Handshakes

There is an amazing diversity of greeting customs around the world. In Tibet sticking out your tongue is a welcoming gesture. In New Zealand, the Moari greet by touching noses. Ethiopians greet by touching shoulders, Congolese touch foreheads. Most Asians greet with a bow. Europeans and Arabs are more familiar with hugs and kisses on the check. Americans now fist bump and South Africans bump elbows.

So why the handshake? The exact origin of this greeting is unknown but there are pieces of ancient art dating to 5 BC in Greece and others of Persian kings and rulers shaking hands. The Romans did more of an arm grab of the forearm. The shaking was said to check or shake loose any hidden weapons.

Handshakes are known to spread a number of microbial pathogens. Certain diseases are known to spread the most through direct skin-to-skin contact.

In 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic, the dean of medicine at the University of Calgary, Tomas Feasby, suggested that fist bumps may be a “nice replacement of the handshake” in an effort to prevent transmission of the virus.

Now during the Covid-19 pandemic, we once again have to adopt alternative modes of greeting instead of a handshake. I was taught and I have taught my sons, to shake hands firmly while making eye contact with the person you are meeting. This may now be seen as archaic or even dangerous. How will we be taught to make formal greetings in the future?

Just like that we have been forced to change a custom. Who knows what other changes to customs and traditions will be made in the near future. How hard do we push back to hold onto that what we once held dear, as identity of who we are? Does it really matter?

Remain authentic, honest to who you are. You are still a unique and magnificently designed individual. YOU MATTER, even when stuck indoors.

God bless and stay safe

b

Photo by Branimir Balogović on Pexels.com

Lockdown

Lockdown, not a word I would have assigned to my country. It is normally heard in movies set in prisons or warships, not my home. It is easy to see that life will never be the same again. Try clearing your throat while standing in a queue. Everyone is a suspect. Wars of old were done on clear rules and guidelines. One army lined up facing the enemy, uniforms and ensigns would proclaim allegiance. Sides were clearly defined. Today, the enemy has infiltrated our safe spaces. Viruses know no age, gender, social standing or ethnicity. Not just the physical implications to be dealt with but also the terrorist-style effect on our thinking and prejudice. Fear has not just heightened our awareness of hygiene but also our “me first” attitude. Survival mode 101!

We now have a perfect opportunity to instruct and show our children what it means to be mindful of others. Help the elderly with shopping. Put a little something extra in the bag from you. Be generous, many around us do not have the financial means to prep or secure basic provisions and needs. We can all help. Try not to shop from a fear basis but from a need basis. Cover the basics. Think tin foods and preserves first, as fresh produce may well spoil before you get to the back of the fridge. Where we live there is still the real prospect of load shedding, then our fridges and freezers become less effective, unless you have a generator.

I believe we need to have a long term vision. Think about what it will look like 2 months from now or maybe longer. The point is, that at some time this virus will be beaten and we as humans will try to pick up where we left off and rebuild the future. Keep your eye on the positive opportunities that will emerge then. Yes, I know that unemployment is soaring as markets plummet but like many times in history, it will turn. A new workforce will be needed, new markets will emerge. Have hope.

We are now a tech dependant society. Online meetings, relations, entertainment and shopping are the order of the day. But there is also a plethora of online education options. Many are free or affordable. Set time aside to learn, upskill and empower yourself in this time of isolation. A few weeks from now you could have completed a course that could help your future work prospects. Even if it does not lead to financial gain, nobody can steal your knowledge. It is a great time to pursue a passion or two.

I am preaching to myself as I have procrastinated for a long time now to write the book that is within me. I can hear my family and friends cheering.

What if lockdown is the very means to kick start your dreams or the next stage of your journey? It is up to you, to me, to determine how the next few weeks will affect our lives. Be positive, have faith, believe. The immediate dark cloud in front of us is hiding a bright future.

God bless and stay safe

b

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

COVID-19

I’m not sure what your last week was like, but I’m guessing it has been weird, surreal. A little list of changes, in your work, your finances, your school and aftercare, your shopping trolley, your worldview, your handwashing, your holiday plans, and shaking hands.

A great time to consider what we really need to survive and who or what is on our priority list.

Saw some humorous memes around no sport and discovering spouses, who knew they were always there? What seemed relevant and or important before, may not now. Although, please can we resolve the question around all the sporting leagues? I need to have a final result! The idea of cancelling this season makes the hours I spent watching even less pertinent.

But what I have realised is how much I miss physical interaction. I am referring to giving hugs and putting your arm around someone in need. For some people with a Sheldon Cooper disposition, this must be the best time ever, laughing into their sleeves. The laying on of hands is now an extreme sport, only for the brave! Tele-evangelists delight! I like conversing face to face. I know there will be a great spike in Zoom and Skype meetings, I am just old school. Thankfully, we do have the tech to carry on while under house arrest. The push to work from home will be justified and offices will be made redundant. Germs are yet to work out how to transmit electronically. Please insert an unending string of dad jokes here about computer viruses and the like. Maybe even leave a few in the comments, a good laugh is a great medicine!

