While exploring the province of Andalucia in Spain, I saw numerous massive silhouette 'billboards' of an enormous black bull. They were so quintessentially Spanish, that I found myself quite charmed by the sight. The bull billboards are a superb image and branding campaign because although Spain has so much more to offer – food (paella & tapas), drink (sangria, sherry & wine), flamenco music and dance, and the artists Picasso and Dali – when one thinks of Spain one invariably thinks first and foremost of bull fighting.
The life lesson here is to recognize the importance of branding and image. Whether or not it is your intention, everything you do, wear or say projects an image of you. Ask yourself, "When other people think of me what comes to mind first?" Then make sure it is the thing you want people to be thinking!
When I visited Rome, in Italy, I expected to see a beautiful city – after all Italy is known for its beautiful architecture, art, clothes and people. What I did not expect was to be made to feel beautiful. But that’s what happened. Everywhere I went the Italian men would call out a compliment, or whistle, as they sped past on their motor scooters. Although I was under no illusions – they did the same to all the women – I loved it and felt like the most beautiful woman in the world!
I was staying in a backpackers lodge at the time and one evening an American girl came in angrily complaining about the Italian men and how they were “awful and always trying to come on to you!” I tried to explain that it was just the Italian way and absolutely no harm or offence was meant, but she was having none of it. While I had a wonderful time in Italy, she must have had a miserable time.
The lesson here is it worth learning how to accept a compliment graciously. Not only does it give you a real boost, it also inspires the giver to continue giving compliments – and the world would certainly be a better place if we were more complimentary to each other.
While travelling in the South of Spain, I decided to do a take the ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco where I joined a tour group for a day trip in Tangier. We had wonderful day, visiting various places of interest, riding camels and enjoying a leisurely lunch of delicious Moroccan food. The whole experience was marred though by a horrible experience I had with a young man who was selling souvenir teaspoons.
We were walking down one of the narrow streets when he came up to me insisting I buy one of his teaspoons. I did not want to buy a teaspoon and told him so, but he continued to walk beside me badgering me to buy. It was unpleasant and knowing that bargaining was the ‘modus operandi’ in that town I decided that the best thing to do was to offer him a really low price in the hope that he would just go away. Of course he declined my offer, but remained walking beside me trying to bargain. When I refused to offer him anything more, he accepted it, but as he handed over the teaspoon he swore at me. I was really upset by the insult, but it did teach me a valuable life lesson.
When you say “No”, mean “No”! Be assertive - give a single, clear message that you are not interested in buying and then do not engage in any further interaction. By engaging with the teaspoon seller I gave him the message that I wanted to bargain with him and so created the problem for myself.
Many people think of anger as a purely ‘negative’ emotion – an emotion that we should not actually allow ourselves to feel. But anger is, in fact, just an emotion - one of a whole range of emotions that we must allow ourselves to feel if we want to experience a rich mental and emotional life.
Article as it appeared in Country Life magazine. By Patricia McCracken
How do you face social encounters if you're feeling burnt-out or nervous? "Being well-prepared is a great confidence-booster however tired you feel - and also for any nervous novice staff", says Durban executive coach and psychologist Claire Newton.
Whether you are at a formal function or an informal gathering you will be called upon to make conversation with others. Mastering this skill - either one-on-one or conversations in small groups - is thus an important life skill as it will give you the confidence you need to handle both business and social events.
This practical course covers the fundamentals of conversation such as how to start a conversation with someone you don’t know; effective introductions to ease the way for others; how to be interesting rather than boring and how to include everyone in the conversation. We also touch on non-verbal (body) language.
A surprisingly large number of people do not know how to accept a compliment. They have a mind-set that says something like, “I cannot possibly deserve positive feedback - anyone who pays me a compliment must be misguided, lying or feeling sorry for me”. But, is this really true? Of course not! You not only have the right to accept compliments and feel good about yourself, but also the responsibility to accept a compliment that someone is giving you, graciously.
It seems that there really is more than a little truth in the old adage 'laughter is the best medicine'. Scientific studies around the world are continuing to prove that, apart from making us feel good, laughing actually does us good as well – and can actually significantly increase our life span. Pre-school children laugh or smile between 300 and 400 times a day. By the age of 35, this drops to about 18 times. Why have we lost our sense of humour, and what can we do to put more laughter into our lives?
“Spare the rod, spoil the child” and “No hiding equals no discipline” are familiar adages that offer advice with biblical roots - but are no longer treated as gospel. Indeed, there is no hiding from the fact that research proves corporal punishment is not the most effective method of instilling discipline in children. There are two highly effective alternatives to punishment – positive and negative reinforcement.
Article as it appeared in Wellness magazine. By Natasha Liviero
From the shape of our legs to the size of our breasts, most of us are guilty of viewing our bodies in a less than sterling light!