Archive for May, 2011

Upgrading the Other Way

Posted: May 24, 2011 in articles

Last week I sent out a BBM broadcast to my loyal Blackberry friends notifying them I would be leaving the community. It was time for an upgrade and Blackberry was not part of my next move! 90% of the responses assumed I now had an Iphone. Either they would be joining me soon or expressed their satisfaction in my choice.

But I am not getting an IPHONE… or any other smart phone for that matter.

But is that a smart move?

I recently wrote a blog on my experience of spending a few days without my Blackberry after it had crashed – My Blackberry crashed this morning. It was a liberating experience where I enjoyed a slower pace and more space. I realised in that short amount of time that turning my phone on was almost the same as turning on the world. In an instant I was connected to clients, friends, news, information, tweets… As much as I love everything about technology it had invaded my world and had the potential to rob me of being present and enjoying what I love the most. I had to think about what really counted and then make a decision about how to make it count!

So I got a plain and simple Nokia C5.

So far the response has been interesting. Most have given me a few months before I get over it! Some have told me its embarrassing!  Even the vodacom salesmen couldn’t believe it!  Now when everyone puts their phones down on the table, mine will rest alongside its bigger more sophisticated brothers! An eye opener has been how often I reach for my new phone and search for something to do on it – a habitual pattern! With no attractive offerings the phone seems to slowly only find my hands to make a call or read a text.

So why did I do it?

To make a statement – No.

To lead a revolution and try and get everyone else to do the same – No.

The answer is simple. I know myself. I know what is most NB to me. And I know what I need to do in order to put myself squarely in the middle of what is most NB to me.

If it means letting go of ‘stuff’ that I enjoy then so be it. As long as I do what I need to do to remain focussed on what really counts.

So thats my challenge (and it may not involve your phone!)

What clutter can you strip away in order to remain present & focussed on what really counts on a daily basis?


Trading Metaphors

Posted: May 10, 2011 in articles

Trading Metaphors

Recently I arrived at a coffee shop to meet with Mark van Straaten. As the lead elder at Grace family Church in Umhlanga, KZN, Mark is one of my ‘primary influencers’. I believe in the idea of having primary influencers who impact on how we live our lives.

Choose wisely but avoid not choosing at all.

Primary influencers should be people you respect. They would have characteristics you aspire toward. They will have done something significant with their lives. They have gone before you and dealt with so much of what still lies ahead of you.

A half hour conversation could, more often than not, be more relevant and applicable than whatever it is you learnt at University!

As it was on this particular day.

I arrived at a coffee shop bringing with me a mind spinning with scenarios I was facing. The challenges within those scenarios kept me in a state of tension, negatively affecting my perspective.

Soon into our meeting Mark began to reflect on the idea of trading. Through some experience and some conversations he had had, he began to explain about this tension that exists in a traders life which simply never goes away.

“That tension” he explained, “is brought on due to the fact that traders can simply NEVER take into account all of the probabilities. It’s simply impossible!”

“The 5% of traders who make a success of trading” he continued, “recognise that trading is in fact a psychological process.  The great traders are the ones who do it without FEAR.  They simply know that they have to and will handle whatever happens next. They act from a place of complete confidence despite the risks associated with the unknown.”

As he spoke he held up a mirror. The probabilities I lived by were causing fear and anxiety.

“Fear limits our creativity” Mark continued seemingly knowing what I was thinking, “keeps us thinking ‘in the box’ which robs us of what we most need when we face the unknown – a mind open and focussed on possibility.”

Then the clincher.

“It’s not about abandoning reason. It’s about making a decision and sticking to it!”

In a few sentences I had let go of my need to control and began to look my context through the eyes of a ‘trader’. Changing my perspective through this critical insight yielded a different experience of my challenges. The weight disappeared.

The lesson is not only in the metaphor but in who that metaphor came from.

Go forward without fear knowing others want to share in your story!