Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The art of Listening.

Yesterday I found myself on the other side of being disrespected.

Let us first ask ourselves, "What is respect?"

My own explanation: "The act of making another person feel worthy, by means of acknowledging or giving him/her undivided attention."

In my opinion, the most precious gift we can give another person is respect. How? By listening to them. I mean REALLY listening to them.

In both situations, the other person seemed to switch off when I started speaking. Inadvertently, he/she was telling me, "You're not important & I have better things to do than to listen to you."

Mind you, this may not be the other person's intention and they probably WERE listening to me. But by brushing me off, it left me feeling rather small.

Later on, I was reminded of my uncle's words, "We are here to learn from others - from their strengths and also their weaknesses and be a better human being."

My line of work is people-centered. By no means am I perfect, but these little reminders of how to treat each other are of the utmost importance.

Listen to your fellow brethren & respect will follow.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday Thoughts

Feeling intense gratitude (and a bit emotional) after reading a farewell message from a student.

My Thankful Thursday Thoughts:

Like I say to my students, "Before you're a student, you're a person" , before I'm a teacher, I'm human too!

I sometimes forget this. During the day, I wear many caps & often find myself fluttering about about - without a minute to waste.

My students' success & happiness is my priority. Why? Because I know the sacrifices they made to be here, the nerves of steel they have to endure for exams & so much more.

Sometimes I feel helpless & wish for extra time, extra eyes, extra ears, extra arms...so I can make miracles happen for my students - like getting acceptance at university or a hospital they wish to work at.

But I can't perform miracles ;)

I give my all to what I do & am immensely grateful for the opportunity to work with / for beautiful people.

I wish I can thank each person individually here, who today, touched my heart & lifted my spirits.

Thank you.
Thank you for your trust, respect & love.
This is from my heart to yours.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Killing time IS a criminal offense!

An early morning chat with former student-turned-friend in Turkey got me thinking about time and being busy. While at 06:00 in South Africa, I was getting ready for my morning walk, Emre was getting ready for work. "We are busy for nothing," he said. I guess he meant, we're always busy...but for what purpose exactly? 

I've been reading 168 Hours which has really gotten me thinking about how it is that we got to be so busy. Time is something we seem to have very little of these days and having "free / leisurely" time is considered a luxury. All too often we are busy being busy, but are we being productive? We are all guilty of making excuses to get out of something, saying that we "don't have time."

I work from 07:30 to 17:00 (roughly). Apart from work, what is important to me? Simply - exercise, reading and writing. To ensure that I do these things within 24 of my day, I sacrifice about an hour and a half of sleep, ensuring that I've exercised before going to work. If possible, I dedicate a few minutes to reading and writing. That's right. My wake-up alarm is at 04:00. I am by no means, perfect and I also have my "off" days!

However, once I'm at work, my day is dominated by time. Each minute is precious and I can't afford to sit idly doing something that is of no benefit to myself or my goals in life and work.

To maximize my time, I have identified what kind of "energy vampires" and "time thieves" [courtesy Robin Sharma for these terms!] secretly "steal" my seconds from me. A few months ago, it was the addictive game, Candy Crush and (wait for it!) Facebook. To avoid this "problem", I deleted both apps from my phone. Don't get me wrong, I still log on to Facebook (two or three times a day) but I'm strict with the amount of time I spent trolling through my news feed. Time reading gossip could easily be spent making that overdue catch up call to my mum, dad or brother. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that as much as we either wish we had more time or we wish time away, the truth remains that no one (no one!) is granted any extra time. Each and every week, we are allocated 168 hours. 24 per day. How, where and with whom we spend it is our prerogative, but we should be wise enough to use it to its capacity. Once it's gone, that's it!
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