldn't see when you were upset/angry/frustrated. 
Its 100% true that anger and fear both cloud judgement.
But you can change all that. 
And like the title states, with attitude.
But how? 
Well, for everyone it's different, but here are a few things to get you started.
i) Lame as it sounds, you could tell yourself "I'm in control of how I'm going to handle this" - just dont do this in a mirror. That's weird.
ii) In any situation where you are feeling anxious/afraid/stressed out/annoyed - take a few calming breaths – oxygen is your friend. Just don't over do it. Breathe normally. Focus on it.
iii) Take a step back mentally (and physically if you need to) to get an objective/less stressful look at where you're at, even where others are at.
iv) Often the key to taking anxiety out of a situation is to ask questions to find out more. Knowing what you're dealing with is better than guessing. "Fear of the unknown" is a common problem - so fix it and ask so its not as unknown anymore.
v) Be brutally honest with yourself - try to analyse "why" you might feel the way you do about things - may not be the reason you thought. Did you fail to prepare? Do you still have time? Prepping is more important than you realise.
vi) Make a no-nonsense plan with how you're going to deal with the cause/s with how you will react - either physically or mentally – the actual cause make no difference. Again, you're deciding how you're going to handle this, how you are going to react.
vii) "Attack" your own negativity/fear/anxiety. These things will breed given half the chance. Remember - you're choosing how to react - I can't state this enough - it really is your choice.
viii) Act positively - do what you planned to do - you're taking your own power back from the situation/mood that took it away. No matter how bad the situation might appear to be, its on you to try and improve it for yourself.

...And surprisingly all these things can literally take seconds to work through.
Now I'm not saying you should be Mr or Ms (Miss, Mrs etc) Positivity or over the top prepared because ridiculously positive people generally get high fives… the face…..with chairs…..
...but a little internal positivity can go a long way.
And once you get into the habit, changing your attitude and the way you view situations can get easier.
Clear heads see clear things.
So wrapping this up, hopefully this has made a bit of sense and perhaps it has helped. Attitude can keep you safe, can be a powerful line of defence when you need one and can change the way you view the world around you.
Either way, just remember, aside from looking after yourself and gettin' your own head on straight, consider the picture below. 

Not only do you need to look after your own attitude, but spare a thought for how your own might be impacting on others. Attitudes connect and have the ability to grow with those around you. Give it a shot, and good luck. 
So yeah, post over. Thanks again for coming by. Feel free to offer any helpful suggestions you might have, that may be helpful for any of the others who come by for a read, there seems to be a fair few of you lot these days based on the stats. We're up around 6,000 regular readers by the looks of it, of them, you are one. I appreciate you stopping by so often. 
#googlestatsarecool #trustinyourselfyoucandoit #strongerthanyourealise #yougotthis #DLTBGYD

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

A quote that speaks volumes

“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.

Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.

I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive.”

J K Rowling 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Could a pizza sent for delivery get you home cheaper than a taxi?

What if you are in town with minimal cash on hand, need a taxi and find yourself starving for something to eat? Consider this as an option - go to Pizza Hut, order a pizza for delivery and catch a ride home with the driver.
Worth a try don't you reckon?

Blog – so what if you’re gay?

Being gay is not like being vegan. Seems LGBT individuals don’t find it necessary to inform you of their lifestyle. They just simply be.

Like most posts I write, this one is in reaction to something. I write this as I have noticed a greater acceptance in the media these days for openly gay people (like two dudes kissing on TV in some show wife was watching about surprise weddings or lesbian relationships in TV or movie dramas, and transgender people too). 

I think this accepting coverage/inclusion in the media is fantastic for breaking down the walls and going some way toward eliminating discrimination.

However, I also notice an increasing amount of right-wing-anti-gay hate groups trying to be heard, trying to sway the populous toward their way of thinking. A lot of Trump supporters based on what I've seen on the web too. But there are likely so many people reading this who think the same way. 

To them I say “Nah bro. Leave gay people alone. You’re the problem.”

Now I don't confess to understand all of the issues LGBT people face, nor am I here to tell you all about their plight etc because nope, I don't live their life. 

Not being gay myself and quite a heavy way on the A-typical Alpha-Male scale, I like to think that every single person on this planet (except for the ones who should be hunted for sport – i.e. child molesters and women beaters) deserve the right to be who they are, without persecution or difficulties based solely on sexual preference.

I use the word “preference” sparingly here too as even not being gay, I know it’s not a preference, it’s just who they are, who they are attracted to. Simple. Same as being straight.

Perhaps this is a naive approach, wanting people to be treated equally. Doesn't mean I can't say it though, right? If one person reads this post and goes "yeah, okay. You might have something there. Maybe I shouldn't be mean to that gay dude/chick" then awesome.


