One thing at a time, simple as that

Doing one thing at a time has lead to a great deal of efficiency for me. I think the approach works!

Focusing on the task at hand, the race that needs to be run. Nothing else matters during those few seconds before and during the race.
Focusing on the task at hand, the race that needs to be run. Nothing else matters during those few seconds before and during the race.

I feel much more focussed than before in just about everything I do. I have been reflecting on this and wondering what has really changed. I realised what brought about this wonderful change is a simple thing. Now I just try to do one thing at a time. Yes you heard right, just one thing at a time. I don’t aim to be a hero or rockstar when it comes to multi-tasking, just a simple guy who does only one thing at a time. One thing, the approach is as simple as that. I don’t know if it could be any simpler really.

The days or years of multi-tasking are behind me. I don’t try to do many things at once. I focus on one thing at a time. So this means that if I am writing a short article like this one, that is all I do. I don’t allow distractions to get in the way because they break my thought pattern. If I stop to do something else, even for a minute when I get back to the writing I have lost the flow and I have to try and pick up from where I left off again. Some might argue that it would take just a few seconds or at worst a few minutes to get back in the flow but sometimes things are more complicated than that.

Creativity is not something to be taken for granted. Make the most of it when the inspiration comes your way. Doing one thing at a time is really a kind of specialisation if you think about it. For a certain amount of time you become a specialist in that one thing you are doing. You are no longer the generalist writing emails, checking your social media messages and updates, sending a message to a friend, trying to find something in your wallet. No, you are the specialist who stops everything else for that one moment in time.

So now with my articles I committed to at least one thousand words whenever I post something. Initially one thousand words seemed like a huge target but I realised that if I am really committed it is actually not much at all. On average it will not take me more than forty minutes to write one thousand words.

Whenever I get down to writing this is the minimum target in terms of words. Of course the idea is to not have fluff, just adding words so that I can make my target. That would be a real tragedy. I would like to take the reader of a short journey, to share my ideas and inspiration and hopefully by the time they finish reading, they feel much better than before. I want to write something that actually makes a lot of sense and flows nicely from the start to the end.

In the past it would take me forever to reach one thousand words in an article but now I do it one sitting. In fact I lie, it would be painful to try and reach just three hundred to four hundred words and now it feels easier doing one thousand words. How on earth does that work? I start typing and I keep typing until I feel that I have hit my word target. I use evernote for my articles, not the desktop application but the online one. I first post my articles on the web then transfer them to the blog later on. During the actual process of typing I do not focus on the word target itself but the ideas and thoughts that I am exploring. I believe that my time I am done with the exploration I should also have comfortably met my word target.

So back to my theme of doing one thing at a time, this is what works for me now. With the notifications on the phone removed, it means there is no stopping to check messages or social media. No, I will do that when I am doing with what I am doing. This habit on focussing on thing means I am able to really apply myself on anything that I am working with. When I am working with emails, because there are so many emails to deal with on any given day I need a clear mind, sense of purpose and the ability to work in a speedy and efficient manner.

What amazed me about this idea of doing one thing at a time is that it actually seems counter-intuitive. It is tempting to think that if you only do one thing at a time it will take your forever to get through everything but I think not. I won’t quote the scientific research done in this area because I do take that stuff with a pinch of salt (you see the research conclusions and findings are ever changing) , much as I love reading the research. I believe that if you are doing one thing at a time all your faculties are zoned in one thing. Everything in you is working on that one thing.  Imagine the rays of sunlight being focussed by a magnifying glass on a paper. Sooner or later, they burn a hole into the paper. That’s focus, applying all the energy to one thing even for a brief period.

So the idea is that when I am doing one thing at a time, I don’t actually worry about the amount of time that I will take. The focus is on excellence, doing the very best you can. Because what could be better than excellence. And the more you do something, the better you will get at it. I work from home so this idea of doing one thing at a time for me works reasonably well. I am not sure how it would work in an office-type environment where you have to constantly engage with other people. That might be a challenge.

