Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let's light a c..candle on World No Tobacco Day ;-)

We all know that smoking is really bad for you - that it leads to bad health, cancer, in some instances and sometimes even death.  But we also know that most smokers really enjoy smoking.  Scientists argue that nicotine remains in your bloodstream for a mere 72 hours and that it's therefore rather the habit of smoking, the social cohesion and 'bond' that smokers share and the comfort and security associated with the act that makes it so hard to quit.  Whatever the reasons might be - as a non-smoker (okay, I've smoked socially for quite some time but would not regard myself as a smoker) I can understand that it's a steep hill to climb, especially since the act of lighting a cigarette is usually associated with stress-relief, relaxation and allowing yourself some time to breath (now that's a contradicting statement - let's rather stick to 'atime to take a break').

Point is, smokers are often bombarded with the many risks and reasons-not-to-smoke, but the how-to-quit is not always so readily available.  I've came across many websites with information on the latter, but found this one to be very insightful - http://whyquit.com/world_no_tobacco_day.html

Helpful links from this site include:
World No Tobacco Day might be a good day to quit, but so will tomorrow, Monday or the following week be - just do it, at some stage.  The best of luck to you all!

You're welcome to share your quit-smoking story ;-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today is National Soup Day - we can make a difference!

It seems as if winter has officially arrived as of today!  I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of winter.  I know that it's the time for sherry and comfort food and cozy get-togethers in front of the fireplace (or heater, but fireplace just sounds so romantic).  It's the ideal excuse to spend the whole weekend under a blanket in front of the the television, or reading the last three novels that you just don't find the time for during summer.  It's the three-month period in the year (for us in South Africa, that is) where you can actually share three bottles of red wine between the two of you and it's okay - all in the name of 'winter warmers'.

We (read I) so often complain about the less convenient aspects that defines winter - getting up early while it's still dark, finding it very hard to hit the gym morning, noon or night, and having to get up from the couch to get ready for bed.  When I read this and just think about it for a moment I know that I should be embarrassed that these are the reasons for my dislike in winter!  I can actually pick and choose what I want to eat tonight, have an electric blanket to my disposal and a few jackets to choose from to wear off the winter chill.  What about those that don't have anything to eat or wear - left alone winter comfort food or a suitable wardrobe?  We can make our small difference to our fellow South Africans by taking part in Denny's National Soup Day.

"Denny, South Africa’s canned soup range, has embraced National Soup Day on May 26, 2011, and is leading South Africa in making sure that those living in our poorest communities can also enjoy a hearty meal.  
Denny will donate 50c worth of soup from each can of Denny Soup sold in May and June 2011 to FoodBank South Africa, a non-profit organisation that secures quality food for the hungry, helping to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in South Africa".
I've said to a friend this morning that our mantra as of today should be to make a difference - big or small.  This is an ideal opportunity - are you game?
Interested in making a difference?  Read the full article on National Soup Day and the We Can Change Our World initiative.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What if...I could spend one last day with my granny?

Have you ever wondered how it would be to spend one last day in the company of your beloved gran?

Here's to all our loving grannies - if we had
one last chance we would give you his!
Many of our 'twenty-somethings' grew up with a granny as part of our 'primary caregiver team'.  She might have stayed with your family (seeing that grannies seems to live the longest in the granny/granddad equation), or lived around the corner.  Even if she stayed in another town or province most of us looked forward to visits to our granny, knowing that we will get
away with anything but murder ;-)

My granny's house was the place where you could eat as much coconut cookies as you like, drink coffee with condensed milk (every time) and drink soda stream concentrate for a much needed (she believed) 'energy kick'.  I have to admit that most of these absolute no-no's were only revealed to my mom during the last five years or so - another privilege o f having your granny nearby - not she or any of your siblings (mostly) will ever reveal the mischiefs (and calories) that were 'consumed' behind her doors.  Grandmothers in arms!

What if you had one last opportunity to spend a day with her - would you choose to sit by her feet, really listening to all her stories from 'the good old days'?  Or take her for shopping where she could choose anything she wants (you know that if you leave it up to her she won't choose anything - you will probably have to put all her favourites in her trolley)?  Or invite her for a lovely dinner (lunch might fit her schedule a bit better) so that she can finally get to know the person that you've chosen to spend the rest of your life with?

