Friday, September 30, 2011

Have fun chewing gum - it's World Chewing Gum Day!

We don't only have to take note of and commemorate days towards the greater good of our species (I'm thinking International Day of Peace, World Aids Day and the like) - life is, and should be about the smaller bits and pieces as well. 

On that note, put a piece of bubble gum in your mouth and get chewing - we celebrate World Chewing Gum Day today! Chewing gum can actually be good for your health.  Don't believe me? Read this article.

For some Friday fun; facts you didn't know about chewing gum (I know you've wondered about his all your life) ;-)
  • The world’s oldest piece of chewing gum is 9000 years old!
  • The average person chews over 300 sticks of gum each year!
  • In the beginning, chewing gums were made only by hand! Today almost all gum is made by machine.
  • Most chewing gum is purchased between Halloween and Christmas.
  • Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.
  • Humans are the only animals on earth that chew gum.
  • Many dentists now widely recommend chewing sugar free gum to their patients.(
Rethink your plans to braai tomorrow since it is World Vegetarian Day on October 1.

Have a bubbly weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The beauty of's all about you!

Do you think that being true to yourself might be the Holy Grail to happiness?
I came across this picnic platter from Mr. Price Home that says: "happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony". Doesn't this imply being true to oneself? I think it might be spot-on to say that being true to and about oneself - true in portraying the authentic you to yourself and others - is one of the contributing factors (the one and only - holy grail - might be a bit of an overstatement) leading to the emotional state that most of us long for - happiness!

We know and (most of us) would agree that money can't buy happiness and that one can have everything your heart desire but not feel content. In our circle of friends we've been talking and joking about the whole 'white picket fence' ideal, which is again, a matter of being honest with oneself. For some people the steady job, secure suburban life style, spouse, a couple of kids and a close circle of friends equals heaven. For others, this picture looks too perfect, too stable even. Some of us enjoy not knowing exactly where we'll be in five years' time. The idea of renting a house for the rest of your life is not a disturbing thought and driving second hand cars are (apart from the Gautrein) the preferable way of moving about.

Different strokes for different folks, they say, and that's exactly how the long walk to happiness is set out. What works for me would most certainly not work for you, it might go against everything you believe and stand for. But that is the beauty behind being happy - as long as I think, say and do the same thing, thereby acknowledging my uniqueness and being happy with who I am, that warm feeling around the heart cannot be too far away.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ten reasons to love our RSA!

In the light of Heritage Day tomorrow, or should I rather say Braai Day since that is how it's known to most South Africans, there couldn't be a better time to celebrate our Proudly South African heritage!

We are constantly bombarded with negative, depressing stories about our country, which are the news of the day (or a large part thereof) that should be reported on. But, and this is a big but, there are so many people, events and happenings that we should take pride in. What better day to think - and hopefully speak about RSA's pride and joy than on the eve of September 24?

There is probably a thousand and ten reasons to love our RSA, but let's start off with ten - in no particular order:

1. We are the rainbow nation! And what a privilege to be part of such a diverse 'multi-almost-anything-you-can-think-of' society. To be exposed to different cultures, ideas, ideologies and ways of doing mean that our own views and expectations of life are, from a very young age already, shaped to be much more inclusive - relevant especially in terms of the continuous move in the direction of becoming one global community.

2. The Bokke is on a winning streak at the IRB World Cup tournament in New Zealand! Need I say anything more after yesterday's victory over Namibia...we're watching this space!

3. Former president Nelson Mandela has, apart from being the most recognisable icon globally, also been ranked first in a perception assessment of the world's 54 most visible leaders, according to the Reputation Institute.

4. No one can argue that our country is simply beautiful! I can try out my poetry skill (or lack thereof) to describe the beaches, mountains, Karoo landscape and 'green environment' that are part of the city life picture but hey, you know this already! If you don't know what I'm talking about - now is the time to plan that long-awaited road trip.

5. The Big Five calls South Africa 'home'.

6. We've welcomed the world to our doorstep when we've hosted the FIFA World Cup last year. And we've shown the world that not only Afrikaners, but all Africans, are plesierig!

7. South Africa has produced ten Nobel Prize winners - four Peace, three Medicine, two Literature and one Chemistry Nobel Laureate winners.

8. It's lekker to incorporate some of our eleven official languages in one sentence, my broer. Isn't that ayoba!

9. South Africa is the official mother to our species, seeing that the Cradle of Humankind is found on South African soil.

10. We're mostly a kind-hearted, friendly and helpful bunch working towards a sustainable future for all.

I'm sure you'll be able to add loads more reasons - please do so by leaving a comment.

I think now is just the time to light the first fire for the weekend's numerous braais, which brings me to reason 11...enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's always show time when you lead by example

I came across this quote by David D'Alessandro: " It's always show time if you're in a leadership position - leading by example whether trying to or not".  'Leadership position' initially proposes a person in a very definite leadership role - be it the president of a country, the CEO of a company or the head of a household. 