When I moved this article to the blog I had done just over eight hundred words which was obviously short of the minimum one thousand words. however, within a few minutes I had already filled in the gap which felt really great. It is amazing how a high target if attempted often enough soon starts to feel really achievable.

Now what I love to do is if an approach works for me in one area of my life, I try and see how best it can be applied to other areas of my life. So as a chess player I find myself thinking of this one thing at a time, almost as one move at a time. When it is my turn to play, I focus on one move at a particular time. I can have many ideas in mind but I can only work on the merits of one move at a time. In any case that is all I can play at any given time. I cannot play more than one move. That would be clearly illegal.

How about focussing on one thing so much that other things start to become a blur. This could be driving, talking to someone, listening to someone, playing with your children. How much joy would we get from that? Just a thought I simple thought I leave you with, one thing at a time!

Put the guru or expert to the test, with their own advice

If someone claims to be an expert in a particular area, how much of their own advice have they actually followed or tried out.

the-guruWe live in a time when where are many experts and many gurus in many fields. Sometimes gurus or experts in an area can literally spring up overnight or a matter of weeks or days.  It can be difficult and times confusing on deciding when to take advice especially when those giving it are so certain and sure of it What gives people this kind of confidence?  Even coaches who have won World Championships in sports are sceptical that their approach might work but some gurus will almost swear that if you do A and B, you will definitely get C. And some of the gurus will do so with no verifiable track record!

They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes.  I would like to propose a simple test for the guru or expert. The test is quite simple really and hopefully it will not take too long to run it and get results. If someone claims to be an expert in something, determine to what extent their own advice has worked for them. Do they drink their own medicine?  In other words is the guru their own best client, the best proof that what they say actually works.  Let me give a few examples.

Let’s say that someone has brilliant strategies on how to create wealth. How has that strategy worked out for them? If it hasn’t worked out for them, why not? Why is someone who has tried and failed using a certain approach trying to recommend that very same approach to you? Why would it work for you when it has failed for them, who know the strategy and approach better and more intimately than anyone else? Why are they not wealthy if they have such great ideas or methods on how to become wealth? Surely if it was as easy as they say, would you not at least expect them to be able to show how it can be done.

If it turns out that the person who is giving expert advice on how to become wealth is actually struggling with bankruptcy or struggling immensely with their finances, how seriously will you take their advice? Chances are you will be very concerned if that were the case. How can someone be certain of success when they have no idea of attaining in their own life? How does that work?

If the guru is not taking their own medicine or advice, you have to ask yourself why. Some might argue that it is a case of do as I say and not as I do. I do not find this very convincing. Surely it is much easier to convince others with actual results from your own life.  The reason why I suggest this kind of test for the guru or test is that results speak for themselves.  They can say, look here is what I did and this time or period in my life and those are the results. What I am recommending to you is something that I have actually experienced in my own life. It is not just something I dreamnt of. It is actually something I did, I experimented with, I thought about deeply and it actually really worked. Now someone who does not have the results to show for it, how do they manage to convince others to trust them.

The phrase Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence was popularised by Carl Sagan. If you come across someone making great claims, they have to be ready to back it up. If they are extraordinary claims it is only fair that they should be accompanied by extraordinary evidence. We do not live in a theoretical world. Things should be practical. If the guru does not have any evidence of their claims perhaps the way they present or market the claim should be revisited so that those who are listening to it know that it has not actually been proven. This might be necessary because sometimes ideas, products, services are marketed as fail-safe. People are told to do something with a guarantee of results. However, there is absolutely no accountability whatsoever if things go wrong. This might be one of the reasons why some industries are highly regulated. For example in financial services not just anyone can give financial advice to a customer because there are huge risks to this.

