5 Reasons for Gratitude before Christmas 2014

Watching a video by business coach Shannon Waller, I want to express my sincerest gratitude before Christmas 20RJ Thomas after speaking at IWE Conference in Hangzhou14. Gratitude is an inoculation against guilt or anxiety in your life. When you are grateful and you appreciate the people and things you have, you don’t feel bad about what you don’t have in you life. These are words to live by if you’re feeling lonely this Christmas season. Here’s my top 5 reasons I am grateful in 2014:

  1. Making New Friends – When I moved to China in September 2013 it was very difficult for me to adjust to the new culture, new environment and the Chinese language. Terry Jiang has become my best friend in Ningbo. I always appreciate how he helps me with simple and complex translation with other Chinese people, especially at the first business dinner I had with the owners of a Clothing Factory. It turned out these Chinese business people were speaking the local dialect in Ningbo, and since Terry was born in the same city, he could easily understand and interpret my conversion. Thank you for being such a great friend.
  2. Finding A Support Group – When you’re a stranger in a strange land, you can either go it alone or you can find a support group. Before I moved from South Africa to Ningbo, China I looked for a Toastmasters club and found only one. Just over one year later we now have 3 clubs and about 100 members. A special thank you to Ningbo #1 Toastmasters club and the immediate past president Vanessa Yang and new president Larry Kowk for your support.
  3. Support From My Mother – My mother has been a pillar of support my whole life. Having raised me by herself without my father, she did an amazing job. She was the one who kept in contact via Skype with me, sometimes on a daily basis, to give me encouragement. Mom I appreciate all those early morning or late night phone calls because of the time zone differences. A special thanks to my sister’s son Caleb and daughter Payton who often talked to me on Skype even though they couldn’t always see my video.
  4. Good Health – My father has had 4 heart attacks over 5 years; my mother has high blood pressure but no serious illnesses. So I am confident I have some good genes to keep me healthy, because I don’t exercise enough, hate jogging and never have enough time to go to the gym. Bad habits, like smoking, have returned while living in China, so I have to avoid other smokers to help me stop. Good health always includes eating healthily, drinking water and some exercise. However, I do have a good role model in the form of Uncle Andrew, who died at age 88 in 2015. He walked an average of +10km from the time I become conscious of his routines. So instead of reinventing the wheel and whenever possible, I plan to emulate his habits and daily routines which encouraged good health. Thank you Uncle Andrew!
  5. Relationships with Women – Whenever I was dumped, I used to believe I didn’t deserve it, I was such a great guy, and so on. Well now, I can easily say to all ex-girlfriends, thank you for breaking up with me, thank you for dumping or rejecting me. All the bad relationships with women in the past, makes my new relationships better because I learned how to avoid the same mistakes. As I always encourage other people who are trying to move on from past relationships, “You cannot open the door to new relationships, unless you close the door behind you.” Why? Because the draughty wind from the past will spoil the new opportunity in front of you. And as Tom Leykis taught me, the best revenge is to become successful.

5 Ways To Keep Training Fresh

Alvin Toffler futuristRecently a freelance journalist working for Destiny Magazine asked me to answer questions on keeping training fresh. All my training workshops I’ve developed under NETucation have been designed for skills not qualifications. Here is my experience:
We live in a complex world filled with confusion and conflict. Training for qualifications received a major backlash in 2010 when Peter Thiel, a Paypal founder and early investor in Facebook, created the Thiel Fellowship. He awarded $100,000 each to 20 people under 20-years-old in order to spur them to quit college and create their own ventures.
  1. When dealing with the complexity of your business or industry, seek training courses that will help you understand the big picture and how to avoid the paradox of choice. Clarity helps you to simplify problems and break them down into more manageable parts to solve.
  2. Bypass confusion by selecting the oldest and more established universities or colleges. There is a tremendous problem with confidence in most government-subsidised training from compulsory schooling through FET colleges. Leadership in an industry takes discipline, hard work and focus.
  3. Sidestep conflicting information by modelling your career on the top international experts in your field. Magazines like Forbes and Fortune often publish ranking of top companies to work for, top professionals under 40 and powerful women in business lists. Use these as a barometer of your path to success. Collaboration on social networks like LinkedIn is a 100 times more valuable than Facebook or Twitter because it allows you to go deep into the training topics you need on a daily basis.
  4. Tap into the TED.com video library to gain first-hand knowledge from the world’s leading experts. This invite-only conference in Long Beach, California has published over 1,000 videos from 5-18 minutes in length from scientists, economists, authors, technologists, inventors, educators, artists and more. This is freely available.
  5. Strategic Coach is the world’s leading private coaching program for entrepreneurs. Their models revolutionised how entrepreneurs increase their free time and will help break through ceilings of complexity in your personal and professional life. One of their biggest lessons is to measure your progress looking backwards. Take time to consider your achievements in the last 3 years, the last 3 months. You may be surprised how much you have achieved instead of feeling depressed about the future before you’ve experienced it.

10 Strategies for coping with Scary Times from Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan founder Strategic CoachDan Sullivan, founder of the Strategic Coach has published an updated version of his classic, The “Scary Times” Success Manual: Transforming anxiety about the future into strategic growth, progress and achievement. These strategies seem like common sense but you rarely consider or contemplate them. And once you become conscious of them you know them to be the highest and best approach to dealing with uncertainty in the world.

There is so many distraction in the world you may be confused about what to focus on. And this list gives a solid foundation on which you can grow, slowly but surely, in the best of times or the worst of times. A great philosopher once said only human beings can know something to be rational and right choice to make and yet do the exactly opposite. As I have been saying it’s not about right or wrong; instead it’s about the highest and best approach.

Here’s a summary of the 10 strategies:

  1. Forget about yourself, focus on others.
  2. Forget about your commodity, focus on your relationships.
  3. Forget about the sale, focus on creating value.
  4. Forget about your losses, focus on your opportunities.
  5. Forget about your difficulties, focus on your progress.
  6. Forget about the “future”, focus on today.
  7. Forget about who you are, focus on who you can be.
  8. Forget about events, focus on your response.
  9. Forget about what’s missing, focus on what’s available.
  10. Forget about your complaints, focus on your gratitude.

You can also download and listen to an audio presentation of the Scary Times success manual here. And you can read the full list of strategies here.