I think the definition of 'leadership position' can be expanded to include me and you, which is not necessarily a president or CEO (or manager or team leader, for that matter).  Our names might be Tom, Dick or Harry, fact is, we all have a responsibility to lead!  Many of us might think that our contribution is so miniscule, especially since we are not busy climbing the last three (or ten) steps of the corporate ladder.  We might not hold a high profile 'leadership position' but the truth is that we lead others, those in our immediate environment and context - colleagues, family, friends and people in our community, to speak to and act towards us in a specific way.  Our brand and value system direct others to behave towards us in such a way that we find acceptable.  We are all, therefore, people in leadership positions. 

This means that we have a responsibility to be ready for lights, camera, action moments, since it's always show time.  This might sound a bit far-fetched or over the edge, but do take a minute to think about this notion.  It boils down to the fact that we do make an impact, whether we want to or not.  We do get noticed by what we say or don't say, by what we do or don't do.  We all lead, regardless of our intention to specifically do so - some on a grand, macro scale and others within their micro context of family members.

Let's keep this in mind when we commemorate International Day of Peace tomorrow, September 21. 
"International Day of Peace is a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political. Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole Day of Ceasefire would mean to humankind" (

Are we ready to take centre stage?  It's show time - bring it on!

John Lennon's song, Imagine is one of the most prolific songs ever created by one of the worlds' great musicians and peace activists .This song is an anthem for International Day of Peace.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The world according!

Words of wisdom written or spoken by smart people seem to amuse us.  We get inspired by other peoples' words or actions and think that we should remember and apply it to our own lives.  This is a good thing - we should learn from others' insights and mistakes. 

But have you ever really thought about the life and legacy that you will be leaving behind some day?  What will people remember when they think about miss mentor?  Are there any quote or act that you will be remembered for? It might be that people remember our acts and quotes of kindness but we will most probably also be remembered for the not so kind - the harsh and mean things that we did or words that we've spoken.

The important thing is that we will be remembered for something - good, bad or ugly (a combination of these three is perhaps the most likely outcome).  That we felt strong enough about certain issues that we had the guts to raise our voice and have our say.  That we shared our thoughts and made suggestions, knowing that many people will disagree.  That we've established our own way of viewing the world, our own style, our own motto.  

Let's share our life - inspired by numerous people, books, events and experiences, but, according to me!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8 is International Literacy Day

It's so important for all of us to take note of what is happening in the world around us.  We very often get soaked up in our own world of work, relationships with important others and the joys and stresses associated with that.  We should be reminded every now and then that there really is a whole different world 'out there', where people have to deal with their own dilemmas and set-backs which are quite foreign to us.  It's good to not only take note of important dates and events happening all over the world, but to try to make our own contribution, big or small, in whichever way we can.

Today International Literacy Day is celebrated world-wide.  I say celebrated because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world.  It is, however, also a day to become aware of the other side of the coin - according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

UNESCO and its partners promote the day to underline the significance of literacy for healthy societies, with a strong emphasis on epidemics and communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.  

The goal of this day is to raises people's awareness of and concern for literacy problems within their own communities.  We can each make a small contribution by simply being patient and showing kindness towards those who are illiterate.  On a slightly bigger scale - find out what is done and how we can get involved with projects in our community to address this problem.  Positive change won't happen overnight but it does start with me and you. 

Let's try to apply this mindset to International Literacy Day today and then to general issues in life that we would like to change - everyday! (That might be a bit over ambitious, once a week might be a good start ;-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's okay to have a bad day

I have to say that today was not the best day of the year thus far.  The fact that it is a Monday might be one of the contributing factors, add a bit of blue-ness to that and I'm sure you get the picture. 

Think technology let-down:  no internet connection the whole day, could not reply to any e-mails, didn't get hold of any person that I had to arrange meetings or appointments with telephonically and...that's it!  So my immediate reaction is to think that it's really not that bad, it's actually been a good day and I have a lot to be grateful for.  And although this is true I'm thinking why do we so often tend to 'neutralise' our emotions or sometimes even get cross with ourselves because a bad day is getting to us? 

It is a good thing to be able to see the silver line of the dark cloud, but it's also a good thing to acknowledge your 'bad mood', realise where it's coming from and to give your (my)-self the go ahead to actually just live this moment as well.  We promote phrases such as 'enjoy /live every moment', 'be mindful' - active and fully aware of the present.  But the moment that this present is not all moonlight and roses we tend to disregard it and very often take the stance that we should just move on, that 'this too shall pass'. 

I thought about writing something uplifting and inspiring, but that just won't be true to miss mentor today.  And you know what - that's okay!  The bonus is that as soon as you acknowledge your bad or less ideal day/experience/emotion you tend to feel better already. 

What do you say - is it okay to have and actually accept your bad day?