A person has to be qualified to give that advice. They need to have gone through the necessary tests and certification before they are worthy enough to talk to customers about the weighty matters of money. Now the guru, what tests or certification has he or she done before he gives you advice. The more we put gurus to the test, the more we stop wasting time on quick fixes and untested things that can ruin lives. We should be discerning in who we listen to and even more when it comes to implementing advice from dubious or untested sources.

It is certainly worth the investing auditing or checking out the source before you take risks in your life. It is easier to stop something before you actually commit than to embark on a wild goose chase and only realise later on that you have been taken for a ride. Often when things go wrong those who were generous in giving the advice are nowhere to be seen. You cannot complain about their advice then because it is too late and the damage has already been done. The hard work and research should have been done before you ran with something you were not completely sure of.

By also putting gurus and experts to the test we force them to raise their game and to take the people they deal with more seriously. Even the term guru should not be used willy nilly. It has to be earned. One needs to have the mileage, the results to show for it before such a term can be associated with them. Maybe some of these terms have become like cliches were anyone can claim to be an expert or guru. Imagine someone working up in the morning and claiming to be a doctor who can treat serious diseases and even more shocking if when someone takes them seriously. Well sadly this kind of thing is happening a great deal. It doesn’t have to be this way if we put our gurus and experts to the test.

Funny that I should be giving advice myself. Please note that I am not a guru or expert but you are free to put me to the test 🙂

Ambassadors of Africa – Words to live by

Tips and guidelines for Ambassadors of Africa.

Africa
Africa

Here some guidelines I follow as an Ambassador of Africa. #Africa.  They are drawn from the Tweets I have sent over the past few years. I follow these guidelines as  roving Ambassador of #Africa. These guidelines also form the basis of the book Ambassadors of Africa – Words to live by. The book is due out by the end of July 2014.

The guidelines served me well over the years and were written in no particular order of importance. Hope you have as much fun reading them as I had writing them. The guidelines are taken from the actual tweets sent out and no changes have been made to them.

  1. Ambassadors of #Africa,Research on the sons & daughters who’ve inspired Africa e.g. Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela,Martin Luther King
  2. Ambassadors of #Africa, Please don’t criticise your country or continent in public. You lose credibility as an ambassador if you do that.
  3. Ambassadors of #Africa, remember you are also a roving spokesperson for Africa. Spokespersons always choose their words with great care.
  4. Ambassadors of #Africa, if u are in the Diaspora touch base often with those back home.If u are back home,connect with those in Diaspora.
  5. Ambassadors of #Africa, you must constantly ask: If not Africa then who, if not in Africa then where, If not now in Africa then when?
  6. Ambassadors of #Africa, the only language you need to share is your love for Africa. That is enough.
  7. Ambassadors of #Africa, You will know fellow ambassadors by their words, their works and their deeds. You will connect!
  8. Ambassadors of #Africa, You’ve got to be a lover not a fighter. A lover of Africa. A person inspired and excited by Africa.
  9. Ambassadors of #Africa, You don’t have to live in Africa but without any doubt Africa must live in you!
  10. Ambassadors of #Africa, Every day ask not what Africa can do for you, Ask what you can do for Africa! Then do it!!
  11. Ambassadors of #Africa, The main requirements for your role are love for Africa. The willingness first, resources will come!
  12. Ambassadors of #Africa,The is the job without retiring. Until your last breath,, you are an ambassador of Africa.
  13. Ambassadors of #Africa, Remember the protocol always. Country and Continent first. It is not about you. This is bigger than you.
  14. Ambassadors of #Africa, You are always on duty, 24 7 365. Every word, everything you do is part of your job. This is a labour of love!
  15. Ambassadors of #Africa,it’s your duty to inspire the world & educate the world about Africa.There is much to learn & discover about Africa
  16. Ambassadors of #Africa, Keep your ears on the ground for any good,positive,inspiring news about ur country & continent.Share this with zeal
  17. Ambassadors of #Africa, you are not working for yourselves but your country and continent, your children and future generations.
  18. Ambassadors of #Africa,Don’t get caught up in cat fights about politics,leaders & the like. It’s very easy to get distracted.Stay focussed
  19. Ambassadors of #Africa,it’s easy to stray from your mission & purpose. Reflect every day on your great obligation to country & continent.
  20. Ambassadors of #Africa, respect for your brother and sister is of utmost importance.This is none negotiable no matter what the differences
  21. Ambassadors of #Africa,Everything you say or do reflects on Africa & your country.Choose your words with care.They will influence a lot.
  22. Ambassadors of #Africa, keep in touch with fellow ambassadors of Africa. Share news, connect and inspire one another every day.
  23. Ambassadors of #Africa, your leaders or parties are not your country or continent. These things should never be confused.
  24. Ambassadors of #Africa, it is your duty to defend your country and continent. Speak good always about your country and continent.
  25. Ambassadors of #Africa, Put your country and continent first at all times. Put it above political parties and leaders all the time.
  26. Ambassadors of #Africa, Praise your country or continent in public. When you have criticism, do it behind closed doors.