I'm not sure - maybe a 'granny greatness' day where all of her 'favourites' are combined.  If you were given the opportunity tomorrow, how would you choose to spend that one last day with your granny?

(Dankie Johanni, hierdie een is vir jou) ;-)
Ek dip sommer 'n ouma!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

I love my South Africa ... do you?

It seems as if South Africans had different experiences of yesterday's municipal elections.  The logistical arrangements seem to be the 'make or break' factor.  The whole process of queuing, getting my ID barcode checked, having my thumbnail marked blacked and voting only took 25 minutes.  Some of my colleagues this morning said that they were queuing for nearly two hours due to technical malfunctions or a shortage of IEC staff - a bit of a damper on the positive spirit of the day.

But then, on the other hand - all South Africans had the opportunity to vote - no one was excluded on any grounds.  And, be it that I only spend 25 minutes of my day off on this formality; I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment that I'm doing my bit for our rainbow nation.

In my inbox this morning, I received the following SA Good News:

I love my South Africa - the good, the bad and the ugly!  What about you?

Join the conversation at http://www.ilovesouthafrica.org/

Monday, May 16, 2011

Vote on Wednesday, you might just unleash the superhero in you ;-)

Most of us have aspirations to be a superhero at some stage - a modern day Wolraad Woltemade or Racheltjie de Beer (okay, most of us also know that the probability of that happening is close to zero, so some 'superhero qualities' will have to do then).  It might also be that you're not up to the mighty ocean or extreme weather conditions, in which case helping an old lady to cross a busy street or giving your freshly bought doughnut to the hungry beggar on the corner will have to do.  Small gestures and acts of kindness can bring out the superhero in us, even if it's just for a few minutes every other week.

With the local government elections taking place on Wednesday every South African is bombarded with the promises and slogans of the various parties to vote for them, thereby building a better South Africa.  What your political stance might be is important, but more importantly is the fact that you cast your vote and don't regard Wednesday to be just another public holiday.  It's an opportunity to be a responsible South African citizen, to lead SA, and to unleash you inner 'superhero', even if it's only for a few minutes!

"Small actions lead to great events" - Inspired by an unknown author, compiled by little miss mentor ;-)

Other interesting material to get you into 'voting mode':

  • Stem vroeg, en stem reg! (Jan-Jan Joubert, Rapport)
  • Vote not only for your municipal leadership but also for the values that should shape our society.  These may include economic growth, caring for future generations, integrity, job security, environmental awareness and affordable housing. Access this survey on www.ourvalues.co.za

Lead SA from Lead SA on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Motivation? Check. Habit? I'm working on it ;-)

I've read a book review on Google Books on "Health behavior change and treatment adherence: evidence-based guidelines for improving healthcare" (Leslie R. Martin, Kelly B.Haskard-Zolnierek, M.Robin Dimatteo - Oxford University Press, 2010) but it was the twitter 'teaser' that caught my attention - "motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going".

On the 11th day of the fifth month of 2011 (are we there already? I know the feeling) chances are good that most (if not all) New Year resolutions are only a faint memory that you'll only be able to recall if you really have to.  I've said it before - I'm not the biggest supporter of setting New Year's resolutions to start off with - it feels as if I'm limiting myself to a box that I don't want to fit in (I cope better with 1 Feb resolutions) ;-)

But for many people New Year's dreams and aspirations - new mountains to climb or cities to conquer - are very much part of their lives.  And that's what it is and stays in many instances - ideals, not reality.  There might be many reasons for this - it's easy to get excited about a new prospect - the motivation is there to show yourself that you can do it.  The problem comes in when the novelty wears off and you slide back to your old ways of doing things - habits are hard to break.

The silver lining of this dark cloud is that it's not impossible - human beings are actually adaptable creatures - much more than we choose to believe many times.  The book give insight into what is needed to make these changes possible - a straightforward three-step plan:

1.  know what change is necessary (information)
2. desire the change (motivation)
3. have the tools to achieve and maintain the change (strategy).

