Showing posts from December, 2014

2015 can be the year for that small,significant life-changing goal .

It is 20h21. There are only three hours and 39 minutes left before we welcome in the new year, 2015.
I have been thinking hard about what to say to you and me about our vision for 2015. How do we prepare to make our lives matter? How can we live more authentically? How do we build on our successes? How do we make the changes that we have to make in our lives?

Making changes will never be easy. But we have to start somewhere. We have to learn to commit to our dreams by starting small. Every small act or action adds up and before we know it, we are moving ourselves to becoming happier people. We need goals to be our maps, but we forget that each of our goals is a composite of many tiny goals. Those small goals are really the small actions that move us closer to our main goal.

One of my overarching goals is to live a more purposeful life. One big stumbling block is that I am a self-confessed workaholic and I have begun to question its impact on my life.

My obsession with work is bloc…

We can craft our own ring road.

"My ring road is my own creation. It's where I am happiest."
                                                                                           - Keith Niekerk

The principle of the demand and supply model is straightforward. When there is a need, you supply the resources. The tricky part is we confuse our needs with our wants.

We convince ourselves that we need more of those things that give us instant satisfaction, regardless of the cost. We crave more material things to feed our addictions. The more we see, the more we want. Living like this is living on the edge - right on the brink of spiralling out of control and losing sight of true living.

Our real basic needs are simple. We merely need to live in harmony with ourselves, others and the environment. Therein lies the struggle. These simple life-enhancing pleasures are difficult to satisfy because of the high costs. The price of love, respect, sharing and tolerance is much higher than those things you can bu…

Don't ignore the signs of burnout and follow a plan to combat it in future

Do you feel you can't shake off that exhaustion even though you are on holiday? If this is the case, the reality is that you are suffering from burnout. Many of the symptoms of burnout were there throughout the year, but you probably dismissed those early warning signs.

There are two reasons why you don't see yourself as a sufferer of burnout.

Firstly, you may not know how to recognize the symptoms of burnout. You may have accepted being tired constantly because of work overload.
Family demands frustrate you, you ignore spending time with friends and your conversations are mainly about work. This preoccupation with work after hours and the absence of fun and quality time with family and friends are all telltale signs of burnout.

Secondly, you may be in denial. You tell yourself that it is normal to feel wasted at the end of the year. You may also play the blame game and identify everybody else as causing you undue stress and not take responsibility for your own role in fee…

Be the change you want to see.

One of these days we will be entering a new year, the year 2015. The ideal time to get rid of toxic people in your life. You know the kind that drains our energies. They come in all shapes and sizes and they are everywhere. Let's go minimalist on those people who complicate our lives. Let us be grape pickers of our own vineyards. Shall we start our pruning and harvesting? Right, here we go.
We are that bounteous cluster of grapes, brimming with life. Here and there we see a spoilt grape tucked between the energising grapes. Remove these imperfections and see them as those people that you wish to exclude from your life. Those shriveled grapes may even be parts of your own personality that you wish to change. Go ahead. Prune vigorously so that you can make way for new sprouts, new beginnings.

If we can visualize this cleansing, transformational process, we are well on our way to improving our quality of life. Now we just have to put our plan into action. This may sound simple, bu…

Frankie's knitting circle

There in the Groote Kerk in Cape Town, Frankie read the notice appealing to volunteers to knit jerseys for the Jerzy4kidz project 2014. The jerseys were for the Steinthal Children's Home in Tulbagh. "That's interesting," thought Frankie. "I will gather my friends and we can knit for this worthy cause."Quietly the weeks slipped by. Then one Sunday after the church service, Frankie brought a large bag filled with jerseys. These jerseys were given to Pierre who had to pass them on to Sharon who had to take them to Gwynn. Something like the Chicken Licken story, but in our story the sky was not falling down. Our sky had a Frankie galaxy, sending rays of light to needy children. We are now supposed to have a "lived happily ever after" ending. That is, if only Frankie had forgotten about the church weekly bulletin where she saw the Jerzy4kidz notice.The weeks went by. Winter dragged on and Spring struggled to make an entrance. The winds howled and the ra…

We need an ambitious national reading campaign beyond the classroom.

Why are we not tackling our reading proficiency crisis as a nation? Why is there such crippling pressure only on the education sector to fix a national priority? We need to revisit our approach to the literacy problem in our country and the reading interventions we are investing in. According to the most recent studies, we are not progressing despite our efforts.

We have to acknowledge that the multiple, well- meaning but uncoordinated literacy interventions are not having the desired impact on our low literacy levels. We need a far more ambitious, coordinated, national reading campaign to have deep, long lasting effects. Cuba understood this fact when in 1961, this country successfully helped more than 100,000 rural people become literate in one year. The Cuban government and the literacy campaign leaders knew that mass education cannot be achieved without mass participation.

We too,  have the manpower and other resources to action a sustainable, integrated national reading campaign…

Fish Hoek Primary School's physical environment is vibrant and child-friendly

Children are precious and learning is fun, says Fish Hoek Primary School, WITHOUT uttering a word. The atmosphere and the child-friendly building and grounds tell you this. When you tour the school playgrounds, you know that the school cares and nurtures the children's spirits. Decorated walls and open spaces with various functional objects are used to spread happiness. These are the subliminal messages I got when I visited Fish Hoek Primary School last week.
There are those who believe school is a place where children come to learn and not to be entertained. Also, they add, children do not appreciate and respect the property so money spent on decor and landscaping are a waste of money. Obviously, I am not in this camp and neither is Neil, the Acting Principal of Fish Hoek Primary School, his staff and his parents.
Neil explained that beautifying the school has been an ongoing project for years.
"When we moved into these premises, the school was brown. Everything was brown …