I’m dropping habits but some are heavier than others!

Sheet music

Image via Wikipedia

In the 7th grade, my classmates and I used to joke about the absent-minded Mr R.

We’d ask Mr R, ‘Do you use a blue or black pen?’

Mr R, looking up from his pile of essays would say, ‘Huh?’

‘Do you use a blue or black pen?’

‘Eh…yes!’ would be Mr. R’s reply.

Unfortunately, I have become a little like the absent-minded Mr. R. I’m like that when my son is asking me a million questions and I just want him off my back. More often than not, I’m left wondering what I’ve just agreed to. Perhaps, kids deliberately look out for when you are the most busy or absent-minded then ask the forbidden question.

It was really amusing in a meeting the other day when it was apparent that a certain someone was not listening.

One manager asks something like, ‘Is the London client forum planned for the first or second quarter?’

A certain someone responses with, ‘Yes, absolutely!’

I want to listen more in general as I move away from the polite nodding and smiling gestures. It’s amazing how many people just wait for their turn to chip in what they have to say. I’m guilty too! Oh my, this is beginning to sound like the makings of a new year resolution, a habit-forming task. We’ll see. As my primary school teacher used to say,

‘He that has ears, let them hear.’ It should really be let them LISTEN.

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The king, his speech and why I’m going to rule the world

His Majesty King George VI of the United Kingdom.

His majesty King George VI of the United Kingdom (Image via Wikipedia)

I get very reflective after seeing certain movies. My friends are usually like, ‘Geez, it’s just a movie and you got all THAT from it??’ But I do. I’m a rather deep person and I find it easy to not only spot the less obvious lessons but to also draw a parallel to my life.

So, it’s no surprise that after seeing The King’s Speech (starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush) a few days ago, I started to get introspective (as usual). It was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Without giving too much away, the king of a quarter of the world (King George VI) stammered and so dreaded giving speeches. His courage, the friendships that develop and the enviable support of his wife were the things I found most moving. Now I’m determined not to let my imperfections stop me from taking chances and seeking out opportunities. Together with recent insights gained on my personal development journey, I have learned that:

1. I don’t have to know everything or be good at it all. I can surround myself with people smarter than me or those who know what I don’t know. Learn from people, instead of shying away or envying them from afar. Even Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama consistently do this. They both surround themselves with people who have strengths in areas were they are weak.

2. I have to leverage my sense of humour. If I’m going to take chances, I will be rejected more than I’ll be accepted. When things look bleak, laughter is a good idea. The other option is of course, to cry, which is not really an option. Sense of humour is crucial if I’m going launch a business at any point in the future.

3. I need to develop and cherish my support network. Friends who encourage and support me will literally save my life. They will understand my moodiness in rejection and rejoice in my acceptance. Priceless.

4. It is FAR more important to be courageous than it is to be perfect. For some reason that I’m sure I’ll soon figure out, the re-affirmation of this makes me feel as light as air.

Needless to say, I highly recommend the movie to everyone who is living and breathing. The hyperlink above leads to the movie trailer so have a look. It is a true story and it speaks volumes about how even the people we admire from a distance have deep struggles and inadequacies. Sometimes, we get close to people and find that they are not as admirable as we initially thought. Other times, in exceptional encounters, we find that they are even more admirable than meets the eye. This latter realisation is the case in The King’s Speech.

Sigh! It feels good to be human….. Long live the King! (Of course, he’s long dead but you get the general idea ;).)

1,000 hits or more [all rights received]

I have no right to blog. In fact, there are many reasons why blogging is a particularly bad idea for me.

First of all, I’m a competitive soul so I obsess about the stats. There, the truth is out. I analyse (within myself, of course) what should be deemed an above average viewing per day, or per month. I still don’t know what the average stats are but I visited other blogs and saw 5,000 hits, 20,000 hits and even came across one that will probably hit a million views in the next few weeks. After 2 months of blogging, I started to panic. I didn’t have that many hits yet! ‘Oh, no, everyone hates my blog’, I heard myself thinking one day. But I suppose my disappointment at my seeming mediocre stats wasn’t enough to stop me from blogging.

Not getting hung up on the stats is hard!

It didn’t help that I was so sure I would run out of things to blog about after the first ten posts. This was my second worry. Between my business addiction and my family, I found limited resources to guide me on what people may find interesting. It complicated matters that I wanted to be me (hence, the Me-Brand was one of my first posts). I wanted to write about stuff I was interested in and disengage from the conflict between what is popular and what is honest and pure. I was relieved when many tips I came across encouraged honesty and the charm of being real. Still, every post I wrote felt like the very last drop of creativity in my bones. I believed I was real enough, honest, engaging and all that good stuff but I wondered: ‘Is there really a bottomless pit of ideas?’ This among other questions, kept me up at night.