Most of you will agree that three-step quick fixes are often not the answer to life's challenges - but hey, who says no to a kick-start?  So on 11 May 2011 I'm really going to try to break some bad habits and acquire new ones - let's check back in three months' time to check on the progress.  Are you in?

P.S.  little miss mentor uses the shadowmatch online tool very effectively to identify and manage habits and specific behaviour patterns, which in turn, determines your thoughts and consequent actions. 

Contact little miss mentor to find out how your habit profile looks.

Have a good week!

Monday, May 9, 2011

little miss mentor's muse...among others ;-)

It just wouldn't be right if little miss mentor does not commemorate what would have been the 76th birthday of children's author Roger Hargreaves, the original creator of Mr. Men and Little Miss series.  Google celebrates this event with a series of homepage doodles depicting characters from his popular Mr. Men and Little Miss books (I'm sure you've noticed today).

Google doodlers have crafted more than a dozen versions of the company's logo featuring the cartoon characters from Hargreaves' books, from Little Miss and Mr. Tickle to Mr. Happy and Mr. Messy.

According to Cloe Albanessius in PCMAG.COM Hargreaves' career as a children's book author started in 1971 when his young son asked him, "What does a tickle look like?" To explain, Hargreaves created Mr. Tickle, a small orange man with a big smile, tiny blue hat, and very long arms. That spawned five other characters—Mr. Greedy, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Happy, Mr. Bump, and Mr. Sneeze—the books for which were first published on August 10, 1971.

The books were an instant success, selling more than one million copies in the first three years. By the mid-70s, Hargreaves' books were turned into a BBC cartoon series. In 1981, the Little Miss Series appeared, and it too was turned into a BBC series by 1983.

Mr. Hargreaves inspires thousands of fun-loving, creative Mr.'s and little misses around the globe, including this little miss mentor ;-)

Just to show that out of the box thinking as main ingredient coupled with a generous dose of humor, rounded off with simplicity might stir up an innovative idea - pure inspiration!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Non-violence as an act of war..?

I came across this very interesting article on Psychology Today's website:  "Bin Laden’s Death: What Would Gandhi and Dr. King Say?"  In America and all over the world Bin Laden's death is celebrated, implying that violence and 'to kill' is an act that is not only justified but honoured and commemorated. 

It is important to keep the context in mind because one's immediately reaction would be to say that Bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of thousands innnocent civilians, and that "justice has (therefore) been done" as President Barack Obama stated.  This is true on the one hand, but on the other hand it's also true that this is not something to be celebrated - if so then I agree with Marietta McCarty when she states:  "Was there absolutely no other way?  I don't know. But if that is the case, then the inevitability of violence as a "solution" is bone-chilling to the marrow".

Here are a few excerpts taken from Gandhi's "The Practice of Satyagraha," words that seem appropriate to repeat today: "A non-cooperationist strives to compel attention and to set an example not by his violence.... I make bold to say that violence is the creed of no religion.... Non-violence I read in the Hindu scriptures, in the Bible, in the Koran.... We pretend to believe that retaliation is the law of our being...but war is bad in essence...I have been practicing with scientific precision non-violence and its possibilities for an unbroken period of over fifty years. I know of no single case in which it has failed."

Food for thought for a Thursday - please share your views.

I'm not a beauty queen by any standards, but perhaps they have a better understanding than most of us of what is and should be important in our lives.  Here's to world peace!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

View from my room

I have to admit that I don't feel as if I'm ready to take on the Comrades Marathon today.  I have to add that the classical flu symptoms did arrive on my doorstep as of yesterday, so I presume that that would be a definite factor (if not the determining one), causing my 'not-so-on-top-of-the-world mood' today.  

There are this constant 'battle' (might be a bit too harsh word to use but you'll get my point) in my mind about the experiences I have and how I am ''suppose to' perceive and react to it.  I mean, if you went for a full-day spa and flew off to Plettenberg Bay to spend time with great friends for the weekend you should feel great at the start of another short week, isn't it?  Well, if that isn't the case (as it is with me today) I think Lily Allen had the right idea when she said:  "Say what you say.  Do what you dol.  Feel what you feel.  As long as it's real".