Hope you all enjoyed these tips. All the best!

Right now what is holding back women from progressing?

What are the obstacles to women’s progress in society?

Please note early on that this short piece is not about equality between men and women. That lies outside my scope. The writing is inspired more by women’s leadership capability as compared to men. I share my perspective as a man. I have little regard for the current thinking around these issues. This article is not intended to gain the sympathy of women, though if it does, I won’t complain.

Background to this article – As a kid I strongly believed boys were superior to girls in many respects including intelligence.

As a young man in Africa one question I am asking myself a lot these is why don’t we have more female leaders. Where are the women in power? Why are female leaders the exception and not the norm? In my humble opinion women are just as capable in leadership as men if not better. The fact is we live in a patriarchal society where men call the shots. Is this status-quo sustainable? Is it healthy?

Given the multitude of problems and challenges that we face in the world, the endless wars, the corruption, the current problems we face on the planet the question that comes to mind is, could women do any worse? I do not think so. Women are nurturers. They give life. It is not in their nature to maim or kill. Women have one thing that is missing in men, compassion and love for life.

Religion has been used to justify the roles that women and men play in society. However,we now live in multi-faith societies where no single religion should determine the role of men and women in leadership.

Women have a natural advantage over men when it comes to leadership. From an early age they are typically doing far more work than the boys. They learn how to multi task and prioritise early on in life. This skill, mastered so early in life, becomes second nature to them in later life. It is not uncommon for boys to be playing while the girls are running around with the cooking and other house chores. Perhaps this is simplifying things.

Physically men are stronger than women but as far as I can tell this has no bearing whatsoever on leadership capability.

What is holding women back from progressing? Indeed men are quite happy to maintain the status quo in the balance of power. However, I believe that it is women who are holding back women. In most countries women outnumber men. Women need to support other women. Women need to look across political affiliations, beliefs and other divides that keep them from supporting one another.

In most countries women outnumber men by quite a margin. If women consistently voted for women, it would just be a matter of time before there are far more female leaders. Many countries subscribe to some form of democracy which is essentially a numbers game. If women choose to support other women the numbers will tell.

I have found the fights between women to be particularly vicious more so when it involves men. Women, don’t fight for men. You are probably the superior gender, purely from an evolutionary perspective.

Ironically men’s greatest weakness in leadership is often linked to women. Remarkably I doubt that women in leadership would have such vulnerability though research is starting to show us that women are now probably just as likely as men to cheat in relationships.

Why are women fighting each other? I do find this puzzling because they generally face the same challenges across the world. From the scourges or rape, physical abuse and other types of abuse women have so many reasons that can bring them together so advance their cause.

I found men in many instances to get distracted by women. Women on other hand generally have their priorities in order. A man is more likely to spend money on a girlfriend before he caters for his parents. For a woman, her parents come first. The man comes later.