As we the human race have survived floods, plagues, wars, pestilence and taxes, I am sure we will come out the other side of Covid-19 stronger. More instructions and actionable plans for healthy living and good hygiene must be a global priority. Each one of us can help, our selves, our families and who ever is in our sphere of influence. We do take a lot for granted.

That does not take away from sorrow and suffering, but rather an ovation to our perseverance and never quit attitude. Remember, your attitude determines your altitude and your altitude determines your vision!

God bless and stay safe.

b

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

DANCE

Hi. I know I have bee gone for a while. It does seem lame now, but I was waiting for an awesome inspiration to hit me. Well, my pride was such that I wanted each written line to be profound and awe inspiring. The truth is, that most of life, is mastering the mundane. You see, we get highlights of famous peoples lives. We only see the highlights or the lowlights. The rest of their lives are not worth observing. But it is these boring uneventful days that get us to the exciting or challenging days.

Since my last blog, Mrs Brent and I attended a wedding. Our friend was getting married for the third time. Talk about persistence! Other than the groom, best man and sons, we did not know anybody else. This was a great evening of meeting new people and being exposed to many different lives. We laughed and danced and really enjoyed ourselves. We slept over at the venue, and the 2 hour drive home, gave us a time to reflect on conversations from the night before. What was common across all conversations was that everybody had a story to tell. Every one had endured challenges, some still ongoing, others had risen above them. Shout out to Pepe Marais from Joe Public, go check him out! His memorable quote ” If given an option to dance or sit, always dance!” He and his wife danced the night away. They moved in such synergy and timing, I spent an inordinate amount of time just watching them. What love and enjoyment in every move.

Pepe has had enormous challenges in his life and still has a positive outlook on life, always looking to help more and more of society. A real inspiration.

We are blessed, blessed beyond what we need. We have opportunity to help others. Stop looking at your electronic devises all the time. Look up, observe the people near you! I guarantee that you will find someone you can help. I don’t mean always money, some one just needs to be noticed, acknowledged. Open a door, carry a bag, hold a lift door open. Smile at someone, not every one is nut job. Engage where you are, you are not there by accident.

At every opportunity, DANCE! Like no one is watching.

b

Photo by Silvio Barbosa on Pexels.com

Teach When Not Teaching

We had the pleasure of having a friend over on Sunday. He has a wonderful inquiring mind and a deep philosophical approach to life. Hours flew by and saying good bye was hard as he is to return to his home on an island far away the next day.

One of the many talking points that day was around the question, ” in the first year of a baby’s life, who learns more, the baby or the parents?” The answer was easy is for us as we have 4 children and we loudly replied that the first year is a steep learning curve for us, the parents. In fact each time is challenging as the children are so different from one another. One needed more than one pacifier in each hand to fall asleep. One liked music to be played. One would only sleep when I carried her. One needed absolute silence. Each time was a new learning experience. Once we had come to the agreement that it is the parents that learn the most, the next premise arose.

How is it that the baby can teach us when it is not teaching us. It is not speaking, but through laughing, crying, sleeping and clenched fists, they are able to communicate their needs and comfort to us. They are teaching us through situational awareness and body language. We to, are teaching others when we are not teaching. When we display irritation, huffing and sighing, rolling of eyes, smiling, folding of arms, these are all signals of agreement or disdain. We are teaching when is it ok to be happy and when one should be angry. The thing is that we do not all have the same likes and dislikes. Surely we should be more mindful of what we permit or sanction. We teach others by not compromising our values, by making a stand for what is right, morally and ethically. Often a simple “no” speaks volumes regarding a certain question or situation. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that it is only when you a have a 30 minute discourse and explanation, that it is then that you are teaching.

Research is good, but example is great. “Do as I say and not as I do” most certainly does not work. Your children and everyone else for that matter, watch more than they listen. For all the warnings and disclaimers on TV and other media, we still choose to follow what we see. Even when we know that the people we are mimicking are only acting, we still try to be like them. I am definitely not encouraging us to be false or to pretend, no. It is good to acknowledge your emotions, embrace them. But emotions should not rule or govern our thinking and actions. Take a moment to consider the “message” you are broadcasting when you are not speaking, it will be louder than your words.

Even when I am not teaching, I am teaching.

b

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Self Discovery

Just for fun, let us pretend that money was not a consideration, you have enough, for every day of the month. So imagine a life with no end of the month Salti-Crax. Every day your physical needs are met. You want for nothing, nothing material that is.

With the above premise in place, what are you going to do to fill your days? What is going to motivate you to get out of bed? Will anything fire you up to wake early, I mean,really early? Like before sunrise! What motivates you? What or who drives you? Whose drum do you march to? What handicap do you want?