I am lucky to have had a few individuals and friends “come-out” to me through the years in my role as a manager of people, a mentor and as a friend. 
Sometimes it has been due to persecution that has prompted these tough discussions. Sometimes it has been the “I get written-off/don’t get opportunities because of how I am/I am gay” or “my manager is uncomfortable around me but doesn’t know why”. 
Other times it’s just been because (well, I like to think this anyway) I’m approachable and literally don’t care.

Yup – you read that right. “I don’t care”. 
Not even a little bit. Makes zero difference. 
Like veganism. 
Or gym posters who feel the need to update Facebook every time they go. 
Or foot fetish folks, or swingers. 
Or even if you're straight. 

Couldn’t care less. 

And nor should you haters. 

Nobody should be defined by their sexuality as a human being. LGBT people – just like straight people – should be defined by who they are, not who they sleep with.

If you are LGBT and you’re not being treated fairly, then you should speak up. Find someone who will listen. But tread softly to begin with. Civilisation is filled with conflict-avoiding people. Confronting such issues can make people nervous. But if you’re not being treated like straight people simply because of being gay (and nothing to do with you being a dick or being difficult) then you need to have those discussions.

Now don’t get me wrong. This “I don’t care” attitude I have doesn’t mean what it sounds like in the negative sense. I am happy for you, proud you had the bravery to come out, honoured to be included, honoured to be someone you felt you could talk to and always happy for your friendship, but again – I will feel the same way if you’re a straight person or a vegan. And, only if you’re a nice person.

Like my Mum taught me when talking with women “don’t stare at boobs, concentrate on a woman’s face when you talk to her” to ensure I give people the right amount of respect, and that the word “hate” (which I was certain didn’t exist in our house growing up because hate was too strong of a word to be used, “dislike something” was better), I’m not kidding here. Sexuality should make zero difference to how you interact or function in the world.

If you are a nice person, then just be awesome. If not, you don’t deserve my time or anyone else’s until you sort your shit out. 
But again, I still won’t hate you. I will likely just dislike you a lot.
Thanks Mum x

This method of thinking should be the same for everyone else, so I would like to spread the word.

People shouldn’t care that you are gay or vegan.
You should have the opportunity to be unique just like everyone else.

I would like to propose that if you are a homophobe, religious zealot (did you know that even the Pope is okay with LGBT folks now?) or a right-wing hate monger, now is the time to challenge your views. Just look around - things are-a-changin'. Get on board the rainbow bus.

Look toward treating each and every person you meet with respect, with the opportunity to show you who they are as a person, and not to be defined simply by your feelings about their sexual/emotional relationship preference. 

Doesn’t everyone deserve the chance to prove who they are and what they’re capable of? Even you as a hater?

What if that next openly gay man or woman you wrote off or put down, could have been destined to cure cancer? But they can’t now because your hurtful words/actions took away their confidence? 

What if they committed suicide because of the hateful words you said? 
Think that your version of the "Vengeful" God you keep bringing up who - according to your views - "hates gays" is going to be happy with you on your day of judgement?

From what I know about religion, 100% of them all talk about "do unto others as you would have done unto you" which essentially translates to "be nice to people, dont be a dick". 

For you extremists out there, are you sure you're 100% right in your persecution of LGBT individuals? Certain enough to bet your eternal soul on? 

Regardless of your reply, consider this as a scenario. 
Maybe they’re in that cafĂ© whilst you’re chugging back on a donut and you start to choke, you gonna stop them saving your life because they’re gay? 
He or she could be a doctor, or a nurse.

"No no, I'd rather die than have you anywhere near me"

Sound legit? Again, I'm betting no. 
I'm betting when your life is on the line, the guy or girl could be Pricilla Queen of the Desert gay and you'd take their help.

Now consider that a secretly gay person is teaching your kids at school, teaching them how to read/write/spell and be worthwhile, well-rounded citizens of the world. 

And a big point to know here - thing is, young kids don’t care when someone is gay. It’s only a learned behaviour from the adults around them. Like racism. 

Do you think it's your goal in life to teach persecution and hate to your kids?  

Could be that your friend or maybe co-worker is working alongside you right now is LGBT, and you just don’t know. Your attitude has him/her/undefined too afraid to be honest with you.

So com'on. Empathy people. Acceptance. We’re all on this planet together.

Take my (and my Mum’s) advice.
Hate is far too strong of a word to use. It’s time to stop using it – or at least point it in another more positive direction. Use it as a wake-up call. 

If you hate something, find out about it, research. Often hatred comes from not understanding something. Break the cycle, let people be and teach your kids right.

And FFS, stop caring about people’s sexual preferences. It doesn’t matter. Only people matter.