Global statistics show us that women outlive men. So if there are more women than men, and women are around longer than men, why are men still calling the shots? Why do women still have to prove themselves?

Women it’s your time. Unite! Stop bickering and work together. Together you will conquer.

Spanner in the works

Guy Penford it takes generations to unravel sexism. you cannot separate women from their sexist social upbringing.. one cannot just separate women from their social upbringing and analyse their behaviour.

Tlangi Gabriela Ngwenya I completely agree with Guy. We are a function of our society. I also think it’s a misconception that women’s biggest struggle is us “bickering” amongst each other.

One month down already. How are things going in 2014?

January is behind us in 2014. How are things going?

Just a little while ago we were talking about the end of 2013. Now January is already behind us in 2014. To me it feels a bit like a Formula One race. The days have been flying past. That’s how fast things are going for me. I am already thinking about some of the goals I set for end of 2014 and that looks like it is around the corner. Time waits for no man or woman. There was great excitement with the ushering on the new year. New goals and new resolutions. Life would never be the same again.

Now it’s only fair that we take stock. How are things going? What’s going on with you? Are things going as planned or we are now sliding back to old habits and ways of doing things? Do you still have that energy and excitement from the beginning of the year?

Whatever the case, keep your head up. Keep a cool head. Do not lose heart if things are not going your way. Deal with one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. The great thing is that you don’t have to tackle the whole year at once. If you do what is sufficient for the day, every day, then you will take care of the year. That is how it works. A long journey begins with a single step and you have already taken steps for a whole month . Do not get lost in things and let the year and circumstances run away with you. Take the power, take control and be the one instead to run away with the year.

There is GREATNESS in You and have another day to explore and unleash it. More power to you!

Right now in this instant you have the power and the means to change the course of history in your life. There is GREATNESS in you. Believe you can do it. Begin working on it and surely you will become.

Never Give up!

No matter how difficult the going may get, never give up!

Never Give Up
Never Give Up.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. ~ Samuel Beckett

It’s so easy to give up sometimes when you come up short repeatedly with your goals. You get so close and yet are so far. You want to just forget about it completely and move on to other things. No don’t move on to anything else but move on with the programme. Never give up!

Why keep trying? Remember nothing comes easy. What’s the whole point? The point is you have to earn it. Before you get it, you have to deserve. How big is your want for. Never give up.

Try, try try again. It will be very frustrating but there is no other way. There is GREATNESS within you. Wipe away the tears. Go back to the drawing board, go back to the gym. Go back to the practice courts. Continue making the sacrifices. Your goals are within reach and no one will deny what is due to you in season.

Never give in to doubt. Don’t make any time for the naysayers. Ignore the noise of discouragement. Dig deep into your reserves. There is a still a long way to go but you will get there. You are a winner. You are a champion. Never give up!

Check yourself!

Take stock of where you are in your life. Check yourself

Many of us are very keen to take things to the next level in our lives. To improve in whatever we are doing, to excel, to up our game.  What does your current foundation look like? Can you build on that foundation? Will the house stand? Will the foundation hold the massive dream that you carry? Check yourself!

Sometimes you need to overhaul the current structure before you build that glorious vision. If you have destructive habits they will catch up with you sooner or later. The chickens will come home to roost at some. Before we set out on our journey, let’s first determine where we are. Check yourself!

Building on a shaky foundation might seem impressive for a while but sooner or later it will all come crashing down. Reassess your habits! What do you think about most of the time? How do you actually spend your time every day? Are you accountable for every hour of the day? Check yourself!

You cannot build while standing in soft sand. Get a grip on things. Get a grip on reality. Get a hold of your dreams by moving to solid ground. It might be painful but in time pain will give way to gain. Check yourself.

Don’t fool yourself. Don’t kid yourself. A bold vision and dream needs a solid foundation! Be honest with yourself. Get help if necessary. Get real. Get going. Check yourself!