I believe that if you are able to confidently answer any of these questions, you will start to identify passion and purpose. Your passion and purpose. That which you desired as an innocent naive young person, before you became so jaded. Before events like tertiary education, conscription, marriage, divorce, children, failed businesses, destructive partnerships. Oh wait, that sounds decidedly like my life. But is it possible to bounce back? Can I turn setbacks into comebacks? Believe me, I am going to keep fighting as long as I am in the ring.

I am on a journey to discover my passions, that which excites me. Why? Why not? One of the big differences in my life now is that I have family around me, some of them by blood, some by love and commitment. Get the right type of encourages along side you. Mentors that will be honest, truthful and still loving with you. Nothing quite like a few choice words to spur me back to the path. A kind rebuke is better than an untrue edification.

A wise man knows he needs advice, a fool thinks he knows everything. I choose not to let where I start determine where I will end. Run the race to win man. Winning in this instance is not to beat someone else, but to progress into a better me. To beat the me from yesterday.

Do you know what your passions are? I would love to hear what they may be. Sharing your vision and passion will inspire others. Tell your story. I am going to try and tell mine.

b

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Changes

Changes – David Bowie 1971

Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
There’s gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

Writer/s: David Bowie
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management, Royalty Network, TINTORETTO MUSIC, DistroKid

This is a reflective song about defying your critics and stepping out on your own. It also touches on Bowie’s penchant for artistic reinvention. Bowie wrote this when he was going through a lot of personal change. Bowie’s wife, Angela, was pregnant with the couple’s first child, Duncan. Bowie got along very well with his father and was very excited to have a child of his own. This optimism shines through in “Changes.” Fast forward to 2014 and David Bowie releases a Greatest Hits ironically titled “Nothing Has Changed”.

Mrs Brent started at a new company this week. The changes that it has brought on our domestic front are quite challenging. We seem to be out of sync with each other. But it is this very upheaval that brings about the face to face mirror conversations that are often missed in the humdrum of routine and complacency. Time and time management become high priorities again. I listened to a podcast while watering the garden last night, just so that we could have a few moments to chat before going to bed. It was good to hear my wife’s heart and concerns, about her new role at work and about her family. (here is where i refer her to some of my previous blogs).

It is no joke. I don’t want to reach the end of the line and I have lived the same old same old. I want to experience new ideas, new frontiers, new music, new optimism. My wife is my greatest supporter, her rally cry carries me most days. Yet there are times when a willful decision on my part is needed. Steely determination to face the tests, a resolve to not bemoan my situation, look up and see the solution. Go Brent, GO!!!!! Be the inspiration for others. Failure is the learning step to reach higher.

b

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

Starfish Story

“One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked, he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, ‘I’m saving these starfish, Sir.’

The old man chuckled aloud, ‘Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?’

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “It made a difference to that one!’”

Never let the size of the task or the challenge stop you from starting. Even small victories add up to massive change. A little kindness goes a long way. Start investing in people, they will give you the greatest reward.

Because you are valuable and worth “saving”!

b

Photo by RJ Prabu on Pexels.com

Accountability Matters

“Accountability matters when it comes to engagement” – Chris McChesney

Accountability is the best present to give to anybody at work, your children, your soccer team. It is true that most people thrive and give extra effort when they know that they are accountable, what they do or don’t do has purpose and meaning.

Patrick Lencioni wonderfully describes in his book ” 3 Signs of a Miserable Job” why we should encourage one another to be held accountable. This may not be the book to leave lying around on your desk.

The three signs

Lencioni identifies the three signs of job misery as anonymity, irrelevance and “immeasurement.”

  • Anonymity: Employees feel anonymous when their manager has little interest in them as people with unique lives, aspirations and interests.
     
  • Irrelevance: This condition occurs when workers cannot see how their job makes a difference. “Every employee needs to know that the work they do impacts someone’s life — a customer, a coworker, even a supervisor — in one way or another,” Lencioni says.
     
  • Immeasurement: This term describes the inability of employees to assess for themselves their contributions or success. As a result, they often rely on the opinions of others — usually the manager — to measure their success.

The solution is quite simply the opposite, to be known or acknowledged, to be relevant and to do work that can be measured. When people are held accountable, they will get recognition, for the task completed and how it has been rated or received. Open dialogue is key to understanding what your employee, child, team, values and are receiving from the experience. Give praise where praise is due. Otherwise one should interject in the project or task when it is clear to you that they are not coping or are not really going to hit the mark, with a question like,” how can I help you hit the target?” Thus they should come up with the solution with a little prompting from you. They can still own the outcome. Good growing opportunity for both them and you.

Give your children purpose. Give your employees purpose. It is of the paramount importance. When asked about balancing work and life ” First Things First” author Roger Merrill puts it quite succinctly by saying that when you have purpose in your life, there is an inherent balance. You seem to get energy in abundance, to accomplish the tasks and the family commitments and fun stuff. When you see someone with burnout, it is not from the hours, but from the futility.

When you know that what you do matters, has purpose, is of benefit, you will give more of your best. You matter, you have purpose, you have identity. You have been weighed and measured and what you have done so far is good, but greatness lies ahead of you!

b

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com
Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started