Thirdly, I work in the oil and gas industry. Although, the industry is high-tech and risky, with hefty men drilling holes in the ground and putting stuff in them, the demographics is largely one of fairly low-tech folks who don’t warm up to technology as much as one would expect. In an industry where only an estimated 25% are on Facebook, 10% on Linked In and 1% are bloggers, I couldn’t help feeling like a square peg in a round hole. Am I the 1% that blogs? And if I am, who in the world is going to identify with me? To stop the avalanche of negative thoughts, I had to keep reminding myself (and still do) of why I started to blog in the first place:

Blogging is an opportunity to write about my passions. I’m passionate about my family, my friends, my job, God, love (yes, I believe in love AND love at first sight), business, the idea of being an entrepreneur, doing things properly, fashion, honesty, a fair and righteous world, and on and on. And I’m passionate about writing, which is something I’ve tried to ignore. So here I am still blogging after 3 months…with more than 1,000 hits I might add. It’s perhaps nothing in some worlds but more than I could have asked for in mine. I am always elated by that new reader that comments or likes any of my posts. In any event, I still want to get better at articulating my points and The Daily Post is a fantastic opportunity for frequent practice. But a word of caution is that I am committed to being real and writing about my passions and not anyone else’s. Hopefully, I will be charming along the way as I try to ignore all the strong reasons why I have no right to blog.

Another Apple a day is just too many

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

There’s a whole bunch of them now, isn’t there? There’s the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac and I guarantee there’ll be more where that came from. I started out with the iPod (I LOVE music but more on that in another post) and now I’m sucked in. I have the lot (except the iMac) but I have finally come to my senses. I need to get rid of one of them and I have nominated my iPhone (sniff, sniff). Don’t get me wrong. I do like the iPhone but I prefer blackberries. I like the iPhone because:

  1. It’s amazing to look at; eye candy.
  2. I love the way I can scroll through documents in Word or PDF and it’s like reading it on a desktop
  3. There are thousands of fancy phone cases for it
  4. The very cool apps can be irresistible
  5. Sometimes, the iPhone google map is more accurate than my Sat Nav

I’m sure there’s more awesome things about the iPhone that my tech-savvy friends may care to point out. But the iPhone also really annoys me because:

  1. It’s a phone for goodness sake. So why do I have to sync it with iTunes?
  2. The apps store is gonna lead me to bankruptcy if I continue to keep 3 or more app-hungry devices around the house
  3. I have to PAY for an app to chat with my blackberry friends (and my husband uses a BB)
  4. If I wait for the charge to go completely, it can take hours for the phone to resurrect (while on charge). It actually DIES and then has to be resuscitated. Or is my iPhone just faulty?
  5. And the most infuriating thing? It’s awkward enough that I have to touch the screen so much but when I write a text or email, I touch and touch but I can’t get the cursor in the right place! I have had to delete whole sentences just to correct a typo…. Blamey! This is a real irritation because I’m a big texter. I’m told that if I leave my finger on the spot long enough, I can edit the word. I say, ‘Bring back the BACK button!’

So that’s it. I’m leaning towards a blackberry. At least, I can text like mad and hopefully curb the apps store habit before I go bankrupt. I still have to ‘feed’ my iPod and iPad so I guess I’ll let you know how it goes.

Three cities, one country: The people & places series (3)

The Dixie Cups at the New Orleans Jazz & Herit...

The Dixie Cups at the Jazz Festival (2006) in New Orleans, Image via Wikipedia

We try to go to Disneyland, Florida every other year. The first year we went, my son was a year old so the trip was really for his dad. Every other trip since then has become better and better for father and son. I’m not a thrillseeker and I absolutely HATE rollcoasters. Call me a control freak but I just can’t cope with that speed and no hand breaks. I’m sweating just thinking about it. My head kept telling me, ‘Jump! Save yourself!’ And I have to untell it and say, ‘No! Stay! Save yourself!’ Oh dear.

Last year though, we took a chance and went to three cities in the US. It was a big risk because with two young children, I expected to have a headache, a backache and a cracked voice by the end of it all. But I really enjoyed it! We went to Florida, New York and New Orleans. Each city was special and gave me a real insight into people, life and the art of holidaymaking. Finally we had gone on a holiday that was a winner for father, mother and the kids. I describe each city in a few lines.

New Orleans

The most delicious food in the world! Incredibly tasting. We attended the Jazz fest as well- it was like music to my ears. The strangest thing I’ve ever seen is here too- Graves above the ground and ghost-like trees hanging over them. I’m told that the ground is so water-logged, dead bodies will float away with the sea if buried in the ground. Eek!

New York

I loved the style and energy in this city (a little too expensive for me though). The history of hardwork and film was rich. And taking a tour through Broadway? Priceless. Seeing the excitement and smiles on my husband’s face was enough to make it one of the best trips ever.

Florida

Even though I’m not into rollcoasters, I did enjoy the 3D shows and watching my kids laugh and play. But most of all, I LOVE to shop in Florida. Fantastic shopping exists at Florida Mall and Prime outlet. So. it’s credit card heaven. After hiding my money in New York, I happily used it up in Florida. No regrets…..until I got home to the UK and found the exchange rates had skyrocketed (sweat sweat)!!

This marks the end of my People & Places series, which was a joy to write. Thanks for reading!

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