Thursday, February 24, 2011
I started taking Spanish lessons sometime ago and I am really enjoying it.One word I learnt was 'Ahora' which means now.Now I didn't just get up and start learning it.I actually started talking about learning it years ago but just never got round to it.Lectures, church, personal stuff, friends etc. etc. took up so much of my time that I felt I just couldn't do it.So I kept putting it off and postponing it even though it was something I knew I'd enjoy doing and I also knew it would help me.It took me about 6 years to finally buckle down and start learning it.
Does any of this seem at all familiar about your own life?Do you REALLY want to do something but never quite get around to it?Are you always finding excuses and stuff to do with your time?Now in my case I can say that it wasn't absolutely essential that I take the language lessons.It was just something I wanted to do because I'd enjoy it and it would be a plus for me to learn something new.Unfortunately a lot of the stuff we put off doing are not in this category.Some are life and death stuff, others would simply improve our lives if we would just commit to doing it.Some things need to be done and it doesn't matter if you wait a whole year-you're still gonna have to do it!
Here is a classical example.What words are as music to a student's ear?What makes a typical student really happy?Can you think of an answer to that?OK you are probably right so here it is:NO CLASS!Nothing makes us happier!It rains in the morning and we are happy because we have a good excuse to go in to work late.We feel just a touch of fever and we immediately call in a sick leave.Sound familiar?That's probably because you do it a lot too, but the interesting part is if we had gone to work when we were supposed to or that class had come on, we wouldn't have to do it later.No matter what, the syllabus has to be finished and that target has to be met so why PUT IT OFF?
I think it is just human nature to put off things we find hard to do or we think is hard to do, but at the end of the day what needs to be done needs to be done so we have to learn to deny ourselves the pleasure of procrastination for a moment; that will save us a life time of 'If Onlys'.As our elders say in Ghana, 'the slap that is yours is better taken now rather than later'.So today make up your mind to act now.Don't sit on that idea any longer.Don't wait till tomorrow to make that call or render that apology.Learn something new today and you will be glad you did.
Ahora!Now is the time!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
All of us experience pain at one point or the other in our lives, some more than others and some pain more severe than others. It is a normal part of living and growth, whether it is losing someone dear to us or getting hurt in our day to day relationships, but what we do with it determines the impact it will have on us. Sometime ago I experienced a very painful situation, and my reaction to it pushed me to find better ways of dealing with painful occurrences in my life. Generally, we all respond to pain in a variety of different ways, but there are 3 simplified responses:
1. Run Away!
Most of us do this more often than we know when confronted with difficult situations or hurt. For example, when we are very interested in a particular friend’s welfare but the person keeps blowing us off, we tend to just shrug and walk away. Most of us ( I am a culprit myself) say to ourselves that if the person is not interested in us, then it is not worth it. Another aspect of running away is retreating into ourselves to prevent further hurt from occurring. We stop doing some things we normally do eg. phone calls and text messages etc .I run away mostly by staying in bed watching funny sitcoms and laughing. I find that a few hours of this helps me feel better. I also like going for church programs and music shows that can help me take my mind off stuff. To each his own, right?
2. Volcanic Eruption
This is my personal favourite even though I don’t respond that way(most of the time).It is quite interesting to observe such a person at the peak of their anger.It is like observing a hurricane. They tend to become angry when in pain so lash out at anything and anybody around them.This type of response is very destructive so we need to try and limit our responses in this manner as much as is possible. Most of the time they are not really angry with others but with themselves. So don’t worry if you know someone like that-he/she isn’t angry with you! What helps such a person is a listening and patient ear so that they can vent and get it out of their systems.
3. Cry baby....
The term cry baby does not necessarily mean a cry baby. It is a figurative expression referring to those of us who tend to cry in response to pain. Almost all of us cry when in pain, especially unexpected excruciating pain. I cry even when I read a sad story or scene in a book, so I tend to cry when in pain. The tears help take some of the pain away and I get an excuse to eat ice cream!
Regardless of the response we give when we are in pain, one thing we all need to do is deal with the pain as completely as possible so that we can move on. Pain helps us to grow and mature. This happens especially when we can honestly examine ourselves after a hurtful situation, acknowledge our faults maturely, apologize if necessary and move on! Staying in that painful moment does not contribute in any way to improving our lives. We may end up withered and bitter folks because of that (who wants to be a lemon right?) so it is important to learn to move on!
Finally, as the adage goes, when life hands you lemons, make some lemonade! Make the best of painful situations in your life and you will find that it becomes very profitable to you.
Monday, February 7, 2011
A wise person once made an observation. He said that time is the stuff that our lives are made of. If that is the case for every one of us, every second and every minute that passes by takes us one second or one minute closer to the day of our death. We may not like it but that is the reality. Our lives are spent in seconds, minutes, hours, and days before years.
Time is one of the most valuable, if not the most valuable gifts that God has given unto us. What we in turn do with this gift is what He will be judging us on after we die. So the question is what ARE we doing with our time? Are we busy with nothingness or are we spending our time meaningfully?
I believe that a lot of us have challenges with time optimisation at one point or another in our lives. For some of us it is a chronic problem. We wake up in the morning and twelve hours later or eighteen hours later we wonder what we have actually achieved during those hours or we ask ourselves where the time went. For most of us, this happens once in awhile, but when it happens too many times in a row we need to begin to consciously check what we do with our time.
Experts in the field of time management have come up with what is called the time management quadrant. The theory is a simple one that says that all the things we do with our time can be divided into 4 main categories:
3. Not urgent
4. Not important
A majority of us spend a large percentage of our time on either category 1 activities or category 4 activities. We are either busy trying to deal with important emergencies or we are doing things that are neither urgent nor important. Out of these four quadrants, the one category that can help us maximise benefits is quadrant 2 activity. If we will do what is important in time, they will never become urgent. The important things are what will help us realise our dreams and plans.
So this year, decide and plan to keep to important issues most of the time. Do not allow them to become emergencies. Spend some time with those you love! Do that assignment now! Go over those study notes today! Finish up that presentation or proposal! Whatever it is, don’t wait till it becomes urgent. Act now and you will realise you have become more productive because of it.