End of story. [mic drop]

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Good advice and a few observations for a Friday (apologies for the swearing)

Bikes, Bikes and more Bikes

When you go on holiday...

Relationship help from Star Wars

I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so...

Hey you :) good to see you again. I like what you've done with your hair. Looks good. No really. Check that out.
So back from holiday now, bit shattered, timeline all screwed up since I've written this at almost midnight, but you bet, I'm still grinning from ear to ear. Had the best time with my family, Japan is amazing in every way I could describe. 
Andrea, Trey, Finn and I boosted over there - and when I say "boosted" I really mean "sit in a flying cylinder for 11 hours straight trying to either sleep, get comfortable, watch something entertaining or all at the same time" - for an adventure / intrepid journey type holiday. Been a dream of mine for many years.
And boy was it incredible.
Here are a few of the things we managed to do;
Lego-land, Disneyland, Edo-Tokyo Museum with an english speaking guide, the Hato Bus tour taking in the Imperial Castle, the Sensoji Temple and a river cruise, shopping in Shibuya, went to the geek (Otaku) centre of Tokyo where the boys bought lots of Dragon Ball Z figures each, rode the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kyoto (yes its fast), visited the Tenryuji Temple, the Arashiyama bamboo grove, fed the monkeys running free around us up on top of a mountain in falling snow, went to the Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine and to a Samurai Performance (with a ninja included). We went to Osaka, visited the castle, the Aquarium and went shopping in Dotonbori. We ate crazy stuff, caught up with a great friend of mine who I've known since kindergarten (preschool) and his lovely wife and walked at least a ba-zillion miles.
All in 8-9 days. Talk about gettin' in and gettin' it done! 
Would I go again? You betcha! Loved it. 
But why did I love it? For me the thing was, even in the crazy busy centres where there are hundreds if not thousands of people bustling along, there is still a underlying peace there. A softness, a calm beneath the hustle and bustle. People still rushed, urgency was still present, it just seemed that the majority of people were simply enjoying what they were up to.  
Am I romanticising? Maybe a little. Still recovering from jet lag. But regardless, imagined or not, there was a smoothness and efficiency to things you don't get here. 
The thing that really sold it for me was, wasn't the places we visited or the things we did. It was more than that. It was the one thing that stood tall above everything else.
Japan seems to be a nation of helpful and genuinely kind people.
So many times we must have looked confused or lost trying to negotiate the multi-coloured Spaghetti Bolognese lines that are the Japanese rail system (which are also written in Japanese). It never took long before we were approached out of the blue by people asking us if we needed help, many who only spoke a tiny fraction of English. One older gentleman even walked about two blocks with us to get us to our destination before happily bowing then setting back off in the direction we had come from. No issue. 
This happened so many times that this cultural difference has had me wondering about our own backyard. 
Would that happen in NZ? 
The answer - yes, of course it does. But certainly not as often as it should.
Ask yourself: how many times have I walked past someone who looked lost? Or confused? Especially obvious visitors to our country? 
I'll bet lots. I know I have, haven't given them a second thought. People visibly upset however, I've always tried to stop and help if I've been able to.
In Japan - as far as I could tell given our brief stay - ignoring someone in distress isn't an option. Even if the distress is minimal like confusion looking at maps. They seemed to have a need to ensure visitors to their country enjoyed their stay. It could have been patriotism, a cultural growth or any number of things. 
Rather than complain about the (very) tall different looking barbarians, both young and old, English speaking or not, made an effort to smooth things out for us.
It was refreshing, even confronting at times given language barriers. But amazing. Inspiring.
So this led me to start paying attention to visitors to NZ (of which I'm sure there will be increasing numbers of given the latest lot of idiot Trump initiatives) to see if I can make a difference like the nice people in Japan did for my family and I.
Paying it forward. And now I'm encouraging you to do the same whether you are here in NZ with me, or somewhere else in the world.
How good do you think it will feel if you are able to help make someone's trip to NZ that little bit more stress free? Simple directions, a kind word. 
I'll bet you'll try, its why you come to read these posts I put up. You're a helper, just like me. 
Finishing up this wordy post, here are a few pics from our intrepid journey to the land of the rising sun, which incidentally I actually got to see as we flew in at sunrise.
Kyoto Samurai Experience
Tokyo pretend "Geisha" at the Sensoji Shrine
Anime "Gundam" statue
On the Shinkansen Bullet Train
Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine - Kyoto
Osaka Castle
Feeding the monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park

A great dinner out in Osaka at the restaurant "EN"

Please don't forget - if you can - help the odd tourist here and there when you see them struggling with anything. As a patriot of our own country or just as a good person, its the least we can all do.
Have a great day. Thanks for stopping by.